Fine Tuning - A weekly online column examining music events and shows on television.
The '80s, indie rock and women! Now this is what I call a fine week of music television.
Let's start with the '80s... Often thought of as a vapid wasteland of pop culture, the 1980s were chock full of good music. If only the same could be said for fashion, then we'd really be rockin', but alas, it was not to be. This week VH1 will celebrate with night after night after night after night dedicated to the decade with its series, "I Love the 80's Strikes Back."
Each night will concentrate on a different year, checking in on the music, fashion and trends with those who made them, as well as lots of celebrities discussing their memories of the Regan era. Big fun with Boy George is most certainly in store!
Moving on to indie rock, check out "MTV2 Presents: The Shortlist Music Prize." Taped a few weeks back in Los Angeles, Friday's one-hour special chronicles the culmination of the Shortlist contest, where a celebrity listmakers choose the year's most deserving indie musician as their king. Or something like that.
The winner of this year's second annual affair was singer/songwriter Damien Rice, and lots of other deserving hipsters were up for the honor too, including the Black Keys, Interpol and Floetry. Tune in and check out some of the acts to whom you should be listening, or at least know about.
And, of course, the women. Where would we be without them, those women. And the ones who "rock" are so much better than those who don't, right? With that in mind, watch "Women Rock! Girls & Guitars Concert" Thursday night on Lifetime. The third annual event is part of the cable network's public awareness campaign Our Lifetime Commitment: Stop Breast Cancer for Life with Marie Claire magazine. It raises funds for National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations and the National Breast Cancer Coalition.
Taped Sept. 30 in Hollywood, the two-hour special is hosted by Mandy Moore and features Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, Kenny Loggins, Heart's Ann Wilson, Anastacia, Bebe Winans, Debbie Reynolds, Alison Krauss & Union Station and newcomer Mindy Smith performing theme songs from major motion pictures.
Now, if women aren't your thing, then there's "GQ's Men of the Year Awards." It's on live Thursday night and rapper/actor Mos Def is among the nominees. There will be some performers, too, although at deadline no one had announced exactly whom, so you'll have to tune in to find out.
If you've got a working command of Spanish or, perhaps, simply a love of Latin music, you'll want to tune into "MTV Video Music Awards Latin America 2003" live Thursday night from Miami on MTV2. Hosted by actor Diego Luna, the show will boast performances by Alejandro Sanz, Gustavo Cerati, Cafe Tacuba, Control Machete, the Mars Volta, Sum 41, La Ley, Iggy Pop, Natalia Lafourcade and Korn.
Other highlights of the week will include Aerosmith hooking up with Hank Williams Jr. for a run through ABC's "Monday Night Football" theme, Britney Spears and Madonna on MTV's "Making the Video" on Tuesday (and Brit on "TRL" on Wednesday), and Monday's Travel Channel trip to a Lake Tahoe casino where the ghost of Frank Sinatra is purported to be hanging about on "Weird Travels."
There are a pair of "Breakfast With the Arts" shows this Sunday on A&E. The first will feature John Mellencamp and Howie Day, while the second is a full hour with R.E.M.. That night, check out Kelly Rowland as Martha Reeves on NBC's "American Dreams."
Lastly, get hooked on "Extreme History With Roger Daltrey." Also on Sunday, the title of this week's episode of the History Channel show will find the Who frontman "Surviving Like a Primitive Man." Hey, he survived 30 years with Pete Townshend, this should be a cake walk, no?