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Under the Radar: The week of Oct. 15

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Stanley Clarke, Toys of Men
Releases Oct. 16

Bass virtuoso Stanley Clarke was a founding member of the jazz fusion scene of the early 1970s, when he played on Pharaoh Sanders’ record Black Unity and then joined Chick Corea and Al Di Meola in the fusion band Return to Forever. In recent years, he has busied himself mostly with TV and movie scores, but it’s a pleasant surprise to see him return to his impassioned roots with Toys, a slate of songs inspired by Clarke’s disdain for war, specifically war in the Middle East. Some listeners will be turned off by the alto sax, lite-jazz riffs, but even so, this is definitely the most lively (and relevant) thing the bass-slapping legend has done in some time.

The Salt-N-Pepa Show
VH1: Series Premiere Oct. 15

Sandy “Pepa” Denton has been more of a third-tier TV star than a musician over the past few years, with turns on The Surreal Live and Oz, among others, but putting her back together with Cheryl “Salt” James, the partner who helped earn her a Grammy back in Salt-N-Pepa’s “Whatta Man” days, for a reality show (pictured) where they try to reconcile their differences and get back to making music could actually make for some good TV. Think Odd Couple-like scenes with the born-again Christian Salt berating saucy ol’ Pep for being just too damn sexy. The whole thing reeks of desperation (wait till you see the LaToya job Pepa did to her nose), but we all know that’s what makes VH1 celebreality shows so appealing.

Secular holidays
Boss’ Day
Oct. 16

Most people find this day is just too brown-nosy to be celebrated faithfully (sorry, Jay). But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to commemorate it. Me, I’ll don my favorite Hugo Boss shirt, bust out Metal Gear and butt heads with Big Boss, then maybe shake my groove thing to Diana Ross’ 1979 hit “The Boss” before settling in to watch Bruce Lee kick ass in his 1971 movie The Big Boss. And, of course, one could always pop in Bruce Springsteen’s new record, Magic, or better yet, if you happen to have a couple hundred dollars to spare for a ticket, catch him live as he treks across the U.S.

J.K. Rowling U.S. tour
Oct. 15-19

There isn’t anything under the radar about Rowling and Potter,but the fact that she’s heading to the U.S. for her first book toursince 2000 is getting surprisingly little attention, given that she’sauthored the most popular book series, like, ever. Three of the fourstops on her tour (Oct. 15 in L.A., Oct. 18 in New Orleans, and amorning appearance in New York on Oct. 19) are open to school childrenonly, but an evening appearance on Oct. 19 at New York’s Carnegie Hallis open to adults as well — unfortunately, the thousand or so attendeeshave already been selected via a sweepstakes. But keep a look out onthe Internet next week for photos and transcripts from the sessions,which will feature Rowling reading from Deathly Hallows, taking questions about for entire series, and autographing copies of the final Potter book.

Out of the Blue
Opens Oct. 17, limited run

New Zealand writer/director Robert Sarkies, who first made a name forhimself in 1999 with his critically-acclaimed black comedy Scarflies, is in theaters for a one-week exclusive engagement at New York’s IFC Center with Out of the Blue,which got critics buzzing when it premiered at the 2006 Toronto film fest.The film uses an ensemble of actors mixed with locals from the smallrural community of Aramoana to tell the story of real life serialkiller David Gray, who gunned down 11 men, women, and children in asingle day back in 1990, the most deadly shooting rampage in NewZealand’s history.

How about it, PopWatchers? Ready for the Salt-N-Pepa reunion (andhow about that nose)? Care to share your big plans for Boss’ Day?Anyone lucky enough to score a spot at a Rowling reading?