t djtiuu~Ut Martin Luther King Day festivities
Yolanda Adams: Come hear her sing at the Power Cent8r on Monday at
8 p.m. Tickets are free. Before you do that, check out the Harlem Boys
Choir on Sunday at 7 p.m. at Hill Auditorium. Ticlets are $10-$24.
X< ~. ~ anuryFridaya .
Duckman"s Peck fits the bill
By Ted Watts
Daily Arts Writer
When you think of depravity, what
TV network (other than FOX) comes to
mind? The USA network, that's right.
From the home of T & A flicks known
as "USA Up All Night" to the
cheesecakey "Weird Science," USA has
cheap thrills written all over it. But
there is a shining beacon of intelligent
comedy amidst the more average USA
fare. And you can find this glimmer of
hope in a show called "Duckman."
With the voice of"Seinfeld"'s Jason'
Alexander as the title character, and a
Where: USA Network
When: Saturdays at 10 pm.
skilpl .supporting voice cast behind
hina;"Duckman" takes on the mantle of
mo$ half-hour animated shows. "It's
defmitely a sit-com format, and the
closest comparison is 'The Simpsons,"'
expained Everett Peck, the show's cre-
ato'We are different shows, we're a
littj more outrageous in some ways,
and the look is different from 'The
Simpsons.' We're also a bit like 'The
Crit.' Just in the sense that we do
narrative stories that are on the sit-com
format, where we have a linear story
thatwe follow throughout. We try to.
have a real emotional baseline so you
can kind of relate to the characters as
opposed to having a series of gags."
"Duckman"takes comparisons to "The
Simpsons" in aviciously lightheartedway.
In the series' third season- premiere epi-
sode last week, "NoirGang" (Get it? Like
"Our Gang."), it is the epithet "Simpsons
wannabe" that pushes a verbal argument
over into physical violence.
But there's not too much overt physi-
cal excesses, explained Peck. "There
hasn't been too much interference as
far as censorship. We censor ourselves.
There are some areas we can be quite
outrageous on, and other areas we sort
of pull in on a little bit. We're more
interested in social satire, pushing those
kind of things. And the sexual content,
to some extent. We're more interested
in pushing those as opposed to how
gross can we get, as in terms of can we
have this guy licking an open sore or
The show has a certain cartoon physics
to it, but not to an extreme. For instance,
when Duckman explodes himself with
dynamite, it's represented mostly as a
cloud of smoke as opposed to a splash of
blood. Well, no show can be all things.
When it comes to its creator's par-
ticipation in the show, "Duckman" is a
bit atypical. Peck, an accomplished il-
lustrator and painter, hasn't been pushed
to the side in the process. "I'm pretty
much involved in all aspects of it. I was
involved in it really before anyone else,
and I've been involved in almost all the
stages. Idea stuff, reviewing scripts,
recording, animatics, of course all the
art stuff and post-production. Pretty
much hands on."
Not that there haven't been some
changes in the look and character of the
franchise. "I realized we had to change
the art a bit. We couldn't animate my
down and dirty drawing style. So in
exchange for losing some ofthe sponta-
neous line work, I decided to stretch
and tuck (Duckman's) silhouette a bit
more. In the comic he's proportioned a
little more like Daffy Duck or some-
thing. When I went to a cleaner line I
made his head bigger, his body a little
more squat, legs a little shorter so that
his silhouette was a little more unusual."
Another piece of visual interest is the
signs in the show's background. "In my
illustration work I'll very often throw
in a sign, like 'Speed checked by glam-
orous sex star,' or something. (Writer)
Jeff Reno and the writers like the signs.
We call those two percenters, because
most people won't catch those unless
they're recording the show." Duckman
is chock full of these interesting things,
and it is worth the work to pause and
reflect on them. They range from call-
ing Duckman a dork to pointing out red
herrings in the plot. Altogether interest-
Duckman and all his friends.
3 P Y } u'.
^ +i "
M1i y ,
But "Duckman" is moving beyond
TV in some ways. There is a new and
official Duckman site on the World
Wide Web and there's even a CD-ROM
game in the works. On the website,
"you're going to be able to actually go
into the office a little bit. There'll be
icons to click on, you get to destroy
Fluffy and Uranus (Duckman's sick-
eningly sweet office workers)." And
hey, the game will probably even be
available on the all-too-much-igxid,-
Macintosh operating system. Peck lj-f
self has a Mac: "I'm starting to feejtid
I did when I had a Beta (video)tape.:
deck." At least his show isn't in danger.
of going out of style. '
Wow. This album sounds like it's
gawge rock .'69 or so.. But it's new.
Ycu d swearyou were listening to the.
band of the Stooges' brothers half the
timrnSamesort ofsound(1o-fl but good),
sariS sort of subjects ("Genius From
thWaist Down" might give you an
inlding as to what I speak of) and same
sort of town (the metropolitan Detroit
areQ. On the inside picture they even
look. like tired old rock dirtbags. It's.
like a band that's been around for 20
years that makes good music! Well,
they have been knocking around the
scene for quite a few years if old Detroit
com1ps are to be believed. Apparently
theknow what they're doing, if'their
product is any indication. You and I
bog4now you haye no ability to turn
doyn an EP with a song titled "(Annie,
Got) Hot Pants Power," so go get it
- Ted Watts
"Friends " Soundtrack
Everyone wants "Friends." Every-
one wants in on the buzz surrounding
the hottest sit-com on television today.
Countless girls have the "Rachel" hair-
cut. There are "Friends" T-shirts for
sale and a companion book on the store
shelves. And even the other networks
peddled similar young ensemble cast
comedies to viewers. So when asked to
be included on the "Friends" soundtrack,
what band would refuse?
Apparently, not many. From one-hit
wonders, er, two-hit wonders like the
Rembrandts to established artists like Joni
Mitchell and Lou Reed, lots of musicians
contributed their B-sides and studio out-
takes to the soundtrack. Interspersed with
sound bytes from first-season episodes,
this compilation serves up what the Cen-
tral Perk regulars on the show dish out
most every week: Cute, sometimes amus-
ing, angel food cake for thought.
Populated by a variety of unreleased
originals and odd cover tunes, the CD is
rather mediocre. The short and long
versions ofthe show's theme song, "I'll
Be There For You," act as bookends. In
between, Toad the Wet Sprocket,
R.E.M. and Barenaked Ladies perform
substandard, uninspired works.
As is custom, Paul Westerberg has
two bopping tracks included. Radio-
friendly group Hootie and the Blowfish
do the '80s pop song "I Go Blind" in
their typical mindless fashion, while
The Pretenders and Grant Lee Buffalo
travel further back in time to faithfully
cover "Angel of the Morning" and "In
My Room," respectively. Mitchell's
"Big Yellow Taxi" goes the remix route.
The former Velvet Underground
frontman runs through "You'll Know
You Were Loved" in his characteristic
style. The standout track, "Sexuality,"
by k.d. lang shines as well-done in all
So ifyou must be "Friends"-ish, shell
out for the soundtrack. Then again, buy-
ing a big stupid coffee cup might turn
out to be a better deal.
-Ella de Leon
Waking Up in Traffic
Brian Iillie writes his own songs.
Brian Lillie plays guitar for all his own
songs. Sometimes he also plays the
harmonica. Now, on his debut album,
"Waking Up in Traffic," he even sings
these songs he writes. Sounds like an-
other run-of-the-mill folk singer album,
Yup. To his credit, Ann Arborite
Lillie tries hard to distinguish himself,
but "Waking Up in Traffic" just isn't
very interesting. Lillie gets many in-
struments and musicians in on his act,
with an assorted bunch of men and
women who sing and play things like
the pennywhistle, mandolin and
dumbek. His songs cover the usually
important topics: Love, isolation, fare-
wells, place of origin and nature's won-
der, like the "Stars" and "Sky." Unfor-
tunately, Lillie fails to present them in
an innovative way. Not a single line
from his lyrics stands out.
Vocally, Lillie sings only well
enough. He can carry a tune. Cursed
with a limited range, he ends up either
talking through his songs, like in the
opening pde, "Kalamazoo," or dron-
ing on, his voice cracking as the notes
get higher. This occurs in tracks like
"Fountain Street" and "Goodbye 27."
Lillie really struggles at the top of his
vocal range with the album's closer, an
off-key-sounding rendition of the
"Prayer of St. Francis." But hey, prac-
tice makesperfect and it's Brian Lillie's
first album, right?
-Ella de Leon
Music From the Motion Pic-
"Mallrats" was an OK movie, and
the soundtrack for the flick is right at
the same caliber. At first glance the
film looked promising. Its predeces-
sor, "Clerks," was an instant cult clas-
sic, and"Mallrats" was another slacker
film from director / writer Kevin
Smith's same veins.
But where Smith really went wrong
with "Mallrats" was going Hollyweod .
and casting a "hip" actress like Sharinen.
Doherty, and compiling a soundtk.:
with "hip" musicians like Bush. .t ,
So, to not 'iuch surprise, ,ttie
"Mallrats" soundtrack isn't all thatxtadil
cal or gnarly. The lineup sounds some'
what good, with Weezer, Elastica, Bel
Wax and a few others like Squirtgun a Y .
Archers of Loaf. But the inclusion of I s y
minutes-of-famers Bush, Silverchairan
Sponge just bring down the overal Iqal g
ity of the disc with substandard" hfid
lousy tracks (even by Bush, Silverdhair
and Sponge's standards).
Also, most of the tracks on "Mallrats
are not new. Some are old B-sides, like.
Weezer's"Susanne," one ofthealbum''s
best, and some are regular album tracj
like Elastica's "Line Up."
The Bush, Silverchair, Sponge, Wdk
and Belly tracks are all new, but they..'
are really nothing to wow-at eitherv
Wax's "Mallrats" is simply weak,,with-
the repetitive and inane lyrics: "Dam-
aged goods, and no receipt / no re
ceipt." Belly's contribution "Brolken'.
and Thrush Hermit's "Hated It""are:
pretty good, along with Cal-punker
Squirtgun's "Social" and the Arch
"Web In. Front.".Bush's "Bubbles;'aim
Sponge's "Seventeen" are both pitifu.
But for the most part, "Mallrats is-,
nothing earth-shattering and serves nibre
of real interesting collection of ho't'a'rt-,
ists. The dialog clips between the ttabks
are amusing, but the album still desn't
build up enough momentum to fly outof
-- Brian A. Gn$
CHOOSE FROM THE LARGEST
SELECTION OF ACCESSORIES
AL, IN ANN ARBOR A
Can you guess which Toad has the hots for Chandler?
HOLDS 48 CDs
HOLDS 30 CDs
HOLDS 100 CDs
Sem-annual half-price tickets sail into town
By Emily Lambert
Daily Arts Writer
There's snow on the ground and the
temperature is low. You know what
that means ... it's time for the Univer-
sity Musical Society's second half-
price ticket sale of the school year.
Tomorrow morning at the Hill Audito-
rium box office, anyone with a student
ID may purchase relatively inexpen-
sive tickets to some big-time gigs.
While eager buyers waited for hours
in balmy September weather to secure
half-price seats, UMS doesn't want stoic"
music-lovers to freeze to death on the
steps of Hill Auditorium. As a result,
HOLDS 30 TAPES
Towers got the BLUES,
and you can too!
the winter sale is simpler. The society
would prefer that you pay for tickets
with cash, check or credit card. This
Saturday, the box office will be open
for student orders between 10 a.m. and
Some highlights of the upcoming
season will include Mambo master
Tito Puente, who will visit Ann Ar-
bor in April, and the Alvin Ailey
American Dance Theater, which is
set to return for the first time in 15
years. Korean percussionist-dancers
SamulNori and the popular Cana-
dian Brass will both make appear-
ances in the next few months, as will
symphonies from St. Louis, Boston,
San Francisco, St. Petersburg and Is-
rael. Pianist Garrick Ohlsson will wrap'
up his much-applauded cycle of
Chopin's solo piano music with a fi-
nale in Hill Auditorium.
But don't plan on buying a ticketW
see famed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis
play in the Michigan Theater. His shoW"
is sold out. And if you want to 'hdr
Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar, you'll have
to pay full-price. Half-price tickets are"
not available for all upcoming UMS.,
sponsored events, but the sale gives you"
plenty of ways to spend some bucks.'For
more information, contact the UMS'box'
office at 764-2538.
The University of Michigan
School of Music
Saturday, January 13
"The Complete Beethoven Sonata Cycle-Program Two"
Andrew Jennings, violin; Anton Nel, piano
Recital Hall, 8 p.m.
Sunday, January 14
Vininin Martin Howa~rd Lectiure