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November 12, 1998 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-12

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14A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 12, 1998

moe. makes its way to top

By Chris Kula
For the Daily
Guitarist Al Schnier says, "If life were a cartoon,
moe. would provide the soundtrack."
The New York-based band would indeed be at
home in the world of animation. Its intricate com-
positions, sprawling jams and irrepressible sense of
humor combine to create a musical experience as
energetic as any zany childhood matinee. Tonight,
the four-member group will
turn the Michigan Theater
into the surreal environment
that has come to represent a
moe. moe. concert.
For more than eight years,
Michigan Theater the members of moe. -
Tonight at 7 p.m. Schnier, guitarist Chuck
Garvey, bassist Rob Derhak
and drummer Vinnie Amico
- have been exploring the
outer boundaries of improvi-
sational music, mixing ele-
ments of Zappa-esque rock
stylings, country twang and
jazz creativity into their own
unique sound. Their live shows are marathon ven-
tures into musical experimentation, with second sets

sometimes clocking in.at more than two and a half
hours. "We really, really enjoy what we do" Schnier
said, "and part of what keeps it interesting for the
fans is that we are constantly trying to amuse our-
selves on-stage."
Following the September release of the pleasant-
ly accessible "Tin Cans and Car Tires'" its sopho-
more effort on Sony 550 Music, moe. found itself
eager to get back on the road. "Most bands put out
an album, and then tour in support of it," Schnier
explained. "We sort of do it in reverse - we release
albums to support our touring" Due to this loyal
devotion to the road, moe. has developed a reputa-
tion as arguably the most prominent member of the
burgeoning jam band scene.
Schnier described his band as somewhat of a link
between the past and present.
"We were strongly influenced by the Grateful
Dead growing up, and in a lot of ways those guys set
up the basic ground rules for this whole scene," he
said. °I definitely think Phish improved upon that in
many ways. They kind of expanded the original
model and came up with a lot of ideas of their own.
And now we're trying to add our own slant to this
scene, something that will hopefully carry on into
the future."
After packing the Blind Pig the last several occa-

moe. plays at the Michigan tonight, after having sold out the Blind Pig in its past performances.

sions they've been through Ann Arbor, the members
of moe. have now graduated to the Michigan
Theater. "I think (the Blind Pig) was sold out the last
couple of times we played there, so I guess we're
moving onto bigger and better," Schnier said.
In essence, the same can be said about the band

as a whole; moe. is truly on its way to grander fates.
Tonight serves as an excellent opportunity to
catch the band before it gets there.
Tickets are $15, and are available at all
Ticketmaster outlets. The performance will include
special guest Strangefolk.

Novel gets into the college search

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
A brief look at who's doing what in the entertainment industry

Getfing In
James Finney Boylan
Warner Books
It was not so long ago that we were
all applying to college, visiting our
prospective schools and receiving the
acceptances and inevitable rejections.
Although we have distanced ourselves
from that hectic time, we still remember
what seemed to be the most momentous
decision of our young lives. James
Finney Boylan's
"Getting In" recalls
these memories with
astounding clarity.
Seven people
tour the New
England campuses
in a Winnebago:,
Dylan, the sensitive
main character; his
father, Ben; his cousin,
Juddy; his uncle Lefty; his
uncle's wife, Chloe; her
daughter, Allison; and Allison's
boyfriend, Polo. The novel traces
Dylan's, Juddy's, Allison's, and Polo's
college visits by separating the book
into chapters according to the school
where the Winnebago is parked.
Interestingly, each chapter begins with
the admissions statistics on each school
and a quote from "Insider's Guide to the
Colleges" Such serves to acquaint the
reader with the school and give an
insight to the worries of the characters,
for most of the visited schools boast
very competitive acceptance rates. The
applicants in the novel all possess

unique qualities that differentiate them-
selves from others, except for Dylan.
Dylan, the story's protagonist, has
very little faith.in himself. He looks at
Juddy's fencing, Allison's musical tal-
ent, and Polo's intellect, and he is dis-
couraged, to say the least, because he is
in a lot of ways average. For example,
he bombed the SATs. Furthermore,
when asked by an interviewer to use
one word to describe himself, Dylan
can only come up with "nice." But the
reader sees his insecurities and Holden
Caulfield-like observations as identifi-
able. Dylan is scared and sen-
sitive and "nice," and this
makes him easily under-
standable and real to the
reader.
Most of the other
characters in the
Winnebago are pre-
sented to Dylan
and the reader as
flat characters at
first, but almost all
of them reach a level
of depth by the end of the novel. Juddy,
for instance, is introduced wearing dirty
clothes, using vulgar language and
drinking from a six-pack of beer. Polo
also proves to be different than expected,
for the reader questions his intelligence
after he is persuaded by Juddy to go to
his Harvard interview in ripped clothing,
where he proceeds to swear and belch.
It is this type of incident that show-
cases Boylan's ability to simultaneously
break down stereotypes in his charac-
ters and create humorous situations.
There are also many outrageous charac-
ters that are presented in the college set-

tings that add to this humor. Dylan's
interviewers, for example, always seem
to make him feel awkward. One asks
him what he would wish for if he had
three wishes, one starts going into
labor, and one starts crying because of a
recent personal tragedy, which sets off
Dylan's tears.
Boylan writes in a simple style, but
this simplicity is an asset to the book. It
mirrors the casual and identifiable
aspect of the main character, and it
helps the reader to understand, relative-
ly painlessly, the abundant symbolism
throughout the novel. A weakness in the
book, however, lies in the unnatural
character of Polo. His name, an obvi-
ous reference to the expensive clothing
brand, is in too many ways a hugely
unbelievable snob. But the rest of the
characters are rounded and natural,
making up for Polo.
"Getting In" is only superficially
about the college search of four young
people and some parents. It is about fit-
ting in and being accepted. Dylan
searches not only to be accepted into a
school, but by his cousin, by his crush
and even by himself, for he thinks so lit-
tle of himself and his accomplishments.
Furthermore, the journey in the
Winnebago represents the journey that
they all seem to be taking in their own
respective lives. If the reader cannot
identify with the self-critical, sensitive
Dylan, the reader will surely identify
with one of the other six characters that
all seem to be having problems getting
into something or somewhere - this
somewhere is merely symbolized by the
colleges that they are visiting.
- Gina Hamadey

By Bryan Lark
Daiy Arts Writer
Cleveland rocks just a little bit hard-
er now that the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of
Fame Class of 1999 was announced
Tuesday, according to Variety.
This year's crop of the musically
legendary, to be inducted at a ceremo-
ny at New York's Waldorf-Astoria
hotel on March 15, is headed by Bruce
Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Billy
Joel and Curtis Mayfield.
Also making the grade are Dusty
Springfield, Del Shannon and the
soul-gospel greats the Staple Singers.
Fans of biting the heads off bats
will be disappointed to learn that Ozzy
Osbourne and his Black Sabbath
bandmates failed to get a nod this
year, their first of eligibility.
To be eligible to have their signature
etched in their great glass hallway of
the I.M. Pei-designed Hall of Fame &
Museum in Cleveland, an artist or
band must have released their debut
album at least 25 years ago..
Even money is on the hunks of
N'Sync in 2023.
The smell of fete is apparently in
the air, as the American Film Institute
announced Tuesday, according to
Variety, that its prestigious Life
Achievement award will be given to
Dustin Hoffman.
Honored for his career that stretch-
es from his role in 1967's "The
Graduate" to his Oscar-nominated
performance last year in "Wag the
Dog;' Hoffman joins the enviable
ranks of such Hollywood luminaries
as Jimmy Stewart and last year's hon-
oree Martin Scorsese as an AFI lifer.
For the ceremony on February 18 in
New York, Hoffman will take time off
filming Luc Besson's "Joan of Arc,"
starring Milla Jovovich as the martyr.
Sacrificing high salary and back-
end profits for the honor of working
with hot director Neil Labute ("In the
Company of Men" and "Your Friends
and Neighbors") are the recently
assembled cast of Labute's low budget

ensemble comedy "Nurse Betty,"
Variety reports.
Oscar nominee Greg Kinnear and.
Aaron Eckhart, are the latest additions
to an A-list cast that already includes
Morgan Freeman, Renee Zellweger
and Chris Rock.
Known for his scathing social
satires, Labute's latest is a tale of a
waitress (Zellweger) who falls for a
soap star (Kinnear) and takes off after
him with mobsters in tow, so the target
of his unflinching satiric eye here is
anybody's guess.
Principle photography on the
Gramercy picture is scheduled to
begin on Dec. 7.
Meanwhile, the principle hoopla for
the "Star Wars" prequel rolls on, with
the announcement earlier this week
that trailers for . "The Phantom
Menace" will begin appearing in the-
aters next Friday and the printing of
the poster for the film has begun,
Entertainment Weekly reported.
In the interest of secrecy, a
Twentieth Century Fox supervisor was
present at the printing of all posters to
ensure that none of the posters grew
legs or somehow found their way onto
the Internet.
And in the interest of hype, the
poster's image, featuring a boy, Jake
Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker, casting a
shadow of Darth Vader, was released
days later by Lucasfulm.
Also from a galaxy far, far away, or
maybe just the super-freaky galaxy
known as Los Angeles, comes the news'
that singer Rick James suffered a stroke
on Monday, according to Billboard.
The possibility for recovery is
extremely high, as the stroke, caused
by the constriction of a blood vessel in
James' neck, was minor.
James' spokesperson and doctor
agreed'that their patients' condition is a
case of "the repeated rhythmic
whiplash motion of the head and neck.'
James, from his head down to his
toenails, will reschedule 15 concert
dates when he recovers.

History
makes
for novel
story
The Professor and
the Madman
Simon Winchester
Knopf
Many University students ar
familiar with the Oxford
English Dicionary, known to its
bud dies as the GE D. Mostly,
students' familiarity is in the
context of English professors
urging them - at the risk of,
attracting snickers - to check
out some obscure tidbit from
their reading in the OED, to be
better prepared for discussion.=
Based on this experience, you ~
would not think a serious work
of nonfiction on the history of
the OED's composition would
qualify as a gripping tale,
except to the extent that the
reader's upper and lower eyelids
would feel the urge to grip each
other. What a surprising act of
literary legerdemain that Simon
Winchester has pulled off, then,
in "The Professor and the
Madman," his absolutely fasci-
nating behind-the-dust-jacket
peek at the OED.
Yes, certainly the OED is one
of the great works of literary
scholarship of all time - the
ultimate reference resource in
the universe - but who knew it
also concealed a seamy back-
ground of murder, insanity, mil-
itary brutality and prostitution?
The meat-and-potatoes of this
book is the relationship between
two men. The first is Prof.
James Murray, the longest-
tenured and most famous editor
of the OED, a Scotsman of con-
siderable genius who oversaw
four decades worth of the
OED's construction (a process
that, on the way to compiling
and tracing the origins of about
half a million words, took
almost 70 years).
The second is American army
surgeon Dr. William Chester
Minor, Ret. He is one of the
most prolific contributors to the
dictionary for, from his home in
rural England, he mailed
Murray scads of definitions that
wound up in the dictionary.
Despite this, and despite a
considerable personal corre-
spondence the two men carried
on, they did not meet for more
then 20 years. Murray was hesi-
tant to leave his duties editing,
the dictionary in Oxford, and
Minor was never able to visit
him. The reason, as well as the
explanation for Minor's impres-
sive use of his free time, is dis-
closed in the first few pages of~
the book. Minor was a convict-
ed murderer and inmate od
Broadmoor Asylum for the
Insane.
Thankfully, Winchester
makes a story of great natural
interest even more interesting

with his style of presentation. If
textbook writers wrote history
like this, our campus would be
graced by more crowded lecture
halls and more impressive tran-
scripts. Winchester paints
across a broad canvas that takes
the reader from Virginia battle-
fields to the beaches of Sri
Lanka, stopping many more
places in between.
The scholarship of the book is
impressive, and Winchester
consistently explains his materi-
al so completely and clearly that
the factual basis for his conclu-
sions is beyond reproach.
The rare gaps he is forced to
fill with speculation are handled
smoothly.
Best of all, he never sinks into
jargony attempts to sound intel-
lectual, nor does he wallpaper
the reader with footnotes.
Winchester writes a history
book so as to attach the reader
to the story until the end.
What a novel idea.
- Jeff Druchniak

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