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February 12, 1999 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-12

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 12, 1999 - 11

Blast' fails at retro romantic humor

WCBN presents
noise music show

By Erin Podolsky
Daily Arts Writer
Romantic comedy is a funny thing (no pun intended),
often requiring just the right touch, just the right bal-
ance to succeed on its dual levels. "Blast from the Past"
is a textbook example of romantic comedy gone wrong
* it tries to walk the genre line and fails - the come-
dy works much of the time thanks to an amusingly high
concept premise, but the romance angle is little more
than a laughing matter.
In 1962, the Cold War reigns supreme and you'd be
hard pressed to find a more paranoid - or more pre-
pared - anti-Sputnik than scien-
tist Calvin Webber (Christopher
Walken). He and his pregnant,
pretty, prefab homemaker wife
Blast From Helen (Sissy Spacek) live in a
The Past pretty, prefab suburban home and
** give pretty, prefab dinner parties.
In the midst of one of these, a
At Briarwood freak set of coincidences involv-
and Showcase ing the Russians and a plane
crash in the Webber backyard
convince Cal that the nuclear
onslaught has begun. He and
Helen retreat for 35 years to the
massive underground fallout
shelter he has spent countless
,mrnths constructing, after which the radiation will have
ectively dissipated.
Days later, Helen gives birth to a son whom they
smarmily name Adam with the assumption that because
of the blast, he is the last new addition to the human
race -- or at least the last non-mutant addition. Cal
makes his son in his image, feeding him
"Honeymooners" reruns and teaching him French and

Attention to detail, however, is not enough when
"Blast"moves out of the underground la la land and into
the real life la la land of Los Angeles. Adam (Brendan
Fraser) emerges from his coccooned existence and
encounters the wondrous offerings of life in the city such
as sky, public transportation and girls who aren't his
mother. While Fraser is well-suited to this kind of role
with his slightly off-putting, hammy delivery and car-
toonish look that worked wonders for him in "George of
the Jungle" his object of desire as played by Alicia
Silverstone leaves a hell of a lot to be desired. Her
name? Eve. Subtle, very subtle.
Eve is essentially a reprisal of Silverstone's "Clueless"
character with a less sizable wallet, and likewise she fol-
lows the same arc: she meets Adam and engages in ver-
bal jousting, tries to set him up with other women,
watches him connect with a couple of honeybabies on
the dance floor and with a little encouragement from a
friend - in this case her gay brother Troy (Dave Foley,
who looks terrible and acts worse) - realizes that she
does indeed love Adam. While all of this worked for her
in "Clueless," here all it demonstrates is that Silverstone
needs to find some range in her acting or become just
another piece of excess Hollywood baggage.
"Blast from the Past" tries to be another piece in the
kooky retro puzzle phase that America is caught in
these days. It's not a complete failure, either - watch-
ing Fraser swing around the dance floor is nice eye
candy. It's unfortunate that the bulk of the movie can't
live up to the nuclear fear hijinks that characterize our
early time with the nuclear Webber family, but at least
secondary players Walken and Spacek do their best to
pick up the slack where Fraser and Silverstone drop it.
That's the funny thing about romantic comedy: some-
times the romance and the comedy are where you least
expect to find them.

By Adlin Rosli
Daily Arts Writer
So you have had enough of the
plethora of local blues based frat
music bands in the neighborhood
and want something new and
surreal to see and hear but your
just not sure what. Well the
University's radio station 88.3
FM (WCBN) has just the thing
you crave then! A Noisefest.
"Its always been one of
WCBN's agendas to promote and
present all sorts of musical
styles to the public," said
Noisefest's organizer Manika

Courtesy of"NewLine '"inema
Alicia Silverstone heats up the screen with Brendan
Latin. Helen, for her part, teaches him to swing dance
(is it terribly obvious how this will help him later in
life?) when she isn't busy trying to snag a buzz off of
cough syrup. This is where most of the fun in the movie
happens. Walken and Spacek are hilarious as the
trapped-in-the-'60s parents, caricatures of themselves.
The attention to detail down below is especially fun,
with row upon row of batteries that keep the shelter
humming and a veritable supermarket's worth of food
and supplies.

Halfway Inn
Tomorrow at 7 p.m.

"We play
from country
to techno to
rock at the
station. This
Noisefest is
just an exten-
sion of our
of presenting
types of
music to the
local Ann
Arbor area.

as much heart as other types of
music. The moods and sound-
scapes evoked through the noise-
music style can be as compelling
and intriguing as an elaborate
classical music piece.
Even though the general label
of the Noisefest tomorrow
implies that it is a Noise-based
show, Arora explained that ,a
couple of the performing bands
will not fall to comfortably into
this category.
"One of the bands is called
The Sweet World of Arthur
White and its kind of like a
Barry White, Motown type of
feel," she said. "Then there's
Mazinga which is more of a pop-
pier but noisier, punkier, they are
really fun. They have a bunch of
seven-inches out. But they are
not punk rock or punk-pop total-
Other featured bands include
Draftsman, Wolf Eyes, FM
Express, and Action Tiger.
Could the inclusion of these
non-Noise based bands be part
of WCBN's attempt at further
proving that they are musically
open minded, even at what seems
to be a Noise music event?
"What happened is the show
was supposed to be on a Friday
night," Arora said.
"It got switched because the
show was double booked (at the
Halfway Inn.) The other show
was organized by a friend of a
friend and he had put a lot of
effort into that show. It was no
problem for us to move the show
back a day. So some of the bands
had to switch. It was going to be
a lot 'noisier' if we had done it
on Friday."
There will be plenty of aural
treats available this Saturday.
Draftsman, for example, is sure
to satisfy, Arora said.
"I think they are Ann Arbor's
loudest band right now. They are
just a bassist, guitarist and
drummer. Three kids who are
best friends who just rock out,"
Arora said.
And you too can "rock out"
with WCBN this Saturday.

Strangefolk to jam at Blind Pig tomorrow

Dr Chris Kula
Daily Arts Writer

Following in the footsteps of maple
syrup, Ben and Jerry's and Phish,
Strangefolk has become Vermont's lat-
est, greatest export. And, to continue
this clever commodities metaphor, the
market for exhilarating acoustic jams
will reach a new high when the four
#ce band plays the Blind Pig on
urday night.
the strange days began for the band
in 1991 at the University of Vermont

Blind Pig
rrow at 9:30 p.m.

when guitarists
Reid Genauer
and Jon Trafton
began playing
shows around the
musically fertile
city . of
Burlington as a
simple folk duo.
Their affinity for
diverse and, to
put it simply,
more rockin'
sounds, however,
lead to the addi-
tions of bassist

groups) is definitely the amount of
time we put into it, playing a bunch of
dates every year," Genauer said
recently. "The other things that are
less tangible are just an energy, an
intensity and an authenticity that is
So, whoever said that musicians
can't be dead profound?
A plethora of audiences certainly
subscribe to this Zen-like philosophy,
as Strangefolk has used a simplistic,
grassroots approach to touring to
build a loyal following. Through the
years, the band has filled various
venues across the country, from New
York's fabled Wetlands Preserve to
San Francisco's Great American
Music Hall.
Of course, the music has more than
just a little to do with this kind of suc-
"Our sound is most influenced by
the four individuals who participate,
and what their musical visions and
tastes are," Genauer said.
Unlike some other jam-oriented
bands, Strangefolk manages to strike
the balance between concise songwrit-
ing and expressive musicianship. Rich
acoustic guitar is layered upon an
always solid, sometimes funky foun-
dation of drums and bass. Trafton then
puts the "strange" in the band's folky
sound with his blistering lead lines.
The result is catchy grooves and spir-
ited live performances.
"I think something that makes us

So we want people to know that
we don't just play music but we
promote it as well."
The show is also a WCBN
benefit event for itself, however,
its not all "about the Benjamins."
"More than raising money for
WCBN, we want to get WCBN's
name out. It would benefit the
bands to get their names out and
giving them exposure, at the same
time, it will benefit us as it gets
WCBN's name out," Arora said.
"We want people to know that
we are here to play things that
you don't hear commonly. We
want provide an alternative to
what other radio stations play,"
she said.
Although this is not the first
gathering of bands organized by
WCBN, it is its first Noise
music-oriented event. Certainly
this genre must be one of the
most misunderstood forms of
music, but it actually possesses

Courtesy of Mammoth Records
Strangefoik will perform tomorrow night. They may even bring the silly hat.

t _

Eric Glockler and drummer Luke
w ith in 1992. Now, after seven years,
Tee full-length albums and countless
miles in the tour van, Strangefolk
finds itself among the upper echelon
of the nation's roots-rock jam bands.
"One of the things (that makes
Str-angefolk stick out among other

stand out as a band is the emphasis we
place on vocals," Genauer said.
Indeed, lead singer Genauer possesses
a flat-out impassioned voice, while
Trafton and Glockler supply the per-
fect backing vocals. The band's
Mammoth Records debut, 1997's
"Weightless in Water," is a study in
syrupy three-part harmonies.
Genauer said signing with
Mammoth has only helped the
Strangefolk organization. "Instead of
having to fight tooth and nail for every

victory, you're given a little more sup-
port and a few more luxuries. It's not
the glamorous lifestyle that people
may perceive it to be, but it's getting
easier for us."
"Basically, you get the time you
need to unfold and let your music
blossom" he said.
And come Saturday night when
Strangefolk pulls out one of its tradi-
tional two-set, jam-soaked perfor-
mances at the Pig, the tunes should be
in full bloom.

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Jimmy John opened his first store in Charleston, IL in
1983. Today he has a whole bunch all over the place,
including here.
Q: HEY, JIMMY JOHNI My mom and dad came
down for a football weekend last Fall and I brought
them over for a sub. Now my dad wants to open a
Jimmy John's back home. Can he call you?
- Jenny Moran, Eastern Illinois University




A: Sure, Jen, but not at dinner time.
Q: HEY, JIMMY JOHNI I'm a theater major. Can I
get a job acting in your commercials?
- Arlene Jasper, Northwestern University
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This ain't your parents' travel agency.

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dog a bite of your sub.

. k " ..---- -A




I r .ir-%hrortl, afte~r the Fnilih start the firs~t rnal colonv in




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