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February 11, 2000 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-02-11

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I exist solely on North Campus
Pierpont Commons hosts The Rude
M chanicals' perforiantce of ien I'm
artYe's "No Exit" on FriJhix night. 8 pm,. $5
mic igandaidy.com /arts

1 £19m z

FEBRUARY 11, 2000

t. "

By Aaron Rich
Daily Arts Writer

a hilarious, surreal experience

Making an independent film takes
tons of time and devotion. It's even
harder to do when you have absolutely
no money to your name. Such is the
case with Mark Borchardt, a
Milwaukee-based, know-nothing film
fanatic who has a penchant for making
trashy horror movies.
"American Movie," directed by Chris
Smith, a much luckier filmmaker with a
clearer vision, shows Borchardt's non-
journey to video store shelves (note: not
to movie theaters).
As the documentary opens we find

Photo courtesy of Te Fow
The six members of The Flow describe their sound as "island-friendly soul rock."
Inifectious grooves
. W tow HaAtO -te r

Grade: A
At the Michigan

B orc h ardt
explaining his
new idea for a
film called
to a group of
devoted friends
and amateur
actors. He
explains to them

Project" are amazing, and maybe speak
to Borchardt's ineptness as he never
made hundreds of millions of dollars on
his work.
The plan, though, is to finish
"Coven," put it on video and sell the
videos to stores so that he has cash flow
to make his next picture. This won't be
an easy task though, as the director is
clearly no Sidney Lumet.
The cast of characters Smith presents
us with are nearly too weird and perfect
(in their eccentricities) to be true. We
meet Mike Schank, a man who admit-
tedly has dropped a ton of acid -and
we never doubt this claim. His interests
seem to include rock 'n' roll, making
movies and ... well, that's about it for
We also see Borchardt's 82-year old
uncle Bill -the producer of the films.
As Borchardt has no money to his name
(not the best spot for a man in his mid-
30s with three children and alimony up
to his ears), someone has to put the
funds together to help the cameras -
well, camera - roll. Borchardt's uncle
doesn't actually put anything together
- he's about a half inch away from the
grave and his memory, patience and
mind fade in front of our eves - he
mostly writes checks after his nephew
begs for hours.
Smith does a wonderful job of cap-
turing specific, unforgettable moments
on screen -- just as the characters,
these scenes could not have been better
if they had been written first.
At one point, we see Borchardt
telling his colleagues about how he
hopes to shoot "Northwestern" at
"magic hour" - referring to the beauti-
ful color achieved when shooting just
past sunset --- forgetting that he will be


By Cblis Kula
Daily Arts Editor

With the exception of Earvin
"Mgic" Johnson and a slew of
couch-burning jokes, the farmlands
of Dist Lansing haven't produced
anything especially noteworthy for
son'te'time now.
That is, until The Flow started
jamming out.
A six-piece group comprised of
former and cur-
/ arent MSU stu-
dents, The Flow
The Flow has, in a matter
The Blind Pig of mere months,
Saturday at 10 p.m. climbed to the
With Smokestack upper plateau of
and lissfield gigging bands in
Playing what
they call
island soul
rock," the mem-
bers of The
Flow bring a
variety of musical styles - includ-
ing energetic Latin/African rhythms,
dance-oriented funk grooves and.
jazz-like improvisation -- to the
And, according to bassist Brett
Bielski, the band's onstage appear-
ances have become more and more
frequent over a short period of time.
"We really only started playing out
six months ago, but it's really taken
off since then," Bielski said. "We'd
been playing together in different
lineups just for fun, but when we
decided to start something for real, it
all just fell into place."
Considering the rich sounds pre-

sent on the band's seven track demo,
that might even be something of an
understatement. From the Earth,
Wind and Fire-esque jazz-pop of
"Kahlia" to the spirited covers of the
Meters' "Cabbage Alley" and Dr.
John's "Goin' Back to New Orleans."
The Flow sounds remarkably mature
and well-textured for a relatively
young band.
The rhythm section of Bielski and
former Jawas drummer John Cassidy
is consistently solid and is comple-
mented nicely by the underlying
Hammond organ of Derek Young, the
tasteful guitar work of Zack Pearce
and the smooth saxophone stylings
of Diego Rivera. The band benefits
from strong group harmonies, lead
primarily by vocalist/percussionist
Ted Moss.
"We added our saxophone player
around Christmas break, and he
sounds awesome," Bielski. "Also,
our friend Colin, who's a great gui-
tarist at the Berklee School of Music
in Boston, has played with us in the
past and he'll be coming in for the
Blind Pig show"
Saturday night's headlining slot at
the Pig marks both the first Ann
Arbor appearance for The Flow, as
well an important date on the band's
"I mean, the Blind Pig is it as far
as Michigan clubs go," Bielski said.
"We're really doing our best to pro-
mote this show, to get people out
there, because it's really a big night
for us. Ann Arbor's such a cool town,
and we really want to do well there."
In terms of drawing a sizable
crowd to the Pig, The Flow will have
some great help courtesy of opening
See FLOW, Page 9

how he needs to
raise money for
this new project
by finishing an
older one that he
and his buddies
have been working on for the past few
This older demon, known as "Coven"
(pronounced by Borchardt as "CO-
ven," because to say it any other way
would sound like "oven" - which
would be silly), is a black and white pic
about a strange cult of witches who
meet in the woods and kill people. The
striking similarities between what we
see of "Coven" and "The Blair Witch

shooting in black and white and that the
"magic hour" in Southern Wisconsin is
probably not comparable to that of the
Texas plains.
The ultra-realism with which Smith
makes this film is jarring. It takes us a
long time before we can finally accept
this story as non-fiction. Even after that
point, moments appear that are so per-
fect, whether it's Schank retelling a
story of drug abuse and reform or
Borchardt explaining how Super Bowl
Sunday, when the Green Bay Packers

are playing, "is like Christmas." I
It is these passages that give
"American Movie" its unique, true
screwball humor. Our laughter is, no
doubt, based in elitism -- the thought
that no matter how pitiful we might
seem, at least we're not like Borchardt.
But there's really no other way of view-
ing these characters.
And, for those interested, Borchardt
is most definitely still looking to
copies of "Coven" for S14.95 plus ship-

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures
Brace yourself: Aspiring director Mark Borchardt and his uncle Bill are not characters.

Cupid aims for local bands 7th House show
By Andy Klein , r
Daily Arts VriItr
Take four guys influenced by a range of artists as far-
reaching as Sloan, They Might Be Giants, Billy Bragg
and Jim Croce and put them together in a band called

Olupus, "the only band that ever formed based on cre-
ative differences." As you might
expect, the impossibility of mix-
ing these different influences has
OlU PUS resulted in something new -
"the new mainstream" as icad
7th House singer and rhythm guitarist Chris
Pontiac Davidson has titled it. "It is
Tonight at 7:30 p.m. acoustic folk-pop but not too
bubble gummy. It has a good beat
and you can dance to it but it is
not necessarily meaningless;,
Davidson said. Olupus is, at its
core, folk rock with hooks that
could make a grown man sing
and an urgency that gets your
body movin'.
Olupus, featuring Davidson, PJ Jacokes on bass, Tim
Berlinghof on lead guitar and Jake Miller on drums,

Photo courtesy of Olupus
The four members of Olupus pose like guys who play in a modem folk-pop group with creative musical influences.
takes the stage at Pontiac's 7th House Friday night for with the young, enthusiastic crowd at Xhedo's, resulting
their second annual Cupid's Night Out Festival, an idea in a high level of band/audience participation.
that came about after writing their quirky Valentine's According to Davidson, "Last year's (Valentine's) show.
song. The holiday event started last year at Xhedo's was my favorite gig to date, but this one will be even
Cafe in Ferndale, where Olupus plays regularly. With better." In terms of favorite performance, Jacokes
the steady gig, the band has formed a good relationship See OLUPUS, Page 9






From the antebellum South to the
present day, poignant and funny
vignettes depict the lives of African-
Americans at moments of momentous
social change. A celebration of Black
history with song and dance.
Written by Leslie Lee




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