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November 22, 1999 - Image 5

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-22

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Wree Ensemble Concert
Some of the state's top high school musicians perform at Hill.
The Auditorium plays host to a free concert of band, orchestra
and choir music. 7 p.m.

MIWWA L Bak~ii

Tomorrow in Daily Arts:
® Check out Breaking Records with reviews of the new
albums from Motley Crue and Violent Femmes.
Monday
November 22, 1999

iixar
works
seq u 1
magic
By Ed Sholinsky
Daily Film Editor
"The Godfather 2." "The Empire
0rikes Back" "Aliens." "The Road
arrior." "Terminator 2." "Toy Story
2." All sequels that are at least as
good as the originals.
Well, perhaps "Toy Story 2" isn't
quite as good as its predecessor --
how many movies can surprise you
with a sequel - it's just as charming
and delightful. Many of the elements
that made "Toy Story" as shockingly
good enterprise - the characters, the
wry sense of humor and the ability to

Flamenco musician Lucia
hits little intensity at Hill

By Curtis Zimmermann
Daily Arts Writer
There is rare beauty and emotional
power in Flamenco music. The genre,
which originated in Spain, is defined by
its ability to transform from the peace-

Paco De
Lucia
Hill Auditorium
Nov. 19, 1998
4

ful strumming of
the guitar to the
thunderous slam-
ming of the hand
against the instru-
ment's hollow
body. One of the
world's greatest
Flamenco gui-
tarists Paco De
Lucia brought
this music to Hill
Auditorium on
Friday night.
De Lucia is a
true master of his

that was technically brilliant, it was
rather unexciting and it might as well
have been a recording. This was
extremely disappointing when consid-
ering the genre, in its traditional form,
thrives on the intensity of its live per-
formances.
The concert opened with just De
Lucia on stage tuning his guitar. Slowly
he began to play some, finally closing
the song with a powerful smash on his
guitar. As his musicians kept joining
him on stage, sitting equidistant in a
semicircle, it became apparent that they
too possessed incredible talent but
lacked showmanship. They rarely
looked up from their instruments and
played as though they were in a record-
ing studio, not a concert hall. Even his
vocalist didn't stand up or open his eyes
when he sang. Only in the final number
of the first set when a dancer took cen-
ter stage did the performance and the
crowd begin to liven up.
This finale became the model for the

second set which was highlighted by
the same dancer's brilliant moves. His
style of foot tapping on a specially
amplified floor acted like a second
percussion instrument and even gen-
erated a few cheers of "Viva Espana"
from the crowd. Also during this set,
De Lucia and his band mates were
each given a chance to showcase their
musical audacity with brilliant solos.
The finest of these was the opening
flute solo which blended the tradi-
tional Spanish sound with just a touch
of the New World tradition of jazz.
Despite the brief moments of tech-
nical brilliance, this show's presenta-
tion was a disappointment. De Lucia
managed to take one of the world's
most intense musical genres and per-
formed it as though it was dull cham-
ber music. In doing so, he gave a less
than exceptional show that failed to
give real insight into the mystery's of
one of Spain's most evocative
sounds.

Courtesy of Disney/Pixar
Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen) prepares for battle in "Toy Story 2."

ng a submerged
surface - return
Toy Story
2
Opens Wed. at Briarwood,
uaity 16 & Showcase
, ,1

I inner child to the
for Woody (the
voice of Tom
Hanks), Buzz
Lightyear (Tim
Allen) and the
gang. This time,
though, there are
a lot more toys.
For "Toy Story
2," the scope has
gone far beyond
Andy's house, a
pizza place and a
Spike's back-
yard; "Toy Story
2" takes you
(from a toy's

its. Things turn out to be a little more
complicated than all that, though.{
Jessie, Pete and Bullseye have all
been in storage for years, and Woody
is their only hope of getting out of
storage because the toy museum will
only take them if Woody comes
along. Though Woody wants to get
back to Andy, he also sympathizes
with the rest of his Roundup buddies.
On the other end of things, a Buzz-
lead team of toys - Mr. Potato Head
(Don Rickles, who steals the show, as
he did in the original), Slinky Dog
(Jim Varney) and Rex (Wallace
Shawn) - have the complicated task
of getting across town and saving
their comrade.
As was "Toy Story," "Toy Story 2"
is peppered with unusually witty dia-
logue and situations, which raise it
above the level of a Disney kid's
film. The voices perfectly comple-
ment the incredible computer anima-
tion, rarely missing the chance to
add manic energy to the film.
On the downside, it seems as if the
animators, director John Lasseter
(who also directed "Toy Story" and
"A Bug's Life") and co-directors Lee
Unkrich and Ash Brannon keep try-
ing to show off their skills. Everyone
realizes that the animation is mind-
blowing and that computer anima-
tion technology has come a long way
(there is a delightful showing of the

first Pixar-made short before the
. film to prove it), but the creators
keep forcing it down your throat. The
opening scene (with references to
"Star Trek" and "Star Wars," which
dominate the film) seems to be cre-
ated just to give the audience some-
thing to gawk at, even though the sit-
uation is developed later as a sub-
plot.
This criticism is overshadowed,
though, by just how much fun "Toy
Story 2" is. For this complaint, the
filmmakers :add so many splendid
new features, like Mrs. Potato Head
(Estelle Harris) and Wheezy (Joe
Ranft), a penguin squeeker toy with
a bad squeeker, that you can't really
fault them too much. What can be
said is that the showing off strips the
sequel of some of the original's
magic.
"Toy Story 2" regains some of the
magic by including innovative
scenes of Buzz, Mr. Potato Head,
Slinky Dog and Rex crossing a busy
city street and that gang getting into
a Barbie party at Al's Toy Barn. Both
of these scenes and many other will
leave you with a great big smile on
your face. "Toy Story" and "Toy
Story 2" are two films of which it
can be said that if you don't like
them there is something wrong with
you: You might have a part broken or
out of alignment.

craft. There is, however, some disparity
between his abilities as a musician and
as a performer. Despite giving a show
Rocker
Cornell"
faltersa at
the State
By Ted Watts
Daily Arts Writer
Band break ups aren't all that different
from other relationships. Take
Soundgarden for example. They broke
up, and now Chris Cornell has hooked
up with a new band, and if you liked the
old coupling you will likely have a
grudge against the new one. Relatedly if
you never really cared for the old pair-
ing, you'll be glad he's with someone
new.
The audience at Cornell's solo show
Friday at the State Theater was divided

point of view that is) to infinity and
beyond.
The simple, though cleverly played
out plot sees Al McWhiggin (Wayne
fight), who owns Al's Toy Barn,
napping Woody. It turns out that
Woody is a very valuable toy, part of
a set that includes his horse Bullseye,
Prospector Pete (Kelley Grammer)
and his love interest Jessie (Joan
Cusack). These four all starred in a
'50 kid's show "Woody's Roundup,"
which went bust after the space race
began.
Al takes Woody so he can sell the
q1 plete set to a toy museum in
i yo and reap the substantial prof-

Courtesy of A&M Records
With his solo career, ex-Soundgarden frontman Chris Comell lacks inspiration.

Leggy production of 'Sweet
Charity' lacked much spark

Chris
State Theater
Nov. 19, 1999
Using up most

into these two
camps. The pro-
So un dga rde n
camp was pretty
bored at the lack
of energy evident
throughout the set.
The anti-
Soundgarden con-
tingent was merely
happy that 85 per-
cent of the set was
on the CD they
had bought and
there was nothing
to offend them.
of the better songs

song wasn't even performed as well as
the studio version. The song's power is
apparently in the clarity of its sound, and
the muddiness of playing live dilutes
that.
"Flutter Girl" is improved over the
album version. Overproduced and life-
less on the "Euphoria Morning," the
song's playful darkness gained from the
rawness of playing live. Unfortunately, it
still fell short of the original stripped
down version that was both enthralling
and touching. The only song of the night
with any emotive effect was "Preaching
the End of the World." The song show-
cases the range of Cornell's voice with-
out being a lifeless singer songwriter
exercise, and the plaintiveness of the
number was highlighted in performance.
Little else was memorable about
the performance, however. Cornell
walked around the stage like he'd
had too much coffee, but as his
music has turned largely lifeless, he
had nothing interesting to do. The
band, made up largely of members of
the horrible group Eleven, at least
had something to do with their

hands.
The only time Cornell looked
comfortable was during his solo per-
formance of "Fell On Black Days,"
one of a couple holdovers from his
Soundgarden days. He seemed much
happier with a guitar in his hands
and the others gone from the stage.
So was the audience. Nevertheless, it
retained the level of boredom that
had become so integral to the show
by that point.
In spite of being as entertaining as
a barber shop, the show was not so
stultifyingly boring that people were
waiting for it to end. Though com-
pletely uninspired, there was no mass
exodus to leave by the time the gap
before the encore arrived. Even after
the encore, itself no improvement
over the main body of work for the
night, there was no sense of a wel-
come overstayed. It's like a friend
who has nothing good to say, but
who is still your friend nonetheless.
But that friend can only come around
so often before you get sick of him.
Someone better tell him.

*Jean Lee
y Arts Writer
Whether it was opening night jitters,
lack of rehearsal time to accommodate
a busy, 30-member cast or simply the
amateur nature of an entirely student-
run, tight-budget production put on by
an ensemble with varied backgrounds,
MUSKET's "Sweet Charity" stumbled
through its three-hour duration, lacking
vitality and cohesion in both direction
d performance. After the anti-climac-
tic and ambiguous finale, one could
only sympathize with how difficult it
must've been to try to attempt such a
production - certainly not an ideal reac-
tion to a large-scale musical which
should, at the least, provide some enter-
tainment and have the audience walking
away whistling a few tunes.
The show opened with the under-
rehearsed orchestra rushing through the

whore-type girl just looking for a
break in life to show her true colors,
"Sweet Charity" lacked focus in
direction to provide any fresh inter-
pretation of an already shallow and
age-old plot scripted by Neil Simon.
Musical Theatre senior Eric Jackson
is obviously just getting used to
being in the director's chair, since it
was quite hard to grasp any sense of
a production concept for the show. A
different twist from the "happily ever
after" fairy tale of most musicals is
readily available in the "hopefully
ever , after" ending of "Sweet
Charity," but Jackson did not seem to
have been able to develop a strong
enough stance for a new interpreta-
tion.
Abby Adair lacked the spunk
needed to successfully carry through
her performance in the lead of
Charity. Her musical numbers were
devoid of soul, although she sang
with an otherwise smooth and pretty
voice. With the difficulty of con-
stantly being centerstage, Adair's
acting was also far from top-notch,
shifting from an attempted tough
New York (or at least East Coast)
accent to an insecure Midwestern
schoolgirl regionalism. Her seem-
ingly classically-trained dance skills,
otherwise quite impressive, did not
flow into the jazzy beats of the Cy
Coleman score.
Dara Seitzman and Jennifer
Guerra portrayed a refreshing duo
with some chemistry as Charity's fel-
low jaded dance hall hostesses
Nickie and Helene. Seitzman provid-
ed several nlauhs thronuphout the

lack of spunk didn't create the chem-
istry necessary for Charity and Oscar
to be a star couple, providing only a
few short-lived romantic moments.
Chip Mezo as Vittorio Vidal
proved to be the best voice in the cast
with a flawless performance of "Too
Many Tomorrows," regardless of the
awkward baring of skin in a humor-
ous love scene. Many voices stood
out, including Andy Sievers as
Herman and Steve Best as Daddy
Brubeck.
Several musical numbers by the
company such as "Big Spender,"
"Rich Man's Frug" and "Rhythm of
Life" were impressive, although the
redundant Bob Fosse-inspired chore-
ography and lack of overall cohesion
throughout the entire cast left the
viewer feeling insatiated throughout
what seemed to be a musical with
potential for a lot of soul.
Although commendable for its
ambitious attempt to put on such a
high-scale Broadway hit with the
varied talents of a large student cast,
MUSKET's production of "Sweet
Charity" faltered with many forced
performances by actors just showing
a lot of leg and wandering through a
story lacking any concept. As much
as it was difficult to believe in a '60s
New York City in the Power Center,
it's hard to see just what makes
Charity so "sweet" from this produc-
tion.
r

from his solo album early on in his set,
the show dragged. The single "Can't
Change Me" was used up as the second
song of the set, to squeals of "I can
remember this!" from the audience. The
Stop by Daily
Arts to get
free
"Knockout
ns 2000"
posters.

An nAi orMenu.com

Sweet
Charity
Power Center
Nov. 19, 1999

prologue, intro-
duced by a joint-
smoking attempt
for a hippie as a
blatant symbol
for the time peri-
od of the musical.
The screen was
raised to a mini-
malist set of
bright colored
frames reminding
one of children's
bedroom furni-
ture packages,
clashing with the

U

E

?e Esy.
- (2 words
you wontIt heir
cei~ng out
of her mouth* )

shabby costumes of the cast which were
obviously chaotically grabbed from
whatever was left in the costume shop.
A eh-.. niA r .-+ born- vellino cult the

I

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