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October 20, 2000 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-10-20

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 20, 2000 - 9

ART's 'Stag'
a fairy tale
for all ages
W-y Charity Atchison
If you're tired of your midterms, tali
a break m the land of Serendipp
where, according to actress Kristin
Goto, "bad things don't happen." Set ir'

TV gets 'Bamboozled' by Lee

By Christopher Cousino
Dally Arts Wrter
"We Brothers.-
"U Pick a Negro."
When writer-director Spike Lee visited the University last
February to speak about filmmaking and his latest yet-to-be
released feature, he bitingly joked about the acronyms for the
television networks WB and UPN.
Lee's new film, "Bamboozled," is a brutal racial satire with
the courage to uncover and reveal the horrible entertainments
of the early 20th Century in juxtaposition with the seemingly
fine present situation for American audiences and, specifical-

King Stag
Power Center
Tomorrow at 7 p.m.

tihe Oriental
kingdom of
Ser e n d i pp o.
"The King Stag"
is a fairy tale for
all ages.
Written by
Carlo Gozzi. the
fairy tale draws
from Japanese
bunraku, Indone-
sian shadow pup-
petry aid the
lively Italian
Re n a i s sanc e

Gour tesy of (Geffen Records
The Roots are headlining the Okayplayer Tlour, which hits Detroit on Sunday,
Okayplayer To ready
to rock teii tState,

ly, A frican-American
Bamboozled
Grade: B
At Quality 16
and Showcase

roles in culture and society.
Along with his intelligent casting of
characters, inCludim Damon Wayans.
Jada Pinkett-Smi th and Tommy
Davidson, Lee barks at everyone
involved in the American media,
attacks with an angry, offensive gait
and rages in force and heartsinking
imaerV - all to strike home the
important problem of the moment
concerning the sad, racist state in
which Lee sees the American media.
"Bamboozled" is a satire (which
Lee makes a point to define at the

Americans in hopes he will make a point about racial role
stereotyping and get fired. However, Dunwitty loves his pitch
for "Mantan, the Modern Day Minstrel Show,' a flagrant play
on minstrel shows of the early 20th Century where characters
put on black-face and performed degrading interpretations of
African-Americans, big lips and "Yessuhs" in all.
Portraying the singing and dancing Mantan is Savion
Glover, seen recently on stage in "Bring in Da Noise, Bring
in Da Funk." With his sidekick Sleep 'N Eat (Davidson), the
pair of minstrels, backed by their stage band the Alabama
Porch Monkeys (The Roots), become TV sensations across
the country. Before long, everyone is laughing about the min-
strel character as children put on black face masks for Hal-
loween and fans buy loads of minstrel merchandise. Sloan's
brother, Big Black (Mos Def), a leader of a militant rap
group, fights an outspoken, violent battle to end the show.
And sure, enough "Mantan" eventually self-destructs -
as does "Bamboozled" to an extent. The premise of Lee's
film is incredible. He hits on an American problem here
and now, throwing it in your face and forcing you to watch
the old, painful Minstrel images along with his satirical
lampooning of modern rap videos and so-called "black sit-
coms." However, the film runs its two hour length too
long, desparatly needing another round of editing. By the
end, there seems to be a shred of a story left to tell. Lee,
however, brilliantly leaves us with a montage of old min-
strel footage and cartoons, which make for the most pow-
erful, poignant part of the film.
Shot on digital video (Lee claims it's an aesthetic to make
the film look like TV), the footage at times looks really dirty
and pixelated. In that regard, many of the electric beauty in
Lee's previous efforts is lost in the imagery.
"Baboozled," though, isn't so much a film, but a social
message. Lee makes his statement loud and clear - we as
a culture must move on, but first we need to face today's
minstrel, the J.J. Walkers, the "Mo' Money"'s and change
the "only" parts for African-Americans.

street theater, It
s a light and comic story of a search for
love. The handsome King Deramo is
looking for a wife who will love him for
him and not for his money: The King
has a magical statue to help him deter-
mine whether or not the ladies are sin-
cere in their pursuit with their love or
are just out for his cash.
As with every good fairy tale there is
a bad guy, in this case Tartaglia, a Prime
Minister who wants his dauehter
larice, played by Kristine Goto, to
Yiarry the prince. But alas, Clarice loves
Leandro. Leandro's sister, Angela, is the
love interest of Tartaglia's eye, but is in
love with Deramo. There is also a love
triangle to complicate matters.
"The Kinu Stau" also has another
essential fairy tale element, the enchant-
ed forest, where Tartaclia works his evil
On the King. Deramo has the ability to
put himself into the body of any other
*reature, and Tartaglia tricks Deramo,
learning his spell, and puts himself into
the Kin's body in order to win the heart
of Angela. But don't fret. Love con-
quers all. And like in any good fairy
tale, they will live happily ever after.
"The King Stag" will be performed
by the Harvard-based American Reper-
tory Theater. ART has been dedicated
to progressive productions of forgotten
past works and those of the old master
* o. Julie Taymore. who also did cos-
iting for "The Lion King:" designs
.he production's costumes. In this pro-
duction the actors wear large masks,
wvhich obscure much of the actors'
faces. Goto said of the masks, "initially
they are challenging, because actors are
accustomed to using their faces. They
obscure what you use, having some-
thing over the face other skills are
required.", The actors have to incorpo-
*te more of their body and voice than
they normally would without the
masks. Lively voices and body mowe-
ments will be used to pick up where the
actor's faces are left out. Goto says.
"The show is so full of joy and is easy
to fall in love with:'
Johnson
&rings soul
to Borders
By Jee Chang
D). i .Arts tWriter
Singer sonrwriter \ann Johnson made
short appearance at Borders Wednes-
y night as a part of her radio promto-
fional tour. She performed two songs.
answered questions from the audience,

I

ty Jacari Melton
)ly Arts Writer
The year 2000 has seen its share of
ipod hip-hop oriented tours. The Lvri-
c t Lounge, Spitkickers and the Good-
vile tours weCre just soIe of the miore
miin1orable. Contiinuine wi t this trend
is the Okayiphtver
tout', leadline d
Cayplayer by the Roots,
which comes to
Tour Detroit this Sun-
tate Theater da.
Sulay at 7:30 p.m. The basis for
the tour IS the
w'ebsit e w wit i
okar plannomC7,
which started in
11999 as the
Roots 1 home-
pare.5ince its inceptioni, how\e.er. it
has gown to include other artists and
groupsconsidered on the cutting ede
of urbn music. Present occupants of*
the sittinclude Common. D' Anuelo.
the Jaz.fatnastees, Talib Kweli & I hi-
Tek ancDilated Peoples in addition to
the Root.
So fat the tour has included a num-
ber of ats. For the Detroit show, the
advertis'd acts include Dead Prez,
Bahamaca, Talib Kweli, the Jazzyfat-
nastees aid Slum Village among oth-
ers. It's iniortant to stress that these are
the advertsed acts. In past Okayplaver
shows, stecial nuests have made
appeatanc , an clement that 0rgainizets
of the ever hope Will draw m tore aticn-
dants.
I lowevet draini afis shouldi't lie
that difficul E very act on the tour has a
strong folleving especially the Roots.
Comine oflthe Grammy winning 1999
release "ThIgs Fall Apart," members
of the crewtook a short hiatus from
each other 0 pursue different w'orks.
Drurntier uestlove toured W1ith
D'Angelo aswell as contributed to the
production o several albums, including
Common's "like Water For Chocolate'
R alizel .the"Godtfather of Noyze..
released hisown album and Black
Thought is seto drop a solo recordin i
in the near fot re.

Part of the Roots' appeal is their use
of instrumiiients, a rarity in a hip-hop
world ruled by turtitables and digital
audiotapes. Also. they are extremely
eneretic and keep crowds involved
throuclh standard segments and attrac-
tions like "Hip-Hop 101," which fca-
tures performances of classic and
contemporary hip-hop and ftink clas-
sics. and either Scratch's or Ralizel's
vocal antics. All in all, they are one of
the most innovative groups in music
today.
It s important to re me m be r,
though, that the other acts on the
bill are no less able to rock the mic.
On October 17th, Talib Kweli and
DJ II i-Tek released their highly
anticipated ful l-length debut,
"Reflection Eternal." They've spent
the last several mIionths in a constant
state of touritn , appearin with
Dilated Peoples and on the Spit-
kickers tour. Although Kwel i is
often overshadowed by his Black
Star cohort Mos Def, he can hold
his own and should be viewted as
one of the best MCs out currently.
li late 1999, the Jazzyfatnastees
released their album "The Once and
Future." However, this R&B duo is
probably better known for the back-
ground vocals they've provided for
the last few Roots albums. They buck
conventional R& B trends by using
instrUmentation and not talking about
"Bills, Bills, Bills." or other things of
that nature.
(Goodvibe label mates Slum Vil-
lace aiid Bahaniadia bring iiore
Ce\e eiiiiore f11v\or. Slum's Iy1rics and
imiusic put the fun back into hip-hop
while at the same time celebrating
their hometown of Detroit. Bahama-
dia is one of the best female MCs
around with her somewhat monoto-
ne flow and good lyrical content.
To say the least, the Okayplaver
four is special. The quality of the
acts is impressive as well as the fact
that one show could accommodate
them all. If c erything gaoes accord-
ing to plan, this may go do\\n as
one of the best hip-hop tours in a
year that featured a number of them.

beginning of the film) about television broadcasting con-
cerning a fledglig network in desparate need of a hit show.
Producer Dunwitty (Michael Rapaport) complains that his
top writer Pierre Delacroix (Wavans) writes shows that are
too vwBlte. At one point he tells Delacroix. "I'm blacker than
voi,. a statement that Duiiwittv enforces with his photo array
of African-American heroes (Kareem. Ali .Jordan, etc.)
hanging in his office.
Along with his assitant Sloan (Pinkett-Smith), Delacroix
creates the ultimate, offensive degradin show for African-

.4

DE.

1

Vann
Johnson
Borders
October 18, 2000
enough to have an

had a table selline
('Ds and signedl
autographs. Johi-
son has per-
f'orned xith
Michael Bolton,
Yanni and Kenny
G. and has an
upcoming perfor-
mance with Ron-
tne Laws ii Los
Anees.
Several niehts
before, 'Thie
M ichi igain Daily
was f'ortunate
interview with John-

son, Johnson's bold, warm personality
caught tme by surprise. She is not only a
' at vocalist. but an inspirationalist.
Johnson is full of positive energy, and is
passionate about making a difference in
this world. Her music is is meant to
niove people's lives towards a positive
and spritual direction.
Johnson is a very much a spritual per-

JOIN T-IE MOST PROMISING
PROFESSICN OF THE 21ST CENTURY

THE
AMERICAN WEST
Out of Myth, Into Reality
October 6-December 31,2000
Not all heroes of the Wild West wore pants.
Images of the American west from 1825-1925.
00.ay0 *obef*
Cowboy Poetry
John Swaile, local poet
730 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Galiery 298
Call 419-255-8000 for details on programming
supporting this exhibition.

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