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February 23, 2001 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-02-23

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r ..
- .u

My Buddy and me...
Chicago Blues master Buddy
Guy comes to the Michigan
Theater Saturday for a blazing
eleetric set. 7:30 p.m. $26-36.
michigandaily.com /arts

iRTS

FRIDAY
FEBRUARY 23, 2001

8x.,

Harmer provides a
fun and refreshingly
unpolished show

'Monkeybone' lives up to name'

By Chris Cousino
1aily Arts Writer

Brendan Fraser is a
plays an idiot (see

B Shelia McClear
Daily Arts Writer
Canadian folk-pop musician Sarah
Hatr'ier entertained a small audience at
the'Ark last Sunday, introducing every-
oit into her world of back porch guitar
sftnftitning, life on the road and heart-
breaks both large
and small. The
former singer of
Canadian band
Sarah Weeping Tile is
Harmer currently on tour
The Ark in support of her
February 18, 2001 first solo album,
You Were Here.
Previously, she
released a record
that was "record-
'< < ed on my back
porch a couple of
summers ago"
called "Songs for
Clem," that consisted strictly of covers
of hgrfather's favorite folk and country
songs'
Those suspicious of the dreaded
"women in music" tag need not be
wary: We're dealing with an actual
musiwfan here, not Jewei, the patron
saint of Girl Music. Harmer is an expe-
rienced performer whose songs are both
smart-alecky and powerful. While at
times her jangly-pop inclination and
ot6:sional too-cute lyrics leaves one
loging for a sound with more roots and
less Lilith, Harmer is nevertheless capti-
yting.
Gathered at the listening room was a
snall but enthusiastic crowd, built most-
ly by word of mouth. Actually, "enthusi-
stic" would be an understatement --
tliC'indience, comprised of folks both
96"iig* and old, was nearly foaming at
t ,mouth with excitement. A group of
six bragged that they had driven all the
way from Indiana to see the show.
t V tfching Harmer and her backing
batd is a little like sitting in your living
room'watching close friends jam. She is
engaging, quirky, and filled with a flus-
tered humor, "I always forget if this
song starts in C or D ... um, hang on a
minute."
Although Harmer is obviously a sea-
soned performer, her performances are
refreshingly unpolished. The lyrics are
nratter-of-fact, treating all the subjects
- from songs about feeling lost in the
crowd to a bluesynumber about an
abandoned houseplant -- with equal
seriousness.
Hanner's hour-and-a-half set was
filled with the songs from her new

album and heavily supplemented by
covers. The amount of cover songs
makes sense considering the material
from her first album was classic folk
and country music. Unfortunately, after
hearing the music from You Were Here,
the listener doesn't really want to hear a
Nancy Griffith song - they want to
hear what else Harmer is capable of.
However, recognition of other artists'
music is one defining feature of the cul-
ture of folk music, and Harmer chose
excellent music. And of course, in the
tradition of every self-respecting
Canadian folkie, a Neil Young song was
dutifully covered.
"Around This Corner," spoke of see-
ing a potential lover on the street and
deciding to "cover my heart so that you
can't hear it beat." "Basement Apt.,"
which Harmer herself describes as the
most commercial song on the album, is
guilty, Matchbox Twenty-style fun. You
Were Here revealed the tendency of
Harmer's music to drag out a bit, but for
the most part the set remained upbeat.
It must be noted that Harmer's music
performed live is much more fun than
the canned sound of her album, which
failed to capture all the nuances and inti-
macy of her work.
The bottom line is that no matter what
one thinks of the sound of mainstream
pop-tinged "folk" music, both the
enthusiastic and the wary enjoyed
Harmer's set. Harmer is so interesting to
watch because her audience feels that
she is just like them, or someone they
know well. It is this perception of famil-
iarity that has earned her such an enthu-
siastic following, and Harmer's greatest
gift is her ability to unabashedly draw
the listener into her world.

Monkeybone
Grade: C
At Quality 16!
V

it his best when he
"Encino Man,"
"George of the
Jungle"). In his
latest film,
"Monkeybone,"
he screams and
bellows, hops on
counters and
stamps his feet,
vet does he tickle
our funny - I'll
spare you the bad
wordplay.
Directed by
Henry Selick

television with his cartoon
"Monkeybone," animator Stu Miley
(Fraser) gets involved in a car crash with
his girlfriend Julie (Bridget Fonda) and
falls into a coma.
Be fore-warned, this is no ordinary
coma as this is no ordinary film. Miley
rides the roller coaster ride from hell into
this awesome, dynamic set piece known
as Downtown, otherwise know as the
inner consciousness. Quickly, Miley sees
all of his thoughts and artistic visions
come to life, from a three-headed devil
to a giant-eyed Cyclops, an oversized pig
or a sexy, sultry Kitty (Rose McGowan).
Selick employs puppetry, costuming,
computer and stop-motion animation to
what should be a dazzling effect. And at
first, it is. But quickly, all the costumes
and oddball, quirky images just melt into
what they really are: set dressing. Selick
fails to compose the world that is
Downtown; we never get the sense that
there is just more around the bend.
"Monkeybone" doesn't allow itself
time to grow in this world, as the film
(and Miley) are so concerned with get-

ting out. Miley just wants to see Jplj
one last time, so he can propose to:hr
and tell her that he loves her. Wher he
comes face to face with his animation.
character Monkeybone, a wise-cracking,
annoying primate voiced by John
Turturro, the two team up and steal, an
exit pass from Death (oh God, look -
it's Whoopi Goldberg).
Sure enough, the simian takes the
pass, enters into Miley's body in the real,.
world and starts a whole lot of monkey.
trouble. Will Miley get out in time to.
stop Monkeybone? Will he mariy his.
one true love? Will Brendan Fraser hav-
a cameo as Ape Guard Number Two in
"Planet of the Apes"?
"Monkeybone" is all over the map i
terms of humor and story, at times, itl
wants to be a slapstick children's come.-
dy; at times, it aims for more sexually.
toned humor. "Monkeybone" shows,
signs its been edited several times over
as it lacks consistency in its pacing ant
tone. It's a kids' film, it's an adult conme-
dy, it's fantasy, it's a fart joke, it's a wlholq
barrel of monkeys.

("The Nightmare Before Christmas,"
"James and the Giant Peach") and writ-
ten by Sam Hamm ("Batman"),
"Monkeybone" is a comedy that draws
much influence from "Who Framed
Roger Rabbit" and the Jim Henson-
inspired puppetry of fantasy flicks from
the '80s. On the eve of his break onto

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
A cute monkey doesn't help make this
movie any better.

'Life' casts cloud on glamour of Garland

Melissa Gollob
Daily Arts Writer

Somewhere over the rainbow Judy Garland still flies.
Her career did not begin in Oz or Kansas, but in the
ruthless city of Hollywood during its heyday, but
Garland will forever be a star.
The newest mini series about the
Fnw ead life of Judy Garland, "Life with
Judy Garland: Me and My
Life with Judy Shadows," takes an introspective
Garland: Me and look at her faults and fears
My ShWdOWS through the eyes of her second
ABC daughter Lorna Luft. Based on
Sunday & Monday the best-selling book of the same
at 9 p.m. name, Lorna narrates the life of
.. her famous mother and tries to
portray her as a human being
instead of an American legend.
Because of her incredible
voice, Judy signed with MGM
when she was twelve and the stu-
dio began to mold her into a star. They gave her the first
taste of addiction when they provided her with uppers to
combat her lack of energy due to starving herself to lose
unwanted weight.
After keeping her confined to the radio and forcing
her to work constantly, she finally began to act in films
with her buddy Mickey Rooney. The series makes evi-
dent the fact that the studio owned its stars and screwed
them whenever it was profitable.
The series tends to focuses on Judy's (Judy Davis,
"Husbands and Wives") relationship with all the men in
her life. They always seem to disappoint her and not love

her enough. Her abandonment issues reinforce them-
selves again and again while the pressures to live up to
her Dorothy image lead to her to a dependency on pills.
Judy marries Vincente Minnelli (Hugh Laurie,
"Stuart Little") to move away from her overbearing and
over ambitious mother. She loves him deeply but
because Minnelli is gay, Judy does not receive the atten-
tion she desires from him. She divorces him and soon
after meets her next husband Sid Luft (Victor Garber,
"Annie"). They go on to produce another classic film,
"A Star is Born," and two children. After several rejec-
tions, she goes through very violent mood swings,
which takes a serious toll on her marriage and career.
They end up in debt and the washed up Garland must go
back to work on stage to support her family.
For her comeback, she performs at Carnegie Hall.
The performance changed her life as she proved herself
to be a star and not a has-been. Judy was only comfort-
able on stage in the spotlight gathering applause. She
cares for her children well but her dependency is too
much to handle and forces Lorna to be the mother fig-
ure to both her brother Joe and her mother.
At the end of her life, without anyone to take the time
to administer her pills to her, she gets up in the middle
of the night and overdoses in the bathroom at age 47.
The series has very emotional scenes that make the
story extremely powerful. The use of real recordings
with Judy Garland's voice transports part of Judy
Garland herself into the story. However, the lip-syncing
of the words is done poorly and does take some of the
effect away. Since there are no images of the real Judy
Garland in the mini-series, all the movie scenes were
taped with the actors. The scenes seem to come directly
from the films, almost identical to the original. The

9

S
wy+.. .s y' . M 5
Courtesy of ABC
Judy Davis exposes the dramatic life of Judy Garland.
young Judy (Tammy Blanchard) looks uncannily simi-
lar in both "The Wizard of Oz" and "Meet Me in St.
Louis."
The acting is overly dramatic at times but so wad
Garland's own personality. Davis understands and clear-
ly thought out how to portray such a complicated per-
-son. The switching of actresses from young Judy to
adult Judy goes smooth and is hardly noticeable, while
the progression from marriage to marriage seems abrupt
and hurried. This true story provides a candid look into
the entire life of a star, who gave all she had for.
applause.

Strangefolk embraces storytelling, happy tunes

Courtesy of Uni/Zoe Records
Canadian singer Sarah Harmer has a
powerful, engaging sound.

Joshua Gross
Daily Arts Writer

The Michigan Daily: You have been
described as storytellers, why do you feel

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Strangefolk have a unique talent. They

get you out of your
trangery2 k
The Magic Stick
February 20, 2001

seat. They get your
feet stomping.
They salvage those
scraps of positive
energy hiding
among the wreck-
age of a shitty day.
They turn your
proverbial frown
upside down. On
Tuesday night they
shared they're
music with a hun-
dred or so cohorts
in jubilance at

it is important to tell stories in your songs.?
Strangefolk: Because people can relate
to stories. Stories are good. Linear pro-
gression, its something people can follow.
TMD: Do you feel that this role (story-
teller) is absent from music today?
SF: It doesn't seem if it's as prevalent
as it was ... well actually, in rock 'n' roll,
the storyteller has never seemed to be a
strong force. I think in folk music the role
is a little stronger. We don't have any
problem with anything that paints an emo-
tion or a picture, whether it's a linear story
or not. But storytelling is disappearing a
little bit, only folk music seems to be
keeping it alive. I think that it is absent in
most popular music.
TMD: Where is everyone originally
from and how have your roots influenced
your music?
SF: Luke is from D.C., John and Eric
are from Maine, Patchen is from New
York City, and Scott is from Oklahoma
City. So that brings in influences from all

over, except Maiae, where there's nothing
influential at all.
TMD: When I told some friends I was
going to see Strangefolk, they kind of
sneered and denounced the band as "hip-
pie music" and "too happy." How do you
respond to these common criticisms ?
SF: I'd tell them to come listen, see if
after that they think it's "happy hippie
music." And why is there a bad connota-
tion on the word "happy?" What's wrong
with that? I never understood that, never,
its like rock 'n' roll has to be angry or
destructive somehow. I listen to the
Beatles, and you smile when you listen to
them, you just smile, and nobody has
anything bad to say about them, no one
say's they're too happy.
TMD: What was the highpoint of the
past month of touring?
SF: All kinds of high points; we had
some really nice pizza in Pittsburgh, sat
by the fireplace in North Carolina, fire-
places are good, that was a highpoint for
sure. Really, any night that there's a good
crowd and a fun little scene, and there

_ b,-

Detroit's Magic Stick. Right before their
two-and-a-half-hour set, inside a sofa-
strewn, homey backstage room,
Strangefolk sat down to discuss the curse
of happy hippies, the lost art of story-
telling and why you smile when you lis-
ten to the Beatles.

have been a lot of those
TMD: If you had to sacrifice storyr
telling for musicianship or vice versa.
which would you choose? '
SF: That's a rough one man, why
would you ask that? I can't answer that,
would never trade one for the other. We
hope that we maintain a good mix of-
both. Sometimes you want to shut up and
play, sometimes you just want to sing.
TMD: How about this, would you
rather be Slash or AxI Rose?
SF: Ah dude, I just read that they re-,
formed, that new guitar player,
Buckethead, he's all chop, he's so good *
he's bad.
TMD: Do you see yourselves as the
"old band" and the "new band" or has the
transition been less rigid and defined (last
year Strangefolk's lead singer left the.
band and was replaced by a new singer
along with the new addition of a key-
boardist)
SF: It's a transition, it's a big one, but
there's so much carry-over of the spirit
from the past, so it's a fairly smooth
growth, like an evolution into a new
thing. It's not band A and band B, it's ,n
expansion of an idea. For Luke and Scott,
it's been serendipitous.
TMD: Kind of a stereotypical last
question: Where do you guys see the
band in two years?
SF: Where do we see the band in two
months is probably a more rational ques-
tion. Will we be back on tour? Yes, prob-
ably. Hopefully we'll continue touring
and people will want to come out and
hear us, and we'll take things one step at
a time.
.. -

.~ ..J.Sportsg rill&Pu

Nllo o

Assolto.

S
T
0
L

75 CALL
DRINKS

B
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A
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icll C
0 aCK ppN1Ei-S
--- .. i

' IJJULS It IUIJI. a c ~ .... . W y... I

~..........

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