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September 18, 2001 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-18

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Movie Night...
Check out Silvio Sandini's crazy
comedy about a runaway Italian
wife in "Bread and Tulips" playing
at The Michigan Theater.
michigandaily.com /arts


SEPTEMBER 18, 2001


Tool livens
up Palace
By Sonya Sutherland
Daily Arts Writer
Nudity is the key sign of an awesome show,
although Tool as the headlining band doesn't hurt
the chances of a rocking event. Three large tele-
vision displays, two naked acrobats and one of
the greater bands of the last
two decades provided a
must needed two and a half
Tool hour break from this past
Palace of week of war coverage
Auburn Hills U.S.A.
Abrn Hi, 200 Kicking of the night with
the ten minute version of
the grudge, Tool played
through most of their newer
album Lateralus, occasion-
ally throwing in some
tracks from critically
acclaimed Aenima, while surprisingly not mov-
ing more than a few inches from their set stage
positions throughout the entire performance. Not
that anyone really noticed the lack of movement.
Between the 53 injuries in the spirited "We're
number one, I'm going to kick your ass" mosh
pit, the trademark display of slightly disturbing
claymation videos, psychedelic pornography that
would send any hippie straight to nirvana and all
nuns who might have been in the audience
screaming hysterically all the way to the Ameri-
can Family Association, the crowd for the most
part seemed to enjoy the approach.
Letting their visual aspects and music domi-
nate the night, Maynard remained obscured in the

Risque topic makes
Radio' instant turn on

Maynard: The man behind the Tool curtain.
poorly lit back area of the stage, perhaps hoping
that his camouflage face paint and hybrid of a
skin tight scuba-gear/virtual reality suit would
allow him to maintain his anonuminity that he
holds so dearly.
As if the display of videos that even MTV lim-
its the play of to the wee hours of the morning
weren't enough to ocularly delight any naysayers,
the two contortionists from Tool's present single
"Schism" made an appearance in and only in the
flesh. Starting their cameo on the stage and pro-
ceeding to be dangled by their feet atop the
Palace rafters, the two hairless acrobats captured
everyone's attention in mixed reactions
Overall, Tool lived up to the 5450 scalper tick-
et price, squeezing in every penny of entertain-
ment and even providing the over adrenalized
audience with a homework assignment. "Lets
take the moment that we have shared tonight and
turn it into something positive over the next ten
days. Let us heal together."

By Robyn Melamed
Daily Arts Editor
Chris Bohjalian's "Trans-Sister Radio" is best
described as a breath of fresh air. It is not pre-
dictable or boring, nor is it a mystery or sus-
pense novel. It does not bring on tears, yet it is
packed with all kinds of
emotions. It is about ordi-
nary people, but it is in
Ta -ie no way ordinary. If this
Tran-S-ister book by the author of
Radio Oprah Book Club fave
Chris Bohjalian "Midwives" is any indi-
Grade: A- cation of where contem-
Vintage Books porary novels are
heading, get ready for
smart, witty and beauti-
fully written literature.
The story begins in a
.^small town in Vermont
where Carly Banks lives
with her hip, liberal,
divorced mother Allison. When Allison meets
Professor Dana Stevens through a film class she
is taking, the crush seems pretty normal: Dana
finds everything about Allison's easygoing ways
appealing and thinks she's quite attractive. Alli-
son thinks Dana's looks, from his gentle hands
to his silky blonde hair, are irresistible. They
begin to date, and instantly both are smitten. Yet
something makes this love story much more
complex: Dana is convinced that he is a woman
trapped in a man's body, and is preparing for a
sex change operation.
Before automatically assuming "Trans-Sister
Radio" is the book version of a freak show, give
the first few chapters a chance. Although this
novel is a stoy about a man who is transsexual

yet in love with a woman, which practically
defines "truly outrageous," this story is, ironi-
cally, the exact opposite. This is highlighted in
the chapters where Dana Stevens talks about his
need to be a woman. It might not seem possible
to sympathize with a transsexual if you are not a
transsexual yourself,, but Dana Stevens' story
makes sympathy an obvious reaction. From his
childhood dreams of going to bed and waking
up a woman, to him crying at the thought of not
being able to give birth, his stories are heart-
An interesting yet somewhat unrealistic part
of the story comes about when Allison decides
to stick by Dana through his sex change. They
have been dating for a short period of time
when Dana breaks the news that he will soon be
a she, and Allison is truly blue. The couple still
has sex the same way as they did before Dana
broke the news, and although Allison tries to
convince Dana to change his mind, her pleas do
not seem too passionate. The biggest problem
she seems to have is the fact that Dana did not
tell her about himself right away, but this hurt
and anger passes fairly briefly.
The author tries to prepare the reader for
Allison's reaction by showing how "cool" and
"young" she is, throwing in certain things about
her: For example, Allison took Carly to the
gynecologist to get her fitted for a diaphragm
before her 15th birthday. This sort of informa-
tion does not do justice to the fact that Allison is
a heterosexual woman about to be in a lesbian
relationship with a woman whom she first loved
as a man. However, after getting past this part of
the story, the rest is very rational.
One of the best parts of this book is that with
each chapter, the viewpoint changes. Carly
begins the first chapter, speaking in the first per-

courtesy of Vintage Books
son, Dana takes the second, and so on. The
order in which each chapter is written is not
chronological, which might at first seem con-
fusing, but within the context of the story the
narrative flows very well. Between each chapter
there are excerpts from a National Public Radio
broadcast that tells the story the way the charac-
ters would like the world to view it. These
broadcasts might seem random at. first glance,
but make perfect sense after discovering Allison
used to work for NPR, her ex-husband Will still
works there and Carly is an intern for NPR -
the reason why the story is being told in the first
The ending of this book is such a surprise,
yet it makes so much sense that it works. That is
the way this whole book is - just when you
think that the situations could not possibly
work, it does, and leaves you feeling all warm
(and girly) inside.
- Join author Chris Bohjalian tonight at
Shaman Drum as he reads excerpts from
"Trans-Sister Radio "at 8p.m.,followedby a

'Teeth,' author live
up to rave reviews

'Leave:' Retelling of classic

By Autumn Brown
Daily Arts Writer

By Laura LoGerfo
Daily Arts Writer

Usually when everyone from
Salman Rushdie to a Gen X reviewer
for "USA Today" raves about a novel,
I-desperately want to hate it, refusing
to consider my
tastes on par
: with simpering

Zadie Smith
Grade: A

and former ene-
mies of Iran.
However, in the
case of "White
Teeth" by Zadie
Smith, an excep-

tion can be
"White Teeth"
marks the debut
of Smith, a
young, suppos-
edly bookish Londoner who probably
was forced to rent a new apartment to
store the fawning reviews and awards
showered upon her. She writes in a
strong, sharp voice, filled with sarcas-
tic wit and insightful takes into
human nature and the dynamic, often
bizarre relationships that define mod-
ern life.
The novel spans several generations
of two families whose lives become
irrevocably entwined when two men,
Archie and Samad, meet as soldiers
on a forgotten battleground of World
War I. Together they confront a life-
and-death decision, the result of
which is revealed only at the very end
of the story. But the novel opens else-
where, with Archie's suicide. Lost?
Smith fails to follow a conventional
chronological format, and therein lies
the delight of reading "White Teeth"
Just' when Samad and his wife, a
woman vetted by his family and
whom he met only moments before

they wed, begin their family, so do
Archie and his second wife, a lanky
Jamaican woman and former Jeho-
vah's Witness. She married Archie
more from a need to escape her life
than from any passionate desire.
Samad and Archie's children become
inseparable friends, bonding through
their disdain for their fathers' dys-
functional lives. Only the modern
temptations of adolescence - sex,
drugs, and political activism - drive
the children apart.
Besides underlying themes that
revolve around food and, somewhat
predictably, teeth, pictures represent
the thread that unite the generations
despite distances in space and time. A
portrait of Samad's great-grandfather,
a controversial leader of a Bengali
uprising, embodies the pride Samad
feels in his culture and his past, a
pride the boorish Brits in his adopted
homeland cannot appreciate. Samad
wears his rejection of and by the
mainstream culture like a badge of
honor, threatening his relationship
with his family and inspiring him to
banish one of his twin sons from the
crass English isle.
When Smith introduces a character,
she only elaborates on the personality
and history of the person later, when
such a background seems most appro-
priate and necessary. This lack of tra-
ditional sequencing makes the
interjections of background informa-
tion seem supposedly random and
thoroughly surprising. Indeed, some
characters disappear for hundreds of
pages only to reappear within inge-
nious subplots that at first glance seem
to relate peripherally but which con-
nect perfectly.
For the sake of closure, every char-
acter, no matter the extent of their ini-
tial role in the novel, converges at one
momentous event in the conclusion, a

Through October 7, Performance Network, Ann
Arbor's best-kept theatrical secret, is featuring "Taking
Leave," a play by Nagle Jackson. "Taking Leave" is the
story of a man's struggle with
Alzheimer's disease and the impact
it has on his relationship with his
'''three daughters. This high-powered
Taking drama is based on Shakespeare's
Leave "King Lear." The set, although
small, was well-utilized and takes
PerformanceNetwork great length to reconstruct the.
Through October7 abode of a retired professor. Several
books line the bookshelves and the
expensive-looking furniture con-
veys the social status of the charac-
ters. Much planning undoubtedly
went into the concealment of the
entrances and exits. Double-hinged
doors lead to bedrooms, the kitchen
and the outside world, and a staircase was also included
on the stage.
The lighting fit the mood of each scene well. The cos-
tumes of the characters were appropriate and eye-catch-
ing. Especially interesting was Cordelia's bohemian
ensemble. It appropriately clashed with her sister's more
conservative and business-like attire, and was one of the
many metaphors subtly referred to in the story.
Roy K. Dennison gave a touching performance as the

eccentric main character, Eliot Pryne. The wild look of a
man in a strange world never seems to leave his eyes.
The audience cannot help but sympathize with him
when he runs out the door in the nude or during the
scene in which he sits in his chair listening as his
daughters argue over his care. The pathos is especially
poignant when his "real self," played by Robert Gross-
man, leaves his side, in an engrossing, "heavenly"
The young actresses: Kelly Pino, Sarah Kamoo and
Inga R. Wilson, who play the three daughters, are not
one in the same. Each character is fully formed, distinct
and brimming with her own eccentricities. The audi-
ence is left with a window into the minds of each
daughter and is unusually satisfied by the conclusion.
For example, Alma's character seems to come together
in the line by Eliot 1, "You were happiest young."
Grossman seems to be made for the role of Eliot 1.
The humor he finds even in the stark obvious carries
many of the more difficult scenes, as he becomes a
much-needed mediator between the murky motives of
the characters and the audience,
There is only a portion of the play that was cause for
reservation. Although it was well performed, and was a
touching love story of some sort, most of its appeal will
undoubtedly lie with the older generation who are expe-
riencing the departure of their young adult children and
even adult children.
The new generation will not as readily sympathize
with this story, but will still probably find it moving
and inspirational.

Cou[tes "1 o pf
shocking twist that retains the wit of
the novel.
Although not a quick read by any
means, "White Teeth" should be
savored, since it captures and sustains
the reader's interest flawlessly. Smith
combines a sharp wit and an extraor-
dinary gift for storytelling that leaves
the reader in laughter.

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