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March 12, 2002 - Image 5

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-12

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Ann Arbor Film Festival ...
Jay Rosenstein's "Erased" is one of
many shorts playing tonight at
the Michigan Theater. 7 p.m. $7.
michigandaily.com /arts

ftmotoma*
-ART S

TUESDAY
MARCH 12, 2002

5

Author Moore brings new
book, film clips to campus

Civic Theatre mixes
humor, pathos in
'The Lucky Spot'

By Johanna Hanink
Daily Arts Writer

Michael Moore is probably the
scruffiest guy with the most class cur-
rently working the political-cum-media-
cum-book signing circuit.
Today that circuit will bring him to
Ann Arbor, notorious bastion of liberal-
ism and epicenter of Mid-
west style andI
broadminded (read: left-
wing) political thought. MICHAE
Moore will be speaking At ther
at the Michigan Theater at Th
5 p.m. this afternoon to
promote his new book Tonight
and instant bestsellerF
"Stupid White Men."
"Stupid White Men ... and Other
Sorry Excuses for the State of the
Nation," Moore's third book after
"Downsize This," a deconstruction of the
evils of corporate America, and "Adven-
tures in a TV Nation," which fondly
recounts some of the more memorable
episodes of Moore's "magazine" show
TV Nation, debuted at No. 3 on The
New York Times bestseller list and at
No. 1 in Amazon.com sales. What
Moore calls "my personal favorite for a
good laugh," in his online book-tour
diary: Last week, "Stupid White Men"
also appeared at No. 4 in the Wall Street
Journal's bestseller list.
An appearance in Michigan for

Moore will be .more than the standard
stop on his whirlwind cross-country
journey. Moore, whose father was an
autoworker for General Motors in Flint,
made his celebrity with the 1989 feature-
length documentary "Roger and Me."
The film tracks his quest to meet the
chairman of General Motors, Roger
Smith, to ask him why GM had devastat-
ed Flint, transforming a
once vibrant manufactur-
ing city into a "ghost
MOORE town."

L

Michigan
eater
at 5 p.m.
Free

Moore's other film
credits include "Pets or
Meat: The Return to
Flint," "The Big One"
and most notably, "Cana-
dian Bacon," an honest

rewrite as much 50 percent of the book
to reflect and respect the significantly
more delicate political climate following
Sept. 11. HarperCollins also asked that
Moore to contribute $100,000 from his
royalties to help defray the publishing
giant's cost of reprinting the already pro-
duced first 50,000 copies of a 100,000
book press run.
In a Salon.com article, an outraged
Moore commented, "They wanted me to
censor myself and then pay for the right
to censor myself."
Ann Sparanese, an Englewood, N.J.
librarian rallied behind Moore and
reminded HarperCollins of the fear that
librarians are capable of inspiring in
those normally not faint of heart. The
book that is now toppling bestsellers lists
ran in its original form.
In "A Very American Coup, the first
chapter of "Stupid White Men," Moore
establishes the framework for what
becomes a 277-page rant against the
president select, the commander-in-thief,
George W. Bush. In his tirade that
encompasses the inauguration of an ille-
gitimate president, Moore implores in a
desperate mock-message "intercepted by
the United Nations" whoever might be
listening:
"...On behalf of 234 million Ameri-
cans held hostage, I have requested that
NATO do what it did in Bosnia and
Kosovo, what America did in Haiti, what
Lee Marvin did in The Dirty Dozen:

embrace of every true American's
favorite object of ethnic hatred, Canadi-
ans.
The last time Moore's agenda brought
him to the Michigan Theatei, he was on.
the campaign trail for Ralph Nader, serv-
ing as right hand man to the candidate
who shook up the unprecedented 2000
presidential election (and whoeventually
fired Moore).
The release of "Stupid White Men,"
originally slated for publication on Oct.
2, was delayed by the publisher for obvi-
ous reasons of terrible timing. Scandal
and controversy surrounded its appear-
ance on bookstore shelves as publisher
HarperCollins demanded that Moore

"Send in the Marines! Launch the
SCUD missiles! Bring us the head of
Antonin Scalia!"
Irreverent at both its best and worst,
"Stupid White Men" is the swift kick in
the ass that the United States and its
shadow government needs. It is exactly
the kind of read that might do Bush
some good, between pretzel induced
gasping and energetic waves at blind
musical legends.
Books, films and general crankiness
,aside, Michael Moore, in a baseball cap,
sweatshirt and barely-tied sneakers, a
guy who never went to college and
needs a haircut, has assumed an
esteemed place as one of the great
Socratic gadflies of American society.
Like Noam Chomsky, Moore calls it like
he sees it with sharp perception, keen
analysis and zero-tolerance for bullshit.
Unlike Chomsky, he's got an unbeliev-
able sense of humor.

By Autumn Brown
Daily Arts Writer
When Reed Hooker, a hot-shot
card player, obtains an old planta-
tion house which he intends to turn
into a dance hall, the last thing he
expects is its acquisition of the epi-
thet "The Lucky Spot." But then
again, the Ann Arbor Civic The-
atre's production of this Beth Hen-
ley play is little of what audience
members will expect in the first
place.
"The Lucky Spot" follows the
experiences of several
characters in the
Depression-era South.
Reed Hooker's compa- THE Lu(
ny includes a dense
handyman known as Ann Ar
Turnip and a girl who The
he has won in a card - TomorroN
game, Cassidy Smith. $8
Complications arise
when a pregnant Cassidy attempts
to get a divorce agreement from
Reed's estranged and violent wife,
Sue Jack, by inviting her to the
house for a Christmas dinner.
Recently released from prison, Sue
Jack is known for her violent behav-
ior and this causes the "sudden"
departure of the dancers Reed had
hired. More problems ensue when
Whit Carmichael, a former admirer
of Sue Jack, appears on the scene.
"I love dramadies in which I can
find the comedy," said Wendy
Wright, the director of the produc-
tion. Wright has been directing
plays at the Civic The-
atre for 15 years.
She has had a long
connection with the

who plays Sue Jack, looks forward
to expressing the complexity of her
character. "Sue Jack is a very hot-
headed, passionate character..
Things are either black or white for
her," Phenix said. "It's a stretch for
me, but I welcome the challenge,
because I usually get pigeon-holed
into unsubstantial characters, but
Sue Jack is a woman."
"She has sadness and baggage,
and she doesn't have to look for the
positive. The same is true for me in
a lot of ways. It's kind of scary,"
Phenix said. "I like
that she has that vio-
lent streak. I love
shooting the gun and

I

ICKY OT j
bor Civic
eatre
w at 8p.m. I
-$16

getting to swear."
With such volatile
character dynamics,
Wright believes that
Henley's "quirky"
characters are a

stretch for all of the actors. "With
all of the actors, the Southern
world of the thirties is foreign to
them. It is a world we don't know.
There was no welfare and no social
security," she said..
Another key element of the play
is the fact that the story takes place
in close proximity to New Orleans.
"These are New Orleans characters
- descendants of the underworld of
New Orleans," Wright said.
In addition to Phenix, the cast
includes Rob Roy as Reed, Amelia
Martin as Cassidy and Aaron Rabb
as Turnip.

UPN should re-tool tenible new Tuesday

By Jennifer Fogel
Daily Arts Writer

In an effort to increase its bankable program-
ming, UPN debuted two new half-hour comedies
last week, but only one seems viable.
Yet, neither "As If" nor "The Random 6
Years" prove to be especially likeable.
"As If" is an interesting prospect,
told each week from a different point T. R
of view from each of the six charac- THE R
ters, it's filmed in a unique and frenet- YE
ic fashion. Adapted from the British Tuesdays;
series of the same name, "As If' stars
Brit holdover Emily Corrie as Sooz, a
brash cynic who is overrun with inse- A
curity as well as piercings. Her best T
friend is Jamie (Derek Hughes), an Tuesday
overzealous geek who views himself U
as a ladies man. He has a particular
hankering for Nikki (Adrienne Wilkinson) who
barely gives him the time of day, instead concen-
trates on her next conquest. Sasha (Tracie Thoms) is
a VJ attempting to put her relationship with the hap-
less Rob (Chris Engen) into perspective. Basically,
she seems to be the only person on the show ready
for a commitment. Rounding out'the cast is Alex

rA
EA
at
S
s
JP

(Robin Dunne), the quiet youngster of the group
who is dealing with being out of the closet.
The premiere was a manic mix of editing and
hyper-reality that made it difficult to follow. Told
from Jamie's perspective, we witness Nikki use
Jamie in order to gain the affections
of another man. When Nikki herself
is eventually used, she still doesn't
understand the magnitude of her
behavior. Jamie being none the wiser
LNDOM doesn't seem to care about his pride,
RS only hoping for some sexual exploits
9:30 p.m. of his own. Meanwhile, Sasha finally
realizes that Rob cares more about
parties than he does about her, and his
IF chronic lateness seals the deal.
While graphically the show is
at 9 p.m. amazing, the cuts are too numerous
N and borderline neurotic - probably a
reflection on the personalities of the
characters. The ensemble seems to work well, but
the standout is Sooz the only character that is worth
getting to know. Corrie plays her with such affec-
tion that it isn't a wonder why the producers
brought her over to the States.
Following "As If" is "The Random Years," a dry
and tepid comedy about life after college. Starring

the affable Will Friedle ("Boy Meets World") as
Alex, the show focuses on male relations with each
other and the opposite sex.
Alex is the creator of a music website run from
the New York City loft he shares with dental assis-
tant Wiseman (Joshua Ackerman, a former member
of the "Mickey Mouse Club") and slacker Todd
(Sean Murray). Although Friedle is the lead, Murray
steals the show with his "the world will come to
me" demeanor and his refusal to take on a real job.
Only Todd could convince the hard-working temp
Casey (Natalia Cigliuti, "Saved by the Bell: The
New Class") to play a game of Strip "Antiques
Roadshow." However, like Todd, the show com-
pletely loses its shirt. Not only is there no exciting
plot, but there is nothing unique about the show at
all. The laugh track is used incessantly while the
jokes are few and far between. The show is so
tedious that it's not even worth mentioning the plot
of its premiere episode ... is sex all guys think
about?
While "As-If" brings some style back to the TV
screen, "The Random Years" fails to understand the
concept of good writing. And for some reason, they
both have a fetish with "Batman" bed sheets? UPN
might want to stick to stealing shows from other
networks.

University and
enjoys acting along-
side directing.
Wright also hosts a
show on WEMU
radio, a prominent
station in Ypsilanti.
"The first thing
that attracted me to
the play was the
potential for music,"
she said. "I have an
affinity for New
Orleans jazz of the
'30s." As the play
includes the music
of Art Hodes, Sid-
ney Bechet, Jelly
Roll Morton and
Billie Holiday
among others, "The
Ludky Spot" is full
of swinging jazz
tunes.
Emily Phenix,

Basement Arts gets a visit from 'The Boys'

Courtesy of Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
Roy (left) and Phenix look, uh, up.

By Rachel Lewis
Daily Arts Writer

These days, laugh-out-loud enter-
tainnent always seems to come with
the price of good taste. Luckily, Base-
ment Arts has recognized
Sthe problem and is pro-
viding a much needed
solution this coming THE Bt
weekend with three free D
performanc.es of Tom Arena
Griffin's tasteful comedy,
"The Boys Next Door." Thurs., Sa
A compassionate yet F F. at 7
humorous look at human
relationships, the play follows the lives of
four mentally handicapped men living in
a communal residence under the supervi-
sion of a young burnt out social worker
named Jack. Through scenes of both
sheer hilarity and utter tragedy, the audi-
ence acquaints itself with Lucien, who
has the mind of a five-year-old, Barry, a
schizophrenic who fantasizes about
being a golf pro, Norman, who works in
a doughnut shop eating as many dough-
nuts as he sells and Arnold, the manic-
depressive ring leader of the bunch.
BF senior and director Steve Best
said, "The unique thing about this show
is that it's a comedy that doesn't have to
be vulgar to get the laugh." Griffin's
characters are put in situations that would
be funny even if they weren't mentally
handicapped. Their disabilities simply
add depth to the themes and significance
of the play. BFA senior and actor Mike
Mischler said of Griffim, "He uses come-
dy to get a point across."
The point, according to the hard-
working cast and crew of "The Boys

Y
OC
T
at.
re

so fast that there is never any time to stop
and appreciate all that one has. In a world
where monetary success and material
good are irrelevant, the audience is
offered a unique glimpse into a life
where problems are dealt with on a day-
to-day basis and where
each character is thankful
to wake up in the morning
s NEXT and embrace a new day.
OR The diverse cast of nine
heatre has had to overcome
some great obstacles to
at 7 p.m., carry off such a challeng-
e ing and ambitious show.
They have worked espe-
cially hard to find the human qualities of
each character so as not to portray any
stereotypes. "They're not cartoons. That's
a stereotype and a challenge to work
against," said Weiner.

Mischler, who plays Barry, said of
taking on the role of a mentally chal-
lenged person, "It's hard to portray a
schizophrenic because 'schizo-
phrenic' is such an all-encompassing
term." As an actor, he was asked to
give life and character to a complex
and oftentimes misunderstood med-
ical condition. In rehearsals, Best
made sure to give the actors freedom
to explore such challenges. "I let
them go as far as they want."
All the hard work will pay off this
weekend with a performance full of very
human, very funny characters. Of the

roles the actors have tried so hard to
truthfully represent, Mischler said, "You
can't help but like them." The humor is
fast-paced and the script intends to make
the audience think, but as a whole the
show is not hard to follow.
Sophomore BTA and actiess, Johanna
Schuster-Craig, said, "I hope the audi-
ence comes in and has fun but pays
attention." Those involved believe that
after "The Boys Next Door" the audi-
ence won't simply remember a night of
laughs, but a night of compassion and
thought. And for free theater, that sounds
like a pretty good deal.

The Office of New Student Programs
is now recruiting
Fall and International
Orientation Leaders
ONSP is looking for motivated undergraduate
students to help facilitate the Fall and
International Orientation Programs. Leader duties
will include running check-in and registration,
facilitating an informational meeting, leading a
walking tour, participating in social activities, and
assisting in class registration.
Pay: $65/day, $32.50/half-day (shifts vary).
International Orientation
Training: Thursday, August 22nd
Program: August 23rd - August 27th
Fall Orientation
Training: Monday, August 26th
Program: August 27th - August 29th
A nnliatinn Prncess

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