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March 15, 2002 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-15

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Ann Arbor Film Festival ...
See the final shows of the
festival this weekend at the
Michigan Theater.


MARCH 15, 2002


3'vx <Y 33£ 3 xs2 xs zscY c fix? R § ° a .s@¢? >
Twenty-first century pl o . e e rs punk e zz n
xiy{.'Ztco<' ads " R VV .,

By Tony Ding
For the Daily

"You know people always say:
'Oh, I've never heard of your band.'
I say that's 'cus you're not 18 with a
skateboard," stokes the affable
bassist Jay Bentley. His band, first
wave L.A. punks Bad Religion, lit
its flame of defiance two decades
ago, to the heat-baked, smog-infest-
ed dystopia of mini-malls and suf-
focating boredom, known as The
Valley. Thereafter, the disaffected
teenagers loudly challenged their
inhospitable environment with
statements in music. Today, Bad
Religion is still on the road, this
time with veteran ska troupe Less
Than Jake, and fresh punk cohorts.
Hot Water Music.
The tour marks a new beginning
for the pioneers of thesaurus rock,
as BR guitarist and band co-founder
Brett Gurewitz returns to the stage
- after a six-year leave to jump-
start the band's label, Epitaph,
which Gurewitz owns. "Personally, I
feel more complete with Brett back
in the band," Bentley affirms,
"because we spent 15 years together
in the beginning doing all this, and
that's just something that's part of
what you do." The new album, once

again, has been produced by BR's
original songwriters, Gurewitz and
vocalist Greg Graffin. The band
returns to making innovative
and influential music,
back from when their
furious beats and
harmonious cho-
rus inspired
future punk
superstars such >
as Green Dayk
and Blink 182.
To the younger
generation that
didn't grow up Record
with BR, Bentley
describes their current
shows as being
around 30 songs for
about an hour and 20
minutes. "We don't
have a big show with a BAD R
lot of fire and smoke," At The St
he explains. "It's all in DE
about the music, and
it's all about the band Sunday a
and the fans." The
down-to-earth Cali- UniversityM
fornian expressed dis-
tain for critics that categorize the
band as "Political old-school punk,"
touting: "Categories are for vegeta-

bles in the store.
We're just a band
-- geeks, fuck-
ing nerds with
attitude!" Bent-
ley doesn't think
much of the punk
scene either,
despite the devout
fans that honor
the band for its
Punk lovers are
just "a group of
people that have-
independe nt
thought," Bentley
. observes. He
explains mat-
that if you "start
pigeon-holing people
because of what they
like, you might as well
be mad at them for
what they eat, and
before you know it
you're a militant,
vegan, skinhead guy
beating people up for a

ate Theater
t 7:30 p.m.
qusical Society

music speaks for itself," chimes
Bentley. "If you get something out
of it, that's great."
An explanation as to why BR
holds such values and standpoints
may rest on the fact that the band is
uncannily intellectual. Vocalist Greg
Graffin not only holds two graduate
degrees, one in Biology and one in
Geology, but is also working
towards a Ph.D. at Cornell. This
acknowledgement of academics has
led the band to offer a unique
research grant for the past 4 years,
called the Bad Religion Research
Fund. "The laboratories get tons of
money." Jay Bentley explains. "The
people out there digging for fossils,
or doing social studies; they're not
really getting any money."
Thus with the Fund, which
receives some 200 submissions per
year, the band awards one young
researcher, and hopes to eventually
increase the Fund to five annual
awards. In 1998, Lena Sharon
Nicolai of the Michigan Depart-
ment of Biology was one such
recipient of the Bad Religion
Research Fund, helping her with a
study thesis titled: "Dispersal of
mycorrhizal fungal spores by
rodents and consequent effects on
tree seedling establishment and
forest regeneration."
With a career history as compla-
cent as Bad Religion's, it's not dif-
ficult to understand what's been
driving these guys on for the past
20 years. For bassist Bentley, life's
outlook can be summed up as wak-
ing up every morning, thinking:
"Wow! I'm the luckiest human
being on the planet!" The man's
optimism transcends the band's
fiercely independent spirit and
influential trek through punk
music's infancy. Their own label,
founded by BR's Brett Gurewitz,
has also grown from a mere logo
and a PO Box, to a fortis industry
player. As Bad Religion return to
challenge the status quo and them-
selves, 18-year-old skateboarders,'
for sure, will know their name.

courtesy orABC
Michael J. Anderson (last dwarf on the right) stars in this crap.
New 'Snow White'
worst of them all

By Melissa Gollob
Daily Arts Writer

The Brothers Grimm's classic tale of
Snow White comes to life, revealing more
than ever before. "Snow White: The
Fairest of them All" expands on all the


Her henchman fails and she plots to kill
Snow White herself. In the end, Snow
White and the prince live happily ever
after and the queen gets what she
deserves in the end.
The most notable difference from any
other version of Snow White is that the

However, says Bentley, "the state
of music today is in a lot better
shape than it was 10 years ago. That
there is something out there for
everybody is great!" Bentley laid
down frank criticism as well on the
influence of teen punk icons such as
Blink 182, who toured with BR in
2000. "Blink fucks with (little kids)
too much because they know who's
listening to their records. They
know that there's 12-year-old kids
buying their records, and so they
put some shit on their records that I
don't really agree with."
In BR's newly released album,
The Process of Belief, the social-
conscience punk rockers continue to
challenge "the tacit, dogmatic struc,
ture of our society." Track titles like
"Materialist," or "Kyoto Now!"
make a loud statement of the band's
up-to-date political advocacy. "The

characters and answers
questions about the char-
acters' motives for behav-
ing as they do. The movie
incorporates more from
the original tale than most
other versions.
The story begins with
the birth of Snow White
(Kristen Kreuk, "Small-
ville") and her mother's
sudden death. Her father

Sunday at 7 p.m.


seven dwarves are named
for the days of the week and
have their own color of the
rainbow. The rainbow is
important for the integra-
tion of the dwarves into the
plot but unnecessary for the
overall quality of the story.
They attempt to provide
comic relief but the grumpy
dwarf Wednesday fails to
deliver an emotional per-

journeys through a winter storm in order
to find food for his baby. He meets a crea-
ture that grants him three wishes for sav-
ing his life. Suddenly, Snow White's father
finds himself the king in charge of a king-
dom. The creature recruits an ugly woman
to be queen to fulfil( his obligations to
Snow White's father. Because she is pow-
erful, the woman decorates her enormous
garden with and a dwarf named Sunday
(Michael J. Anderson, "Twin Peaks") and
gnomes she froze to be her friends. She
takes these to the kingdom and Snow
White befriends them. To gain favor in his
heart, she rains pieces of the magic mirror
down on the king and one sliver falls in
his eye. The sliver blinds him from seeing
her true nature.
Then time fast-forwards 16 years
when a prince arrives to court the
princess Snow White. The queen (Miran-
da Richardson, "The Crying Game")
increasingly becomes more jealous of
her. She decides to take the prince for
herself and attempts to-kill Snow White.

formance typical of the character. His sar-
casm is over the top and abrupt, which
interferes with the flow of dialogue.
The movie tries too hard to develop the
characters enough so that they each learn
their lesson. With a limited time frame,
this is impossible, and the plot suffers.
The story moves so that Snow White's
father learns to open his eyes, Snow
White becomes a woman and the queen
realizes the true meaning of beauty. Each
moment is lackluster because of the lack
of development in the rush to reach the
A positive aspect of "Snow White" is
the special effects. The elaborate mirror
room created by the queen shows who is
the fairest of them all. The fairest one
-pops out of the mirrors in the room ands
announces that she is the fairest. The
handheld magic mirror also allows the
queen to alter her appearance by stepping
in and out of it. The queen's change is
flawless and creates the only dramatic
scene in the movie.

Courtesy of Epitaph Records

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

RC Players address race
with Shange' s 'Colored' y*****

Shepard Str'dismal

By Autumn Brown
Daily Arts Writer

The RC Players, a student theater group
known for presenting themes and messages not
commonly addressed by mainstream theater,

proudly presents its latest work,
"For Colored Girls Who Have
Considered Suicide/When the
Rainbow is Enuf," a choreo-poem
by Ntozake Shange.
"I am happy to bring 'Colored
Girls' to the community," said
Anna Vitale, the director of "Col-
ored Girls." Vitale, a junior con-
centrating in Women's Studies, has
previously directed her own scene
for the RC's " Evening of the

East Quad A
Tonight and
at 8 p.m.

teacher who introduced the idea for the produc-
tion to me. Before I read the play, I had no idea
that stories were being told about having atti-
tude, standing up for yourself and not being
Jordan Reed, a Theater & Drama senior co-
directs "Colored Girls" with
Vitale. Reed incorporated an Irish
directorial method named "devis-
LORED ing" into the production. Accord-
1O HAVE ing to Reed, "Devising is allowing
ERED normally directorial decisions like
IDE set design, costumes, blocking and
music to be made by the cast."
auditorium Reed also credits social context
Tomorrow as being influential in her deci-
$3-$5 sion. "A lot of community and
growth was happening during the
eras of social change with women' s theater and
the play came out of a new sense of sisterhood
and women feeling like they had power in their
lives," she said. "I still feel like these stories are
Hence, Reed and Vitale do not consider them-
selves directors, in the true sense of the word;
rather they prefer to be known as organizers of
the production. "It's so wonderful to work with
people who have not done this before, and are
really honest about what they say," Vitale said.
"They have made the story their own. The inter-
pretations come from the women themselves."

Courtesy of Scribner

Author Ntozake Shange.

Scenes" and was the assistant director for
"There are not a lot of plays on campus about
African-Americans and Latinos. Hopefully this
play will inspire other people to do similar
things, such as perform plays by less known
playwrights," Vitale said.
Vitale believes that her experience of growing
up in a diverse environment helped make social
issues a priority in her life. "It means something
that I am the only white person in the produc-
tion, but I'm from Detroit and so I grew up
around black women," she said. "It was a

The playwright, Ntozake Shange, scripted
music for her production, including Willie
Colon, Martha and the Vandellas and the Dells,
but for the RC's production of the Broadway
hit, music by Tori Amos was utilized.
While the music is alarge part of the per-
formances, the costumes are kept simple and
are meant to convey a deeper meaning. "In the
play, every lady is a color and together they
make up the colors of the rainbow," Reed said.
Vitale added, "The group's solidarity is what
keeps the ladies from committing suicide and
the solidarity is represented in a rainbow,
because a rainbow can only happen when the
colors are all together."

By Jennifer Fogel
Daily Arts Writer
It is both difficult to watch, as well as
review, television programming that is
supposed to remind you of a life so influ-
ential to the world that you dare not forget
it. Lately, heart-wrenching bio-pics have
suddenly become commercialized instead
of the normal processed and overdramatic
antics we've been accustomed to. Case in
point, the actualization of Matthew Shep-
ard's life into a made-for-TV pseudo-doc-
umentary has become a race between two
competing networks bank-
ing' on sizable ratings ,
instead of reiterating the
truth. ,
Last Saturday, HBO
premiered "The Laramie THE M
Project" exactly one week SHEPAR
before this Saturday's
"The Matthew Shepard Saturday
Story" on NBC. Neither N
movie chooses to focus on
Matt as the central figure, but rather
explores the lives of those on the periph-
ery of his shocking death. Whether or not
this shift in attention will be more accept-
able to audiences is unclear, but in watch-

ing both movies it is clear that we will
never know exactly why such a senseless
crime occurred.
"The Matthew Shepard Story" begins
with the gruesome act committed against
21-year-old Matt (Shane Meier) by Aaron
McKinney and Russell Henderson in an
expansive field in Laramie, Wyo. in 1998.
A year later, Dennis (Sam Waterston,
"Law and Order") and Judy (Stockard
Channing, "The West Wing") Shepard are
agonizing over an official statement they
are to give to the jury condemning McK-
inney to death after he is found guilty of
Matt's murder. (Henderson
pled guilty and was given a
life sentence.) The Shep-
ards have been apart for
some time as Dennis lives
TTHEW in Saudi Arabia, while
STORY Judy travels around the
country speaking about her
t 9 p.m. son. The marriage is defi-
C nitely strained, yet there is
no evidence that the audi-




y a


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ence should be worried about an immi-
nent divorce. Flashbacks fill the screen as
each parent remembers a portion of Matt's
life during the time he struggled to come
to terms with his sexuality and find some
acceptance in the world. In the end, the
Shepards agree to ask the judge to grant
McKinney consecutive life sentences,
deciding not to combat hate with hate.
Although the subject matter is particu-
larly compelling, the movie is not. It
refuses to acknowledge any real
heartache, only filling us with visually
stimulating vignettes that are extremely
out of place. Executive producer Goldie
Hawn has said that she hopes the movie
will open hearts, but the only understand-
ing in the film is for the complications
Matt's life made on his parents. Focusing
solely on the parents' perspective makes
any effort to sympathize with Matt's lone-
ly journey through life difficult.
"Project" also asks us to understand
Matt's life through others, this time
through the observations of the people of
Laramie. In an amazing feat, the movie


Organizations, place an ad for your
graduating seniors! Students, place an ad

Make lifelong friendships.
Develop leadership skills.

C ,.



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