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April 11, 2002 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-11

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Eating with Arie ..
Come have lunch with Arie Lipsky,
Music Director and Conductor of the
Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra.
Noon. Kerrytown Bistro. $20.
michigandaity.com

JMe*tRAWu 4DtI

THURSDAY
APRIL 11, 2002

1OA

'Fair Warning' questions
attribution of appreciation

Cartoonish Jet Set'
skates onto XBox

By Maureen McKinney
Daily Arts Writer
In order to fully express appreciation for
objects, many people have an inherent need to
attach a specific value to them. Appreciation,
therefore, is often fundamentally
based on the ability to quantify an a
object's worth, and on the need to
ultimately possess the item that one *
admires.
The nature of attributing value, FAIR w
collecting and the loss of uniqueness By Robert1
and interest that inevitably follows
possession are cleverly pursued in Atlanti
Robert Olen Butler's 10th novel,
"Fair Warning." Butler is a master of narrative,
and his strengths are not only demonstrated in his
adept character development, but also in the
exceptionally diverse range of characters he
chooses to give voice to.
In "Good Scent From a Strange Mountain," for
which Butler won the Pulitzer Prize, he chose to
present short- stories from the vantage points of 13
Vietnamese expatriates living in the United States.
In "Fair Warning," Butler weaves his account
through another unlikely subject.
The protagonist, Amy Dickerson, is a smart and
stylish auctioneer for a prominent New York auc-
tion house. She has a life-long obsession with
objects and the way in which value is appropriated
to them. Her fascination is one of manipulation

VA
C
ci

and her talent exists in the way she alters her audi-
ence's perception of the worth of tangible items,
and the lifestyle of which they are indicative.
Butler opens the novel with Dickerson, at age
seven, selling her three-year-old sister to the high-
est bidder among their neighborhood friends. Her
excitement stems less from the
prospect of being an only child, and
more from the way that she can con-
vince her first audience to want what
she is offering. As Dickerson says,
kRNING "her fate was sealed."
len Butler This introductory vignette sets the
tone for the rest of Dickerson's life,
Monthy and she finds her niche as a skillful
marketer of goods to the elite jet set
of New York.
Amy's opinions of her customers are often less
than flattering, and she portrays them as self-
important and desperate to own and amass for the
sake of perceived importance and social stature.
Dickerson confidently prides herself on her ability
to take advantage of their large pocketbooks and
mercurial temperaments. This is not surprising
considering the nature of Dickerson's work
assumes a condescending tone and style of manip-
ulation. Butler's accounts of Ms. Dickerson in
action are especially well written and witty.
Of course, there is a great deal more to the
novel than Amy's profession. This sets the back-
drop for the main theme, which is her internal
conflict about the way that she realizes her tenden-

cy to evaluate people's worth, both others and her
own, in the same way she has been assessing the
value of objects. Amy worries that she has played
life in too calculated a manner, and that, at 40, it
may be too late for her to change. Two different
men enter, and the question hangs in the air over
whether Amy will be able to accept love when it is
in front of her, or scrutinize it to the point of
devaluing it.
While Butler's main character is refreshingly
confident and humorous, her coldness is some-
times difficult to swallow, especially at the points
in which she is supposed to be introspective about
her own inequities. Amy seems to resolve very lit-
tle of her internal battle, but Butler's depictions of
her decadent lifestyle and salty demeanor are so
entertaining that the omission is forgivable.

By Jeff Dickerson
Daily Arts Editor
The Sega Dreamcast never had a
chance to succeed. It had its short run of
modest popularity, but was soon over-
powered by Sony's more
powerful system, the Play a
Station 2, in October of
1999. The release of PS2
marked the end of the
Dreamcast and its impres- JET SE'
sive library of exclusive FU
games. One of the mostX
innovative games in the
oft overlooked Dreamcast Si
library was the cel-ani-
mated graffiti skater, "Jet Grind Radio."
For the sequel, "Jet Set Radio
Future," Sega developer Smilebit opted
to take their unique visuals to the most
powerful workhorse available, the
Xbox. The cel-animation approach is
improved exponentially, with more
emphasis on the interactivity with the
background and other characters. Ani-
mation is much smoother on the more
powerful system, making the game look
like a cartoon.
The format remains the same.
Skaters travel across massive levels
strategically painting graffiti in enemy
territory. Your skates are magnetically

Sega

charged, giving the player the ability to
grind on rails and various other edges.
Unlike the previous games, tricks are
essential to "Jet Set Radio Future." A
combination of tricks increases the
speed of the characters, allowing them
to access areas otherwise
unavailable.
Due to the similarity
ik* between the Dreamcast
and Xbox controllers,
RADIO handling "Jet Set Radio
JRE Future" is an easy transi-
tion from the tight con-
ox trols of the original. One
a of the more frustrating
aspects of the original
was the occasional difficulty in tagging
opponents with graffiti. Developers
took notice and made the action easier
to pull off, making the gameplay infi-
nitely less frustrating.
"Jet Set Radio Future" is a signifi-
cant improvement of the Dreamcast
original. With more characters, broad-
er levels and an array of new moves,
fans of "Jet Grind Radio" will find
plenty of new material to enjoy. While
the game takes only about 15 hours to
complete, there is enough variety in
the gameplay and hidden secrets to
keep players skating down the cel-ani-
mated streets of Tokyo.

.The tragic story of the trial and lycigor Northern
Jew wro ngly accused of kiling young Atlanta girl.

Fixmix's new 'Ultimate Fights'
rehashes several classic scenes

By Lyle Henretty
Daily Arts Editor

A LOVE STOR A TRUE STORY A MUSICAL
"Parade is one of the most gratifying serious book
musicals in a long time - Newsday
Winner of 2 Tony Awards'
Book by Alfred Uhry author of Driving Miss Daisy
Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
April11 -1Sat 8pm'-April 14 at 2pm
Power Center # UM Musical Theatre Dept.
League Ticket Office * 734-764-2538

The box to FlixMix's new anthol-
ogy of carnage and violence prom-
ises a. "Total overload of extreme
action," a bold statement that fal-
ters more often than flourishes.
Overload was never a
problem. While "Ulti- a
mate Fights: From the
Movies" does indeed ULTIM
include fights, and FIGH
they are certainly from
movies, their "ulti- Picture/Sound
mate" status is quite Movie: *
questionable.F
"Ultimate Fights" Features:**
presents 16 fight FlixM
scenes ranging in qual-
ity from the final church show-
down from John Woo's "The
Killer" to the back alley brawl
between "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and
Keith David in "They Live."
This DVD will appeal only to
fight fans that don't like all the
exposition that an actual movie
provides. The kind of person that
would have liked "Snatch" more if
it weren't for all of those fruity
"talking" scenes, or finds "Scar-
face" too "plotty."
FlixMix is making a name for
itself releasing anthology DVDs,
such as last years "Boogeymen: A
killer compilation." "Boogeymen"
showed the scariest scenes from the
scariest films throughout film his-

H
is

tory. Apparently one of those
scenes is from "Child's Play 2."
This is the sort of misguided grab-
bag approach that FlixMix takes in
scene selection.
No red-blooded American male
would disagree with the inclusion
of drug-lord Tony Montana taking
out his hombres with a
rocket, but "Gladia-
tor?" FlixMix should
RATE keep in mind that
ITS "Gladiator" came out
a mere two years ago
l:***9 and made slightly over
a billion-trillion dol-
lars. Everyone has
seen it, no one cares
Aix anymore. Not even a
little bit. Same goes
for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden
Dragon." A great movie, sure, but
not camp enough to be incuded
with "The Players Club."
Where is "Blood in Blood Out?"
How about "Total Recall," "Com-
mando," "Raw Deal" and "Her-
cules in New York?" Arnold is
under-representative, and it's a
shameful crime.
Just in case the DVD wasn't
quite trashy enough, FlixMix lays
on the extras with the subtlety of
neon orange. The "Behind the
Punches" featurette shows you how
to stage your own fight scene, if
you happen to be a famous fight
choreographer. Did you know that
they really don't hit each other in

LITTLE BLACK BOOKS
WITH NAMES AND NUMBERS,
THOSE ARE THE
BOOKS YOU KEEP.
* SELL BACK YOUR BOOKS *

the movies? They often pull their
punches! How neat!
Someone also thought that it
would be a great idea to add an
audio track titled "The Ultimate
Rumble Techno Mix," which is
actually scored in sync with each
fight. I'm not kidding, someone
was actually paid to do this. While
I'm not inherently opposed to
musicians picking up a paycheck to
feed their family, good God, have
some self respect.
Also included is audio commen-
tary by Hong Kong director Tsui
Hark, which is about as interesting
as a Hong Kong director can be
while he's musing about that clas-
sic of cinema, "Timecop."
For those of you that really don't
have anything better to do, you can
play "Name that Frame," a test of
skill in which you must guess what
film is being shown. And you only
get to see one frame! Tricky.
Anyone that would really enjoy
"Ultimate Fights" would probably
already have DVD versions of
almost every movie in the collec-
tion. The extras are exciting if
you've never seen a DVD before,
or if you have a brain the size of a
snowpea.
So rent a few of these individual
flicks, ("The Legend of Drunken
Masters" is a good choice) enjoy
the camp and cross your fingers.
FilmFlix "Loads 'O Laughs" is on
the horizen. Pray for us.

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