March 28, 2003
By Daniel Yowell
Daily Arts Writer
'Tremors' shakes up SciFi
Courtesy of little
Wonder. % :.
LISTEN TO YOUR
DURHAM TRIO IS READY TO TAKE
Welcome to the quaint, sleepy town of Perfection, Nev.:
proud home to the Graboids - a species of enormous, tenta-
cled, burrowing sand worms. Even though Graboids will
make a meal out of just about anything from humans to cattle
to automobiles, they are a government-protected endangered
species. This leaves the small population of stubborn and
eccentric Perfectionistas no choice but to
learn to live with the dangerous beasts.
Based on the 1990 film and its Tremors:
numerous sequels, "Tremors: The The Series
Series" is best described as an action sit- Fridays at
com. The quirky and one-dimensional 10 p.m.
folks of Perfection make up a ragtag SciFi
crew of do-it-yourselfers who accept the
challenge of dealing with Graboids as well as investigating
other unexplained phenomena, the likes of which Perfection
Valley has no shortage.
Although Kevin Bacon does not reprise his role from the
original movie, the gun-toting paramilitary soldier and con-
spiracy theorist Burt Gummer (Michael Gross, "Family Ties")
is back in a lead role. Gummer was a standout character in the
movie, and placing the series' focus on his vigilante activity
makes "Tremors" similar to Chris Carter's short-lived "X-
Files" spinoff, "The Lone Gunmen."
Alongside Burt Gummer is the town newbie and dashing
hero-hunk, Tyler Reed (Victor Browne), a former NASCAR
driver who arrives in Perfection intending to revive a defunct
tour company that formerly led visitors through the perilous
valley. While most of the action centers around Tyler and
Burt, characters like former hippie chick Nancy Sterngood
(Marcia Strassman) and cute, perky general store owner Jodi
courtesy of Scam
What's up Big Perm? I mean, Big Worm.
Chang (Lela Lee) add some cheesy humor to the mix. Rosali-
ta Sanchez (Gladise Jimenez), an ex-Vegas showgirl, runs a
ranch in town and brings requisite sexual tension to the show
through her ongoing flirtation with Tyler.
"Tremors" features a variety of special effects, combining
computer graphics and puppetry with generally good-looking
results. The notorious albino Graboid, El Blanco, burrows
under the sand Bugs Bunny-style and, in one scene, bursts
through the floor of Chang's Market convincingly. The frenet-
ic camera work during action scenes as well as the overall
tone of the show is reminiscent of Sam Raimi's successful
syndicated fantasy series "Xena: Warrior Princess."
"Tremors" debuts tonight at 9 p.m with two episodes on
SciFi, but it will normally air Fridays at 10 p.m. The show
stays true to the movies by featuring real action thrills but
never taking itself too seriously. While it can't be considered
first-rate television per se, the formulaic "Tremors" captures a
distinct B-movie flavor and charm that is sure to attract a
By Joseph Litman
Daily Arts Writer
Durham, N.C. is not hip-hop's epicenter - yet.
Ok, honestly, it will likely never supplant New York in
rap's geographic hierarchy. However, The Listening, an aus-
picious and exciting debut LP from Little Brother - pro-
ducer 9th Wonder and MCs Phonte and Big Pooh -
portends that hip-hop's best new group will put Durham on
music's map single-handedly.
Updating a sound reminiscent of the Native Tongue fam-
ily, Little Brother makes music that all hip-hop fans should
love, and as the group stands on the precipice of greatness
and universal acclaim, the three affable and intelligent gen-
tlemen spoke with The Michigan Daily about their music
and their careers.
The Michigan Daily: How did you guys hook up?
Phonte: We all met at North Carolina Central Universi-
ty and the night that we recorded "Speed" was the night
when we decided that we would try to make things happen
as a group.
TMD: What are you guys doing to get your name out
there aside from putting The Listening in stores?
Big Pooh: We're doing live shows and meeting people,
man. When you can hear a band and see them in person -
that's real and it will help separate us, once everyone sees
us perform. We're just doing dates here and there right now,
P: Yeah, just hitting certain cities and states right now.
We might also go abroad. There won't be a full out tour
until this summer when we'll be out for like a month
Aside from that, it's like what Pooh said, just trying to
stay in contact with people, making connections, respond-
ing to emails in my inbox, you know? It's important to
acknowledge the fans. That's what we're all about.
TMD: Do you like it when people compare you to De
La Soul and Pete Rock?
9th Wonder: We'd rather be compared to those cats -
De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest - all day because we real-
ly don't want to be compared to new jacks. If you're play-
ing ball, you'd rather be compared to Mike Jordan than
Sedale Threatt. You want to be compared to the great ones.
TMD: 9th, how do you make your layered beats, which
are sample heavy?
9th: At first, I didn't know what I was doing, so I'd hear
a sample, throw drums on it, and that was it. Now, I have
my own type of sound, which is derived from a lot of oth-
ers, and I do a lot of stuff that other cats don't. I just start on
one phrase, one piece of a sample, and just build on that.
Sometimes you have your good days and sometimes you
have your bad ones, but if you just keep at it - get a hot
beat and hot lyrics - you'll be alright. That's a big piece of
the Little Brother story.
TMD: So then Phonte, Pooh, how do you guys go about
writing once 9th gets you a hot beat?
P: It all starts with the track, and Pooh and I will sit down
with it and come up with a concept or whatever. I come up
with a lot of the hooks,.so I might get one in my head and
then we'll write around that. It's like writing a paper: The
hook is the thesis statement, and you then build around your
thesis. The important thing is that we make sure we have
something to say; we make sure we ain't putting words
together just for the sake of rhyming. It doesn't have to have
a message, but people need to know more about Phonte and
Pooh each time after hearing us on the mic.
TMD: Who is your target audience?
BP: Everyone who listens. We didn't set out looking for
a certain group. There's something for everybody.
P: However, when Pooh says that there's something for
everybody, it's not like we said, 'tLet's get the Nepfne's *to'
do one club joint and Timbaland to do another." Unlike
most rap albums now, where there's 16 or 17 songs with no
focus, having done something for every crowd, we don't try
to appeal to everybody and then wind up appealing to
nobody. We just wanted to stay true to our sound and make
a regular record using our early-'90s throwback sound. We
don't just want the backpack crowd, we're trying to get to
the cats listening to Fabolous too.
For more from Little Brother about music, Durham
and wheatgrass-drinking, coffee-house motherfuckers,
peep the full transcript of their interview at
www.michigandaily.com on Monday.
Family domiates tbird season of 'Six'
By Ryan Vu
For the Daily
Called groundbreaking and life
affirming as well as pretentious and
insipid, "Six Feet Under" has certainly
made an impression on HBO viewers.
Having just begun its third season, now
is the time for
those who have
never seen this
gram to tune in.
The new season
results of choices
made last season and is approaching
what may be pivotal moments in each
of the character's lives. Lacking any
major crisis to centralize the plot, such
as the first season's near-buyout of
Fisher & Sons and Nate's impending
operation in the second season, the
focus now lies more heavily on the
individual members of the Fisher
Seven months have passed since
Nate's (Peter Krause) operation; he is
Courtesy of HBO
You wanna have like 10,000 of his babies.
now married to Lisa (Lily Tomlin)
who has just left working as a live-in
cook fora 'aeroticHollywoodpro
ducer (played to the hilt by Catherine
O'Hara); the two are hard at work
building a life together with their
Ruth (Frances Conroy) has started a
new friendship with Bettina (guest star
Kathy Bates, who also directs a few
episodes), while David (Michael C.
Hall) and Keith (Matthew St. Patrick)
struggle to maintain their relationship.
Claire (Lauren Ambrose) is becoming
more engaged in art school and has dif-
ficulties with a new boyfriend who
likes to "see other girls" while Federico
(Freddy Rodriguez) deals with the
challenges of his new role as a full
partner in the funeral home. With
Nate's troubled ex, Brenda (Rachel
Griffiths), rumored to be making her
reappearance soon, it should be inter-
esting to see how things develop for the
The phenomenal writing of "Six Feet
Under" keeps these various plotlines
from spiraling out of control, managing
to maintain the show's unique flavor of
drama, black comedy and quirky real-
ism, with a dash of metaphysical medi-
tation on life and death that elevates the
series above the level of a mere soap
opera for intellectuals.
Granted, the increased focus on fam-
ily relationships may alienate some
viewers, and the jarring resolution to
last season's cliffhanger might seem
like too much of a cop-out, but the
quality writing and performances keep
audiences emotionally invested. As
Olivier (Peter Macdissi), Claire's
unconventional new art teacher, says,
good art must make us feel something,
positive or negative, "otherwise, who
gives a fuck?"
in the Pitts'
By Jaya SonI
Daily Arts Writer
Hungarian sounds fill Muzsikds' fresh performance
By Lynn Hasselbarth
Daily Arts Writer
FINE ARTS PREVIEW
Performing Saturday night with the
Takics Quartet and on Sunday in a
solo performance, the folk music of
ensemble Muzsikns expresses the life
and sounds of Hungarian villages,
FOX's new Sunday night comedy
"The Pitts" stars a peculiar group with
all the characteristics of a typical prime
time television family: the rascal ado-
lescent son, the defiant but responsible
teenage daughter, and two adoring par-
ents. Together the
four create a
qirky bunch that The Pitts
plunges into life's Sundays at
sticky situations. 9
As the father, FOX
Bob Pitt (Dylan
Baker, "Happiness") says, his family
isn't cursed, it just has "bad luck."
Similar to television land's infamous
Munster family, the strange occur-
rences within the Pitt house are public
Bob and Liz Pitt (Kellie Waymire)
have a doting, all-too-perfect rela-
tionship. They drink from cups with
matching self-portraits, work togeth-
er in a packaging and mail store and
cling to one another in spare
moments. The humor of this unreal-
istic plot quickly becomes irritating
as the other characters also depict
Cour tes yIfFOX
Johnny won't eat his ice cream.
Faith (Lizzy Caplan) and her little
brother Petey (David Henrie) consis-
tently fight, similar to the children on
"Malcolm in the Middle" and other
The introduction of "The Pitts"
depicts the show's intent to model
popular culture. Unfortunately, the
overuse of familiar images has nega-
tive effects. Coupled with their ideal
family characteristics, the Pitts find
themselves in unlikely predicaments.
Scenes with a psychotic nanny, a
haunted car and Faith stabbing Bob in
the chest with a syringe are reminis-
cent of recognizable movies such as
As a result, episode themes are pre-
dictable and the familiar dialogue
sounds inadequate compared to their
tion with purpose
Muzikis will fea-
ture the added
artistry of soloist
Zoltan Farkas and
Saturday at 8 p.m.
and Sunday at 4 p.m.
$10 Student rush
behind the sheer delight of the musi-
cians on stage is a serious commit-
ment to Hungarian heritage and the
need to sustain a culture that was
"Around the edges, in the territo-
ries that belonged to Hungary before
the first World War, traditional cul-
ture was also the tool of survival,"
notes lead vocalist Marta Sebestyen.
Internationally known for her award
winning vocals on The English
Patient Soundtrack, Sebestyen is
more concerned with the truthful
music of her village ancestry. It is
this music that speaks of life and
struggle, commitment and compas-
sion. It is this vitality and honesty
that Muzsikas seeks to sustain.
By the turn of the 20th century, the
industrial revolution had swept over
Hungary transforming much of the
old culture in Budapest into an indus-
The famous Hungarian musician
and composer Bela Bartok feared this
trend would expand to the precious
corners of Hungarian society, taking
with it the remaining forms of tradi-
tional music. For two years (1912-14),
Bartok left the lavish concert halls of
Budapest and devoted himself to the
collection, arrangement and study of
folk music, until World War I put an
end to his expeditions.
During these years, Bartok crept
into the most remote villages with a
portable phonograph, recording the
musical narratives of Hungarian her-
itage. By doing so he preserved a
tradition and future of Hungarian
Bartok's desire to move forward
with new interpretations of music
while remaining committed to Hun-
garian tradition is evident in all the
musicians of Muzsikas. Originally
brought together in 1973 for the sheer
fun of musical collaboration, the
group soon took on the daunting task
of recording the fragmented pieces of
village music from Bartok's primitive
recording devises. In 1999, Muzsikas
released a highly sophisticated and
richly historical album appropriately
named The BartokAlbum.
Despite the emphasis placed on his-
torical Hungarian music, Muzsikas is
very sensitive to audiences' assump-
tion that their performances only con-
sist of "museum pieces." On the
contrary, Muzikas presents a fresh
interpretation of this style of dance
music and encourages others to seek
sounds that speak truth and meaning.
Saturday's performance features the
Quartet, which will perform works
composed by Bartok and Kodaly.
Founded in 1975 by students at the
Liszt Academy in Budapest, this quar-
tet is founded on the same love and
appreciation for Hungarian music and
composers. The traditional Hungarian
folksongs of Muzsikas will be inter-
spersed throughout the program draw-
ing together Bartok's classical
compositions and his deep commit-
ment to village culture.
Together, they create a musical atmos-
phere that depicts the experience of
traditional Hungarian villages.
Sounds of the fiddle and viola, string
bass and guitar resonate throughout
Muzikis' Gypsy folk tunes. These
instruments coalesce in what seems to
be a simple and carefree, improvisa-
tional dance fanfare. However, what is
I All Units Indoors
A world premiere written and directed by
A fun-filled play about how clothes and