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October 29, 2002 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-10-29

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Tuesday
October 29, 2002
michigandaily.com/arts
mae@michigandaily.com

UJip9St$a ll
ARTS

5

'24' makes its
triumphant
* return on FOX
By Christian Smith
Daily Arts Writer
In one of television's most surprising and memorable
scenes of last year, federal agent Jack Bauer cradled his
pregnant wife's lifeless body in his arms, bringing to an end
an intensely eventful day of conspiracy, terror and tragedy.
After the artistic and creative success of the first season,
it seemed it would be difficult to retain the suspense and
originality of the show without retreading some of the same
waters. And because the show's groundbreaking achieve-
ment didn't necessarily translate into commercial success
(the series averaged only 8.6 million weekly viewers), the
producers of the show had difficulty convincing the network
to continue with the real-time concept that made the show
innovative in the first place. The concern was that the over-
arching format (24 hours in one day equals 24 episodes of
one season) is too restrictive to potential viewers in that self-
contained episodes allow the audience to come and go at
their leisure.
This was evident in last year's complex, season-long plot-
line, in which Bauer, a government agent of the CIA's
Counter Terrorist Unit, was suddenly assigned the task of
stopping an assassination attempt on leading Presidential
Candidate Senator David Palmer while simultaneously
attempting to find his kidnapped wife and daughter. Bauer
ultimately derailed the plot and recovered his family, but not
before his wife was murdered by his ex-girlfriend/agency

Rabbi Kushner reads from latest
book, 'Living a Life that Matters'

By Maureen McKinney
Daily Arts Writer

While there are numerous book
titles that can be classified within
the self-help and spirituality genre,
there are, of course, always a few
authors that manage to distinguish
themselves by producing unique and
valuable instructions for living a
better and more complete life. The

tent, as well as themes of strength
and perseverance.
Other noteworthy titles include
"How Good Do We Have to Be?: A
New Understanding of Guilt and
Forgiveness," "To Life! A Celebra-
tion of Jewish Being and Thinking"
and "When All You've Ever Wanted
Isn't Enough."
What makes Rabbi Kushner's
writings so engaging is the manner
in which they have
been wholly embraced
by people of every, or
OLD no particular, religious
[NER denomination. While
the celebratory theme
rty St. of Jewish teachings
lers and culture is evident
t 7 p.m. in all of Kushner's
writings, he is able to
write in a style that is

works of these writers
stand apart from the
rest because of particu-
lar wisdom, but also
because of the essential
quality of accessibility.
Rabbi Harold Kushn-
er undoubtedly holds a
place at the highest
echelon of spiritual
writing. Kushner, who
has served as the Rabbi
Temple Israel in Natick,l

HAR
7KUSH
At Libe
Bord
Tonight a

thinking on a smaller scale enables
one to see the significant benefits
of small acts of generosity, mercy,
and empathy. These sorts of
actions are probably not what most
would think of as the usual avenue
of success. However, Rabbi Kushn-
er places a far greater emphasis on
the maintenance of individual rela-
tionships as a means to a reward-
ing end.
While this event may be of spe-
cial interest to members of the Jew-
ish community, all can benefit from
Rabbi Kushner's words of encour-
agement and wisdom. "Living a
Life That Matters" provides a new
and valuable interpretation of suc-
cess that does not necessitate a sin-
gle-focus on winning, but rather,
seeks to illustrate how personal ful-
fillment is possible without com-
promising virtue and integrity.
K USH NE .R
Living a
LI.eT heat
Mtter

Laureate of
Mass. since

turncoat, Nina.v
Following such an intricate and demanding
hesitation was understandable. But somehow,
the masterminds behind "24" have managed
to come up with an idea that is equally as
timely, inventive and exciting as the original.
Tonight's second season premiere picks up
16 months later. Senator Palmer is now Presi-
dent Palmer (Dennis Haysbert, "Major
League"), and Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland)
is a grieving and depressed mess, inactive
from CTU and detached from his daughter,
Kim (Elisha Cuthbert). While Bauer contin-

story, FOX'S

2q
Tuesdaysa
FO:

Kiefer Sutherland gears up for his second season.
Other prominent new characters include a wily new Presi-
dential aide (Timothy Carhart) and an overeager computer
programmer at CTU (Sarah Gilbert, "Roseanne"), who will
be joining such CTU regulars as Tony Almeida (Carlos
Bernard) and George Mason (Xander Berkeley), all of
whom will undoubtedly become drawn into
the political intrigue before long.
Also returning for the second wind,
-** although not in the premiere, will be the Pres-
ident's scheming and manipulative (now ex-)
wife, Sherry (Penny Johnson Gerald), as well
as Nina's betraying CTU mole, played by a
at 9 p.m. passionate Sarah Clarke.
X All of the characters are exceptionally craft-
ed and superbly acted, but as there isn't much
room for character development within the
given format, it's Sutherland's tour-de-force performance as
the emotionally battered and conflicted Bauer that buttresses
the show's appeal. Along with his wife, he has lost his lim-
its, and has no problem demonstrating this in truly shocking
fashion in the first hour.
The producers don't shy away from the uncomfortable
subject matter and questionable motives, exploring the time-
ly topic of terrorism head-on. Although the ambiguous
"Second Wave" terrorist organization has ties to an
unnamed country, the proposition of such a dastardly event
and its appalling consequences are revealed in a way that
horrifically parallels our reality, maybe too much so for
some viewers. Nonetheless, the show's depth and complexi-
ty makes it is safe to say that you are not going to find a bet-
ter program on network television than "24," and you don't
want to miss a second. Fortunately, FOX'S sister cable net-
work, FX, will be airing episodes after they run on Tues-
days, so there is no excuse not to follow this year.

1966, is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y.
He attended Columbia University,
and also studied at the Hebrew Uni-
versity in Jerusalem and Harvard
Divinity School. Additionly, Rabbi
Kushner has been awarded six hon-
orary doctorates and many other
significant accolades including the
Christopher Medal and the Yitzhak
Rabin Award.
While Rabbi Kushner's latest
book "Living a Life That Matters:
Resolving the Conflict Between
Conscience and Success" is of par-
ticular interest, it is one in a line of
many books of guidance that Kush-
ner has produced. His most
renowned work, "When Bad Things
Happen to Good People," recently
celebrated its 20th anniversary. The
book struck a tremendous chord
with a wide range of readers
because of its deeply personal con-
Author of
debuts late

accessible to non-Jews as well. This
is largely due to thorough and mov-
ing discussions of pivotal, universal
principles such as generosity, for-
giveness, and strength in the face of
adversity and personal loss.
In "Living a Life That Matters,"
Kushner adeptly discusses the
inherent difficulties attached to
ambition and the ever-present drive
to excel and distinguish oneself in
everyday life. He stresses the vital
importance of maintaining one's
value system while pursuing suc-
cess, and he also provides a new
framework through which to evalu-
ate personal achievement. A partic-
ular focus is placed on a
contemplative evaluation of one's
definition of success, especially
with regard to family members and
friends.
Rabbi Kushner cleverly refers to
this as the "Best Actor in a Sup-
porting Role." In other words,

ues to mourn the murder of his wife, Kim works as a nanny
for a swanky upper-class family, whose paterfamilias turns
out to be a little more authoritative than she would like.
Meanwhile, at precisely 8 a.m. the President receives
word in the middle of a fishing trip that terrorists have a
rogue nuclear bomb somewhere on U.S. soil, and they are
planning to detonate it within the next 24 hours. Thus enters
the real-time format, and of course, Jack Bauer. Palmer per-
suades Bauer, who with his craggy beard and flannel shirt
looks more like a weathered lumberjack than a government
agent, to return to CTU and head-up the anti-terrorist effort.
A handful of vaguely interconnected subplots are also
introduced, including a wedding day suspicion coming from
a woman (Sarah Wynter) who believes that her sister may be
marrying a dangerous man with possible terrorist ties.
Assuredly, these will become less vague and more connect-
ed over the course of the season, culminating in some form
of thrillingly intricate plot revelation.

L I

The Virgin Suicides'
est at Shaman Drum

By Jaya Soni
Daily Arts Writer

Great writing highlights 'Fields'

By Ryan Lewis
Daily Arts Writer
Like the applauded writers and sen-
timental quotes that it references, "The
Man from Elysian Fields" flows in
poetic fashion through its vibrant act-
ing and brutal honesty. The moral
weight of the story is completely drain-
ing, but it takes life in its telling -
actually in its effective transgressions
- that begs the question of whether it
is better to partake in a questionable
opportunity to provide or try to rise out
of the ashes on one's
own merits. S
Byron Tiller, played
magnificently by Andy H
Garcia, is a down-on-
his-luck writer who THE M
devoted seven years of ELYSIA]
sweat to writing his first
book that critics praised, At State
but which few people Samuel
have read and even
fewer have bought. Hap-
pily married to Dena (Julianna Mar-
gulies, "Out for Justice") with a
young son, he can hardly pay the
bills; the money from his book is run-
ning thin, and he has done nothing
since. Turned down by his publisher,
denied by a past employer and
scorned by his father-in-law, Byron
has few options left - until he meets

the smooth-talking businessman
Luther Fox (Mick Jagger).
Byron's struggles are all-too appar-
ent and heartfelt. Garcia is known for
his ability to breath life into suffi-
ciently complex characters. This per-
formance, less flashy than most of his
roles, allows him to take elegant
words and emote deep-rooted feel-
ings. His normal extroversion is
exchanged for a sublime character
that has trouble with the very things
that are his livelihood: his words.
Andy Garcia has never been better.

AN FROM
N FIELDS
e Theater
Goldwyn

Fox offers him a job
"fulfilling" lonely
women as an escort,
which can be as tempo-
rary as he desires. Des-
perate for anything,
Byron trades in his
morality and is quickly
set up with his first date.
Andrea Alcott (Olivia
Williams, "Rushmore"),
wife of celebrated, dying

Coburn is fantastic as Tobias
Alcott. His humorous demeanor and
light view of death provide comic
relief and a tender touch of wisdom.
Scenes featuring him and Garcia are
breathtaking as the two extraordinary
actors compliment one another. Elo-
quent and inspiring, his is by far
above any other supporting perform-
ance this year.
Little-known director George Hick-
enlooper has transformed the words
of Phillip Lasker into a forceful film
with a compelling and deeply mean-
ingful theme. With the skill of many
of the most famous filmmakers, he
lets the story tell itself without adding
empty dribble or frothy, strained sen-
timentality. Through subtle emotions,
unnoticeably simple but incredible
camerawork and the actors' talents,
he lays out the platform for the audi-
ence and guides them without
expressly providing a direct or exact
message.
This film rivals any in its sheer
number of memorable quotes. Lasker
has written a terrific screenplay for
his first effort. It does everything
through its characters and sets the
stage to make a great film. Where the
actors give fantastic displays, they are
enhanced by the strength in his well-
crafted tale.
Where one man loses his soul,
nobody profits. The film tells how it
is the forgiveness of faults and self-
actualization that matters in life.
Evoking the ultimate level of person-
al hell, it is a stunning trip through
the inferno that brings out the peace-
ful intricacies of what it means to be
alive.
School Choice Research
Ned Ybflj!r 1nr pays $4-$191 (12 agi
SIGN' Uij
hw schi1!,bicr:se;N' / li 'us.- d, ea1
Ea \^ ju 'MA" ~i~I ~k

Michigan native Jeffrey Eugenides returns tonight to
engage Ann Arbor's literary community with his second
novel, "Middlesex;" Nearly at the end of a 12 city book
tour, Eugenides has scheduled Shaman Drum Bookshop
as the second of three Michigan readings.
Eugenides is best known for his 1993
debut novel, "The Virgin Suicides," an
enthralling narrative of black humor and JEFF
sinuous drama. With a plot that hinges on EUGE
the peripheral lines of social context, "The At Sham
Virgin Suicides" depicts the infatuation a Book
group of local Michigan boys have for
five suicidal sisters. "The Virgin Sui- Toight
cides" conveys Eugenides' unique ability
to transform the darkness and disparity of suicide into a
familiar and defiantly witty portrayal of adolescence.
Such distinction earned "The Virgin Suicides" the 1993
Whiting Award and the ALA Book of the. Year. More
noticeably, "Virgin Suicides" has been translated into
15 languages and produced into a 1999 film starring
Kathleen Turner, James Woods, Kirsten Dunst and Josh
Hartnett.
However, Eugenides comes to Ann Arbor not to bask
in the success of his previous novel, but to demonstrate
his repertoire of skill evident in "Middlesex," refined
through prestigious academia. He graduated magna cum
laude from Brown University and polished his profi-
ciency through Stanford's English and Creative Writing
Masters program. In recent years, Eugenides has
received numerous awards, such as fellowships from the
Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment
for the Arts. He currently lives in Germany with his
wife and child where he serves as a Fellow of the Amer-
ican Academy in Berlin.
Despite such an intellectually prosperous adulthood,
"Middlesex" is reminiscent of the author's local
upbringing. The long-awaited second novel is a narra-
tive journey in which a 41-year old hermaphrodite
named Cal traces his physiological and cultural
upbringing to the incestuous relationship of his Greek
grandparents. Both Eugenides and Cal, short for Cal-
liope Stephanides, were raised in the suburbs outside of
Detroit and are of Greek descent.
"Middlesex" appeals to more than those interested in
gender or cultural issues. The rareness of Cal's "5-Alpha-

FREY
NIDES
an Drum
kshop
at 8 p.m.

ty to surface.

sex" opens with "I was born twice: first as a
baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit
day in January of 1960; and then again, as a
teenage boy, in an emergency room near
Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974."
Eugenides articulation of such compli-
cated issues as suicide and hermaphrodite
identity substantiate the eloquence of his
talent. Be prepared, as the "Middlesex"
reading may allow more than Cal's identi-

Reductase Pseudohermaphrodite" state intertwines with
the values of being human and the intangible intricacies
of life. "Middlesex" allows the reader to contemplate the
complexity of ambiguity and the indefinable realms of a
unique world both physically and emotionally. This chal-
lenge is eloquently portrayed through the direct narration
that leaves little to hide and much to consider. "Middle-

author Tobias Alcott (James Coburn),
tempts him into the business further
than he had hoped. She has the face of
an angel and a husband who can give
him the chance he has always wanted.
He is caught in a whirlwind of strange
situations from which he would love to
escape but cannot bear to turn away.
The collective performance of the
entire cast is remarkable. Garcia and
Margulies play off each other's tal-
ents, having moments when they
shine together and others when one's
precedence brings radiant exchanges
of passion. Williams truly does have
the face of an angel. The coldness and
insensitivity in her character trans-
forms a feeling of manipulation for
Byron into an empathetic sadness in
the audience. And Jagger, who has
been relatively absent from the screen
for nearly a decade, is perfect, bring-
ing with him tremendous presence
that lends great weight to his role.

I -I

Cedarpe

Summer Season 2003
AUDITIONS
, &xTechnical

~&'~5 ,( 'I

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