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April 02, 2004 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-04-02

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April 2, 2004




By Alex Wolsky
Daily Arts Editor
"It's just Halloween - I've got my Bob Dylan
mask on, I'm masquerading."
Bob Dylan was always an enigma. On October
31, 1964, to an adoring crowd of faithful follow-
ers, Dylan performed at New York City's most
prestigious venue at the time, Philharmonic Hall.

Brlnng bac
The Super Bowl - before being
overshadowed by "wardrobe
malfunctions" - served as the
launch pad for special episodes or
series premiers. Back in '99, I was
more anxious than ever for the debut-
ing show, especially considering the
lackluster Broncos-Falcons game that
preceded it. This new animated series,
paired with a special episode of "The
Simpsons," was going to be the perfect
companion piece. "Family Guy" not
only met my expectations, but its rau-
cous, pop-culture-laden segues offered
a completely unrelenting approach to
The series followed the exploits of
the Griffen family, their dog Brian and
the residents of Quahog, R.I.
Three uproariously humorous sea-
sons later - after complete misman-
agement by the network - "Family
Guy" vanished from the schedule.
FOX had the opportunity to create a
night filled with remarkable animated
classics with "King of the Hill,"
"Futurama" and "The Simpsons," but
inexplicably removed "Family Guy,"
hindering its chances for success.
With the boom of TV on DVD, all
I could do was hope that the show
would be released. Last year, the
error of the network's ways finally
came to light with a successful run of
the episodes on Cartoon Network
and on DVD.
Few shows dared to cover the topics
that "Family Guy" would. Creator
Seth MacFarlane pulled no punches,
best shown by the unaired episode
"When You Wish Upon a Weinsten"
first seen on the DVD, in which Peter
decides to have his son Chris convert
to Judaism to become smarter.
Strong DVD sales and incredible
cable ratings have resuscitated my fond-
ly remembered cartoon. No longer rele-
gated to rerun limbo, Peter, Stewie and
the gang will return in January 2005, in
a completely unprecedented move.
But will it be the same show that
shocked viewers with unabashed jokes
about race, religion and sex? I hate to

t 1
think that MacFarlane would agree to
release a watered-down version of his
brainchild, but who knows? The net-
works have been browbeaten by adver-
tisers into changing content, shying
away from things deemed obscene.
FOX, while often unabashed in its
disturbing and disgusting reality pro-
gramming - look at the upcoming
"The Swan," for example - may fear
backlash for an animated show as it
appears to be innocent.
FOX may be too afraid to let "Fami-
ly Guy" be as free as it once was. The
show constantly plays off of things
that shouldn't be funny. Stewie often
attempts to murder his mother, neigh-
bor Quagmire constantly tries to sexu-
ally assault women and Peter treats
people like stereotypes. If a return of
the series means that the show has to
change, then don't bring it back. I
have the DVDs, and I can watch it on
cable, but I don't want a FCC-friendly
"Family Guy."
"South Park," a similarly foul-
mouthed and R-rated cartoon, doesn't
have to deal with the constraints of
network TV Cable is a different beast
than the networks, which is why more
risque series can get around censors. If
"Family Guy" comes back to FOX, as
opposed to Cartoon Network, it's not
as fortunate as "South Park."
Even with the fear of a post-"nip-
plegate" TV landscape, I still have
high hopes for the Griffens. FOX
missed the boat the first time and
now sees the potential profits in its
return. Additionally, the precedent is
now set that passionate fans who rally
around prematurely cancelled
favorites (just look at what is going
on with the fan campaigns for the
WB's "Angel") actually can have an
effect. But why worry about the
potential pitfalls? Welcome back,
"Family Guy." I'll be watching.
-Adam is personally leading a cam-
paign to get 'Angel" back on the air
Mock him relentlessly for that and other
things at arotten@umich.edu

The year had been tumul-
tuous for the folk icon: His
wife had left him and he had
just completed his first
national tour, only to return
home disenchanted in folk
music and preparing to make
a sea change into the world of
The crowd that attended the

Bob Dylan
Series 6:
Concert at

performance had thel
young poet laureate. A
would become in later
as the voice of the cis
anti-war movements ir
voice of protest.
Bootleg Series
6: Concert at Phil-
harmonic Hall is,
thus, more essen-
tial than it is per-
fect. In fact, its
imp e r fec t i on s
show the openness an
and youth of Dylan
appears to be slightly
dropping his guitar pi
pick it up and the othe
out it) and often bur
reason. He appears, o
with the home crowd,
Conversely, he also se
making the turn into
The solo Dylan play
of favorites ("The Time
"Don't Think Twice, I
("Talkin' John Birch P
Davey Moore?" and "T
tie Carroll") and protes
III Blues"). The crowd

highest expectations for its
ks opposed to the figure he
years, Dylan was still seen
vil rights, disarmament and
n America - an honorable

Courtesy o Columbia

Heh. Heh. Alright.

d comfort with his audience out Joan Baez, the most socially active musician of
more than anything. He the time, to accompany him on four songs, includ-
inebriated, forgetting lines, ing the anti-war diatribe "With God on Our Side."
ick twice (once he stops to However what makes Series 6 special is the fact
r he just continues on with- that Dylan, while running through these songs, had
sts out in laughter without one foot firmly placed in the future.
n the outside, comfortable At the time, nobody, including Dylan, knew
after a long year of touring. how much the next year would change him, and
ems to be preoccupied with that tension surrounds Series 6. In some respect,
more personal, introverted Dylan had already made his move by the time he
walked out into the Philharmonic that night. His
ed stark, powerful renditions Another Side of Bob Dylan had been released
es They Are A-Changin" and five months earlier and included "My Back
t's Alright"), political songs Pages," which directly disowned the moral
aranoid Blues," "Who Killed absolutes of the folk and political scenes that had
The Lonesome Death of Hat- already staked a claim to his writing.
st songs ("Talkin' World War But in another respect, Dylan seemed tentative
roared when Dylan brought about progressing in that direction. He played a

handful of new songs.on Series 6 and introduced
them all ad interim or with ironic put-ons, as if he
couldn't quite fix his own intentions, or he doesn't
want to reveal them or how they will affect the
relationship with his followers.
"Gates of Eden," he said, is "a sacrilegious lulla-
by in D Minor" and "a love song," while the dour
"It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" is "a very
funny song." The tenor of his comment about
wearing a mask, which follows "Gates of Eden," is
almost comforting in this context. He seemed to be
reassuring the audience that they could still see
him as the person they wanted - for now.
In this context, it's almost unfathomable to
think that 10 months after Series 6 was per-
formed, Dylan would release both Bringing It All
Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited. Both
would explode into the folk scene and forever
change the rock'n'roll aesthetic. Some of Dylan's
fans would come along with his move to rock;
many would denounce him as a Judas, and the
atmosphere on Series 6 seems, thus, more
poignant than it did at first glance. It's a snapshot
of Dylan's storied early years at their peak, one
idyllic last show before the storm.

Swedish eccentricities cc

By Raquel Laned
Daily Arts Writer

question comes to mind: Do Swedes
know how to have fun?
Bent Hamer's "Kitchen Stories"
pokes fun at that same stoicism that
characterizes the clean lines of the
Swedes' utilitarian furniture, and
though the main Swedish character is

Wandering down the aisles at IKEA,
amid a sea of efficiently functional and
monochromatic desks and chairs, a

somewhat square,
the help of a
grumpy Norwe-
gian - learn to
loosen up and
have some fun.
The film's.
setup is a ridicu-
lous plan of

he does - with
At the Michigan
IFC Films

)me to light
establishing any sort of familiarity.
The rigidity of this study is never so
hilariously or eloquently expressed as
in the beginning, when a line of iden-
tical cars, all pulling identical trailers,
glides along the white countryside to
a steady bass line.
But the heart of "Kitchen Stories"
lies in the growing friendship between
Folke, the ultra-serious, diligent
observer, and his reluctant subject
Isak. The first two thirds of the film
contain long stretches without dialogue
and revolve around moments of tense
awkwardness and sight-gags. The
absurdity of Folke sitting in a wooden
high chair never loses its ability to elic-
it a chuckle, and the way Isak devours
his chocolate, provoking Folke with a
menacing glare, never gets old.
Despite Folke's uncompromising
commitment to his job and Isak's
unyielding determination to make
Folke's job as miserable as possible,

in 'Kitchen'
the two break down and begin commu-
nicating. Soon they are sharing food,
baking birthday cakes for each other
and drinking together - driving home
the point that a life can't be observed
without a longing to join in.
"Kitchen Stories" doesn't let its peo-
ple-need-people message push it into
the weepy friendship melodrama cate-
gory, which many well-marketed for-
eign films seem to fit. That's what
makes "Kitchen Stories" so effective
- its restraint. The laughs are never
forced but gently induced, the Swedish
culture never brutally criticized but
lightly teased.
Ironically, Hamer displays the
notions of utility that he is making
fun of - the stark white landscapes,
the dully colored, sparse set and the
minimal use of dialogue. Yet he still
manages to create an entertaining
film that shows Swedes indeed know
how to have fun.

utopian socialist design, a study
about the kitchen habits of single
males in order to construct the most
economical bachelor kitchen. An
observer, towering on a highchair
over the resident, must take note of
every move made while resisting any
urges to engage in conversation or

{n An Arthur Mill1er
A collection ofscenes by Arthur Miller
Conceived by Mark Lamos
UM School of Music
Dept. of Theatre & Drama
L3 a Apr. 2-3, 8-10 at 8PM - Apr. 4 & 11 at 2PM
Trueblood Theatre
f.$15 General Admission- Students $8 w/ID
M (~League Ticket Office 734-764-2538

847.491.5250 www.northwestern.edu/summernu


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