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September 13, 2004 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-13

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Monday
September 13, 2004
arts.michigandaily. com
artspage@michigandaily.com

Rlcln TS~

9A

Vaughn gets lethal on latest EP

Daniel Dumile emerged in the late '90s as the
mysterious character and hip-hop supervillain MF
Doom, also known as King Geedorah, Metal Fingers
and Viktor Vaughn. His mission: to "destroy rap." He
looked to not only shake the foundations of hip-hop,
but also to inject it with innovation
and originality. It is in this context
that VV2: Venomous Villain can be Viktor
understood. Vaughn aka
The digital sounds and futur- MF Doom
istic beats meld seamlessly with VV2: The Venom-
the outer-space alter ego of Vik- ousVillain
tor Vaughn. This is evident on the
track that many will be checking insomniac Music
for, "Doper Skiller," which features
hip-hop's other eccentric madman, Kool Keith.
A quick listen to the album, as well as a quick
glance over the guest shots and producers, would
suggest that this EP is more of a promotional piece
for Insomniac Records then a quality Doom release.
Weak and amateurish production - unable to match
the high quality of Doom's rhymes - characterizes
VV2.
Yet Doom does not disappoint. He displays lyrical
genius that is both stunning and hypnotic, as on "Fall
Back/Titty Fat:" "Just chewing the titty fat, pursuing
the kitty cat, drooling on her pretty hat / Playing pool
and pitty pat / Stay in school, kiddies, brats / Instead

of spraying tools and shitty gats / ... Coolin' where
the pricks be at, there's no time for chitty chat / Fool,
'V' pity that."
The predecessor to this album, Vaudeville Villain,
is a masterpiece. VV2: Venomous Villain is by no
means a masterpiece, but it's not a stopgap release,
either. Doom's performance on this EP demonstrates
why he has been called by some as the king of under-
ground hip hop even if, as Doom spouts, "the beat
was rather rinky-dink."

Welcome to the University, freshman. Trust us, everyone has one of these.

ORWELLIAN BEGINNINGS
LUCAS'S FIRST FILM RESTORED FOR 21ST CENTURY

By Zach Shoup
For the Daily

NYC pop act revels in flamboyancy

remnants of the
disco era. The
Scissor Sisters -
best described as
a blend between
the piano pop
of Elton John,
the disco beats

Scissor Sisters
Universal

of the Bee Gees and the flamboy-
ance of the Village People - have
arriveAL-with . their debut release,
rgiving a kick to the virtually staid
" u-sic scene.
The Sisters, named after a les-
bian sex act, features members
dressed in glamorous rock outfits
and otherwise overtly flamboyant
attire. Their background led them
through the gay clubs and bur-
lesque shows of New York before
shitting it big with the U.K. club hit
""Comfortably Numb." The unrec-
-ognizable, sped-up Pink Floyd

cover with its "Eye of the Tiger"
riff, vaulted their self-titled album
to the top of the charts and deserv-
edly so. Their debut CD departs
significantly from the disco-filled
demo many had heard, leading to
many disappointed fans. Don't be
too upset though, the self-titled
release features more tight piano
pop and what are bound to become
drunk hipsters' favorite karaoke
songs.
Given their over-the-top char-
acter names (Babydaddy, Paddy
Boom) and outfits, the group is at
great risk at being viewed as a nov-
elty act. However, these gay-pop
icons manage to avoid falling into
the trap of becoming the cliche

one-hit-wonder with their tightly
crafted music, whether it is a ballad
ruminating on crystal meth's dras-
tic effect on the gay community or
a piano/rock song celebrating voy-
eurism. Smart, tongue-in-cheek
lyrics such as "You can't see tits on
the radio, I'll give you five fingers
for a one man show" are used in
a song lamenting Rudy Giuliani's
crackdown on the sleazy aspects of
New York and further reveal that
the Sisters aren't all show.
A standout on the release is their
first U.S. single, "Take Your Mama
Out." Evoking the sound of Elton
John, possibly the only mainstream
artist more flamboyant than they,
the Sisters craft a track showing
pop/rock at it's best, becoming a
party anthem about getting trashed
with your mother at a gay club and
showing her your new lifestyle
isn't so bad.
Throughout the album, the group
synthesizes all inspirations rather
than completely emulating musi-
cal styles, thus creating songs with
some sort of dance beat where one
would not be expected. The Scissor
Sisters don't seem to care if they're
rehashing a bygone era because
they know that you'll be addicted
to their disco-tinged music.

The "director's cut" has become an interesting institu-
tion in the cinema world. It is simultaneously symbolic
both of gratuitous indulgence by the director and of the
greedy commercialism of major studios. George Lucas
seems to be intent on obscuring the line between the two.
He does not appear to be capable of letting his films stand
the test of time. Fortunately, the new director's cut of his
debut feature "THX 1138" fares better than the revised
versions of the "Star Wars" tril-
ogy. "THX" has style and vision in
spades, but its unoriginal, clich6 plot THX 1138:
and a lack of focus prevent it from The
being truly memorable. Director's Cut
"THX" is set in a futuristic, At the State
Orwellian society where efficiency is Theater
maximized and free will is scorned.
The omnipresent government keeps Warner Bros.
its citizens at bay with a hormone-
subduing cocktail of sedatives. The title character, THX
1138 (Robert Duvall), is an assembly worker in a facility
that builds the city's robotic police force. His complacent
stupor is radically upset when his roommate, LUH 3417
(Maggie McOmie), replaces one of his daily drugs with a
placebo, inducing the two to fall in love and have sex. The
"chemical imbalance" is immediately detected in THX
and the two are promptly separated and punished. THX
is imprisoned in a stark white cell with a mix of criminals
and mental patients. With the help of fellow prisoner SEN
5241 (Donald Pleasence, "Halloween"), THX escapes and
races toward freedom.
The unnamed city of "THX" is a striking visual achieve-
ment especially considering the shoestring budget Lucas
had to work with. Everything is always awash in bright
white light: Corridors stretch into the horizon and cause-

ways are teeming with generic drones and sleekly rendered
vehicles. The utterly empty prison looks like an obvious
inspiration for "The Matrix." The film is filled with fas-
cinating details such as THX's holographic television and
surveillance cameras inside medicine cabinets. The new
CGI special effects are immediately apparent, but not in a
distracting way. Lucas has done an admirable job of mak-
ing the new effects look like they belonged in 1971.
The problem with "THX" is that Lucas basically fails
to deliver anything to keep the audience interested in the
compelling world he has created. The story comes off as
being pieced together from a host of other dystopian sci-
ence-fiction movies. The bumbling climax that has THX
being chased by a pair of robots is contrived and never
engaging. Duvall does an adequate job portraying THX,
but he never displays any sign of internal conflict. In
effect, the characters passively drift through the movie.
Only Pleasence delivers a memorable performance as the
malcontent SEN.
"THX" should be asking challenging questions but it
never does. It is concerned neither with the nature of this
centrally planned government nor its philosophical impli-
cations. There are hints of religious undercurrents, in the
fashion of "Brave New World's" Ford, but they remain
undeveloped. THX sits in a confessional booth and talks
to an illuminated portrait that responds in prerecorded bits
of advice. This could have given the audience a look at the
spiritual side of this society, but instead it just makes a
throwaway joke. "THX" has lofty ambitions but fails to
serve any higher purpose.
The budding talent of Lucas is readily apparent. How-
ever, "THX" is indicative of his weaknesses as well.
Lucas has continually proved himself adept at creating
expansive worlds, but he never seems to be able to prop-
erly utilize them. The core of the film is as empty as the
sterilized souls of the people in it. "THX" is a film that
could have been great, but instead will forever serve solely
as an example of visual ingenuity in the face of technical
and financial limitations.

Do you want your VOICE to be heard this Election Year?
Then Get Trained and Volunteer to
Get out the Vote!
The Center for Progressive Leadership
Voter Mobilization Volunteer Training
Sat., Sept. 18, gam - 6pm at the Michigan League
Register online at www.progressleaders.org/vmto4

II IF I

University Musical Society
Half-Price Student Ticket

Sat, Sept 18

9 am

12 noon

For one day only at the beginning of each semester, UMS offers HALF-PRICE TICKETS to
students. This extremely popular event draws hundreds of students every year - last year,
students saved over $104,000 by purchasing tickets at the Half-Price StudentTicket Sales.
Some perfomances have a limited number of tickets available, so get there early!
How does the Half-Price Sale work? It's easy! Just make your way to Hill Auditorium that

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11'11 __J~t_ ._

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