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September 15, 2004 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-15

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 15, 2004 -11

'Friends' spin-off finds niche

By Abby Stotz
Daily Arts Writer

In May's tremendously over-hyped
"Friends" finale, Chandler and Mon-
ica entered parenthood, Phoebe got
married and Ross and Rachel final-
ly got back together. Joey Tribbiani
(Matt LeBlanc) on the other hand, was
graced with his own spin-off show.
Spin-offs are risky - try to name
one, besides "Frasier," that didn't
suck - but fortunately for NBC, des-
perate for another hit, "Joey" actually
looks promising.s
Joey is a fish
out of water this Joey
time, transplant- Thursdays
ed to Hollywood at 8 p.m.
in an attempt to NBC
make it big. He
spends the pilot
episode settling into his retro-chic
bachelor pad and unsuccessfully audi-
tioning for various roles. Fortunately,
nearby is his no-nonsense hairdresser
sister Gina (Drea de Matteo, "The
Sopranos") and rocket scientist neph-
ew Michael (Paulo Costanzo, "Road
Trip"). Michael, after pleading with
Joey, moves out of Gina's house and
in with his uncle in an attempt to
improve his reputation. Living with
his mother hasn't exactly helped him
with the ladies, and even the engineer-
ing students make fun of him.
"Joey" winds up being quite enter-
taining and funny. The protagonist
is still not the brightest crayon in the
box, but smart enough that the show
doesn't feel like a half hour of "wow,

"How you doin'?"

Visitors enjoy the unique exhibits at the Ann Arbor Art Fair.


is that guy dumb." The jokes are well
executed, including a gag in which
Joey tries to audition for an entertain-
ment news show and just can't manage
to find the right camera.
Also compelling is the chemistry
between LeBlanc and de Matteo, who
seem genuine as they play off each other
like real siblings. Gina is obviously the
smarter of the two, the sort of sister who
would keep Joey from licking a flagpole
in December.
The nerdy Michael is well-acted,
earnest and kind of pathetic but still
likable. And as Joey's new honest-
to-a-fault agent, Jennifer Coolidge
("Legally Blonde") shows off some
considerable comedic skills, pulling
off a line like "I'd put on a meat skirt
and wrestle a lion" while convincing

Joey of her loyalty to trying to make
him a star.
The one misstep in the pilot was the
introduction of the cute blonde girl
who lives next door. As Joey puts it:
"She could be the future Mrs. Trib-
biani, or at least the future awkward
situation." Viewers know the original
"How you doin'?" man isn't going to
settle down until he absolutely has to,
and so Alex (Andrea Anders, "Tru
Calling") comes off as a superfluous
character and an annoying one at that.
"Joey" seems to shake off the spin-
off stigma. With solid characters and
good writing, it has a good chance for
success. It probably won't be as popu-
lar as "Friends," but it keeps comedy
on NBC relatively stable until the next
big hit comes along.

S UM M E A R T 5 CN RfEv fw
The summer months are a season of going to rock
concerts at DTE Ampitheater (even though it will
always be Pine Knob), spending Friday nights at
the latest blockbuster movie or traveling to jazz festivals
in different big cities, but the fine and performing arts are
not completely closed during the summer. The Power Cen-
ter hosts a summer festival every year that brings in folk
singers, jugglers, comedians and dancers. The unique Ann
Arbor Art Fair is one of the most famous in the country.
Shakespeare can be heard resonating off trees in the Nich-
ols Arboretum, and the University of Michigan Museum
of Art is open for business all year round. Ann Arbor is a
mecca of fine arts no matter what the season.
As You Like it
At the Ann Arbor Arboretum
Set in Nichols Arboretum - the best venue on campus
to view Shakespeare during the summer months - "As
You Like It" showcased the RC players this summer. This
humorous tale of love, betrayal, cross-dressing and travel-
ing minstrels was truly a weekend treat. Beginning at 7
p.m., the audience traveled throughout the Arb, moving
from scene to scene, experiencing as well as watching the
play. Led by the expert performances of Orlando and Rosa-
lind, the play's leading lord and lady, the production of "As
You Like It" would have done the Bard proud.
"Peninsula" by the Peter Sparling Dance Company
At the Power Center
As part of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, Peter
Sparling's Dance Company performed in "Peninsula,"
a show celebrating the diversity of culture and land-
scape in Michigan. The show included a part on histo-
ry, a segment that resembled a travelogue and finally
a dance performance. The show wove video, dance,
poetry and music to create an extraordinary spectacle
of color and sound.
An Evening of Classic Liiy Tomlin
At Hill Auditorium
Complementing the warm weather of the summer, "An
Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin" lightened hearts with
laughter. Tomlin is a Detroit native who was excited to be
playing before a home crowd, and the evening was one of
hilarity that showed the vibrancy and eccentricity of her
life. One of America's foremost comediennes, Tomlin
has been a star of television, theater, motion pictures and
animation and has been an innovative force in American

New-wave duo reunites on 'Endin'

Lily Tomlin

Reduced Shakespeare Company in "All
the Great Books (Abridged)"
At the Power Center
Back by popular demand, the Reduced Shakespeare Com-
pany sent Ann Arbor into fits of laughter this June as they
went through all of the world's great books in a two-hour
show. Covering everything from Confucious and Thoreau to
Shakespeare and the Bible, these men offered a roller-coaster
ride through literature that would make English teachers the
world over cringe.
Ann Arbor Art Fair
Downtown Ann Arbor
In keeping with tradition, Ann Arbor hosted its 34th
Annual Art Fair this past July. The fair featured more than
450 artists, including local, national and international tal-
ent. Also, select students were chosen from the School
of Art to display their wares at a special student booth.
A spectator could find anything from wood workings to
metal jewelry to oil painting on canvas while traversing the
streets of Main, State and Liberty. Food vendors as well as
musicians were also in great abundance, making the event
an all-day affair.
Georgia O'Keefe
At the University of Michigan Museum of Art
Through Sept.26
Starting in July and running through the end of September,
the work of Georgia O'Keefe has been in the spotlight at the
Museum of Art. The exhibit, "Georgia O'Keefe and the Sub-
lime Landscape," is a new look at O'Keefe's work that places
her in the context of the American landscape tradition. The
deserts of New Mexico and west Texas serve as the subject
for many of her displayed paintings. More than 30 paintings,
spanning four decades of O'Keefe's career, will be on display
in the West and Box Galleries through Sept. 26.

By Rachel Kruer
Daily Arts Writer
Tears for Fears have emerged
from their recording hiatus of 15
years with the album Everyone
Loves a Happy Ending. Roland
Orzabal and Curt Smith finally

reunited under
the pretense
that writing and
singing duties
would be allo-
cated evenly.
Their split was
inspired by
the cataclys-

Tears for
Everybody Loves
a Happy Ending
New Door

mic 1989 new-wave opus Seeds
of Love, which relegated Smith to
mere back-up vocals. Most famous
for the infectiously monotone
"Shout," Tears for Fears rode the
crest of the synth-pop phenom-
enon along with Depeche Mode
and The Pet Shop Boys in the late
'80s. Traces of their earlier work
quietly reverberate in their music,
yet the duo dives into unexplored
territory that shows their willing-
ness to expand as artists but in no
way reestablishes them in the ever-
changing musical landscape.
The first noticeable change is
the absence of the synthesizer that
dominated their earlier works.
It was this instrument that made
their morose themes palatable by
injecting an infectious beat, but
would also muddle the haunting
vocals, as exemplified by the 1983
single "Mad World."
The synthesizer is not entirely
gone; its presence, however, is

much more subdued. It makes sev-
eral brief appearances in songs
such as "Size of Sorrow." With less
emphasis on the electronic beats,
the duo experiments more with a
wide array of instruments. Rick
Baptist offers his trumpet play-
ing talents to the title track, while
violins softly simmer in "Secret
Guitars and drum steadily
accompany "Quiet Ones" before
the chorus dissolves into a stream
of lyrical cliches. The vocals bel-
low "It's your life / Don't just col-
lide with the waves." In "Call Me
Mellow" the lyrics inquire "Oh is
she wild? Does she see my inner
child?" These trite phrases are
reflected even in the title of the
album. Whether the title is really
a harsh commentary on what the

public wants to hear or is simply a
catchy phrase can be argued effec-
tively by both sides. What can be
derived, however, is that the unin-
spired lyrics greatly affect the
credibility of a band that prides
themselves in their reflective
That is not to say all of their new
songs fall into this category. Tears
for Fears occasionally break into
old habits with "Who You Are"
and "The Devil" as the duo returns
to their more somber trademark by
taking a break from the stream of
upbeat tempos.
It 's good that Tears for Fears
have stepped bravely in a new
direction, as nothing is worse
than a band that rehashes the
same creativity-devoid garbage
for years. But despite their new-
found camaraderie, their musical
reverie comes up short. Perhaps
they are victims of their own suc-
cess - bound in a musical Catch-
22 dictating that if they follow
the same paradigm, then they
are deemed hacks, yet if they try
something new, it will never mea-
sure up to their old work. So what
is the most honorable answer for
bands such as these? Let their
legacies live while soaking up
the fat royalties and, of course,
the occasional merchandise-satu-
rated tour.

- Compiled by Sarah Peterson


Washtenaw Community College


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THE ~ o H

f Ot TH-
From stars like
Mel Gibson and
Al Pacino to cele-
brated authors like
Truman Capote and
James Michener,
Lawrence Grobel's
interviews with our
most fascinating pub-
lic figures have made
him nnPof themnct

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