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October 22, 2004 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-22

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Friday
October 22, 2004
arts. michigandaily.com
artseditor@michigandaily.com

The irot4m w ia
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5

. ....... .. . ... ...... ............ ------- - --------

Here's lookin' at you, Johnny Damon.

Haynes reflects on
Mule's rough year

By Jared Newman
Daily Arts Writer
It was exactly one year ago today
that rock and blues quartet Gov't Mule
stomped through Ann Arbor's Michigan
Theater. Back then, Mule's big story was
that their search

We're not as funny as we used to be ... ha ha ha.

CITIZEN STEWART
WITH NEW BOOK, 'DAILY SHOW' CAST SATIRIZES AMERICA

to replace the
late bassist Allen
Woody had come
to a close with vet-
eran string-thump-
er Andy Hess.
Joining original

Gov't Mule
Tomorrow at
6:30 p.m.
At the Michgan Theater

By Steve Cotner
Daily Arts Writer
The persona of Jon Stewart has become shorthand
for a certain irony. His name no longer belongs to

one cynical comic, or even to a
TV show, but to a lens that can
be turned on anything. It was
inevitable, given this power, that
Stewart would expand beyond
nightly fake news and become
an ironist of everything. This is
what "America (The Book): A
Citizen's Guide to Democracy
Inaction" has achieved, by vir-
tue of acting like it hasn't.
Its principle technique is to
mask the approach, so that the

America
the Book: A
Citizen's
Guide to
Democracy
Inaction
Edited by Jon
Stewart
Warner Books

been born."
The rest of the book is the lesson on democracy
it purports to be, but every serious entry is couched
within a ruse. The reader only
learn the true Preamble after
reading Jefferson's first attempt:
"AMERICA. A is for All the teal
they taxed, M is for the Minute-
men they shellaxed."
The United State's worst char-
acteristics are dredged up by flip-
pant humor. It would be a big
task to count all the references to
slaughtered indigenous peoples"
or misguided wars. The book hits -f
easy targets like an inefficient
Congress, but it also finds a way
to voice real criticisms.
In the section about the Middle
East, there is an empty outline ofE
the region with an invitation to
draw one's own boundaries: "Don't be afraid to group
people with no regard for history -and ethnicity. It
worked for the British and French! Invent new coun-
tries and create interesting and fresh conflicts!" The
joke succeeds by its open irony, but there is a sense of
dread underlying the appeal to American apathy.

1J

Elsewhere, the reader finds the corporate terror of
media synergy condensed into diagram form, with
the Disney illusion busted by "Ever wish upon a star?
We own 3,459 actual stars. Have
one. No, have two." And another
C kind of terror, the policy enacted
at Abu Ghraib, is shown in a pic
alongside a Viet Cong execution,
child coal workers and a vam-
pire space baby with the tagline,
"Which classic example of pho-
tojournalism most gnaws at your
Hassoul?"
Throughout the book, irony
opens up into something more
potent. Outside of the book, too,
Stewart is speaking candidly,
more as himself than as the per-
sona. In an appearance last week
on CNN "Crossfire" with con-
servative Tucker Carlson, the two
reached an impasse that Stewart would not salvage
with comedy: "I'm not going to be your monkey."
Stewart has been told by Emmys and ratings that he
has something no one else has. Now, the book and the
resultant cachet have handed him the mantle of mod-
ern truth-teller. Here's hoping that he treats it well.

members Matt Abts (drums) and War-
ren Haynes (guitar, vocals), Hess and
keyboardist Danny Louis filled out the
sound left behind by Woody.
This year, The Mule returns to the
Michigan Theater, finally getting settled
as a band and embarking on a cross-
country tour backed by their latest studio,
work, Deja Voodoo.
The decision to switch from a power
trio to a quartet after Woody's death could
be viewed as an homage to his aggressive
sound. "It seemed unfair to the band, to
the new bass player, to the audience and
to the music to continually be comparing
the past to the present to the future," tes-
tifies frontman Warren Haynes. "What
you lost is forever lost. You're trying to
replace that with something new."
Despite his regular gig with the Allman
Brothers Band, Haynes chose to continue'
with Gov't Mule after Woody's death
because he realized what opportunities
might have been missed had he and Abts
decided to split. Haynes notes, "It finally
dawned on me that the only reason I really
knew Allen Woody is because the Allman

Brothers continued after losing Duane
Allman and Berry Oakley." Gov't Mule
are a more personal project for Haynes
- something over which he has infinite
creative control. "It's the place that allows
me to write and perform songs in any way
I see fit. It's my laboratory."
Though the songwriting on Dejd Voo-
doo rocks hard, it doesn't compare to the
live experience, especially with a per-
former like Haynes taking center stage.
Aside from his regular gigs with Mule
and the Allman Brothers Band, Haynes
has toured with The Dead and jammed
with cats like John Scofield and Bernie
Worrell. But he just figures that the long
hours are his responsibility as someone
endowed with speedy fingers and a gritty
blues voice. "Music is not like digging a
ditch. It's fun, and for people like myself
that are blessed the ability to do what we
love for a living, that's something you
can't take for granted."
It's never easy to explain why some-
one like Haynes sounds as good as he
does on his instrument, but he thinks he
may have an idea. "We're all products of
our influences. I know that the type's of
soloists that I enjoy are musicians that
sing through their instruments and have
that vocal-like quality. That's what I've
always tried to achieve for myself."
Haynes's signature style, along with
the bands collective taste for improvisa-
tion, means that there should never be a
dull sonic moment on stage. "To me, the
ultimate is to walk away (from a show)
knowing that you just saw something that
will never happen again, so we take a dif-
ferent approach night after night." With
that mentality in mind, there should be
plenty of repeat customers from last year,
looking for another share of The Mule at
tomorrow night's show.

delivery comes like an ambush, be it a joke or a hard
truth. The approach here is a civics textbook, but
the reader soon finds a history of prehistoric man,
"Marbury's Head v. Madison's Rock," a look into the
future, "Robots Everywhere," and a survey of the rest
of the world, "By the time you finish reading this sen-
tence, three million more Chinese people will have

Self-help book fails to translate to silver screen

By Jennie Adler
Daily Arts Writer
Generally speaking, adapting a
movie from a self-help book written by
a bishop is never a good idea. It's only

inviting hammy
symbolism and
characters with
every problem
under the sun. But
director Michael
Schultz appar-
ently was not too
concerned. Schultz

Woman Thou
Art Loosed
At Quality 16
Magnolia
directed "Woman

murder. She requests to talk with Jakes,
and as their conversation delves into
Jordan's life, the film flashes back to
her gruesome childhood of molestation
and rape by her mother's boyfriend.
Here's the twist though; Jordan
already knows Jakes because she was
released prematurely from a prison
sentence for prostitution and drugs,
on the condition that she attend Jakes
's three-day revival (if this kind of
alternative "punishment" is legit, all
inmates should befriend a bishop).
This three-day revival that leads up to
the murder is where the bulk of the film
takes place.
While the plot and issues of the film
work well, one of the many important
messages in the film - sexual abuse
and rape sadly goes far too unnoticed
in this world - is muddled by all of
the symbolism. For example, flash for-

ward to Jordan in her jail cell with the
bishop: She's building a house out of
popsicle sticks with no door and acci-
dently leaves the glue bottle inside. The
metaphor is cheesy enough, but to fur-
ther the unsubtlety, the last scene in the
film is a shot dollying up to the model
house in an empty jail cell - this time,
however, the house has a door (but
really, who builds model houses on
death row?).
Not only are important messages
lost within the film but also, religious
values are addressed dismissivly, as
boring scenes of preaching are much
too long and frequent. The revival
should be a life-altering event for many
of the characters, but Jordan in par-
ticular seems unmoved by the preach-
ing. Instead, the revival is plot-driven,
allowing for Jordan to reconnect with
people from her past.

Aside from the film's flaws, the
cinematography is suggestive, with
stationary shots allowing the dimly lit
sets to create a dreary mood that com-
pliments the subject matter. Also help-
ing the realism and mood of the film
is authentic, yet subtle make-up, creat-
ing everything from a black eye to the
aging process to the results of a hard-
ened prison life.
But good make-up and lighting
unfortunately cannot make a movie
incredible. With all the film's slow-
paced scenes, "Woman Thou Art
Loosed" would have made a better
play.
Hopefully, the film's preachiness and
cheesiness are a warning to all produc-
ers out there who want to adapt self-
help books into movies. Otherwise,
"Dr. Phil: The Movie" will be hitting
screens soon.

Thou Art Loosed," based on a book by
Bishop T.D. Jakes, who also stars.
The film's content is both powerful
and real. Michelle Jordan (Kimberly
Elise, "John Q") is on death row for

I UMO

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