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September 07, 2004 - Image 55

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2004 - 9D

But "Lies" has enough incisive con-
tent to stand on its own. It is up to date
- guiding readers from the 2000 elec-
tion to the current debate on weapons of
mass destruction - it is fact-checked
by 14 Harvard University students, and
most importantly, it's funny.
At times, it is even disturbing, like the
account of Bill O'Reilly's sexual sus-
pense thriller "Those Who Trespass," a

novel more ambi-
tious than Ludacris'
Word of Mouf
album: "While
Ludacris, like
O'Reilly, enjoys
describing oral sex
scenes, there are
none on his album

Lies and the
Lying Liars
Who Tell
Them
By Al Franken
E.P Dutton

back on a humble crutch: "I'm a come-
dian." But strangely, this "funny bias"
does not prevent him from being exces-
sively partisan. He praises the Clinton
Administration for the longest period of
economic growth in American history,
for reducing crime rates, for suggesting
the homeland security plan implement-
ed after 9/11 and for sustaining "the
greatest president of the twenty-first
century." One problem with comedians
is you can't tell when they're joking.
Franken makes some far-reaching
arguments in his book. He warns of the
power exerted by Rupert Murdoch, the
world's most powerful media mogul,
and by Clear Channel Communications.
He addresses exploitation in the third
world, the tightening grip of corporate
hegemons and the active misinforma-
tion campaigns of this administration.
But too often, he brings the debate back
to the most simplistic and irrelevant
question: Clinton vs. Bush.
Still, "Lies" is important for its
unflinching look at the conservative
elite, whom Franken accuses of propa-
gating "a worldview designed to com-
fort the comfortable and further afflict
the afflicted." Their attitude toward
telling lies - that they must have inher-
ent value if they succeed in the "market-
place of ideas" - is especially
invidious. And judging by book sales,
Americans are eager for some truth.

I refuse to beat myself up. I am an attractive person. I am fun to be with.

Novelist Ann Patchett
visits 'U' wniters senies

September 16, 2003
By Johanna Hanink
Daily Staff Writer

PANTS ON FIRE
AL FRANKEN TAUNTS THE RIGHT

September 24, 2003
By SteveCotner
Daily Staff Writer
BOOK REVI EW * *
Al Franken understands the role of
showmanship in politics. In his new
book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who
Tell Them," he takes on the biggest

showmen in the business: Bill O'Reilly,
Sean Hannity and even the president.
But in crafting the story behind the
book - the triumph of free speech over
FOX News Channel's threats to sue for
slander - Franken has used the rumor
mill of media to his advantage. He has
engineered his own buzz, sending his
book to the top of the bestseller list for
three weeks now.

involving a teen crack whore.'
Franken fills his pages with details
- choosing to tear down today's reli-
gious ideologies, sexual hypocrites and
chickenhawk patriots with whatever he
can conjure. At his worst, Franken pulls
the reader into forgettable, petty squab-
bles. At his best, he transcends the fray
and provides firm maxims like "Con-
servatives ... love America like a child
loves their mommy," or his analysis of
media bias: "Politics - no liberal bias
... The Funnies - funny bias, or in the
case of Family Circus, funny and heart-
warming bias."
Unlike his enemies, Franken can fall

Ann Patchett, whose most recent
novel was the critically acclaimed and
enduring best-
seller "Bel "
Canto," leads off Ann Patchett
the Department of Tonight at 5 p.m.
English 2003-
2004 visiting writ- Angell Hall Aud. B
ers series roster
tonight at 5 p.m. in Angell Hall Audi-
torium B. Patchett will be reading
from "Bel Canto," a tour de force of
magical realism, as well as from some
of her more recent works; her visit to
the University is a fitting beginning to
a series which promises to bring some
of the most interesting writers working
today to this campus.
"Bel Canto" marks the latest large-
scale achievement of Patchett, whose
sale to the Paris Review of the short
story "All Little Colored Children
Should Learn to Play Harmonica,"
while she was still an undergraduate at
Sarah Lawrence College, foreshadowed

her literary success. Patchett also
attended the extremely prestigious Iowa
Writers' Workshop after her graduation.
Before the publication of "Bel
Canto" in 2001, Patchett enjoyed a
warm critical reception of her first
three novels: "The Patron Saint of
Liars" was a New York Times Notable
Book of the Year (1992); "Taft" (1994)
won the Janet Heidinger Kafka prize
and "The Magician's Assistant" (1997)
was shortlisted for the Orange Prize.
Five years later, "Bel Canto" won
Patchett the Orange Prize, the United
Kingdom's most prominent literary
prize awarded to a female author.
In "Bel Canto," Roxanne Cross, an
operatic singer, is performing at the
home of a South American vice presi-
dent for a party with an international
guest list. Terrorists take the party
hostage, however, and what Patchett
describes is an emotional and vivid
exploration of the interactions and
bonds that form between this unlikely
group of people. Patchett's reading is
sure to be the first in an interesting
series of visiting writers - and will be
worth taking the afternoon off to enjoy.

LOTR
Continued from Page 1D
for war. Gandalf (Ian McKellen) rides to Gondor
and prepares Denethor (John Noble), the cynical
steward of Gondor, for the ultimate battle; King
Theoden gathers all his forces, and Aragorn (Viggo
Mortensen) ventures under the mountains to stir an
army held to an unfulfilled oath from another age.
All the while, the dark lord Sauron sends his evil
underlings to besiege men's last bastion of hope.
Maintaining the intensity of Helm's Deep, the
engagement on the Pelennor Fields and the
images of thousands of marching orcs is the ulti-
mate expression of special effects integration.
Breathtaking and awe-inspiring seem hardly
enough to characterize Weta Workshop's incredi-
ble creation. Even more impressive, however, is
the white fortress of Minas Tirith in both size and
intricacy; it is truly a sight to behold.
Still more remarkable, the acting in "Return of the

King" is by far the finest. Sam's anguish over pro-
tecting himself and Frodo from Gollum and his
despair at losing the faith of his master - not to
mention his fight with Weta's nasty giant spider
Shelob - showcases Sean Astin's talent in a manner
unseen in his early-'90s heyday. In fact, each of the
hobbits has his moment, especially Pippin (Billy
Boyd) as he sings in the great hall of kings while
Denethor's son, Faramir (David Wenham), gallops to
imminent death. Viggo Mortensen displays his finest
acting as he transforms himself from Aragorn, the
ranger from the north, into Elessar, King of Men,
and Ian McKellen is infallible, as always.
However, the cohesiveness and subtle power of
the film results from Andrew Lesnie's cinematogra-
phy and the work of the entire sound-editing crew.
Following the lighting of beacons from Gondor to
Rohan and the arrival of the Rohirrim at the foothills
of Pelennor superbly visualizes Tolkien's words. See-
ing thousands of horses lined up and striding into
battle, even as some ultra-realistically fall to their

deaths, is a sight for the sake of seeing beauty
through a projector. And when Gandalf rides to the
aid of retreating soldiers from Osgiliath, never have
light, color and sound mixed so perfectly. So perfect
and unnoticeable is the soundtrack that paying close
attention to it makes Jackson's craftsmanship all the
more uncanny.
Somehow Jackson undertook the most daunting
task a director could and gave the frothing masses
eye candy of the highest quality. "Return of the
King" is not only the cinematic achievement of the
year but also the crowning directorial achievement
of the decade thus far. Managing an ensemble cast
and a pseudo-period-piece to such indelibility cannot
be overlooked.
Alone, "Return of the King" stands as one of
cinema's instant classics. As a single film
upwards of 12 hours combined with "Fellowship"
and "Two Towers," "The Lord of the Rings"
encapsulates the expression of film as art and
mass consumer culture.

COLEMAN
Continued from Page 1D
From the first note on, the music melted
into a prolonged meditation. Each moment
was entirely unique, drawing on Coleman's
insistence on writing new material for
every performance. At times, Coleman
turned to trumpet (and once a violin), but it
didn't matter. Coleman has the ability to
communicate on a level that turns any
instrument he touches into a singular voice.
When he wasn't playing, he was attentively
studying the sound around him, enraptured
by the sonic landscape.
The music itself fell within different
Coleman idioms. There were the post-bop
themes a la 1959's "Bird Feed" and rubato
themes similar to 1958's "Lorraine."
Nonetheless, each tune began and ended
with a theme, and what came in between

was entirely undefinable.
After playing intensely for an hour and a
half, Coleman retreated from the stage,
returning moments later for an encore. The
crowd sang "Happy Birthday" (it was his
74th), and Coleman thanked his audience
for their energy and proceeded to philoso-
phize about existence. The band then burst
into an aggressive blues jam that show-
cased each musician individually. The over-
all level of musicianship was unbelievable,
but Denardo's inspired solo stood out as a
highlight.
At the night's conclusion, the person
who'd confused Coleman with the sound
man had a large smile on his face. And it
was easy to tell why, for attendees had just
participated in something special: a musical
happening that will echo for years, an
evening spent with the one-and-only
Ornette Coleman.

HILL
Continued from Page 1D
Vienna Philharmonic on Hill's stage during his 70th birth-
day tour. He chose to play only three American cities: New
York, Washington D.C. and Ann Arbor. There's definitely
something special about Hill Auditorium.
Fischer said of the renovation, "There has been interest
in renovating Hill for a long, long time, and it was simply a
matter of when the University felt it had the resources to
be able to do the job.
"So they're handling the renovation in several phases,
and this first phase is the renovation and restoration of the,
hall as we know it now. The next-phase of renovation will.
be, we hope, a backstage addition." This addition will
accommodate visiting artists as well as School of Music
bands and orchestras that regularly perform concerts.
"Anyone who has used Hill Auditorium knows that the
backstage needs major expansion and improvement," Fis-
cher explained.
The first phase of the Hill renovations began on May 13,
2002. It was estimated that the renovation would take 18
months to complete and cost $38.6 million. To begin the
process, the University secured the expertise of Quinn
Evans, an Ann Arbor firm that specializes in restoring his-
toric buildings. The firm has worked to maintain and pre-
serve structures like the Kennedy Center for the
Performing Arts Concert Hall, George Washington's boy-
hood home and parts of the Peabody Institute at Johns
Hopkins University. Here at the University, it has worked
on the Detroit Observatory, the Dana Building and class-
rooms in the Law School.
Some of the more practical changes include an
increased number of restrooms, from 14 to 22 for men and
from 10 to 30 for women, as well as one unisex restroom.
Sound and light locks have been added at the entrance of
the auditorium from the lobby. Sound locks will keep noise
from the lobby and the sound of traffic out of the perform-
ance space, and light locks will prevent light from opened
doors during daytime shows from seeping into the audito-
rium. Before renovations "if someone was walking around
in the lobby, you could hear a clip-clop sound inside the
auditorium," said Wolff.
One of the most pragmatic - and most anticipated -
additions to the historic performance venue is the installa-
tion of an air conditioning system. Electrical and ventila-
BEN FOLDS
Continued from Page ID
opposed to the touring piano he's
famous for beating on and lobbing his
stool at. With a nod to his professed
guitar envy, Folds walked out from his
piano to strap on a bass for the funky
new track "Renegade Rent-a-Cop."
The crowd-participation segments of
the show were endearing highlights,
bringing in fans to mimic the call-and-
response horns of "Army" and the hym-
nal swell of "Not the Same."
Regrettably, the show closed with
the back-to-back sentimental ballad-
fest of "Brick" and "Luckiest." The
collective tear hanging on everybody's
cheek seemed too kitschy for the usual-
ly-more perceptive Folds. The encore
featured the unrelenting "Song for the
Dumped," where Folds seemed to
remember what has always been at the
core of his appeal.
He was admittedly rusty yet still

tion systems have also been replaced.
The most important renovation, however, is the addition
of ramps and elevators. Until now, the stage had been only
accessible via stairs; artists, audience members and stu-
dents requiring wheelchairs or other assistive equipment
could not easily get onstage. The auditorium's new design
includes ramps on either side of the stage so that anyone
can enter the stage area.
Additionally, the mezzanine area was only accessible by
stairs. For the first time in Hill's existence, attendees who
experience difficulty climbing stairs can access the bal-
cony area via elevator. Seating for audience members with
wheelchairs had also been problematic in the past, but
seats have been created on both the main floor and the
mezzanine to accommodate those with assistive equip-
iient. Though'lhe changes in seating have reduced the
number of seats to 3,710 from 4,169, Fischer thinks that
the loss in revenue is worth it. "I applaud the University
for their overall policy of inclusion and diversity," he said.
Another practical feature Hill lacked was a concession
area. The University worked with Quinn Evans to create a
snack bar in the lobby in hopes that concessions will create
a more fun experience. "More and more people are looking
at concertgoing as a social experience. They want to meet
with their friends, talk about performances - and now they
have a place to do that right in Hill Auditorium," Fischer
explained. Concessions will be served at both the Elizabeth
E. Kennedy Lower Lobby and on the mezzanine level.
While students, faculty and administration alike are
excited about the modern adjustments made to the facility,
many are still unsure of what Hill will sound like now that
changes have been made.
The final acoustics test occurred this morning. Wolff
explained, "The architects were careful not to change Hill's
signature sound. There was a bounce-back coming from
the back of the auditorium, but acousticians believe that
this problem has been remedied."
School of Music alumna Corynn Eggener said, "I always
loved (Hill's) clarity. It's so big and resonant, it has a pres-
ence of its own." One of her favorite memories of Hill was
waiting in line overnight for the UMS Half-Price Ticket
Sale. "That was one of the coolest experiences of my
undergrad. We played Scrabble."
Director of Bands Michael Haithcock, who conducts the
Symphony Band, summed up his feelings about the new
Hill: "I hope it sounds exactly the same. It's glorious. The
resonance in the hall is almost perfect."

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