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January 21, 2005 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-21

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January 21, 2005



. ........... ....

I can't miss "American Idol!"
Fox's latest drama
offers 'Zero' quality

By Nick Kochmanski
Daily Arts Writer
In the first - and hopefully last -
episode of "Jonny Zero," Jonny Calvo
(Franky G) is released from jail after four
years of hard time.
It appears that pris-
on has taught Jonny Jonny Zero
something about Fridays at 9 p.m.
life. He is now Fox
a changed man,
resolving never to
slip back into his seedy life as a bouncer
and criminal. But from the moment he
steps out of jail, Jonny is dogged by the
life he yearned to leave behind. Pursued
by a band of disgruntled gangsters. With
no job and no place to live, Jonny turns to
new friend and hip-hop guru, Random,
for shelter. In him, Jonny finds an endear-
ing and supportive sidekick.
As the episode progresses, Jonny is
slowly pulled back into his old world of
crime and sleaze. While helping Random
set up for a DJ gig, Jonny is asked to find
the lost daughter of a money-laundering
used-car salesman, which, naturally, will
help lead him down the long, lonely path
toward personal redemption. By the pre-
miere's end, Jonny has become a muscle-
bound supercop, solving mysteries and
beating up bad guys with his bare hands.

Not only is the show's plot horribly
contrived, but also the performances in
the show are some of the worst ever seen
on primetime television. Jonny Calvo's
indeterminable accent is vacant for long
periods, which actually turns out to be a
good thing. On the rare occasion that it
actually makes an appearance, audiences
will cringe. Then there's the chemistry, or
lack thereof, between Random and Jonny.
There is no emotion between them, which
removes any semblance of a close friend-
ship. There was opportunity, albeit little,
and it was squandered.
Perhaps the worst aspect of Fox's new
program is the horrendous camera work.
Each scene is filmed with a grotesque
orange filter, rendering individual shots
difficult to watch. In addition, itsis pain-
fully obvious that "Jonny Zero" is trying
too hard to appear trendy. This is espe-
cially evident in the action sequences
when the rapid movement of the camera
lends a nauseating effect to the unfold-
ing events. It makes the viewer dread
even the possibility of exciting violence,
usually the only redeeming quality in a
bland cop show.
All in all, "Jonny Zero" promises to
be a truly forgettable experience. It is a
show without defining features. The plot
is dull, the premise is cliched, the acting is
subpar and the time slot is poison. What a
waste of Franky G's fine talent. No, wait,
there's nothing to waste.

Music School sophomore Chester Elliott plays euphonium on Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" during Wednesday's Collage rehearsal.

By Alexandra Jones
Daily Weekend Editor
There were more than a few moments at Wednes-
day night's rehearsal for the School of Music's Col-
lage concert during which - if not for the music, that
is - you could have heard a pin drop.
Many of the singers, dancers and instrumentalists
in tonight's performance have known and heard each
other for years, but most of them haven't heard each
other in action. Despite the stress of preparing for
an event like Collage, the mood in Hill Auditorium
was one of admiration and excitement as performers
and their faculty mentors watched this year's concert
come together.
This year's Collage performers couldn't come
from more varied backgrounds. Music graduate
saxophonist Dan Puccio played in last year's Collage
as part of the Jazz Ensemble and the Graduate Jazz
Combo. "I think it's a really great experience. It's
one of the few concerts like it I've ever seen," Puc-
cio said. "You really try to put on a little more of a
show. It's not just about the performance; it's about
the entertainment aspect as well." Tonight, he'll play

with the Jazz Ensemble again - but the whole group
will be playing from memory.
Collage XXVIII will be Music graduate eupho-
niumist Derek Pirruccello's first experience in this
unique format. His chamber ensemble is a tuba/
euphonium quartet accompanied by drum set. "Play-
ing 'Purple Haze' with two tubas and two euphoni-
ums is going to be quite an experience ... It's going to
be a lot of fun," Pirruccello said. Fellow euphonium-
ist and Music sophomore Chester Elliott agreed. "It's
going to be great, but it was a little difficult getting the
Hendrix sound."
This nontraditional instrumentation of the song
was arranged by another member of the quartet,
Music doctoral tuba student Mike Nickens. "It's
definitely an honor to be showcased in such a way,"
he explained. "Not that many student groups get the
chance to perform as it is, and to actually be able to
get your own music on is a thrill."
A few other pieces by students are part of tonight's
program. The University Chamber Choir will sing
Music sophomore Mark Buckles's Morning Song.
Music sophomores Evan Premo and Mary Bonhag
will perform Premo's composition for soprano and

double bass, In Just-spring, and Music junior Karl
Pestka will perform his own Devastation Sandwich
on electric violin.
"This is great because it's the biggest audience I've
ever had all to myself for four minutes," Pestka said.
Devastation Sandwich was originally 10 minutes
long, but Pestka condensed his composition down to
four for the performance. One of the perks of playing
your own piece is that you can have fun onstage.
"With about 10 percent of it, I can go as crazy as
I want," he explained. "I wrote it last year, over the
summer. My teacher told me I should be writing for
violin so I could be my own band." The piece also fea-
tures live electronic manipulation courtesy of Pestka's
collection of reverb and delay pedals.
The work that rivals Pestka's for most outlandish
had to be Fnugg, a solo euphonium piece that uses
many singular techniques. "It's based on Aboriginal
didgeridoo sounds, Norwegian folk songs and it's
sort of rockified," said Music senior Michael Brown.
Despite the piece's one-of-a-kind style, Brown wasn't
sure he'd be chosen to perform at Collage XXVIII.
"I just went to (Britton) Recital Hall at like 2:30 one
morning and laid it down," he said. "I got lucky."

'Accidents' explores
the African Diaspora

By Khepra Akanke
Daily Arts Writer
Former slaves who wanted to leave
America, the land of their oppressors,
and start anew in Africa, founded Libe-
ria. They had great dreams of forming
a stable country that would become the
new center for the African Diaspora,
where Africans and
Black Americans
could feel at home. Accident
Unfortunately, of Birth
their dream never By Heather Neff
reached fruition.
The country soon Harlem Moon
became an impov-
erished nation,
ravaged by many of the same issues as
many other African societies. This cul-
minated in a civil war where hundreds
of thousands of people were killed. As
a result, the connection between Black
Americans and Africans is severed and
there is a sense of isolation separating
the two groups.
This scenario lies in the foreground of
Heather Neff's new novel. In "Accident
of Birth," Neff investigates what happens
when a well-off black woman is person-
ally affected by these dramatic events
in Liberia. Reba Freeman has lived the
American Dream; she has a seemingly
wonderful marriage and a beautiful,
musically talented daughter. However,
her past haunts her and is slowly destroy-
ing the life she has worked so hard to
build. Everything comes crashing down
when she finds out that her ex-husband
has become a Liberian civil war leader
and is being held for crimes against
humanity for allegedly murdering 30
innocent villagers. She finds herself risk-
ing her job and marriage to help a man
she hasn't talked to in 20 years because
she does not believe he is capable of such
The novel is a bold exploration of how
something as simple as birthplace can
dramatically affect a person's existence.
Neff looks at how often personal deci-
sions, such as where to live, can change
the course of history. Reba is faced with
the possibility that the marriage to her
first husband stayed intact, his situation
may have turned out differently. Libe-
ria is a country of people who would
be living drastically different lives, but
for an "accident of birth." The author
also calls upon the reader to look at the
relationship of Black Americans, Libe-
rians and African people as a whole.
She directs the reader to examine these
broken bonds and then asks if they can
be mended.
Neff skillfully pens a moving nar-

rative full of intrigue. The reader is MORE
engaged from the first page and devel-
ops a genuine interest in the well-con- ENTERTAINING
structed and realistic characters. The
story progresses at a consistent pace, nAN 95
gracefully switching between two time
periods. Neff writes with a simple style, PERCENT of Fox's
which makes for an easy and enter-
taining read that also confronts seri- PROGRAMMING.
ous issues. "Accident of Birth" is an
outstanding depiction of how lives can
change in an instant.Out oorA ven
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