September 30, 2005
arts. michigandaily. com
. . ....... . .... .... .
Comedienne returns home
By Caitlin Cowan
For the Daily
FINE ARs PREVIEW
From "Laugh-In" in 1965 to "I
Heart Huckabees" in 2004, come-
dienne and actress Lily Tomlin has
people laugh. She
has been making Lily Tomlin
comedy her per- Tomorrow, Oct. 1
sonal business for at 8 p.m.
40 years. Return- Tickets $20-$40
ing to stand-up At Pease Auditorium
for a handful of Eastern Michigan
comedy shows on University
this fall, Tomlin is playing Eastern
Michigan University's Pease Audi-
torium on Saturday.
Before leaving school and moving
to New York to pursue comedy full-
time, Tomlin attended Cass Tech
High School and Wayne State Uni-
versity to pursue a medical degree.
"I didn't know that people made a
living doing (comedy)," she said. In
college, a friend of Tomlin's jibed at
her that there were auditions for a
campus production and "they had a
lot of small parts left." Incensed by
her so-called friend's remark, Tom-
lin tried out just to spite her. "I left
my name and I did a walk-on. I was
just a big sensation. People thought
I was hilarious," she remembered.
After her surprising success on the
stage, Tomlin recalled, "I thought to
myself (that) this would be so great
if I could do this and earn a living
doing this, and not have to go to med
The very friend that angered Lily
into auditioning for her first real show
would later go to school at the Uni-
ersity. Tomlin visited her once and
wrote a sonnet in the Nichols Arbo-
retum. Tomlin even offered to send
the Daily a facsimile of the sonnet
that she wrote, entitled "Today: Shall
I Kill Myself or Write a Thesis!"
As a woman in comedy during a
time when comedians were thought
to be crass and unfeminine, Tomlin
said that the stereotype never truly
fazed her. "Most women didn't want
to do stand-up. They would say,
'How can you do stand-up? You'll
lose your femininity.' "
Tomlin hasn't forgotten about
Detroit and visits her old neighbor-
hood frequently. "I go to Greektown
and hang out there at New Hellas,
which was my old hangout in high
school," she said. She also frequents
the Detroit Institute of Art. Recall-
ing her childhood, she mentioned a
particular painting that captivated
her when she was young. "Breughel's
'Wedding Dance' was really excit-
ing when you're like seven or eight
years old," she admitted, "because
they're wearing cod pieces and they
look like they have erections."
Coming off her quirky role in the
critically acclaimed "Huckabees,"
Tomlin has three films slated for
Courtesy or uuton Adut
Advice columnist and author Dan Savage will read from his new book, "The
Commitment," today at 7:30 p.m. in Angell Hall Auditorium B.
SOFTR SIDE OF SAVAGE
ADVICE COLUMNIST BRINGS GAY MARRIAGE DEBATE TO A2
Courtesy of McKenny Union and Campus Life
As famous as Tim Allen - minus
release in 2006. She has just finished
shooting "A Prarie Home Compan-
ion," and is also lending her voice to
the animated film "Ant Bully." She
enjoys doing voice work as well as
straight acting: "I'd rather go ahead
and animate my own characters. But
I had fun."
When asked if she felt that film
was where she had moved her focus
as of late, Tomlin maintained, "I pre-
fer to do a live performance, but I'm
grateful that I can do a little of every-
thing." Her Saturday show will give
her audience a taste of the irreverent,
honest comedy on which Tomlin has
based her career as well as insight
into the life of one of Hollywood's
By Alexandra Jones
Daily Arts Editor
Dan Savage spends a lot of his time thinking about other
peoples' problems. He writes about sex - strap-on' dildos,
golden showers, fetishes from smoking to
scat - in his nationally syndicated week- Dan Savage
ly advice column, "Savage Love." After T
dispensing sage advice to readers for 14 Tonight at 7:30
years, he's placed his long-term relation- Angell Hall
ship with his boyfriend Terry at the heart Auditorium B
of his latest book, "The Commitment."
Savage will read from his new book today at 7:30 p.m.
"It feels a lot riskier," Savage said of "The Commitment."
"The book is much more revealing. I talk about my sex life,
and I talk about my family; I talk about my grandmother's sex
life, and I talk about things that go right to the heart of who
I am and how I live and who I love." Although Savage has
written about his personal life in a previous book, "The Kid:
What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get
Pregnant," "The Commitment" explores the long-term rela-
tionships in Savage's extended family as well as his relation-
ship with Terry and their son, DJ. "It makes me feel much
more vulnerable than the column does," he said.
In his last book, "Skipping Towards Gomorrah: The Seven
Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America," Sav-
age explored the relationship between American excesses and
far-right pundits' statements that the country is on the fast
track to hell. "Writing 'Skipping Towards Gomorrah' was
much more like jumping in and out of sinful lifestyles that
didn't necessarily appeal to me," Savage said. "I was much
more of a sociologist and an explorer than I usually am ...
(That book) was a whole bunch of fish-out-of-water stories. (I
tried) to see what was there in other peoples' sinful pleasures
that didn't appeal to me."
"The Commitment" involves discussion of Savage's family
life with his boyfriend and son, as well as his mother's, broth-
ers' and sister's long-term relationships. As a gay couple, Sav-
age and his boyfriend felt a little like fish out of water: "(We)
are not entirely comfortable with the idea of marriage. We
didn't want to jump in."
And with good reason. In "The Commitment," Savage and
his boyfriend face a life-changing decision: They've been
together for 10 years and have a son together, so isn't getting
married the "right" thing to do - or should the pair just get
matching "Property of" tattoos?
After researching his grandparents' marriage and question-
ing his mother and siblings for their thoughts on the subject,
Savage believes one universal truth about marriage. "If it's the
right thing to do, it doesn't change anything about your rela-
tionship - but it sets other people at ease about what your
relationship means," he explained. In Savage's case, one of
the "other people" would be his mother, who, in stereotypical
mom fashion, sends Dan and Terry clippings from newspa-
pers about the benefits of marriage. But one of the most vocif-
erous opponents to the possibility of Dan and Terry's official
union isn't Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell: It's their son DJ,
who believes, thanks to elementary school-level gender poli-
tics, that "boys don't marry boys; they marry girls."
Savage's hilarious and touching analysis of his family's
dynamics serves not just to work out his and Terry's feelings
about their relationship: As in his other books, there's a strong
political undercurrent to "The Commitment," with Savage
countering anti-gay marriage (and just plain anti-gay) politi-
cians and commentators with his own compelling logic. He
answers to claims made by the eponymous Sen. Rick Santo-
rum (R-Pa.) (thanks to Savage, his readers now use the word
"santorum" to mean "that frothy mix of lube and fecal matter
that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex") as well as Focus
on the Family's James Dobson. He parallels straight failed
marriages with his and Terry's relatively traditional gender
roles (Dan brings home the bacon, Terry stays home with DJ)
and details the benefits he and Terry would receive if the law
would allow same-sex couples to marry - all while wonder-
ing if marriage would "jinx" their great relationship. But when
it comes to his rights and the rights of those he loves, Savage
isn't afraid to fight back.
"(Americans who oppose gay marriage) will eventually
have it shoved down their throats, whether they like it or not,"
he said. "The religious right and the anti-gay crowd's solution
to the 'gay problem' is that we should all stop existing, that we
should all accept Jesus Christ as our personal savior and be
miraculously made straight. That's not going to happen, and
we're not going anywhere."
The strength of the book lies in Savage's ability to match
a face - and a family - to the gay marriage debate. His
practical insistence is a significant strength of his argument:
"America's always last in freedom," he said. "We'll be the last
to have a female president, we (were) the last to give women
the vote, we (were) the last to free slaves in the west, we (were)
the last to do the right thing on gay marriage - but it's inevita-
ble. It's coming. (Legal gay marriage in Massachusetts) didn't
change anything for anybody who was straight, but it helped
gay couples without taking anything away from anybody."
Savage reiterated the basic idea he puts forth in "The Com-
mitment": "Marriage and love are not zero-sum games, and if
two gay people are in love, it doesn't harm two straight people
who aren't in love with them. It'll come. It'll arrive."
Cook catches fire on TV special
By Caitlin Cowan
For the Daily
Most comedians offer their fans a big "thank you" in the
event of a huge success. Not Dane Cook. After the unpar-
alleled success of his new comedy
CD Retaliation, an extremely pop-
ular tour that he calls "Tourgasm"
and a new comedy film with Dave
Attell, Dane Cook would like to
give all his fans a big "SuFi."
"A big SuFi to the fans," Cook
said. The "SuFi," or "Super Finger,"
is one of Dane's many beloved jokes.
The "SuFi," along with other jokes
Sunday, Oct. 2
at S P.m .
from Retaliation such as "Superbleeder," "My Son Opti-
mus Prime" and "The Friend That No One Likes" are on
the tip of millions of people's tongues - and they should
be. Retaliation opened at number four on the Billboard
charts last month; it was one of the highest openings for a
comedy album in 20 years.
"To say that I knew that (my success) was coming would
be a lie," Cook said. "I don't know if it has totally, com-
pletely sunk in yet."
Cook wasn't always comedy's golden boy. With his
cocky swagger and larger-than-life comedic bravado, it's
hard to imagine him bombing during a show. But he main-
tains that his audiences haven't always been so receptive.
At a 1993 Boston Garden show where Cook and friends
opened for Phish, his improv didn't go over well. "Out of
the dark, they started throwing lighters and shoes. And
I remember thinking to myself on stage as I was getting
pelted ... did people bring shoes to throw at us? Did they
pack extra shoes? Who throws their shoes in Boston?"
Cook's latest project is a feature-length concert film in
Courtesy of Dane Cook
"I'm coming for you, Screech!"
which he appears alongside fellow comedians Greg Giral-
do, Sean Rouse and Attell. "I had wanted to work with
Dave Attell for years," Cook admitted. He finally got his
chance on "Dave Attell's Insomniac Tour Presents..." The
film will premiere on Comedy Central on Sunday, Oct. 2
at 9 p.m. and is what Cook considers to be "the best 22
minutes of me doing a live show ever caught on tape."
Above all, it is clear that Cook loves his fans. "I'll get
naked if it'll get a laugh on stage," he said: At a show a few
years ago, a fan approached him with a clay-and-macaroni
sculpture of the universe, with Cook as its center. "Any
minute I could picture him stabbing me and saying 'I'm
going to give you to Jesus now.' " So just remember, no
matter how much "Tourgasm" riles you up, or how much
Retaliation makes you laugh, no macaroni statues, please.
Diamond's career saved
by stand-up comedy bell
Band concert a trip
home for 'U' alum
By Jenny Flack
For the Daily
By Doug Wemert
Daily Magazine Editor
Here's the thing about Dustin Diamond:
After finding huge childhood success as
Screech Powers, the -
goofy sidekick to gold-
en boy Zach Morris on Dustin
"Saved by the Bell," he Diamond
is determined to avoid Today and
the child-star stigma Tomorrow at
- a mix of bad career 8 and 10:30 p.m.
choices, stagnant roles $14 advance
and a reluctance to $16 at the door
leave the business At the Ann Arbor
that made him a star. Comedy Showcase
That's why at age 28,
after paying his dues, he's found a second
niche - stand-up comedy.
"When I'm on stage, I'm at home," Dia-
mond said. As a guy who worked his way
up in the business, playing at frat hous-
es and house parties before getting the
opportunity to headline shows, Diamond
described his style of comedy as "a mix
between the comedians I idolized when
growing up. I like the high-level comedy,
the thinking man's comedy - wrapped up
in an adolescent package." Drawing on his
influences such as George Carlin and Ste-
ven Wright, Diamond - a "regular, run-
of-the-mill guy" - touches on a variety
of subjects in his act, including politics,
relationships and yes, even "Saved by the
"When I get out there, I show them that it's
just me," he said.
Still, Diamond recognizes the success
of the adolescent television hit that gave
him the notoriety he has today, although
he admitted. "I'm not a huge fan of the
show. If I was a guy just flipping the chan-
nels, that wouldn't have been my show."
Residing in Wisconsin, he doesn't see the
Courtesy of Dustin Diamond
"You want some of this, Dane?"
other cast members very much - most are
still working out in Los Angeles. Compar-
ing his career evolution to a guy who has
"read the instructions," Diamond believes
some of the other cast members haven't
fared as well.
"They're stuck in those roles," he said.
Happy with his current career, Diamond
doesn't see an appearance on "The Surreal
Life" happening anytime soon, and with
projects with Sirius radio, Comedy Cen-
tral and Spike TV in the works, Diamond
has plenty to keep him occupied. With an
upcoming performance in Ann Arbor, Dia-
mond is looking forward to another experi-
ence with the local crowd.
"Ann Arbor fans are fantastic. Different
parts of the country, people appreciate come-
dy in different way, and the Ann Arbor crowd
really seem to want to be (in the club)."
This year is one of celebration for the School of Music. As
the school will celebrate its 125th anniversary, the Symphony
Band will be playing a concert today at 8 p.m. at Hill Audi-
The concert will include the musical
Symphony selections "Wiener Philharmoniker Fan-
Band fare," "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,"
Tonight at 8 p.m. "Trauermusik, WWV 73 (Trauersinfonie),"
Free "Concerto for Piano and Winds" and "Bells
At Hill Auditorium for Stokowski." If none of these names
sound familiar another reason to attend the
concert will be the premiere of recent Music
graduate Roshanne Etezady's "Anahita," at the concert.
The piece is inspired by Anahita, the Zoroastrian goddess
of the night, who is featured in a poem and murals that were
painted on the ceiling of the Assembly Chamber of the State
Capital Building in Albany, N.Y. by New England painter
William Morris Hunt.
The murals were almost completely destroyed by water
damage and subsequently covered. After visiting the murals,
Etezady explained, "I found something particularly resonant
in the fact that this huge work, one of the largest of the artist's
career, is slowly deteriorating over time, and there's nothing
anyone can do about it. I was also drawn to the image of the
Zoroastrian goddess Anahita, to the idea of a figure being
beautiful and terrifying at the same time."
As for how she conceived and composed her music, Etezady
admitted that it's not as glamorous a process. "I did most of
my composing in front of my computer, in my pajamas. Seri-
ously, that's where most of the 'magic' happens for me," she
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Ann Arbor Spotlight:
Christina Morales Hemenway
there for 17 years. I really tried to make it my home
- I was struggling in the business and then I finally
convinced my husband to move back to Ann Arbor.
After I was home, I went to visit - and all the trials
and tribulations I had been through suddenly became
rv fuvnn... S oit wa n ra mhination of exneriences
..I think that (Ain Arborites) have such a great artistic
sensibility - they do art for art's sake.
TMD: What's next for you and the movie?0
CMH: We are submitting to film festivals and we're
alo in ne tiations withadistributor. I'm hoin we'll