October 10, 2005
JI iFtilgrn u
. . . . .. .. .. .. ... .. .
Talk is cheap
Depending on your perspec-
tive, it's either the best or the
worst fake news story since
the Jude Law debacle: Tom Cruise
has finally knocked up fiancee/
purported hostage Katie Holmes.
Presumably, this will end specula-
tion that he tapped her merely as
candy to promote a pair
of his-and-hers block-
busters. Presumably, this
will end decade-spanning
rumors that Cruise uses
his poster-boy marquee
status to hide the fact thatf
he's actually a reticent
closet case. Presumably,
the next we will have to
hear about TomKat will
be when they name their
LEFT: Weezer's Rivers Cuomo; Foo Fighters' Dave Grohi
Foo FIGHTERS AND WEEZER ROCK JLA
By Abby Frackman
Daily Arts Writer
It was cool to be uncool at the near-sold-out Foo
Fighters/Weezer concert at Joe
Louis Arena Friday night. The
audience was a mix of middle Foo Fighters
schoolers whose first taste of and Weezer
Weezer was "Beverly Hills" and Friday
college students who showed up Joe Louise Arena
in hopes of hearing the older, bet-
ter Foo Fighters and Weezer hits
that showed them the way during their dark teenage
years. For some fans this was their first concert with
the two music greats, but others probably couldn't
count the number of times they've seen them live.
The show kicked off with a tight set by up-and-
comers Kaiser Chiefs, who performed the infectious
tunes that lace their debut album, Employment. Even
though the arena was just starting to fill up, the indie
outfit gave it their all.
The concert gained momentum as Weezer, fronted
by emo-chic Rivers Cuomo (sans the signature glass-
es) took the stage. Deafening cheers and screams
turned to laughter and applause as the band made
their entrance to "When You Wish Upon a Star," ref-
erencing the title of their latest album, Make Believe.
Weezer then went into "My Name is Jonas," off
their '94 self-titled debut. As the song came to a close,
Cuomo and co. immediately launched into their next
song - the slower, introspective "Peace" from their
latest disc. Even though the crowd's energy level was
taken down a notch, they loved the song choice and
sang every word.
Throughout the set, Cuomo and the rest remained
fairly stationary, and the audience interaction was
minimal. One exception was when Cuomo joked that
he was practicing a new song but refused to play it
because the audience "would record it, put it on the
Internet and be sick of it before the album came out."
Instead, he played "El Scorcho" and ditched his gui-
tar in favor of slightly awkward dance moves.
Cuomo shared the spotlight with his fellow band-
mates. While he stayed back at the drums, bassist
Scott Shriner lent his vocals to "Dope Nose," guitar-
ist Brian Bell shined on "Why Bother?" and drum-
mer Patrick Wilson rocked "Photograph/Song 2," a
The highlights of the set were Weezer's rous-
ing rendition of "Big Me," a Foo Fighters classic,
as well as an acoustic "Island in the Sun," during
which Cuomo sang on a platform on the floor of
The set was a perfect mix of old and new Weezer
hits. "Say It Ain't So," "This is Such a Pity," "Hash
Pipe" and "Surf Wax America" were all received with
enthusiasm. The set came to a close with a member of
the audience playing "Undone - The Sweater Song"
with the band. It ended with "Buddy Holly."
By the time the Foo Fighters took the stage, the
crowd at Joe Louis reached its peak. The opening
number "In Your Honor," off their new album of the
same name, set the tone for their set. Frontman Dave
Grohl screamed the lyrics to every song, almost to
the point of making them incomprehensible.
The Foos tore through a highly energetic set, play-
ing a collection of old as well as new hits, among
them "All My Life," "Everlong," "Best of You" and
"Times Like These." Excellent song choices paired
with Grohl's uncommon stage presence left little to
be desired. Some of the best moments were Grohl's
playful interactions with the audience. At one point,
he called for dramatic lighting and when a spotlight
was placed on him, declared it a "Creed moment."
During "Stacked Actors," Grohl found himself
in the same spot on the floor where Cuomo did an
acoustic "Island in the Sun," much to the audience's
enjoyment. Also similar to Cuomo, Grohl stepped
into the drummer's shoes during the mellower
"Cold Day in the Sun" while Taylor Hawkins pro-
The night ended with full audience participation
on "Money Wrench" while Grohl showed off his
impressive skills by playing guitar behind his back.
If this concert was any indication, Weezer and the
Foo Fighters show no signs of a diminishing fanbase.
If anything, it served to reinforce old loyalties and
create even more dedicated fans.
all-American spawn after
something deeply buried in the L.
Ron Hubbard archives.
But if we've learned anything
in the greater scheme of celebrity-
insider schlock, it's that presump-
tions involving any sort of logic will
get you nowhere. But maybe this is
expecting too much. It's up to you
whether you think it's acceptable
that this type of story shares front-
page status with, say, a Pakistani
earthquake that killed something like
No, this is the sort of story that
will be with us for months (years?) to
come. Our obsession with movie stars
and what we think we know about
their lives predates the reality-TV age
and most of the stars that now make
headlines. We balk at the intrusions
of tabloids but casually browse them
on supermarket newsstands, roll our
eyes in disgust at what an unconscio-
nable douche Donald Trump is, yet
keep "The Apprentice" on the air for
four seasons - and the list goes on.
It's all part of a closeted entertain-
ment culture that most of us indulge
in, even if we won't admit it to other
people, much less ourselves.
There is, of course, nothing really
wrong with this. We all have our
thing. I had to fight off an almost
primal urge to use this space to
speculate on Julie Cooper's fantasti-
cally conniving intentions with that
pseudo-rehab Trekkie (if you have
no idea what I'm talking about, that's
probably to your credit). There's such
a never-ending supply of "Laguna
Beaches," National Enquirers and
other so-called "guilty pleasures" that
it has almost become its own sub-
genre - and judging from the viewer
response, it isn't going anywhere.
The problem comes in when our
infatuation with the glitz and glamour
begins to overshadow the medium
that brought them into the spotlight in
the first place. Too often the movie-
going, TV-watching, Us Weekly-read-
ing public at large no longer looks to
the movie or show itself but to what
the gossip rags tell them about it
- a sort of litmus test to screen their
choices in entertainment.
Take for instance the
case with Cruise. After
the narcissistic couch
hopper became Public
Enemy No. I early last
summer, even politicians
such as New Jersey Gov.
Richard Codey issued
official statements urg-
ing Tom Cruise to "stick
to acting." The way I see
REY it, there are two prob-
)MER lems with this: First, do
we really need a state
governor to publicly join the tabloid
culture? And why should movie stars
be expected to keep their mouths shut
when reading about everything they
say is a national pastime? There's
an absurd condescension in the sug-
gestion that an actor can't have an
opinion on things outside Hollywood
because "all they do is make movies."
What does that even mean?
Then there's the fact that the
astonishingly pervasive anti-Cruise
bandwagon led to online petitions
and other movements designed not to
voice their opposition to him but to
boycott "War of the Worlds," a movie
of which he was only a single partici-
pant. On one website in particular,
which as of this writing has collected
17,235 signatures, the letter is not
even addressed to Cruise but to direc-
tor Steven Spielberg. Meanwhile,
"War of the Worlds" was an assured,
creepy-crawly spectacle that many
people skipped out on for no good
Granted, this works to the advan-
tage of the film or TV show in ques-
tion as often as it does against them
- Brangelina sold "Mr. & Mrs.
Smith" to the tune of $180 million
- and many stars of the Paris Hil-
ton breed no doubt bring most of the
negative buzz upon themselves. But
there comes a point where we have to
draw the line. There are indeed some
legitimate reasons to avoid a movie
or show because of something other
than the actual work itself, but when
we have a smear campaigns against
things most of the protesters haven't
even seen, it comes to the point where
enough is enough.
-Bloomer is still trying to find the
Goose to his Maverick. Help him out by
e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nerd rap hits the Blind Pig
Rap group takes St. Andrew's stage
By AIel Sundel
Daily Arts Writer
In the nonsensica
Teen Hunger Force,
named MC Pee
Pants raps about
candy. The man
behind MC Pee
Pants and other
Adult Swim char-
il comedy "Aqua
a giant diaper-
Tonight at 7 p.m.
At the Bling Pig
approaches his music in a playful way,
wrting satirical lyrics that comment
on different aspects of society. He
has formed his own label and offers
downloads of his songs for free on his
website. "I think we've all been taken
for a ride enough times by the music
industry," he said.
As a writer/artist/voice talent for
Adult Swim cartoons, Ward had
the opportunity to incorporate his
rap skills through MC Pee Pants. "I
always got to write a new song for
every episode I was in, so I liked that
a lot," he said.
Although Ward is now self-
employed and no longer works for
Cartoon Network, he is still involved
in the cartoons and will be featured in
the "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" movie,
which is slated to open next year.
The self-proclaimed "geek" rapper
played a sold-out show at the Blind
Pig last spring, and he said can't wait
to come back to Ann Arbor with his
Revenge of the Nerd tour.
He was surprised, though, that he
now gets extra attention from the
ladies. "It's just weird because if I
wasn't on stage with a microphone,
girls (wouldn't) really talk to me,"
Ward said. "So then I'll get on stage
and rap a little bit and they're tearing
their clothes off and throwing their
panties at me. It's kinda hilarious."
So what makes him a nerd, anyway?
"I'm kinda lame, I don't have a lot of
friends, I don't get invited to a lot of
parties and I like video games and
comic books and 'Star Wars,' " Ward
said. It's just something I identify with
because it's about the underdog or the
downtrodden, people who don't quite
Ward explained that his Revenge
of the Nerd tour is "a celebration of
a great year, for me personally, and
for nerds in general. We're just at
the top of the heap right now. I don't
know if it's gonna stay this way, but
we might as well have a good time
while we're there."
By Amos Barshad
Daily Arts Writer
acters is independent rapper me chris,
who will be performing his original
songs at the Blind Pig tonight.
Born Christopher Ward, me chris
keeps his name in lowercase out of
respect for what he calls "real hip
hop," such as the groups that sparked
his love for the genre: A Tribe Called
Quest, De La Soul, Black Sheep and
The Pharcyde. If the "mc" were capi-
talized, he feels it "implies that I think
I'm a real MC, which I don't." Ward
The mood on stage was reflective Thursday night at
St. Andrew's Hall - Slug, a mem-
ber of the hip-hop group Atmo- Atmosphere
sphere, was holding court. "You St. Andrew's HallI
feeling good tonight? That's all we
want, right, to feel good? We come
out here, feel good for a while, and then we expect that
to be the norm; we want to feel good all the time. A lot
of people will spend a lot of money at that bar tonight
trying to feel good."
Both on record and in person, a big part of Slug's shtick
is his winking self-deprecation. Asked if he's surprised
at times from the positive reactions of the crowds, Slug
answered, "I've been feeling that way for the past 15
years, homey." No one takes him less seriously, it seems,
than Slug himself.
Slug, who described his official position at label
Rhymesayers as "co-owner/pimp-slash-spiritual advisor,"
is quick to point out that he has no blanket objection to the
majors, per se. "Yeah, I've seen major labels do some evil
shit, but none of that compares to the evil that's inside of
me," Slug said.
In regard to the recording of You Can't Imagine How
Much Fun We're Having, their latest album, Slug said,
"We don't care, worry about what people think, because
that allows us to make any piece of shit we want. Then,
when we're done, we think, how are we going to get peo-
ple to eat this shit? Maybe put some sprinkles on it."
"We're not very conscious of what we do. Basically,
(DJ) Ant's trying to impress me, or try to make my ears
bleed from the snare, and I'm trying to make him laugh.
That's it. And we bum each other's cigarettes."
On stage, though, Slug plays it a little harder. Beginning
the set with a live band and a fedora-clad bartender serv-
ing cocktails, Slug kept the quips to a minimum. The MC
stalked the stage and delivered his material with almost a
beat poetry feel.
Midway through, the band ambled off and the crowd
received a treat - Atmosphere's nontouring member Ant
sauntered towards the decks, performing in Michigan for
the first time.
Ant dropped the needle on the MTV2 hit, "Trying To
Find A Balance," and Slug kicked the show into another
gear. He stared the audience down, spitting lines with
vigor and gesticulating like a madman. Afterwards,
he couldn't resist an opportunity to cut himself down.
With a shrug, he repeated a line from the song - "stop
writing rhymes and go play volleyball" - in a mock-
ing, incredulous tone, like it was the craziest shit he'd
Of course, it's a foolish man that takes Slug by his
word. The guy knows how to keep the crowd off its feet;
the focused MC becomes the court jester in the blink of
an eye. Thursday night, Atmosphere was on their game,
delivering their set with a passion and an edge. And then
they sat back and, as Slug put it, watched "these white kids
eat it up like mayonnaise."
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The University of Michigan Law School
Terrorism in the
Seth P. Waxman
Former Solicitor General of the United States (1997-2001)
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