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October 12, 2005 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-12

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Wednesday

Rte litSigat til

0

arts. michigandaily. com
artspage@michigandaily.com

8

Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
"Yes, it is necessary that my bra be exposed in this shot."
'Shoes' takes the
long road to success

01

By Imran Syed
Daily Arts Writer

Leaving behind
awesomeness of
her rich-celebrity-
international-waste-of-
time-hiking-trip
show "Trippin',"
Cameron Diaz

the utter trash-TV
In Her Shoes
At Showcase
and Quality 16
20th Century Fox

returns to
screen for
first time in

the
the
two

years in director Curtis Hanson's ("8
Mile") dramedy "In Her Shoes." The
film, adapted from the chick-lit novel
by Jennifer Weiner, starts out rather
labored and almost unbearably trite,
but it somehow, almost miraculously,
comes together in the second half and
manages to be smart, touching and
perhaps even inspiring.
The film centers on Maggie (Diaz)
and Rose (Toni Collette, "The Sixth
Sense"), two unlikely sisters that no
one would guess are siblings based
on their attitudes or looks. Maggie is
a lazy slob who has no job and doesn't
really want one, preferring to mooch
off of her rich, over-achieving sister.
But Maggie's irresponsible behavior
finally crosses the line and a seeming-
ly irreparable rift develops between
the two. Only when they get in touch
with their seemingly nonexistent fam-
ily and discover a tragic secret from
their childhood will the two sisters
come to realize how much they mean
to each other.
Though the relationship between
the two sisters takes an unconsciona-
bly long time to develop, it is ultimate-
ly what makes the film work. In terms
of character, it's only when the two are
apart that we get to truly know each
one, understand their troubles and

appreciate their respective plights. By
showing the character growth of each
sister separately, the movie keeps the
viewers in the dark about the final out-
come, all the while holding interest
with an infectious, simple charm.
Diaz's Maggie is initially a char-
acter that the audience would love to
hate - an apathetic, self-centered
manipulator who uses people to get
what she wants without ever doing
anything herself. Yet when we find
out more about her struggles and sol-
emn past, it becomes impossible not to
cheer for her as she finally begins to
reform her life. Her sister, Rose, goes
through a similar process of growth
and finally learns that there are more
important things in life than work and
money. By the end, both sisters' jour-
neys are rich and enchanting stories of
what a person can accomplish if given
the chance.
The film tackes character and fam-
ily issues that are surprisingly com-
plex and handled with deft insight.
Through the sisters' rampant bickering
and conflicting loves of a father and
grandmother and an utter monstrosity
of a stepmother, the film portrays real
family conflicts with intelligent grace.
Though the ultimate solutions to these
problems are unrealistically saccha-
rine sweet, the film doesn't deny the
occasional tragedy of life and shows
that with a little support and love, all
obstacles are surmountable.
Often light and giggly, though
thoughtful where it counts, "In Her
Shoes" is the rare film that audiences
will get more out of than they might
expect. It makes for a fine change of
pace from the overbearing crop of
recent thrillers and inanely "humor-
ous" comedies and should be enjoyed
by an unexpectedly wide range of
audiences - assuming they wait
around until the story picks up.

Courtesy of Sony Music

"Since I look like this, you have to take me seriously. Or else I'll write a song about you."

'EXTRAORDINARY' MEASURES
APPLE'S COMEBACK SHOWCASES BRILLIANT MUSICAL CONSTANCY

By Gabe Rivin
Daily Arts Writer

After a 2003 Internet leak exposed an unfin-
ished copy of her third album, Fiona Apple
reemerged from six years of self-imposed exile

as an unforgettable songwrit-
er. Her story has been told
many times in entertainment
and music publications and
often over-interpreted from
the scant amount of publicly
available information. But in
its most factually accurate
sense, here it goes: Follow-

Fiona Apple
Extraordinary
Machine
Epic/Clean Slate

Whatever the real history behind Extraordi-
nary Machine, we now know that the album was
rerecorded in its entirety following the extraor-
dinary buzz it received after it leaked. Featur-
ing - gasp - producer Mike Elizondo (50 Cent,
Eminem), the official release bears some resem-
blance to the original Brion sessions but, most
importantly, is much better. While the 2003 leak
sounded unbalanced between pronounced string
arrangements and Apple's own loud presence,
its new form is well-mixed and composed from
front to back.
The album opens with the title track, one of
only two that remain note for note from the Brion
sessions - an offbeat song with jazzy vocals,
plucked strings and the most addictive chorus on
the entire disc. Apple's personality sounds sweet
and pensive on the opener, leaving the possibil-
ity that the years of dark angst and bitterness are
behind her. Don't be fooled though, as the sec-
ond track, "Get Him Back," romps into violent
revenge ("Wait 'til I get him back / He won't have
a back to scratch.")
.As much as her self-righteous anger some-
times reads on paper like the diary of a heartbro-
ken teenager, Apple may have grown out of her
reclusiveness. "Parting Gift" is as close as she'll
ever let the listener into her personal sphere, and
as tormented and bitter of a life she's had (and
she'll never let you forget it), there's something
intriguing and captivating about her words. She
seems to have recognized her faults in the public

arena ("I am likely to miss the main event / If I
stop to cry and complain again"), and show that
she's cast off her media image as the poster child
for fucked-up youth ("So I will keep a deliberate
pace / Let the damn breeze dry my face").
Extraordinary Machine excels primarily in its
musical diversity. Hints of Joni Mitchell glow in
Apple's astonishing vocal range, and chunks of
John Lennon's piano are pretty evident as well -
compare the last piano chord on Extraordinary
Machine to that on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts
Club. And while her influences aren't invisible,
Apple shows talent in all genres ranging from
hip-hop scats to operatic falsettos. Underneath
all the bassoons and clarinets that personalize
this album is a strong, unique musical identity -
the stomping midrange piano and her gorgeous
voice, complex key and time changes, howls and
whispers and a taste for the waltz.
Some may find Fiona Apple too in-your-face
about her feelings. Men accustomed to lament-
ing their own broken love may find her self-
righteousness unattractive. Male or female, it
gets tiring to hear any-artist ceaselessly-wax
bitterness, and this one's no exception. With
that said, Fiona Apple is no throwaway musi-
cian. Her music is complex, and her voice is
deep with passion and soul. Resurrected from
a dark cave of infamy, Apple strikes a perfect
chord with this long-awaited album. Let's just
hope audiences don't have to wait another six
years for the next one.

ing a long hiatus from the biz, Apple completed
a version of Extraordinary Machine. Produced
by Hollywood orchestral wizard and veteran
Apple music label producer Jon Brion, the album
was submitted to Sony in 2003. Outsiders can
only speculate as to why, after completion, its
release was indefinitely put on hold. Initially,
the press was led to believe that Apple's label,
Epic, owned by Sony, was dissatisfied with the
finished product. Later, Spin magazine revealed
that Apple herself may have decided to shelve the
project after it didn't match up with her original
"vision." Eventually fans began to expect that her
third album would forever gather dust at Sony
headquarters.

Strauss opera brings
myth and music to Hill

'Syracuse sold out A2

By Sarah Peterson
Daily Arts Writer

By Kristine Michel
For the Daily

people would remember." The opera not
only showcases Strauss's exceptional
classical music, but also the impeccable
talent of Fleming, who Kondziolka said
is "the absolute darling of opera."
Fleming's accolades place her

What do you get when you cross a
Roman comedy by Plautus, an early
comedy of Shakespeare and the

The University Musical Society will
welcome Maestro Semyon Bychkov
and the WDR Symphony Orchestra
Cologne to the Hill Auditorium on
Thursday. Under Bychkov's direction,
the orchestra and performers will bring
Richard Strauss's opera "Daphne" to
life. Renee Fleming, whose exquisite
soprano vocals and performances have
won her worldwide fame, is cast in the
lead role as Daphne.
Ann Arbor is the first city in the
United States to host the performance
of "Daphne" as part of Bychkov's
second nationwide tour. The UMS,
under the direction of Program Direc-
tor Michael Kondziolka, collaborated
with Carnegie Hall and the John F.
Kennedy Center for the Performing
Arts to bring this rarely heard, but
phenomenal opera to the campus.
Kondziolka said Hill is viewed as
a great place to perform and said that
"according to the New York Times, it is
the Carnegie Hall of the Midwest." He
added that he "wanted to start off the
year with a bang, giving a performance

among several
accomplished
artists. With two
Grammy Awards
and eight total
nominations, her
talents have pro-
pelled her to star-
dom.
The evening
also marks Bych-

Daphne
Thursday
8 p.m.
Tickets $70, $10
for students
At Hill Auditorium

music and timing
of vaudeville?
That's right, you
get a musical
full of beautiful
songs, confused
identities and
hilarious situa-
tions.
"The Boys
from Syracuse,"
music by Rich-
ard Rodgers with
lyrics by Lorenz
Hart, was one of
the first musicals

The Boys
from
Syracuse
Thursday
7:30 p.m.
Friday and
Saturday
8 p.m.
Sunday 2 p.m.
Sold Out
At Lydia Mendelssohn
Theatre

kov's conducting debut at Hill. As prin-
ciple conductor for the German-based
WDR Symphony Orchestra, critics have
praised Bychkov for his adaptations of
Strauss's operas. Unlike many operas,
"Daphne" will not rely on extensive sets,
costumes or staging. This Greek myth of
ill-fated love and conflicts between gods
and mortals looks to the talent of the
many soloists under Bychkov's direction.
Throughout the opera, they illustrate the
story and convey the mythical Greek
scenery through their music.
The opera also gives the audience a
look at Daphne's inner emotions. She

up one master for his twin and wives
mistake strangers for husbands. At
the end of the day though, the story
is one about love and family.
Alex Michaels, a senior in the
School of Music, plays the part
of Antipholus, one of the twins.
Michaels explained how much he
has enjoyed his time working on the
play, especially the songs his char-
acter gets to sing. "The score is real-
ly beautiful, and I was really taken
with the music of the character. The
music shows a real character pro-
gression and journey," he said.
Michaels also explained that
working on a classic like "Syracuse"
is a challenge because the timing
has to be precise. Since the music
has a vaudeville feel, there are "a lot
of particular timings," he said.
. Explaining his decision to do this
show, Director Brent Wagner said,
"I thought it would be a great dis-
covery, doing a 1930s musical." He
spoke about how he really liked
doing shows from different eras,
especially a play by such a legend-
ary director and writer.
"I think many of the dance num-
bers are beautifully conceived.
Also, there is a point where two of
the twins imagine what it would be
like to grow up with brothers - that
is really great," Wagner also said,
"The Boys from Syracuse" is a
classic featuring beloved songs such
as "Falling in Love with Love" and
"This Can't Be Love." It was revived
on Broadway in 1963 and was a pop-
ular 1930s musical. It promises to
be a night of physical and situational
comedy that will have the audience
wiping away tears of laughter.

0

Courtesy of UMS

Ren6e Fleming will perform in the Opera "Daphne."

is a secluded and detached character
who cannot find love among mortals or
gods. In the dramatic and emotionally
stirring final scene of the opera, Flem-
ing will use her commanding stage
presence and impressive vocals to por-
tray Daphne's climactic transformation
from human to tree.
In writing "Daphne," Strauss's main

goal was to create a modern opera out
of an ancient story. He treats the audi-
ence members to the challenging and
impressive high-tenor vocals of the
characters Apollo and Leukippos, as
well as the creatively mastered and
complex duets between Daphne and
Leukippos in what promises to be a
one-of-a-kind opera experience.

to be adapted
from a Shakespeare play in 1938.
This weekend, University Produc-
tions brings this classic show to the
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre.
"The Boys from Syracuse," based
on Shakespeare's "Comedy of
Errors," is a story about two sets of
identical twins, separated at birth,
who unknowingly find themselves
in the same town at the same time.
Comedy ensues as people confuse
one twin for the other, servants mix

- - - - -1

W"~alk-Gm Try-Guts s'
For the Michigan
IE M'@ \0

"Don't let your
get ahead of_,,.

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