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One-hundred-sixteen years of editorialfreedom
www.mchigandaziy.com Ann Arbor, Michigan Vol. CXVI, No. 99 @2006 The Michigan Daily
2 Film Festival
caters to eclectics
'U' won't list median grades
Last Tuesday night, live salsa
music filled the faux-gold glitz
of the Michigan Theater lobby.
Silver-coated Ding Dongs dotted the
grand staircase, a buffet table of mer-
chandise stood sentry by the door, and
no one was abashed in storming the
tables of free food and beer. A dozen
people in gowns and powdered wigs
milled through the packed
crowd with silver trays
- and why not? This
was, after all, the open-
ing of the 44th annual
Ann Arbor Film Festival,
the most proudly eclectic
show in town.'
It's a film festival for
the indie set. Renowned
for its emphasis on exper-
imental film, the festival KR
features a large number of
cash-prize awards spon- MACD
sored by such film com-
munity notables as Michael Moore
("Fahrenheit 9/11"), Gus Van Sant
("Elephant") and the University's own
Lawrence Kasdan ("Mumford").
This year, the festival attracted about
2,000 entries from all over the world,
a high number because of the festival's
fairly recent decision to accept video
and digital submissions in addition
to 16mm. An impressive 118 entries
made it to the screen over the past six
days, and the selection was diverse.
Ranging in length from one minute to
90, the featured films included docu-
mentaries and dramas, animations
and collages, political commentaries
and experiments with time.
With such breadth available, each
night's program could afford to mix
freely the witty, the unapologetically
artsy, the angry and the sad.
But mostly it was invention that lay
at the heart of the festival's entries, in
terms of both technical ingenuity and
clever subject matter. "Afraid So," a
three-minute short based on a poem,
featured the famous voice of radio per-
sonality Garrison Keillorintoning ques-
tions of classic anxiety: "Are there side
effects? Was the car totaled? Are you
still smoking?" Another resourceful
short, "Ringo," starred Roy Rogers and
John Wayne, mish-mashing old movie
footage around the country ballad of an
outlaw and sheriff. And "The Mechan-
icals," a Festival Audience Award win-
ner from Australia, wryly depicted the
electricity of a man's morning routine
as the secret work of a team of harried
workers hiding in the walls.
The most winning pieces generally
made the most of their brief length.
The short film can be a powerful
little medium, especially in our com-
mercial-accustomed culture, where a
quick punch usually makes the sharp-
Not every entry was so wise. "Busi-
ness as Usual," a short film from Can-
ada, needed only about a third of its 10
minutes to depict robotic, suited busi-
nessmen at various stock exchanges
around the world. A documentary
collage from Russia about Mexican
artist Frida Kahlo swirled the drama
of her life into a kaleidoscopic jumble
that, at 40 minutes, long overstayed its
Some entries, however, suffered for
"Psychic Driving," in particular, felt
unsatisfactorily explored - despite
Hollywood-quality production, its
protagonist, an unknowing victim of a
ended up hard to root for, and the film's
disappointing ending underscored the
necessary trick of determining when
to add exposition. In
20 minutes, emotional
attachments are decid-
edly difficult to develop.
Except in the case of
The festival's most
moving pieces proved
to be its documentaries,
and the diversity of their
topics rendered it a crash
SSTIN course in subcultures as
enlightening as it was
One doc following
a group of poor Louisiana brothers
opened with the striking image of a
boy in a bathtub combing a live roost-
er with an afro pick.
"I'd fight anything just to see it
get killed," the boy's voiceover later
intoned as he casually dangled two
cats above an eager dog.
Another piece explored the late'60s
rumor of Paul McCartney's death.
One bespectacled interviewee, a for-
mer staffer at The Michigan Daily,
boasted happily of his contribution to
the rumor, which was allegedly start-
ed in the Daily's pages. He reminisced
fondly about his questionable article
as if unaware of the glaring tackiness
of his giant cowboy hat and neon-cac-
The festival's longest entry,
"B.I.K.E.," admirably furthered the
celebration of the unexpected by fol-
lowing one man's attempt to join, of
all things, the exclusive Black Label
Bike Club, a group passionate about
riding bikes (deeming car drivers
"gasholes"), building bikes (out of
found scrap metal) and jousting pain-
fully on bikes. At one point early in
the film, Tony, the protagonist and
co-director, finds himself beneath
a Brooklyn underpass preparing to
board a double-decker bike, lift a
jousting pole and awkwardly charge a
slightly drunk man named Stinky.
Now there's a scene you simply
couldn't make up.
The festival may enjoy a good deal
of indie and international acclaim, but
it ultimately rang with the warmly
laidback character of a true commu-
nity event, including local sponsors,
panel discussions, open seminars,
cash-prize audience awards and a
whole string of evening after parties
around Ann Arbor. Just consider
Tuesday's opening screening, which
commenced with a presentation from
Ann Arbor residents Davy and Peter
Rothbart, founders of FOUND Maga-
While I haven't been to Sundance
or Cannes, I'm willing to bet their
audiences would never be treated to an
act like Peter Rothbart's acoustic ren-
dition of the undeniably catchy "The
Booty Don't Stop."
The audience not only roared - it
eventually joined in.
Registrar says adding median
grades to LSA transcripts
would make it inconsistent with
other schools, colleges
By Molly Bowen
Despite the wishes of many chemistry, calculus
and physics student, LSA won't be adding niedian
course grades to transcripts anytime soon.
As a way to combat grade inflation and to con-
textualize low scores in difficult classes, the LSA
faculty passed a resolution in December 2004
requiring that transcripts display a class's median
grade next to the student's grade.
However, the proposal will not be implemented
in the near future. After the LSA faculty passed the
resolution, the Office of the Registrar recommend-
ed to the Office of the Provost that the proposal
would violate a University policy that requires
transcripts from each of the 19 schools and col-
leges to-have the same format. Currently, none list
The ultimate decision on whether to implement
the change does not lie with the LSA faculty, but
rather with the provost's office.
According to several administrators, there are
no current plans to enact the proposal.
Robinson said it would set a precedent if the
See TRANSCRIPT, page 7A
ILLUSTRATION BY JACLYN HORNSTEIN AND MIKE HULSEBUS
Dance Marathon nets $300k for kids
Inspired by children recovering
from grave illnesses and injuries,
dancers stand for 30 hours straight
By Molly Bowen
Daily Staff Reporter
Briggs Parry, 12, is a Dance Marathon veteran.
Therapy subsidized by Dance Marathon over the last
nine years has been vital for Parry, a brain trauma sur-
"He was deprived of the oxygen (as an infant)," said his
mother, Julia Parry. "When he came out of this, he had no
skills whatsoever. His eyes couldn't track a flashlight."
But yesterday morning at the marathon, Briggs Parry
was onstage, tapping a xylophone in front of the thick
crowd of student marathoners.
Success stories like Parry's make more than a whole
day of standing without sitting down worthwhile for the
hundreds of volunteers.
For the marathon, dancers pledge to stand for 30 hours,
and each dancer must raise at least $250. Last year, the
marathon raised more than $300,000.
From 10 a.m. Saturday morning to 4 p.m. yes-
terday, Dance Marathon's yearlong fundraising
efforts for two local hospitals' pediatric rehabilita-
tion programs paid off.
The $326,716.47 raised this year will go to the Uni-
versity's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor and
Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oaks.
"It's a physical challenge," Alison Hardin, Dance Mar-
athon's executive director said of the 30-hour ordeal.
Hardin, an LSA senior, said it represents the physical
challenge of the children the marathon supports.
"What we're doing really pales in comparison to what
they're doing every day," she said.
For organizers and dancers alike, the best part of
the event was seeing their efforts come to life through
patient's onstage performances.
"We're not just raising money and giving it somewhere
where we never see what it does," Hardin said. "Our cause
is very tangible."
In the event's nine years, dancers have raised well over
a million dollars.
Kelly Riegel-Green, the mother of twins with hearing-
induced speech impediments, credited Dance Marathon
LSA senior Steve Selinsky leads dancers at Dance Marathon yesterday. The event raised $326,000 for
with making speech therapy an affordable option.
"You'd be hard-pressed to find insurance companies to
pick up tabs for a lot of this stuff," she said. Riegel-Green
said weekly speech therapy sessions at Beaumont Hos-
pital can cost more than $80 for each child, effectively
costing their family $160 a week to improve the children's
"What are you supposed to do?" she said.
Riegel-Green said she wants her children to have the
same opportunities as any others to be able to apply to a
school like the University of Michigan or Harvard Uni-
"I have to give my kids a fighting chance," she said.
Dance Marathon may have done just that.
More than 10,000 gather to
celebrate Native American heritage,
history with drums, legends
By Dhruv Menawat
For the Daily
If it weren't for the Three Fires - a confedera-
tion of the Ojibwe, Odawa and Bodewadimi tribes
- the University might still be located in Detroit.
On Sept. 29, 1817, the Natice American tribes
gave large tracts of land to the corporation of the
Parties strike deal on
EIf prosecuted, complaints
could have turned assembly
over to DAAP
By Dave Mekelburg
Daily Staff Reporter
To some in the Michigan Student Assembly,
last week's elections are turning into a never-
ending saga of scandal.
It all almost resulted in the Defend Affir-
mative Action Party taking control of the
Angry representatives from three parties
bombarded the MSA Election Board with
said Justin Pfeiffer, an election board member
and MSA Law School representative.
Students 4 Michigan filed 25 of the 27, but
said they would not press the charges if none
of the other parties filed complaints against
"We had no intention of filing (the charges)
unless another party filed first," said S4M
Party Chair Robbie O'Brien.
When the Student Conservative Party and
the Michigan Progressive Party separately
filed charges against S4M, the cogs started to
turn and the complaint frenzy nearly disquali-
fied the top three parties' candidates from the
If that had happened, SCP, S4M and MPP
- .'A q