6B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 14, 2006
No 'Stranger': Doc comes to A2
Ten albums on Juan Cole's Pod. Here's
a musical salute to you, Juan Cole.
By Mary Kate Varnau
Daily Arts Writer
Documentary filmmaker Eliza-
beth Barret calls her creative process
media." Bar- Stranger with
ret, who hails a Camera
from Appa- Tonight at 7 p.m.
lachian Ken- Free
tucky, spent At MLB Auditorium 2
the past seven
the nation with a documentary about
her native mountain culture, hosting
screenings and collecting anecdotal
responses to the piece.
Tonight she'll be in Ann Arbor
with the doc, "Stranger With a Cam-
era," and will head a discussion of
her home region and its representa-
tion in the media.
Barret works with a nonprofit
media education center called
Appalshop, established in 1969 dur-
ing Appalachia's war on poverty.
Though several similar battles were
launched in different states, all in
areas of high unemployment, the
Kentucky location latched onto a
national trend when it started pro-
ducing socially relevant films.
Though Appalshop was originally
intended to provide vocational train-
ing during a time of economic hard-
ship,agroup ofits young filmmakers
wanted more than jobs - they want-
Barret was among the first class of
pupils to graduate from the program.
At Appalshop, she found others like
herself who wanted to amend the
largely negative, one-dimensional
media stereotypes of Appalachia,
and they began producing films that
celebrated the artistic traditions of
small-town mountain culture.
Barret started off her career with
"Quilting Women;' a film about a
umentaries about women coalminers
and the migration of people to and
from the Appalachian mountains.
The unique thing about the
artistic endeavors at Appalshop,
Barret says, is that the center is
comprised "primarily of local art-
ists, working on issues regarding
"Stranger with a Camera" tells
two stories, one of the people of
Whitesburg, Ky. and another of
a specific tragedy that occurred
there in 1967. The "stranger with
a camera" is Hugh O'Conner, a
documentary filmmaker who came
to Appalachia in the '60s to work
on a project and was murdered by
a local farmer while filming on the
Like every child in the area, Bar-
ret grew up with the story of this
filmmaker as a cautionary tale. Her
documentary "became a vehicle for
the community to revisit the event
with thirty years' distance."
The first showing of "Stranger
With a Camera" took place in
Appalshop's screening room, with
an audience of 150 people from the
area, reexamining the tragedy in a
personal light. For Barret, it created
"a path for dialogue for people to
look at the event in new ways."
Responses to the film soon seeped
out of Appalachia, and "Stranger
With a Camera" gained national
attention. It was shown at the Sun-
dance Film Festival in 2000 and
achieved acclaim both among the
media circuit and in academia.
The documentary is more than
just the story of a man and how his
tragic death affected the Appala-
chian community. It also explores
filmic representation in general - of
the filmmaker's relationship to her
subject, of her responsibility to the
community and the inherent change
in the nature of the object in the tran-
sition fromlife to screen.
Elizabeth Barret has devoted 10
years to the "Stranger With a Cam-
era" project, but the interest has been
a lifetime in the making.
She's now working on a documen-
tary about the photographic legacy
of William Gedney, a photographer
who died of AIDS in 1989. She's
also in the process of an internation-
al media exchange with filmmakers
in Indonesia. But Appalshop has
remained her top priority.
"Stranger With a Camera" will
show tonight in auditorium two of
the MLB at 7 p.m.
Ever wonder about what your
professors jam to in their spare
time? Daily Arts knows that
musical preference ranges, but
we've never seen a list with
quite as much punch as LSA
Prof. Juan Cole's offers.
Author David Horowitz may
have named Prof. Cole as one
of America's 101 Most Dan-
gerous Academics, but with
albums encompassing the vocal
stylings of Christina Aguilera
and the velvety classics of Stan
Getz, his iPod has some defi-
nite hip-shaking power.
About his musical tastes,
Prof. Cole said "I follow Sha-
kira in part because of her
hybridity between Lebanese
music and dance and Latin. It
encapsulates a very important
but often overlooked diasporic
Arab identity and is analogous
to the London and Toronto
bhangra scenes - though more
circumspect because of the
politicization of Arabness."
As for his fondness for hip
hop's reigning duo, Prof. Cole
said "I liked some of Outkast's
singles back in the '90s but lost
track of them until Idlewild,
which attracted me with the
blues and jazz elements."
Christina Aguilera ( Santana
Back to Basics All that I Am
2 Nat King Cole Shakira
The Very Best of Nat King Fijacion Oral, Vol. 1
B.B. King and Eric
Rlding with the
the Other Room
Io Joss Stone
Leonard Cohen might be your man, but skip the movie
By Lloyd H. Cargo
Daily Music Editor
Leonard Cohen may be your
man, but "I'm Your Man," now
playing at the Michigan Theater,
is not your movie. Intended as
a glowing tribute to a brilliant
poet/songwriter who is oft over-
looked, it's pulled off about as
gracefully as a back-of-the-the-
ater handjob. No one needs Bono
spewing coke-fueled hyperbole,
and if that's not bad enough The
Edge (The Edge!) gets camera
time to compare Leonard Cohen
to, get this, early Christianity.
The performances are also a
bit insulting; Cohen is an abso-
lute legend and the best they
could do is the Wainwright
Clan, Nick Cave and Antony (of
Antony and the Johnsons)?
Beth Orton does a good job
with "Sisters of Mercy," but the
rest of the performances are
flat, and it didn't really seem
like Cave even knew all the
words to "Suzanne."
"I'm Your Man" is not com-
pletely devoid of value though.
Interspersed throughout the per-
formances are clips of Leonard
Cohen himself talking on a vari-
ety of subjects, from growing up
in Montreal to hanging at the
Chelsea Hotel with Janis Joplin,
to becoming an ordained monk.
Every time Cohen is on the
screen the movie is riveting; he
dispenses wisdom like the poet
he is, and despite the under-
whelming renditions presented,
his songs still resonate.
Which is why instead of
going to see "I'm Your Man" (or
just because, damn it) everyone
ought to give a deep listen to The
Songs of Leonard Cohen. It's
his debut album, it's the perfect
starting point to his daunting
catalogue, and it's absolutely,
unequivocally and undeniably
a masterpiece. It's romantic and
weary, full of pain and bitter-
sweet reflection. It's a beacon
for every singer-songwriter who
considers them self an intellec-
The Songs of Leonard Cohen
begins with "Suzanne." When
he sings "And you want to trav-
el with her / And you want to
travel blind / And you know that
she will trust you / For you've
touched her perfect body with
your mind," the chorus of angels
lifts you up only to let you fall
slowly back to earth, showing
you along the way the inherent
beauty in sadness.
By the time you get to the end
of the first side, and Cohen has
hit you with "Sisters of Mercy,"
you realize that for Cohen a
song is much more than a tune
He was in his 30s before
this record came out, and he
was already a respected poet
and novelist, a major new liter-
ary figure. For God sakes, The
Boston Globe compared him
to Joyce! The movie poster for
"I'm Your Man" has a Cohen
quote on it: "Poetry is just the
evidence of life. If your life is
burning well, poetry is just the
ash." The Songs of Leonard
Give it up, Bono. Nobody cares.
Cohen (and generally, the songs do it and falls flat on its face.
of Leonard Cohen) are a raging No one needs U2 to tell them
fire. Powerful, poignant, there how brilliant Leonard Cohen is,
aren't enough words in the the- they just need to drop the nee-
saurus to express his way with dle and lean a little closer to the
words. "I'm Your Man" tries to speaker.
Pilot's license not required,
ia Grand Opening
us for our celebration
higan League Underground!
D SUBURBAN SA
iclude hot wings, pasta, salads, and bread sticks -
ry a slice of the cheese pizza (it's big!) for $2.25, or
' only $3.00 each. Side salads for $1.25 and fountain