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September 15, 2006 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-15

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Friday
September 15, 2006
arts.michigandaily.com
artspage@michigandaily.com

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5

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Rios and Garcia in classic brood.
iOutcast fable
brings it home

By Michelle Zellers
Daily Arts Writer
With a gown, bouquet and
black-tie reception, you might
think young
Eileen (new- Quinceaiiera
comer Alicia
Sixtos) is get- At the Michigan
ting married. Theater
She's not. Sony Pictures Classics
She's just
turning 15.
"Quinceanera" takes its name
from the Latino tradition cel-
ebrating a girl's transition into
womanhood on her 15th birth-
day. Just a few months short of
her own sweet 15, Eileen's cousin
Magdalena (Emily Rios) has lit-
tle on her mind besides securing
a Hummer
Limo to match With its hea
her cousin's
and figuring and debuta
out how to
respond to her the film ree
love interest's
affectionate female com
text messages.
But Magda's age movies.
party planning time, it's als
and stable,
happy home
life erupt when her parents dis-
cover she's pregnant, despite her
adamant claims that she's "never
been with a boy."
Condemned as "full of sin"
by her preacher father, Magda-
lena seeks shelter with her ever-
understanding great uncle (Chalo
Gonzalez, "Runaway Virus").
Uncle Tio is already. housing
Carlos (Jesse Garcia, "The Last
Goodbye"), Magdalena's cousin
and the other family outcast,
who was similarly expelled from

a
.r
,
1]
,
>(

home when his parents began to
suspect his homosexuality.
Quietly emotional perfor-
mances from both Rios ansd Gar-
cia render their "otherness" both
at home and in greater Los Ange-
les acute and affecting. It's Gon-
zalez, however, who really pulls
the heartstrings as the endearing,
awww-inspiring Uncle Tio.
The success of "Quinceaiera"
comes in part from its sincerity,
perhaps springing from the fact
that co-directors Wash Westmo-
reland and Richard Glatzer live
in the L.A. Echo Park commu-
nity where the film takes place
and received feedback from their
neighbors about "when (they)
were right on target, and more
importantly, when (they) were
not." Even atthe risk of creating
a film that may quickly become
dated (Magda-
artbreak lena watches
"America'sNext
nte dresses, Top Model"),
the script
ks of other commend-
. ably keeps its
ung-of- characters'
But this interests and
dialogue true
o moving. to modern
teens.
And while
the story certainly derives some
flavor from its setting in a Latino
community, the issues it handles
are relevant cross-culturally: Par-
ents struggle to accept the chang-
ing times, their changing children
and the less traditional next gener-
ation's wider definition of family.
It's true that "Quinceafiera,"
with its heartbreak and debutante
dresses, reeks of other female
coming-of-age movies. It's requi-
sitely predictable and sweet. But
this time, it's also moving.

By Chris Gaerig
Associate Magazine Editor
TV On the Radio have quite the fascina-
tion with youth. Maybe they had a really great
childhood with Bentley Power Wheels and
lavish trips to the ends
of the earth. Or maybe TV On the
they're just really afraid Radio
of getting old.
Their first release, Return to Cookie
the gorgeous Young Mountain
Liars EP, came on the 4AD
Mayflower of New
York rock groups - along with the likes of
The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Liars.
Although they didn't quite belong in that boat
(droning bass and acapella Pixies covers aren't
quite The Strokes' forte), TV On the Radio
struggled like many other groups to separate
themselves from the mainstream success and
sound of The Strokes. So when their first full-
length album Desperate Youth, Bloody Thirsty
Babes came out, they made sure to prove they

were different.
And they did. But it was for the worse: The
album was rushed and contrived. It seemed as
if TV On the Radio had a rubric for their first
record and were going to stick to it no matter
what. And it began to look like they were worth
four great tracks and a barbershop cover of the
Pixies' "Mr. Grieves."
But the child is the father of the man, right?
Then there has to be something more there. If
Young Liars was the boy that showed so much
promise, what had happened to the man? Had
he been tainted by their brief stint of webzine
acclamation and Rolling Stone shorts like an
insecure teen who didn't go through DARE?
It's finally clear that TV On the Radio were just
rushed into adulthood a bit too soon. On their
second proper album, Return to Cookie Moun-
tain - a childish title in its own right - they
finally return to their childhood-like purity.
Cookie Mountain is filled with the kind of
innocently deranged landscapes that only a
child can imagine and a true genius can fully
realize. "Playhouses" is a musical jungle gym
where the syncopated percussion plays tag
dangerously close to distorted guitars soar-

ing on the swing sets, occasionally in unison
but quite often bouncing off each other in fits
of dissonance. The looped horn bursts on "I
Was a Lover" sound like the auditions for
the group's junior high band, thrown behind
Casio keyboard effects, a jolting drum beat
and teenage cries.
But where we really begintosee TV On the
Radio's youth inspired innocence is in their
derivations of a similarly ageless group - The
Beach Boys. "A Method" is their signature aca-
pella (until whatsounds like the cast of "Stomp"
drops by to add catch-all percussion) track that
has become astaple ontheir releases. But where
this one differs from the rest, aside from the
drumming, is the backing melodies. It's obvi-
ous that TV On the Radio can sing, and sing
well, but few knew that they had Brian Wilson
range and were able to imitate those adolescent
melodies we've come accustomed to hearing on
albums like Pet Sounds.
It's still unclear why TV On the Radio are
so obsessed with their youth. But they've cer-
tainly found it on Return to Cookie Mountain.
If your childhood sounded like this, wouldn't
you want to stay there, too?

We're so hip it actually hurts.
'COOKIE' MONSTER
TV ON THE RADIO'S LATEST A DISTURBED, CHILDISH BEAST

State Street exbibit conceptualizes food

From Brazil to Kerrytown

Sao Paolo Underground
Tonight at 8p.m.
At the Kerrytown Concert House
$10 (students $5)
Sao Paulo, meet Chicago. Chi-
cago, this is Sao Paulo. Ann Arbor,
this is The Sao Paulo Underground,
a duo consisting of Rob Mazurek
(Mandarin Movie, Isotope 217, Chi-
cago Underground, Exploding Star
Orchestra) on cornet and Mauri-
cio Takara (Hurtmold, M. Takara)
on percussion (with both splitting
electronic duties). They will appear
Friday at the Kerrytown Concert

House, following Mark .Kirschen-
mann, lecturer in the School of
Music, who recently released the
excellent This Electric Trumpet.
The Sao Paulo Underground
blends blurry electronics and smoky
jazz, combining the vibrant scenes
of both cities. Their debut album,
Sauna: Um Drois Tres Olhosss...
has drawn comparisons to Fen-
nesz, with the qualification that
nobody else is making music like
this. Needless to say, they won't be
around again anytime soon.
- Lloyd Cargo

By Abigail B. Colodner
Daily Arts Writer
FlNE TSREVI Ew
I generally believe my relation-
ship with food to be a rational one.
I reconsid-
ered this
assump- "Raise
tiori when Your Fork"
I stood "Smorgasbord"
transfixed
by dozens Running through
of marsh- Oct.6
mallow Free
peeps at At Work, 306 State Street
the School
of Art and
Design's gallery space Work on
State Street, in an exhibition run-
ning through Oct.6. I was presented
with burning questions: Why was I
salivating over sparkly yellow blobs
that had been glued to a wall for at
least a week?
Work is an exhibition space
primarily for undergraduates in
the School of Art, and Design. It's
the only such space on Central
Campus and though thousands of

students walk past it every day on tion by Taylor Rudel and Heather
their way to Potbelly's, it's woefully Ann Leavitt pushes several pleasure
overlooked. Currently, the gallery buttons. Inspired by a semester
features the theme of "food" inter- abroad in epicurean Italy, the under-
preted in two separate, delectable grads made cakes in tribute to sev-
exhibitions: "Raise Your Fork" and eral Kerrytown food producers.
"Smorgasbord:" At least that's the claim of the dis-
One of the gallery's co-directors, played artists' statement, which also
Mark Nielsen, said in an e-mail details overlooked Kerrytown trea-
the School's belief that, for the art sures that will tempt visitors to head
students, "exhibiting work is every straight northwest when they walk
bit as crucial as making it." In the out the door. The colorful, struc-
gallery's newly revamped admin- turally complex fixtures look more
istration, twice a year students may shellacked than frosted. But a doubt-
submit works on a theme of the ful sniff assures the viewer that the
school's choosing or proposals for things are suffused with cocoa and
exhibits. (locally produced) cream.
Many of the works on display " By comparison, some of the
challenge a modern vision of con- works in "Smorgasbord" are too
sumption as a clean exercise. They conceptual to compete with works
evoke the dark power that food can that affect so immediately. A too-
wield over us. In student Naomi obvious subversion is food unleash-
Zaslow's black-and-white photo- ing the beast within. See Carson
graphs, a reclining young woman Fisk-Vittori's polaroids of a bloodied
luxuriates in bed with something
firm and solid. She has chosen a
hunk - of tofu.
The pieces in Work that address
the viewer's senses are the most suc-
cessful. Go to "Raise Your Fork" in
the lower level. The excellent collec-

woman who has ravaged some inno-
cent carrots.
Similarly, professional artist Bar-
bara Neri's large spiral of cereal
boxes, one of the first things you see
when entering the gallery, is engag-
ing not as a visual work in its own
right, but only if you read the maga-
zine article (posted on the wall) that
explains it as part of her perfor-
mance-art piece of the same title "
Matter of Life and Death (Bolero)."
On the other hand, the dress
prominently displayed in Work's
front window succeeds on the
cleverness of its concept. Rebecca
Straub's elaborate gown is made of
paper shopping bags and supermar-
ket receipts, reminders of frugality.
But the hook of the show is
surely those yellow peeps, lurk-
ing in dark corners and high atop
light fixtures, fixing you with their
beady, accusing eyes.

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