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October 02, 2006 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-10-02

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Monday
October 2, 2006
arts.michigandaily.com
artspage@michigandaily.com

c~be I fidjign n taUQ
ART s

5A

...........

Built to Spill frontman Doug Martsch performs at St. Andrew's.
Built to spill-over, in
classic Detroit style

Congratulations, class of 2006!

FALSE HEROICS
PROMISING NEW DRAMA CAN'T QUITE GET OFF THE GROUND

By Imran Syod
Daily Arts Writer
The theory of natural selection and its
evolutionary backbone have been abridged
by pop-culture many_
times before, but never
so errantly. Without
even a hint of explana- Heroes
tion, NBC's new drama Mondays
"Heroes" transports at 9 p.m.
viewers to a world NBC
where ordinary and
ethnically diverse peo-
ple suddenly acquire superhuman abili-
ties. Why? Because Darwinian dictum
says so.
But looking past the insipid, paltry
explanation for mankind's sudden leap
into superheroism, "Heroes" presents a
compelling premise - one that adequate-
ly, if a bit tenuously, manages the dilem-
ma of man's greater gifts sprouting from
his darkest debilities.
Set in many demographically correct
locations throughout the world, "Heroes"
centers on several characters with one
thing in common - they're all good peo-
ple facing tough situations. We have the
genius Indian scientist working on cutting-

edge bio-research when an. unknown man
- who's either a big, bad National Science
Foundation enforcer or a pragmatic mob-
ster - steps in and whacks his father. Tense
dialogue in terse ethnic accents follows.
Then we have the Japanese 9-5er whose
greatest desire is to do earth-shattering
things like bend reality with his mind and
teleport into women's bathrooms. There's
the struggling, coked-up artist who sud-
denly starts painting vivid impressions
of impending disasters, the loser younger
brother of a Congress hopeful who swears
he can fly and even a vengeful stripper/
single mother and an indestructible cheer-
leader. What's not to watch?
The show touches on just about every
theory comic books have ever espoused
about the rise of superheroes, and it final-
ly settles on the darkest, most au courant
of the bunch. It suggests that superheroes
spring from simple misery, their extraor-
dinary abilities necessary to bring a
flailing world sporadically back to equi-
librium. And in an age when our favorite
big-screen superheroes all seem in need of
a good, long chat with Dr. Phil (Spidey's
so depressed he's already busted out the
black suit), that's an idea audiences are
sure to find enthralling.

Though it works in its grand scheme,
"Heroes" has glaring problems with its
literal construction. The dialogue may
be the most vapid of any worthwhile TV
show today. The only storyline that isn't
staggered by moronically indiscreet dia-
logue is the one about the Japanese office
worker - but that's only because all of
his lines are in Japanese. You'd think
middle America would be an easy topic
for American writers to write about, but
when the cheerleader starts mumbling
something about being popular and the
kid who thinks he can fly busts out the
"you gotta believe me!" routine, it's obvi-
ous that there's quite a void there.
With a cast of characters so vast that
even the hour-long pilot couldn't intro-
duce them all, "Heroes" is an ambitious
creation. It seeks to work on several
levels at once and though it fails at that
for the most part, its best moments are
remarkably compelling. Even if its "tor-
tured-superhero-who-saves-the-world-
but-can't-save-his-own-soul" core is
hackneyed in concept and execution, the
numerous disparate storylines - and a
clever twist coming in the next episode -
make the show one worth giving a chance.
For now.

By Matt Emery
Daily Arts Writer
Things we know about Idaho:
that radioactive, neon blue turf of
Boise State
University. Built to
Those ubiq- Spill
uitous spuds.
And, well, Thursday
that's about it. At St. Andrew's Hall
But Thurs-
day night at St. Andrew's Hall,
Boise's own Built to Spill gave
the Detroit rock-faithful reason
to embrace the Gem State. After
the long-awaited release of 2006's
You in Reverse - the first in five
years, despite round-the-clock
touring during its recording -
Built to Spill returned to the indie-
rock scene behind lead singer
Doug Martschs's nasal vocals and
always-addictive guitar hooks.
Though some of the packed crowd
seemed unimpressed through
much of the long-winded set - art-
school wannabes crowd-surfing, a
near fist-fight between drunken
belligerents - the Idahoans still
brought their best to the table with
extended versions of newer mate-
rial alongside older classics.
Martsch arrived on stage carry-
ing just a wad of tissues, a simple
black backpack and a healthy
sense of modesty. Spotted in the
crowd watching the opening acts,
Martsch and the rest of the group
quietly took the simple stage still
wearing their press passes, most
with plain white shirts. Only a lone
projector broke the normality, dis-
playing cycles of impressionistic
and pointillist artwork, with a fixa-
tion on spoons and coils winding
out of eyes.
Then Martsch, the bearded
wonder - be it noticeably more
gray than earlier in the band's

tenure - erupted into an upbeat
and curiously optimistic version
of "Liar," and with just a simple
"Thanks" the band flowed effort-
lessly into a new version of "The
Plan" from 1999's Keep it Like a
Secret.
Holding just a maroon Fender
with a bold blue "Ben" written on
the body, Martsch threw the crowd
into pandemonium with an ethere-
al version of "Going Against Your
Mind." The first round of crowd-
surfing saw carnage as numerous
high schoolers learned that falling
on your face from seven feet in the
air does indeed hurt. With tongue-
clenched zombie faces, BTS
ignored the ruckus in the pit and
screeched and warbled their way
through the climatic guitar solos,
not to be outdone by the screaming
crowd.
The opening guitar squeals of
"Conventional Wisdom" - dedi-
cated to Hugo Chavez - brought
about equivalent squeals from the
mostly college-aged crowd, but
seemed to bore the masses later as
the improvisedjam-band epilogue
pushed deep into eight minute ter-
ritory. Watching the now sweat-
beaded Martsch experiment with
whammy bar histrionics surpris-
ingly put most of the'pitto sleep.
Built to Spill's leftist politics
also showed its face with a cover
of a politically-charged Gladiators
track and a projector movie featur-
ing a single speaking male tearing
the government a new one, with
backing guitar instrumentals from
the band.
Modest in every regard, Built
to Spill have never sold out to the
hype. And despite the occasionally
unimpressed Detroit audience, the
group showed what real rock is all
about: kicking ass and stickin' it
to the man.

Allen film latest m Michigan
Theater series of classic comedy

By Hyatt Michaels
Daily Arts Writer
The Michigan Theater's Comic
Masters series continues this
week with the
underrated / d
Woody Allen Stardust
gem "Stardust Memories
Memories," Today at 7 p.m.
a sometimes- Atthe Michigan
somber com- Theater
edy with
Allen playing yet another char-
acter plagued by problems with
both his career and love life. The
comedy here is just as sharp as in
Allen's other work, and it deals
with another of his favorite themes
- a famous artist struggling with
success.
In the film, Allen plays Sandy

Bates, a writer/director traveling
to his hometown for a weekend
retrospective of all his films. After
a recent and disappointing foray
into drama, Bates is bombarded by
overzealous fans and critical studio
heads begging for another great
comedy.
In particular, look for the
Fellini-esque caricatures of the
hilarious supporting characters
- people either in love with
Sandy or trying to get something
from his success. Though the sup-
porting cast of "Stardust" lacks
quintessential Allen actresses
like Diane Keaton ("Annie Hall")
and Mia Farrow ("Radio Days"),
French actresses Charlotte Ram-
pling and Marie-Christine Bar-
rault play well against Allen's
constant neuroses and work per-

fectly as his standard too-good-
for-him romantic interests.
As a film about a famous writer-
director made by a famous writ-
er-director, the autobiographical
undertow of "Stardust Memories" is
obvious. Though Allen has denied
that the film is any sort of confes-
sional, it paints such a perfect pic-
ture of what the director could have
experienced following his own
drama "Interiors" that comparisons
are hard to deny.
It's no surprise "Stardust Memo-
ries" is considered a personal reac-
tion to Allen's critics, but thankfully
he didn't follow the route of an angry
filmmaker. Rather than transform-
ing his aggression into an annoying
rant, Allen weaves a perfect Holly-
wood satire with his usual sense of
hopeless romanticism.

iTART A NEW
FRATERNITY
A AT MICHIGAN
Leave Your Legacy,
Become a Fbunding Fathe
A.
S .
3561
" . @de.t s. ne t

Come hear nonprofit leaders share
creative solutions to challenging issues
on these topics: social enterprise,
agritourism, creative funding and
youth entrepreneurship
Friday, October 6, 2006
Rackham Amphitheatre
8:30-4:30 - limited seating
Open to the Public
Registration Required
www.bus.umich edu/domesticcorps2006
Keynlote
Bo Burlingham, editor-at-large at Inc. magazine
Keynote: Building 'great' nonprofits through
entrepreneurial leadership
MICItl'GAN

i

A

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