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October 26, 2006 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-10-26

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2B - Thursday, October 26, 2006

(the b-sidel

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

MUSIC
After eons of speculation and hushed
rumors, it seems as if the Smashing Pumpkins
will reunite - or at least half of them will.
Drummer Jimmy Chamberlain has been con-
firmed to record their first new album in six
years with former (or is that current?) Pump-
kins frontman Billy Corgan. Their last album,
MACHINA/The Machines ofGod, was released
in 2000. Ironically, it's Corgan who has been
the driving force behind reuniting the band
from the start, even though he is often blamed,
rightly or wrongly, for "breaking up the band"
in the first place. No word yet on whether for-
mer Pumpkins D'Arcy and James Iha will join
their bandmates in their new endeavor.
PRINT
Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour was
named Advertising Age magazine's editor of the
year Sunday at the American Magazine Confer-
ence. This is the latest in a series of big moments
for Wintour this year. The face of Vogue received
a great deal of attention following the release of
"The Devil Wears Prada" this summer, a film
based on the roman a clef by Lauren Weisberger
(whose villainous main character is allegedly
based on Wintour). Under Wintour's leader-
ship, Vogue saw a single-copy sales increase of
3.5 percent at the beginning of 2006. This year
the award-winning editor also launched Men's
Vogue and developed a test issue of Vogue Liv-
ing, which will be available this week.
TELEVISION
ABC has pulled the new episodes of the net-
work's original show "Extreme Makeover" after
only one episode. The show's spinoff, "Extreme
Makeover: Home Edition," however, will remain
on the air. The original "Makeover" would have
been shown on Fridays during the November
ratings period before it was cancelled by ABC.
executives. But now the time slot the show was
supposed to air in will be filled by "Grey's Anat-
omy" reruns. So instead of making yourself feel
better by looking at the unfortunate men and
women they used to drag onto "Extreme Make-
over," you'll just have to get your self-esteem
bump from Ellen Pompeo's squinty pout.
FILM
More trouble for "Borat." 20th Century Fox
announced yesterday via the Los Angeles Times
that the R-rated comedy, which has earned
legions of buzz from Internet fanboys and col-
lege students, will open in only a fraction of the

Cort"esyof Wrn eros.
to "The Blood Diamond": Apparently Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou aren't the only ones gettint screwed.

original theaters planned when it is released on
Nov. 3. Early indications say that despite a mass-
marketing effort including a preview screening
at the University in mid-October, the film still
had little awareness in non-metropolitan regions
of the country. At 800 theaters, the new opening
will still fit the industry standard for a nation-
wide release, and Fox execs said they plan is to
expandnto as many as 2,200 screens in the follow-
ing weeks, but the last-minute move is extremely
rare for a film so close to release.
As if the film's narrative exploitation of Afri-
ca as a stomping ground for Hollywood action
heroes wasn't egregious enough, new reports
have surfaced accusing Warner Bros., the stu-
dio behind December's "The Blood Diamond,"
of shirking on promises made to amputees
used as extras in the film (27 in total). Edward
Zwick, the film's director and producer, said
certain aid was promised to villagers who par-
ticipated in the shoot and that it was still an
ongoing process. He also said the reports were
clearly spawned someone who wished the film
"ill will." You think?
- Compilied by Jeffrey Bloomer
and Caitlin Cowan.

BEST OF THE SEX
"The Guide to Getting It On! (Fifth Edition")
By Paul Joannides
$21.95
Goofy Foot
Daily Arts reviewed Paul Joannides's sex tome
"The Guide to Getting It On" two summers ago.
Just as the pages of our in-house volume were
gettinga little too sticky to turn, Goofy Foot
Press has re-released what the International
Journal of Human Relations calls "a world-class
sex manual." joannides has added several new
chapters, all bearing the trademark wit of a man
cheeky enough to compare dildos and vibrators
to rhinos and giraffes (they're all natives of the
bush, but that's where similarities end):
-Sex Legal
- Under the Hood of Nature's Roadster
- De-Forestation -Shaving Your Lips and Nads
-Sex in the Victorian Era
-Sexinthe Military
-,Threesomes

Talk Talk (1991)
LaughingStock
Polydor/Verve Records
ByDEREK BARBER.
DailyArts Writer
True story: An English rock
band establishes itself as a pop icon
by releasing a series of internation-
al hits and garnering worldwide
acclaim. Suddenly, the band decides
it's bored with pop altogether - it
releases records filled with mini-
malism, improvisation and experi-
mentalism. What appears to be
commercial suicide only solidifies
the group's place as forerunners
of (albeit loosely titled) post-rockv
genre. Any guesses?a
Thanks to Gwen Stefani's rehash- t
ing of 1984's "It's My Life," theree
should be little or no doubt in thev
mind of educated listeners that Talk 1
Talk were true masters of synth-i
pop.
But if we were to only rememberr
the band's past contributions to pop
music, we wouldn't be getting at I
half of Talk Talk's real legacy: musi- t
cal innovation that has influenced I
almost every independent rock art-v
ist performingtoday. Their fifth andd
final artistic statement - their Petd
Sounds, their Sgt. Pepper's; dare itt
be said, their A Love Supreme - is I
1991's LaughingStock.a
Many die-hard fans suggest I
Laughing Stock is merely a spin-offn
of 1988's Spirit of Eden, an album b
that foreshadows a similar experi- t
mental concept, a similar array of
instrumentation and even a simi- t
lar album cover: a tree decoratedn
with exotic birds. In reality, Laugh- I
ing Stock crystallized the sound li
that Talk Talk was searching ford
and helped complete their artistic I
vision. Flawlessly. i
While the album marks the r
group's baptism into a new realm of t
musical vision and pushes it beyond f
the DuranDurans ofthe day, Laugh- I
ing Stock remains a six-song struc-E
ture. Granted, a few of the tracks i
exceed the nine-minute border line,c
but theirs is no simple accomplish-c
ment. From the first strummed t
tremolo chords of "Myrrhman," ac
clear intention is revealed - theset
songs are meant to be listened to ind
succession.k
On "Myrrhnan," the soft, wel-
coming pluck of acoustic bass alsoc
introduces the listener to the band'ss
exploration of unique instrumenta-e
tion. Delicate strings and trumpet f
gradually enter the scene as lead I
singer Mark Hollis whispers "Placev
mychairatthebackroomdoor/Help I
me up I can't wait anymore." Thet
subtle and often dissonant trumpeta
lines echo composer Charles Ives,
the forefather of minimalism. Ong
this track andthroughout the recordd
there are several moments whereS
the ghost of one of Ives's greatest e
works, The Unanswered Question, I
appears. The lesson is clear - Talk t
Talk did their homework. n
The following track, "Ascensiong
Day," begins with a deep drum andI
upright bass groove before baringt
its teeth through openly raucousi
distorted guitar chords. Ever heardN
of a guitar player named Johnny b
Greenwood? Yeah, this might bes

Wily. E. Coyote's Acme catalogue. i
You can disparage the inanity C
of "Jackass," but it's hard not to
appreciate that you never know c
what's coming next. You can't c
deny its laughs - they make you s
uncomfortable, they're in jaw- a
droppingly poor taste, but they're
because the "Jackass" gag oper- T
ates (even if subconsciously) on r
the same level as "Borat": taking s
any established social taboo and s
smashing it through performance. 1
It's a refreshing extrem- t
ism, since social commentary in a
comedy is often relegated to pop- a
culture references. The richest a
moments of the two early-'90s f
"Wayne's World" movies draw a
on a sort of hyper-aware public
consciousness, featuring a long a
segment of product placement 4
(Reebok, Pepsi), a "Scooby Doo"- i
style second ending, an awkward-r
ly dubbed kung-fu fight sequence t
and a grand finale riffing so heart- I

where he got it. And while we're
alluding to rock styling, how about
the Mars Volta? Mark Hollis was
experimenting with a signature
vocal style long before Cedric Bix-
ler entered the scene. Even defunct,
indie icons The Dismemberment
Plan owe a debt to the more chaotic
moments of "Ascension Day."
The fittingly titled "After the
Flood" has a successive entrance
that blends piano, organ, guitar and
Lee Harris's grooving ride cymbal,
which starts up after the musical
downpour. Highlighted by sud-
denly gorgeous minor cadences of
the warm, comforting organ lines,
the track moves along steadily, like
a wave receding from a beachhead.
Here, even Hollis's lyrics (perhaps
more muddled than usual) take a
backseat to the wide sonic sound of
the track.
The simplistic, occasionally tri-
tonal guitar intro to "Taphead"
makes for a unconventional duet
between guitar and vocals. As Hol-
is faintly utters the phrase, "When
do you know, y'know, you know you
earn," it's probable that the singer's
ntent is to create a mood or feeling,
rather than to form a proper sen-
tence. More dissonant trumpet lines
follow, which are quickly relieved
by the album's seminal track: "New
Grass." It's the sound of Talk Talk at
ts minimalist best. Not many bands
can create such exquisite piano
chords (although, in recent years,
the group Rachel's may come damn
close). Subtly bent three-note gui-
tar voicings roll with the repetitive
drumming as the vocals toy with a
kind of staggering grace.
The album's final track, "Runeii,"
opens up like an Indian raga. With
slides and a few muted strings, the
electric guitar sets the modal mood
for the piece. It's a precursorto Jeff
Buckley's "Dream Brother," but 4
with a much looser vibe. Just as
the listener begins to get a feel for
things, the song is quickly swept
away.
Considering many of the reli-
gious overtones (not completely
dissimilar from records like A Love
Supreme) in Hollis's lyrics, refer-
ences to "Christendom" and even
the Apocalypse, it's no surprise
that Talk Talk chooses to end their
masterpiece in such a sudden and
graceful manner. Quite possibly,
Laughing Stock personified all that
the band had set out to accomplish,
it marked the natural end of things.
What else could the band possibly
have to say? And what more can be
said of such an album?
ly on the famous ending of "The
Graduate" that it even comments
(justly) on the terrible acting
of the great film's smallest role,
openly replacing its stuttering gas
station attendant with the grav-
elly-voiced Charlton Heston.
This summer's "Talladega
Nights" plays equally with cur-
rent pop culture, but it adds some
specific addressing of current
social trends - consider its over-
long dinner-table discussion of
the baby Jesus's place in Christi-
anity or its extended bar scene of
outright homophobia. The height-
ened awareness of current issues
has infiltrated even a Will Ferrell
comedy.
It's about time popular humor
did something like this. The
"dumb comedy" label may still
indicate irreverence and raunchi-
ness and even absurdity, but more
than ever, it doesn't mean that it

has nothing to say.

MACDONALD
From page 1B
simply sat around with his pro-
ducers and dreamt up just how far
he could actually go.
"Jackass 2" reveals a similar
approach to comedy. At one point,
veteran Jackass-er Bam Margera
holds up a quickly sketched car-
toon of his next stunt idea (one
end of a bungee cord tied around
their resident midget and the
other tied around their resident
fat man, the idea being to see what
happens when the former jumps
off a bridge). It's an appropriate
demonstration of their creative
process, since "Jackass 2," as a
good friend of mine appreciatively
put it, is itself a cartoon come very
much to life. At one point Johnny
Knoxville even straps himself to
a giant red rocket straight out of

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