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April 06, 2007 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-06

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8 - Friday, April 6, 2007

A RT S The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Folk with some
country flavor
Daisy May and Seth Bernard
Tonight at 7:30 p.m.
At The Ark
Two of Michigan's most tal-
ented singer-songwriters will
perform at The Ark this Friday.
Daisy May (May Erlewine), Seth
Bernard and friends will grace
Ann Arbor with their heartfelt
harmonies and country-flavored
folk. The duo last performed in
the area in January when they
took the stage at the Ann Arbor
Folk Festival. Since then May
released her new solo album
Mother Moon.
Known for her soulful voice,
May has been singing her way
across the Midwest since she was
a teenager. In recent months, her
charming smile and gentle stage
presence graces audiences all
over the state. Her captivating
voice and delicate melodies have
left unforgettable impressions.
Joining May is Seth Bernard,
whose lead guitar and vocal har-
monies are indelible attributes
Another voice
for the dead
Fridays at 9 p.m.
If dead people could talk to you,
what would they say? It's a tough
question, and plenty of recent TV
series- "Medium" and"The Ghost
Whisperer," to name just a couple
- have provided possible answers.
But the problem with people talk-
ing to the dead is that, well, the
two parties just don't have a whole
lot in common.
NBC's new drama "Raines"
takes an fascinating (though hard-
ly unprecedented) take on this
dilemma. The incomparable Jeff
Goldblum ("Igby Goes Down")
stars as Michael Raines, a Los
Angeles police detective who was
recently injured in a shootout.
Returning to his job after a period
of recuperation, Raines finds he
has a new weapon in his crime-
fighting arsenal - he can talk to
the victims whose murders he's
trying to solve.

of the full, fleshed out sound on
May's newest album. In addition,
Bernard is one of the prominent
figures who initiated the Earth-
work Music Collective, which has
now evolved into the Earthwork
Music record label. With 15 art-
ists and a slew of activist proj-
ects across the state, Earthwork
Music is one of the most influen-
tial independent record labels in
Opening for May and Bernard
are the newest additions to the
Earthworkcollective, LauraBates
and Brandon Foote, who sound
like they were plucked directly
from a tattered black-and-white
photo of a backwoods farmhouse.
Their old-time gospel/folk is
driven by Foote's mandolin and
vocals and Bates's soprano voice,
guitar and piano. Though Bates
and Foote are new to the Michi-
gan music scene, their classic
approach to traditional music
communicates an understanding
and ardor for a distant era that
even the most distinguished folk
musicians can't convey.
Outfitted with stringed instru-
ments, both groups ensure that
The Ark will be brimming with
endearing waltzes and joyful
voices tonight.
Sort of. Those who appear to
him are actually just figments of
his imagination, meaning that
while they can converse and
interact with him, they only know
what he already knows. Like any
detective, Raines plays out sce-
narios in his mind, but to him
those scenarios become increas-
ingly real.
The murder victim he pegs as
a hooker suddenly becomes one.
When he figures out that she had
a southern accent, her imaginary
reincarnation develops one, too. If
getting to know the victim is the
key to solving any murder, then
Raines ought to be the best: The
victim is literally alive for him,
ready to play out his theories.
As convoluted as this explana-
tion may seem, the show is actu-
ally easy to follow. The audience
is asked simply to accept that this
man has a very active imagina-
tion. When that man is the guy
who outlasted T-rexes in not one,
but two "Jurassic Park" movies,
it's easy to buy into it. Slippery and
aloof as always, Goldblum brings
a dose of candor to his disturbed
character that leaves nothing in
"Raines" seeming out of the ordi-
nary - don't we all have deep con-
versations with ourselves every
now and then?

A family
DailyArts Writer
When we were kids, Disney cartoons were
entertaining as long as there
were songs, lessons to learn
and some subliminal, sexual ***i
message (which, in "The Little
Mermaid," may or may not Meet the
have been the priest's knee).
But now that today's kids play Robinsons
with Baby Einstein laptops At Quality 16
and coloringbooksthat talk, so
their movies have also become and Showcase
increasingly complicated. Dis- Pixar
ney's latest, "Meet the Rob-
insons," is a prime example.
Luckily, Disney still knows what works.
Like any other animated feature, the movie
opens on a kid-protagonist who's as brainy as
he is sweet. But Lewis, an orphan, has a bit of
a problem. Audiences may love a child inven-
tor, but his proclivity for producing flawed,
accident-prone inventions actually scares away
all the potential parents. Fearing he'll never be
adopted, Lewis proactively decides to find his
real family, and to the end invents a machine to
access suppressed memories that will identify
his birthmother.
Enter Wilbur, a strange 13-year-old from the
future. Hoping to stop a catastrophe that will
alter time itself (yep, keep up), he takes Lewis
to the future where Lewis meets the Robinsons,
the family for whom he's been searching.

And so the temporal adventure begins. We're
introduced to Wilbur's world in a series of
sequences that would compliment an acid trip,
zigzagging through colored pipes and special
rooms featuring one Robinson family member
Giving kids a little more
bang for their
(parents') buck.
after the other (each one crazier than the last),
all the while interspersed with snippets of sing-
ing frogs.
Needless to say, there is a villain (the cre-
atively named "Bowler-Hat Guy") who is out to

T saCourtesy of Pixar
"Jimmy Neutron."
destroy Lewis's past and future with the help of
an autonomous roboticbowler hat. Of course, he
must be stopped. And since this is a film with
a heavy focus on time travel, you can be sure
the future bends back on the past, which cre-
ates a different present, which creates a differ-
ent future and so-on and so-forth until the end
finally answers all questions.
This is a movie that can only pleasantly sur-
prise. Jokes range from suited frogs modeled
after the hip jazz-band members from "Back to
the Future" to more subtle bits of humor that
appeal to older audiences. Don't forget the now-
cult-like image of a Dinosaur bilingually com-
plaining about the proportions of his arms and
head (if you haven't seen the trailer, don't even
bother tryingto understand). The filmis earnest
enough that even the most cynical of students
can find themselves loving the warm-hearted
Robinson family and the optimistic, innovative
nature of Disney's Tomorrow Land.


A dark 45 minutes of
politics from Low

Daily Arts Writer
When Alan Sparhawk's searing
straight-toned tenor begins Low's
latest album Drums and Guns with
"All the soldiers / are all going to
die," it's pretty damn clear the
next 45 minutes of your life are
going to get a little dark.
This premonition is confirmed
when percussionist/vocalist Mimi
Parker establishes the 6/8 funeral


march with a tempo so slow it
becomes eerily easy to envision a
group of black-clad, bowed-head
mourners progressing in step to
the bass and snare drum pulse.
starting analbum g
with a song that
repeats how LOW
"All the pretty
people" and "All Drums and
the babies" "are Guns
all going to die"
might seem off- Sub Pap
putting to the
Low virgin, after 14 years of music
making, the group sure isn't bent
on appealing to the masses. Since
its 1996 success with The Cur-
tain Hits the Cast, Low has been
known for its sedate, down-tempo
and harmonically dense music.
Too minimalist to be indie-rock,
too dissonant and vocally cen-
tered to be post-rock, Low has
been categorized as one of the
pioneers of the poorly named sub-
genre "slowcore."
And now, 11 years, five albums
and two bass players later, Low
has retained its defining style
while unfolding its edges, tear-
ing open a few seams and unfurl-
ing an intensity that once brewed
within innocuous crescendos.
The first track, "All the Pretty
People," isn't the only song that
pummels your conscious ear with
solemn, dismal angst. If you're
looking to be mollified by Low's
gentle, simple and paradoxically
minor warmth, then this isn't the
album for you. Even though the
music maybe simple and predom-
inantly minor, Drums and Guns is
anything but gentle and warm.
The closest the album gets to

'Court*y af otb'ap
How fitting: L enveloped by brooding shadows.
warmth (or, rather, the farthest is discordance is worsened when
gets from bleakness) is "Belarus." out of nowhere the band decides
With Parker's delicate vocal har- to throw in "Hatchet" - a catchy
monies and winsome strings sam- tune with a lighthearted melody
ple, this song stands as a fragile and witty lyrics - which would
have been appropriate on one of
their more guitar-driven albums.
Music that's But here, amid electronified poi-
son, killing, tragedy and suffer-
unapologetic ally ing, the song just gets in the way of
Low's attempt to create an album
not for the masses. that is far from cheery.
Many people might be turned
off at the prospect of an album
that makes them feel nervous by
blade of hope amidst despondency. the end, but the fact that Drums
It's quickly trodden on, however, and Guns is actually able to do that
by the melancholic descending is impressive in itself.
organ line in "Breaker," the eerie There is something provocative
lyrical drug burdens in "Dragon- in Sparhawk and Parker's haunt-
fly" and the grave battle march and ing harmonies when they sing
wrenchingly dissonant harmonies "Don't act so innocent / I've seen
in "Sandinista." you pound your fist into the earth
But even if the first half of / and I've read your books / seems
Drums and Guns is grim, at least that you could use another fool."
its lyrical and melodic darkness Brooding within their darkness
are congruent. When the words isn't unabashed anger or depres-
"Come clean and off with your sion, but something deeper, some-
head" follow an upbeat bass line thing rooted in a frighteningly
and drum-loop intro in "Always vulnerable introspection, some-
Fade," the somber trance that Low thing that needs 45 minutes to be
spends five songs creating breaks slowly and meticulously articu-
down and loses momentum. This lated.


Another season of excess

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DailyArts Writer
What self-respecting man
wouldn't want to spend his days
attending movie premieres, going
to hot clubs and
smoking joints SEASON:
with his best*
friend, who also
happens to be SPECIAL
one of the biggest FEATURES:
movie stars in the
world? This is the
formula behind
HBO's "Entou- Entourage
rage," a show that Season 3
takes a different HID
approach to star-
dom, focusing less
on the perks of being acelebrity and
more on the benefits of knowing
While a more conventional way
to display the life of movie star
Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier,
"The Devil Wears Prada") would
be to show him auditioning for
roles and filming movies, "Entou-
rage" eschews those pesky details
in favor of creating a fantasy world
of threesomes, impromptu Vegas
binges and showdowns with Holly-
wood producers. And as the show's
title implies, "Entourage" extends
beyond Chase to spotlight his three
ne'er-do-well friends.

Season three focuses more than
ever on the exploits of diminutive
manager Eric (Kevin Connolly,
"The Notebook"), perpetually
stoned gangster-wannabe Turtle
(Jerry Ferrara) and Vince's brother,
washed-up actor Johnny Chase
(Kevin Dillon, "Poseidon"), who all
live comfortably in Vince's shadow.
Each has his own plotline - Eric
is trying to untangle his love life,
Johnny is trying to find work as an
actor andeven Turtle puts downthe
A way of life to
which few would
bong to begin managing a rapper. By
the end of the season, it's easy to see
that the strength of "Entourage"
lies in its supporting characters, not
its star. These free-loaders actually
give the show its glamour. While
Vince is obsessed with his career
and principles, they're the ones
enjoying a hedonistic lifestyle.
In fact, a good part of season
three deals with Vince's metamor-
phosis into a primadonna. He has
to do the movie he wants to do, at

the time he wants to do it and at the
inconvenience of everyone else: his
friends, the movie studios and his
agent, the formidable Ari Gold (Jer-
emy Piven, "Cars"). The show tries
to portray Vince as a diamond in the
rough, a down-to-earth Queens boy
who owns the last shred of decency
and morality in Hollywood, but he
often ends up just sounding like
an overgrown child throwing tan-
Fortunately, Vince's constant
battling with directors and pro-
ducers is made watchable -and
hilarious, actually - by the antics
of Gold. He is without a doubt the
mostdynamic, complex and humor-
ous character. Watchinghim driven
to the point of insanity repeatedly
by his clients' demands is painful,
but you just can't look away because
it's just too damn funny.
Among the special features on
this DVD set are three audio com-
mentaries and a documentary on
the making of the episode "Vegas,
Baby, Vegas!" The "Vegas" docu-
mentary is a mildly interesting look
on what it's like to shoot a TV show
in a crowded casino, but the fact
that HBO didn't bother to get Gre-
nier or Piven for the commentaries
shows how much it cares about spe-
cial features.
The show's inherent excess per-
haps required no extras.


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