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September 05, 2007 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-09-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

5A - Wednesday, September 5, 2007
on the
Ann Arbor will neverbe Brick
Lane or Sunset, Lan Kwai
Fong or the Meatpacking
District. Our bars will not rival
those on the Bund in Shanghai. And
our liberal arts-loving, Big House-
packing American university - as a
now New York-based alum tells me
- is too big for bold-faced names d
is Page Six.
But that
doesn't mean we
don't know how
to throw killer
parties. Or enjoy
Case in point,
what to do when
a super vigi- KIUUBERy
lant police force CHOU
collides with
overeager under-
classmen, resulting in the best par-
ties getting rolled by the witching
hour? Get wet. In the inflatable kid-
die pool on the front lawn of your
favorite South Campus haunt - on
a Wednesday at 3 a.m. Even bet-
It's time to
bring your
weekend gems
into the light.
ter when the one passerby you and
your friends manage to snag turns
out to be a U of M swim team mem-
ber intercepted on his way to a late-
night pizza.
Or maybe you were harshly
accused of stealing a stranger's
"Teal Beach Cruiser" at a random
house party - if you have any idea
what that is. Whatever happens, we
want to know about it.
Welcome to High Society. We're
here to be your Gawker, Names &
Faces, CitySeen and Ivy Gate, too -
minus updates on new secret soci-
ety inductees. Well, maybe. Tell us
your stories. It's the best four years
of your life, after all. Someone has
to document it.
- Chou is as psyched about this
as you are. E-mail her your greatest
party moments at kimberch@umich.
edu. Please, no libelous material.

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

that defined 'Quality'
Dailv Arts Writer

n 2002, a young Brooklyn MC
broke out with a flow that made
heads bob and provoked listeners
on a new level. But Talib Kweli
couldn't match his remarkable
debut, Quality, and got ahead of himself
on his sophomore effort
The Beautiful Struggle.
With a disappointed ****
public and no immedi-
ate follow-up, his cry Talib Kweli
for a revolution was
left unanswered. But in Eardrum
his time away from the Blacksmith
charts, Kweli made a
killing on the mixtape
circuit, took control of the underground
rap scene in New York and started his own
label, Blacksmith. Now Kweli returns as
the fine-tuned and mature lyricist stand-
ing amongst the speakers on the cover of
Talib Kweli has grown in a way that
Jay-Z couldn't have if Hova made three
more "post-retirement" albums. Eardrum
offers a bullet-proof cast of producers, a
dedicated list of collaborating artists and
a style that grabs socially conscious hip
hop firmly by the reigns.

Eardrum essentially picks up where
Quality left off.
The album blends gospel vocals, R&B
swoons, amusing pop motifs and the
unsung voice of the streets to engage
listeners. What's most impressive is the
astute confidence he exudes with every
line, refusing to be underestimated: "I
believe / Scratch that I know / This ain't
my full potential / Only using 10 percent
of my mental on instrumentals."
The album starts with "Everything
Man," opening with the spoken word
poetry of prolific African-American poet
Sonia Sanchez over bongos and an emerg-
ing bass beat. The smooth train of words
reverberates with Sanchez's audible
emotion, as she tries to recall the first
time hearing Kweli. Following the unan-
swerable question of "What happens to
a dream deferred?", Kweli hints that the
rhythmic heartbeat in the background
is actually his own. The track ends with
devoted fans looking back on their own
experiences of hearing the Brooklyn
Blacksmith for the first time. Though
slightly narcissistic, it's endearing to hear
the testimonials to justify his pride.
Kweli has always been skilled at lay-

ing his mack down for the ladies, like on
previous tracks "Waiting For The DJ"
and "Won't You Stay." The best example
on this album is will.i.am's pop creation
"HotThing," where Kweli serenades with
"Ya body like a flick / It got surprisin'
twists /I write the script /the main char-
acter - your thighs and hips." But even
better is the way he's able to speak on a
deeper level out of respect for women,
contrasting the typical Neanderthal pick-
ups at the bar in "Soon The New Day." In
clear, unbiased thought he says, "The clan
of the cavebear / Used to use the club to
hit and drag her by the hair / Still use the
club to get her a martini or a beer / Try
to get her home and put the smell of sex
in the air."
There are plenty of unorthodox guest
appearances on Eardrum - Norah Jones,
Roy Ayers, Sizzla - but the most sur-
prising is Port Arthur, Tx., natives UGK
on "Country Cousins." Adding onto the
trend of Dirty South spitters teaming
up with East Coast lyric-smiths, Pimp C
and Bun B both mesh easily with Kweli
on the big band style melody of wailing
trumpets. The song is as catchy as it is rel-
evant, with all three contributors paying

homage to the common differences and
greater similarities of the music scene
from the north, south, east and west as it
grew from artist to artist.
Even with his progress, Kweli still
stumbles on some tracks and goes too far
trying to get his message across. In "Eat
To Live" he starts by painting a flawless
portraitof a child living in deplorable con-
ditions, saying, "Nothin' in the freezer,
nothin' in the fridge / Couple of 40 ounces
but nothin' for the kids / Little man know
to eat to live but he don't wanna leave the
crib / The kid who punched him in his
face house right down the street from
his." But in the following verse Kweli
completely breaks off into random asides,
including watching out for ravenous crit-
ics and the destructive media, mad cow
disease, pork in toothpaste and people
starving in Africa - where is the focus?
No one said he was perfect, but Kweli's
definitely getting closer and has finally
reached the upper echelon of lyricists.
Despite the success of his previous col-
laborative works, Black Star and Reflec-
tion, he's able to stand as an established
solo artist and deliver something mag-

No 'End,'
but plenty
to say
"No End in Sight" begins, as many indict-
ments of the United States' Iraq policy do,
with a simple, plain-faced shot of a Bush
Administration official discussing Iraq and
the American military occupation there.
The belief behind this device is typically
that the official's words, in this case those
of Donald Rumsfeld, the former secretary of
defense, will be so totally
wrong-headed that they
speak for themselves. ***' n
Nothere. When Rums-
feld, referring to the war No End
in Iraq, asserts that "it
is not well known; it is
not well understood; it At the
is complex for people Michigan
to comprehend," it isn't
to trap him in his own Theater
wordsintheconventional Magnolia
sense. First-time director
Charles Ferguson (who
also wrote and produced) somberly agrees
with him, and though the thesis of "No End
in Sight" - that whatever its intentions,
the Bush Administration has consistently
failed to include qualified minds in its post-
occupation Iraq policy - is not new, it's
streamlined here in a coolly comprehen-
sive way that seeks not only to anger the
audience but more pointedly to sadden it.
Unlike many Iraq documentaries, this isn't
necessarily a call to action so much as an
attempt to make clear how exactly we got
where we are, and as the film's title implies,
it doesn't see much hope for the future.
Told in a series of blunt chapters with
titles like "The Void" and "Choas," the film
begins and spends most of its time in 2003,
in the early months of the war where it
finds the initial failures that dovetailed and
helped create the Iraq of today. It focuses
in particular on the Bush Administration's
failure after the fall of Saddam Hussein

A different kind of
season for art


If you had millions of dollars, wouldn't you make an anti-war doe'

The film inspires not
necessarily anger
but sadness.
to combat looting, which gutted the Iraqi
economy as well as cultural centers, and the
decision to disband the Iraqi military, which
puzzles and infuriates Ferguson more than
any other single disaster of the U.S's Iraq
policy. He sees inexplicable inconsistencies
in the decision, which left hundreds of thou-
sands Iraqis unemployed and vulnerable to
a brewing insurgency discontent with the
continuing American occupation.
The value of Ferguson's film is its effi-
ciency and the palatable scope of its rhe-
torical ambition. It makes simple sense of.
the occupation's failures through a series of
interviews with many since-departed gov-
ernment officials in power in the early days
of the invasion, including a former deputy
secretary of defense under Rumsfeld,
spliced together with simple charts and fig-

ures that illustrate their arguments. There
are several interludes with an intense score
by Peter Nashel ("Bee Season") that recall
Errol Morris, and the film's cumulative
effect is a general sense of retrospective
astonishment and unease. Most Ameri-
can Iraq documentaries employ a certain
conceit to that end - the point of view of
soldiers on the ground is a recurrent focus
- but this is the perspective simply of a
bewildered observer who can't believe
what has happened in Iraq.
That befits Ferguson, whose biography
has in many cases trumped the press his
film has received. A self-described sym-
pathizer with the original invasion, he's
a writer, a political scientist and, perhaps
most unlikely, a software-based million-
aire, and he came to write, produce and
direct this film after a conversation with
a friend over dinner. (The movie has since
gone on the win a special jury prize for doe-
umentaries at the Sundance Film Festival.)
Ferguson's path to this material, though
unexpected, is clearly reflected in its sim-
ple rhetorical sensibility. The information
is public, the future is stormy, and "No End
in Sight" is the disturbing product of just
how far awry this invasion went from its
very first days.

FineArts Editor
Leisure time is a beautiful con-
cept. Summer tends to be the sea-
son when precious free time finally
makes an appearance in a big way.
Business is done, (brief)case closed.
With the weather finally cooperat-
ing, the world outside people's tra-
ditional stomping grounds - the
office, the favorite coffee shop, the
apartment - is open for exploration.
Most places thrive on the
increased foot traffic of vacation-
ers looking for novel and attractive
sights. Public parks and street cor-
ners come to life with people blink-
ing in the bright light, still adjusting
to longer days. Though class has
begun and summer is ebbing into
Fall, Ann Arbor is still enjoying the
rapture of free days.
The days where weird fountains,
parades, impromptu bands, plein
air painters, earthworks and other
unlikely types of artistic expression
emerge - in the sudden safe zone
of a town enraptured by warm eve-
Summer art often has the appeal-
ing quality of being free. When a city
erects sculptures in a public park or
closes a side street for a car show,
nothing is demanded of the casual
observer but attention, and that's
only suggested. But the opportunity
to capitalize on swarms of people
who have shed their usual business
and opened their minds and wallets
is also golden. The art that becomes
more prevalent during the summer
often plays on this general willing-
ness, monetary and otherwise.
With public art, the more casual
summer setting means it becomes
something you can touch or take
photos next to or walk through.
When the difference between the
viewer and the owner (ina museum,
for example) is no longer reiterated
by the hushed atmosphere of a gal-

lery, the public can gain a sense of
ownership toward works that let
the viewer explore them in a relaxed
setting. People have the opportunity
to get up close and personal with
something priceless.
A current exhibit at the Museum
of Modern Art in New York, a major
attraction for tourists, shows the
monumental works of the American
artist Richard Serra. His enormous
sculptures formed from beautifully
oxidized sheet metal are the bulk
of the exhibit. Visitors make their
Art, like certain
molds, needs
plenty of sunlight
and foot traffic.
way slowly through the nautilus-like
walls of iridescent metal. The two
Serras in MoMA's outdoor sculpture
garden were surrounded all summer
by people wandering to find the best
photo angle - another perk of the
outdoor sculptures being on exhibit
during the warm weather months
- in addition to the incredible acci-
dental views of skyscrapers through
the sculptures' walls.
No summer visitor is likely to buy
a Serra on a whim, but local artists
and artisans give eager vacationers
ample opportunity to get permanent
ownership of artworks more within
their range.
In the past four months, Ann
Arbor has had its share of summer-
specific art events. Be it the book fair
in May or the infamously overrun
Art Fair in July, the city taps into
See LEISURE, Page 11

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