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April 03, 2008 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-04-03

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Iclick th i's
I1 click that

ho knows what
Frank O'Hara, the
ubiquitous New
York poet from the'50s, would
think of the Internet and blogs
and media columns.
That our Information Age
switches manmade places for
electronic
ones would
probably
distress
him. One
of his more
famous
quotes
reads, "I ANDREW
can't even SARGUS
enjoy a KLEIN
blade of
grass unless I know there's a
subway handy, or a record store
or some other sign that people
do not totally regret life." The
man's poems catalogued life as
ithappened around him. What
would he think of Second Life
and Match.com in place of
bohemian cocktail parties?
Google Reader instead of a cor-
ner newsstand? We've made
real-life divestment so simple,
we don't even notice it (he'd
note the passing of record store
culture). I worry that it's our
culture's hidden regret.
I should say I don't think
people hop on their iPhones
thinking they'll project their
soul through so many satellites
and towers. But I do think our
Internetselves are startingto
overshadow the real deals.
But Internet culture in 2008
may only be a synonym for a
parallel situation in 1950s New
York City. We will always find
ways to depress and suppress
ourselves (AOL chat rooms
and/or martinis be damned).
What O'Hara might note is
how the Internet has become
the avenue for staking out a
piece of ourselves for the world
to see. Facebook, MySpace,
"World of Warcraft," etc., ad
nauseum. Leaving tracks on
the Web is like leaving a paper
trail of stray thoughts and

desires through Lower Man-
hattan. The wider audience
barely notes your brief pass-
ing. O'Hara dashed off poems
while standing in line, waiting
for lunch or huddling on the
train. He tried to pour life itself
into his typewriter.
In a review of the most
recent collection ofO'Hara's
poetry, Dan Chiasson wrote in
this week's New Yorker, "That
primal cry 'Here I am!' is what
every O'Hara poem implies
- the long, art-starved past
now behind him, the beauty of
representation having replaced
the stultifying air of actual
life."
There is a disconnect
between the "Here I am!" bull-
horn of the Internet and the
Internet's near-insurmount-
able anonymity. Every Michi-
gan Daily article is uploaded
to the Web each night, tagged
with meta-data and catalogued
for the archives. So are hun-
dreds of thousands of pieces of
journalism across the world.
There are blog posts, online
The Internet
only goes so far
in saving us from
ourselves.
magazines, social networking
sites, Craigslists and Wikipe-
dias. Every single entry has
a byline, a handle, a person
behind it. But trying to project
oneself - the actual living,
breathing self - into this kind
of world is just not possible.
"Here Iam!" is swallowed by
the maelstrom.
The "stultifying air of actual
life" is gladly brushed aside on
the Internet. We transcribe
ourselves to whatever platform
we prefer. To use the obvious
See KLEIN, Page 4B

Thursday, April 3, 2008 - 3B
SERANO
From Page lB
up, with all its confusion and
complexity.
"A lot of (the songs) relate to
things I experienced during my
teenage years as someone who's
had the experience of feeling
like a misfit," she said. "And I
think that's something all of
us, whether queer or not queer,
will have experienced at some
crucial time in our lives."
Serano's various works all fit
together because they make-up
Serano discusses
her experiences
through art
her identity as a trans woman,
activist, poet, writer and musi-
cian. Ultimately, her experienc-
es have proven to be the most
influential.
"A lot of what drives me is
having the experience, as a
young child, back when I grew
up in the '70s and '80s, where
there was almost no talk what-
soever about transsexuals. The
word 'transgender' wasn't even
used back then," she said.
Through it all, her anger
about sexism, her interest in
activism and her desire to have
trans issues more publicly
addressed, she's found a way to
channel everything into some-
thing she's truly devoted herself
to: writing.
. "I've somehow learned how
to take pride in struggling
with something internally and
figuring it out," she said. "And
then, as a writer, getting the
chance to write it down and
share it with the world."

Commi

By BRANDON CONRADIS
Daily Film Editor
The genesis of "Bilal's Stand," a
low-budget film premiering tomor-
row at 7 p.m. at the Michigan The-
ater, can be traced back to a single
moment several years ago when
writer/director Sultan Sharrief was
working on his previous film, the
acclaimed "The Spiral Project."
"We had this day on set where
we were shooting in the slums,"
Sharrief said. "So we had to go to
Detroit."
Upon arrival, Sharrief was sur-
prised when he saw several kids
playing in the water of an open fire
hydrant. The scene was like some-
thing out of a typical Hollywood
depiction of inner-city life, yet the
young director - who himself grew
up in a low-income area of Detroit
- had never seen anything like it
before.
"In that moment I was sort of
watching these kids play and I said,
'Who's going to tell their story?',"
Sharrief said. "You never see that
story. The only one you see is the
one that Hollywood people decide
to come in and tell. You never hear
what those people who live there
go through. What is the story of
the kids who are playing in the fire
hydrant?"
The result of Sharrief's inter-

est in e
city ki(
story o
his jou:
fights f
a chanc
S
Michig
sonalpr

rnity living
xploring the lives of inner- seen in the film. But "Bilal's Stand"
ds, "Bilal's Stand" tells the was also personal for Sharrief in
f a high school student and other ways. As the initial project
rney of self-discovery as he for his newly-formed student pro-
'amilial and social strife for gram Encouraging the Filmmaking
e to attend the University of Experience film served as a hands-
on learning experience where Uni-
versity students and metro-Detroit
tudent artist students came together to work on
$U00 $ AEAISA a film.
shines with According to Sharrief, it was a
rich, if occasionally worrisome, five
new Detroit weeks of shooting.
"It was a little bit stressful. Actu-
venture ally, it was really stressful at the
time," he laughed. "But everybody
was still really committed ... we felt
like we were doing something posi-
an. The film was a very per- tive, and we felt that it was worth
roject forthe filmmaker,who it."

drew on actual experiences grow-
ing up in similar locations to those

The "stressful" experience of
See FILM PAGE 4B

a--

Thursday, April 3, 2008
5-8 p.m.
Move On 2008: 9e &dinq adwuni OcAoA& Zmica
Your Alumni Association will provide you with all the
information you'll need as you move on from Ann Arbor to
cities across America. And who doesn't love a good road trip?
Did you know that there are more than 8,000 Michigan
alumni in Los Angeles? And more than 3,000 in Atlanta and
Denver? Use the power of the Michigan alumni network to,
make your next move a snap!
Stop by the Alumni Center anytime between 5 p.m. and 8
p.m. to get information and resources on relocating.
The first 300 students will receive a retro T-shirt, free food,
.games and activities!

The University of Michigan Museum of Art presents
William Christenberry
SUNDAY, APRIL 6, 3 PM - Rackham Amphitheater, 915 E. Washington, Ann Arbor
Please join us for a very special opportunity to hear artist William Christenberry share stories about his work
and life in the American South in conjunction with his photographic retrospective at UMMA Off/Site. Following
his talk, the artist will sign copies of the monograph published in conjunction with the exhibition.
This program is made possible in part by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
William Christenberry. Christmas Star, near Akron, A/abama (detail), 2000, 8 X 10, Courtesy of Aperture
JM F A\ The University of Michigan Museum of Art ImWWW.UMMA.UMICHIDU 734.763.UMMA

rve your spot toda:
.umaLumni.Com/s-

A

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