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January 10, 2008 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-01-10

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The Daily Arts
guide to the best
upcoming events
- it's everywhere
you should be this
weekend and why.

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ILLUSTRATION BY MICHAEL THEODORE/Daily

IN CONCERT
It's bandwagon time,
kids. See what the buzz
- and the fliers - are all
about when local ambient,
psychedelic rock favorites
Farewell Republic hit
The Blind Pig tomorrow
night at 7:30 p.m. They're
bringing Lightning Love
with them, so don't miss
it. It's $7 to get in and
all ages are welcome.

ON EXHIBIT
What better place to start
the traveling exhibition
of "Inge Morath and
Arthur Miller: China"
than Michigan? Miller
and his wife's journal
entries and photos from
trips to China will be
on display, many for
the first time. Check it
out starting at 11 a.m.
Saturday at the UMMA's
Off/Site location.

he Hollywood Foreign Press Asso-
ciation announced this week that
the Golden Globe Awards ceremo-
ny scheduled for Sunday would be
canceled because of the ongoing
writers' strike, which threatened
pickets outside the event - not
exactly friendly background noise
for red-carpet soundbites. The cho-
ruses on both sides haven't let up since.
The headline in Daily Variety, the industry trade maga-
zine, read "Globes ceremony, parties canceled," and that
cuts most directly to the issue: Though the HFPA touts the
Globes as a precursor to the Academy Awards, and refused
to delay the show this year for that very reason, its actual
results mean little outside the media storm that accompa-
nies them.
Even the event itself is often considered little more than
an effort to get Denzel Washington, George Clooney and
Keira Knightley in the same room. This year, in a puzzling
act of self-parody, there are seven nominees for best motion
picture drama rather than the customary five, which include
the shoo-ins ("Atonement," "No Country for Old Men")
alongside movies that will get a few more faces to come out
("The Great Debaters," "Michael Clayton").
But even an 11th-hour effort by NBC to schedule a jazzed-
up press conference to present the awards - apparently to
convince picket-weary stars to accept their awards in an
unscripted ceremony - fizzled when the Writers Guild of
America got wind of the network's underhanded plan. There
will be a live, press-only conference (at the Beverly Hilton

What a year without
the Golden Globes
or the Oscars could
mean for film
By Jeffrey Bloomer I Managing Editor
Hotel, for what it's worth) Sunday at9 p.m., and it looks like
that's all it will be.
"Sadly, it feels like the nerdiest, ugliest, meanest kids in
the high school are trying to cancel the prom," ranted NBC
Co-Chairman Ben Silverman to, um, Ryan Seacrest, accord-
ing to defamer.com. "But NBC wants to try to keep that
prom alive."
Well, at least he understands the show's appeal. While Sil-
verman swoons, though, Variety reported that the cancella-
tion will cost an estimated $80 million, only to note directly
after that the cost of an Academy Awards cancellation next
month could be upward of $130 million.
And isn't that the real issue here? The Golden Globes's
viewers are typically the most Hollywood-rabid among us,

more often fodder for next week's magazine spreads than a
concern among average moviegoers. But that's not the case
with the Oscars, which are set for Feb. 24. As industry writ-
er Michael Cieply and Carpetbagger blogger David Carr put
it in The New York Times, "an Oscar represents a significant
artistic achievement." Even further, they are essential to the
reputation of many movies that compete for them.
To some of us, an Academy telecast cancellation may sim-
ply mean that our betting pools will be a lot less fun this
year. And since the top award, best picture, has been so
closely contested in recent years - last year there wasn't
even thought to be a front-runner before "The Departed"
eventually took the prize - this all might strike you as over-
reaching. But there's a reason Hollywood studios lobby so
hard for these awards, and it's not simply because they earn
higher revenues for the movies, although that certainly isn't
a deterrent. There is status at stake as well - the sense that
Hollywood's big studios can buoy major filmmakers doing
"important" work - and this year's prestige field reflects
the traditional season and its recent trends, movies that use
a ceremony like the Academy Awards to implant themselves
in the cultural lexicon.
There are movies like "Atonement," now playing at The
Michigan Theater, and "No Country for Old Men," elite
filmmaking that scorched most critics and will continue to
expand to more theaters because of awards consideration.
("No Country," which has steadily declined in theater count,
will expand anew beginning next Friday.) Also next Friday,
"Michael Clayton," the George Clooney thriller that made
critical waves if not commercial ones in October, will take
See STRIKE. Page 4B

AT THE MIC
That guy down the hall
isn't that funny, so get
your comedy fix this
weekend with Ty Barnett.
Runner-up on NBC's
Last Comic Standing,
Barnett will perform at
the Ann Arbor Comedy
Showcase tonight,
tomorrow and Saturday
at 8 p.m. with shows
Friday and Saturday at
10:30 p.m. Tickets are
$17 in advance (before 5
p.m. the day of the show)
and $19 at the door.

What Ann Arbor is missing

Why the lack
of streetside
flautists is
bad for art
By Ben VanWagoner
Daily Arts Writer

They were a very strange group of men.
The three stood in the same place every day,
always doing the same thing, wearing the
same clothes and never once opening their
eyes.
I spent last summer teaching in China.
I was in a city of about 10 million called
Wuhan - one of the hottest cities in the
country. During the three months I spent
there, I learned at least as much as I taught:
I'd pick up Mandarin words from my stu-
dents, hear a little more about the history
of the country or get a better feeling for the
way the culture worked. But it wasn't until
months after my flight home that I realized
the powerful influence of what I've grown
to think of as "street arts."
This trio appeared to be, if not broth-
ers, old friends, and they were all blind.

Two played curious flute-like instruments,
faces twisted in concentration, while the
third (who always stood in the middle) held
a plastic bowl to collect change from pass-
ersby. The men always stood precisely in the
middle of the sidewalk, in front of a large
mall. Every day when I passed I would con-
sider giving them a few coins, and once in a
while I would. Still, they never quite seemed
to fit my idea of beggars.
They weren't, really, not in Chinese
terms anyway. They were collecting money,
sure, but in the same way that a shoe shiner
would collect money - as part of his busi-
ness, not as a begging technique. They were
street musicians, not beggars. Street musi-
cians just like the buskers in the London
subway - skilled, legitimate and decidedly
not homeless. New York City and Chicago

have even developed systems for artists like
these that require them to have licenses.
These men were more like that - buskers.
And the three weren't alone.
The sidewalks in China are teeming with
street musicians. Wrinkly old men plucking
their battered Erhu ("two-string" in Man-
darin), their female counterparts playing
some sort of flute a block down, and the 5-
year-old I once saw marching with a drum
around his father. They're everywhere, and
they're really just a small sampling of the
street artists.
Artists of every kind lined the streets of
Wuhan. Little girls dressed as gymnasts
did unbelievable contortions on small cloth
mats; ancient-looking monks burned incense
See STREET ART. Page 4B

ON TAP
You drink beer. You
like beer. But you can't
call yourself a beer
connoisseur until you've
tasted the classiest. The
Arbor Brewing Company
is holding a beer tasting
of porters and browns
(dark ales) tonight at 7
p.m. Tickets are $30.

V

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