The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, October 1, 2009 - 3B
My Indian hideaway
"Got any food in there?"
Mad over Moore
Michael Moore explains why
Capitalism: A Love Story'
has come just in time.
By Kavi Pandey I Daily Arts Writer
Across the street from General Motors Corp.'s palatial head-
quarters where the Detroit premiere of his new film "Capital-
ism: A Love Story" was takingplace, Michael Moore was doing
press interviews in a decidedly less-glitzy hotel ballroom.
"We're not supposed to be here," Moore says. "We were
going to be over there, sitting in the lobby while people were
watching the movie. And GM said no, I can't be there if I've
got any of you (reporters) around."
Moore has had a nearly two-decade-long feud with GM,
beginning with his 1989 landmark documentary "Roger &
Me," which chronicled his quest to interview GM chairman
Roger B. Smith - the man whose decision to shut down sev-
eral plants devastated the economy of Flint, Moore's home-
"They should kind of get over it, whatever the problem is
with me," Moore said. "I'm not walking around saying 'I told
you so,' and they should be gracious about it."
Here, he is referring to the prophetic nature of "Roger &
Me," which exposed the outsourcing and foolish corporate
decisions that crumbled the once-invincible automobile
industry in Michigan.
Even still, Moore isn't proud he was one of the first people
to call out GM on its poor economic practices.
"I try to think about what I did wrong. I set out with
that film to change things, to wake people up about General
Motors," he said. "I had this fantasy that somehow people
would go see this movie, everyone would wise up to this com-
pany and it wouldn't end up the way it has now. The fact that
it has failed, that it has thrown even more people out of work,
it makes me question, could I have done something? Could I
have said something else, in a different way?"
Moore's films have a tendency to be ahead of their time.
Aside from "Roger & Me," released almost 20 years before
GM's bankruptcy, he also admits that his previous film "Sicko"
was released two years too early - the health care debate in
America wasn't fully amplified until this summer.
But with "Capitalism," Moore thinks he has nailed current
"This film is going to come out and perhaps be the most rel-
evant film (audiences) have seen this year," he said. "And they
will see things in this movie they will not see on the evening
The film revolves around last fall's economic crisis, tracing
its origins from the deregulation during the Reagan adminis-
tration to the multi-billion dollar bailouts doled out in the past
year. Moore gives a comprehensive-yet-simplified explanation
of what went wrong, leading to an all-out attack on the ideals of
capitalism and the troubles it has created in our country.
"I don't define capitalism as working hard, making money,
doing well, being inventive," he said. "Capitalism now has
become about money - making money off money, moving
money around, investing money in money, taking bets on
money, derivatives on money, turning Wall Street into a casi-
no and guaranteeing the richest 1 percent get the biggest hunk
of the pie."
"Nobody is talking about dividing the pie equally, that
we're all goingto be paid the exact same amount - just divide
it fairly," he added.
Despite its heavy-handed ideas, Moore is optimistic that
"Capitalism" will connect with audiences.
"People are run down and full of despair right now," he
said. "But this is a movie for them to go to and have a cathartic
experience, watching the bad guy get his comeuppance."
The studio certainly expects people to come in droves.
Fresh off critical praise from its world premiere at the Ven-
ice Film Festival, "Capitalism" will be released to more than
1,000 screens on Oct. 2 - Moore's biggest opening to date.
Michael Moore is one of the few filmmakers who can con-
struct a mass-appeal film about political issues, but for "Capi-
talism," the process was far from a breeze.
"Who wants to go to a movie about an economic theory?
That was the challenge," Moore explained. "Now how do I
make this really interesting, fun, exciting, damning, danger-
ous movie that people would want to see on a Friday night?
And by the way, let's put the word 'capitalism' in the title."
"If you think about taking your date out on a Friday night,
'Let's go see that 'Capitalism' movie' - not exactly what's
going to get you what you want at the end of the night."
Times have certainly changed for Michael Moore. The
last time he filmed without a permit on Wall Street for
Rage Against the Machine's "Sleep Now in the Fire" music
video, he was taken away by the police.
Moore's Wall Street prank in "Capitalism"
is certainly less bombastic - he wraps
crime scene tape around culpable bank-
ing institutions - but he was neverthe-
less surprised by the reaction from the
"The cop says to me, 'Mike, the guys
inside this building lost a billion dollars of
our NYC police pension fund. You take all
the time you want.' So wow, the police are
on my side now."
The fuzz isn't the only unforeseen group
joining his crusade - Moore mentions that
in preview screenings, "Capitalism" has
tested better with Republicans and conser-
vatives than any of his prior documenta-
ries. And he knows why.
"When you have one foreclosure every
seven and a half seconds in this country,
that doesn't know any party lines. Or class
lines. Or racial lines. Everybody is getting
Bob Marley-themed Indian buffet,
this is an ode to you. Every Tues-
day and Thursday, without fail, I
stagger up your Astroturf-covered steps,
clutching my stomach,
famished. The combina-
tion of vegetarian Punja- Y
bi cuisine and bumping
reggae music may seem
an incongruent duo, but
when you are hungry -
and cheap, as I most LILA
often am, it makes per- K
feet sense. Earthen Jar,
a local Mecca for vegetarians, is a hidden
treasure - one of a handful of great little
spots that collectively contribute to Ann
Arbor's quirky cool. I am not the first to
have heralded its awesomeness, but still,
this place deserves another round of
applause. It is a too well kept a secret in a
town this size.
First semester freshman year, I count-
ed myself among the most carnivorous of
campus dwellers. I probed the mystery
meat of East Quad's cafeteria, scarfed
sloppy joes with the best of the athletes in
South Quad and munched on lunchmeat
in Mary Markley. After 18 years of solid
omnivorousness, my body decided it had
had enough and I made a drastic jump to
veganism in February 2008.
At first, I wasn't sure I could be satis-
fied with purely vegan food. I had eaten
meat at almost every meal for as long as
I could remember, and I had tried tofu
maybe twice. I was also skeptical of the
appetite-abating power of the "vegetarian
option." After much research and taste
testing, I have learned that there is noth-
ing more pleasing than a belly full of inex-
pensive vegan Indian food - a satisfaction
guaranteed at Earthen Jar.
Located on South Fifth Avenue, Earthen
Jar neighbors Jerusalem Garden, another
delicious option for vegetarians and meat-
eaters alike. Inside, Earthen Jar's walls
are each painted a different cheery shade:
orange, lime-green or yellow, playing up
the Trenchtown, Jamaica vibe. There's
ivy growing up the wall around the res-
taurant's window, which is a nonsensical
touch as whimsical as the inspirational
words you will find printed on the sheets
of paper tucked under the plastic table-
cloth protectors. The buffet is run by a
father and son who both constantly have
pleasant expressions on their faces. One or
the other mans the register depending on
the day and, really, to re-emphasize, I've
never seen these guys not sportingsmiles.
The best part: Once you've picked out
your selections and paid at the front, the
people-watching at Earthen Jar is fabu-
lous. There's usually a solid mix of stu-
dents, hippies, old people and Rastafarian
blonde guys (the best of ironic treats) to
look at in the restaurant. Around tradi-
tional meal times the Jar can get crowded,
but still it's definitely a prime date spot for
a Friday or Saturday evening, you know,
after you've blown all that cash down
on Main Street and are ready to let your
significant other in on your real financial
No woman? No cry! There are takeout
containers and tables for one. If it's a
nice day outside, you might choose to sit
on one of the benches lining the walk-
way. If.you decide to stay, there's a water
cooler in the corner with steel cups that
keep their contents super cold; these
are always welcome after some kicking
Indian spice. Down to slurp on something
Bob Marley meets
chana masala at
more adventurous? Try Earthen Jar's
lassi, a traditional dairy-based drink that
also comes in a soy version for all you
vegans out there. The taste really helps
counter the spiciness of the food if you're
having trouble taking the heat.
Though the menu is constant, there are
tons of options ranging from traditional
Indian dishes like chana masala and alu
gobi to less exploratory ones like maca-
roni and cheese and lasagna. The Earthen
Jar's dessert game is strong, offering an
assortment of cookies, brownies and can-
dies. Laddoo, a sweet lentil ball akin to a
doughnut hole, is a perfect finale. They're
only 95 cents each and one is more than
enough, though they're so good you might
Recently I stopped eating vegan, but
Earthen Jar still keeps me coming back.
I've eaten at my fair share of Indian res-
taurants, but so far, nothing compares
to tenaciously shoveling naan into your
mouth with Bob winking at you coyly
Kalick has been people-watching
you. To read her evaluation of you,
e-mail her at Ikalick@umich.edu.