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February 01, 2010 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-02-01

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8A - Monday, February 1, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

BA - Monday, February 1, 2010 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Dentistry museum sparkles
The Sindecuse Museum of Dentistryis an
exhibit you can sink your teeth into
By Anu ArumugamI Daily Arts Writer^

I want to spoon -
with Spoon

The University hosts one of the
few museums in the world specifi-
cally dedicated
to honoring the Sindecuse
discipline of -
believe it or not Museum of
- dentistry.
The Sinde-
cuse Museum Mondays
of Dentistry through
is scattered Fridays,8 a.m.
throughout the to6 p.m.
School of Den- W.K. Kellogg Institute
tistry and the
W.K. Kellogg
Institute Building. Named after
Dr. Gordon Sindecuse, a Universi-
ty alum, the museum was created
in 1992 to preserve dental para-
phernalia and recognize the fusion
of art and dentistry. The museum
contains over 12,000 objects, but
only 15 percent of these artifacts
are put on display due to lack of
space. Most of the items are kept
in drawers, portfolios and rolling
racks under carefully monitored
temperatures to battle decay.
Amber Ostaszewski, an LSA
sophomore on staff at the museum,
described Sindecuse as a "dental
cabinet of curiosity."
"At the lobby, we have a repre-
sentation of a mid-20th-century
dental office and a progression of
early x-ray equipment," Ostasze-
wski wrote in an e-mail interview.
"Upstairs are two cabinets that deal
with the groundbreaking scientific
research by one of our very own
alumi, Dr. Willoughby D. Miller,
a pioneer of dentistry in the early
"In the Atrium, one can find
archaic dental units, featuring ivo-
ry-handled dental instruments and
Victorian, velvet-upholstered dental
chairs, complete with chandelier
lights," she continued.
"The remaining part of the
museum is located down a hallway,
and features cases of vintage dental

products,-as well as dentures, artic-
ulators and other miscellaneous
Essentially, the Sindecuse Muse-
um is a place for students at the
University to learn about the his-
tory of dentistry, particularly the
events that took place here at Michi-
gan. The Sindecuse Museum is also
home to diverse expressions of den-
tal art.
Visitors can see parts of a beau-
tiful, multi-hued mural portraying
the "Legend of Paul Bunyan," cre-
ated by painter Francis E. Danov-
ich. Extraordinarily imaginative
sculptures, including a face made
purely out of orthodontic instru-
ments and created by dentist and
sculptor Dr. Eugene Buatti, are also
on display.
According to Curator and Muse-
um Director Shannon O'Dell, the
museum, though officially 18 years
old, had been in utero for several
"The collection actually was
started even before Dr. Sindecuse
gave the funds to begin a museum,"
she wrote in an email interview.
"For several decades before the
start of the museum in 1992, there
were dental faculty, like Dr. Charles
Kelsey and Professor Al Richards
and our dental librarian, Sue Segar,
who took responsibility for preserv-
ing and storing historical equipment
or photos and documents that speak
to the history of the profession and
to the school itself.
"So, in essence, the museum
began because of an appreciation
and admiration for the history of
Regardless of whether one is
interested in dentistry, Sindecuse
contains intriguing pieces that
reveal an artistic side to the field, as
evident by the experience of Emma
Wolman, the museum's Web con-
tent editor.
"I didn't really know anything

about the dental profession when I
started working here last fall," Wol-
man wrote in an e-mail interview.
"It turns out there's a long and
interesting history worth consider-
ing. The way dental practices have
evolved with technological and sci-
entific advances is pretty interest-
"I never thought about what it
might be like to get a cavity filled

before modern anesthetics were
introduced, or in the days before
electricity," she wrote. "Now
I've thought about it. I bet it was
No matter how much the medi-
eval-looking torture devices make
you squirm or how boring dental
history may seem, a visit to this lit-
tle-known showcase is truly a jaw-
dropping experience.

For those of you who fol-
low the ratings game,
the votes are in, and the
best band
of the last
decade was
officially -
gasp - Spoon.
At least
according to
the Inter-
net's leading JOSHUA
aggregator of BAYER
art reviews.
So what does
this mean exactly? It means
that, out of all the bands who
have had three or more albums
reviewed on this particular web-
site, Spoon's average album score
was the highest (clocking in at
an 85.3 out of 100, scooting just
in front of Sigur R6s with 83.5
and Super Furry Animals with
I know what you're thinking:
So the fuck what? These are
just numbers. These averages
don't even remotely represent a
band's staying power or innova-
tive scope, nor do they represent
people's individual opinions.
Just because Spoon had the
highest average album score
of the decade doesn't mean
any individual human actually
thinks they were the best band
of the decade - or even that
they're anyone's favorite band,
But let's stop for a second and
actually talk about the band
itself. Spoon. What a perfect
name for such a deceptively
simple group. Hailing from
Austin, Texas, these perpetual
indie-rock underdogs - at least
until their 2007 single "The
Underdog" ironically flirted
with mainstream radio appeal
- aren't out to the change the
world. Like any layman's spoon,
Spoon (the band) is bright
without being flashy. As my kid
brother once said, "My issue
with Spoon is that I feel like I
could play all of their songs."
And I don't doubt him.
The band's riff-heavy formula
of drums, bass, guitar and keys,
without much technical virtuos-
ity or formal innovation, sounds
pretty vanilla on paper. And it
can be argued that frontman
Britt Daniel essentially doesn't
know how to play the guitar. His
parts usually consist of an angu-
lar back-and-forth between a
few simple chords, and his solos
rarely elevate above the ground
of electrified scribbling. But, like
any great band, Spoon knows
how to write a great song. And
even if you think you could play
all of their songs while wiping
your ass, the truth is you didn't
write them. And you probably
couldn't either.
The component parts of
Spoon's music are anything but
special - wiry drums, ghostly
keys, sharp-toothed guitars and
tire-thick basslines. But the way
Spoon's songs play out is nothing
less than spellbinding. Spoon's
aesthetic may sound simple on
the surface, but if you actually
From Page 5A
even the less common estate
sale. Antique Archeology's type

of antiquing is just a bit shady.
However, Wolfe and Fritz do have
a passion for the last two of the
three R's (reduce, reuse, recycle),
and admittedly know quite a bit
about history.
It's just difficult to see how
any pleasure could be mixed into
this business. Sure, the partners
restore and sell artifacts, bringing
antiques into the present day. But

perk your ear up for more than
30 seconds, you'll quickly notice
that the band is the epitome of
OCD-caliber perfection.
All of Spoon's composi-
tions are fussed over to the nth
degree, with every last handclap
and shaker burst stabbing into
the mix at exactly the right
moment. While Spoon's practi-
cally minimalistic sound feels
almost frustratingly unadorned
and empty at times, Spoon is
undeniably a studio band. The
gaping void felt between the
monomaniacal drum machine
pulse and the spare keyboard jit-
ters on songs like "Small Stakes"
is purely intentional - when the
tambourine kicks in halfway
through the track, it feels like a
revelation rather than a flourish.
Moreover, the band has eas-
ily written some of the catchi-
est songs of the past decade.
Britt Daniel is a hook machine.
Every cocksure "whoo-hoo" and
clipped syllable that half-fires
half-tumbles out of his mouth is
chewy enough to build an entire
song around. "The Way We Get
By" even managed to sneak its
way onto the soundtrack for
"The O.C."
But where Spoon truly shines
is its rhythm section - which
is, essentially, the entire band.
While Britt Daniel's guitar skills
have never really graduated
beyond garage band status, he is
a master when it comes to writ-
ing a hook and shredding it up
rhythmically over the course of
a song. He may be playing the
same note over and over again,
but he throws enough cork-
screws in there to keep you on
the edge of your seat. And as far
as basslines go, Spoon trumps
all - I don't know what they put
in their sound waves to get such
fat, rubbery bass throbs, but I do
Spoon may not
be band of the
decade, but it's
still damn good.
know that Spoon is going to be at
least one-third of the reason I go
deaf before 50.
So is Spoon the band of the
decade? Probably not. While
they've continuously twisted
their formula enough to juice
four stellar albums out of little
more than an ungodly penchant
for airtight production and
spring-loaded timing, they're
just not massive enough in scale
to ever match up against a behe-
moth like Radiohead. But they
just might have been the most
consistent band of the decade.
And if this month's unsurpris-
ingly stellar Transference is any
indication, they just might keep
trucking along into the '10s.
Bayer is looking for more cutlery
bands to follow. To inform him,
e-mail jrbayer@umich.edu.
the people they buy them from
don't seem too well off. If the sale
were a bit more fair-trade, "Amer-
ican Pickers" would be easier
to watch without that annoying

pang of guilt - the kind that hits
upon entering a nursing home.
History is often a reputable
source for shows like "American
Pickers." If Wolfe and Fritz just
tone down the predatory coer-
sion, the basis of the series could
shine through. Learning about
antiques isn't always fascinating,
but it becomes even less so when
it means cheating the people who
have preserved them thus far.


Showtime is off in 'La La Land'

Daily Arts Writer
There's an early moment in the premiere
episode of Showtime's "La La Land," when
British comedian Marc Woot-
ton ("Confetti") - portray-
ing an aspiring actor named
Gary Garner - insists he has L8 La Land
what it takes to make it in
Hollywood. As he recites this Mondays
mantra, obscure actress Ruta at11p.m.
Lee repeatedly tells him that Showtime
he isn't talented. She might
as well be talking to Wootton
himself, who is as amateurish as the characters
he portrays in "La La Land."
The premise is strikingly similar to Sacha
Baron Cohen's comedy-reality hybrid "Da Ali
G Show." Wootton pretends to be three differ-
ent characters who attempt to launch careers
in the entertainment world by interacting
with various pseudo-celebrities. Though each
of Wootton's characters has a distinct (and
cringe-worthy) appearance, it's hard to distin-
guish their personalities from each other since
they're all so clueless and annoying. Gary may
be the most annoying, though documentary
filmmaker Brendan Allen is definitely the most
boring. As for effeminate, celebrity-channeling
psychic Shirley Ghostman, he's impossible to
even comprehend.
The main problem for Wootton is that
Cohen already exists - and thanks to the rela-
tive theatrical success of "Borat" and "Bruno,"
everybody is pretty familiar with his work.
Because "La La Land" shares so many obvious
similarities with "Da Ali G Show," it's impos-
sible not to compare the two. Unfortunately,
Wootton doesn't weather such a comparison
very well.
Cohen was successful because he exposed
racism, homophobia and stupidity in the peo-
ple he interviewed - from regular Americans
to U.S. politicians. Wootton seemingly does

just the opposite. The arrogant, empty-headed
Hollywood regulars he interacts with are obvi-
ously idiots, but Wootton ends up making them
seem smart and sympathetic when compared
with the unbearably irritating Gary, Shirley
and Brendan.
Yes, there are some laughs now and then.
Ghostman probably succeeds most often at
generating funny moments, and it's clear that
this character (who had his own short-lived
TV show in the U.K.) is the one Wootton is
most comfortable playing. But why does Shir-
ley have a woman's name and hairstyle when
the character is supposed to be a man? Is this
part of the joke? It's unanswerable questions
like this one that make all three of them seem
pretty random.
Absent the political and social satire that
made "Da Ali G Show" so memorable, "La
La Land" leaves its viewers wondering, "So

what?" After all, no one needs to watch a show
about Hollywood to know that the people who
live there aren't very personable. What, then,
is Wootton preaching? That the British have
Like Al G, but played
by an actual moron.
a weird sense of humor? That the people at
Showtime who greenlit "La La Land" made a
serious mistake?
Ali G, Borat and Bruno may be retired, but if
what the world needs is another Sacha Baron
Cohen, somebody other than Marc Wootton
needs to step up. It's clear that his sense of
humor is, well, off inla la land.


"Blue's Clues" gone horribly wrong.

From Page 5A
bedroom door, ignore your mom's
bogus pleas to "turn it down" and give
into your tormented teenage soul.
The saga unfolds with "In Medias
Res," a track that's so schmaltzy it's
almost too much to swallow. Through
a backdrop of twinkling keys, listeners
are taken through a world of carefree
adolescence where teens steal vodka
out of their parent's cupboards and
ponder the significance of life on soul-
searching joy rides. Ah, to be young!
Still, the standouts are the songs in
which frontman Gareth Campesinos
shamelessly unravels the depths of his
besieged twentysomething soul. His
achy, moody vocals were made for self-
pity. Tracks "The Sea is a Good Place to

Think of the Future" and "Coda: A Burn
Scar in the Shape of the Sooner State"
mark the band's venture into the sol-
emn, atmospheric unknown. While it
may seem juvenile for Los Campesinos!
to use suchemotionallydrainingthemes
in the track titles, these outfits prove to
be anything but amateur.
In these epic ballads, the band dis-
plays tremendous musical growth. On
"Future" a slow buildup of delicate
violins plays over Gareth's fittingly
whispered vocals until the fragile still-
ness is broken by crashing cymbals and
coarse shouts. The track's subject mat-
ter leaves listeners feeling like power-
less, sympathetic bystanders. Gareth
describes a girl coping with an eating
disorder and who is ultimately lost in
the confusion of transcending from
adolescence to adulthood.
The ballad's chorus ("all you can
hear is the sound of your own heart")

sets a vulnerably raw tone. Through
tumultuous waves of sound, Gareth's
realization that there isn't always "a
light at the end of the tunnel" is ach-
ingly heartbreaking. With tracks like
"Future," Los Campesinos!'s geeky
indie-pop guise is forgone by the way
of beautifully composed ballads.
According to the band, Romance is
Boring is "about death and decay of
the human body, sex, lost love, mental
breakdown and football." It's only natu-
ral for a band composed of a bunch of
hormonal youths going through those
awkward growing pains to let their
music be a source of catharsis. With
Romance is Boring, Los Campesinos!
prove that they are capable of more than
Converse-kickin' beats and the cookie-
cutter pop persona. Here's hoping Los
Campesinos! will continue to experi-
ment with moodier themes and instru-
mental backdrops.


"Look happier. We have to earn that damn exclamation point!"

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