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April 14, 2010 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-04-14

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The Michigan Daily -michigandaily corn
* U
4'S

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 - 5A

Diagnosis: Rock

COURTESY OF 20TH CENTURY FOX
Now they have to watch this movie for seven years straight.
Can't save the 'Date'

By ALEX BILES
DailyArts Writer
A group of five musicians hail-
ing from the streets of West Phila-
delphia with a name evoking two
notorious hip-
hop icons - it Dr. Dog
wouldn't be hard
for an outsider to Tomorrow at
mistake Dr. Dog 8:30 p.m.
for a hardcore Blind Pig
rap group. And Tickets from $15
although Dr. Dog
laughs off such foolishness, make
no mistake about the band and its
recently released album, Shame,
Shame. These guys are for real.
Dr. Dog will bring its upbeat,
smile-inducing and psychedelia-
laced brand of retro-influenced
rock to Ann Arbor when its live
show hits the Blind Pig this
week. The Michigan Daily got the
opportunity to chat with Dr. Dog
co-founder, songwriter and lead
guitarist Scott McMicken about
the new record, changes within
the band and its last experience
in Ann Arhor hefore they take the
Blind Pig stage Thursday night.
Formed in 1999, the band's
first break came in 2004, when
McMicken and co-founder Toby
Leaman attended a My Morn-
ing Jacket concert and handed
frontman Jim James a demo tape.
Impressed, James took Dr. Dog
on My Morning Jacket's next tour
and the rest was history. Since
then, the band has steadily built
a devoted following opening for
The Black Keys, The Strokes, The
Raconteurs and others, as well as
playing music festivals like Bonn-
aroo and Lollapalooza.

Ther
es bets
and the
Fate, ii
a new i
with an
first tir
Desp
ShameA
ing in d
named
thrilled
band'sr
"He'
immen
"He's s
years,s
enthus
infectio
he's in
cian."
Dr.I
Do
- t]
label P
ANTI-
promot
musica
creativ
compro
"AN
the Va
They ju
want t
place t
get you
hooked
that Pt
but at t
the sam

e are numerous differenc- The new album also marks the
veen Dr. Dog's new album first time Dr. Dog collaborated
e band's last release, 2008's with producer Rob Schnapf, who
ncluding a new drummer, has previously worked with Beck
record label and working and Elliott Smith. Wanting to
n outside producer for the change its sound slightly, the band
ne. praises Schnapf for his hands-off
site the fact that Shame, approach.
was recorded before bring- "He worked really well help-
Irummer Eric Slick - nick- ing us make changes we wanted
"Teach" - McMicken is to make," McMicken said. "It was
d with the inclusion of the a really good match. I feel (that)
newest member. because he understood that we're
s changed the band a band that's been around a while
sely," McMicken said. and have a way of doing things, he
een us play for five or six didn't try to force anything. He
so he's got this outsider's just tried to add little bits where
iasm that's been extremely he could. And to me that's the way
ous for us all. Beyond that, to change and grow - in small
credibly talented as a musi- steps."
Dr. Dog is no stranger to Ann
Dog's move from record Arbor, having played the Blind
Pig in the fall of 2008. McMick-
en cites the concert as one of the
, bmore memorable shows he has
)n't be fooled played, stating his surprise that
h d r the band had such a devoted fan
base in Michigan.
"I remember the crowd was
insane. They were lit up! Ann
'ark the Van to the larger Arbor kind of took thattto a whole
afforded the band greater other level, which is the level of
tion and access to superior hooting and hollering and shout-
l equipment, but the band's ing and dancing and jumping," he
e freedom has not been said.
omised, McMicken said: Since its release last week,
TI- still feels a lot like Park Shame, Shame has received glow-
n. There's no parameters. ing reviews with some critics call-
ust want us to do what we ing it the band's best work to date.
o do. It's an exhilarating often named one of the most ener-
o be because they're able to getic live acts around, Dr. Dog's
sr name out there, get you pit stop in Ann Arbor this Thurs-
. up with people - things day is a tasty treat for any lover of
ark the Van couldn't do - the classic rock kaleidoscope that
:he same time they treat us characterizes the band's music.
ne way."

Steve Carell and
Tina Fey are out of
their comfort zones
in dull new comedy
By ANDREW LAPIN
Senior Arts Editor
A date gone wrong is hard to
watch - just painful, really. You
expect your
date, at the
very least, to
be funny and Date Night
at least a bit
charming. An At Quality 16
evening of all- and Showcase
out thrills isn't 20th Century Fox
required. All
that's really
needed is some spark, something,
anything, to keep things interesting.
Dial down expectations for your
date as far as they will go: At the
very, very least, your date shouldn't
make you fall asleep.
How about a date with comedy
superstars Steve Carell and Tina
Fey? TV's Michael Scott and Liz
Lemon, together onscreen for 90
minutes, and the only thing they're
expected to do is be themselves -
be funny. They'd actually have to
try if they wanted to fail at that.
Which makes it difficult to
explain why a movie called "Date
Night," consisting solely of the two
of them playing Phil and Claire
Foster, a married couple running
around New York City and getting
into wacky shenanigans, isn't as
funny as it sounds. "Date Night" is

dull, plain and simple. It just drags
along, slower than any other high-
profile comedy in recent memory,
and it ruins the date nights of any
couples that happen to be in the
audience.
Perhaps director Shawn "The
Pink Panther" Levy is the one who
killed the funny. He does, after all,
have some notoriety in Hollywood
for his overly sanitized, bland big-
budget comedies - although the
first "Night at the Museum" was
plenty entertaining.
Or maybe writer Josh Klausner
simply doesn't know how to craft
an engaging script. His only other
significant credit is "Shrek the
Third," which he shares with over a
dozen other names. And really, the
story here had some.great potential:
There are shades of Hitchcock's
lighter, "North by Northwest" side
in the tale of a couple who inadver-
tently become caught up in crimi-
nal activity after taking someone
else's dinner reservation. It would
be easy to simply chalk the failure
of "Date Night" up to Klausner's
inability to find anything interest-
ing for his characters to do once the
concept has been established.
This overlooks the real problem
of the film, though, and that prob-
lem is Carell and Fey themselves. As
silly as it may sound, the two actors
are way outside their comfort zones
playing ordinary, upper-middle-
class suburban parents. The two of
them are (usually) rip-snortingly
hilarious when they're on TV play-
ing exaggerated character types.
On the big screen, as characters
with no over-the-top quirks and
no crazy ambitions, they can't pull

it off.
Take Carell. He's funny on "The
Office" because he's playing a gro-
tesque parody of a working-class
suburbanite. Michael Scott's day-
to-day workplace interactions
don't have any ground in reality,
and they're not meant to. In "Date
Night," he's severely toned back, to
the point where he's just an aver-
age schlub who occasionally blurts
out embarrassing things. In other
words, they took a deliberately sub-
versive sitcom character and made
him into a run-of-the-mill sitcom
character.
Fey, sadly, fares even worse, and
it's because her inseparable "30
Rock" job is completely at oddswith
her character here. After spending
four years playing a perpetually
lonely, career-driven woman who
wants childrenmore thananything,
suddenly she has bland, obnoxious
kids and becomes frustrated and
spiteful toward them in the firstfive
minutes of the film. The rest of the
time she's too grounded in reality
to make good use of the absurdist
shtick she does so well; there are
no Mexican Cheetos obsessions for
Fey's character here.
The jokes that do appear get
rammed into the ground. Carell
and Fey bicker about their mar-
riage at the most inopportune
moments. Mark Wahlberg never
puts on a shirt. And everyone in
New York is deeply appalled at the
idea of taking another couple's din-
ner reservation.
It's a bad sign when your date
keeps telling the same sort-of-fun-
ny anecdote over and over. There's
no future in that relationship.

An album of Filipino 'Love'

By JASMINE ZHU
Daily Arts Writer
Here Lies Love's ° cover art is
a pretty accurate summation
of the album itself. The cover
shows a soft-focused, flatter-

ing representa-
tion of a demure
Pacific Island
woman wield-
ing an umbrella
in a charmingly
picturesque
landscape while
italicized letter-
ing adds a layer
of deliberate
corniness. The

David Byrne
and Fatboy
Slim
Here Lies Love
Todomundo/
Nonesuch

decline - and yet, still maintains
an optimistic air. The album is pro-
vocatively feminine, with a care-
free, life-affirming girlish sauciness
about it. The presence of the Steel
Butterfly, as Marcos was called, is
definitely palpable on the album.
Here Lies Love is heavily steeped
in nostalgia, but its origins aren't
exactly easy to pinpoint. Ele-
ments of the tracks seem deliber-
ately anachronistic. In "American
Troglodyte," David Byrne and Fat-
boy Slim vocalize their projected
image of Marcos's dissatisfaction
with American modernity through
disparaging new practices: "Amer-
icans are surfing the internet /
Americans are listening to 50
Cent," to a backdrop of maracas
and '80s-inspired synths.
The 22-track album is shaped
by a bevy of established, mostly
female artists that represent the
different flavors of their respec-
tive generations as well as female
empowerment. Cyndi Lauper, an
'80s superstar, is paired against
'90s diva Tori Amos. Newer,
buzzed-about female singers in
the era of the blogosphere such
as St. Vincent and Santigold also
make appearances on the album.
("Nixon! Castro!" Santigold sings,
somewhat comically, on the track
"Please Don't.") Despite the span of
different generations of music, all

singers become puzzlingly homog-
enized in Here Lies Love to the
point where they are almost indis-
tinguishable from each other. This
lends the album a claustrophobic
air that makes the 90-minute play-
time seem a little bit burdened or
tired, despite the general playful-
ness of the album's contributors.
Byrne and Slim's Here Lies Love
collaboration is certainly admi-
rable, at the very least. The album
is clearly a product of labored love
(it's reportedly five years in the
making) and painstaking crafts-
manship. The technical skill of the
duo is undeniable. That isn't to say
the album isn't fun. Byrne's odd-
Byrne and Slim
get nostalgic.
ballness pushes the album above
the standard idyllic, romanticized
songs, of which the album admit-
tedly consists.
But while the songs are gener-
ally enjoyable and fun, the album
lacks the moxie and motivation
Marcos most assuredly possessed.
Consequently, Bryne and Slim's
concept album appears to have lost
some of its intended luster.

A lecture on ice with
University Yprofessors
By ERIN STEELE along with annual trips to Antarc- keep something that's10 or 20 years
Daily Arts Writer tica, have established him as an down the road front and center.
authority on the topic of climate When the economy straightens out
When considering what has change. In 2007, he shared the Nobel and people are less concerned about
impacted humanity's place in world Peace Prize with his colleagues on their immediate well being, climate
history, ice is not the first thing the Intergovernmental Panel on change will come back."
that comes Climate Change and former Vice Roodagrees, andhasmadeapoint
to mind. Authors Forum President Al Gore, who wrote the of discussing the conflict between
However, in forward to "A World Without Ice." science and politics on his blogs.
a discussion Presents A Pollack first began collaborating He also points out that other politi-
sponsored by World with Gore in 1991 at a U.S. Senate cal influence is more detrimental to
the Univer- hearing on climate change. Since the issue of climate change than the
sity of Michi- W Ct then he has taught community vol- public's overall awareness.
gan Authors Today at 5:30 p.m. unteers across the country how "To me, it's not really a question
Forum, Dr. Hatcher Graduate Library to educate people about climate of whether people know enough or
Henry Pol- change as part of a program initi- not, because they're more interested
lack, profes- ated by Gore and based on his film in the politics of it than they are in
sor emeritus of geological sciences, "An Inconvenient Truth." what I would call the knowledge-
and Dr. Richard Rood, professor of Although Pollack calls Gore "a based evaluation," Rood said. "It's
atmospheric, oceanic and space sci- visionary," he pointed out the det- important to separate the science
ences, will be leading a conversa- rimental effect politics can have on from the political problem."
tion centered around Pollack's new In "A World Without Ice," Pol-
book, "A World Without Ice." lack focuses solely on the science of
in his book, Pollack draws upon climate change and how the world's
years of research on all seven conti- H OW hum an ty ice is involved in the process, elimi-
nents and writes about the impact ice 1 nating political viewpoints and
has had on human civilization, the epenuS on subjective opinions. After all, "ice
climate and landscape of the planet. f z is a very impartial participant in cli-
He also studied the influence people frozen w ater. mate change," Pollack said.
have had on ice and the impending Pollack and Rood will kick off the
consequences that will come with a forum with a 15-to-20-minute dis-
world without solid water. any scientific issue. cussion of the book, followed by a
Rood, who worked for NASA "Once an issue becomes politi- question and answer session.
before arriving at the University, cized, you stop paying attention to Pollack feels that once Ameri-
feels that ice is an appropriate vehi- the message and evaluate the mes- cans begin to focus more on climate
cle to discuss climate change. senger. Science gets marginalized, change independently from politics,
"Ice is the issue to focus on and that's too bad," Pollack said. definitive steps can be taken toward
because of first its strong relation- He also pointed out that political mitigating its adverse effects, but for
ship to sea level, second because concerns often steal the spotlight now there are too many people who
of its strong relationship to water from the impending problem of cli- are hesitant to take action.
resources, third because it is sort of mate change. "If you want to drag your feet,
a measure of a whole lot of integrat- "To me, it's very natural," he that's OK," he said. "But the train's
ed effects in the climate system," he said. "With the economy in such leaving the station and there's only a
said. bad condition, people's number one small window of opportunity to get
Pollack's extensive research, worry is their jobs and they can't on that train."

image is both quixotic and slightly
unsettling, hearkening back to a
time that never existed. In other
words, it's standard Byrne fare.
The album - a collaboration
between David Byrne and Fatboy
Slim - serves as an homage to
renowned beauty and exiled Fili-
pino First Lady Imelda Marcos, and
is filled with bright, brassy instru-
mentation and a Spanish merengue
influence. The up-tempo rhythm
has a danceable, exotic flair. Lyr-
ics link Marcos's love of life, love
and shoes. The album chronicles
Marcos's life - from her early
years spent in abject poverty, to her
rise in status and to her eventual

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