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6B - Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Radiohead's pot of gold

DailyMusic Editor

and "Faust ARP
guitar-driven da
"15 Step" and "Re

Oct.10, 2007 - This album doesn't make cent of the glitch
sense. The way it was recorded, the way it siac period.
was assembled, the music But as an albu
itself. None of it makes transition betwe
any sense. A - assumingC
It's heartbreaking. It's R iad released, this a
gorgeously optimistic. ized as such - In
It's as soft as it is loud. It's In Rainbows out of place in 2C
subtly bombastic. It just Self-released most easily liken
doesn't make sense. wave after wavec
But such is the tra- wiping away and
dition and legacy of Radiohead. A group its path. This alb
obviously aware of its foundation of sonic like a retroactive
mystery, astronomical complexity and searching for so
intenselyloyal cultfanbase, Radiohead has been swept awa
no fear. It's the only group that can legiti- recordings.
mately attempt In Rainbows - given its But this should
expansive career and the album's unorth- ly unfortunate d
odox release - and get away with it. But most standards,]
as this latest, Internet-only release (for long since past.
now) is entirely enigmatic and essentially beauty of OK Co
impossible to understand among its prede- until you hear tl
cessors, so too is Radiohead itself.
In Rainbows, whether Radiohead
released it as such or not, is not an album
in the traditional sense. Nothing about this
disc breathes cohesiveness. Its movements
are shaky, aggressive and collapsing - and,'
more telling, none of them even remotely
connect totheothers. In essence, this album
is a mixtape: a mass of widely collected, dis-
connected moments aligned in single-file.
As recording for this album has been
traced back tothe late '90s - circa the mas-
terpiece OK Computer - the entirety of In
Rainbows can be broken down according
to prior releases. "Nude," "Bodysnatchers" Taste the rainbows.

" obviously speak to the
ys of Computer, whereas
ckoner" are more reminis-
y, electronic Kid A/Amne-
um that's more or less the
een The Bends and Kid
OK Computer was never
lbum would've material-
Rainbows feels strangely
007. Radiohead's career is
ned to the coming tides:
of power, crashing ashore,
I engulfing everything in
um, at least at times, feels
movement by the group,
mething that had already
y by years and years of
dn't be considered a whol-
development, because, by
Radiohead's best days are
Recreating the paranoid
mputer seems impossible
-^ r---A- " 'l-

track's cumulous strings and bobbing bass
are heartbreaking, yet sunnier than ear-
lier work. You don't listen to the song, you
float through it. It engulfs your every sense
and wraps you up like an anxious lover.
"15 Step" is similarly nostalgic. Its jazzy
undertones give way to percussively driven
twerps and twitches.
Pay what you please
for In Rainbows.
Yet with all its familiar pieces, it's
increasingly difficult to view In Rainbows
as a Radiohead release. Shedding the man-
tra of several of its previous records (an
overarching concept contextualizing each
disc), the album stands afar from Radio-
head's other work. It plays as a coalescing
retrospective rather than a unique, unified
album. And yet seemingly without prior
knowledge of Radiohead's catalog, In Rain-
bows would be a rather easily accessible
collection, the most striking contradiction
in this heap of contradictions.
But maybe In Rainbows is the full real-
ization of Radiohead's prolific career - a
career that travels sinusoidally rather than
in disconnected movements. With its spa-
cious lines weaving back upon themselves,
this album has finally reached the crest of
the wave once again - a point seemingly
first met, though more magnificently, with
OK Computer.
Maybe this album doesn't make sense.
or maybe it makes sense of everything.


UMMA's reopening attracted tens of thousands of guests.


An 'Avatar' for our time

Daily Film Editor
Jan. 5, 2010 - To slightly rephrase a
quote from James Cameron's new endeav-
or, "Avatar," "Well, what'd you expect,
Recall that Cameron, *
in all of his bombastic
arrogance, is the preemi- Avatar
nent visual storyteller of
our age, pioneering new 20th Century Fox
technological innova-
tions in each of his films while never sacri-
ficing the narrative quality. Since directing
"The Terminator" in 1984, Cameron has
crafted an unblemished directorial resume
of iconic blockbusters, from the thrill ride
of "Aliens" to the action extravaganza of
"Terminator 2" to the tear-inducing spec-
tacle of "Titanic." So with "Avatar," did you
really expect anything less than a colossal
Sure, it's made with cutting edge tech-
nology, but "Avatar" has an old-school
science-fiction mass appeal that makes it
endearingly great. It's one of those movies
that everyone from your Santa-believing
niece to your agoraphobic grandparents
will watch, love, then drag all their friends
with them to watch again.
"Avatar" roughly translates from San-
skrit as the "reincarnation of a deity in a
physical form," and the title packs a wallop
of a double meaning. The film's narrative is
driven by this concept, with human minds
controlling genetically modified bodies
of the Na'vi, the indigenous population of
the planet Pandora. But the audience also
has an avatar of its own in the form of Jake
Sully (Sam Worthington, "Terminator Sal-
vation"), a paraplegic ex-marine. Through
Sully and his Na'vi avatar, we experience
the heart-stopping wonder of the alien
planet, we share Sully's terror at its abun-

dant perils and, finally, we understand the
complex spiritual natureof Pandoraand its
Cameron's desire to create "Avatar" as
an immersive experience led to his creation
of brand-new cameras, revolutionizing the
implementation of 3-D in film. Gone is the
gimmickyuse of this technology - the ran-
dom pop-outs from the screen used only
for shock value. The 3-D effects are used
in "Avatar" to dissolve the invisible bar-
rier between the audience and the screen,
pulling characters and environments out of
their typically flat dimensions.
A multidimensional
Including the film's brilliant use of 3-D,
the list of what works in "Avatar" is end-
less. Let's start off with the real star of
the film: the planet Pandora itself. From
the stunning suspended-in-air Hallelu-
jah Mountains to the ethereal Tree of
Souls, the film has gorgeous visuals up
the wazoo. The effects that create the
landscapes are so refined, they resemble
an episode of the Discovery Channel epic
"Planet Earth" more than computer-gen-
erated imagery.
Even the Na'vi, created through
the generally reviled technology
of motion-capture animation, look
astonishingly authentic. Through
new cameras, developed for "Avatar"
alone, Cameron magically makes the
giant, blue aliens appear as real as the
humans opposing them.
Although the film's archetyp-
al "Pocahontas" meets "Dances

with Wolves" story is quite predictable, it's
told exceedingly well. It's a classic tale of
good versus evil, forbidden love and self-
discovery. It's an emotional roller-coaster
that will tear your heart through incred-
ible tragedies, then later have you cheering
in jubilation.
These emotional shifts are especially
evident during the climactic battle, a
marvel of visual artistry and action cho-
reography. The action in "Avatar" is never
excessive or glorified, and it keeps in line
with the film's decidedly liberal-leaning
politics. The anti-corporatism, pro-envi-
ronment themes and parallels to the Iraq
War keep the film relevant, but the mes-
sages are a bit too obtuse.
"Avatar" is more than a movie - it's a
jaw-dropping, heart-palpitating experi-
ence. It's movies of this magnitude that
redefine cinema; new precedents have
been established so that motion-capture
performances, 3-D and visual effects as a
whole will never be the same again. After
a 13-year absence since "Titanic" shattered
box-office records and rocked the Oscars,
James Cameron has returned with "Ava-
tar" to reclaim his throne as the king of the
world. 3,:

Renovated 'U' museum
takes new approach in
making art accessible
Daily Arts Writer
Apr. 1, 2009 - The extent of artwork at
the corner of State and South University
over the past three years has been limited
to the obscure Orion sculpture by Mark di
Suvero that was installed this fall.
But now, there are over 18,000 pieces in
the newly refurbished University of Michi-
gan Museum of Art.
The line to get into the museum for the
Mar. 24 student opening wrapped around
the block, reaching to East University. Over
15,000 people attended the 24-hour public
opening and nearly 24,000 attended by the
end of the weekend. The new collection
sparked an artistic dialogue that had been
absent on campus for far too long.
Though some students may have only
come for the Zingerman's gift certificates
and free food, many stayed to talk about the
artwork with friends, ask questions about
origins of the art and postulate their own
artistic philosophies. The attending stu-
dents weren't only typical museum-goers
but people from all areas of study.
"We didn't want to be a museum for
just artists and art historians," said James
Steward, UMMA museum director.
"Before, the museum was an adjunct to
their studies - yet, the vast majority ofstu-
dents are not studying (art). We wanted it
to be a hangout space, a place you can go to
have other types of experiences."
The events at the opening were a glimpse
into the wide-ranging experiences the
museum has to offer. A trio performed a skit
about Picasso, students danced through the
museum in handmade costumes and come-
dy and poetry events constantly circulated
throughout the auditorium.
Gone are the days when a museum could
remain relevant by hanging up a few mas-
terpieces. UMMA works at providing a
dynamic space for not only paintings and
sculptures, but all types of art. With future
plans to make partnerships with the Zell
Writers Series, the Screen Arts & Cultures
department and the School of Music, The-
atre & Dance, UMMA is capitalizing on
the idea of "a meeting place for the arts."
"We're trying to express that one type
or one form of art isn't that much greater
than the others and that we can try to make
some connective tissue," Steward said.
The UMMA experience is tailored to
fit students' needs. Whether it be the free
WiFi and the comfy chairs or the extended
hours and free admission, students will
find deeper reasons for enjoying UMMA.
"Art is a fundamental way of learn-
ing about the world ... whether or
not it's a student's chosen profes-

sion," said UMMA Director of Education
Ruth Slavin.
Added museum resources help students
engage with the artworks. Besides the
protocol placard next to each piece, there
is additional information in each exhibit
space as well as storage drawers under
many of the sculptures. This way, visitors
aren't overwhelmed with information but
can learn more if they feel inclined.
"We wanted to take things beyond labels.
There are backstories (drawn) from popular
culture and science that help people engage
with the art in a different way," Slavin said.
Art museums can seem intimidat-
ing or irrelevant, especially if the visitors
aren't well versed in the subjects at hand.
Walking up a long flight of stairs, passing
between huge monolithic columns in order
to enter a space that holds something virtu-
ally unknown is not always comforting.
UMMA has combated this traditionally
intimidating museum ambiance by pushing
back against traditional museum architec-
ture and opening its walls with floor-to-ceil-
ing glass windows. In doingso, it essentially
nixes the notion of the exclusive, academic
institution and puts art into the street - or
the Diag - for the public to see.
This approach also allows the casual pass-
erby to catch a glimpse of what's inside, with
hopes to encourage the insecure to make the
epic journey up the stairs. The first big hur-
dle is getting people into the museum. But
the real challenge is making them stay.
The labyrinthine design of the museum
forces visitors to weave through galleries
they may never have walked through oth-
erwise, potentially introducing them to a
type of artwork or artist they weren't inter-
ested in previously. It's nearly impossible to
visit the new UMMA and head straight for
a specific room without catching a glimpse
of something completely unexpected.
Alexandra Miller, an LSA senior who
attended the 24-hour opening, was espe-
cially impressed by the design of the verti-
cal gallery - the three-story, awe-inspiring
exhibit space that allows visitors to see into
multiple exhibits at once.
"It's almost like a CliffNotes (on Art His-
tory) - it's this spectrum; you can be look-
ing at an abstract work and see Asian art out
of the corner of your eye," Miller said.
This same idea is reflected in the stor-
age gallery on the upper balcony of the
apse. The effect of having contemporary
art, African art and Indian religious fig-
ures alongside Japanese sculpture helps
the viewer fill in the gaps between previ-
ously separated art forms and begin to bet-
ter piece together the power that art has on
understanding a shared universal past.
After a full week of opening events, it
may seem appropriate to bask in the after-
glow of the successful renovation. But the
excitement doesn't end at opening week-
end. UMMA is open for the rest of the year,
the rest of your college education - UMMA
is yours for the taking.

October 19th to 22nd, 2008 Erfurt Germany
More than 1500 chefs from 53 countries competed
2006, 2003, 2001, 1999, 1998, 1997,
t Internlation a P roftssinal Cu ;ry Con. petitk
The ork st' CunroyCt i
"i "l "t"a i

5 ;,
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Now serving lunch!
Graduation Hours:
Friday April30: :3am-opm
Saturday May: 1:i3am-iipm

I 1,


Dine-in or Take-out * Reservations welcome
(734) 668-2445
OPEN DAILY 11,o to l0pt
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