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December 03, 2010 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-12-03

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, December 3, 2010 - 5

History gets it into 'Gear'

The music of
my generation

British auto series
gets action-packed
American version
By BRIANNE JOHNSON
DailyArts Writer
With winding race-ways, vivid
blues and the angry growls of
an engine gain-
ing heat, the ***
Americanized
adaptation of the Top Gear
BBC's original
"Top Gear" is Sundays at
one bikini-clad 10 p.m.
model away from History
debuting as the
longest car commercial ever pro-
duced. The aerial shots and dra-
matic graphics are as cool as the
Lamborghinis are sleek, but the
droning lists and lectures weigh
on the action and appeal only to
the most dedicated of car enthu-
siasts.
Hosted like a testosterone-
charged talk show, "Top Gear"
is punctuated by friendly banter
between three bro-types: pro-
fessional racecar driver Adam
Ferrara, actor/stuntman Tanner
Foust and car and racing analyst
Rutledge Wood. Between clips of
impressive and compelling pre-
taped action, the men are like
eager older brothers, engaging the

"The whistles goWOOOOOOOO!"
crowd and touting their favorite
cars. But that's nothing compared
to the heart-dropping danger
when the real beasts come out to
play.
"Top Gear" kicks off the first
segment in Griffin, Georgia - but
who knows why it permitted the
reckless game to follow? A quaint
neighborhood transforms into
the setting of a high-speed, video
game-like battle between "Ameri-
can super car," the Dodge Viper,
and a Bell AH-1 Cobra Attack
Helicopter. The 10-mile round
trip is unbelievably dangerous as
the adrenaline surges through
the television screen and clutch-
es the viewer, who is left blindly
grasping for a seatbelt. The indus-
trial goose-chase has all the req-

uisite over-the-top action tropes
- dwindling survival chances
and glistening chrome included.
Comparing the spectacle to "Bay-
watch" star Pamela Anderson, the
men joke, "There's not much real
about it, but who cares?"
Therein lies the problem; as
exhilarating and fascinating as
near-death cruises are, the verac-
ity of the show's recklessness is
questionable. Obviously far more
safety measures have been taken
than the public is made aware of,
including keeping all those Geor-
gian homeowners indoors.
But even though they're prob-
ably safer than they look, the
drivers' whiplash-inducing turns
and demonic speeds are definite-
ly cringe-worthy. You can't look

away, though. Speeding through
an empty neighborhood in a hot
rod is every man's dream. And
that's what makes "Top Gear" so
entertaining: It's the perfect tele-
vised escape from reality because,
as much as it can alter your heart-
beat, you won't be the one chang-
ing your permanent address to that
of the nearest hospital.
But when "Top Gear" does
step on the brake and tone down
the action, only the unpleasant
stench of burning rubber and an
onslaught of boring details straight
out of a car manual remain. The
show attempts to substitute action
with big names in a segment titled
"Big Star, Small Car." They intro-
duce the challenge of testing a
measly HS4 Suzuki's full potential
in a rigorous race track. Of course,
no other dare-devil could possibly
do the job like 80-year-old retired
astronaut Buzz Aldrin. As if a tor-
turous turn on "Dancing with the
Stars" wasn't enough to scare off
the poor man, Aldrin buzzes (ha!)
through the track as if on a relent-
lessly boring suburban-Grandpa
rampage.
Taking the suburbs by storm,
"Top Gear" brings the action -
and, unfortunately, the included
information - to even the slow-
est of towns. "Top Gear" is a shiny
new model of the classic British
series, deservedly claiming its spot
in America's garage.

By ARIELLE SPECINER
Daily Arts Writer
While driving down the scenic
west coast of Florida with the con-
vertible top down and music blast-
ing, my dad turned to me and asked
a riveting question: "In 30 years,
will you know the words to this
song playing right now?"
It happened to be Katy Perry's
"California Gurls," a pretty generic
pop ditty, yet a memorable tune.
I pondered this question for a bit,
and it got me thinking: seriously,
with so much music swimming
in my mind, what will stand out
in the next few decades to me and
my children? What will be my gen-
eration's Beatles, Rolling Stones or
Madonna?
When I was around five years
old, my parents used to pop Alanis
Morissette's Jagged Little Pill into
the car's six-disc changer, along
with albums by the Beatles, U2,
Jimmy Buffett, Bruce Springsteen
and Blondie. As I aged, my reluc-
tance to listen to what my parents
thought was "cool" grew as well.
No one wants to listen to what
their parents listen to. It's just not
cool. I'm sure that future genera-
tions will feel the same rebellious-
ness, but about which artists? Will
it be groups like the Beatles, whom
I grew up listening to, rejected in
favor of "cuoler" bands and then
finally embraced? Or will it be
groups like Hanson- the artists
I thought were cool back in my
childhood days?
With the AM/FM radio becom-
ing more obsolete, more niche
satellite channels are emerging.
This leaves future radio listeners a
choice of more specific sounds, nar-
rowing their general genre capac-
ity. For example, my top 40 radio
station in New York, z100, plays
the hits of today but will also play
throwbacks to the '80s and '90s.
However, on my Sirius satellite top
20, I listen to the same top hits over
and over and over, leaving me with
no knowledge of the great tunes of
the past. This affects the fact that
someday my family car's CD chang-
er will have more Taylor Swift as
compared to its Joni Mitchell.
As the music of today blasts
through the speakers, prominent
memories build, with this genera-
tion's tunes as its background noise.

I think that's why we will remem-
ber not only the CDs we listen to on
the car rides home with our par-
ents, but also, and perhaps more so,
the music we're growing up with in
our iTunes libraries.
As we age, we will not only remi-
nisce about the classic rock we lis-
tened to with our parents, but also
the poppy top 40 hits that make
some of our best memories. Though
Miley Cyrus's "Party in the USA" is
not the most heartfelt song, I will
always have memories of dancing
and singing to it on football Satur-
days with my friends. Also though,
I will always remember stealing my
dad's Beach Boys albums and stick-
My kids will
love Katy Perry.
ing them in my Walkman when I
went to day camp so my friends and
I could sing and pretend we were on
a tropical island.
I idolized the Spice Girls and I
will forever remember every word
to "Spice' Up Your Life" (and sadly
enough, the dance that goes along
with it). The stars of our generation
and past generations will stick in
our memories, and the memories of
or children, ton. They'll be classics
to us, even if they're notbseen that
way by the world.
It really depends on the memo-
ries that are shared with the music,
not so much whether a song is
popular or acclaimed. Songs aren't
always memorable because of their
complexity in instrumentals or
poetic lyricism, but because they
have a significant meaning in our
lives through our memories. And
it will be those memories we will
share with future generations.
So yes, when I grow up I'll
remember the great oldies: Alanis
Morissette, the Beatles, Jimmy
Buffett and the others my parents
introduced me to. But just because
those were my parents' classics
doesn't mean they'll all be mine. To
answer my father's question: Yes,
I will also remember the words to
"California Gurls" and countless
other current pop hits in 30 years,
because of the great memories that
were made along with that music.

A tragic love story comes to UMMA

By ERIN STEELE "There are eight scenes from differ-
DailyArts Writer ent operas, all different and moving
in their own way."
As Juliet once famously asked Jennifer Goltz-Taylor, curator of
from her balcony, "Romeo, Romeo, the crossover series and music the-
wherefore art ory lecturer, puts things in motion
thou Romeo?" The Romeo for "Project" after the museum's
This question expansion and restoration project
will be answered was completed in 2009.
in multiple ways Project Goltz-Tayor said that she was
on Saturday at inspired to feature the brand new
the University of Tomorrow structure in the iconic balcony
Michigan Muse- 7 p.m. scene in "Romeo and Juliet."
um of Art when UMMA With the help of Lisa Borgsdorf,
the School of Free UMMA's manager of public pro-
Music, Theatre grams and campus engagement,
& Dance presents "The Romeo and Goltz-Taylor began to conceptual-
Juliet Project," an opera collage ize the performance, which is part
concert inspired by the museum's of a larger series of about 10 con-
newly built balcony space in the certs for which UMMA has teamed
Maxine and Stuart Frankel and up with the School of MT&D.
Frankel Family Wing. "We are dipping our toe into the
"Project" is composed of selec- theatrical," she added.
tions from four interpretations Borgsdorf and Goltz-Taylor feel
of William Shakespeare's famous that the balcony area is an excellent
play, including Charles Gounod's facility that enhances the multi-
"Romeo et Juliette," Vincenzo Bell- interpretational nature of the show.
ini's "I Capuleti e i Montecchi" and "We don't have space custom
Leonard Bernstein's "West Side built for performance, but our
Story." spaces can make things interesting
Clinical assistant professor in unique ways. Sometimes your
of opera in the School of MT&D weaknesses turn out to be your
Joshua Major, who is producing the strengths," Borgsdorf said. "The
"Project" and directing the musical apse provides different kinds of
pieces, said working on the concert opportunities, in terms of the expe-
made him see "that there are many rience, than a music hall."
ways to interpret the story." Though the apse may not be
"It is very interesting to see the sonically up to par with the famous
different musical points of view acoustic perfection of Hill Audito-
that the story inspires," he said. rium, Goltz-Taylor still feels it can

be an inspiring venue. One of the goals for the perfor-
"It's far more visually stimulat- mance is for each person to take
ing and dynamic with the shapes away their own interpretation of
and the lines and everything than a the beloved Shakespeare play.
concert hall, which is more acous- "'Romeo and Juliet' is kind of a
tically and visually focused," she pop-culture phenomenon that has
said. wide appeal," Borgsdorf said.
According to Major, who has not "Normally, we see a story told
participated in an UMMA event for from one point of view from begin-
ning to end, and with 'Romeo and
Juliet' there have been many differ-
ent points of view for how to tell that
Putting the apse story, but still we see it from one of
those points of view from beginning
to good use. to end," Goltz-Taylor said.
"When we talk about all the
ways you could stage or understand
many years, the unique apse pres- 'Romeo and Juliet,' understanding
ents challenges. how those points of view interact is
"The challenge (as director) is largely an intertextual experience,"
getting all eight scenes to work she added. "With a collage we get
in a space that is unfamiliar and to have an intertextual experience
without the usual resources of a within one telling of the story."
theater."
Borgsdorf also acknowledged
the challenges of putting together
the show inthe new space.
"Tobe able to create concerts that
drawfromexhibitions,youneed tal-
ented, flexible people who are will-
ing to take chances," she said.
These talented, flexible people
are graduate voice majors, who will
perform on Saturday in front of
what should be a diverse audience.
"There's a real intergenerational
audience with lots of students, not
just music students," Borgsdorf said
of the other performances in the
crossover series.

A monster of a Mechanicals play

By DANIEL CARLIN
For theDaily
Serial-killing prostitutes have
feelings too and tonight, Rude
Mechani-
cals will per- SELF DEFENSE,
form "SELF
DEFENSE, or deaItl of
or death of some Salesmen
some sales-
men," which Tonight and
will force its tomorrow at 8
audiences to p.m.,Sunday
question a at 2 p.m.
woman's true Mendelssohn Theatre
motives in a Tickets from $3
serial killing
case.
"SELF DEFENSE" was inspired
by the true story of Aileen Wuo-
rnos, whom some might call the
first female serial killer. Roughly
20 years ago, Wuronos, a prosti-
tute working to support herself
and her girlfriend, was convicted of
murdering seven male motorists in
Florida.
Wuornos inspired the creation of
many other artistic pieces, like the
2003 movie "Monster," for which
Charlize Theron won an Academy
Award. The movie highlights the
uglier perspective of Wuornos's life
(including Theron's infamous scene
cleaning herself in a public bath-
room). "SELF DEFENSE" looks at
that human within "the monster."
Though Wuornos confessed to
her killings and was given six death

sentences that withstood repeated
appeals, she contested that the
men had tried to murder her first.
Therefore, she claims, each act was
self defense.
The play re-imagines Wuornos's
life, allowing for a more sympa-
thetic portrayal of her story. Jolene
Palmer, the character based on
Wuornos, is played by LSA senior
Amanda Jungquist. In preparation
for the role, Jungquist did immense
research to try and understand the
human side to Wuornos that didn't
come through in the media.
"(The play) presents her as a
human being - as someone who is
not a monster. It shows all the com-
plicated layers of a person, person-
ality, their life and circumstances,"
Jungquist said. "She's angry, she's
full of love, she's full of fear, full
of hate, she's funny, sarcastic and
crazy."
Director Emilie Samuelsen said

the plays forces audiences to "stop
and reconsider the rules that you
think exist, but really don't. (It)
makes you think differently about
the legal system, social hierarchy
that we set up in our own world and
how the media effects all of that."
The play's realities were
brought to life for the cast as they
took advantage of the various
resources provided on 'campus.
One of their main events was a
workshop with the Sexual Assault
Prevention and Awareness Cen-
ter. The discussion was focused
on self-defense and incarcerated
women, two important compo-
nents of the production.
According to Samuelsen, the
workshop opened up a lot of ques-
tions and made the material in the
play feel real for the cast.
"We are art reflecting life. Real
life," she said. "This is what really
goes on."

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