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January 21, 2011 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-01-21

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, January 21, 2011- 5

. orpo comes to Power

Ann Arbor welcomes
Brazilian dance troupe
Grupo Corpo
DailyArts Writer
Watching modern Brazilian dance
company Grupo Corpo is like drink-
ing a cold Diet Coke on a hot summer
afternoon - rejuvenating, enlivening
and joyous. Arriving
in Ann Arbor for the Grpo Corpo
first time since 2002,
Grupo Corpo will bring Tonight and
its fizzy refreshment tomorrow
to the University as it at8 p.m.
performs at the Power PowerCenter
Center this Friday and
Saturday. Ticketsfrom$18
Grupo Corpo was
founded in 1975 by artistic director
Paulo Pederneiras and has since dazzled.
the international dance scene with its
innovative choreography. The group
performs in more than 80 shows each
year, in countries including Lebanon,
Japan, Mexico and Israel. The compa-
ny's Portuguese name is translated into
English as "Body Group," reflecting its
mission to use the body as an instrument
in creating vibrant modern dance with

strong Brazilian roots.
Michael Kondziolka, the University
Musical Society's director of program-
ming, worked.to include Grupo Corpo in
the 2011 artistic season. He described the
choreography as "extraordinarily athlet-
ic and high-energy" with an emphasis on
precision and clarity.
"(The performance is) really focused
very much on the bodies and the chore-
ography," Kondziolka said. "A lot of the
time it will be just pure dance onstage."
Grupo Corpo's style of dance consists
mainly of modern choreography with
balletic influences, as well as hints of
samba and Afro-Brazilian movement..
This weekend, the company will per-
form "Parabelo" and "Ima," both choreo-
graphed by Paulo Pederneiras's brother
Rodrigo. "Parabelo" has been described
by Rodrigo as his "most Brazilian" work
and features brightly colored costumes
and regional movement. "Ima" explores
interdependence in human relationships
through a series of solos, duos and group
dances of various sizes - creating a con-
stant fluctuation between many and few
bodies on the stage.
Due to the company's popularity and
packed touring schedule, Kondziolka
said he has had to work for two or three
years to secure performance dates. For
him and others at UMS, though, the wait
was worth it.

"People who really love to go see dance
should not miss this," he said. "The audi-
ence just loves them. We're talking about
some of the best dancers you've ever
Kondziolka is also quick to point out
that even those who are less familiar
with dance will appreciate the compa-
ny's dynamic performance, especially
since the art form has become more
accessible in recent years due to popu-
lar television shows like "So You Think
You Can Dance" and "Dancing with the
"I reallythink that people should give it
a try," Kondziolka said. "Going to the the-
ater to see a company like Grupo Corpo is
a wonderful next step in someone's per-
sonal development as a lover of dance."
What makes the company most
appealing to such a wide audience is its
openness to interpretation.
"There's a wonderful ambiguity about
dance. (It's) almost like a Rorschach test,
you see in it whatyour mind suggests you
see in it," Kondziolka said. "I think that
there are as many possible takeaways as
there are viewers."
Those who attend the performances
at the Power Center will be among the
countless people worldwide who have
taken Grupo Corpo's Rorschach test
and found their own personal message
through the dancing and choreography.

An unresolved 'Dilemma'

FOX undercooks
'Bob's Burgers'

DailyArts Writer
Ron Howard, or at least the Ron How-
ard of the past 20 years, isn't exactly
distinguishable for his comedy in film.
The "A Beautiful
Mind," "Apollo 13" **
and "Frost/Nixon"
director started well The Dilemma
before those movies
and in a very different AtQuality16
way, growing up as and Rave
an actor on TV com- Universal
edies like "The Andy
Griffith Show" and "Happy Days."
Howard returns to his comedic roots
every now and then. As his dramatic
output has become more consistent and
successful, however, "now and then" has
come to mean about once a decade. The
current wait between comedic efforts is
about ten years - a period bookended by
the live-action Christmas classic "How It's called shrinkage."
the Grinch Stole Christmas" and now
by the star-lined modern comedy "The story, however, is th
Dilemma." And yes, that "classic" crack wife -Geneva (Win
was sarcastic. Swan") cheating on
All puns aside (Howard faces quite up punk named Zip
the "dilemma" with his latest project!), "Dear John") and c
Howard faces quite the dilemma with how to tell him whi
his latest project. How do you cre- Chrysler is still in
ate serious, interesting characters and neath all of that is I
* place them in situations where comedy with Beth (Jennifer
ensues? Not That Into You"),
The chosen answer seems to be to propose. Oh, and th
cast tentpole comedic actors like Vince on backstory of Rt
Vaughn ("Couples Retreat") and Kevin bling problem.
James ("Paul Blart: Mall Cop") and
let them create comedy through their
onscreen personas. That actually some- Ron Howv
what works, but when it comes to come-
dy, somewhat working isn't good enough narrate c
and doesn't make for a memorable film.
The story centers around two busi- not dire
ness partners, Ronny and Nick (Vaughn
and James, respectively), who pitch an
idea to Chrysler to recreate classic mus-
cle car engine sounds inside an electric The film feels like
engine. That's the film's hook - proba- stuck together witi
bly something born in script rewrites to awkward combinat
make the film more contemporary and seriousness that co
relatable. The actual "Dilemma" of the vaged into somethi

at Ronny sees Nick's
una Ryder, "Black
Nick with a tatted-
p (Channing Tatum,
an't quite figure out
le their project with
the works. Under-
Ronny's relationship
Connelly, "He's Just
to whom he plans to
ere's the clunky add-
onny's former gam-
ard should
ct them.
e a lot of spare parts
hout much love, an
ion of comedy and
auld have been sal-
ng meaningful, but

as it's written never really fits. The film's
different sub-plots are connected in the
fact that each affects and inhibits the
other - Ronny's inability to come clean
about Geneva's affair starts to erode at
the trust in his own relationship with
Beth, just as it creates a silent tension
in Ronny's approach to his partnership
with Nick - but none of them combine
to really take the characters far enough
into their individual conflicts.
Aside from the fact that most of its
humor is forced, "The Dilemma" feels
just a little too incomplete - and with
a 111-minute runtime, it just seems
like inefficient storytelling. The movie
doesn't round out its characters or give
them legitimate enough arcs to pass
through, leaving the film unmemorable.
And perhaps, at least for the film's
famous director, that's a good thing.
Howard blends in as a somewhat novice
comedic director and won't be remem-
bered for this outing as he is for his more
successful ones. With interesting-yet-
unfleshed modern elements keeping it
current, the film is a watchable, albeit
pretty dull, experience.

DailyArts Writer
FOX's new animated series is undeni-
ably weird, and not just because FOX let
someone who isn't Seth MacFarlane get a
show. With humor that
manages to be simul-
taneously disgusting
and intellectual, "Bob's Bo's Burgers
Burgers" seems ripped
straight from Cartoon PilOt
Network's Adult Swim Sundaysat8:30 p.m.
lineup - an odd choice FOX
for primetime on a net-
work between titans like
"The Simpsons" and "Family Guy."
--In }the-.pilot's opening scene, father
and restauranteur Bob (H. Jon Benja-
min, "Archer") tells his son Gene (Eugene
Mirman, "Flight of the Conchords") that
"There's a line between entertaining and
annoying,"to which Gene replies, "No, that's
a myth" and subsequently blasts laser and
fart noises from his megaphone. Here, Gene
may as well be speaking on behalf of the
whole show. While the humor sometimes
hits the mark with an unexpected clever
joke, the show's awkward and uncomfort-
able aesthetic proves more annoying than
H. Jon Benjamin's comedic timing and
distinct voice are just as compelling here
as they are in "Archer," and it's nice to
hear him voicing a more grounded charac-
ter. He's responsible for most of the show's
legitimately funny moments through his
deadpan delivery, and he benefits from hav-
ing the fewest gross-out jokes among the
cast. Bob's humor lies in pointing out just
how absurd everyone around him is, which
is welcome, given how unfunny the absur-
dity itself tends to be.
The other standout actor is Kristen Schaal
("Flight of the Conchords"), who voices
Bob's youngest daughter Louise. Louise is
an exceedingly well written character - her
childhood innocence shows itself with bru-
tal honesty, lack of foresight and no speech
filter whatsoever, but she still manages to
be adorable. Schaal brings young, mindless
exuberance to life, making viewers root for
Louise even when she causes an angry mob

to storm the burger joint.
Oldest daughter Tina (Dan Mintz,
"Important Things with Demetri Martin")
is the real problem character. She spends
the pilot complaining of crotch itch, and
later is mocked for having what appears to
be some rather serious mental problems.
While Tina's lines sometimes set up a decent
joke from Bob or Louise, they never work on
their own, even when they're clearly sup-
posed to.
The other problem is the uncompelling
narrative. Consider "Family Guy" - the
stories in that show often take crazy and
unexpected turns several times each epi-
sode. Not everyone finds the ludicrous sto-
ries tobe funny, but everyone can agree the
show is unpredictable. Then there's "Bob's
Burgers." The plot of the premiere focuses
on cannibalism - an off-the-wall theme
with the potential to spawn a crazy, unpre-
dictable and inherently funny story. But
Cannibalism is
naturally hilarious,
but 'Bob's Burgers'
can't make it work.
instead, the narrative is just boring, and
events unfold exactly as expected. It's not
enough for a comedy to have funny jokes -
the story itself has to be funny. Much like
Tina, the plot serves as a set-up for some
mediocre lines that don't compensate for
how much the plot wasted a potentially
great idea.
Even so, "Bob's Burgers" is certainly not
without merit. With its simplistic animation
style and perverse, dry humor, it's refresh-
ingly different from the other primetime
animated comedies out there. The series is
trying to juggle wit, shock value and crazy
narratives, but only the first of those three
is working out just yet. If it starts firing on
all cylinders any time soon, it deserves a
spot on FOX over anything MacFarlane can
throw at it.

Seeking vinyl vindication in a post-CD world

Daily Arts Writer
In Dec. 2008, I interviewed Ben Folds
after he played a show at the Michigan
Theater. During our discussion, Folds edu-
cated me on the resurgence of vinyl records
and cited specifics like better sound quality
and the perception that CDs are worthless
data discs as reasons for the return to an
older medium for music listeners.
At the time, I refused to believe him. I
was one of the few holdouts of the opin-
ion that, despite the sharp decline in sales
of compact discs in recent years, people
should continue to buy CDs even if the pur-
chasing volume became significantly less
than what it once was. I've always been
attracted to the physical nature of CDs,
and I didn't want to give up the experience
of holding something in my hands while
listening to an album for the first time.
Obviously, I was a bit naive and tried
to resist the natural progression of tech-
nology. After all, throughout the history
of recorded music, the focus has always
been on making smaller and more com-

pact devices to hold and play music.
From the substantial gramophone record
placed on a mammoth phonograph, to cas-
sette inserts for the handheld Walkman,..
to the virtual disappearance of physical
evidence for the existence of a song in the
form of the MP3, this has always been
the case. Regardless of my best efforts to
ignore the writing on the wall, I knew I
would eventually have to face the reality
that CDs will soon be extinct.
I'm normally riot a sentimental guy
when it comes to material possessions.
But when it comes to music, I'm as nostal-
gic as an old lady at a high school reunion.
My relationship with CDs stretches way
back to my discovery of music and genesis
as a passionate music listener. I'll never
forget the first time I popped one of my
brother's Weezer CDs into my portable
and was completely transformed by the
opening shenanigans of "El Scorcho" or
the brutal sincerity of "Butterfly."
Certain CDs also trace my phases of
growth through different genres and
styles that have transformed me into an
intolerable music snob. The day I bought

The Hold Steady's Boys and Girls In Amer-
ica on a whim because I liked the cover art
will undoubtedly go down as the greatest
impulse purchase of my life. Ultimately,
CDs have served to define me as a person
more than the clothes that I wear, places
I've traveled or schools I've attended.
Plastic jewel cases, 10-page lyric books
and scratch-prone pieces of polycarbon-
ate plastic have played a vitally important
role in my adolescent and college years,
and it's going to be tough to say goodbye.
From records to
cassette tapes to
CDs to MP3s to.."
But it's not all gray skies and watery
eyes for me. With vinyl making a come-
back, I realized that my transition to 33

1/3-RPM plays was eminent. It was only a
matter of time until I would buy my first-
ever turntable, nearly a half century after
its invention. Luckily, my brother was a
step ahead of me and wrapped one up with
my name on it to put under the Christmas
tree. Upon opening it, I surprised myself
with my excited reaction to the gift. It was
like all those memories that my CD collec-
tion held didn't really matter anymore.
As it turns out, vinyl works as a pretty
easy transition from my bygone CD days,
and satisfies most of the things I have come
to love about CDs. For example, at the risk
of sounding like a materialistic prick with
morality issues and too much disposable
income, I think it's important for an artist
to make a profit on his or her creative out-
put. In this department, a vinyl record is
nearly identical to a compact disc. I've also
found it more rewardingto pick and choose
what I listen to and use the money I've
earnedto buy somethingthatwill entertain
.ne, instead of downloading anything that
looks or sounds remotely interesting.
Additionally, when I listen to music on
the Internet, I'm constantly in a judgmen-

tal mentality. I want to dislike every note
and every word coming out of my atro-
cious MacBook speakers. I'll look for every
flaw imaginable, including uninteresting
melodies, simplistic instrumentation and
contrived lyrics. But when I make a finan-
cial commitment to a physical piece of art
that a group of people poured in hours and
hours of time to put together, I want it to
be the best album I've ever heard. I'll look
for all of its redeeming qualities, focusing
on the high points while dismissing the
low points. Vinyl, almost more so than a
CD, allows for me to have this optimistic
outlook on the music I'm listening to.
While my parents were preparing din-
ner, I set up my new toy in the kitchen and
grabbed some old records that I'd recently
acquired while cleaning out my grandma's
house. As Sonny and Cher sang "I Got You
Babe," my sentimentality kicked in again
as I realized how fortunate I was to have
my family together during the holidays.
And so it began - a new era of memory-
making, rather than a departure from my
CD schmaltziness. It's simply a continua-
tion, but this time with a larger disc.

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