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January 21, 2011 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-01-21

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, January 21, 2011 - 7

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Friday, January 21, 2011 - 7

For PNT, this is 'War'

Daily Arts Writer
"Here she is, boys! Here she is,
world! Here's Rose!" In the musi-
cal "Gypsy," stage mother Rose
pushes her
daughters into The War
show business Since Eve
even though
she is the one Through Feb.13
who wants to at various times
become the
star. In the Per- Performance
formance Net- NetworkTheatre
work Theatre's Ticketsfrom$15
world premiere
of "The War Since Eve," which
began previews Jan. 13, the tables
have turned and the mother is the
star, leaving her children to either
cater to her whims or flee.
This fictional comedy is set on
the evening that activist Roxie
Firestone receives the Presiden-
tial Medal of Freedom in recog-
nition of her work in the feminist
movement. Although Roxie has
broken down boundaries for
women, her personal life with her
grown-up daughters would not
exactly place her in the running
for best mother. Her youngest
daughter has been estranged for
the past 22 years, while the elder
one has devoted her life to Roxie
- acting as secretary and com-
panion to her mother.
Henrietta Hemelin, who plays
Roxie in PNT's production,
believes her character is so oblivi-
ous to her daughter to the point
that it is "unconscionable." How-
ever, Hemelin understands that

Roxie has a "control freak" ten-
dency, which drives her youngest
daughter away from her.
"I, in my personal life, have
fallen into patterns of commu-
nicating where I don't even real-
ize what it sounds like," Hemelin
said in a phone interview with the
Daily. "Here I hear what she says
and I look at it and say 'Aha!' She's
totally oblivious to the effect it's
having (on other people)."
Hemelin has been with "The
War Since Eve" since its original
readings as one of the featured
plays in the Fireside Festival of
New Works, one of PNT's many
programs. As a local theater com-
pany, PNT is fully committed to
promoting new plays and works
of homegrown playwrights.
Kim Carney, the show's writ-
er, is no stranger to PNT, as this
will be her fourth show with the
company. While Ann Arbor audi-
ences might recall Carney's past
shows "Moonglow" and "The
Home Team" at PNT, she has
also debuted three shows at the
Purple Rose Theatre Company in
Chelsea. In Carney's latest com-
edy, "The War Since Eve," she
looks to find the humor in a com-
plex relationship.
"I had heard an article in the
paper a couple of years (ago)
about Rosa Parks and her difficult
relationship that she had with her
children," Carney said. "It got me
thinking what it must be like to
have a national icon as your moth-
er and what a weird thing that it
would be. I didn't think I could
write a play about civil rights, so

I thought of the women's move-
Bringing Carney's play to life
is lighting designer Mary Cole,
who serves as the resident light-
ing designer for the University's
Department of Dance. She said
working with PNT promotes
more experiential opportunities
because it functions on a much
smaller scale than University
Director David Wolber, who
also serves as the production's
artistic director, is excited about
this new comedy.
Ann Arbor hosts
play's world
"I love that (the play has) three
strongwomen roles,"Wolber said,
adding that this is an uncommon
feat in the world of comedy.
"I think that the play connotes
not only the women's struggle fore
equality, but also - or more so
- the war between mothers and
daughters since the beginning of
time," Carney said.
Unlike "Gypsy," Roxie was not
the one found in "scrapbooks
full of (her) in the background,'
but her children were instead.
"The War Since Eve" presents 4
somewhat inverted story to the
musical, placing motherhood and
sisterhood on the battlefield.

Casino' worth jack

ple live,
byist Jac
tial") as
to hims
of "Casi
the fil
- a bic
stakes p
street w:
Jack Abi
ered the
into the
time, ho
Ion (Bar
gress at
in ventu

ramoff inspires and forced the resignations of
countless government officials.
ng emotions, bUt There's no question that Abramoff
is a villain - a crooked byproduct
s film does not of our capitol's seedy underbelly.
But the Abramoff we see in
By DAVID TAO "Casino Jack" differs greatly
DailyFilmEditor from his commonly accepted
public image. Spacey's character,
iocrity is where most peo- the product of Norman Snider's
observes embattled lob- ("Body Parts") screenplay and
k Abramoff (Kevin Spacey, director George Hickenlooper's
Confiden- ("Factory Girl") execution, is a
he rants lesson in inconsistent character
elf in the '**k development. At first, the man is
minutes the power behind the throne - the
no Jack." no "super lobbyist" who flies private
ently, At the and eats power lunches at five-star
m itself Michigan restaurants. Then, he's the dead-
opic that ATO beat whose boss criticizes him
rs in tone for his sub-par job performance.
off-beat Alone in the office, he's a corny
te comedy and tragic, high- guy who quotes too many movies,
'olitical drama - shares a a self-absorbed conservative who
rith the sad majority that likes to "work out every day"oand
ff despises. is "humbly grateful" for the gifts
some background for the America has given him. But most
well-informed. In real life, offensively of all, he's portrayed
ramoff was once consid- as the average Joe - a man who's
most powerful lobbyist in late on his mortgage payments but
gton, an influence-peddler still wants to play philanthropist,
deep-seated political con- a man who wonders whether what
s helped place Bush Jr. he's doing is legal and justifies his
White House. At the same actions by saying that it's all "part
wever, he and his hotshot of the bigger picture."
-in-crime, Michael Scan- Hickenlooper's overall cin-
rry Pepper, "25th Hour"), ematic vision is as badly defined
y bribed members of Con- as Abramoff's character. The
nd conned clients out of true story of Abramoff is inher-
, using the money to invest ently dramatic - his actions set
res like questionably legal this nation's political system back
casinos. The eventual decades - but there's also plenty
s caused a national uproar of potential for dark comedy. The

very fact that Abramoff managed
to pull off such a massive conspira-
cy from offices minutes away from
the FBI's Washington headquar-
ters is funny, in a shocking, "oh
no he didn't" sort of way. Instead
of tastefully blending these two
genres, a la Soderbergh's "The
Informant," Hickenlooper crams
them together like sardines. One
minute, Abramoff and Scanlon
are joking about their massive
purchases and manipulating con-
gressmen into hilariously inept
statements on CSPAN. The next,
Scanlon is crying his eyes out in
a bathroom stall while Abramoff
rushes to comfort his sobbing wife
and vulnerable, fearful children.
It's a broken roller coaster, shifting
from emotion to emotion in a man-
ner that feels forced, manipulative
and artificial.
Nevertheless, "Casino Jack" is
salvaged by Spacey's dedication..
His character may work out every
day, but Spacey delivers an on-
screen thespian workout, present-
ing a perfectly timed performance
that cuts through the unfocused
nature of the script to deliver side-
splitting scenes that almost man-
age to seem genuine. As an added
treat, the movie includes the real
Abraioff's penchant for celebrity
impressions, allowing us to bask
in Spacey's uncanny imitations of.
Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Al
Pacino. It's some of this star's most
entertaining and impressive work
since his Oscar win for "American
Beauty." It's too bad that it had to
come in such an indifferent movie.

Oprah OWNs cable TV

Moody Minks hedges
. its bets on debut album

By JASMINE ZHU tains all the trappings and trade-
Daily Arts Writer marks of "in" bands - a fuzzy
surf-influenced backdrop, insistent-
Goth is back. There's no deny- ly jaunty hi-hat and indecipherably
ing its sweeping influence - black witchy croons, But what separates
lace and tulle has found its way Minks from some of its buzz band
from street style counterparts is the trendy angst
to fashion run- overload - though fun, it can some-
ways and all the times be overbearing and oppres-
hip kids' recent MinkS sive.
embrace of shoe- Consequently, By the Hedge
gaze revivalism By the Hedge seems at times formulaically con-
can attest to that Captured Tracks trived. Dressed up in slick guitar
fact. Jumping on riffs and disaffection, the album
the goth train undoubtedly gives off a too-cool-
is Brooklyn-based band Minks, a for-school mien, but listeners might
relatively under-the-radar project wonder what lies underneath all
featuring vaguely discontent mur- of the distortion. Minks embrac-
murings, hazy synth and stylishly es its dispassionate aesthetic by
asymmetrical haircuts. remaining cloaked in anonym-
Minks is like the brooding cute ity. The band's website is purpose-
boy who dresses really well, but fully ambiguous, and information
whom one suspects to be a self- about Minks is almost impossible
absorbed superficial douche. The to obtain, almost as though reveal-
band's first LP, By the Hedge, con- ing such details might be considered

The album is a slick, sexy study
in undone minimalism, often refer-
encing early Cure or Joy Division.
Track titles like "Bruises," "Cem-
etery Rain" and "Funeral Song"
contribute to the pervasive sense
of dreariness that seeps throughout
By the Hedge. Thus unsurprisingly,
the photo for the album's single
"Funeral Song" displays a close-up
of a forlorn androgynous young boy
sporting heavy eyeliner, a new wave
haircut and severely pouty lips - a
clear nod to By the Hedge's influ-
Goths Gone
Wild: Best of
But after a point, listeners might
grow weary of all the gloom and
doom. In "Ophelia" - atrack named
for the tragic heroine in Shake-
speare's "Hamlet," who drowns
herself in a river in the name of
unrequited love - the vocalist sings:
"Wherever you will go / Darkness
always follows." It is all fine and
true in context, of course, but some-
times a little juxtaposition might be
nice. Occasionally good things do
happen in the world, after all.
But the glass-half-empty mantra
remains unwaveringly persistent.
"Funeral Song," a pop-orientated
album standout, heralds the end of
summer with its strangely catchy
refrain: "So long, summertime /
Not coming back here." However,
the album's tone walks a fine line
between goth and suicidal.
The self-indulgent, morbid vibe
of By the Hedge detracts from the
cohesive sound, but somehow, it's
that very quality that makes much
of the album weirdly irresistible.

Magazine Editor
It didn't surprise me when
Oprah Winfrey announced she
was starting her own network. In
seventh grade, I was convinced
that Oprah was the only person
who could stage a coup to take over
the American government, deem
herself Queen Dictator of Oprah-
land and get away with it by giv-
ing everyone her favorite things.
To some degree, this doesn't seem
entirely out of the realm of possi-
"Futurama" has likened Oprah
to a god, a simile national media
outlets love. Her followers are
Oprahites, they practice Opra-
hism and study the Word of
Oprah. The Wall Street Journal
coined the term "Oprahfication"
to describe her talk-show form
of therapy. It seems like anything
this woman touches turns to gold,
so the Oprah Winfrey Network
(OWN) shouldn't be much dif-
ferent. However, as more details
about the network and its pro-
gramming were revealed, I began
to grow skeptical.
On January 1, all the people who
regularly watched the Discovery
Health channel faced a forced con-
version to Oprahism. Discovery
Health is that channel that played
on the TVs in the doctor's office
waiting room. No one watched it
and therefore no one upgraded
their cable or satellite package to
see it. If anyone wants to watch
OWN, they'll now have to pay up
to get access to it.
But she's Oprah; she doesn't
need channel surfers. She has a
lineup of shows hosted by her dis-
ciples. Longtime BFF Gayle King
is breaking into the talkshow busi-
ness with "The Gayle King Show."
Other talk shows include "Dr.
Phil," "Inthe Bedroom with Laura
Berman," "The Rosie O'Donnell
Show" and "Oprah Presents Mas-
ter Class" - a more celeb-centric
version of "The Oprah Winfrey
Show." Oprah promised her net-
work wasn't just going to be her
show on repeat, but she never said
anything about running other peo-
ple's talk shows on repeat.
Between the chatting, OWN
From Page 6
with the exaggerated stereo-
types of Americans. It's dry, dark
and British, with jokes that are
either very clever or not funny
at all.
The self-conscious decision to
mock LeBlanc for his Joey-from-
"Friends" reputation will likely
drive the self-referential humor of
the show. Ironically, this might be
the least Joey-esque role LeBlanc
has seen: He's playing himself, not
the dim-witted soap opera star
we watched on NBC for 10 years,
though his character on "Lyman's

will fea
never h
is disrt
after th
the bri
I can
ing Gay
and "S
video p
"His he
tery Di

e got a car."
ture cooking shows, home version of Discovery Channel's
ration shows, movies I've medical mystery programming.
heard of (in "Prelude to a Tobe fair, OWNprogrammingis
a young couple's wedding clearly not geared toward me. Still,
upted when a mysterious while Oprah's followers will revel
an elderly man, appears in the network designed to teach
e ceremony and asks to kiss them how to live the Oprah way,
de," according to the OWN there really isn't any programming
) and a lot of really weird you can't get anywhere else.
y reality shows. All in all, I have mixed feel-
ings toward OWN. Oprah genu-
inely tries to help people, and
.t her immense following indicates
ere's nothi g she's successful. It's nice to know
Vie can do. that new networks can get public-
ity. I like the idea that television
is open to change and that new
networks can succeed, but on the
understand people watch- other hand, the only reason it will
yle, Rosie and Dr. Phil, but succeed is because of Oprah's star
going to watch "Miracle power. It irritates me that one
ves," "Mystery Diagnosis" woman has so much power, that
earching For..."? On the all she has to do is put her name
website, you can watch a on something and it becomes a
review for "Mystery Diag- mega-success. OWN and Oprah
and the description reads, are a true testament to the celeh
gad twists to one side. Will power that rules the media, but
have the answer?" "Mys- one with a generally positive
agnosis" is clearly a lesser effect on society.

Boys" may be a Joey reincarnate.
These multiple layers of reality
and fiction are a testament to the
innovation and intelligence behind
Still, the pilot is so expository
that it becomes tedious - scenes
are unnecessarily long and even
uncomfortable at times. Watching
Richard Griffiths ("Harry Potter")
attempt an American accent and
slowly give up while re-audition-
ing for the role he held for four
years is more painful than humor-
Its premise is an inside joke for
Hollywood, so it's unclear how
popular "Episodes" will be with
the casual viewer. It's clear that
the series is trying to show audi-

ences that Hollywood is capable of
laughing at itself, but the inherent
pretencion that comes with creat-
ing a show about the TV industry
might be a turn-off for general
While the show certainly has
potential and it's worth stick-
ing around for the next few epi-
sodes, when LeBlanc will be more
prominently featured, "Episodes"
shouldn't rely on poking fun at
Hollywood as its main gimmick.
"30 Rock" succeeded because
you didn't have to understand
the nuances of the TV industry to
get its jokes. With all the poten-
tial "Episodes" has, it would be a
shame to see the show fail due to
its one-note act.

What rotting floorboard has to do with Minks we have yet to learn

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