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October 12, 2011 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-10-12

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, October 12, 2011- 5A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 5A

FX's'Horror' cuts deep


'The Full Monty' explores working class culture family relations and strip dancing
School of MT&D film's, is based in Buffalo, N.Y.
rather than the original setting
strips down themes of Sheffield, England.
The show is directed by Mark
of family and class Madama, an associate professor
in the School of Music, Theatre
By DHRUV MADEKA & Dance. Madama believes the
For the Daily show's primary themes of family
and economic hardship make it
For all who fancy seeing a more relevant than ever today.
comedy about six men shedding "I look at the economy now
their clothes for money, "The and what's happening to the
Full Monty" middle and working class, and
is the per- The Full see how they are losing their
formance to jobs in the same way these men
watch. The in 'The Full Monty' are losing
Department Through Oct. their jobs," Madama said.
of Musical 23atvarious Cynthia Westphal, an assis-
Theatre's first times tant professor at the Musical
musical of the Theatre department, will con-
year promises a Mendelssohn duct a 10-person orchestra in the
rock show that Theatre rock themes that make this show
will leave the From $10 so entertaining.
audience with "The music is upbeat, exciting
peals of laughter while being and funny," said MT&D senior
tragic and touching at the same Alex Finke, who plays Vicki
time. Nichols, a wife of one of the
Based on the 1997 British unemployed construction work-
comedy film of the same name, ers. "It varies in genres from
the story revolves around six pop/rock, soul, funk and folk.
factory workers who are sud- It is heartwarming and fun and
denly unemployed and left with- shares a story I believe most can
out any direction. In an exigent relate to."
need for cash, they take to,strip The cast members intend to
dancing as a desperate measure bring the proper depth to their
to make ends meet. The musi- roles. Madama said his actors
cal, whose story is similar to the have risen to the challenge of

playing parents rather than
"It was terrifying," said
MT&D senior Joe Carroll, who
plays stripper Jerry Lukowski.
"I did a lot of work. I watched a
lot of ... films about single dads,
read what it was like to be a sin-
gle dad. It was really hard to por-
tray the depth of that, you know,
to be a 20-something who's play-
ing a 30-year-old."
Of course, the show is most
famous for its climactic final
dance sequence, which ends in
the metaphorical "Full Monty."
Madama skirted that issue but
promised everything crucial to
the story was included.
"We didn't backtrack on any-
thing," Madama said. "We did
what was needed for the story.
And there's a very good surprise
at the end."
Underlying themes of strug-
gle, family, working class cul-
ture and desperation make
"The Full Monty" captivating to
many. Carroll finds its charac-
ters sublimely human and infi-
nitely relatable.
"You see inside the soul and
the heart of these six guys, and
you want them to succeed so
desperately," Carroll said. "You
get sort of wrapped in their story
and you fall in love with them."

Daily Arts Writer
It's a beautiful house - really!
- and quite a steal. Complete with
clouds of cob-
webs decking **
the corners and
pickled baby American
heads lining
the basement Horror Story
shelves, the pilot
centerpiece of
FX's new show, Wednesdays
"American Hor- at10 p.m.
ror Story," puts FX
Barbie's Dream
House to shame. With a charm
so subtle that one would swear it
didn't exist, what's not to love?
Reeling from the tragic mis-
carriage of their son, Vivien
(Connie Britton, "Friday Night
Lights") and Ben Harmon (Dylan
McDermott, "The Practice")
seek a fresh start in Los Ange-
les with teenage daughter Vio-
let (relative newcomer Taissa
Farmiga). However, the family
dynamic quickly disintegrates.
Unable to forgive her husband for
sleeping with one of his students,
Vivien becomes cold and distant,
choosing instead to find compan-
ionship in a new dog.
Resentful of this rejection, Ben
represses his urge to release his
sexual frustration by remaining
"closer to the family" through
his at-home psychiatry practice.
Violet is aware of the tension
between her parents, and iso-
lates herself socially, adopting
the apathetic stance of a modern-
day Wednesday Addams. Within
the first week, strange neighbors
and macabre hallucinations work
their way into the old house,
re-hashing the family's inner
demons while providing a haunt-
ing past of their own.
Each character introduced
is stranger than the last and
undoubtedly less likable, drag-
ging the story down in a miser-
able mix of the living and the
not-so-living. As if they float

cult to
ish vis


io has better hair - Connie Britton, or the dog?

to Vivi
and rej
of a n
to mai
cast o

*h the walls, the strangers seems like a sinister joy. The
at every-turn. It's diffi- show is most fascinating when
keep track of every ghoul- it's focused on Ben's patient,
itor, not to mention their Tate (Evan Peters, "Invasion"), a
and predictions of death. twitchy teenage boy whose mur-
t anybody lock their doors derous fantasies and morbid atti-
re? tude are a quirky and fascinating
contrast to the family.
"American Horror Story" is an
unexpected treat among hordes of
et t a recent, predictable slasher films.
The show acts almost as a celebra-
tion - or at least an acknowledge-
orror story ment - of less literal horrors: the
darker side of the human mind
and its desires. Scenes of destruc-
tion are embracedbycheerytunes
only are viewers subjected and the childish tinkling of bells.
en's constant complaining The story plays off of the char-
peated rejection of her des- acters' real fears as the house
husband's sexual advances, feeds into their desires through
y also receive several shots ambiguous latex-wearing figures
iaked Ben, sobbing post- and seductive apparitions. The
rbation or swaying over a ghostly strangers that haunt the
ce, wearing nothing but a house become a manifestation of
facial expression (but hey, the Harmons' inner demons.
that's not so bad after all). "American Horror Story"
h Britton is by far the most encompasses the gore and sus-
able of the bunch, McDer- pense of bloody classics, but it
portrayal of a man fighting instills a deeper, more personal
ntain his morality is both fear than its predecessors. Mis-
ing and exhausting. carriage, infidelity, self-mutila-
spared to the dreadfully tion, bullies, temptation - these
Harmon family, the kooky are the real horrors, the ones
f murderers and an old- that surpass fiction and infiltrate
urned-vampy-mistress viewers' homes.

Growing up the 'South Park' way

A2 native brings soul home

For theDaily
More than a few soul fans were
pleasantly surprised when Mayer
Hawthorne emerged in Septem-
ber 2009 with
his first album, *
A Strange
Arrangement. Mayer
It featured his
soulful falsetto
singing about How Do
love and girls, You Do
by a full band Stones Throw
sound that
hearkened back to the days when
multiple instruments needed
more than just a computer to be
expressed. Strange Arrangement
not only made the listening expe-
rience fun, but when word got out
Hawthorne was collaborating
with Snoop Dogg, it also left us
salivating over the idea of teaming

"Ooh ee ooh, I look just like Buddy Holly.,."


DailyArts Writer
In last season's final episode
of "South Park," tellingly titled
"You're Getting Old," the cre-
ators effec-
tively showed
viewers they
know they've South Park
been on the air
for a long 14 Season 15
years. As Stan Midseason
turns a year Wednesdays
older, he begins
to see every-
thing in life as Comedy Central
shitty - both
metaphorically, and, for the sake
of comedy, literally. His disease,
being "a cynical asshole," quick-
ly became an apparent metaphor
for the state of "South Park"
creators Trey Parker and Matt
Stone, who must have become a
little jaded and worn down cre-
ating absurd premises year after
year. The season ended on a per-
plexingly serious note, as Stan's
parents get a divorce while the
rest of the gang stops hang-
ing out with Stan because he's
such a bummer. It was unclear
where the show would go, with
the series's creators seemingly
admitting to getting too old for
this shit (soto speak).
Luckily, the new crop of epi-
sodes shows there's still life
in "South Park" as the writers
experiment with both tone and
viewer expectations. The pre-
miere walks a tightrope between
self-seriousness and absur-
dity that's fascinating to watch
unfold. Season 15 picks up with
Stan still completely unhappy
and living in his divorced mom's
new condo, pleadingto his coun-
selor that he just wants to go
back the way it was.
The show once again seems
eerily dark in tone, until the
next scene in which Cartman
can't believe there's actually
a medical condition known as
Asperger's Syndrome - and
we're back. Cartman proceeds to
sell burgers with a secret ingre-

the M


hit, I
with S
sta Lu
set the
key am
into a d
How 2
more ts
both a

otown influence with the attempts an instrumental inter-
flows of hip hop. pretation of a familiar chaotic
rap beat, with Snoop Dogg sing-
ing about love with the angst of a
[ow Do You gospel singer. The song falls flat,
without featuring Snoop's flow
0' does vell. and placing Hawthorne's band in
strange territory - perhaps disap-
pointing those who were excited
by the freshness of the "Gangsta
r Strange Arrangement Luv" remix.
Hawthorne collaborated However, this doesn't mean
noop in a remix of "Gang- How Do You Do as a whole falls
v." Though the song was flat. Fans didn't originally fall in
produced with The- love with Hawthorne because of
, this version is also satis- his forays into the world of hip
The piano and bass guitar hop. The first album was refresh-
groove with Hawthorne's ing because it was fun and per-
helping to establish a low- mitted listeners to appreciate the
ibience, while Snoop fully influences of a past genre. Haw-
tes his customary fluidity thorne's new album keeps the
lelightful, fresh timbre. fun rolling.
ugh his second album, "Henny & Gingerale," one of
9o You Do, does feature the few songs to depart from the
eamwork between him and familiar theme of tragic romance,
Dogg on the track "Can't retains the youthfulness of "The
it is only one song and it Walk," and "No Strings" embrac-
feature the strengths of es the party vibe. It's easy to visu-
rtists. Hawthorne's band alize Hawthorne shifting through

crowds in his vintage suit from a
Detroit thrift store, epitomizing
white-man swag.
What perhaps distinguishes
How Do You Do is a greater tribute
to Detroit. Hawthorne, an Ann
Arbor native, mentioned that he
would record the album in Detroit
so he could stay connected to the
city's characteristic grittiness.
"A Long Time," the second song
on the album, seeks to uplift and
assure that Detroit will emerge
from the currentmess and "return
it to its former glory." This doesn't
mean Mayer Hawthorne is get-
ting political - he wisely steers
clear of politics and maintains the
music's inherent vibrancy.
Mayer Hawthorne has crafted
a persona that mixes the golden
classics of Detroit's past and the
young swagger of today's hip-hop
scene, and though he may not
have innovated his sound enough
to completely satisfy the hip-
hop portion of the mixture, it is
enough to bring Motown out from
musical antiquity.

Stan couldn't get his hands on any "Book of Mormon" tickets, either.
dient involving ass - it can't get The rate at which scenes switch
much more absurd than that. It's between serious moments and
nice to know after all these years Matrix groups pulling machine
South Park isn't above wonder- guns is startling, and it gives
fully juvenile humor. South Park a sense of mystery
it's rarely had.
The end of the episode is
Self-realization by far the most interesting, as
Stan gives a long speech about
comes with no accepting change - it's OK that
he's not with Kyle and the gang
shortage of anymore, and perhaps he'll find
a new friend to have adventures
poop jokes. with. The speech seems to tell
the viewer that exciting and
refreshing change is coming to
South Park, but then Stan's par-
Then Stan has another seri- ents decide to get back together
ous scene where he goes into and say everything's goirig back
rehab - but oh, wait! His rehab to normal. It's a great twist that
group is secretly a Matrix-style messes with audience expecta-
organization that sees the world tions andt also a self-aware cri-
as shitty too! It's easy to tell the tique of the show itself.
writers are purposely creating Still, despite the episode con-
overly exaggerated premises - eluding that everything's going
with the leader of the Matrix back to the way it was, it hints
group blaming extraterrestrials at genuine change, and that's
for humanity's failure to see the what's important. The season
crap - but this new self-aware- premiere gives hope for "South
ness to South Park makes it Park" by demonstrating the
interesting to watch even when show is not afraid to experi-
it isn't funny. ment. It's willing to go in new
From there, the new epi- directions, or at the very least'
sode continues to steer deftly willingto mess with its audience
between sincerity and idiocy. more.


& a

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