The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.come
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - 5
Ward up for award
Ten thoughts on 'Countdown'
alum and author "(Writing) can be reallydemor-
alizing; it can make you want to
National Book quit," Ward said. "I wanted to quit
before my first novel was pub-
ward nominee lished, definitely."
Not to mention that the expe-
By JENNIFER XU rience of Hurricane Katrina was
Senior ArtsEditor so emotionally draining, Ward
wasn't able to get started on "Sal-
aulf Coast town encrusted vage the Bones" for several years.
generations of poverty and Ward narrated her experi-
a. A pregnant, motherless ences during Katrina: She had
n the brink of womanhood been staying with her family,
ng on dinners of crunchy enjoying a well-earned vacation
Ramen noodles and warm in her hometown of Deisle, Miss.
water. Meanwhile, Hur- following her graduation from
Katrina muscles its way the University - when the house
the coastline, slinkily began to flood.
ng rolls of water across the "We had to leave out of the
cape. house in the middle of the storm
iversity MFA graduate Jes- because we didn't want to crawl
Ward knows how to write up to the attic and drown, which
natural disasters because was a possibility because the
ved through one. Many of water was rising so quickly," she
vents described in her sec- said.
ovel, "Salvage the Bones," Their original goal was to drive
colored by her own expe- to a local church in pursuit of shel-
es during Katrina's rav- ter. But with the water rushing in
n August 2005. Ward was and fallen trees blocking the path,
nized last month when Ward's family had no choice but to
ook was nominated for a sit in an empty field full of tractors
nal Book Award - one of and watch the sheets of rainwater
ost prestigious awards in cascading down outside. When the
ure (Jonathan Franzen, family that owned the field came
ac McCarthy and Eudora out in the middle of the storm to
r count themselves among check on their possessions, Ward
'lect coterie). Winners will was struck by how unwilling the
sounced at an awards cer- family was to invite them inside.
y tomorrow. She suspected racism.
rd currently serves as an "They told us to stay in the field
ant professor of creative until the storm passed, since they
ig at the University of had too many people in the house
Alabama' and is already to let us come in the house," she
ng on a third book - a said. "I thought they were prob-
ir. Though she has enjoyed ably lying ... because they were
siderable amount of suc- white and we were black."
as a writer - her thesis And so the family sat. When
se MFA program turned the water level finally receded
er first novel, "Where the enough for them to progress far-
Bleeds," and she was cho- ther down the road, Ward found
y Essence magazine as a another family at the next inter-
Club Selection - she is not section that took them in for the
ne to the hardships of the remainder of the hurricane.
sion. It wasn't until three years
after Katrina that Ward was able
to reflect on her experiences in
. "It took me a while to commit
to doing it," she said. "I think it
silenced me for a while. And I
couldn't deal with everythingthat
The young writer spoke about
the motivations involved in com-
posing the novel. Nonfiction
had never seemed like the right
genre for her, because the themes
exposed by Hurricane Katrina
had more universal implications
than mere personal account. And
so she chose fiction to communi-
cate these subjects of sacrifice,
loss and poverty braided into the
But Ward also wanted to write
"Salvage the Bones" because she
was fed up with uneducated ques-
tions from people who were not
from the area.
"(They) would say stuff like, 'I
don't understand why everyone
didn't evacuate' and, 'The reason
that the storm hit the coast and
did what it did ... is because every-
one's soulless and godless,' " she
"They didn't understand," she
added. "They didn't understand
the people; they didn't under-
stand the culture here; they didn't
understand the real impact the
know this is awfully peri-
natal of me, but I've had
on the brain for weeks. So, with
natural numbers, I'm running
thoughts on a
song that has
been stuck in
my head and
out of my lips
pating buses, JOE
my back and
kitchen, waiting for the kettle
Ten years of courtship later
and six years after "Crazy in
Love," Beyonce has progressed,
- devotional with one riff and
defiant with the next - in a
kaleidoscope of atomic voca-
lese. "Countdown" gives her the
canvas for it - in mixed media
- a patch-worked roller coaster
through which no dominant
melody or mood can pierce.
From that opening melismatic
"boy," (transcribed loosely as
hee-ee-hee-ee-yee-ee! and yes,
you call us "girl," we'll call you
"boy!") Beyonce is transfigur-
tearing up the damn place.
Rather than pie-ee-eece out
her syllables mechanically like
Katy Perry or faux-tropically via
Rihanna, Beyonce's (occasion-
ally overachieving - but here,
wholly earned) aerobics massage
them, oiling in casual snarls,
octaval flips, jubilance. Love is
"low-ooh-of" Sing is "sayng." (to
rhyme with chain). Boo becomes
"hoof," no questions asked.
When language limits me, I have
been known to sing. Or make up
Nine is the number of people
credited with writing "Count-
it on hi
'which bears little skep- To begin with, "Countdown"
considering the song's can't sit nicely with anything
nsteinian chassis. Dance- Euro-thumping the top 10 (even
usk-style horns, Boyz II Rihanna has folded) these days.
teel drums, throw it all None of 4's singles have had
h segment collides with much staying power, which
t, edge-of-folding-chair, seems to say more about their
finger-tipped snare-roll- independence (maturity?) from
m-breaking, methypleni- pop radio's clubbing-turning-
adjective pileup. If K-pop to-fatalism/predestination (i.e.
en the torch of maximal- Ne-Yo on Pit-Bull's "Give Me
"Countdown" is the final Everything" "for all we know /
f a nation one year deep we might not get tomorrow," a
a darker decade. trend I like) than of their medi-
we're going to hash out ocrity.
e's place in feminism, 6. Let the culture vultures
;oing to need some pick at "Countdown"'s video
is. Post/non/second?- for its cut-and-paste pastiche/
Bey's calls for female plagiarism of Hepburn/Keers-
'erment, like in "Run the maeker/everything. The clip's
hydra-headed po-po-mo veloc-
ity suits the track like its kinky
snapped fingers set against those
his song is twee, clinking keyboards -
!y once to the unexpectedly well.
yonce o the 5. A conversation via text with
power of 10. a female friend at 3:15 a.m.:
Me: Writing about Beyonce
Friend: She run the world
Me: Thoughts on her?
(Girls)" or "Single Ladies Friend: Sassy diva bitch with
Ring On It)," are either meaty thighs (in a good way)
iflicted to bear inspection 4!
rctive against their best 3:33 - total track time, 213 -
ons. "Countdown" revels seconds total, 33 - number of
estic pleasures - still- replays on my iTunes in a week.
but-no-longer-clubbin,' Give it time.
hedly heteronormative. Two months ago, there was
gets her kicks in with the a comment - so beautifully
"Say it real loud if you fly succinct - regarding previ-
leave me you out of yo ous single, "Run the World
a threat and an invitation. (Girls)," about who really "runs"
en we've got "Yup I put the world, featured on an
m, it ain't nothing that I article titled "Beyonce Wants to
o /Yup I buy my own if he Rebrand Feminism," saying it
e it, buy his shit too," in better than I can: "SIMPLE....
sex and money, as always, MEN DON'T, WOMEN DON'T...
ontrol. Lest we forget a SATAN THINKS HE DOES...
rote these lyrics? BUT GOD DOES ACTUALLY."
nty-one (I cheat some- 1... What is the countdown to,
is the top spot "Count- exactly??
has reached on the
;rd Hot 100 (as of writ-
s) which suggests some
and makes nothing clear.
Dimuzio is looking for other things
to count ... down. E-mail suggestions
to him at email@example.com.
A2 welcomes local artist
Daily Arts Writer
University Jazz & Contempla-
tive Studies alum Theo Katzman
is a soulful staple in the Ann
Arbor music scene. After gradu-
ation, Katzman transitioned to
touring with My Dear Disco,
then reestablished himself in
Ann Arbor as a singer-song-
writer and a mentor for nearly
40 music students through his
previous faculty position at Ann
Arbor Music Center.
Katzman's debut full-length
LP Romance Without Finance
was released on iTunes today.
Though he recently moved to
Brooklyn, his album release
show took place on Nov. 5 at The
Ark in Ann Arbor.
The overall volume of the
"I may look tough, but allI ever really wanted was a pony."
An 'Uncharted'level of success
Theo Katzman's Nov. 5 album release party was at The Ark.
why I c
ments was taken down for was recorded with a cassette
erformance so the audi- machine, originated from a dark
ould hear the lyrics. The time in Katzman's life. Through
te vibe was magnified by the means of "I Feel Love (All
rd Love Massive playing in The Time)," he was able to sort
calm, acoustic register - through his emotions.
Allen on the cajon, Woody "There's always this inherent
n keyboard, Joe Dart on appreciation for life that we can
id both Allen and Dart on access at any moment," Katzman
vocals. said. "Sometimes it's the hard-
est thing to find or to feel, but it's
there. So that's what I'm hoping
.eo Katzman for in that song."
e KThis funky 25-year-old bru-
has soul. nette has constructed a record of
nine tracks with lyrics ranging
from simply comedic to mantra-
worthy. He explained his lyrics
anted to make a statement are a mix of personal situations
e live show that would be and imagination, songs like "You
ous to the record in terms Could Never Know" being far
g able to hear the music," abstracted to the point where
an said in an interview most listeners probably couldn't
he MichiganDaily. "That's perceive the meaning he began
hose the (acoustic) direc- with.
r it." Katzman's lines are abstract-
room was filled with lov- ed from real feelings into engag-
d familiar faces, and the ing concepts, like on the track
parallels that love. As the "Called To Tell You": "I missed
ack on Romance Without my first real anniversary/'Cause
v sings, "I feel love (all I was drinking by myself / Being
ie), all around me (all the an artist."
- Katzman had his favor- "I think the first anniversary
ple over for dinner and to line was from a time when I felt
group vocals and claps in I was more into the idea of being
en setting, which made the tortured artist than actu-
um more real for him. ally being happy," Katzman said.
track, one of two that "But that's definitely a funny
line. It's supposed to be a joke,
but it's serious too. I'm putting
myself on the chopping block
there to say, 'Look how stupid we
can be.' "
Planning to release more
tracks, including "Three Sec-
onds" and "Someone For You" in
the near future, and with future
albums on the horizon, Katzman
is committed to his love for
music for a lifetime.
"I want to really impress
music," he said. "I want to take
her out to dinner and I want to
treat her right, I want to do it up
real big ... it's that sentiment."
Katzman was heavily influ-
enced in his childhood by many
things: his father's professional
career as a jazz trumpet player,
working in the Los Angeles stu-
dio scene and the classic music
produced by his mother's parents.
Though raised in that particular
musical foundation, he found his
own sound inspired by artists
ranging from Cuban musicians to
Led Zeppelin to Feist.
"People who care about you
want to tell you what to do
because they're worried about
you not being OK," Katzman
said. "I think that if you really
play that game and let yourself
get surrounded by that and con-
trolled by that, you can go down
the wrong path."
story and the
back it up,
is the whole
package of a
By SHIN HIEFTJE
"Uncharted 3: Drake's Decep-
tion" is one of the few games that
can actually create a cinematic
The narrative is very much an
"Indiana Jones" affair. A descen-
dant of Sir Francis Drake, the
protagonist, Nathan Drake, is a
born treasure hunter who wants
to uncover a mysterious fortune
that his ancestor omitted from
the record books. While no one
knows what the treasure con-
tains, a nefarious faction thinks
the reward could be enormous.
From there the story becomes
a race to see who can get there
Much like "Indiana Jones," it's
a fantastical tale, with historical
namedrops, globetrotting and
some mysticism thrown in for
good measure. While not espe-
cially believable, it's a fun story
and it's helped by some of the
in a ty
rice acting that's ever been lighting effects in "Uncharted 3."
in video games. The dia- And while the platforming is not
between the characters is very difficult, the leaps look so
with genuinely funny ban- death-defying and ridiculous, the
d some serious moments ease doesn't matter.
ing balance as well. Developer Naughty Dog can
en Nathan Drake isn't sar- present Drake so cinematical-
illy cracking jokes, he's ly and bombastically that the
an action hero to the full- character doesn't seem like he
gree. Gameplay varies in would be controllable. One scene
incharted" series - 'while will put the player in control of
rily a cover-based shoot- escaping from a sinking cruise
re is a lot of platforming ship with water rushing behind.
uzzle solving as well. So Another has Drake hanging onto
pical scenario, Drake will the back of a flying cargo plane,
up the ledges of a chateau shootingenemies while tryingto
inside, solve a puzzle to climb in. It's both ludicrous and
clue that will lead to the amazing.
ocation and then fight off The multiplayer of "Unchart-
emy to escape the building. ed 3" holds it back from perfec-
tion. For whatever reason, the
aiming feels less accurate than
It's like if in single player, which is consis-
tently frustrating. There's also a
diana Jones co-op mode, which feels tacked
on in comparison to the polished
re animated. single-player
That being said, it hardly mat-
ters because the single player is
paced to near pitch-perfection.
hree elements - the shoot- There's rarely a dull moment in
uzzle solving and plat- the entire 10-hour campaign.
g - are all helped by the The original score is outstand-
ible presentation. The ani- ing, the graphics are stunning
rofthe characters is superb, and the gameplay holds its end of
makes moving from cover the bargain as well, making for a
er in gunfights more tense hell of a fun ride. It might be the
xciting. Some of the puz- closest experience to playing an
ake use of the phenomenal action movie currently available.