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November 16, 2011 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-11-16

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8A "Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com



Brand cracks wise

'The Little Dog Laughed' mixes nursery rhymes with Hollywood intrigue.
'Dog'. to bark up Waigreen

Daily Arts Writer heteros

Made up of a mismatch of
characters and a hodgepodge of
sounds, Mother Goose's "Hey,
Diddle Did-
dle!" has The Little Dog
been a favor- g
ite of kids
everywhere Tomorrow, Friday
for years. and Saturday at
The Base- 7 p.m., Friday
ment Arts atl1p.m.
show "The
Little Dog StudioOneWalgreen
Laughed" Drama Center
evokes the Free
of its beloved nursery rhyme
namesake while exploring the
depths and distances people go
to find joy.
The play deals with four char-
acters throwntogether by fate and
kept together through a stream of
comical happenings that result in
ridiculous outcomes. But it's not a
surface-deep production: Many of
the jokes and comedic interludes
serve as a forum to address seri-
ous topics.
Protagonist Mitchell is an
up-and-coming gay actor try-
ing to make a name for himself
in heteronormative Hollywood.
As Mitchell begins a relationship
with Alex, a young male escort,
the image Mitchell's agent, Diane,

the Sc
his ch:
a succe
show a
ings fo
his life
the dail
the she
lated to
of the r
place u
to be

nstructed for him as being order to find true happiness as a
exual begins to unravel. gay person (or) as a straight per-
Klopach, a sophomore in son, you have to accept who you
hool of Music, Theatre & really are."
who plays Mitchell, said Hollywood seemed to be a
aracter has to make the perfect backdrop for the discus-
:e decision between being sion of these issues, as many col-
ssful actor and leading a lege students spend a lot of time
glife. analyzing and watching the lat-
character of Mitchell est scandal unfold in the show
self-acceptance," Klopach business.
He has such a hard time "We as young people who
g against himself the entire watch TV, whether that be 'E!
nd denying his true feel- News' or the news, see people
r this guy he developed a who are part of (the entertain-
nship with." ment industry) doing absolutely
horrible things," DeCamp said.
"The play seeks to question a lot
sement Arts of what happens in the entertain-
ment industry, but constantly in
loose with the most outrageous humor."
As the characters struggle to
ether Goose. come to terms with their own
identities and personalities, it'sup
to them to decide what constitutes
personal fulfillment and whether
ugh Mitchell is an actor, it can coexist with success.
may seem far away from "This play is about the pursuit
ly lives of most people. Will of happiness," DeCamp said. "It's
p, a MT&D junior and subtly referred to throughout
ow's director, added that the entire show. The show ques-
Il's struggles are not iso- tions how you reach true happi-
those who live in the style ness, and (whether) you have to
ich and famous. make compromises to get there
lay's society is still in a - (whether) you have to fight,
vhere we put pressure on lie and cheat to get there. But
to conform, forcing them ultimately, we see that finding
something they're not," true happiness is the desired end
p said. "I think that in result for everyone."

EMU welcomes
'Sarah Marshall'
star Russell Brand
Daily Arts Writer
Witty, opinionated and
laced with British charm, Rus-
sell Brand is as fascinating and
a character in
real life' as he
is onscreen. Tonightat
Despite deliv- 8p.m.
ering an inter-
view minutes EMU Convocation
before partsk- Center
log in a photo Fmm$23
shoot, the
comedian remained remarkably
engaged in the conversation, fir-
ing responses that ranged from
insightful to did-he-really-just-
Known. for his roles in films
like "Forgetting Sarah Mar-
shall," "Get Him to the Greek"
and "Arthur," Brand also has a
long history as a stand-up come-
dian. On his "Keepinglt Simple"
tour, he plans to shock, enter-
tain and perhaps invite audi-
ence members to join in on his
act at EMU Convocation Center
tonight. In an equal combina-
tion of sharp-tongued banter
and fervent viewpoints, Brand
gave a preview of his routine in
Ypsilanti. He was actually quite
specific as to'what to expect.
"It's going to be absolute
unbridled insanity," he told The
Michigan Daily. "No universities
are going tobe the same. We're
going to transform everyone's
mentality, everybody's outlook.
... It's going to be absolute devil-
ment, ribaldry and chaos. I imag-
ine that after this gig, the student
pregnancies will go through the
roof. There's gonna be a lot of
erotica and a lot of mating."
Hold on.Did Russell Brand just
say people are going to be having
sex during his comedy act?
"Sure, there's gonna be con-
ceptions happening all over the
stage," Brand claimed.

Russell Brand encourages heckling.
His lighthearted response
was not completely unexpected
(maybe the orgy part was a little
surprising). But while Brand
was joking (hopefully), he also
stressed the importance of rec-
ognizing when a certain situa-
tion calls for seriousness. Toting
a long history of addictions and
arrests, Brand was comfortable
discussing his past and how he is
able to morph it into a humorous
"You think about your own
personal experience," he said.
"Drugs are aserioussubject... but
also very, very funny."
He added, "In certain situa-
tions people are ready for certain
kinds of information. The ability
as an artist, you have to recog-
nize the situation in context and
make sure that the narrative you
give people is the narrative that
they're ready to understand."
But rather than reiteratingthe
age-old idea of a fine line between
comedy and tragedy, Brand pro-
vided his own interpretation.
"There's a massive great big
tangent between comedy and
tragedy," he said.
His responses were emphatic
and charged with a sense of
authenticity not commonly seen
in modern celebrities. Brand
upholds this realness in his
own comedy routines. While he
admires comedians like Richard


Pryor and Bill Hicks, a key inspi-
ration for his jokes is his own
"The embarrassing things in
my life, the peculiar things that
people around me say... canmake
you laugh a lot more than things
on the TV," he said. "So that's
what you look out for. Situations
where I'm embarrassed, and I try
to overcome that embarrassment
through comedy."
Sometimes Brand actually gets
comically inspired mid-routine.
What does he think of people
who interrupthis act?
"That's someone auditioning
for a part in your show," Brand
said. "I encourage people to
heckle and be ready for the con-
A true comedian, Brand revels
in the opportunity to make light
of any situation. When asked
whether he prefers the volatility
of stand-up or scripted comedies
like "Forgetting Sarah Marshall,"
Brand seemed almost indignant
at the question.
"Stand-up! Scripted comedy ...
it's fuckingboring," he said.
While fans of his films would
probably disagree that there's
anything boring about them, it's
hard to argue with the opinion-
ated comedian. If you really want
to take it up with him, just pipe up
during his act in Ypsilanti - he'll
be happy to respond.

'Secret Circle' must be shared

i i


Heroes are nearing zero
Daily Arts Writer
® ; ' .em-

Daily Arts Writer
The CW's new witchy drama,
"The Secret Circle,"doesn't waste
any time before racking up its
body count. The
show kills off
the lead char-
acter's mother 'k Secret
in a cold open
reminiscent of Crcle
the first scene Midseason
of "The Vam-
pire Diaries" - Thursdays
chilling, quiet at 9 p.m.
and beautifully The CW
shot. It contin-
ues to take risks and while it's far
from perfect, the first nine epi-
sodes pack just enough character
development and exposition to
prove that this show is up to its
pointy black hat in potential.
"The Secret Circle" is set in the
fictional town of Chance Harbor,
which becomes Cassie Blake's
(Britt Robertson, "Life Unex-
pected") new home after her
mother is murdered. Having lost
her father many years ago, Cassie
moves in with her grandma (Ash-
ley Crow, "Heroes") and attempts
to start over at a new high school.
Five students, all of whom lost
parents around the same time,
approach Cassie and give her the
real news: She's a witch. They are
all witches and need her to com-
plete the circle with a binding
ceremony that will strengthen
their collective power.
Spoiler Alert: The writers take
a risk by killing off a member
of the circle just five episodes
into the first season. Nick (Louis
Hunter "Out of the Blue") wasn't
working as a character and won't
be missed, but for a brand new
show to step up with a bold move
like that is impressive and unex-
pected. Nick's death allows the
introduction of a more mysteri-
ous character: Jake (Chris Zylka,
"Kaboom"), Nick's older brother
who returns to Chance Harbor
after Nick's death. He is both a
witch and a witch hunter, a walk-


"Omigosh, this is going to be the funnest Thanksgiving party ever!!"

ing contradiction with some
serious identity problems. Jake
bounces between being a possible
hero and a threat to the circle. The
duality of Zylka's performance is
almost unsettling to watch, but
it's one of the show's strengths.
But "The Secret Circle" could
improve by developing Cassie.
She's often clueless and shows
little emotional range in com-
parison to Faye (Phoebe Tonkin,
"Home and Away"), a standout
player and one of the best new
female characters on television
this fall. She is the most unpre-
dictable and unstable member of
the circle, following cruel insults
with moments of sincerity.
Though Faye is all over the place,
Tonkin approaches the role with
a finesse and precision that make
it hard to believe she's so young
and inexperienced.
The love triangle that forms
between unofficial circle leader
Diana (Shelley Hennig, "Days of
Our Lives"), her longtime boy-
friend Adam (Thomas Dekker,
"Terminator: The Sarah Connor
Chronicles") and Cassie might
make the show look like a super-
natural teen soap at the surface
level, but in reality "The Secret
Circle" is dark in tone and story.
Someone is always out to get the
circle, and when the witches final-
ly attempt to have some normal
fun at a Halloween party, they're
kidnapped by witch hunters.

"The Secret Circle" has a
strong start, but there is vast
room for improvement. Upping
the horror will definitely help.
"Slither" is the best episode so
far - frightening and shocking, it
allows the cast to show its range.
The midseason finale established
that Cassie comes from an evil
lineage, which opens up plenty
of opportunities for dark drama
that will hopefully allow Robert-
son to prove she has more than
just one facial expression.
Something good
this way comes.
Before tackling a complicated
character arc, the writers need
to focus on making the show's
mythology and timeline air-
tight. It's odd that the genera-
tion above the the current circle
all had children around the same
time and at very young ages. Cir-
cle magic is confusing, and it's
unclear just how many other cir-
cles exist. Most of the questions
that arise stem from careless
writing and not mystery. These
gaps need to be fixed and the
less-developed characters need
to grow before this show can
make the transition from enjoy-
able to noteworthy.

Remember Gym Class Heroes?
They're the band that hit it big
on the hip hop-
rock fusion
scene around
2006 with
songs like
"New Friend H&e ,
Request" (that's ThePapercut
2006 for you, hronicles l
huh?). Fans of
the group have Decaydanse/
been in the dark Fueled by Ramen
since 2Q08,
when they released The Quilt.
Fast forward three years and
one solo-career (the group's rap-
per, Travie McCoy), and Gym
Class Heroes are back with their
fifth studio album, The Paper-
cut Chronicles IL The record is
a sequel to 2005's The Papercut
Chronicles, and by the looks of it
the band would have been better
off starting from scratch.
The cornerstone of this
album is the less-than-stellar
single "Stereo Hearts," featuring
Maroon 5's Adam Levine. It's no
more than a dime-a-dozen pop
song, and even worse because it
resounds with the vocalist's hor-
ribly nasal falsetto. Need more
proof? The song equates Leyine's
heart to a stereo and includes
these headache-inducing lyrics:
"I only pray you'll never leave me
behind / Because good music can
be so hard to find." Commence
eye rolling.'
"Life Goes On," a collabora-
tion with Denmark's red-hot
pop star Oh Land, is the record's
greatest triumph (but that's not
saying much). Her breezy, clear
tones appear oddly sentimen-
tal against the gritty rapping,
and it works. This song is the
most unique (and repeatedly
listenable) of the bunch, though
it's still distinctly "Gym Class
Heroes"esue.Our loss.
"MartyrialGirl$" involves
rapping over a metal-rock base


cuts are dangerous.

and is particularly disappointing. bearable songs of the bunch.
It accomplishes an extra-angry Despite the overly honeyed 0
harshness with a surplus of pro- quality of the album (on one
fanities and agitated, unison track, the vocalist says, "We put
chorus rapping. "The Fighter" the 'us' in 'trust,' baby"), Gym
sounds like another generic Top Class Heroes are actually legiti-
40 track - the guest vocalist mately skilled rappers. Beyond
(OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder) that, they've got some solid mel-
has a decent voice and Gym Class odies and generally choose their
Heroes break in every so often to collaborators wisely. Really, the
rap and speak-sing the different only problem - and it's a glar-
verses. It'll be easy to forget this ing one - is that all the music
one the second it's over. on The Papercut Chronicles II
- sounds like it could have been
released years ago by none other
Those who can't than themselves. There's noth-
do join this band. Even worse, Gym Class Heroes
don't appear to have any over-
arching artistic aims with this
album all. They certainly aren't
"Ass Back Home," featuring pushing their personal musical
British songstress Neon Hitch, envelope or furthering their pro-
is almost cute - which is sur- duction abilities.
prising considering the title. The Fans of the group will find
tune's tale goes as follows: The the recycled-sounding record
everygirl laments her missing pleasant enough to support them
man while the band raps out its through to the next. And for the
confusion with the relationship. rest of the population, if nothing
A typical narrative, but its plea- else, The Papercut Chronicles II
surable melody and comforting makes for barely suitable Top 40
beat make it one of the more commuting music.

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