6 - Tuesday, October 30, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
6 - Tuesday, October 30, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
fiction at UMMA
side at Zell reading
By KAYLA UPADHYAYA
Senior Arts Editor
It took three people to adapt
and direct the new sci-fi film
"Cloud Atlas," but the novel on
which the genre-bending epic is
based all sprouted from a singu-
lar mind: British novelist David
"Cloud Atlas," which was
shortlisted for the Booker Prize
in 2004, intertwines six different
stories. Most of those who gath-
ered at the University of Michi-
gan Museum of Art for a reading,
with Mitchell - the latest writer
in the Zell Visiting Writers Series
- had the bestsellertucked under
their arms as they waited in line
to have them signed before the
"I like that he plays around
with a lot of different genres,"
said LSA senior Sean Flores,
clutching his own copy of "Cloud
Atlas." "He's able to have six dif-
ferent types of stories in there
that are all really different in
terms of not just the content, but
also the way it's written."
Even those new to Mitchell's
work took an interest in his visit.
LSA sophomore Angeline
Dimambro hasn't read any of
Mitchell's novels, but when her
professor, Laura Thomas, told
her about the event, she went out
and bought a copyof "Black Swan
Green," a semi-autobiographical
book Mitchell published in 2006.
LSA seniors Kathryn Bea-
ton and Megan Vance were also
encouraged by their professors
to attend the event. Beaton noted
that Mitchell is coming to her
English class, "Twentieth Cen-
tury American - Literature," on
Tuesday in addition to giving a
lecture Thursday evening.
Perhapsatothe dismay of.those
who turned. out for the event,
Mitchell did notread from "Cloud
Atlas." Nor did he read from his
most recent book, the historical
novel "The Thousand Autumns
of Jacob de Zoet."
"I'm actually sick of reading
from my last book; I'm sick of
reading from all of my books,"
Mitchell said to the crowd, opt-
ing to instead read three recent
The first short story Mitch-
ell read was written for Kai and
Sunny, the artists who did the
illustrations for the UK covers
of "Cloud Atlas," and his earlier
novel, "number9dream." The
designer duo asked Mitchell
to write the story, called "The
Gardener," for their 2011 floral-
themed exhibition "The Flower
Mitchell wrote the second
story for a special collection
of short stories commissioned
by Fighting Words, a literacy
and creative writing campaign
launched by Mitchell's friend,
Irish writer Roddy Doyle. Mitch-
ell advocates for Doyle's literacy
cause in Dublin.
Only 150 copies of the collec-
tion - which also features stories
from Colm Tdibin, Anne Enright
and John Banville - were printed
for the fundraising effort.
Mitchell ended with "The
Massive Rat," a tale of a mar-
ried couple whose relationship
problems are heightened by the
presence of what they believe is a
very large rat stuck behind their
Before beginning the story,
Mitchell realized that all of the
pieces he had selected to read
were somewhat sad and noted
that he'd have to tell some jokes
afterward, but the mood in the
UMMA Apse was hardly somber.
The layered humor of Mitchell's
work isn't lost when he speaks in
front of a crowd.
In response to his placement
as one of Time's 100 Most Influ-
ential People in 2007, Mitchell
said-his wife doesn't think he's
even the most influential person
in their house. He's fifth - after
her, the two kids and the washing
LSA junior MaryKossarek was
impressed by how charismatic
and laid back Mitchell was.
"I just think he's a really elo-
quent author, but also really
relatable," Kossarek said. "A lot of
times, authors come off as really
aloof, and he's really personable
After the reading, Mitchell
hurriedly opened the floor for
questions, promising to keep his
answers to "Twitter length." In
many more than 140 characters,
Mitchell explained he doesn't
think about movie potential
when writing a novel, and he
advises that others do the same.
"Just write the book," he said.
"The biggest question you should
ever be asking is 'how can I make
the damn novel work?"'
He explained the technique
with one of his favorite fancy
literary terms: metalepsis,
the recurrence of characters
throughout a body of work.
"I think of all of my novels as
little individual chapters of my
uber novel," he explained.
Mitchell will be leading a fic-
tion workshop in Angell Hall
Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. and he.
will host a smaller, more exten-
sive Q&A in the Hopwood Room
Thursday at 2:00 p.m. Later
on Thursday, he will return to
UMMA for another book signing
as well as a lecture in the Helmut
Stern Auditorium, where he will
discuss what fiction is made of.
He gave a little sneak peak of
the lecture, explaining that in
addition to the usual story com-
ponents such as plot, character
and style, fiction is made up of
"little bits," which, according to
Mitchell, is a technical term.
But don't stroke his ego. Mitch-
ell doesn't think he's as clever as
everyone makes him out to be.
"I'm going to have trouble
flying back, because my head
is going to exceed my baggage
allowance," he said.
"And then I said 'Orange you glad I didn't say banana
The'B-- isbackin 23
and getting stronger
By KAYLA UPADHYAYA
In only seven episodes last
spring, "Don't Trust the B----
in Apartment 23" proved its wit
ing a spot
in the regu-
lar TV sea- Don't Trust
son lineup. the B---- in
It took TV
Dreama Season Two
June is your Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m.
ly wound ABC
Krysten Ritter's Chloe is the
kooky comedic relief and James
Van Der Beek plays himself as
the vain douchebag found on
just about any sitcom these days
- and infused them with a car-
toonish hyperbole and wacki-
ness that's simply irresistible.
The show's oddball voice is like
nothing else on television.
And now, it returns with a
funeral. ."Dawson's Creek" 's
funeral, to be exact. Realizing
he holds on too tightly to his
past, JVDB piles memories of
his Dawson.days into.a rowboat.
and lights it on fire. The funeral
is most likely a wink from the
writers signaling less reliance
on "Creek"-fueled jokes for easy
laughs. There are only so many
times Paula Cole's "I Don't Want
to Wait" can be used as a punch-
line - just kidding, that musical
masterpiece is comedy gold, not
to mention timeless.
We don't wanna
wait for the
So of course, the episode goes
out with a bang. Literally, with
the characters walking away
from their past "as it explodes
behind them like a John Woo
movie." But also with some of its
best meta jokes to date, welcom-
ing guest stars Busy Philipps
and Frankie Muniz - hopefully
the first of many self-parodying
guests this season - into its
The specificity of much of
"Apartment 23" 's humor makes
it wonderfully bizarre, but can
also be isolating. For those of
uswho.are like the teen,drama-_
loving June, hearing JVDB muse
on how Joshua Jackson is in love
with him and listening to a pep
talk from Mark-Paul Gosselaar
(new goal: buy a shih-tzu and
name it Dog-Paul Gosselaar)
can be a near-religious experi-
ence. The rapid-fire references
can get even more obscure than
those of super-geeky "Com-
munity," demanding expansive
knowledge held by only creme
de la creme Pop Culturatti.
Those unfamiliar with the more
obscure references are left feel-
ing like that lame kid who's on
the outside of all the inside jokes.
'But fortunately, "Apartment
23" also excels in more perva-
sive comedy - particularly of
the visual nature - with the
acid-tongued Chloe usually at
the forefront of such antics. It'd
be impossible not to melt into a
fit of hysterics when Chloe ever
so casuallytakes people out with
Chloe is sadly underused in
the pilot, but still lands the best
lines ("You're at a fame interven-
tion sitting next to a hot-ass ho
packing a tranq gun"). And her
scarcity in the A-plot is a telltale
sign of growth for the series,
which can easily slip into the
confines of a one-woman show.
Much of the first season relied
on Ritter's deft handling of her
character's side-splitting insani-
ty. But June and JVDB are at the
forefront of "A Reunion ... ", and
neither needs to lean too heavily
on Chloe to elicit laugh attacks
(though, "rack attacks" on the
other hand ...).
It's still a newborn by TV
standards, but "Apartment 23"
is growing' up fast, and has
already crafted some of its own
inside jokes: The premiere calls
back to the tastemaker trifecta,
a gay Asian hipster ("Arigato,
But more importantly, "A
Reunion ... " begins to demolish
some of the pigeonholes its char-
acters found themselves slip-
ping into in the show's first few
episodes, with June and JVDB
essentially vying to become
more developed characters.
Walker and Van Der Beek are
still overshadowed by Ritter's
scene-stealing splendor (or per-
haps by Chloe's "big-ass hat!"),
but "Apartment 23" has time
to secure its footing, and in the
meantime, it's still making us
laugh-cry with its absurdity.
rsu c~r I
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword PL
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
ACROSS 4 Arizona neighbor 41 Emmy winner 59 Slinky's
1 Mythological fire- 5 Draw forth Daly 61 Cut an:
breather 6 Cath..or Prot. 43 "Shane"starAlan e.g.
8 Man-horse 7 Juice drink suffix 46 Octanotfiller 62 Story
creature 8 Name as a 49 The "X" in XFL, 63 River o
15 Tangled or source so some thought 65 Car sta
disentangled 9 Keenan's actor 51 Homemade pistol Abbr.
16 Employee's father 52 Imbeciles 66 Youngf
security pass 10 Bulls org. 55 Awestruck 67 Milne's
17 Like Napoleon 11 Smidgen 56 'The Alienist" minded
n Elba 12 Puts in ath ale min
18 Nonsense 13 Like Cinderella's authorCuleb 68 It begin
19 Elementary stepsisters 57 Nobelist W sel enero
20 Teacher's 14 Bassoon, e.g. ANSWER TO PREVIOUS P
answer book 20 Small racer
21 Guitarist Barrett
22 About, in dates
25 AEC successor
28 Labyrinth dweller
31 Elusive loch
35 Powerful health
care lobbying gp.
36 Internet letters
38 Singer Ronstadt
39 Massage style
45 Law office hire
47 Not in the clergy
48 Riddler foiled by
53 Match part
55 Leader of the
58 Nipper's org.
67 Temples with up-
69 Paper-folding art
70 No help
71 Beowulf's victim
72 What each of
in this puzzle is
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From Page 5
tossing fun, it's an expectation
- no, a duty. "Rocky Horror"
doesn't just ask thatyou let your
freak flag fly; it seduces you like
Frank-N-Furter in a pink satin
robe and a Sarandon-esque wig.
Twenty minutes later, that flag
is the bustier binding your good-
ies. How? Why? Because it's fun;
Take a cue from Dr. Frank-
N-Furter this Halloween and
"give yourself over to absolute
pleasure. Swim the warm waters
of sins of the flesh, erotic night-
mares beyond any measure and
sensual daydreams to treasure
forever. Can't you just see it?
Don't dream it - be it."
Don't worry, no one knows
exactly what "it" is, but it - even
those fishnet stockings - feels
Johnson is giving herself over
to absolute pleasure. To join,
By Sheila Welton