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October 28, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-10-28

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, October 28, 2013 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Monday, October 28, 2013 - 7A

Zombies are the new black.
'Walking Dead'
comes back to life

New showrunner
resurrects popular
zombie tale
Daily Arts Writer
At its core, "The Walking Dead"
is about a whole lot more than just
killing zombies. It's a show about
how we keep
our humanity in A-
a world gone to
hell and whether The Walking
or not we can go Dead
back to the way
things were. The Season four,
show's problems episodes one
have always and two
been the direc-
tion the two Sundaysat
previous show- 9 P.M.
runners were AMC
taking it in.
Darabont (director of "The Shaw-
shank Redemption" and first head
writer for "The Walking Dead")
definitely brought the tragedy of it
all with a cinematic scope seldom
seen in television, yet the first sea-
sonlacked a real overarchingstory-
line to bridge the gap from episode
to episode. Darabont's successor in
the second season, Glen Mazarra,
tried to fix that with more story
arcs and action, but despite stellar
ratings, the characters never felt
like they were striving toward any-
thingbeyond simply"not dying."
With third-time's-the-charm
showrunner Scott Gimple, how-
ever, "Walking Dead" fans can rest,

assured. The show's focus is finally
whereitneedstobe: givingus hope
in aworld where so little ofit exists.
Right off the bat, the first epi-
sode of season four, "30 Days
Without an Accident," goes down
the checklist of previous wrongs in
pretty much the easiest way pos-
sible: making Michonne (Danai
Gurira, "Treme"), the mysterious
sword-wielding survivor, smile.
And more than just smile, mind
you. She laughs, she jokes and she
cries (more on that in a second).
One of the biggest problems the
past three seasons have faced is
its female characters. The most
notable examples being Andrea
(Laurie Holden, "The Shield")
and Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies,
"Black November") with the for-
mer repeatedly failing atbeingjust
as tough as one of the boys (only to
fail... alot) and the latter being the
third-worst parent on television
behind Donald Draper and Walter
Though I'm sure a lot of peo-
ple might be relieved those two
are gone, I honestly kind of wish
Scott Gimple took a shot at flesh-
ing them out first. From these first
episodes, Gimple shows an innate
understanding of these characters
and how living in this world has
changed them, for good or bad.
Carol (Melissa McBride, "Liv-
ing Proof") started off as a mousy
housewife in an abusive relation-
ship. Four seasons later, she's a
badass, teachingthe younger mem-
bers knife fighting and the more
unpleasant aspects of the zombie

But undoubtedly the biggest
change has been just how much
deeper we seem to be getting into
Michonne. Her constant paranoia
and scowling last season became
tiresome and one-note, and fans of
the comic series were worried their
beloved post-apocalyptic samu-
rai would never be fully realized.
Fortunately, Gurira finally shows
us what the producers saw in the
actress when casting her last sea-
son. She is establishing a familial
link with the prison the rest of the
group already shares. Her vulner-
ability reveals itself in full force
in the second episode, "Infected,"
where Michonne tearfully breaks
while holding baby Judith. It was
heart-rending while still keeping
Michonne's pastcfirmlyin the camp
of mysterious, adding even more
layers to her enigmatic past.
"Walking Dead" creator Robert
Kirkman has always said the title of
the show is a reference both to the
zombie-like walkers and the survi-
vors themselves who are dead - in
the sense that without society and
thethingsweconstitute as"making
us alive" we are, ina sense, "dead."
It's a bleak idea, and the show
reflected that continuously these
past three seasons, but what it
has ignored' is the presence of
hope. Season four reminds us of
the little things that keep these
people going: the hope that
maybe, despite all the suffer-
ing and death, there still might
be light at the end of the tunnel.
That's what "The Walking Dead"
is about: not avoiding death, but
fighting for life.

I don't always drink. lot whet I do, it's self-obsession."
DJ Khaled is'Suffering'
from mediocrity

Hollywood glamorizes Beats
For the Daily
Allen Ginsberg was an amateur
photographer. Throughout his
years with fellow Beat poets and
artists, he took hundreds of pic-
tures of familiar faces - Kerouac,
Burroughs, Cassidy - to document
the lives they led. Few of the pic-
tures were candid shots, and Ithink
this was because Ginsbergknew, at
least remotely, that their lives were SONY PICTURES CLASSICS
made for the camera. There was Drop the Beatnicks.

Daily Arts Writer
I cannot be the only one to
wonder who DJ Khaled is or
what he does. Here's an artist
who has released seven albums,
has become a recognized name
in music, but doesn't perform in
any songs except for the inter-
spersed yet emphatic yelling
of his name. With the recent
release of his album, Suffering
from Success, I journeyed into
Khaled's seventh release, deter-
mined to discover this role and
how he is "suffering from suc-
Immediately, the tone of
the album is established with
an excerpt from Obama's sec-
ond election victory address
with "All I Do Is Win" play-
ing in the background. From
this lone excerpt, we discover
the album's purpose - that DJ
Khaled and ls featured com-
pany are the best there are. And
Khaled does nothing to make
this subtle, directly saying on
a later track that they are "the
best music."
Such a tone, though,
should've been expected. A sim-
ple glance at the list of features
just yells megalomania. Rick
Ross appears multiple times
on different tracks mainly as
a caricature that grunts while
Meek Mill screams as if he
were still stuck on a helicopter.
Big Sean shows up a few times
and says "I do it" and "Oh
God." Even Drake sacrifices
his well known soft side to fit
the theme of the album. And,
of course, everyone raps about
how great they are, money, or
both. One track is even disre-
spectfully titled "I Feel Like
Pac / I Feel Like Biggie" to
describe the level of greatness
these rappers believe they have
With such little depth in sub-
ject, the best way to describe
the first half of the album is
a blur. There were moments
where I had to check if I was
listening to one continuous
song with many interludes. It
is actually amazing how much
substance these artists can
derive from material goods,
women, personal status and
net worth. In between, Khaled
continues his declaration of
phrases that sometimes come
out of nowhere. And noisy,
booming beats overpower the
ear drums. Even the words,
though screeching in delivery,
are hard to discern when the
bass starts to crescendo - not
that it matters. Once we've
understood the lyrics to one
song, we've understood the
lyrics to
all. First seen on
Finally, -the filter

begin to deviate from this for- style, though, DJ Khaled inter-
mula. It is as if Khaled knew rupts and reminds us how great
how overwhelmed the listeners he is on his final tracks.
would be after several tracks. A So what exactly has this album
slew of slower paced songs are taught me about Khaled? If Suf-
bunched together, starting with feringfrom Success is an adequate
"I Wanna Be With You." While indication of his past work, then
beats are still relatively heavy Khaled has driven the point that
and raps unwaveringly confi- he believes he is the best in the
dent, they are much more toned world. But I shouldn't be sur-
down. In fact, the moments of prised. After all, this is the man
rare sentiment in these 'songs who produced "All I Do Is Win."
are really what captures listen- How Khaled thrives in the music
ers by surprise. industry, though, is still difficult
to articulate.
Maybe the best way to begin
Is he sick of his to describe DJ Khaled is that his
albums are shows while he is the
own name yet? host. In this show, the songs are
the acts, the overpowering beats
are the set Khaled provides, and
the featured company are actors.
In "I Wanna Be With You," Periodically, the host will remind
Nicki Minaj sings about how us that he exists by yelling cer-
she wants this special someone tain things to fit the theme of the
"to be the type to make her pri- show. The theme of this particu-
oritize" and professes that she lar show, however, is not commu-
does "wanna be with" him. On nicated clearly. Yes, DJ Khaled is
the radio hit, "No New Friends," successful for achieving recogni-
Drake's R&B singing on the hook tion while barely contributing,
is sentimental just for its out-of- but he doesn't show how exactly
place nature on the album. The he's suffering. Perhaps the suf-
same could be said of Movado's fering part is derived from how
accented yet soft singing on "Give much his listeners have to suffer
It All To Me." It is as if these in order to listen to the album as
tracks, along with a couple others a whole.
that follow it, could be a different - A version of this article
album. Just as when we become originally appeared on the Daily
accustomed to this played-down Arts blog, The Filter, on Oct. 24.

be stage
films fo
tion, H
ever, w
the Bea
aware o
ugly sel
and Jef
in 2010,
Your D
* Leaping
halls cr
of murd
real life
is the d
lines la:

ling about them that had to tion's best minds, driven mad and
ed. raving.
ing by the recent rash of But the Beat visual portrayed on
cused on the Beat Genera- the big screen has been caricatur-
ollywood knows this. How- ized. They're shown purely as one
hat it doesn't realize is that extremity- either carefree, YOLO-
ats are nothing to be glam- esque youth or clouds of brooding,.
They were simultaneously angst. The films never go deeper,
'fboth their appeal and their or stray away from the easy path of
f-destruction. romanticizing the Beats, of milking
wl," directedby Rob Epstein 1950s nostalgia, intrigue and mon-
frey Friedman, was released tages of reckless drug use and wide,
followed by"OnThe Road" fruited plains. Their lifestyle was
Salles) in 2012 and "Kill decadent, but Hollywood presents
darlings" (John Krokidas), the indulgence almost invitingly.
just came out this month. It reminds me of the general audi-
"Big Sur," directed by ence's reaction to Baz Luhrmann's
I Polish, will open in the- "The Great Gatsby" and how
Nov. 1. many people misinterpreted it as
an advertisement for better times,
back in the 1920s when every night
on't glorify was chic and ecstatic.
Because of the way it's shown in
-destruction. film, the Beats may appeal to Ins-
tagramming teens or hipsters in
the wrong way: all vintage Cadil-
lacs and cigarette escapism, black
ywood knows that the Beat turtlenecks and giant glasses, slick
tion is inherently cinematic. cool and soft anarchy. Even their
O on library tables to recite self-destruction through alcohol-
kneeling before academic ism could be seen as atrait of tragic
ying for lobotomies, cross- heroes. On the contrary, the Beat
'roadtrips,tantalizinghints Generation is nothingto worship.
ler - and all of this is only The decade of the Beat boom,
. In Beat literature, there the 1950s, also cued the rise of sub-
elicious imagery of famous urbia and the nuclear family. It was
menting about the genera- a time of oppression, in a way. Any-

thing that seemed "Communist"
was feared. Sexuality wasshunned.
There were very defined lines for
gender boundaries and placement.
The BeatGeneration arose from the
lost and confused feelings this con-
stricted time created. They wanted
to rebel against this new middle-
class United States and find some-
thing new to believe in, and so their
movement from city to city wasn't
born out of carefreeness, but rather
anexistential search.
Ginsberg once captioned one of
his later photos of Kerouac with the
following: "He looked by then like
his late father, red-faced corpulent
W.C. Fields shuddering with mor-
tal horror."
- The hlat Hollywood character-
ization allows viewers to live vicari-
ously through Ginsberg, Kerouac
and the gang, but it almost mythi-
cizes them. Hollywood digs right
into the drama - catering to what
people want to see - and ignores
maybe ahard balance to keep. Even
when depicting that soul-search-
ing, it's easy to fall to sentiment.
The Beat Generation's search for
belief ends up being something we
believe in. We're all drawn to the
image of explorers after all: mod-
ern pilgrims, earnestly due west
like Lewis and Clark in Mustangs,
toward the unknown destination.

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