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April 18, 2014 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, April 18, 2014 - 5

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Friday, April 18, 2014 - 5

Accolades for the arts

"Where are the croissants?" PT.MERANTU
Brutal, dazzlin
'Raid 2'transcends

Sequel to "The Raid: force to infiltrate one of the city's
two powerful crime families as
Redemption" owns an enforcer. He leaves his family
to serve in the line of duty and
action genre gets sucked into the Indonesian
mob world - a place where
ByMAYANKMATHUR even old, homeless people are
DailyArts Writer professional assassins and know
how to kick some serious ass.
Nothing packs a punch What's intriguing about
quite like Gareth Evans's the film is that, though it is
("Merantau") latest installment, centered on Rama's efforts to
"The Raid 2: successfully remain undercover
Berandal." and extractas muchinformation
Calling as possible, it finds enough time
this film an The Raid 2: to focus on other characters
action flick and their personal desires and
would be the Berandal ambitions.
understatement Quality 16 Excess in this film is
of the year - and Rave 20 reserved exclusively for the
it owns the action sequences, and let's face
genre like no PT. Merantu it, when it leads to this much
other in recent awesomeness, it's hard not
memory. Set in to enjoy. The sheer brutality
Indonesia, the movie follows a and uninhibited gusto that
rookie undercover cop as hebeats is thrown in with each bone-
seven colors of a rainbow out of shattering kick is weirdly
every thug he comes up against, enjoyable and keeps the
and combines utter badassery adrenaline flowing. Viewers are
with commendable direction and guaranteed to cringe and jump
execution, making it one hell of in their seats throughout the
a ride throughout its 150 minute movie, as it (literally) holds no
running time. punches. The action sequences
Iko Uwais ("Man of Tai Chi") are more than a mere show of
reprises his role from "The Raid: brute force - they are expertly
Redemption" as Rama, a rookie choreographed and executed,
cop who goes undercover to and the camerawork places the
gather intelligence on corruption audience right in the thick of the
amongst the city's high-ranking action, whether they're in a mud
police officers. Reeling from hole in prison or in the kitchen
the death of his brother, Rama of an upscale restaurant.
is convinced by the chief of What differentiates this
Jakarta's anti-corruption task movie from similar action

features is the emphasis on
things other than the breaking
of bones; such as plot, dialogue
and character development.
There is a distinct interchange
between these elements and
action set pieces - each is
given its due importance. Sure,
the characters might seem
superhuman and capable of
withstanding extraordinary
amounts of pain (you could
substitute Rama for Captain
America and the Avengers
wouldn't skip a beat), but that's
part and parcel of an out-and-
out action flick. What mitigates
that is the attention given to
the other aspects of story and
A special mention must be
reserved for the climax of
the movie. Deciding that he's
had enough of it all, Rama
marches into the jaws of death
- and absolutely shatters
them. Simultaneously battling
dozens upon dozens of armed
adversaries, he makes his way
past progressively tougher
opponents all the way to the
end, setting up an electrifying
last few minutes. The set
pieces toward the end are so
brilliantly done and unusually
long that they leave the viewer
speechless. It's an endless
barrage of kicks and punches
that culminates in an explosive
ending that perfectly sums it
all up perfectly - a prolonged
adrenaline rush that leaves you
gasping for breath.

Student art groups create a lot of buzz around it and
so an awards ceremony seemed
to be honored at like an awesome way to do that."
To gather interest, emails
ceremony were sent out to all of the student
arts organizations on campus
By REBECCA GODWIN to inform them that they could
Daily Arts Writer nominate their group for awards
in an array of categories that
At the University students cover all genres. Arts at Michigan
can be recognized for a host of chose the self-nomination
achievement. Most individual process in order to ensure that
departments each group put forth what they
have special The considered to be theirbest pieces.
awards for Accolades: "In order for a nominationtobe
students who . considered at its utmost strength
excel in a Achievement it's better to have someone in the
specific field: In the Arts organization putting their best
there are the Awards foot forward," Norton said.
Hopwood The student arts organizations
Awards for Friday at 8 p.m. had the opportunity to nominate
the writers Mendelssohn themselves for up to three of
on campus, Theatre a total 17 awards. Out of those
The Michigan Free 17 awards, 14 are designed
Difference to recognize a specific event
Student an organization held. The
Leadership Awards recognize last three- awards, the Arts
student organizations that have Outreach Award, the Cross-field
exceeded expectations in a variety Collaboration Award and The
of categories, etc. But until this Cultural Advancement Award,
year, there were no awards that were designed to recognize an
recognized all the diversity and organization's entire body of
talent of arts organizations on work.
campus. "There are 14 awards that are
ArtsatMichigan,inpartnership for events, but there are these
with Student Arts Organization three other groups that are for
Roundtable, decided to change the greater picture on campus
that by creating The Accolades: about what your organization is
Achievement in the Arts Awards, doing," Norton said. "So these
which was designed to celebrate three extra awards are not
these organizations and the work necessarily for one event that an
they do throughout the year. organization held but just the
"There are over 150 student work that the organization does
arts organizations on campus in general on campus."
and we wanted to create a way After the nomination process
to sort of unite students around closed on April 11, voting was
a comprehensive calendar of opened to the public for a week
performances through Arts at so that students could go online
Michigan," said recent SMTD and choose the winner for each
graduate Taylor Norton said. "To category. Each organization was
launch a calendar we wanted to allowed to attach media to their

nominations so voters could get
a sense of what each particular
event entailed if they weren't
familiar with it.
"It's nice that it's a popular
vote system, and not just a
board of people deciding who
gets these awards," Norton said.
"It's the organization's job to
market themselves and get their
own voting out, so it's a really
cool way for them to involve
their audiences and give their
audiences a way to interact with
them in a more directwaytoo."
Winners will be presented
with their awards at a ceremony
on April 18, which will
feature a number of different
performances from student arts
organizations, including the
G Men and MUSKET. While
Norton hoped to present the
winners with statuettes, the
winners will be given special
prize packages that will include
monetary gifts among other
items, allof which are intendedto
help the winning organizations
put on more events.
Arts at Michigan hopes to
make The Accolades a yearly
event to celebrate all of the
different arts opportunities on
campus, not onlyto recognize the
work of the organizations but to
also inform the student body of
what their fellow students are
"I had no idea that about
70 percent of the 150 arts
organizations on campus are
cultural dance groups and that's
just something I didn't know
as it was outside my experience
with art," Norton said. "So I
think it's a really cool way to
bring the community together
so we can create a more fulfilling
and collaborative experience on

Record Store Week in A2

Don't reduce death to a
television plot device

Daily Arts Writer
"You're born alone and you die
alone and this world just drops
a bunch of rules on top of you to
make you forget those facts. But I
never forget. I'm living like there's
no tomorrow, because there isn't
one." - Don Draper, "Mad Men."
Sunday night marked the
return of one of the greatest TV
shows of all time, "Mad Men." The
second to last season coincides
with the fourth season of another
"TV Golden Age" gem, "Game of
Thrones." In evaluating a show,
one of the first things I look for
is how it treats death. I do this
mainly because too many shows
often exploit death and ultimately
cheapen it as a result.
I bring up "Mad Men" and
"Game of Thrones" as exemplary
examples not only because they're
both returning for buzz-worthy
seasons but like "Breaking Bad,"
"The Sopranos," "The Wire"
and "True Detective," death is
not used as a cliche or a "gotcha"
moment. No offense to Carter
Bays and Craig Thomas from
"HowI Met Your Mother," but the
"shocking twist" of the mother's
death somehow negated over nine
seasons of buildup by making Ted
pretty much the worst widower of
all time. If he was telling the kids
about the mother to somehow
keep her memory alive, he did a
pretty horrific job.
"Game of Thrones" and
"Mad Men" discuss death the
way it's meant to be discussed:
not as a convenient plot device
but as a harsh, universal truth.
What makes them genius is how

differently they go about doing off with a lawnmower, his elderly
this. "Game of Thrones" is fantasy, secretary's in-office death and
and thus free from the restrictions the suicides of half-brother Adam
of the real world. The world and partner Lane Pryce. The
of Westeros depicts an amoral journey of the show is how much
society devoid of morals and ruled its characters try to avoid the
by unchecked power, creating an darkness of reality only to fail at
dangerous environment for every the most inopportune times.
one ofits inhabitants. Itis acaution We often turn to stories to
for the powerful never to overstep cope with the harsh truths of
their boundaries or risk creating reality, death being a big one. Yet,
a world where life and death is there are so many shows, movies,
decided on the flip of a coin. video games and books out there
that use death cheaply, as a way
to raise the stakes or to push the
1tcharacters into a direction desired
for reasons outside of coherent
shouldn't be storytelling. The mother died on
"How I Met Your Mother" so Ted
so cliche, could end up with Robin. Dexter
Morgan survived his series finale
so they could keep the property
alive for future installments.
Despite its public perception as Most procedurals ignore reality
more "meditative" than its sister in order to have a high-profile
program "Breaking Bad" and murder every week. "Family
current time-slot rival "Game of Guy," in fact, duped everyone by
Thrones," "Mad Men" talks about pretendingto kill off Brian Griffin
death even more than "Thrones" as a way to show just how much
might. In almost every scene we're abusing character death to build-
reminded of the great arc of the up stakes doesn't work ... only to
show's main character: death suffer the most severe backlash of
follows Don Draper. Think about anyone.
how much death has influenced It's natural to fear death,
the almost mythic journey Don regardless of race, gender or
Draper/Dick Whitman has taken. belief. It's a bittersweet, tragic
His mother died in childbirth. reminder of the limitations we face
His father was kicked by a horse with the short time we are given.
and killed in front of him. He More than that, it's a challenge for
accidentally sets off the events every one ofusto seek out the right
that killed the real Don Draper decisions, to live each day with no
in Korea. Even in the safety and regret and to-one day greet death,
luxury of 1960s high-life, death not in fear, but as a long-awaited
and violence appear as almost rest atthe end of an exhausting yet
supernatural forces in Don's life: meaningfuljourney.
Roger's heart attack, an employee Don't reduce death to a plot
accidentally cutting a man's foot device.

DailyArts Writer
A confession: I have never actu-
ally owned a record player. Trust
me, I've wanted to, but I've never
really been able to justify the cost
and the bulk. That probably seems
like a terrible way to lead an arti-
cle that's meant to inspire readers
to get downtown and buy physi-
cal music, but I needed to get it
out of the way. Truth is, though,
I still have a special, weird sort of
love for vinyl. I remember back
in elementary school, back when
"Indoor Recess" was a thing, I
had a teacher who brought in his
old collection of 45s - The Bea-
tles, The Rolling Stones, the hest
groups of the '60s, really - and let
us play them when we were stuck
inside on rainy days.
I was only around 11-years-
old then, but I remember need-
ing to put the needle down just
right, needing to treat the music
with respect in order to get it to
play. I remember, later on in high
school, my friend getting a hand-
me-down stereo system from his
grandpa. We listened to The Who's
Quadrophoenia in its entirety, tak-
ing in every detail of the music. A
system like that was too imposing
to ever allow you to be distracted
by the outside world.
I always buy CDs when I feel
like an album is special or worthy
enough to be able to hold in my
hand. I still call the music I listen
to "albums" or "records" - those
black vinyl disks encased in impos-
ing, statement-making artwork-
even though now they're mostly
just folders of MP3s on my com-
puter. I'm notgoingto pretendthat
there aren't enormous advantages
to being a music fan in the digi-
tal era, but the brick-and-mortar
record store is still a monument
to the days when all our music
couldn't be stashed in our pock-
ets. Thebest ones have an obvious,
endearingpersonalitytothem, like
you're walking around inside the
owner's iPod.
I never had a record store in
my hometown so I had to make
do with Dearborn Music, about
a half hour away. My trips there
when I was in high school were
ritualistic. I always brought a list
of all the albums I might possibly
want to look for; I always had to
walk up and down the aisles mul-
tiple times, double-checking all of
my favorite genres for something I

might have missed. I'd be shocked
if less than three-quarters of my
grass-cutting money went direct-
ly into their cash registers, but I
didn't care - the experience itself
was priceless.
We're so lucky in Ann Arbor.
During a time when so many
of these stores are closing their
doors, we stillhave fourbusinesses
devoted to selling physical music.
This Saturday is Record Store
Day, an event exclusive to inde-
pendent retailers, full of limited-
edition releases from some of the
best artists in the world (Nirvana,
Sam Cooke, Eric Church and The
Velvet Underground, just to name
a small few). Even if you've only
ever gotten music from iTunes or
The Pirate Bay, I encourage you to
check these landmarks out. Here
they are:
Underground Sounds -
255 E.LibertySt.
A little on the small side, and
mostly devoted to actual records
(the CDs only get a couple of
shelves), Underground Sounds
always seems to have the cutting-
edge new stuff. If you've been
wildly anticipating an album
and want to get it as soon as it's
released, definitely come here.
Its lack of depth means that you
can't spend hours browsing like
you can with some other stores,
but the taste is impeccable. I don't
think you can go wrong with any-
thing you buy there.
Encore Records -
417 E. Liberty St.
The weird thing about used
record stores is that in order for
them to be able to sell an album,
somebody else has to not want
it anymore. Encore Records is
the easiest store in Ann Arbor
to get lost in. Its shelves reach
all the way to the ceiling, each
one filled to saturation with
CDs of all kinds - just never the
one you're looking for. While
not the place for those with
a specific purchase in mind,
it's definitely the best place to
go to stumble across some old
album by a band you'd almost
forgotten. It's where you make
impulse buys and end up with
a new favorite, where you scour
the selection looking for hidden
treasure. The most adventurous of
purchasers come here.

Wazoo Records-336 State St
The store most likely to be play-
ing crazy-abrasive avant-garde
noise over the speakers and also
the store with the coolest records
ontheblock, Wazoo is the hipster's
record store (and I mean that with
love and sincerity). A small set-up
located up a flight of stairs next
to Ashley's, Wazoo is a Pitchfork-
reader's paradise, stocking only
those artists the tastemakers
approve of. Don't ask for the new
Katy Perry CD, but absolutely give
this place a visit if you want to be
up on the Next Big Thing and get
albums from music's most innova-
tive and influentialgroups.
PJ's - 617 Packard St.
Though it's apparently been
around for over 30 years, I had
honestlynever heard ofPJ'sbefore
this undertaking. That's prob-
ably because while the other three
stores are in mostly the same con-
centrated area, you're more likely
to pass PJ's on a walk to The Big
House than you are just strolling
around town. A somewhat dark
room located up some wooden
stairs that features a strong, deep
collection of music, PJ's is sort of
what I imagine "Old Ann Arbor"
was like. It's got more character
than the other three stores com-
bined. You can smell the weed as
soon as the very friendly owner
- an older hippie who clearly
participated in the golden age
of rock 'n' roll - starts chatting
with you. Anyone who wants to
talk about music for hours would
have no problem heading to PJ's
and just browsing while talking
with the owner. It is the anti-Best
Buy, the anti-Barnes and Noble.
In fact, it's basically just a dude
smoking weed and waxing about
music. Maybe that's a turn-off for
some people, but I think it's these
kinds of stores we need most.
Maybe everyone who would
read an article about record
stores already frequents these
places on the regular, and this list
won't be much help. But really,
if you're reading this, pop in on
these places the next time you're
around. You won't get algorith-
mic recommendations based on
your preferences like Pandora or
iTunes, but maybe that'll cause
you to take a chance. Your new
favorite band could be just a shelf



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