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February 05, 2014 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-02-05

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Women lead in
upcoming 'LUNA'

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 7A

Film festival
to strictly feature
female works
DailyArts Writer
Only 18 percent of the writers,
editors, cinematographers, pro-
ducers and directors who worked
on the top
250 grossing LUNAFEST
films in the
U.S. in 2012 Thursday
were women. at 7 p.m.
a fundrais- LydiaMendels
ing film festi- sohn Theatre
val aiming to $10, $12, $15
combat gen-
der inequality
in the film industry, is coming
to campus on Thursday, hoping
to start a conversation about not
only the film industries' glass
ceiling, but all women's issues
and equality concerns.
The proceeds of the film festi-
val will go to the Breast Cancer
Fund and Take Back the Night
Ann Arbor, a local chapter of a
national foundation that hosts
events and marches in order to
stand against sexual violence and
Third-year Law School stu-
dent Carlyn Williams, co-leader
of Take Back the Night/Uni-
versity Students Against Rape,
joined TBTN after her friend and
co-leader, third-year Law School
student Samantha Honea, intro-
duced her.

"One of the most empowered
things for me, too, was realiz-
ing how many people are sur-
vivors that I knew on a daily
basis and had no idea, but who
were involved with Take Back
the Night," Williams said. "Just
the experience of learning from
other people."
Honea added: "The most
rewarding moment is feeling
that all these people in this room
care about something we all care
Consisting of nine short films
created by women, for women,
about women, LUNAFEST trav-
els around the country to 150
cities, showing the films and
sparking conversation within the
"I feel that 'LUNAFEST'
brings together the trifecta of
aspects that are not usually cov-
ered in today's culture," Wil-
liams said. "There are way more
men directors than there are
women directors, and not many
films really highlight women's
issues, without being nationally
Not limited to a female audi-
ence, LUNAFEST picks award-
winning films that are animated,
fictional, as well as personal, in
order to connect with the audi-
ence's diverse tastes and expec-
tations. Honea described the
challenges in starting the diffi-
cult discussions that usually fol-
low the highlighting of women's
rights issues.
"I think specifically with sex-
ual assault and other women's
issues, just being able to sit down

and have an honest conversation
about it, I think is a huge problem
that we have," Honea said.
The festival, started in 2000 by
LUNA, the makers of a women's
nutritional bar, is a novel way to
raise awareness and money, while
helping organizations such as
TBTN to excite their community.
"For the night, our focus is just
to bring a wide variety of peo-
ple together," Williams said. "It
doesn't have to be feminist groups
or people fighting for women's
issues, anyone would enjoy these
films and see a perspective that
they wouldn't see in their daily
A continual problem, accord-
ing to Honea, isn't just the public's
lack of awareness about gender
inequality, but the lack of inter-
est in learning and understanding
women's issues at the root.
"Beyond the conversation
about sexual assault and the pub-
lic perception of equality, you
can even see the disrespect when
we say it's 'by women for women
about women,' and some people's
eyes glaze over, and you want
to fight back and say 'no, these
are great films, and you want to
attend, and it doesn't have to be
such ataboothing."'
By sharing empowering stories
through film, LUNAFEST, along
with TBTN, aims to counteract
people's projected misunder-
standings about women's issues,
and shed light on what can be
done within each community to
combat the inequality and to take
back the voice of those who have
had their rights violated.

Can you guess which one has the receding hairline?
Lamenting Daft Punk's
Grammy Award win

DailyArts Writer
Last Sunday, Daft Punk's Ran-
dom Access Memories won the
Grammy award for Album of the
Year. Their feature song "Get
Lucky" might be a catchy tune
and be deserving enough of a
Grammy for Best Record, but it
doesn't have the power to hoist
Random Access Memories to
Albumn of the Year. The rest of the
album is a disappointment con-
sidering the craze around "Get
Electronic music is differ-
ent from other genres of music
because, at least in my experi-
ence, it's highly situational. it
might be good to dance to or
mellow enough to play quietly
in the background while kick-
ing it with some friends, but it's
also repetitive and tends to lack
excitement. Kendrick Lamar's
good kid, m.A.A.d city was far
more worthy of the Grammy.
Random Access Memories is a
snooze of an album unless maybe
you're drugged out of your mind
at a discotech. I understand that
Daft Punk sometimes sets trends
in music - like the recent revival
of disco - but the songs them-
selves seem to drone on for eter-
nity with very little progression.
Turning on the first track "Give
Life Back to Music," I could've
sworn the song was "Get Lucky."
This trend persists throughout
the album, as a majority of the
tracks feature guitar strums
and msute notes over occasional
electronic beats that sound sus-
piciously similar to the poignant
composition of that record.
Vocals on the record are
somewhat uncommon, but when
they're present they often have
ain exaggerated, metallic, auto-
tuned sound to them. This sound
gets old quickly, sucking any

romantic elements out of "Game
of Love." Even worse, the higher-
pitched vocals are the most pain-
ful part of songs like "Within"
and remind me of American Idol
auditions - the singer is terribly
off pitch, and as soon as they try
to hit the high notes the judges
immediately yell at them to stop.
Conversely, Jay Rock in "Money
Trees" by Kendrick hits all the
notes just fine.
In fact, most of the featured
artists on Daft Punk's album
don't sound all that great. Tom
Edwards's vocals fill "Fragments
of Time" nicely, but Paul Wil-
liams and some sporadic piano
accompaniment give "Touch" a
Broadway feel that doesn't mix
well with the electronic com-
ponents. On the other hand,
Kendrick features artists that
not only flow well with him,
but also make their given tracks
even better: Drake does his usual
smooth-talking in "Poetic Jus-
tice," and Dr. Dre adds a hype
and vibrancy to "Compton" that
might have been lacking other-
As far as semantics go, Ran-
dom Access Memories itself
holds little sentimental value to
hold on to. During Daft Punk's
Grammy acceptance speech,
the gentleman talking for the
robots said that they supported
gay rights and that this year
had been a major victory for the
cause. It's good that they sup-
port the movement, but instead
of just saying it they could infuse
such values into their music,
thereby adding more power and
meaning to their songs. Kend-
rick gives his album plenty of
sentimental value through the
sound bites, and also by discuss-
ing difficult issues like the death
of his sister and struggles of
women growing up and living in
the hood in "Sing About Me."

If you want to talk about
sheer popularity, Random Access
Memories has only one song on
the Billboard Hot 100, and - you
guessed it - it's "Get Lucky" at
number two. Kendrick Lamar's
good kid, m.A.A.d city has three
songs, at numbers 17, 26 and 100.
Although, popularity is certainly
not always a great indication of
quality, seeing as "The Art of
Peer Pressure" might be one of
the deepest and most thoughtful
tracks ongoodkid, m.A.A.dcity.
Lastly, the whole "let'sdressup
as astronauts/robots" gig is cool
and different, but is completely
irrelevant to the music itself. If
there were a "Best Costumes"
category at the Grammy's, they'd
surely take the cake. A lot of the
hype about Daft Punk seems to
derive from sheer intrigue, but
Random Access Memories itself
isn't memorable. If Album of the
Year were to be chosen based
on popularity and uniqueness,
Macklemore probably should've
won with two number one tracks
on the Billboard rankings and a
fantastic album
deserved more
silly haircut - but I digress.
To conclude, Kendrick Lamar
crafted a fantastic and diverse
album this year and walked out
of the Grammys with nothing
to show except a stellar perfor-
mance, while Daft Punk made
one catchy song, and the whole
album was found to be Grammy
worthy. Simply put, they got

Why so serious?
Broken Bells slog through 'Disco'

Daily Arts Writer
Over the last decade, James
Mercer and Brian Burton (aka
Danger Mouse) have been two of
the most influ-
ential men in
rock. Mercer,
the front man After the
of The Shins,
took the indie Disco
world by storm Broken Bells
and crossed
over into main- Columbia
stream success,
while Burton
scored major hits with his pro-
duction on songs like Gorillaz's
"Fell Good Inc.,"'The Black Keys'
"Lonely Boy" and, of course,
Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy." These
two artists first collaborated as
Broken Bells with their solid
eponymous album in 2010 - and
now they're back for a follow-up.
The question, though, is whether
or not After the Disco lives up to
the high standards set by the pre-
vious work of their solo careers.
If there is a "winner" in this
collaboration, it's definitely Bur-
ton. After the Disco works best
when his shiny, futuristic pro-
duction dominates. By contrast,
Mercer's vocals and guitars
often make the songs sound like
old Shins retreads, bringing the
tracks back into tired and over-
done mid-2000s indie-rock ter-
The LP's cover is a gorgeously
trippy abstract image of what
appears to be a girl looking out
into some far-off galaxy, and
Danger Mouse's keyboards do

their best to bring the image to
life. On the lengthy opening track
and album highlight "Perfect
World," Burton's steady drums
and spacey synths drive listen-
ers down an interstellar highway,
while Mercer's voice rides shot-
gun, alternating between soaring
and quietly in awe. The music is
best suited for a room filled with
strobe lights and lasers - or for
your next trip into outer space.
Nothing, however, quite lives
up to the strength of After the
Disco's opener. Appropriate to
the record's title, the music is'70s
disco with a slightly more pres-
ent-day electronic twinge. The
production is slick and funky, but
Mercer's falsetto vocals quickly
make everything sound the same.
Even the first single "Holding On
for Life" doesn't come close to liv-
ing up to "The High Road," the.
biggest hit from their last album.
The core of After the Disco
is primarily filler. Broken Bells
tries things here and there, like
gospel backing vocals and the
occasional horn section, but noth-
ing is particularly innovative or
jaw-dropping. Mercer takes over
much of the music from Burton
after the first few tracks, which
leads to sleepy and dull soft rock.
It's solid and functional, but noth-
ing illuminates. Sometimes it
feels like Mercer and Burton were
just messing around in the stu-
dio, creating an album of mostly
off-the-cuff material that's sub-
par compared to these musicians'
previous work.
Those sticking with After the
Disco for the full ride will be
rewarded with at least a couple

of higher-quality tracks. "Lazy
Wonderland" combines the most
evocative lyrical images of the
album with Mercer's comfortable
acoustic strumming, recalling his
best work with The Shins. "The
Angel and the Fool" also features
interestingly sinister orchestral
production and is worth a listen,
but it's a minor consolation for
those who have slogged thriough
the whole album.
No innovation
from Mercer
and Burton.
All artists who are tryingto sell
their work to the public need to
believe that their work is the abso-
lute best. Unfortunately, it's diffi-
cult to imagine James Mercer and
Brian Burton believing this when
they finished up After the Disco,
especially considering the caliber
of their old material. Bizarrely,
the lack of innovation makes the
songs seem like a play for Adult
Alternative radio, but since this
type of recognition barely means
anything anymore, the album will
end upa small curiosity - a minor
work that only hardcore fans of
The Shins and Danger Mouse
might appreciate. The collabora-
tion simply.does not play out as
well as it looks on paper. Mercer
and Burton are far too talented to
make an album that is truly "bad,"
but nothing here is going to make
much of an impact.

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The Board is responsible for three publications:
The Michigan Daily, the Michiganensian yearbook, and the Gargoyle.
Because the Board is committed to realizing diversity's benefits for itself and
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