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October 03, 2014 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-10-03

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, October 3, 2014 - 5

Burlesque comes
back to Michigan

Ilam the danter.'
Teopid 'Gracepoint'


try t
out o
the l
ten e
or se
the I
in th

X's 'Broadchurch' investigatingthe crime.
There's a lot that's worth
'emake fine but celebrating in "Gracepoint."
The show features a vast cast of
unnecessary interesting characters who fill
out the small.town. Each member
By ALEXINTNER of the ensemble, which includes
DailyArts Writer a grumbling and heartbreaking
performance from Nick Nolte
makes are tricky beasts. In ("Luck") in the David Bradley
sion, some of them don't role and an eerie performance
o advance from Jacki Weaver ("Silver
what the Linings Playbook"), brings their
nal series character to life in a way that
imingto do Gracepont makes each of them pop in the
ustsitthere, proper moment. The show nails
the short- Thursdays what it's like to live in a small
remake of at 9 p.m. town where everyone knows
Laughlin." FOX everyone. The show's locations
rs find a are also highlights. Shot in
to break British Columbia, standing in
f the original's model and for California, the locations the
into something great, like show uses are gorgeous and the
ong-running comedy "The directors work to make sure that
e." After seeing seven they feature in each shot in those
des out of "Gracepoint" 's scenes.
pisode run, it's still unclear Ultimately, the best aspects
h path it will follow, either of the show are Tennant and
teting the original's idea Gunn. Tennant, despite being
ttling for something much saddled with an unfortunate
generic. American accent, gives a great
racepoint," is a remake of performance. And, like Olivia
TV drama "Broadchurch," Colman in "Broadchurch,"
focuses on what happens Gunn is the beating heart of
he small beach town of "Gracepoint." As she grows into
epoint when 12 year old the role, she gives an increasingly
:y Solano turns up dead. heartbreaking performance.
d Tennant (reprisinghis role Their relationship starts out with
"Broadchurch") and Anna tension between the characters
("Breaking Bad") play the but as their friendship evolves,
tives who are taske4 wita their scenes become the best

parts of the show.
The big issue, however, is that
"Gracepoint" is too similar tothe
Everything great about the
show is something that the
British version did just as
well, if not better. After seeing
"Broadchurch," every twist
and turn in the first half of the
series seems familiar instead of
surprising. According to former
Kevin Reilly, the ending will be
different, and the show starts
to hint at differences in episode
seven. But that doesn't stop the
first half from feeling like a less-
subtle version of "Broadchurch"
or help the fact that Tennant
is giving a performance that's
nearly identical to his in the
British version. The accent is
different but a lot of the quirks
and characteristics are the same.
It's really unfortunate
that's the case, because on its
own "Gracepoint" is actually
quite good. However, given
"Broadchurch" 's recent run,
which hits a lot of the same
points in a much more subtle
fashion, it's hard to give
a full recommendation to
"Gracepoint." That may change
at the end of the season with the
different ending, but for now,
"Gracepoint" can't be given all
the credit it might otherwise
deserve - and stays firmly in the
shadow of the original.

DailyArts Writer
Striking a balance between
beauty and strength is
difficult, and one that in many
ways defines the feminine
experience. This balancing
act is explored in a unique
way during shows like "Pick a
Card: A Burlesque Exploration
of Tarot," spearheaded by Ann
Arbor native and burlesque
dancer Elizabeth Lottman. A
16-act burlesque variety show
and multimedia experience,
the event brought together
a multitude of national and
international performers in
a one-night exploration of
the mysticism of occult tarot
Lottman, who performs
under the pseudonym Gala
Delicious, is a student at
Eastern Michigan University
who has been performing
burlesque in Ann Arbor for
about four and a half years.
She previously performed with
Ann Arbor-based burlesque
troupe Tickled Fancy until its
recent disintegration.
Lottman has been a dancer
her whole life, attending
Ann Arbor Community High
School's program Dance Body
Company, where she dedicated
three hours a day, five days a
week to classical dance. It was
during this time that Lottman's
Dance Body teacher urged her
to begin choreographing her
own dances. After graduating
from Community and losing
the opportunity to dance on
such an intensive level, she
felt the need to get back into
dancing as part of her creative
A friend and MC at Tickled
Fancy suggested she come to
a show and possibly consider
tryouts later that week. After
sitting thrdugh a performarnce,
Lottman .,said she was
overwhelmed by the need she
felt to try burlesque herself.
"I've always been a little
audacious, and I've always
pushed boundaries, and
I've also been interested in
exploring what it meant to be a
woman and what I was allowed
to do as a woman," Lottman
said. "In high school that's a
really skewed and messed up
perspective that's put on you,
so I saw (burlesque) and ran
with it."
Through Tickled Fancy,
Lottman formed a solid group
of dancer friends and formed
the basis for the performers
appearing in "Pick a Card."
In conceptualizing the show,
Lottman had her heart set
on two things: a burlesque

show involving tarot and the to be communicating about
Michigan Theater as its venue. it for a long time. This show
After consulting with her is performers from all over
co-producer, Lottman picked coming together for a common
up the phone and booked the goal."
date immediately. Lottman notes that thi.s
"I thought, 'You know what? "long time" had been a
This is going to be a really big collaborative communication
test of everything, but I want and development since
to do it,' " Lottman said. "I January, with Lottman and
was just trying to put together her team, plus the performers,
what was actually preventing communicating via email,
me from doing this? And the text messages and Google
only thing I could come up Hangout sessions due to the
with was money. And if we geographic distances between
can put this together and find everyone involved in ""Pick
the money we need, I know at a Card." Lottman also notes
least someone wants to see the that burlesque is an art that
show." cannot fully support a person,
save Roxi D'Lite, so everyone
involved was working
ik Cbetween heavy work or school
C r schedules.
featured 16-act Lottman . wants people
to know that burlesque is
variety show not all feathers, fans and
gowns, and "nothing like that
terrible movie with Cher and
Christina Aguilera." None of
With the help of two the performances in "Pick a
friends, Lottman decided to Card" are considered truly
start a Kickstarter campaign traditional style burlesque,
to fund "Pick a Card." Their but rather neo-burlesque.
first attempt failed, falling Neo-burlesque, largely made
$1,000 short of their goal, but a famous by artist Dita von
revamped campaign raised the Teese, focuses more on self-
funds before deadline. expression of the dancer rather
The performers of "Pick than the sexual gratification of
a Card" come from varying the audience.
experience in burlesque, from a "Sometimes, burlesque is
formerbellydancer - for whom an intimidating form of art on
last Friday night's performance paper, for women especially,
will mark her second burlesque but I know for a fact that
show - to Roxi D'Lite, Miss everyone in this show comes
Exotic World 2010 (the most from a very strong, feminist
prestigious award in the world perspective," Lottman said.
of burlesque). Many of the "This is reclaiming my body,
dancers are Michigan-based, this is also sharing what a
and nearly all come from different form of beauty is.
classical dance backgrounds. It's so much more than really
For each of the 16 acts in talented people stripping."
"Pick a Card," the performer "A lot of (the dancers) bring
or performers of the act chose a really deep passion for
one occult tarot card they women and magic," Lottman
want to repredetic during their' added: "The two dombhied are
piece, with complete creative what this show is about. It's a
freedom. Due to financial force offemininity from every
constraints, the sets of the angle as well as a chance to
show remained relatively daydream about magic."
simple but the costumes could An incredibly important
be as elaborate or as simple as aspect of "Pick a Card" was
needed. the ability for Lottman to
Lottman notes that the bring burlesque bak to the
performer's geographical Michigan Theater.
diversity set "Pick a Card" "A lot of people don't know
apart from other burlesque what modern burlesque is,
shows. This diverse coming and we (the "Pick a Card"
together typically only occurs organizers) come from a
in festival settings, which are very historical perspective.
based on a panel choosing The Michigan Theater was
a handful of best acts out originally built as a vaudeville
of hundreds, with minimal theater which went hand
communication between in hand with burlesque, but
performers and organizers. we're the first large scale,
"I wanted this show to be a multi-performer production.
collaborative effort between There's a really strong feeling
all the performers, and I of bringing burlesque back to
wanted all the performers the Michigan Theater."

'BoxtrollIs' del ights

ByNOAH COHEN heroics). All of these, cobbled
DailyArts Writer into a functional package of cute

A boy (Isaac Hempstead-
Wright, "Game of Thrones")
grows up thinking he's a
boxtroll, living
in the madcap
boxtroll grotto. The
Thanks to
coincidence, BXtrolls
the daughter At Rave and
of a Victorian Quality16
(Elie Fanning, Laika
finds him
aboveground and, a la "Titanic,"
teaches him how to pass for
a boy from the upper crust of
Cheesebridge. The two of them
form a bond and shenanigans
ensue. Their friendship, put to the
test by the conniving atrocities of
Archibald Snatcher, changes their
respective ways of life. The power
of the claymation as a medium
and the synergetic creativity of
co-directors Graham Annable
and Anthony Stacchi, make this
movie unique, weird and exciting.
Think "Wallace and Grommit,"
but less inexplicably creepy.
Eggs, the human boy who
grows up as a boxtroll, is your
everyboy. He and his composite,
Winnie, aren't very interesting
in and of themselves, but the
world of the movie is like a dirty,
dystopian Hogwarts. Totally
enchanting. The plot, though
warm and easy as a standalone,
is chock full of higher-order jokes
for adult viewers. The dramatic
arc feels like a jamboree of crowd
favorites: there are hints of "The
Hunchback of Notre Dame,"
"Hercules" and "Tarzan" (where
do I belong?); handsome dollops
of"The Lion King" and "Tangled"
(important child lost until
adulthood, reclaims supremacy
with help from friends); and
even minor brushes with
"Ratatouille," "Despicable Me"
and "Frozen," (pint-size quasi-
humans performing communal

It's fun to pick apart the
borrowed bits, but even without
intentional deconstruction,
the morals of the story are very
clear and unsullied by reuse.
Putting the community before
the pleasures of the aristocracy
is Good and self-indulgence at
the expense of the townspeople
is Bad. The moral dichotomy is
lampshaded by the Bad Guys
themselves, who say at one
point, "...they're running from
us because they're the Bad guys
and we're the Good guys!" This is
a joke written for an adult that a
child can laugh at. Well done; it's
Calvin & Hobbes-ian, and that's
high praise.
In this definitely-a-children's-
movie, there are so many
symbols, political allegories
and philosophical asides that
I, in my pretentious, twenty-
two-year-old glory, felt like an
included audience member. The
screenplay occasionally slips in
words like "dichotomy" and the
old-school cartoons are clever
and referentially detailed. For
example: the swelling of the lips
of the Bad Guys? That's probably
an allusion to gout, the "rich
man's disease"; in the Victorian

era, people mistakenly thought
that too rich a diet led to tissue
inflammation. And the white
hat? A snarky poke at the idiom
"to don the white hat," a saying
indicating the wearer assumes
the role of Righteousness. In the
case of"The Boxtrolls," the white
hat is a symbol of aristocratic
power, and to the upper crust of
Cheesebridge, "might is right."
The white hat, in Boxtrolls, is
the golden idol serving as a grail
for the antagonists while the
protagonists , pursue greater,
community-oriented dreams.
Why boxes? It's unclear. The
most central symbol of the movie
is the most difficult to unravel.
We imagine it has something to
do with class and Eggs' dubious
self-identification, which makes a
cute subplot, but maybe it's not a
childish question. Maybe we each
need to decide for ourselves what
our "box" is, in our own lives, and
then, after deciding that, decide
whether or not to take it off.
This movie provides us with
sweet, easy answers and endings,
but on the sly, offers some very
complex and difficult questions.
Not an extraordinary movie, but
a curious one. You won't care for
the plot, but you'll remember how
you felt when Eggs licked the fat
lady's wrist.
1 }ea 4


w *

Life is likea box of trolls. It's creepy as fuck.

A &



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