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June 01, 2004 - Image 37

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2004-06-01

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2004 - 21
Llazz legend Ornette
Coleman storms Hill

March 22, 2004
By Andrew Horowitz
Daily Arts Writer

Remember that time, when she was on that boat, and she got naked ... that was pretty cool.
ETERNALLY GRATEFUL
MUSIC VIDEO DIRECTOR TURNS STARS
INTO 'SUNSHINE'

March 19, 2004
By Todd Wlserb
Daily Arts Writer
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Even
though they're two of the world's
biggest superstars, Jim Carrey and
Kate Winslet sure have a lot of trouble
talking about themselves. Gathered in
a Beverly Hills hotel along with the
director, screenwriter and other stars
of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless
Mind," a film released today in theater
across the country, the two leads can't
help but hide their celebrity status as
they are too busy gushing over what a
great time they had making the film.
A more dramatic departure for
the comedic giant, Carrey scoffs at
the idea that he must be funny all
the time. "For me the story's the
star. It doesn't matter whether it's
funny or not."
If Carrey was looking for an imagi-
native, smart story that demanded
none of the usual Carrey showman-
ship, he certainly found the right men
for the job in acclaimed screenwriter
Charlie Kaufman, the unorthodox
mind behind "Being John Malkovich"
and "Adaptation," and music video
maker Michel Gondry, a second-time
director also responsible for videos
for the White Stripes and Bjork.

A romance with a sci-fi twist,
"Eternal Sunshine" finds Joel (Car-
rey) and Clementine (Winslet) as one-
time lovers who now wish to erase all
memories of their relationship from
their brains thanks to an operation
devised by Dr. Howard Mierzwiak
(Tom Wilkinson, "In the Bedroom").
The film combines Kaufman's
eccentric storytelling with Gondry's
visual magic, but never lets the techni-
cal overcome the emotional. Winslet
noted her attraction to the film,
"Whilst the story is told in this kind of
crazy, unorthodox way, it's actually a
very simple love story about two peo-
ple who are really meant to be togeth-
er despite this horrendous thing that
they do."
With a story they believed in draw-
ing the actors to the project, Gondry's
high-wire-act filming style never dis-
appointed Carrey and Winslet on the
set. Winslet explained, "I think that so
much of what we ended up shooting
was not only brilliantly written by
Charlie but was in Michel's mind and
that, for all of us, was the thing that
was so inspiring and challenging
and spontaneous about making this
film, that every day there was
something new."
"Michel definitely flouts conven-
tion," Carrey echoed. "(It was) differ-

ent than anything I think any of us has
ever experienced. Atla certain point he
didn't want to say action or anything.
He just wanted to completely rewrite
the whole rulebook."
Gondry's bizarre approach con-
fused Carrey at first, as he explains, "I
argued with him a couple of times
about that I didn't think that I could
accomplish certain things like a scene
in (Dr. Mierzwiak's office) where I'm
in two different places in the scene
and I have to run around the camera."
Winslet adds, "And you never
thought it was gonna work."
But Carrey could not argue with the
results, "It looks so clunky. You just
go, 'This is a student film right here,'
and then you see it and you go, 'Wow.
It's magic man.'"'
From Elijah Wood to Kirsten
Dunst, the entire room sang the prais-
es of Kaufman and Gondry. More-
over, from their stories it appeared the
entire crew fell in love with the proj-
ect. Carrey recounted, "When (we)
were done in the scene, (everybody)
would run down the hall to the video
monitors to see if we pulled it off and
then this cheer would go up at the end
of it."
And with that trademark Carrey
grin he added, "It was like old-time
show business again."

Moments before the lights dimmed, a
white, overweight soundman dressed in
running shorts and a T-shirt took the
stage to make last-
minuteadjustments.
Just as he was finish- Ornette
ing, someone asked, Coleman
"Is that him? Is that Friday, March 19th
Ornette Coleman?" At HillsAuditorium
While humorous
and very naive, this uncertainty is
telling. While many who attended Friday
night's sold-out concert at Hill Auditori-
um had heard Coleman, many came
because they only had heard of Cole-
man. And while a name attracts, the
whole scenario is too reminiscent of a
concert in New Jersey that paired pianist
Herbie Hancock and saxophonist Wayne
Shorter. After just minutes, the audience
was reduced by almost half. The fact is,
no one anticipated hearing cerebral,
complex interchange between two musi-
cians with little showmanship. Given that
Hancock and Shorter are no radicals,
what would greet a musician that
decades ago challenged the very concept
of music?
Ornette Coleman took the stage to a
standing ovation, dressed in a powder-
blue suit, looking like a leader ready to
preach to his people. Within moments,
Tony Falanga and Greg Cohen supplied
frenetic bass while son Denardo Cole-
man pounded away on drums. With the
air charged, Coleman entered on alto
saxophone and played a floating melody
that dripped in affecting harmony. The
contrast between Coleman's fluid lines
and the band's cacophonic spirit helped
create the sound of the evening, a sound
invented by Ornette.
From the first note on, the music melt-
ed into a prolonged meditation. Each
moment was entirely unique, drawing on
Coleman's insistence on writing new
material for every performance. At times
Coleman turned to trumpet (and once a
violin), but it didn't matter. Coleman has
the ability to communicate on a level that

Courtesy of Rhino
Would you like some alto sax?
turns any instrument he touches into a -
singular voice. When he wasn't playing,
he was attentively studying the sound
around him, enraptured by the sonic
landscape.
The music itself fell within different
Coleman idioms. There were the post-
bop themes a la 1959's "Bird Feed,"
rubato themes similar to 1958's "Lor-
raine." Nonetheless, each tune began and
ended with a theme, and what came in
between was entirely undefinable.
After playing intensely for an hour and
a half, Coleman retreated from the stage,
returning moments later for an encore.
The crowd sang "Happy Birthday" (it
was his 74th) and Coleman thanked his
audience for their energy and proceeded
to philosophize about existence. The
band then burst into an aggressive blues
jam that showcased each musician indi-
vidually. The overall level of musician-
ship was unbelievable, but Denardo's
inspired solo stood out as a highlight.
At the night's conclusion, the person
who had confused Coleman with the
soundman had a large smile on his face.
And it was easy to tell why, for attendees
had just participated in something spe-
cial: a musical happening that will echo
for years, an evening spent with the one
and only Ornette Coleman.

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