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May 02, 2006 - Image 10

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-05-02

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May 2, 2006

A TSe iiigan Bailg


Jerry still brings it
By Imran Syed years ago and perfected in New York City
Daily Arts Writer comedy clubs, as portrayed in the 2002
documentary "Comedian"
C ON CERT R EVEWBut not everything was the same. Long
known for finding humor in everyday
Let's get one thing straight: Jerry things like airplane peanuts or waiting
Seinfeld's current standup routine is in line at the dry cleaners, even Seinfeld
not as good as his can no longer avoid topics like the Iraq
first, but it's close war and terrorism. He steps into political
enough. No one Jerry humor boldly, yet tactfully, and even here,
can be expected Seinfeld he shows the grace and keen, unassuming
to match the infal- April 26 eye that makes any good standup come-
lible and quirky dian. His political humor is in no way
charm, casual cha- At the Fox Theater offensive or partisan, yet somehow it is as
risma and down- biting and sharp as anything Jon Stewart
right comedic mastery of Seinfeld's ever said.
original act. But to see him somehow Only Seinfeld could make suicide
put together a completely new show bombings funny and do it so harmlessly.
that's almost as funny and insightful ("I think people in the Middle East blow
as the original material proves that themselves up just because there's so much
he's truly one of the greatest comedic sand and still no beach.") He compares
maestros of all time. suicide bombings to kamikaze attacks
The material Seinfeld employs on his during World War II and concludes that
current tour - which made a stop at there must have been some type of crite-
Detroit's Fox Theater in late April - is ria for who became a kamikaze and who
not really new. It's mostly the same mate- remained a normal pilot (the guy who has
rial he used on his comeback tour two crashed three sets of landing gear this
week because he "doesn't listen!" being
the former).
Also unusual for fans of Seinfeld's
original act and TV show is the fact
that he's much more involved now in
family humor. Many comedians may
go soft after becoming parents, but that
just wouldn't be right for the man who
was America's favorite TV bachelor
for more than 10 years. Sure, he loves
his kids, but remember, the real reason
why kids are here is "to replace us!"
As always, there are no real punch-
lines in Seinfeld's act; everything is
about timing and delivery. Repeating
his jokes may not carry the same hilar-
tty as the expletive-filled rants of other
comedians, but make no mistake about
it: No audience leaves Seinfeld's show
Spring/Summer Term



The enduring quaintness of little houses on the prairie.
By Andrew Klein While the concept of the "natural landscape" ties the
Managing Arts Editor various projects together, there's a significant spiritual
element as well, evident not only in the group's name
Maybe you noticed a few oddities on the Diag a - Kami is the Shinto term for 'nature spirit' - but
few weeks ago, such as the 10-foot dioxin molecule also in the installations themselves.
or the tree memorial. The installations were only up Perhaps the most endearing of the projects is the
for about a week, but they were nonetheless a blissful Shinto shrine installation. Dozens of opaque, identical
and unanticipated break from the norm. The spirit of houses constructed with hard plastic are randomly dis-
public art was fused with an environmental focus that tributed around the peony garden, and each contains a
appealed to aesthetics as well as ideals. faint light that's turned on in the evening.
Thankfully, it hasn't ended. The spiritual overtones aside, the repetitious
The group responsible for spreading this amalgama- shrines are engaging in that they present a minimal-
tion of art and science to Nichol's Arboretum is known ist and urban aesthetic in a natural setting. Instead
as Digital Kami. Its website states that "Digital Kami of clashing with their surroundings, their white opac-
is an interdisciplinary collaborative effort to integrate ity only highlights the virulent greens of the forest
technology and art." The project mirrors many of the around them. Impossibly, nature and civilization are
same themes found in the Diag installations will. But the coexisting in harmony.
vast amount of space available in the Arb (compared to "The minute you step outside as an artist, you are
the Diag) creates a different set of restrictions. competing against the, sky, and the scale becomes
Several members of newly founded Digital Kami infinity," Morris said.
were also active with the Diag installations. Carrie Joggers, lovers, cyclists, spring enthusiasts; the casu-
Morris, a gi aduate student in the School of Art and al Arb enjoyer represents a symbolic extension from
Design, worKed extensively on the arboreal shrine in the cityscape to the tree line. Humanity inevitably con-
front of Tisch Hall. In the same vein of establishing a sumes and isolates the natural world, paring it down
connection between art, nature and society (i.e. indus- to easily digestible versions such as the Arb or Central
trialization, globalization, etc.), Morris's new project Park. How do we maintain a connection to the natu-
consists of a television buried face up in the Arb's prai- ral world if it's only witnessed through an urban lens?
rie, continuously showing footage of last year's annual Digital Kami's installations establish such a connection
prairie burning. The prairie was recently set ablaze, in a tasteful, efficient way. The artworks do not take
so the installation juxtaposes the old with the new. anything away from Ann Arbor's arboreal gem.
Although prairie fires are a vital component of their The presence of public art in our lives can only bet-
ecosystem, there is an apparent irony when considering ter our daily routines. Whether its trees lighting up
the human involvement needed to maintain the envi- as you jog through the woods, a flickering TV in the
ronments we ourselves have jeopardized. middle of a prairie or a giant, black spinning cube,
"After we researched the site more and discovered public art increases our awareness - either con-
it's history, we realized that our ideas of what con- sciously or subconsciously - of our involvement in
stitutes a 'natural' landscape had changed," Morris the world around us. The fostering of this awareness is
said. "Our work then became about illuminating those a laudable goal, and Digital Kami acts as our middle-
invisible processes that we had discovered and we felt man between the sterility of concrete and asphalt and
the public was unaware of." the bright, evolving natural world.



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