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July 24, 2006 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-07-24

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July 24, 2006



Street Art Fair not hopele

By Andrew Klein
Managing Arts Editor
1 The tents are gone and the streets
clear. It no longer takes 15 min-
utes to move between the State and
Michigan Theaters. Ann Arbor's
Street Art Fair is gone, tightly
packed away in innumerable SUVs
and trucks.
Townies and history of art majors.
love nothing more than to shut
themselves away in bars, nursing a

pint and muttering over the fair's
Why does this fair instill such
disdain? The first argument is how
the name "Street Art Fair" is a mis-
nomer. Wander into the wrong bar
and you'll hear "Street Kitsch Fair,"
"Street Crap Fair" and the like with
the occasional expletive. The impli-
cation is that the displayed works
are in no way "fine art," that it's a
misrepresentation of a serious pro-
fession. Clocks with horrifically

cute cat motifs, jade and ivory ani-
mals, garden gnomes ... the word is
decorative, craft, kitsch.
And then there's the crowd: SUV
strollers, endless sarongs and enough
$200 hiking sandals and zucchini nut
muffins to rival Los Angeles (well
maybe). It's an annual reminder that
Ann Arbor's classic hippy founda-
tion is not quite so pure. Yuppie
genes have polluted the bloodline
and we don't like seeing it.
Honestly, what do these afore-

Younger Owen trumps
big bro in Ex-Girifriend'

ss, just misnamed
mentioned 'arguments get at? To that Angell Hall's Doric columns:
wax theoretical, is the production of are "masculine."
art - regardless of your definition, And that absolutely doesn't matter.
regardless of the crowd's demo- Should someone not "in the
graphic - ever inane, hopeless or know" be censured for finding aes-
t wrong? For thousands, the answer thetic pleasure in purely decorative
is obvious. And it should be obvious art? You tell me. It is pretentious
t to the embittered townies, history and condescending to think so. Per-
of art majors included (that would sonally, I wouldn't mind if the front
include myself). It can't be argued yard of my future house has a bit of
this fair is evil without undermining flare to it.
the truth that art is one of the most Maybe the fair needs a name
important aspects of any culture. change - that's a decent argu-
Federal money for the arts is next to ment. Condemning the people the
non-existant. I say congratulations fair attracts ignores not only Ann
to those who put their art out in the Arbor's rich tradition of large, awk-
open in a country that for the most ward gatherings (um, Hash Bash?),
part doesn't seem to care. but also is a denial of the fact that
Then there's the all-to-common our wonderful town has a good
argument that "the art fair is the streak of the insufferable yuppie in
unholy union of decorative arts and her. But more importantly, it implies
capitalism." Yes, there is a lot of an elitist, intellectual monopoly on
overpriced crap out there - there's what constitutes "art." There are too
also a lot of overpriced crap in gal- many comparisons to be made with
leries across the country. But price that in mind.
and quality are as wildly subjective You might feel that the "art" is
as one can imagine, and the distinc- generally bad and the traffic ter-
tions one makes will be as different rible (no one will argue that), but
as the next. The vast majority of our Ann Arbor's Street Art Fair is well-
country - liberal or conservative intentioned and has a good heart
- could not tell you how Jackson - and it's only four days. We can
Pollock changed the face of art or handle it.

w .
: .

By Imran Syed
Daily Arts Writer
One week after his funnier, smarter
older brother Owen debuted the worst
comedy of his career ("You, Me and
Dupree"), Luke Wilson stars in "My
Super Ex-Girl-
friend, without
question his best My Super
comedic accom- Ex-Girifriend
plishment. At the Showcase
Luke seems to and Quality 16
have _ stolen his 20th Century Fox
brother's patented,
slow-witted charm
and down-home careless bliss, and uses
those precious and rare qualities to per-
fection in the film. Given that "Ex-Girl-
friend" is far from a great comedy, it
still has just enough oddball humor and
an alluring sentimentality that make it
ultimately satisfactory.
Luke Wilson ("Old School") plays
Matt Saunders, a successful architect
who falls on the slightly hesitant side
when it comes to personal relationships.
Urged on by his buddy Vaughn (Rainn
Wilson,TV's "The Office"),Mattbegins
dating a woman he met on the subway,
one Jenny Johnson (Uma Thurman)
who, if slightly controlling, is seemingly
quiet and sane. But little does he know
that underneath Jenny's bushy brown
locks and trademark "nerdy superhero
alter-ego" glasses is G-Girl, the local
superheroine known for busting crooks,
putting out fires and just generally being
But my friends, superheroes are
people too. They have feelings; they
cry, they laugh and sometimes, they get
angry and shove a chainsaw up a man's
... yeah. In its goofy, light-hearted por-
trayal of contemporary life, "Ex-Girl-
friend" actually does an admirable job
of highlighting the impossible logistics
of a superhero lifestyle. Sure, Superman
and Batman are all wonderful, genial

"What do you mean you lost Uma Thurman's number?"

upholders of justice and liberty, but how
exactly do they unwind and settle down
for a quiet evening with Lois Lane or
for that boring board meeting at Wayne
Enterprises? We know of their heroics
and sometimes learn of their private
insecurities but never do real superhero
movies get into the ordinary problems
our favorite heroes must face.
Sure, there have been films like "Sky
High" and "The Incredibles" which
attempted to take the superhero movie
and add a dash of the mundane, but
none of those were any good. "Ex-Girl-
friend," while inevitably cheesy and
sometimes laughably over the top, is a
far better attempt at producing a movie
where a superhero is simply a charac-
ter. So while it's not a superhero movie
per se and is mostly a regular romantic
comedy, lucky for us, it's a pretty good
romantic comedy, accentuated by the
outlandish character of its romance.
Luke Wilson, usually at his best as
the butt of a better comedian's jokes
(see "Blue Streak"), turns out to have

a comic quality of his own, and it
should surprise no one that it's very
similar to his older brother's. Always
perfect as the hopeless but likable guy
who's in way over his head, he thrives
as the clueless punching bag for his
over-worked, under-appreciated super-
spouse. And in his scenes with Rainn
Wilson, there is a touch of that widely
desired yet unachievable buddy com-
edy magic; their relationship almost
works, then falls flat, but falls spectac-
ularly and with awkward glances and
phrases to spare.
And of course, even super lives have
problems; even superheroes can't make
someone love them. The unexpected
twist the movie concludes with is just
as outrageous as the rest of the film
and actually a pleasant escape from the
"against all odds, romance endures"
bombast of most romantic comedies.
Like the film itself, the ending is clum-
sy, cloudy and hardly contingent, but in
a way such that it's almost believable
and ultimately entertaining.

second annual
a e a
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and throughout the month.
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(with your name and page number of the ad) to:
displayomichigandaily.com (subject: fake ad contest)
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Winner will be chosen at the end of each month
and will be contacted by e-mail.

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