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July 30, 2007 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2007-07-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Monday, July 30, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

artspage@michigandaily.com
734-763-0379

Northern Michigan
festival steps into some
bigger sandals
By ANNA ASH
Associate Arts Editor
Music festivals have become essen-
tial to the summer experience. Eating
breakfast to a fiddle jam at 10 a.m.,
passing out by
lunchtime to the Steeping Bear
sweet twang of an Dunegrass
Americana song-
writer and waking and Blues
up a few hours later Festia
just in time to strap
on your Tevas, August 2-5
down some Gato-
rade and get your $40 -$115
groove (or jig) on is Empire, Mich.
what summertime
is all about.
Luckily for those who couldn't mus-
ter up the pluck to make the drive out to
Tennessee, Rhode Island or Illinois for
some of the more well-known festivals
(Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival and
Pitchfork Festival), this lovely state of
ours has more than a few noteworthy
options to satiate your appetite for
SPF-45 and parking lot drum circles.
Unfortunately, your opportunity
for frolicking in the northern woods of
Blissfest or Hoxeyville music festivals
has already passed you by. But fear not
my fellow music lovers, there's no need
to get your hemp biodegradable pant-
ies in a bunch, the Dunegrass music
festival is here to rescue you and your

summer from their dismal, pasty, air-
conditioned state.
Perched in between the refreshing
splendors of Lake Michigan and the
warm sand and wooded shade of the
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake-
shore, the Sleeping Bear Dunegrass
and Blues festival showcases some of
the brightest local and national talent
at one of the most beautiful locations
in Michigan. In its fifteen years of
existence Dunegrass has evolved from
a quaint alternative to its celebrated
older siblings (Blissfest and Wheat-
land music festivals) to a full-scale and
nationally-recognized music festival.
Since 2004 when the festival's pro-
duction shifted to Grassroots Pro-
ductions, attendance has more than
quadrupled."Dunegrass isn't just a folk
festival," said Stephan Volas, founder
of Grassroots Productions. No, and it
isn't just a blues festival, or a bluegrass
festival or a jam band festival either.
This year's line-up articulates the
musical diversity of the festival bet-
ter than any genre-meshing descrip-
tion ever could. Headlining on Friday
night will be a foursome of the jam
band scene regulars: the Grateful Dead
"recreation"band Dark Star Orchestra,
the maestro of loop pedals and mouth
trumpeting Keller Williams, the pro-
gressive bluegrass of Yonder Mountain
String Band and the electronic jams of
Particle.
But intermingled between big
names like David Grisman and Todd
Snider are a slew of regional art-
ists that have powered the success of
Michigan music festivals with their
integral roles in the resurgence of

roots music. Earthwork musicians
Daisy May, Seth Bernard and Breathe
Owl Breathe will all be bringing their
own breeds of folk music to the various
stages of Dunegrass. Lansing's Step-
pin' In It will treat the crowd to a bit
of foot stomping and hootenanny, and
then with the addition of singer/song-
writer Rachel Davis, will transform
into Shout Sister Shout and keep the
toes tapping with their swinging old-
time jazz and blues.
With this year's line-up it is expect-
ed that Dunegrass will be recognized
as the most popular music festival in
Michigan. Fortunately though, it is
unlikely that masses of twenty-some-
things will be driving from all corners
of the Midwest to congregate in North-
ern Michigan - Dunegrass is still far
from becoming an inordinately com-
mercialized and stigmatized music
party. The balance between national
and regional music, the quality of the
music in general and the organiza-
tion within the festival has retained
its integrity while also allowing it to
expand to a marketable size.
With the presence of a few large-
scale artists, this year's festival will
give some, well-deserved exposure
to the lesser-known regional artists,
which makes this upcoming week-
end even more than a joyous, four-day
musical happening for festival-goers.
A four-hour drive is quite insubstan-
tial when all the music, dancing and
jiving vibes are taken into account,
and your vitamin D level and inner
harmony will appreciate the alfresco
vacation with a banjo/upright bass
soundtrack.

Jam bands, bluegrass, f k and blu s convene for summer music goodness.

Transcending the realm of classic comedy

By BLAKE GOBLE
DailyArts Writer
Still on after 18 years, "The Simp-
sons" has become a go-to repository
for the finest in
humor. Argu-
ably, it's the
best show on The Simpsons
television; the
Simpson family Movie
has dissected
more about life AttheShowcase
via absurdity and Quality 16
than most tele-
vision shows 20th Century Fox
ever even con-
sider. And now, after a decade plus
of development, "The Simpsons
Movie" is here, and it doesn't disap-
point. But the best part about it is

that you don't have tobe a die-hard
fan to have a good time.
The film is about family ties and
Homer Simpson's heroic redemp-
tion as the Simpsons take on an
environmental catastrophe - one
that Homer created with a silo full
of pig crap. The incident dooms
the town of Springfield, thus forc-
ing TV's first family to flee. In their
flight they realize the need to save
the town, but that's merely an after-
thoughtforthefilm'sjoke-a-moment
fervor. Nude skateboarding, jabs at
disorganized government, random
acts of wacky violence, imaginary
chainsaws and about a million other
jokes abound in this masterwork of
American comedy.
Capitalizingupon the expanse of
the medium, this is the best script

ever written by 11 acknowledged
writers. The verbal and the visual
are married to perfect union. Not a
second goes by without something
genuinely clever or on the floor
laughable happening.
There's some great stuff here.
Mister Burns gloats that finally
"the rich white man is in charge."
Homer almost successfully threat-
ens a mob with an imaginary
chainsaw. Bart gets loaded and
calls Homer the "world's fattest
fertilizer salesman." And President
Schwarzenegger claims that he
was "elected to lead, not to read."
In line with classic screwball com-
edies like "Animal House" and
even "My Man Godfrey," we are
given jokes that are both brainless
and thought provoking, but never

Holy crap!
unfunny. What makes "The Simp-
sons" a cut above most comedy is its
energy and exemplary craft.
If a film can be measured by
it's quality and longevity, then the
"The Simpsons" is as funny and
memorable as "A Night At The
Opera." Justctry to not repeat Hom-
er's already infamous "Spider-Pig"

ditty. Rarely does contemporary
comedy transcend regular crap
to become a benchmark for well-
staged humor. With "The Simp-
sons Movie," we get our chance
to laugh our asses off. This is an
American comedy classic, or as the
Simpsons would say, it's perfectly
"cromulent" film.

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