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Arizona Daily Wildcat

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Justyn Dillingham Arts Editor 520•621•3106


A Chicano history lesson INSIDE McCartney won’t ‘let it be’ Anderson’s ‘Fantastic’ voyage

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UA Symphony ends semester with rhythm By Amanda Seely Arizona Daily Wildcat The UA Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony will join forces to present their end-of-the-semester concert. The wind symphony will perform a program filled with music by Leonard Bernstein, including the“Overture to Candide,”“Symphonic Dances,”from“West Side Story”and“Suite from Mass”featuring the faculty brass quintet. Bernstein’s music is filled with rhythmic complexity. “Bernstein is a master of rhythm,”said Robert Bayless, assistant music professor. “He was a master at doing intricate rhythms which were not used too much until his time. He’s got different rhythms going throughout the ensemble all the time, which makes it interesting and very challenging. Not only was he a formal composer, but he also knew the idiom of jazz inside and out, and that really adds a lot to his compositions. I enjoy doing Bernstein’s music because it is so


UA artists meld with off-campus community

Photo courtesy of the UA School of Music



Why old novels are still relevant COMMENTARY BY Justyn Dillingham

B “Epoch”

Exhibition: Dec. 5-19 Reception: Saturday, Dec. 5, 6 p.m. Location: Flow and 5th & 6th Galleries 439 N. Sixth Ave. Gallery hours: by appointment Contact: 730 • 0482

Ashlee Salamon/Arizona Daily Wildcat

These discarded tires, wires, chairs and wheels make up ‘Molting,’ a collaborative work of art by studio art seniors Jacob Biggerstaff and Jessica Leftault. The piece is part of the ‘Epoch’ exhibition, which features a select group of UA art students and opens at Flow and 5th & 6th Galleries Dec. 5.

Tires, wires, wheelchairs make journey from scrapheap to installation By Marisa D. Fisher Arizona Daily Wildcat This weekend, one building will showcase student artists who produce work with more substance than merely gradeearning results. Flow Gallery, in conjunction with 5th and 6th Gallery, will open a multi-space exhibition in the heart of the downtown Tucson arts district. “It’s becoming a better and better location because Congress is experiencing a renovation,” said sudio arts senior Tina Notaro . All of the typical gallery opening accoutrements will be present: wine and cheese, cryptic artistic conversation and spectators murmuring “I think I get it” over the work on display. The subtle difference that will make “Epoch” stand out from the rest lies with the twelve sculptors included in the exhibition; each is an Advanced Sculpture student in the UA art department. Notaro, who is co-curating the show with fine arts graduate student Chika Matsuda , began renting a space in the

building this past June. “At first it was sort of a space for me to exhibit my sculpture that was getting bigger and bigger, to experiment with installation and to work with other friends and community artists to do that sort of thing,” she said. That circle of friends and community artists now includes students from Notaro’s sculpture class. Each artist created an installation piece for “Epoch” that examines the concept of time as a construct of society and how we perceive its passage. For Jacob Biggerstaff, a studio art senior, this show represents new experiences on many levels. Most of the work he has done is two-dimensional, and getting used to the actual space in the gallery has been a challenge. “This is definitely the first large-scale installation piece,” he said. The single-shot nature of installation sculpture means that the work makes a tangible impact without a sense of permanence. “Personally, I approach it as more of a performance,” Biggerstaff said. His contribution to the show, entitled

“Molting,” represents his first foray into the exercise of collaboration. He and Jessica Leftault, a studio art senior and Daily Wildcat staff member, teamed up to create the piece together. “You have to get used to someone else’s work process, which is different for every artist,” he said of the cooperative effort. “I’m pretty OCD and anal-retentive when it comes to my art. I obsess about it until it’s done. (Leftault) is much more gowith-the-flow and laid back. We definitely met somewhere middle-of-the-road.” Middle-of-the-road is a fitting description here, as Biggerstaff and Leftault began their creative process with a journey to gather items that had been discarded along Arizona’s service roads. A burnedout, abandoned house provided an old wheelchair and yards upon yards of antiquated plumbing. The two artists chose to complete and install the entire project in the gallery space within 24 hours. Rachel Martin, a studio arts senior and GALLERY, page B4

arts editor

eing an English minor has its pluses. You get to read great books, sit around thinking about them, and finally sit around discussing them with other people. What more could a student ask for? (Well, I suppose a student could ask for “no homework, no assignments and no tuition.” But he probably wouldn’t get it.) In one class this semester, I read the English literature classics, from “Robinson Crusoe” to “Pride and Prejudice.” In another, I read the angst-ridden classics of the twentieth century, like Andre Gide’s “The Immoralist.” Looking back on the semester, I’m struck by how relevant most of these books still seem. Reading all these books didn’t feel like delving into an arcane and dusty realm; it was more like glimpsing a weirdly distorted version of our own world. One of the first books I had to read happened to be the first official novel in the English language: Samuel Richardson’s “Pamela.”This bulky work consists entirely of letters and diary entries from a young servant girl chronicling her employer’s incessant attempts to sleep with her. A disturbingly large part of the book consists largely of chatter like this: “O, wretched, wretched Pamela! Poor, poor me! What, at last, will become of me?”Well, you get the idea. Eventually, Pamela gives in and marries her boss and proceeds to do nothing for the book’s remaining 200 pages. My first reaction to the book — and, in truth, my only reaction to it, and one that I repeated on every one of its 592 pages — was to scoff, and scoff loudly. But is the appeal of “Pamela” really that far from, say,“Twilight”? Is fantasizing about being involved in a weird affair with your creepy aristocratic boss any stranger than being involved in a weird affair with a vampire? The same goes for those classics of satirical adventure,“Gulliver’s Travels” and “Robinson Crusoe.” If “Gulliver” anticipates the sardonic humor of our age, from Mad magazine to “South Park,” “Crusoe,” with its shipwrecks and cannibals and pirates, has its descendant in the breathless action romps that rush through theaters every summer. The difference is that the artists behind these works couldn’t rely on rivers of money or armies of technicians to paint their masterworks. Instead, they had to work from their imaginations, filling in each detail with DILLINGHAM, page B5


• wednesday, december 2, 2009 • arizona daily wildcat


Vic Chesnutt. Actually, it’s technically “The Vic Chesnutt Band.” Putting your name in the band’s title always seems like a bit of an ego move, even if you are as famous as Vic Chesnutt. Just imagine how the other guys in The Archies must have felt. 21+. 8 p.m. Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. $10 in advance; $12 day of show.


Poetry Joey. Two teaching artists help children develop their creative writing skills and expand their imaginations. They’re fighting an uphill battle, of course; last we checked, video games still existed. 10 a.m. Children’s Corner, UA Poetry Center. Free. Triple Double. No, it’s got nothing to do with baseball. It’s a critically acclaimed blend of reggae and blues with a groovy, funky vibe, and it’s said to sound a bit like Sublime, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Grateful Dead and Bob Marley. And who wouldn’t rather hear all of those bands at the same time than go to a baseball game? Right? With Ethos and Vine St. $5. Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. $5.


“Holiday Card to Tucson.” Five choirs and more than 250 singers will join in the UA School of Music’s annual holiday concert. Of course, they won’t literally send a card to Tucson. That would be as silly as, say, celebrating Tucson’s birthday as if it were a real person. No one would ever do that. 3 p.m.-7:30 p.m. St. Augustine Cathedral, 192 S. Stone Ave. Free.


The Starlings. Do you love the sound of the mandolin? Does your heart yearn for the tender trill of a harmonica, summoning up a forgotten time, when people actually cared about each other and knew who their neighbors were? Well, judging from the reviews, you’ll love The Starlings. But don’t expect them to save the world or anything. As that John Cusack movie can tell you, we’re all doomed no matter what. No cover. Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. 9:30 p.m.


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“Times and Winds.” This 2006 film from Turkey is part of the “Youth in Cinema” film series, and we don’t mean Pixar movies. Although it’s worth noting that Pixar movies rarely have much to do with children . 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Integrated Learning Center, Room 130. Free.


Audacia. This local “adult-alternative” pop act has been likened to Jack Johnson and John Mayer. Only — you know — better, since they’re local and all. With San Lunes, FM Stereochild and Frantic. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. $5.


Book Signing. Jefferson Carter, a local poet and recently retired Pima Community College writing instructor, will sign copies of his new poetry collection,“My Kind of Animal.”You know he’s got to be worth hearing, since he’s named after not one, but two presidents. Not only that, but he’s reading at Club Congress. It’s hard to imagine any poet reading there, unless he’s wearing a beret and accompanied by a cigarette-smoking piano player. 6 p.m. Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Free. Poetry Reading. Eleni Sikelianos, a former oceanography student who turned to writing “avant-garde pastoral” poetry, will read. She’ll be accompanied by a tape of humpback whales’ singing. OK, not really. 8 p.m. UA Poetry Center. Free.

Your favorite songs from ‘09

“Paparazzi” by Lady GaGa. “I really like the acoustic version. It makes you realize how good of a singer she really is.” — Janae Phillips, family studies and human development freshman “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus. “It has a bumpin’ baseline!” — Dan Arrington, finance junior “I don’t really have a favorite that’s come out in the last year, but I listen to about everything by Stevie Wonder. I’m kind of an old-school guy.” — David Herr, finance junior “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus. “It catchy and gets stuck in my head.” — Kaitelynn Jurewicz, pre-nursing junior

“Cry Me a River” by Michael Buble. “It was the reason for a spur of the moment dance session with a friend!” — Wes Krukow, dance sophomore “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z. “I guess that’s what I would have to pick. That’s a hard question, but that’s my ring back tone.” — Steve Soleimani, pre-business sophomore “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon. “It’s catchy.” — Will Armijo, undeclared junior — compiled by Dallas Williamson

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Ubiquitous Spotlight. Students in the English 309 class will read the poetry they’ve been working on this semester. Following that, students from the mathematics department will read their poetry, which consists entirely of equations translated into iambic pentameter. OK, I made that up. They’re really written in hazaj meter. 7 p.m-8 p.m. UA Poetry Center. Free. Metalhead. If you’ve never seen local metal tribute band Metalhead before, you’re in for a treat. They’ve finally brought their clamorous sound to downtown’s Club Congress. Don’t worry, this isn’t the kind of metal that consists of 20-minute screaming sessions, or 20-hour epics about dragons. It’s more the kind of glitzy pop metal your mom might have listened to in the ’80s, even if she was a fairly normal person. 9 p.m. Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. $5.


Band open to all

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rhythmically intricate and it’s a lot of challenge for the students and the director.” Suzanne Sommerhalter, a music education junior who plays flute in the wind symphony, said she enjoys“Symphonic Dances”the most. “It’s from a Broadway show and it’s really fun and each movement is a different type of dance,” she said.“There’s a mambo, and a fugue, and a cha-cha.” After the intermission, the symphonic band will perform a variety of music in its program, including“Under the Double Eagle,”by J.F. Wagner and“Concerto per Flicorno Basso”by Ponchielli. Bayless said anybody can join the symphonic band. “You don’t have to be a music major. It’s a really good group and I really enjoy doing it because we have kids from all parts and all studies of the university,”Bayless said.“I have a philosophy major, an aerospace major, a chemistry TA and people that are majoring in other areas. They enjoy playing music and they’re not doing it as an academic pursuit.” Sommerhalter said the audience will enjoy the light-hearted nature of the concert. “This concert has a lot of upbeat music and it’s very interesting. Each piece is different,”Sommerhalter said.“It’s just really good.” The University of Arizona Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony Concert will perform at 7:30 tonight at Crowder Hall.

arizona daily wildcat • wednesday, december 2, 2009 •


Chicano history comes alive at symposium By Steven Kwan Arizona Daily Wildcat Reading about history from a textbook can be rather boring — a seemingly endless series of events involving dead people from faraway places. Experiencing history, however, is much more

Movimiento Ollin Movement symposium Dec. 3 - Dec. 6, 2009 For event times, contact professor Roberto Rodriguez: or 520-626-0824 For symposium tickets or more concert info, contact Jessica Mejia ( Students: $10 in advance, $15 at door General admission: $15 in advance, $20 at door Aztlan Underground Dec. 5, 2009 8:30 p.m. Social Sciences, room 100

exciting. The UA and Tucson community can be a part of living history during the “Movimiento Ollin Movement”

symposium, which begins tomorrow. The symposium is organized and presented by Mexican-American studies professor Roberto “Dr. Cintli” Rodriguez and students from his Chicano Movement class. The symposium’s title comes from Rodriguez’s unofficial title for his class. He said the Chicano Movement, while it began in the 1960s, is an ongoing movement that continues today. The four-day event isn’t just the standard series of research presentations and lectures. Instead, there will also be plays, poetry readings, dance, an art exhibit and storytelling for adults and children, much of which is based on the research done by Rodriguez’s students. The theme of the symposium, according to Rodriguez, is to learn from our elders. “In some cultures, people look at older people as old fogies or, you know, just people in the way,” Rodriguez said. The whole idea of the symposium, he said, is to have students not just carry on their elders’ knowledge but to create their own. Students and attendees of all backgrounds are encouraged to bring their parents, grandparents and older relatives to the events, especially the “Elders Gathering” on Friday in the Social Sciences auditorium at 5:30 p.m. The highlight of the festivities is Saturday’s concert by Aztlan Underground, which is organized by the UA members

of MEChA, a national organization that represents Chicanos and promotes higher education and Chicano culture. The California-based group has been performing and touring for about 20 years, and is well known within Chicano communities and

Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press/MCT

Shoppers wait in long lines at a Target store in Madison Heights, Mich., as they take advantage of holiday sales on, Nov. 27.

Looking Back: The Black Friday battle By Dallas Williamson Arizona Daily Wildcat Thanksgiving break has come and gone. Leftovers are dwindling away, we are back to a five-day week and the stress of homework and the many other deadlines which ring in the end of the semester are bearing down on us. But at least we have winter break to look forward to — the beacon of light at the end of that seemingly endless final exam tunnel. Yet, for all the merriment and joy that comes with the holiday season, it sure takes a toll on that checking account, doesn’t it? But there are those select few who try to avoid the seemingly inevitable holiday spending spree — those expert holiday deal shoppers. They are the cut-throat competitors of the shopping world. Yes, you know the people I am speaking of — the Black Friday Shoppers. Those who wake up at 3 a.m. to line up for those 4 a.m. sales. The master shopping cart maneuverers. The skilled elbow jabbers. They are the gladiators of holiday deals. Brave, dedicated and thrifty. Are you one of these day-after-Thanksgiving champions? If not, let’s take a closer look at some of the ruthless fighters in the market arena. The Sleep-Sacrificing Shopper: “I started at 12 a.m. and went until 6 a.m.”said dance sophomore Brittany O’Daniel, recalling her Friday morning mission to Target and the Paradise Valley Mall in Phoenix.“There was nothing crazy, just big crowds and almost getting mauled over when the doors opened. I went with my best friend, and we stayed up all night.” The Sideline Cheerer: “I saw two ladies fight over a purple shoe in Macy’s,” recalled dance freshman Kelly Moeller.“They reached for it at the same time and started screaming at each other. A worker had to break them up. But they kept at it and never really calmed down. They definitely didn’t have the Christmas spirit.” The Wait-Until-I-Know-I-Won’t-Get-Mauled Shopper: Dance sophomore Kenny Borchard did not hit the mall until 5 p.m.“There was no way I was going to get out in those morning crowds,” Borchard said.“I did get some sweet Nike Shocks, though. I felt kind of guilty after I bought them since they were still $100, but when I was walking out of the store I found forty bucks on the ground! No lie. So, then it was only like I spent sixty.” The Die-Hard Shopper: “My friend and I set my alarm for 4 a.m. because we heard Target was going to be giving away free stuff. Plus, my friend wanted to try to get this $3 coffee maker,” said dance sophomore Kayla Willet.“But when my alarm went off we didn’t hear it because it was super soft, and my mom ran into my room at like 5:09 a.m. screaming at us to wake up. We managed to get ready in like three minutes and were literally in the car by 5:11 a.m. By the time we got to Target, the coffee maker was gone. But my friend saw a toaster that was advertised as $3 as well just chilling in someone’s cart. No one was near it, so she snatched it out!”

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throughout the world. The group’s music is described as “indigenous rap hip-hop” by MEChA treasurer Jessica Mejia. Think Rage Against the Machine or Nine Inch Nails but with songs featuring Nahuatl, which is the language of the Nahua people, tradi-

tionally called Aztecs, and their living descendents from Central Mexico. MEChA is asking for donations from concertgoers rather than charging for tickets. All concert proceeds will go toward the creation of the Huerta-Chavez Arch for the César Chávez building.

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• wednesday, december 2, 2009 • arizona daily wildcat

Fronimo’s serves quick, delicious Mediterranean fare By Ali Freedman Arizona Daily Wildcat Mediterranean eats are just around the corner at Fronimo’s. Their inviting golden walls adorned with photos from across Greece welcome hungry patrons in for a delicious and inexpensive Greek meal. Offering an array of traditional Greek dishes as well as some American classics like tuna melts and hamburgers, Fronimo’s has a little bit of something for everyone. For between $5 and $10, you can get a plate chock-full of good eats. Their gyros — which come in a variety of types from traditional to chicken to veggie-patty — are a delightful choice. Your choice of meat or non-meat burger is wrapped in a warm pita and smothered in taziki then topped with tomato and onion. They offer falafel — a spicy blend of garbanzo and fava beans fried as a patty — as a sandwich or a plate. The plates are a great option for the extra-hungry patron. Served with rice or fried and a dinner salad they’ll fill you up without breaking

the banks as the meals are between $8.75 and $9.75 for the more expensive meats. Salads and sides are a plenty at Fronimo’s. From spanakopita, filo pastry filled with a spinach and cheese mix, to dolmas, grape leaves stuffed with meat and rice, to tabbouleh, a fantastic bulgur and parsley salad drenched in lemon and olive oil mixed in with mint, tomatoes and cucumbers, you will not be disappointed. Their homemade onion rings are fantastic and a nice way to mix things up. When dessert rolls around, are sure to try the baklava or kataife. These two traditional pastries are to die for. Honey sweetened pasty paired with chopped nuts in two different and uniquely great forms. Fronimo’s is open every day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. They serve an array of wines and beer and have a setting for meetings. They are quick with great service — perfect for lunch or dinner. They are located next to the Walgreens and yoga studio at Speedway and Country Club. Their convenient location across from The Loft Cinema makes it ideal for a dinner and movie date

Fronimo’s Greek Café 3242 E. Speedway Blvd. (520) 327 • 8321

Hours: Open every day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Ashlee Salamon/Arizona Daily Wildcat

Alex Panousos sends a Greek salad out for the waiting customers at Fronimo’s Greek Cafe on Dec. 1. Fronimo’s is located at 3242 E. Speedway Blvd.

yelp : \’yêlp\ 108241/; 5.4165 in; 4 in; Black; 108241 -verb 1. a shout or verbose expression of discovery, esp. related to the newest and the coolest, or otherwise the best: Dag, girl. That ceviche’s so bomb you best be logging on so’s you can yelp about it. -noun (common) 2. an online urban city guide connecting communities and great local businesses: On Saturday, Lemar and I went out to this killer bar we found on Yelp; their margaritas got me so annihilated that I woke up married, twice. -noun (uncommon & amazing) 3. a stellar, fast-growing company with plenty of highly-promising career opportunities: Hey ya, did you hear that Yelp is hiring bright and driven salespeople for their new office in Phoenix? see:

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Artists take initiative in curating ‘Epoch’

participant in the show, also chose to manipulate the time element of her installation. Her contribution to “Epoch,” which involves the projection of time-lapse images into fog, touches on the concept of time as a mirage. The projection of images represents “something occurring in front of us that is occurring inside of us,” according to Martin. “The picture that you see isn’t actually there,” she explained. “How we choose to perceive it, to perceive time, is up to us.” Those involved say that one of the most

valuable aspects of the gallery installation experience is the do-it-yourself element. Every step of the process is up to them. “I’d never really worked this closely with a curator before,” said Biggerstaff. And what will each of the artists take away from the experience, when the patrons go home, the work is disassembled and the sand is swept out the door? “This has been kind of our premiere for all of us, and that makes it really exciting,” Biggerstaff said. “It’s a shift toward the professional edge.”

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arizona daily wildcat • wednesday, december 2, 2009 •

Former Beatle relives glory days with new live album

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RATING:  By Alex Gendreau Arizona Daily Wildcat Sir Paul McCartney is back with yet another project, this time hailing it “historic” and a concert for the ages. Since The Beatles’ breakup in 1970, the infamous ex-Beatle has been credited as the most successful musician and composer in popular music history. No wonder over 120,000 people showed up for his three-night musical extravaganza at New York’s Citi Field back in July. The CD/DVD live album combo, titled “Good Evening New York City,” embodies the richness of the singer-songwriter’s musical capabilities. The new album, released on the Hear Music label, the brainchild from the coffee shop on every corner, Starbucks, comes in several different formats. For the indecisive, the concert comes in a vinyl version, combined CD and DVD package, and a double-CD, double-DVD package. Of course, you don’t need to be a McCartney fan to know songs like “Blackbird” and “Let It Be,” which is what he delivers along with a slew of other famous Beatles tunes. McCartney also dedicates several songs to fallen Beatles. A ukulele version of

“Something” is performed for George Harrison and “Give Peace a Chance” is sung in honor of John Lennon. The concert holds another special meaning for the star. Citi Field sits adjacent to the former Shea Stadium, where he and his Beatle buddies marked a defining moment in their careers by shattering attendance records for a concert back in 1965. Before the demolition of the stadium in 1985, McCartney performed with rocker Billy Joel. The Piano Man returned the favor in July and appears on the tracks. Paul Becher, a Paul McCartney stand-by, stepped in to create the DVD documentary by integrating stage shots and film from 75 attendees who were given hand-held cameras at the start of the three-day musical spree. For those who go gaga over “the cute Beatle” and like bust out singing “Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Hey Jude” over and over with large crowds, “Good Evening New York City” will not disappoint. The one drawback: you aren’t actually there. So bust out your best speakers, pop in the live disc, take out your lighter and pretend you are standing among the roaring crowd capturing the essence of Paul McCartney.


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with words and words alone. Unlike today’s authors, they also had virtually no literary models to work from. One result is that each book necessarily tells you a lot — too much, sometimes — about the person who wrote it. On the evidence of “Pamela,” I suspect that Richardson was an exceedingly strange man, just as Jonathan Swift’s hilariously extreme loathing of the human race — “the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth” — is crystal-clear in “Gulliver.” Unable to copy anyone else, they had no choice but to show us the unmediated contents of their baffling brains. In another class, I read the first volume of Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time,” his seven-volume examination of, well, everything. Proust was the kind of person who saves decade-old grocery lists because he’s afraid they might turn out to be important. His book is an unspeakably moving masterpiece, and a very annoying one. I don’t know if these two responses can be untangled. But the most memorable work I read this semester was John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” Milton, an embittered radical republican from the English Civil War era, had a lot to be angry about — not least going blind, which meant he had to dictate everything — and he poured all of his rage and resentment into his epic retelling of the story of the Garden of Eden. Of course, it’s not a novel. It’s an epic poem, told in rich and flowing unrhymed verse. And, as I and everyone else who participated in the Nov. 20 Milton Marathon at the UA can tell you, it’s bloody hard to talk like that. It’s hard to imagine it having quite the same impact if it were a novel, with Adam and Eve having conversations like regular people: “Hey.”“Hey.”“So, uh, you hungry?” As the semester winds down, I find myself yearning for the way people talk now. Fortunately, I don’t have to yearn for too long; all one has to do is scan the Internet or pick up a copy of Entertainment Weekly to be reminded — with relief and only a twinge of regret — that the age of Richardson and Milton and Proust is gone forever. If anyone ever dares write like that again, they’ll be confined to a LiveJournal and will only write for 15 people, most of whom will eagerly skip each of their entries. But wait — if that kind of writing is dead, what exactly is our literary legacy to the ages? Heaven forfend, will students be forced to write 1,500-word papers on Stephenie Meyer in 200 years?

Amerie and Rihanna: Same label, same album quality? By Ada Dieke Arizona Daily Wildcat Things that make you go“hmmm”: Within the past two months, CDs of two familiar R&B songstresses, Amerie and Rihanna, were released. Both gals sing in an R&B/pop genre, both are label mates on Island Def Jam. Both gals share some physically similar characteristics (height, hair, complexion, etc.) and both have distinctive voices. One has been in the music game longer, while the other seems to receive more promotion. Furthermore, one has been embroiled in a mountain of inescapable publicity due to an unfortunate argument with her boyfriend gone wrong. While the similarities give cause to pause, we thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast the content and artistic merit of these ladies’ albums; Amerie’s In Love & War and Rihanna’s Rated R. This comparison is not meant to pit the two against each other but rather reveal the quality within the albums. Amerie: In Love & War

style of fellow D.C. music producer Rich Harrison (who produced the two aforementioned singles and “Crazy In Love” by Beyonce). This time, she leaves Harrison behind, writes every song on this album, and delivers more raw vocal stylings to express the painful content of her music. In Love & War starts out with hardhitting up-tempo beats and slides into a slower, more lackadaisical pace, likely signifying the stages of anger in a relationship. The up-tempo songs beginning the album coincide with the first stages of a fight — tempers flare, yelling ensues, demands and accusations are slung about. “Higher,”“Heard ‘Em All” and “Why R U” are fast-paced unique sounding songs with excellent lyrical quality and piercing vocals. Then, a couple of days after the fight, the heightened emotions change into a calm as you ponder the reasons why the two of you are in a relationship. The head-nodding interlude “You’re a Star” should have been a full song, but still provides a good transition into this next stage of the relationship. “Different People” and “Dear John” are also of fantastic lyrical quality and have good slow melodies. Trey Songz, Fabolous and Lil Wayne all make worthy guest appearances on the album, yet not all on the album is peachy. “Swag Back” was probably written with good intentions, but it is a “skip” track. Overall, this album is a great attempt for Amerie. She has been in the music industry since 2002 and has been aiming to make it big, but hasn’t quite got there yet in comparison to Rihanna, who exploded onto the scene in 2005.

“Madhouse.” Yet, there doesn’t seem to be an organized album concept beyond that, unless you count a hodge-podge of songs scattered potentially reminiscent of a scattered state of mind after the abuse. That is understandable. Rihanna literally “wai-ls” on “Wait Your Turn,” which has an infectious slow beat with Caribbean flavor. “Hard,” featuring Young Jeezy, is uproarious and designed to be played full blast; an animated Rihanna echoes “ah-yeah, yeah, yeah” amidst a driving beat. Two songs written by Ne-Yo make the album: “Stupid In Love” and “Russian Roulette.”“Stupid In Love”is a good ballad, as is “Russian Roulette,” but “Roulette” is a little overwrought.“Rockstar 101” is also a little too much. “Cold Case Love,” written by Justin Timberlake, is a substantial entry and “Fire Bomb” is amusing, though at times Rihanna’s vocal arrangement sounds unlike her. She even sounds Fergie-esque on “Photographs” featuring none other than from The Black Eyed Peas. Lyrical content alluding to guns and burning people are prevalent in the album, possibly to show people how edgy and dark Rihanna can be. Darker, however doesn’t always mean better quality. While Rihanna’s album is disturbingly interesting, Amerie’s is just as engaging. Both are worthy pieces of art.

Rihanna: Rated R

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RATING:   This album’s concept is clear. Amerie, famous for hit singles “Why Don’t We Fall in Love?” and “1 Thing,” strays away from the topic of blissful infatuation and love to the struggles and tensions common in a strained relationship on her newest work. Hailing from Washington, D.C., Amerie’s chirpy vocals had been in the past matched with the multi-percussion

Amerie’s label mate Rihanna has the most number-one hits in the 2000s for a female artist. The Barbados-born singer has her own distinctive singing style laden with wails and echoes (think “Umbrellaella-ella-eh-eh-eh”). Those stylings are not absent on her latest, Rated R, the highly anticipated release after a wildly publicized domestic violence case with her ex-boyfriend. On the album, she may be alluding to her feelings about being the victim of such a terrible assault. The album is dark and invites you to come into her

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RATING: 

Lady Gaga’s derivative new ‘Monster’ gives the world what it wants By Brandon Specktor Arizona Daily Wildcat You’ve seen her poker face, and pretty much every other part of her body deemed appropriate for basic cable music videos. You’ve seen her commit self-inflicted celebricide at the VMAs and adorn herself in fragmented threads that make even Kermit the Frog blush. If you think you’ve seen enough of Stefani “Lady Gaga” Germanotta, you had better suck it up and prepare yourself for another round of lovegames, because with the launch of her new dance-tastic album Fame Monster you’ll have to find a quiet spot on Mars to escape the Gaga mania. Even borrowing half of her 2008 debut album’s title, Fame Monster is essentially The Fame 1.5, delivering eight more tracks of the same chunky dance beats, quirky, partyhardy lyrics and hyperbolic glamour that teems from Gaga like so much sweat and glitter. Chances are if you were a fan of The Fame, then you already own Fame Monster.

The album’s centerpiece is Gaga’s recent single “Bad Romance,” a thumping dance standard peppered with just the right amount of the Lady’s warbling wail and infectious gibberish lyrics (the recurring bridge goes a little something like “Ra-ra, ah-ah-ah/ Roma, roma-ma/ Gaga, ooh la la/ want your bad romance”). The theatrical violin and spoken-word introduction to “Alejandro” has Gaga sporting a mock French accent that quickly degenerates into her trademark cooing in yet another account of some exotic lover that her fame has afforded her. The middle of the album can seem too reminiscent of her debut, specifically the out-of-place ballad “Speechless,” which comes a little too close to “Brown Eyes,” both in melody and lyrics, for comfort. Despite the repetition, the album ends on an unusual note with the hillbilly-stompin’, vaudevillian number “Teeth,” which has the Lady harmonizing with herself as she takes a page from Christina Aguilara and beckons “show me your

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RATING:      teeth” over flaring horns. Fame Monster may not be anything new, but who cares? The whole damn world loves Gaga’s glammed-out modus operandi and hyper-catchy mixes; that’s what made The Fame platinum in a

dozen countries, and that’s what’ll make the Lady’s newest effort just as successful. Cover your ears if you must, but it’ll do you little good; Lady Gaga is everywhere. Welcome to the new world order. You’ll need some glitter.

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• wednesday, december 2, 2009 • arizona daily wildcat

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RATING: 

Anderson’s quirky‘Fox’ a visual masterpiece By Brandon Specktor Arizona Daily Wildcat It takes some serious cojones to compete with the Disney/Pixar meta-mind in the field of animated family features these days. Any hopeful contenders need either to offer some stunning revolution in visual media, or to be certifiably insane. Fortunately, indie ace Wes Anderson (“The Life Aquatic,”“The Darjeeling Limited”) and his new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s childhood standard “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” meet both criteria. If you were a child or the parent of a child in the ’90s, you probably have at least an awareness of Dahl’s iconic epics: “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory,”“Matilda” and “James and the Giant Peach” have already made the transition to film; the latter employed the thenremarkable method of stop-motion animation that afforded a fine attention to detail in the facial expressions and costumes of the story’s well-dressed vermin protagonists . Anderson’s newest creation takes the fine and makes it, in a word, fantastic, offering painstakingly detailed characters and environments that move with an independent energy down to the smallest blade of grass or prickly hair atop Mr. Fox’s shapely puppet head. Dahl’s narrative of a conniving tree-dweller plotting his last big heist on the farms of three ornery moguls (Boggis, Bunce and Bean, “One fat, one short, one lean”) accounts only for the second act of Anderson’s whimsical adaptation. The film begins with Fox (voiced by George Clooney, serving as a furrier version of Danny Ocean) and his lovely wife Felicity (Meryl Streep) spicing up their lives by relieving a local farmer of his poultry. After getting trapped in a cage, Felicity reveals that she’s pregnant and demands that Fox give up his life of crime. Many “Fox-years” later, we find the couple settling down in a brand-new tree with their son Ash (Jason Schwartzman) and life is dandy. It doesn’t take long, though,

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for Fox to fall into his old habits, risking the survival of his woodland friends and family on that last big heist. The story is what you’d expect from an animated family comedy: there is conflict, there is capture, there is romance and there is redemption. What really sets Anderson’s “Fox” apart from any stopmotion film to date is the synthesis of stirringly detailed characters and the comedic cadre of voiceactors attached to the personified critters. Bill Murray voices Badger, a superbly dressed litigator who runs a refugee camp for displaced animals on the side. Owen Wilson is Coach Skip, a zealous gym teacher who pits Ash and his cousin Kristofferson (voiced by Anderson’s brother Eric) against one another in the complicated affair of “whackbat.” Willem Dafoe flies under the radar as the sleazy, cigarette-smoking Rat, an old rival of Fox who is accompanied by a sinister Spanish guitar theme wherever he scurries. More impressive than all the woodland warriors combined, though, are Anderson’s humans, given chillingly realistic movements to contrast absurdly caricatured features by the same animation crew responsible for Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride.” A musical number late in the movie performed by the collective employees of the Boggis, Bunce and Bean compounds showcases more personality in ninety seconds than some Disney films can muster in ninety minutes. While any spectator of any age bracket will undoubtedly be incapable of looking away from Anderson’s dense stop-motion universe, younger audiences will likely miss most of the humor. In true Andersonian fashion, Fox and his comrades engage in one-sided, often irrelevant conversations about art, science and existentialism, which will elicit chuckles only from Wes’ most faithful groupies. Despite this,“Fantastic Mr. Fox”is nonstop stopmotion ecstasy from start to finish, a bit elevated for its own good, but pure joy nonetheless. Get a fantastic friend to tag along and you may never want to leave the woods again.

arizona daily wildcat • wednesday, december 2, 2009 •


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• wednesday, december 2, 2009 • arizona daily wildcat

Arizona Daily Wildcat - Dec. 2 - WildLife  

Arizona Daily Wildcat - Dec. 2 - WildLife