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INSIDEBEAT APRIL 15, 2010 • VOL. 28, NO. 11


What Went Wrong... Phil Spector and others that continue to bewilder

Column • Books

April 15, 2010


Saving State U


In case you haven’t heard, U2’s Bono and The Edge have teamed up with well-known director Julie Taymor (Lion King, Across the Universe) to create Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, a musical based off of the Marvel Comic superhero. Sounds exciting, right? So when can we see it? Unfortunately, the show has had a hard time getting up off the ground. Expected to cost about $50 million, producers are finding it difficult to put the show up. That’s right. $50 million to produce this shabang. What the hell? Now, I love a good show with lots of visual wizardry (just as long as the content is strong). In fact, the sheer idea that it will cost so much to produce gets me intrigued. But during times where unemployment is skyrocketing and people are struggling to make ends meet, I wonder if my need to be swept away by a show’s grandeur is just plain gluttonous. Audiences naturally want to be impressed. But these days, it seems so much more important than the content. The most successful shows on Broadway have been driven by spectacle. Opulent musicals like Wicked and Phantom of the Opera have stood

Inside Beat • Page 2

The Fight for Public Universities

the tests of time. But is all the crazy theatricality necessary for a good time? For $15, I saw a show entitled Thirst at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club and found myself really enjoying the visual and audio content. Obviously their budget was limited, but they did some really interesting work. I found joy in their small-scale production, and isn’t that what it’s all about? No one wants to go see a show and find out that they didn’t get their money’s worth. Theaters in general operate as business, looking to appease potential customers. So if anything, the fault is with the demands of the people. We constantly seek cutting-edge visual effects that will let us escape reality for a bit. Things were simply more impressive when we were kids, and even I find myself wishing I could fulfill that feeling of wonder in the same way again. But does it have to mean searching for something so over-the-top? Now back to Spider-Man. $50 million — really? It’s only inevitable that tickets will reach ghastly prices, and this makes me wonder if costs end up driving people away to begin with. Ticket prices are always an issue, but that is our own faults. We want the best of the best, and you can’t get any of that for free. If only we stop putting so much emphasis on lavish productions, we can find joy in theater again without hurting our pockets.


How different would life be if Rutgers and other state universities were to collapse, turning higher education into a completely privatized system? For some, it might seem like a far-off possibility, but with the current nationwide budget cuts in education, it’s imperative for all of us at Rutgers to stay informed. Thankfully, Nancy Folbre’s Saving State U (February 2010) reminds us all of the importance of protecting our privilege to attend public universities. In her latest book, Folbre, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, dissects the costs and rewards of the public higher education system. She starts off with an introduction about the public education system today in relation to the economy, throwing in specific examples about UMass. Following that, she gives a compelling history of public education, which serves as a good background for understanding how the current system came to be. She includes many basic economics concepts throughout, written in a way that is easy for any reader to understand. Folbre’s writing, in both style and context, doesn’t pull any punches, which is

really refreshing, especially in a debate such as this. Using hard data about tuitions and other incurred costs, she stresses the need for government funding in state universities. Her accessible style and clear-cut ideas help to take a complex issue that affects thousands across the nation and break it down into logical, effective arguments. Folbre is the author and co-author of several works including The Invisible Heart, The War on the Poor and The Ultimate Field Guide to the U.S. Economy and has earned accolades for her work as an economist, including the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. Her ability to extend the principles of economics into various social issues gives readers a greater comprehension of such topics and lends credibility to her recommendations for change. Saving State U serves well as a simple, 101-style guide to the issue of keeping our public universities afloat in today’s economy. Folbre provides ideas toward the strategies “that will be required to increase affordability and access — and to make state universities preeminent institutions that are once again a cornerstone of our democracy.” And as responsible citizens, what could be more important than knowing the keys to our freedom?



S TACY D OUEK ...................... EDITOR


MICHAEL MALVASIO.......ASSOCIATE EDITOR EMILY SCHACHTMAN......ASSISTANT EDITOR ARIBA ALVI.....................................TV EDITOR JASON STIVES........................................MUSIC EDITOR ROSANNA VOLIS...............................FASHION EDITOR NATALIA TAMZOKE.........................THEATER EDITOR AMANDA LITCHKOWSKI...................ART EDITOR ADRIENNE VOGT..............................COPY EDITOR RAMON DOMPOR...............................PHOTO EDITOR EMILY SCHACHTMAN.............................FILM EDITOR NIDHI SARAIYA..................................BOOKS EDITOR

Amy Rowe, Ciara Copell, Nicole Kagan, Perri Lerner, Shama Huq, Theo Jomes

Cover Photo of Phil Spector Courtesy of: The Associated Press/Damian Dovarganes Rutgers Student Center 126 College Avenue, Suite 431 New Brunswick, NJ 08901 Phone (732) 932-2013 Fax (732) 246-7299 Email Web Advertising in Inside Beat, Call (732) 932-7051 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Art • Fashion • Theater

April 15, 2010


Spring-Summer 2010

After much anticipation, spring is finally here to stay. Besides allergy season running through campus like the plague, that means new spring clothes! Everything from sailor’s stripes and army green to feminine lace and structured pieces influenced designers for 2010. describes the new army flak jacket as a possible replacement for the ubiquitous leather bomber in the current season. The catwalks of Anna Sui, Proenza Schouler and Tory Burch featured tribal and floral prints in blinding brights. Surprisingly enough, activewear was big on the spring runways. Alexander Wang’s American football-inspired collection led the pack, adding a high fashion twist to casual dressing. Sharp structure was updated with zippers and ties on shoes, tops and dresses. Tailored separates and cutout dresses make a bold statement; adding a touch of feminine lace will help keep your look sexy, not stoic. Of course you don’t have to spend a fortune to get the look; check out our take on spring’s hottest trends that will carry you over to summer as well:

Sharp and Structured




Fabulous in Fatigues

Pattern Play

The army jacket will be in ever y trendsetters closet come spring. Lighter than the leather jacket, it’s the perfect transition piece come fall.

Serious Shoe Splurge These Marc by Marc Jacobs shoes are a work of art and would be a retro-chic addition to any fashionista’s spring-summer wardrobe, but at $495, fashion doesn’t come cheap.


Tribal prints and classic florals are back for the spring. This gauzy Urban Renewal dress comes in either an earthy brown tribal or beautifully bright floral blues. URBAN RENEWAL PEPLUM GAUZE SNAP DRESS $58 URBAN OUTFITTERS

Sharp lines, daring cutouts, zippers, ties and structured staples can easily add sophistication to any wardrobe. Stripes are a great way to take the fall blazer into spring, a lighter fabric and color make this jacket a spring-summer essential. Structured shoes in a walnut brown are spring’s most coveted item.


Classic all-American basics like stripes and denim create the perfect girl-next-door look. The denim dress gets an update with a much shorter length. The Fourth of July has never been so patriotic.



Inside Beat • Page 3



Bravo has done it again — this time with the help of Sarah Jessica Parker. The channel has given viewers a glimpse into the fashion world with Project Runway, the culinary world with Top Chef and the evidently serious hairstyling world with Shear Genius. There’s nothing left but the art world. The channel, known for trying to transform reality television into cutthroat competition of individuality and endurance, will debut its new brainchild, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist on June 9. Parker’s production company Pretty Matches combined creative forces with two Top Chef producers to deliver this familiar plot in a new industry. Work of Art follows an identical format to those of Runway and Chef: Contestants are given outlandish challenges, they cr y and run around frantically, and then harsh judges rip apart the finished products. The only difference this time is that artists, who are possibly more eccentric and undeniably weird than fashion designers and chefs, are dictating the drama. The 14 contestants represent a wide range of those trying to make it big in the art world. Sixtytwo-year-old Judith hails from Al-

bany, N.Y., and earned her art degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1965. Trong, born and raised in Vietnam, is in the process of creating a “metaphysical GPS” application for the iPhone. Peregrine, a 33-year-old sculptor from San Francisco, owns a lingerie boutique on the side. The judges, who will be crushing the hopes of 13 of these contestants and granting the dream of one, are big names in the industry. Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Bill Powers own the galleries Salon 94 and Half Gallery, respectively. Simon de Pury is one of the field’s top auctioneers and aficionados. Wrapping up the list is art critic Jerry Saltz, a columnist for New York magazine. After triumphing the show’s expectedly wacky challenges, the winner of Work of Art gets a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum and a generous $100,000.When asked how Bravo got the prestigious Brooklyn Museum to agree to a solo exhibition for an unknown reality show winner, producer Dan Cutforth said, “We just asked them.” Judge Saltz followed up with, “Who knew it was that easy? You should all be asking for shows.” Let’s hope they don’t, or else the trend will never stop. No one wants there to be The Thinker: The Search for the Next Great Philosopher.



If the Broadway standards are simply unpalatable or too mainstream for your taste, fear not! There are many Off-Broadway oddities that fulfill an appetite for an atypical night of theater.

Fuerza Bruta: Look Up

Naked Boys Singing

The Awesome ’80s Prom

Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding


Untraditional in nature, Fuerza Bruta (meaning “Brute Force”) is an overload of the senses. Using music, dancing, acrobatics, ceiling imagery and astounding set designs and surrounding visuals, the show aims to provide a full-fledged 360-degree experience. The large space provides an area for audience member to stand while cast members occasionally walk through, giving out hugs (while completely drenched in water). Oh, and the deejay is armed with a hose, so steer clear if you’re afraid to get wet!

It’s no secret; the title bares all. Celebrating their nudity, a group of men reveal their assets within the first few minutes of the show and sing songs. However, the main attraction in Naked Boys Singing eventually shifts to other physical attributes and personalities. You never lose the comedy, though, which keeps Naked Boys Singing entertaining and enjoyable.

Take a trip back to a time when guys were 100 times cooler if they wore Ray-Bans and girls never left home without a teased, Aqua Netmisted head of hair. The Awesome ’80s Prom is interactive theater in the same style as Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding. Amid songs like “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go!” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” guests attend an actual prom and dance the night away as ’80s stereotypes (i.e., the jock, the cheerleader, the outcast, the nerd, etc.) tie together a storyline.

Like weddings? If so, you can attend one every Saturday night. Since its opening on Valentine’s Day in 1988, Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding offers an evening of fun as audience members act as the guests. The story revolves around a couple from two different family backgrounds as they tie the knot. The price of admission provides ticketholders with the ultimate experience, including food, dancing and direct interaction with guests and cast members.

Stomp gives new meaning to “bangin’ on a trash can” and “dr ummin’ on a streetlight” as per formers use unconventional items to create an aural symphony. Sweeping brooms, crashing trash can lids and r unning water are meshed together into a collage of percussion. Visually, the per formers enter tain with playful and wordless actions while piecing together an explosive show.









H UH ?


For every good thing that happens in music, peak moments in both the past and present

Phil Spector: A Man of Many Toupees Thursday, April 15, 2010 It would take an entire issue to explain everything wrong about the renowned music producer. Spector is currently locked away in a federal prison on a life sentence for the murder of his former girlfriend, but considering his track record, it’s not too hard to believe he would commit such an act. Prior to his incarceration in 2009 he was known as one of the greatest music producers in music history. His credits on albums and tracks by The Beatles, The Ronettes and The Ramones made him famous for his use of what many called the Spector “Wall of Sound,” a plethora of musicians creating a wall of music on record. But Spector’s infamous nature and behavior in both his private and public life has made him the stuff of legends, muddling the line between myth and fact. For those who worked under Spector’s musical guidance, his erratic behavior resulted in artists being threatened while at work in the studio. Various biographies report he threatened both John Lennon and punk stalwarts The Ramones with loaded guns — or, in the case of singer Leonard Cohen — if they tried to leave the studio. On his personal side, Ronnie Spector of the famed girl group The Ronnettes will tell you Phil was not an ideal husband. According to her biography, in the on-again off-again relationship they shared during the ’60s and ’70s, Phil was very abusive to both herself and their adopted children. In the most infamous of the stories, Spector purchased a gold casket with a glass cover on it, à la Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and proceeded to tell Ronnie that this where she would end up if she tried to leave him. She eventually did walk out on him in an elaborate escape from his mansion after breaking through a window in the back of his home. If this wasn’t a flag in Spector’s recent murder trial, then I don’t know what is.


Bizarre Acceptance Speeches Wednesday, April 14, 2010 Needless to say, Spector has had his fair share of bizarre acceptance speeches, and many in recent memory have taken the viewing world by surprise. In the past year alone there have been a slew of stage crashers that kept people like Perez Hilton on the edge of their gossiping seats. From Kanye West at the MTV Video Music Awards to the most recent on-stage shenanigans at the Oscars, the award show circuit hasn’t been short on controversy. At just four months into the new year, there have already been several noted acceptance mishaps. In January, a clearly intoxicated Mariah Carey took to the stage at the Palm Springs International Film Festival to accept an award for her involvement in the movie Precious. She was fully aware of her intoxication in great gusto, but later blamed on her entourage for giving her too much champagne. But this piece is dedicated to Karin Dreijer Andersson, one half of the Swedish indie-electronica duo The Knife and also known by her alter ego, Fever Ray, who may have had the most bizarre acceptance speech in recent memory. Fever Ray won an award for “Best Dance Artist” in January at the P3 Gold Awards in Gothenburg, Sweden. As she entered the stage area to receive her award, she took the audience by surprise. Ray came on stage decked out in a crimson red dress very similar to the one Lady Gaga wore at the Video Music Awards complete with a veil covering her face — but it was what was hiding underneath that stunned everyone. She lifted her veil, revealing to a televised audience her face that looked like it was melting off, and to many in attendance, it was too realistic. If this wasn’t creepy enough, she gave her acceptance speech through a series of moans and mumbles which, upon completion, was greeted with what seemed as the slowest clap in award show history. Sorry Sally Field, we like you, we really like you, but we like Fever Ray even more.

Newer Posts


Those Albums We Wish They Never Made Tuesday, April 13, 2010 Let’s face it. It’s hard to get actors to stay away from singing regardless of their wealth or talent. True, back in the ’50s and ’60s, actors could sing and dance as well as act their butts off, but today it comes off as an elaborate attempt to be in the spotlight all the time. Some actually succeed, as seen by the critical success of Zooey Deschanel’s folk duo She & Him and Jared Leto’s platinum selling alt-rock act 30 Seconds to Mars. Then there are some, of course, that make us laugh, like Eddie Murphy’s short-lived music career with the hilarious hit “Party All the Time” and William Shatner’s eerie rendition of Britpop band Pulp’s song “Common People.” But there are some that make us laugh and cry when we probably shouldn’t be doing either. Heidi Montag’s ill-fated debut album springs to mind rather quickly as an exercise in poor public relations and disjointed musical taste. The Hills star apparently felt her life as told on television was so compelling to her audience that she best express it further in the most egotistical and repulsive pop music possible. What made matters worse was a series of camcorderproduced music videos made by Montag’s equally useless hubbie, Spencer Pratt, assuming his sex tape-worthy cam work could make him eligible to be the next Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry. Thankfully, this concoction failed and her album sold a little more than 1,000 copies upon release. I guess some people should probably just stick to what they are good at, although it’s still unknown what Heidi Montag is good at.

Newer Posts


there is an awfully shocking or strange counterpart. Here are some of the of music that made people wonder, “What the hell was that?” FIZZLIN’ FEUDS While current tabloids are reveling in the recent feud between M.I.A. and Lady Gaga, one has to wonder about the feuds that never were, or at least never went anywhere. Here are a few feuds that got through Round 1 and then fizzled before they threw in the towel:



Older Posts

Both Elton John and Lily Allen are not known for being tactful in the spotlight. The flamboyant Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and the U.K. pop star are both noted tabloid hogs, and at the 2008 GQ Men of the Year Awards, their ego-centric personalities clashed. A visibly drunk Allen was co-presenting the evening’s festivities with John and as Allen announced “a very special point in the evening,” to which John quipped back, “What, you’re going to have another drink?” Allen proceeded to curse out the Rocket Man in front of a live audience. While the feud has not continued since then, the differences between the new and old generation couldn’t have been any more obvious that night.



Older Posts

In 1990, there was nothing more controversial in music than Irish singer Sinead O’Connor. While she was conquering the charts thanks to her hit single “Nothing Compares 2 U,” she was also causing a storm of controversy thanks to her outspoken radical and political views. Before her famous Pope picture-ripping incident on Saturday Night Live, she had the scorn of the Garden State and its most famous resident to hear from. On Aug. 24, 1990, O’Connor was scheduled to perform at the PNC Bank Arts Center (then Garden State Arts Center) in Holmdel, but almost backed out due to her convictions against playing the U.S. national anthem before she was to go on. She eventually went on with the anthem omitted. But when word spread of the incident, Hoboken native Frank Sinatra had a few choice words to say about her, even going as far as to say he would like to punch her in the face. While Ol’ Blue Eyes was pushing 80 years old at this point, nothing ever came to pasture — especially since O’Connor was an admirer of Sinatra’s music — but what a match-up that would’ve made.



Older Posts

On paper, this feud makes no sense, especially since no war of words was exchanged and neither band has ever met in person. However, when a journalist for MTV in the U.K. interviewed Slipknot lead singer Corey Taylor about Coldplay’s most recent effort, Viva La Vida, it sparked a sore spot under Taylor’s famous mask. Taylor called the album a “self-celebratory piece of crap” and proceeded to speak of an act of fornication too disturbing to describe. While Taylor hoped Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin was watching, there were no rebuttals in the Coldplay camp and the feud never went anywhere. One can only wonder what it would be like to hear Chris Martin discuss a similar sex act against Slipknot’s All Hope is Gone album.

Page 6 • Inside Beat

April 15, 2010

Film • TV


She’s Out Of My League STAFF WRITER

The story has been told a million times before, but She’s Out of My League still turns out to be a good romantic comedy. With its extremely predictable and very unbelievable plot, the movie doesn’t deserve any awards, but definitely serves its purpose as a lighthearted date movie. Directed by Jim Field Smith, the film follows Kirk, (Jay Baruchel, Tropic Thunder) an average-looking, awkward airport worker, as he manages to meet and eventually start dating an unbe-

lievably gorgeous party planner named Molly, played by relative newcomer Alice Eve. Even with the predictable plot, the film definitely manages to entertain, mostly thanks to a hilarious ensemble, which includes the likes of Debra Jo Rupp (That 70’s Show) and Krysten Ritter (Confessions of a Shopaholic). The dynamic between the main character and his family makes for a perfectly awkward encounter with Molly, which really resonates on screen. By far the best part of She’s Out of My League is Kirk’s interaction with his three best friends. Devon, played to perfection by Nate Torrence (Get Smart), is the quintessential

United States Of Tara


Showtime, Mondays 10:30pm | B


The second season of United States of Tara picks up three months after the first season, in which Tara (Toni Collette) attempted to confront the trauma that causes her Dissociative Identity Disorder. All four of Tara’s “alters” are nowhere to be found since Tara hasn’t transitioned for a while, which is good news for her family, but not for the show’s plot. The opening scene shows the entire Gregson clan in front of a clothing donation bin, dumping the costumes of T, Buck, Alice and Gimme. However, things don’t stay merry for long. The Gregson’s next-door neighbor commits suicide, causing the whole neighborhood to rethink their relationships with their neighbors. Tara and her husband Max (John Corbett) invite the neighborhood’s only gay couple over for dinner. At one point during that dinner Tara gets up and starts dancing and singing an Indian song with an accent for a pretty long time, an awkward moment in the show and something that just doesn’t seem like Tara.


helpful friend who happens to be even more awkwardly hilarious than the main character, which is a very impressive feat. His two other best friends, Stainer and Jack, played by T.J. Miller (The Goods) and Mike Vogel (Cloverfield) respectively, spend their time reminding Kirk that he has no chance of staying with the bombshell — that is, when Stainer is not too busy performing with his Hall & Oates tribute band. She’s Out of My League was consistently funny and went by quickly. Even though the plot was a bit tired, the one-liners and standout ensemble cast made the movie enjoyable to watch.



Tara’s character isn’t the only one that’s changing. Her son Marshall, who was clearly gay and crushing on an unavailable jock last season, is starting to question his sexuality more. He is invited to sit at the “gable” (gay table) by a stereotypically flamboyant gay friend, Lionel, who clearly wants the world to know his sexuality. Marshall finds fault with this, but later helps Lionel by passing purple carnations out on Valentine’s Day for LGBTQ pride. Meanwhile, Max and Tara are in charge of looking after their deceased neighbor’s house while it’s being fixed up for sale. Max wants to buy the house and fix it up himself — an idea that Tara attributes to his boredom from not looking after her and her alters. Out of curiosity, Tara goes in the house and after a hazy, slow-motion scene she touches the bed and transitions into Buck, getting herself into what is perhaps the craziest situation she’s ever been in: She picks up a female bartender as Buck, but wakes up in the morning as Tara in bed with her. Wacky things are happening on United States of Tara, and as the season progresses, it’s sure to get wackier and all the more entertaining.

Doctor Who


“OK, what have you got for me this time?” While the Doctor’s question is directed at his newly refurbished time ship the TARDIS, for fans of the long running sci-fi series Doctor Who, it’s a declaration of expectations from the show’s revised structure. With a new star, new producer and a new direction, the show, which chronicles the adventures of a time traveling and face changing alien known only as the Doctor, faces the questioning of fandom as it enters its fifth series this Sunday on BBC America. In the premiere episode “The Eleventh Hour,” the Doctor, recently regenerated into his new body, crash lands on earth in the backyard of a little girl named Amy Pond, who believes he has arrived to fix a mysterious crack in her wall. Time hopping 12 years into her future, the crack is fixed, but the alien prisoner that lived in the crack has escaped, prompting a force known as the Atraxi to bring it back or destroy the earth trying. While never as action packed and CGI-laden as other noted sci-fi shows like Battlestar Galactica and Stargate, Doctor Who has always prided itself on being a quintessentially British show. References to Scottish people’s affinity for frying things and the appearance of noted British astronomer Patrick Moore maintained the originality of the

BBC America, Saturdays at 9pm | A show. But more than anything, “The Eleventh Hour” doesn’t stray from the sense of impending doom showcased in British science fiction or the solutions that always come at a mind-numbing last second. Matt Smith, playing the new doctor, makes sure to keep all these elements in tact and does so with pizzazz. After 10 incarnations throughout the show’s stellar run, the 11th Doctor easily cements his mark early on in the episode. Like the imaginary friend that Amy believes him to be at a young age, Smith’s Doctor grabs the audience’s hand and gains the viewer’s trust as he leads us on a breathtaking and dangerous ride. Smith’s Doctor is feeling out both his new body and his new part, acting with a touch of lunacy and boyhood charm. Much praise goes to Karen Gillan’s portrayal of new companion Amy Pond, who uses her frustration with the Doctor for breaking his promise 12 years earlier as a standoffish way to understand him better. Smith and Gillan have great chemistry that should pan out as the season goes on. With this notion, the big shoes that Smith and company are looking to fill from their former associates makes the new series of Doctor Who fit perfectly. COURTESY OF BBC AMERICA


Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too? is a sequel, but you don’t need to have watched 2007’s Why Did I Get Married? to understand what’s going on. In fact, you barely need to watch this one to understand what’s going on. In accordance with his usual style, Perry spells things out very clearly: All you have to do is picture about a month’s worth of daytime soap opera episodes crammed into two hours. The film is pretty much split into two halves. The first half is when Perry, the writer/director, tries his best to be slightly comedic during the four couple’s annual vacation retreat, this time to the Bahamas. While Perry may be lauded for his stage work, his film writing is sloppy and confusing. Every gag or joke that happens seems to be a real reach for the audience to laugh at, sometimes even making comedic moments awkward.

Jim Field | B

The second half, when everyone’s back in Atlanta, is when we get to the melodrama. This one thinks that one is cheating on him! This one is certain that one is cheating on her! These two are splitting up! This one is insecure about not being able to find a job, and irritated that his wife’s exhusband keeps hanging around! Here’s some cancer! Here’s some alcoholism! Would you care for a smattering of domestic violence? Don’t mind if I do! There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of those story lines, of course. But Perry handles everything so amateurishly, with on-the-nose dialogue and a complete lack of subtlety or nuance. I marvel at the sheer lunacy of the scene where a drunk Malik Yoba harasses a weeping Janet Jackson in the midst of their messy divorce, pours vodka on her and then sets fire to the photo album containing the only remaining pictures of their dead child. In fact, someone should compile all of their scenes, because their entire story

Tyler Perry | D

line is off-the-rails insane — and slightly disturbing — considering that Jackson was dealing with the death of her brother Michael during the time of filming. Perry’s direction of a scene also takes away from the film as a whole. During every argument or climatic scene for each of the four couples dealing with their own problems, there’s always another character in the background or an extra standing in the back, completely not reacting the right way to the seriousness of the scene, causing the audience to laugh or just completely lose track of what is actually going on. Most of the drama is so tame and derivative that Perry seems to be going through the motions on this one, repeating the platitudes and relationship angst that he’s trotted out a half-dozen times already. How he built an empire off of sub-par films like this one is a mystery that Hollywood will continue to wonder about for years to come.


April 15, 2010



The xx Mesmerize Philly Crowd BY NICOLE KAGAN STAFF WRITER

Known for their dream pop sound, The xx smoothed the stage over with pure sex appeal on March 29 when they performed at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia. The group made their presence known very quickly, thanks to their stage setup. When they tiptoed on, swirling patterns of rising smoke and the smell of incense permeated the stage. The shadow and silhouette of The xx filled audiences with expectation, and their sexy swagger was irresistible right away as they opened with the patient “Intro” and moved into their signature “Crystallized.” Bassist Oliver Sim literally swung with his bass notes in “Basic Space” as he and lead singer-guitarist Romy Madley Croft sang together in perfect harmony. The xylophones in “VCR” created a playful aura in the church, but the most moving piece was a cover of Kyla’s “Do You Mind,” in which drummer Jamie Smith built up patterns of sound that came together perfectly near the end of the song. Croft sang sincerely into her microphone, and mid-song, they broke out into a huge jam, with Sim banging on a massive drum.

In the bouncy “Islands,” Croft and Sim sang “I am yours now,” and Croft’s guitar solo was paired with Smith’s sweet beats. Smith paced his way through “Infinity,” mixing drums and synchronizing their intensity with the refrain “Give it up/I can’t give it up.” Two very eclectic opening acts preceded them during the evening. NoSaj Thing, from Japan, opened the show with sneaky beats and quirky sounds on his laptop, giving a dramatic prelude to what would eventually be a very chill evening. Next came jj, a blonde duo hailing from Sweden, who both entered and exited the venue unfashionably. Singer Elin Kastlander trudged on stage alone and sang a melancholy melody while playing guitar. The unknown piece was met by hesitant nods from the crowd who were waiting for the duo’s other member, Joakim Benon, to stop drunkenly playing air drums, guitar and piano. Even after the two unique opening acts, The xx made sure the tension in the audience was washed away with layers of subtle, whispery rock — and their jamming helped get rid of any doubts about them being able to play passionately. They sent tremors through the venue, made eye contact with people seated in the church, and immersed everybody in sexy vibes.

Up for Metal Hammer’s Golden God Award for best drummer, Mastodon’s Brann Dailor divulges that the seemingly divine band is also part human. BY STACY DOUEK EDITOR

Thinking of interview questions for a band like Mastodon is not easy. Their press coverage has been vast, and their music extremely intricate. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned from them is that they are anything but a contradiction. They have been revered as the Led Zeppelin of our time — although drummer Brann Dailor easily admits he prefers Black Sabbath over Zeppelin — and many progressive rock rivalries have been rumored to exist. But Dailor says, “We don’t have rivalries with any band.… We want groups to push the envelope musically. We’re all in this together, bands that are playing technical music. … We need to stick together because there’s not too many of us. We leave the rivalry up to the hip hop guys.” For being incredibly technical and complex, the band seems pretty insouciant when it comes to putting together an album. “We just kind of went to the practice space and hashed [Crack the Skye] out. … We knew what we wanted and we know what to do. … It’s the only thing we know how to do for 10 years. … There’s that magical moment that happens when the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and that’s why we play music. If it doesn’t happen, we won’t record it,” Dailor says. The fate of that moment during live shows seems to rest with one key figure: the sound guy. But, even the best sound guy couldn’t make up for bassist Troy Sanders’ off-key vocals on the Late Show with David Letterman. How could this happen to a band that for so long emulated technical perfection? Refusing to believe that their

demigods could screw up, fans spun rumors to conclude that the gig was blown because the band didn’t want to play for a mainstream crowd. But when I asked Dailor about it, he merely sighed and remarked, “Troy was sick and I had the flu for two weeks beforehand. ... We’re human. Ninety percent of the time we’re spot on, the other 10 … [things] happen. It was an awkward show to play because we had to clip a 10minute song down to 3 minutes. The whole time I was thinking ‘Don’t play it the way you’ve been playing it.’” After hearing the discomfort in his voice, we switched gears and started to talk about the times that Mastodon played at Italian restaurants, gymnasiums and buffets when they were establishing themselves years back. “At the china buffet, four or five dudes dressed up as ’70s gym teachers — you know, with shorts, knee socks and mustaches — and they had a football in their hands. … They used the guitar pedal boards as the lines of scrimmage. … If you got past the pedal boards, you got a touchdown. … They just jumped over all of the kids in the front row that were going nuts and played their game,” Dailor says. With the unconventional yet amusing vision still ingrained in my mind, I couldn’t resist to ask one final question: “Being an esteemed metal and progressive rock band, what is Mastodon’s official view on Lady Gaga?” Dailor simply chuckled and replied, “Mastodon loves Lady Gaga. She’s an extremely talented pop artist that definitely deserves it.” Let’s just hope that at the next Mastodon gig, a slew of Lady Gagas clad in ’80s shoulder pads attempt to play football with guitar pedal boards.




Long Island alt-rock outfit Envy on the Coast has returned with Lowcountry. The new album is a strong follow-up to Lucy Gray and the band’s self titled EP. Heavy guitar and dr ums, accompanied by frequent guttural screams with the occasional drear y singing, encompass most of the album’s sound. Despite this — or perhaps because of this — the music keeps the audience engaged as there is no telling what may come next,

as heard on “The Devil’s Tongue.” While most of the album’s tracks have different themes, the instrumentals set an angry mood for much of the album, leaving the listener wondering why the band has such a bitter view toward the world. Even though the messages are similar, the band still manages to keep most of the music dynamic. “Made of Stone”, featuring lead singer Ryan Hunter’s droning voice and somber acoustic guitar, brings a solemn sound to an otherwise post-hardcore album. His beginning pronouncement of, “I don’t believe in much of anything,”

Jónsi, lead singer and guitarist of experimental rock outfit Sigur Rós, recently released his first solo album, Go. Right from the star t, the sound of the album differs significantly from the usual Sigur Rós productions. Acoustic and string instruments dominate most of the album’s songs, made apparent in the track “Tornado,” where Jónsi’s melodic

outlines the message for most of the album. “Clergy” gives the feeling of wandering through a dark, winding forest, and the listener can get lost in the song’s flighty melody. The theme, however, is about corruption in the church, so the subject matter does not seem to fit with the sound. Several hidden tracks on the album make for pleasant surprises, as these are mostly softer and cleanse the hearing “palette” before jumping into heavy songs again. The juxtaposition of the two sounds keeps the album interesting from one track to the next and makes it an acceptable listen.

Go | A-

voice adds the perfect sound to an already majestic track. Most of the tracks contain both English and Icelandic lyrics, leaving a bit of myster y and allowing the audience to draw their own conclusion about the songs’ meanings. Because of the songs’ instr umentals, the ambiguity works well, making it easy to drift of f. Its calm, soothing melodies allow the listener to get lost in the music. The bells and flutes that are present in “Boy Lilikoi” create images of a whimsical fantasy, giving the illusion of being surrounded in a magical place.

Elsewhere on the album, the solemn mood of “Hengilas” creates an eerie, melancholy sound for an otherwise upbeat record. The song acts as a rather interesting closer to the album’s eccentric nature. However, it fits in nicely with the rest of the album, and leaves the listener in a dream-like state. Despite the album’s somewhat short nine-track length, the music keeps the listener interested and the flow of songs makes the album seem longer. In general, Go is a very jovial effort with a few somber songs that act as a transition in an overly cheerful album.

Envy on the Coast Lowcountry | B-



Collegiate Showdown


Victoria’s Secret PINK is hosting the party of the year this fall, complete with models, free merchandise, and a live performance at one lucky college campus. The search began with 59 schools, and Rutgers has now made it to the final two. Voting ends on April 19th with the winner being selected on April 20th, so log on to to vote for Rutgers. Voting is limited to once a day, so don’t forget!

Five Other Looks from Karin Dreijer Andersson aka “Fever Ray”






Inside Beat 2010-04-15  

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