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5/15/09

Wild At Heart - Friday May 15th 2009

Hey Bill I'm sorry I was a slack ass ~ Amy Palomar
Amy - can you post this up right away??
- Bill

Wild
Bill Ketelhut provides the "blog" to this anti-blog
He has a radio program on WXOU out of Oakland University

Wild At Heart

It is time again for another ticket giveaway this week as we celebrate the music of Sonic Youth. The first email at doramu13@yahoo.com will get a pair of tickets to see Sonic Youth at the Royal Oak Music Theatre on Monday, June 29th. I remember taking a woman’s study class at BGSU and one of the other guys in the class made every paper he did based on Kim Gordon’s influence. Kim was born in the same town I was which is Rochester, NY and she is also known as an established visual artist and curator with her work being exhibited across the US, Japan and Europe. The band has a new album called “The Eternal”.

Now for the moment I have been anxious for, the new Star Trek film which opening to a $76.5 payout at the box office and some of the best film reviews of any Star Trek film. Now the idea for a prequel goes back to 1968 when Gene Roddenberry made the announcement at the World Science Fiction Contest that he would do a film prequel to the TV series and then later in the 1980’s the idea was brought up for the 4th and 6th films in the series (which of course didn’t happen). A couple of other attempts were made but it wasn’t until JJ Abrams was approached. Interesting enough, Abrams was more of a Star Wars fan than Trek and originally didn’t want to do it until he read the script and decided he would be jealous of anyone else doing it. For all those people who bring up the Star Wars vs Star Trek debates, I think it is interesting that ILM did the effects for this film but I won’t go there (I equally like both products). For me, I was worried
about the casting! After all, these are iconic characters we are reinventing. My biggest concerns were Heroes bad guy Zachary Quinto as Spock, funny guy Simon Pegg as Scotty, John Cho as Sulu and Winona Ryder as Amanda Grayson (Spock's mother). Zachary was probably the best choice for an early Spock and my worries were just because of how evil he is on Heroes, which shouldn’t matter but that is what happens when you are a fan. I love Ryder but wasn’t sure of her in this film but she is not around enough to matter. Pegg is brilliant as Scotty and while Cho seemed a bit too old to play a young Sulu he does a serviceable job as does the whole cast. I was also worried that whoever played Kirk would be tempted to parody Shatner but Chris Pine makes the character his own from the beginning and brings us a feasible young Kirk that is enjoyable to watch. I was a bit put off by the first time we see McCoy but Urban’s portrayal eventually warmed up to me and I thought Zoë Saldana brought out a sexy Uhura (remember that fan dance scene in Undiscovered Country). Yelchin was kind of an awkward Chekov though Bruce Greenwood is awesome as Commander Pike and Ben Cross does a good job as Sarek (Spock’s father). The special effects are great and we do have Majel Roddenberry dialogue as the computer which was recorded before she passed away.

The movie starts in the year 2387 as a star goes supernova and threatens to destroy the Romulan homeworld. Ambassador Spock pilots a Vulcan ship carrying "red matter" to the supernova but is too late to save Romulus, and the supernova wipes out nearly the entire species. Captain Nero watches his family and homeworld die and attempts to exact revenge on Spock but both ships are caught in the black hole's event horizon and transported back in time where they encounter and destroy the USS Kelvin killing Kirk’s father. 25 years later, Nero captures Spock and stands him on a planet near his home of Vulcan so that he may witness the destruction of his homeworld. The attack on Vulcan is where the Enterprise crew gets established soon after Spock accuses Kirk on cheating on the Kobayashi Mayu test and the fleet goes to Vulcan’s rescue though Kirk, after stowing away, pleads with Pike to see this as a trap. Pike is captured and leaves Spock in charge of the ship but Kirk’s actions get Spock to strand him on Delta Vega where he meets up with Spock and Scotty and they transwarp back to the Enterprise where Kirk takes over the ship putting Spock in second command as they face off against Nero. The film itself brings new life that was missing from the Next Gen movies and while basically resetting the entirety of Trek lore, the movie stands on its own. I found myself really enjoying all the nostalgic moments the actors brought to their counterparts and enjoying the epic nature of the movie. This was the right Trek movie for the times and they did both Gene and the Trekkers proud. They also made a movie which doesn’t really depend on the audience being Trek savvy to enjoy which has been an issue in the past. I feel this cast can “Live Long and Prosper” with the roles and I would love to see them reprise these roles again. This also goes to show that like when Trek brought in Meyer for Wrath Of Khan, it sometimes help to bring in people not tied to the mythology to bring the best out of Trek.

My grade is an A+.

On the flipside, Next Day Air is a total flop. A courier (Scrub’s actor Donald Faison is a real unfunny role) accidentally brings a box containing 10 kilos of cocaine to two incompetent hoods, Brody (Mike Epps) and Guch (Wood Harris). Brody and Guch arrange to sell the cocaine to Brody’s drug dealer cousin which has a few snags of its own. Meanwhile, the intended recipients of the package, wannabe gangster Jesus and his sexy girlfriend (Yasmin Deliz) are wondering where the package is and try to track down the courier before the drug kingpin Diablo (Emilio Rivera) notices it is missing. Of course, he does and comes to help facilitate the recovery and dish out his style of justice but by this point, I was fighting boredom and was hoping that everyone would just kill each other off. Only Deliz kept my interest if this film which is why my grade is a D instead of an F.

I just watched Lymelife which made a big impression in Toronto though not as much for me. The film is set in late-70’s Long Island and deals with two families and their tangled relationships. 15-year-old Scott Bartlett is a gentle, geeky kid who gets picked on and has self-esteem issues unlike his father Mickey (Alec Baldwin) and tightly wired mother Brenda (Jill Hennessey). The community suffers an outbreak of Lyme disease which hits Bartletts' neighbor Charlie Bragg. His wife Melissa (Sex in the City’s Cynthia Nixon) must keep the income flowing herself as she is hired by Mickey though it is partially motivated by lust. As various parts of the families intertwine Scott’s relationship with the Bartlett daughter, Adrianna (Emma Roberts) finds itself with various ups and downs. We also have Scott's older brother, Jimmy, coming home on leave from the army as both families work towards a train wreck and we are left to see who will come out better and who will be worse. If you enjoy indie films, this should be of interest to you and it does have a number of good performances and an ending which allows the viewer to make up their own mind as to what happened. My grade is a B-. It is currently playing at the Maple Art Theatre.

For those interested in theatre, there are a couple of options starting with the opera “Carmen” playing this week at the Detroit Opera House (http://www.motopera.org/ for more info). Carmen is a French opera by Georges Bizet and is based on the novella by Prosper Mérimée (itself influenced by the narrative poem "The Gypsies" by Alexander Pushkin). It currently ranks as the 4th most performed opera and in my world influenced a wonderful parody song by Spike Jones & His City Slickers titled "Spike Jones Murders Carmen", a parody where Carmen works in a bubblegum factory instead of a cigar making factory. In brief, Carmen is set in Seville, Spain and concerns the beautiful gypsy Carmen who has a fiery temper and is very free with her love. After a fight at the cigar factory, she is going to be thrown in jail but captures the heart of Corporal Don José. He allows her to escape with a promise of love. After being released from jail after two months, he goes to Carmen and their relationship turns ugly as Don Jose rejects his former love, leaves the military and joins with her band of gypsy smugglers and his love becomes fanatical as her’s becomes more lukewarm. It turns to jealousy when she turns from him and falls for the famous bullfighter Escamillo and eventually leads to him murdering Carmen. While not the happiest ending (his mother wanted something lighter), the opera has three songs which every person should recognize and a moving performance by the leads that make the show worth seeing. The Detroit Opera House continues to bring some of the most engaging opera to the area and they have announced a shortened season for next year as they have lost 80% of their corporate funding and know the state is not supporting the arts next year. Please make the effort to get down to the Opera and support one of Detroit’s best cultural destinations. My grade is a B+.

Speaking of nice cultural attractions, the Fox Theatre is a wondrous building which started as a film theatre in 1928 (it was the first movie theater in the world to be constructed with built-in equipment for sound films) and I saw a great concert there this past weekend when Leonard Cohen performed their after a 15 year hiatus. His three hour show covered a long list a great tunes including his signature song "Hallelujah" among others in his deep resonating voice which reminds me of Tom Waits. He brought a wonderful supporting cast such as his talented collaborator Sharon Robinson, the harmonious Webb Sisters and the incomparable Javier Mas. Cohen is not known for his singing voice but he hit all the right notes that night and what might be the show of the year after an impressive 3+ hours which saw about 3 encores. The Goth rock band Sister of Mercy actually got their name from an early Cohen tune by that name which just shows how influential he is and I hope it doesn’t take him 15 more year to return. Also, in December 2008 Cohen's "Hallelujah" was placed no. 1 and 2 in the UK singles chart as 'X Factor' winner Alexandra Burke hit No. 1 and Jeff Buckley’s beautiful version was at No. 2 with a third released by Cohen himself placed at No. 36.

For those looking for some cool concerts this week, it looks like Wednesday 13th is a strong night with folk legend Arlo Guthrie @ the Ark (he will also be there on Thursday), rockers Buckcherry @ the Fillmore and Vetiver with local singer Aran Ruth @ The Pike Room. Friday the 15th will see Heart @ Caesar’s Windsor and MC Hammer as part of the Pioneers of Hip Hop show @ the Fox. On Saturday 16th, the punk rockers Alkaline Trio will be at @ the Fillmore and next Monday, the sold out Animal Collective show @ Royal Oak Music Theatre. This weekend also see the Country Hoedown at Hart Plaza from Fri to Sun. My highlight for Friday is actor Kevin Costner & Modern West at 8:30PM Friday (I have heard good things about his band and I want to check them out). On Saturday, I like the local band Wrenfields on Sat @ 5PM and Lee Ann Womack @ 6:15PM. Sunday is the big night with the Zac Brown Band @ 7:40 and Willie Nelson @ 9:15PM.

For a full schedule, go to http://wycd.com/

Don’t forget about the Motor City Comic Con at the Rock Financial Place this weekend with special guests Carrie Fisher and a list too long to get into. Go to http://www.motorcityconventions.com/ for a full list of celebs at the con.

I hope to see everyone out and about this weekend.

Have a good weekend and be safe.

"MCB IS DETROIT"
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