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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Arts & Culture

Step into my Office, baby

As most fans of quality television programs know, "The Office" returns to its weekly spot on NBC tonight to resume its fourth season.

For Office fanatics like myself, this requires some preparation.

Surprisingly, I don't follow this show religiously just for the priceless puppy face Jim (John Krasinski) makes into the camera after Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) says something outlandish and illogical. The main appeal of this cleverly written sitcom is its ordinary-meets-wtf style of humor, and personally speaking, its quaint similarity to my work life in The Aggie newsroom.

There are many ways in which the staff here at this fine student-run publication brings the spirit of "The Office" to our everyday life. White tape clearly shows the boundaries of the "water cooler talk" region, where all the juicy gossip goes down. We have our Jim Halperts, our Angelas (which is played by me on stressful days),but unfortunately, there's no one over 50 to play the role of Creed.

We have yet to hold any office Olympics, and the Dundees are in store for June 2008, but we do hold an ongoing office competition of foosball. They really need to get a foosball table at the Dunder-Mifflin office to add a new competitive and silly pastime to their repertoire. We have two here at The Aggie, and I can assure you they create a very productive work environment, among other things.

So as I've explained, we here at The Aggie have been patiently waiting it out. Since the writers' strike, this has been enough for me and my fellow Office-ites, but we all miss weekly unveilings of new episodes. A writer myself, obviously, I understand and am not resentful about the long halt between season four episodes. But I do have some expectations, predictions and hopes that the show's writers will fulfill as they close out the season:

Gallery Review

Editor's note: MUSE offers a monthly feature to review specific exhibits from art galleries on campus and throughout the Davis/Sacramento area. This month's "Gallery Review" is of the exhibit 'American Folk Art' by various artists. The exhibit will be on display until Apr. 19 at the John Natsoulas Gallery.

 

The gallery experience can be an overwhelming one. However enlightening the creations, a plaguing stiffness can be in the air. That sense of heightened formality, a need to whisper and the rule to keep a respectable distance from the work on display. This prim decorum is not the case with "American Folk Art."

It's a welcome unpretentiousness: Folk art is created by those with little or no formal training in art, and most of the works on display in the exhibit are marked by a naivety, a certain inexperience that lends itself to an unstudied aesthetic. Many of the paintings are have a childlike quality - bright colors, flat images, a simplified, almost archaic approach to light and perspective - pieces that would seem more at home on a refrigerator door held up by a kitchen magnet than on a gallery wall.

Percussion festival strikes a beat this weekend

If you've always wanted to learn a percussion instrument or brush up on your current skills, now's your chance. Tonight, Saturday and Monday, the UC Davis Percussion Festival will commence, complete with workshops and concerts from both students and masters, featuring Brazilian beats, merry marimbas and more.

The UC Davis department of music began doing music festivals four years ago, with each year celebrating a different particular instrument. Last year was the cello festival, and this year will mark the first percussion festival to be held on campus with percussion lecturer and performer Chris Froh at the helm as the festival's director.

"To be given free range, and to basically do whatever I'd like to do, has been ideal," said Froh.

Today's performance in Mondavi's Grand Lobby will feature both the percussion students and the samba school, a newer and relatively unheard of addition to the course catalog. The class is open to all levels of experience and performs every quarter, which made participating in the percussion festival a natural flow of events, Froh said.

Poetic Intervention

The arrival of spring goes hand in hand with images apt to inspire the nearest lounging poet. How fitting, then, that National Poetry Month should fall on this time of year.

In Yolo County the celebration has already begun, but with readings on the way at both The Avid Reader and Bistro 33, the coming weeks promise to be eventful.

The Sacramento Poetry Center, located on 25th St., held its annual poetry conference Apr. 4and 5, featuring readings, workshops and lectures by local and visiting poets. Among its participants was Sacramento State English professor, Joshua McKinney, who read with fellow poets Camille Norton and Jane Hershfield on Friday evening. The following morning he held a workshop with approximately 10 participants.

"What I liked most was the camaraderie, the spirit of sharing a mutual endeavor that I experienced," McKinney said. "There were some fine writers in attendance."

Movie Review: Stop-Loss

Stop-Loss

Directed by Kimberly Peirce

Paramount Picture

Rating: 3

Stop-Loss isn't a political movie, per se. It's not meant to sway the audience in any particular way about the political ideologies. It's not necessarily an anti-war movie, nor does it preach "Support Your Troops" messages into every scene.

At heart, Stop-Loss is a drama that focuses on the effects of war - not the war itself. Rather than concentrating on the merits of war, director Kimberly Peirce focuses on the storytelling of human drama, an area that seems to suit her better, based on her directorial debut in 1999 with Boys Don't Cry.

Stop-Loss is about a group of soldiers returning from duty in Iraq. Undoubtedly, it's been a tough gig: On their last tour, Sergeant Brandon King (Ryan Phillippe) and his men are ambushed, leaving one man in their group killed and another permanently disfigured.

Friends, family and a cheering town greet the soldiers at home in Texas, but life doesn't get any easier for them once they return. Duty and combat has permanently changed them; one soldier is in rehabilitation after losing an arm, a leg and his eyesight after the ambush, and he is unable to visit his family in Mexico. The effects are more than physical for other soldiers: Brandon suffers from nightmares about the ambush that he feels responsible for. After their homecoming party, Sergeant Steve Shriver (Channing Tatum) suddenly snaps, and Brandon finds Steve at home in a drunken fit, digging a trench hole in his front yard in his underwear.

Concert Review

Anyone who left Theta Chi's Zion I and Mistah Fab outdoor show last Saturday without a few black and blue spots,smashed eyeglasses,mysterious bite marks,or at least an elbow to the stomach should count themselves lucky.

In town like Davis,chock full of young hip-hop fans from the Bay Area,you have to expect that people are going to get bit crazy - or you might say,hyphy,when two extremely popular hip-hop artists from Oakland come to visit.

The double lineup nicely catered to both fans of the socially conscious and poetic underground fare of Zion I as well as the lighter-themed,pounding,up-tempo beats of Mistah Fab that anyone who listens to the radio even occasionally has probably memorized perfectly.

This isn't to say that the crowd was utterly out of control the entire time.The vigorous local and UC Davis student band Sex,Funk,and Danger got the audience moving and grooving benignly and not belligerently with their hybrid of hip-hop,funk and jazz.

Still hyphy

It's the start of a new quarter, and spring is in the air. The sun is shining, flowers are blooming; a new season is upon us. Why not take the chance to capture the spirit of spring with a hyphy show right on campus?

The ASUCD Entertainment Council is presenting a show featuring Bay Area hip-hop group The Federation. The show is free and will take place Friday on the Quad at noon. In the case of rain, the show will be moved to Freeborn Hall.

For anyone who has lived in northern California over the past couple of years, the hyphy subgenre of hip-hop has established itself as a Bay Area mainstay. Rapper Stressmatic of the Federation described the appeal of hyphy music.

Review: Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails

Ghosts I-IV

Self-Released

 

Rating: 5

 

Nine Inch Nails' creative architect Trent Reznor consistently works to shake the norms of the music industry, whether it be through strategic resistance to the clutch of major record labels or an indirect jab at Fred Durst's musical capability. Reznor has similarly worked to alter the direction of his own projects, and NIN's seventh and latest release Ghosts I-IV, released Mar. 2, offers no evidence to the contrary.

Reznor's style has developed ever since the angst-filled years of Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral, and Ghosts expresses a positive and mature shift to a new brand of experimental, minimal and predominately electronic industrial music. Ghosts is largely a conceptual album, consisting of 36 nameless instrumental tracks broken into four volumes and spanning a length of nearly two hours - a time that would surely bring miserable tears to a 21st century MTV loyalist.

Schulz’ legacy brought to Wyatt Pavilion Theatre

Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Sally, Woodstock, Shroeder, Linus and Lucy - do these names revive a feeling of childhood nostalgia? Starting tonight, Studio 301 will be giving everyone the chance to revisit those days by performing You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown at the Wyatt Pavilion Theater on Old Davis Road.

The student theatre company will perform a series of musical vignettes best described as a day in the life of Charlie Brown, starring sophomore theater and communication major Matt Escarcega.

Review: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Rating: 5

 

Super Smash Bros. Brawl picks up where its predecessors left off: your favorite Nintendo characters jumping around familiar Nintendo places using their special moves to fling their enemies into the distance.

The gameplay has not changed appreciably. In fact, the controls are so similar that Brawl is not only backwards compatible with the Gamecube controller, but one might also be hard-pressed to find players who are willing to play with the Wii remote. I grant you that I am not the most skilled player of Super Smash Bros., but when I tried to play with the remote I found that the majority of the match was given over to asking which button did what. Sticking with the Gamecube controller is far easier for those who have played even a small amount of Melee.

Bicycle race

If you've ever seen a bicycle as flashy as a scraper bike but too agile and swift to be one, you're probably perplexed. You may wonder why the bike has no brakes or be reminded of an incident in the Quad during finals week involving a cop car, a student on a bike and some handcuffs.

Well, I will not be talking about that.

I will, however, give you the inside scoop on fixed gears - a flowering hobby set on wheels, mashing through traffic and holding onto the side of your car to stay balanced at a stoplight. It's the fixie frenzy, and it has spread here to the platinum-rated bicycle city of the nation.

Review: 21

21

Directed by Robert Luketic

Rating: 2

Perhaps you've seen the tantalizing trailers - dangerous action, clever counting and an evil Kevin Spacey in the seedy underbelly of Las Vegas. Sounds exciting, right? Too bad 21 was nothing like the movie the marketing team pretended it would be.

21 follows the plight of MIT star student and goody two-shoes Campbell (Jim Sturgess, Across the Universe), who, after receiving his acceptance letter to Harvard Medical School, finds that he is unable to pay for the school's high tuition fees. Luckily, Campbell manages to impress his professor Mickey Rosa (Spacey) in his non-linear equations class and is recruited by Rosa to join his blackjack team. Using a system of counting cards, verbal codes and secret sign language, the team is able to strategically win gobs of money from the casinos - so much, that it's only a matter of time until they are caught by the menacing loss prevention specialist Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne).

ARTS WEEK

LIVE MUSIC

Pilipino Time '08: Time to Get Happy!

Friday, 7 p.m., $10 in advance and $12 at the door

Performance Arts Theatre, Davis High School

As far as I know, people of all races may attend this Pilipino-intensive performance, and I promise that all will enjoy it! Expect the best from the hip-hop dance squad MK Modern and song by the MK Choir. Other performers include Anak, High Notes and Leejay Abucayan. This event benefits the Pilipino Outreach and Retention Coalition for Education.

Review: Counting Crows

Counting Crows

Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings

Geffen Record

Rating: 4

After a six-year-long disappearance, Counting Crows front man Adam Duritz seems ready to take on the musical world with the band's first full-length release since Hard Candy.

Aptly titled Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings, the release is cleverly divided according to the soul-searching late-night forays and early-morning regrets that usually compose the weekend. The first six tracks are predominantly up-tempo tunes while the final eight consist of softer, introspective rock ballads. However, despite this attempt at an even distribution of Duritz's signature unthreatening wail, the first half of the CD outshines the latter and ultimately generates its strongest tracks.

Davis Film Festival holds fifth showing starting tonight

Those turned off by the lack of interesting, thought-provoking films in theaters these days may now have found a place of refuge. The fifth annual Davis Film Festival kicks off at 7:30 p.m. today at Varsity Theatre with the screening of acclaimed documentary and multiple film festival award-winner Moving Midway.

Continuing Friday and Saturday at Veterans Memorial Theatre, this year's festival features films on topics including art, music, war and human rights. Included in the lineup are short works and feature-length pieces by filmmakers from all around the country.