Arts & Entertainment

Film Reviews

Although this movie may seem like a pathetic attempt to employ an attractive Australian hunk as a knight in shining armor, “”A Knight’s Tale”” is a surprisingly good film about courage and social rebellion in the Middle Ages. Heath Ledger plays the lead character, William Thatcher, an English squire determined to become a knight who does so by fooling the French nobility. The movie revolves around tournaments and jousting, the sport in which two men on horseback run at each other with huge wooden sticks and try to knock each other down, in case you didn’t know. It is through these tournaments that Thatcher gains popularity and comes into contact with his enemy Count Adhemar, played by Rufus Sewell. Both actors are exemplary as they play two men motivated by their competitive spirit. Newcomer Shannyn Sossamon plays Jocelyn, the object of both men’s affection. Although completely unheard of before this film, Sossamon plays her role with realism. The noteworthy supporting cast also adds humor and vitality to a surprisingly humorous and modern take on medieval times. Although the story is a bit contrived, it is a great combination of modern pop music with everlasting themes of courage, love and honor. The impressive horsemanship and sportsmanship in this movie make it appealing to males as well as females, for obvious reasons. Ledger, unlike many other Hollywood hunks, can actually act, and his skill makes this film realistic and human. This movie is great if you want to see an entertaining film with a respectable degree of depth. It will keep you entertained and thoroughly satisfied. — Anne Cong-Huyen ...

Brotherly Love: The Black Crowes and Oasis

Newlywed Chris Robinson and The Black Crowes performed May 14 at the Greek Theatre as part of the Brotherly Love Tour that also featured dueling brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher, of Oasis. Though Oasis struggled to gain the acceptance of the crowd, the Robinson brothers stole the night, which ended with a cover of “”To Love Somebody”” with Noel and Joan Osborne. The Black Crowes performed new songs like “”Midnight From the Inside Out,”” “”Greasy Grass River”” and “”Cosmic Friend,”” as well as hits like “”Twice as Hard”” and “”Sting Me.”” Oasis opened with “”Go Let it Out”” and closed with a cover of The Beatles’ “”I am the Walrus”” and included hits like “”Don’t Look Back in Anger,”” “”Morning Glory”” and “”Champagne Supernova.”” Oasis is working on a follow-up to “”Standing on the Shoulder of Giants”” and The Black Crowes have a new album in stores titled “”Lions.”” — Story and photos by Brian Moghadam ...

Lindy Hop with San Diego's Best Swingers

As any avid lindy hopper can tell you, learning how to swing dance in a class is only scratching the surface. In order to practice your moves and get a real feel for the scene, every dancer must go out to a swing club. There are no excuses. Lindy hop is a social dance. Luckily, San Diego is home to some of the best and most innovative clubs this side of the Pacific. With a venue open almost every day of the week, beginner and advanced dancers alike have all the more reason to venture out and get their groove on. The following are some of the best swing clubs in San Diego: Tuesday Nights The Rocket Portuguese Hall 2818 Avenida de Portugal, near Shelter Island in Point Loma (619) 291-3775 or http://www.2toGroove.com One of San Diego’s premiere swing venues, this club also boasts one of the city’s biggest dance halls. At over 3,000 square feet, its wooden dance floor is nicely complemented by a high ceiling, crystal chandeliers and other beautiful ornamentation. Upon arrival, don’t forget to ask about dance lessons from the club’s friendly managers. Jim Cruzen and Margie Adams. The large stage in the foreground makes this one of the few swing venues in the area to consistently feature live bands. Conveniently located nearby are plenty of restaurants and cafes to provide good eats after a long night of dancing. 9 p.m. – Midnight $6 cover ($5 for students with ID) Thursday Nights The Firehouse San Diego Center for the Moving Arts 3255 5th Ave., between Spruce and Thorn in Hillcrest (858) 603-3784 Call Meeshi for more information A favorite among the San Diego lindy crowd, this all-ages swing club is known for its intimacy and underground feel. Just as the name suggests, the venue is actually an old firehouse converted into a dance hall. It features over 2,400 square feet of wooden floor space and a fantastic sound system. Regular DJs such as Meeshi Sumayao like to play music at groovy, moderate tempos, making the Firehouse an ideal place for beginner/intermediate lindy hoppers to get their first taste of social dancing. 9:30 p.m. – Midnight. $5 ($3 students with ID). Friday Nights Cafe Savoy Clayton’s Cafe Corner of 7th and F, in the Gaslamp (next to the Maryland Hotel) (858) 603-3784 Call Meeshi for more information San Diego’s newest swing club is also its smallest and only coffeehouse-turned-swing venue. The relaxed cafe atmosphere allows dancers to chat and socialize more than they would be able to do in a louder, bigger club. In addition, food and drinks are served into the late hours, allowing patrons to enjoy a night of dancing as well as delicious desserts. Unique to this club are its huge windows, giving outsiders the rare opportunity to stop and watch one of San Diego’s most exciting dances. 8:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. $5 (swing lesson included) Saturday Afternoons Lindy by the Bay The Hilton San Diego Resort 1775 East Mission Bay Drive, off Interstate 5 in Mission Bay Taking its cue from other big cities that like to host swing dancing next to bodies of water, most notably San Francisco’s “”Lindy in the Park,”” this is San Diego’s own version of outdoor lindy. The venue offers swing dancers a rare chance to dance outside the confines of a club. Similar to Cafe Savoy, Lindy by the Bay is equally friendly to the nonswing dancer. Anyone who wants to see some free entertainment on a weekend afternoon can come out and mingle with the friendliest people in town. 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. Free! ...

Oakenfold Rocks EMF

San Diego is not known as the bastion of so-called “”rave”” culture. There aren’t very many clubs that cater to big-name DJs, and finding a massive — a party on a gargantuan scale — out in the middle of the San Diego countryside is a bit of a hassle. UCSD prevents the DJs and Vinylphiles Club from organizing an event such as last year’s “”Movement,”” which flooded the Price Center with wonderful music and colorful people. So it was nice, for once, to head down to the San Diego Sports Arena for the Electronica Music Festival, rather than to make my way to, say, Indio to find a comparable line-up. Settled in the concourse of the Sports Arena were two areas of kickin’ breaks and deep house. In the Main Concourse area, Barry Weaver, Nigel Richards and local DJ Jon Bishop entertained a small crowd of people sweating and grooving to the music. Downstairs in the House Arena, Angel Alanis and Jon Williams kept the dancers alive with hard-hitting house and techno. But the two main stages were where all the people were. On the floor of the Sports Arena, thousands of revelers were waving their glow sticks and struggling for room to dance. Main Stage 2 catered to those who know and love Moonshine Records. Veteran DJ Donald Gluade and labelmates John Kelley and Dave Aude played to a packed crowd that was jumping and shouting at every break and every snyth line. Main Stage 1 had the names that most casual fans of electronica would know. VonShock, Taylor and Mark Lewis pumped up the crowd with their eclectic sounds of progressive house and trance. But as 1 a.m. approached, the dance floor became more difficult to navigate; it came time for the world-famous Paul Oakenfold to take his place behind the decks. Appearing in a polka-dot shirt, Oakenfold made his way onto the elevated stage and extended his arms out to the crowd before clutching his heart in appreciation as candy ravers and casual ravers alike erupted into cheers. Oakenfold’s resume is impressive: He has performed in places such as Liverpool, England’s superclub Cream, dropped mind-expanding tracks in Ibiza and even opened for U2. Oakenfold is no stranger to the West Coast, either. By playing massives last summer in Southern California and more recently at Coachella and San Diego’s Club Montage, Oakenfold is definitely trying to stake his claim here in the West Coast music scene. While the first hour of his two-hour set wasn’t very impressive, Oakenfold picked things up in his second hour on stage. The god-like influence of Oakenfold became apparent as he pulled the crowd in closer with each bass line and drum beat. Then, in classic Oakenfold fashion, he dropped in a couple of vocal tracks and closed his set with thick layers of trance-synths that directed dancers into a frenzy. Before the audience realized what had hit, Oakenfold was done, but Dave Ralph picked up the pace and energy of Oakenfold and rocked the crowd until the very end, at 4 a.m. Watching the throngs of people actually dancing until the end was magical. And as you stumbled out of the Sports Arena and waded through the flyers for the next party, your only regret was that Oakenfold didn’t play longer, and your only hope was that San Diego will host more events like the Electronica Music Festival. ...

Swing Kids!

There was a time not too long ago — about five years ago, in fact — when you could hardly walk down the street without seeing something about swing, the newest dance craze to sweep pop culture. The neo-swing fad of the late ’90s quickly made household names of such swing things as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Brian Setzer and even the Gap, with its omnipresent “”jump and jivin'”” commercial. But times have changed and I am sure most of us are left to wonder, “”What the hell happened to swing?”” Well, for anybody out of the groove, rest assured that swing is alive and kicking, albeit in the underground. One of the most vibrant forms of swing just happens to have the strongest presence right here in San Diego. What could I be talking about, other than that unabashedly joyful dance with its constant eight-count rhythmic pulse flowing to the music of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s? Lindy hop. This original swing dance of the ’20s began at the famed Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, N.Y. Although lindy hop existed before the opening of the club, it was not until dancers such as “”Shorty George”” Snowden, Leroy “”Stretch”” Jones and the legendary Frankie Manning revolutionized the scene that the dance really began to soar. Snowden is often credited for naming lindy hop after Charles Lindbergh’s triumphant 1927 “”hop”” across the Atlantic. According to myth, shortly after Lindbergh’s famous transatlantic flight, New York City hosted a charity dance marathon. Among the many people in attendance that day was Snowden. After seeing Snowden performing an eye-popping maneuver, a reporter covering the event asked him, “”What was that?”” to which the dancer replied, “”The lindy hop.”” The rest is history. One fundamental thing to remember about swing is that there are distinctions between the different dances. By now, most people are probably familiar with the terms West Coast and East Coast swing. A myriad of other styles exists — far too many to list. At the risk of making too gross a generalization, all other forms of swing dancing are simply variations on lindy hop, since it was the original swing dance. San Diego’s current lindy scene traces its origins directly from the neo-swing fad of the mid ’90s. Swing had always been around, but you would be more likely to find your grandfather carrying on the tradition instead of your dormmate. The dramatic resurgence of youth in the culture did not occur until after the media embraced swing. Before you knew it, swing was everywhere — on television, in the movies, even in clothing. Clubs existed in San Diego, most notably the rockabilly club Tio Leo’s, but ones that were lindy-friendly were either rare or nonexistent. Not until the efforts of two pioneer dancers — Johnny Lloyd and Lisa Conway — did the lindy scene in San Diego take flight in the late ’90s. Following their lead were other prominent instructors who cranked out even more dancers. Among these teachers were the self-proclaimed “”swing jack of all trades”” Meeshi Sumayao; instructors and current managers of the Rocket swing club Jim Cruzen and Margie Adams; and UCSD’s very own distinguished recreation class instructors, Tan Huynh and Valerie Yau. In many ways, UCSD has played a large part since the beginning in contributing to San Diego’s lindy community. The rec. classes constantly feed dancers into the scene. Indeed, on any given night, the majority of people in one of San Diego’s many swing clubs is often made up of UCSD students. Presently, the swing scene in San Diego remains small but loyal. So loyal, in fact, that the dedicated ones would never let swing die. Most local lindy hoppers are in their late 20s to mid-30s. Unlike other cities that serve alcohol at swing clubs, San Diego typically does not. The reason is not hard to figure out. Dancing while drunk, especially to something as challenging as lindy, is dangerous. Practically every dancer knows this and prefers to remain sober on the dance floor. The vast majority of the city’s venues are sponsored by dancers instead of bars, making big-time marketing an impossibility. This may explain why swing has become such an underground culture. Unlike San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Diego has a more diverse mix of music and style. The City by the Bay is known traditionally for its slower tempos. Los Angeles, by contrast, is famous for its fast and frenetic rhythms. San Diego’s music varies greatly from fast to slow, allowing dancers of all levels of expertise to enjoy the experience. This is unique to our city. Not surprisingly, out-of-town dancers appreciate the mix, regularly commenting on how much variety San Diego has in terms of its music and dancers. They never fail to remark on the genuine friendliness of our small yet dedicated swing scene. With the neo-swing fad came a record number of new dancers, particularly when the craze was at its height. However, today’s swing regulars would attest that most newbies left the scene rather quickly. A lot of them found the dance too difficult and intimidating, while others were more interested in the superficial “”Swingers”” style, which did not embrace dancing at all — its participants chose instead simply to dress up and go out, martini in hand, mingling old ’40s style. Nowadays, while some dancers still get dressed up and play on all of swing’s nostalgia, the opposite is usually more common. The current scene in San Diego is far more laid back. Over the years, the swing scene has made a progression from bars, where people dressed up in vintage outfits, to today’s underground clubs, where comfortable attire is preferred. Without all the frills, dancers today choose to focus more on the dance alone. The emphasis is on feeling the music and connecting with one’s partner. Everything else is just details. Only a few dancers ever get beyond the beginner’s hump, but those who do master the basic steps eventually stick with it. Dancers often remark on how they like the dance for its complexity and athleticism. Of course, there’s also the social aspect. Few dances are as playful but at the same time as complicated as lindy hop. Some liken it to playing chess with a partner. Another interesting feature of modern lindy is its many influences. Lindy hoppers like to spice things up by incorporating other dances, including Latin, tap, jazz and hip-hop. Although not as visible as it once was, the swing scene in San Diego continues to resonate. Most lindy hoppers are certain of one thing — while it is true that fads come and go, swing will continue to live and evolve. ...

Ping Pong Mafia

Battle of the bands winner Ping Pong Mafia will bring their folk-country flavored rock to this year’s Sun God Festival. Although front man Satish and guitarist Dan Ornduff first met at the University of Arizona about 10 years ago, the current lineup — which includes bassist Sean Rose and drummer Brendan Concannon — has only been together for about five months. Unlike many bands that play immediately after forming, Ping Pong Mafia waited until the right time to debut their music. “”All of us are sort of obsessive about perfectionism,”” Satish said. “”We kind of didn’t want to start playing out until we had everything down to a science.”” Now the band is ready to open for Face to Face, Xzibit and Naughty by Nature. With a name such as Ping Pong Mafia, one might expect a typical Limp Bizkit-esque, hip-hop flavored, aggressive rock band. This is not the case. As many band names were, Ping Pong Mafia was chosen on a whim. “”Probably the biggest problem we’ve had is that we just couldn’t agree on a name,”” Satish said. “”So finally I got to the point where I said, ‘I’m just going to pick the next thing that comes out of somebody’s mouth in this room,’ and Brendan, just as a joke, said, ‘Ping Pong Mafia.'”” Musically, Satish, who is the band’s primary songwriter and a UCSD student (he’s working on his Ph.D. in Biology), draws upon everything from Bob Dylan to punk to influence his music. “”[The music is] kind of a 50/50 mix between classic rock, some folk stuff and also, I guess, a smattering of ’80s punk stuff,”” Satish said. Out of that wide spectrum emerges a sound that is both a throwback to classic rock and a new sound entirely. Satish describes the group as an “”all-original rock `n’ roll band … there’s kind of a slight folky edge, a lot of it is pretty blues-based … somewhere between country rock, blues, folk and just original rock `n’ roll.”” In the short time that it has been together, the band became good enough to win UCSD’s battle of the bands, a feat that even surprised Satish. “”Even when it came to battle of the bands, I was like, ‘Oh, I’m sure we’re going to get blown out of the water,'”” he said. “”I’m just psyched that somebody liked us and gave us a chance.”” Although Ping Pong Mafia would not mind becoming as successful as the bands for which they will be opening at Sun God, they play music because they love it. “”I’d like to get to the point where I could really just comfortably support myself, and have a steady flow of gigs, and maybe get on the radio,”” Satish said. With his band’s spot at Friday’s Sun God Festival, it looks like Satish and his band are well on his way. ...

From the festival coordinators

The anticipation is finally over — Sun God 2001 has finally arrived. The event has continued to increase in size, attendance and festivities with more food, games and entertainment for everyone. It is a day to spend with friends as the school year comes to a close. We hope all of our efforts up to and including the day of Sun God will make everything fun and safe for you and the rest of UCSD. Everyone is encouraged to enjoy the festival, but also please keep this in mind: * The entire UCSD community wants everyone to have a great time, but we are also concerned about the safety of each individual student. * Any visibly intoxicated person will be denied entrance to the event and may be detained by the police. *Due to the increase of underage and excessive drinking, all campus police officers, RAs, RSOs, resident deans and the staff are strictly enforcing policies and laws. Your cooperation in following all UCSD policies and remaining in control of your personal use of alcohol will limit many of the anticipated problems during the event. We want everyone to have fun, but please watch over your friends as well as yourself. Sun God 2001 is here … have a great time, UCSD! Priya Mohan Co-Festival Coordinator Scott Mantell Co-Festival Coordinator ...

Sun God 2001

The Sun God is disappointed. If this majestic creature could shake its immobile head in frustration, it would. In order to please the Sun God, UCSD students must pull together and make the 2001 Sun God Festival one to measure the success of all other festivals to come. Otherwise, the Sun God will smite the entire campus of UCSD. The Sun God was fairly happy with the turnout at FallFest, especially since the weather forced the concert to move into the Price Center Ballroom. The Long Beach Dub Allstars, Mix Master Mike and Dial-7 put on a high-energy show that impressed the students. The Sun God was pleased for the moment. Then Winterfest fell short of expectations. The concert’s headliner, Juvenile, was stricken with an alleged ear infection. Lucy Pearl’s strong set was hampered by technical difficulties that cut out some of their speakers, F.o.N. stepped in to fill the shoes as the opening act, and Sprung Monkey rounded out the show. The Sun God watched on, disappointed. Now, the Sun God looks ahead to Sun God Festival 2001. It still remembers last year, when F.o.N., Rahzel from The Roots, The Aquabats and Dishwalla came to UCSD to perform. Local favorite F.o.N. came through with a solid set, and those goofy Aquabats were mildly entertaining. Although we only got one Root out of five, Rahzel stepped up quite nicely — but the one-hit wonder Dishwalla failed to carry the festival. And the low turnout showed it. The Sun God also remembers when Los Lobos entertained the masses in 1985. English chart-topper Blur was here in 1992. Although that was long before the “”woooo-hoo!”” era, Blur was on the wave of the Brit-pop invasion and was backed by its classics such as “”She’s So High”” and “”There’s No Other Way.”” No Doubt was at UCSD in 1994 and 311 rocked UCSD in 1995. Rocket From the Crypt performed Sun God 1996. The Sun God hopes these glory days can return. With the 2001 Sun God Festival looming ahead, let’s hope the students and the bands do not disappoint. Local band Ping Pong Mafia hopes to get things warmed up. Naughty by Nature will be down with O.P.P. and just the thought of hearing that song alone should be enough to keep the crowds down for it. So-Cal punk band Face to Face should give us rockin’ covers from their most recent albums, which feature their renditions of “”What Difference Does It Make”” by The Smiths, “”Don’t Change”” by INXS and “”That’s Entertainment”” by The Jam. Old favorites played a new way should set up the show for hip-hop act Xzibit, whose work is respected by underground rappers. Xzibit has gained more popularity through performances on the Up in Smoke Tour and collaborations with Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Eminem. In the tradition of more European-style festivals, a DJ tent will have DVC DJs spinning from 6:30 p.m. through the end of the event. The Sun God wants to get that sour taste out of its mouth. The Sun God wants to erase memories of Dishwalla trying to headline a festival. With a nod to dance music (DJ tent), a familiar name for casual fans (Naughty by Nature), a hard rocking punk group (Face to Face) and a well-respected and talented headliner (Xzibit), the Sun God finally sees some potential for an amazing time. Now it is up to us to sacrifice our livers for the almighty Sun God and all will be good. ...

Sun God Schedule

Daytime: 11 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Pep Band 11:15 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Sigma Gamme Rho 11:45 a.m.-12 p.m. Triton Cheer Squad 12 p.m.-12:25 p.m. Capoiera 12:25 p.m.-12:35 p.m. Konfusion 12:30 p.m.-12:50 p.m. Hawai’i Club 12:50 p.m.-1 p.m. Alpha Phi Alpha 1 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Ascension 1:15 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Triton Twirl Flags 1:30 p.m.-1:45 p.m. UCSD DOT Womens Choir 1:45 p.m.-2 p.m. Tritones 2 p.m.-2:15 p.m. UCSD Ballroom Dance Team 2:15 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Triton Co-ed Spirit Squad 2:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m. 220 2:45 p.m.-3 p.m. Dance Team 3 p.m.-4 p.m. Voice of Reason Nighttime: 7 p.m. Ping Pong Mafia 7:50 p.m. Naughty by Nature 9:10 p.m. Face to Face 10:30 p.m. Xzibit Plus: A new area has been added to this year’s Sun God with DVC DJ’s spinning throughout the night. 6:30 p.m. Sauron 7:15 p.m. DJ XL 8 p.m. Degenerate 8:45 p.m. Tommyboy 9:30 p.m. Ladykilla 10:15 p.m. Crime Lab 11:30 p.m. Devastator ...

Xzibit

Rap fans throughout the country are unfortunately overwhelmed by an abundance of artists who either go “”Hollywood,”” or worse, are too afraid to be unique. Many rappers today are faced with a dilemma: maintain their integrity and stay underground or sell out and compromise their style in exchange for fame and fortune. Very few rappers can keep it real while at the same time enjoying commercial success. Xzibit, the Sun God headliner, is that rare artist who has accomplished this difficult task. Born in Detroit, Xzibit lived there until his mother passed away when he was 9 years old. When his father remarried, he moved to Arizona with him. He remained in the Southwest until age 17, when he moved to Los Angeles. In L.A., Xzibit hooked up with producer Broadway, who introduced him to Tha Alkaholiks. His impressive appearances on the Liks album “”Coast II Coast”” grabbed the attention of Loud Records executive Steve Rifkin, who in turn offered “”X”” a record deal. Xzibit burst onto the scene with his 1996 album “”At The Speed Of Life,”” and the single “”Paparazzi.”” His harsh, raspy voice is unlike any other in the industry, and is his most valuable asset. With an orchestra and a catchy drum beat mixed together, “”Paparazzi,”” is one of the most creative rap songs ever released. He calls out the fakers in the chorus: “”It’s a shame, niggas in the game only for the money and the fame.”” “”The Foundation,”” is a song written to his son, warning him of the hardships of growing up. Produced by Muggs, who has produced for Cypress Hill, it features a mesmerizing loop of ghostly wails and a rhythmic piano beat, making it a classic. He also works with Mobb Deep in “”Eyes May Shine,”” and shows off his versatility by blending in seamlessly with the dominant East Coast group. Everybody wanted a piece of X on his 1998 sophomore album “”40 Dayz & 40 Nightz.”” Method Man, Ras Kass and Jayo Felony make guest appearances. “”Chamber Music”” is a bangin’ hardcore track that samples its background from Ice Cube’s 1992 song “”When Will They Shoot?”” “”Recycled Assassins”” and “”Handle Your Business”” are two other standouts from the album. While known by some underground rap fans, Xzibit didn’t really blow up until 1998, when he teamed up with Snoop Dogg in “”Bitch Please.”” Produced by Dr. Dre, it has to be one of the smoothest songs ever made. Snoop and X complement each other perfectly, and Nate Dogg finishes off the song in his usual amazing form. With newly found fame from “”Bitch Please”” and the Up In Smoke Tour, Xzibit’s third album “”Restless”” received plenty of hype. Released in 2000, his first single, titled “”X,”” got instant air play across the country. “”Front 2 Back”” is my personal favorite, and I know a lot of people bought this album because I hear people quoting “”Alkaholik”” here at UCSD. Students chant: “”Call it what you wanna call it, I’m a fuckin’ alcoholic.”” In a 5-year span Xzibit has emerged as one of the most prominent West Coast rappers around. He has stayed true to his fans who supported him from the word go, and at the same time attracted a new audience that has just discovered him. The future looks very bright for the “”X to the Z.”” ...