Arts & Entertainment

Film Review

The quality of a film is often negatively correlated with the number of genres it tries to straddle. “”Head over Heels”” could be described as a romantic-crazy-drama-comedy with action elements. Courtesy of Universal Pictures It is the concept of one “”girl next door”” (Monica Potter) living with four models, and she just happens to be good-looking herself. OK, fine. This is America, after all. Add living across the road from the vague exhibitionist Mr. Perfect (Freddie Prinze Jr.), who may or may not be a serial killer. Then progress to pile up the cliches at a higher rate than your average Bon Jovi lyric. A sense of humor based on bodily functions and discharges can make for funny films. It’s just that it’s been done so much funnier, so many times before. That goes for every potential laugh-inducing element of this film: the makeover scene (“”Clueless””), the spying on neighbors (“”Friends””) and the list just goes on. In the last instance, the film suffers from trying to do everything at once and never really manages to achieve anything. The only thing it has built to excess is the melodrama with quivering lips and knees. The action scene has been toned down to an insipid level. The models try to act but become, at best, caricatures of themselves next to the more developed main characters. Guys, they don’t even have breasts, cause they’re models, and models are too skinny to produce any luscious cleavage to speak of. I tried to amuse myself by reading meaning into the Kate Moss-skinny script, but to no avail — unless the statements “”Women can’t be both beautiful and smart at the same time; they need men to save them”” and “”Men with foreign accents are villains”” count as anything worthy of “”meaning.”” To me they don’t. If you do have an irresistible urge to expose yourself to this film, at least hold back until it’s released on video, so you can cringe in the comfort of your own home. Or alternatively, go on Valentine’s Day, because here’s your chance to make out in the dark cinema without missing anything at all. ...

More Than Meets the Eye

We can all remember a time when we were young and sat glossy-eyed and transfixed in front of the television. OK, so maybe some of us still do that now, but back then, our short attention spans were completely diverted to our favorite cartoons. “”The Smurfs,”” “”Thundercats”” and “”Rainbow Bright”” were immensely popular with boys and girls when we were young, and we stared in awe as they passed off corny plotlines and cheesy dialogue as wholesome entertainment. Cartoons have evolved a lot since then, but alas, it was too late for me. I personally blame the old cartoons of the ’80s for permanently destroying millions of my brain cells with such animated catastrophes as “”Superfriends”” and “”GoBots.”” Actually, the cartoons of today should also be held responsible for the idiocy of American youth with shows like “”Digimon: Digital Monsters”” and “”Sabrina: The Animated Series.”” These programs look and move a lot better than their older counterparts, but the premise of all cartoons remains the same: to provide kids with mindless entertainment “”robots in disguise;”” classic good-fighting-evil prototypes. It’s a concept still used today — automatons that have the ability to shoot lasers with the adaptability of disguising into an inconspicuous, common vehicle, such as a Lamborghini ambulance. But beneath the Transformers’ adventures for peace on screen lay a corporate juggernaut bent on raking in cash with its subliminal half-hour toy commercial. For Hasbro, the producer of Transformers figures, it was a spectacular success. My friends and I bought almost every robot so we could re-enact their television adventures without 1:100 scale models of the patriarchal leader Optimus Prime, the aggravating Starscream and the hilariously useless Bumblebee who, playing the perfect foil, constantly found himself in trouble. Of course, the show always gained new characters, like the “”Constructicons”” (five earth-moving robots that made one gigantic earth-moving robot) and thus, there were more toys to buy. When Transformers were introduced in 1984, there were perhaps 30 Transformers total. By the series’ end, the number grew to approximately 23,000 mechanized warriors. Transformers episodes are being released on VHS and DVD by Kid Rhino. But ultimately, we all know that it was the high cheese factor of these cartoons that won our hearts and brainwashed our minds. “”My Little Pony”” was a popular show aimed at girls that taught them how to be, well, girls. Petite, saccharine horses that were either painfully shy or hopeless romantics — girls were suckers for these pastel-coated equines and bought stampedes’ worth of these totally immovable ponies that just posed there looking stomach-churningly cute. In the show, the ponies had three human friends — Megan, Molly and Danny — whom thanks to their opposable thumbs always saved the ponies from life-threatening danger, like being tied up in rope or being too far in the deep end. The ponies always had celebrations and parties for no apparent reason, and incessantly preached for love and kindness until maple syrup poured from the viewers’ ears. But the toys’ popularity dwindled, and the ponies went straight to the glue factory. Only “”My Little Pony: The Movie”” can be seen on the hard-to-find VHS by Vestron Video, and the episodes have not yet been released by Sunbow Productions. Old cartoons have been rising in nostalgic popularity, as many series and movies are being re-released in some way or another. Oldies like “”SilverHawks”” (a spacy version of “”Thundercats””), “”Yogi Bear’s Treasure Hunt”” (in which all of Hanna Barbera’s characters are featured), and “”Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers”” are all on syndicated rerun on the Cartoon Network, Boomerang and the Disney Channel, respectively. “”G.I. J.O.E: The Movie”” is also now available on DVD. It’s always good to take a break to stroll down memory lane. We’re older now, but we can always fondly reminisce about our young, stress-free lives when we sat too close to the television with a large bowl of Froot Loops and bathed in TV’s animated glow. ...

Focus and Attention to the Music

When you realize you are frustrated and fed up with the music scene, you go ahead and create your own scene. Tyler Huff Guardian After being burned out by the local music scene, musician and performer Chuck Perrin took matters into his own hands. Perrin said he was “”frustrated by the lack of acceptable venues to present music the way I envisioned it.”” So he opened up a small space in downtown San Diego, named it Dizzy’s and dedicated it to music. Dizzy’s has torn down all of the distractions found at many other clubs, and placed all of its focus on the music itself. There is no bar or restaurant to divide your attention. Dizzy’s is a place where you get lost in the sounds of the fantastic talent that comes to play. Perrin explained that more often than not, “”performers are competing with three or four televisions tuned to sports in other areas of the room.”” There are no such annoyances at Dizzy’s. Tyler Huff Guardian Nestled on the edge of downtown San Diego’s East Village, Dizzy’s is a haven for jazz purists, blues musicians and folk performers. The small venue offers an intimate setting as well as a high ceiling that provides fantastic acoustics. Unlike other venues, the stage at Dizzy’s is only eight inches off the ground and is set very close to the audience. This gives the people the chance to interact with the musicians on stage, and it allows the musicians to connect with their audience. A professional lighting system gives way to a slightly more laid-back feel with chairs that are set around small candle-lit tables on a concrete floor. As a bit more than a casual fan of jazz, and as a musician, I crave places such as these. I want that relaxed atmosphere where the focus is on the musicians and their music. In that respect, Dizzy’s does not disappoint, because Dizzy’s has eliminated all of the pretenses. Slide guitar player and New Orleans funk and blues performer Billy Thompson was the first act to grace the Dizzy’s stage last April, and little has changed since. As Perrin put it, Dizzy’s “”is what it is.”” I get the feeling that Dizzy’s is not a place that will cave to the over-commercialization that turns artists into sales-generators and makes them a part of the background. “”It’s OK for a musician or artist to work as an actor for bar and restaurant owners, because that can pay the rent,”” Perrin said. “”But for their sanity and growth as artists, there has to be a place where the focus is only on the art.”” Dizzy’s is a brick building that was built in 1913 and it looks cold, but when you step inside, there is more than enough warmth because of the hospitality and dedication. The entire ambiance of Dizzy’s makes you feel like you’ve stumbled across some underground jazz club in a dark alley deep in the city where all the hip cats go to relax and listen to some soothing jazz. There are also paintings by local artist John DeMarco projected behind the performers, which depict legendary as well as local jazz musicians. Perrin has described the venue as having a “”New York City, Greenwich Village vibe.”” Although the emphasis seems to be on jazz and blues, Dizzy’s does book a wide variety of performers. From bluegrass to spoken word performances and acoustic folk performances, Dizzy’s has something for everyone. You can also catch Gilbert Castellanos hosting the East Village Late Nite Jam, which runs every Friday from midnight to 2 a.m. Saturday. The O’Brien Brothers from Dublin, Ireland also recently graced Dizzy’s stage and treated the crowd with an acoustic folk performance with distinctive Irish influences. Band members Donal and Gerard O’Brien were in the States to promote their new album “”Morning Sun,”” which can be found on their Web site at http://www.obrienbrothers.com. The dapper kids from the Ryan Mar-Tet played straightforward jazz and jammed for nearly two hours during another performance. So you can be sure to catch almost any kind of music on most nights during the week. What is especially wonderful about Dizzy’s is that the music is not limited to those who are 21 and up. It opens its doors to all ages, which gives many younger people the chance to go to a small club and listen to live music. You can also rest a bit easier knowing that 70 percent of the eight bucks you pay to get into Dizzy’s goes directly to the artists. The other 30 percent just pays the bills to keep the place open. This isn’t about the profit. Dizzy’s is truly about the music. Dizzy’s is located at 344 Seventh Ave., and there is parking along the street as well as at the parking structure in the nearby Clarion Hotel. Check the hiatus calendar for performance dates, times and cover charge. You can also call (858) 270-7467 for more information. ...

Hiatus Weekly Calendar

Tyler Huff Guardian 1 Thursday Linkin Park will perform that timeless rap-metal style popularized by the likes of Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit. They will be supported by Taproot at Canes Bar & Grill. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $13.50. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster at (619) 220-8497. 2 Friday Watch the GoGirls Music Festival at the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown San Diego. The $5 show will begin at 9 p.m. and will benefit the Nicole Brown Foundation for survivors of domestic violence as well as El Nido domestic violence shelter. The Festival will feature Diamond in the Rough, the Cheryl Bliss Band, the Laura Preble Band, the Lisa Sanders Band and Ren Zenner. Call (619) 615-7625 for ticket information. Steve White will perform at Dizzy’s with a blues sound integrated with musical influences from around the world. Tickets are $8 and the show starts at 8:45 p.m. Call (858) 270-7467 for more information. Popular So-Cal ska band Buck-o-Nine will perform at the Belly Up Tavern. The show will start at 9:15 p.m. and the tickets cost $12. Call Ticketmaster for more information at (619) 220-8497. 3 Saturday Thrash metal group Nothingface features two drummers. The Washington D.C. band will perform at the Brick By Brick starting at 8 p.m. Call Ticketmaster at (619) 220-8497 for more information. The O’Brien Brothers use their contemporary and traditional Irish songs to pack pubs across the country. They will perform at the Belly Up Tavern along with special guest Terry Casey. Tony Cummins will open for them. Show starts at 9:15 p.m. and tickets are $15. Check out http://www.obrien-brothers.com or call Ticketmaster at (619) 220-8497 for more information. Gearing up for the release of a new studio album, old-school punk rockers Social Distortion will perform at 4th & B. The tickets are $25 and the show starts at 7 p.m. Call Ticketmaster for more information at (619) 220-8497. 4 Sunday After their third album “”Flood”” reached gold status, media and the fans slowly dwindled for rock band They Might Be Giants. Catchy hooks and strong lyrics add up to a great live show. They Might Be Giants will perform at 4th & B at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $16.50 and can be bought through Ticketmaster by calling (619) 220-8497. 5 Monday Death metal band Morbid Angel hail from Tampa Bay and will perform at the Brick By Brick. Tickets cost $15 and the show starts at 8 p.m. Call Ticketmaster to purchase tickets at (619) 220-8497. 8 Wednesday B.B. King is a blues legend and he will grace San Diego with his presence at 4th & B. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets will range from $40 to $45. You can purchase your tickets through Ticketmaster by calling (619) 220-8497. ...

Closed for Remodeling

Ah, Friday nights. Truly, the one night out of the week that just screams for some first-rate debauchery. All clubs in San Diego that’ll let someone under 21 enter, raise your hands …. Uh, TJ, anyone? For years there has been talk about hosting some sort of night club at UCSD. At least, that’s what A.S. Assistant Programmer Eisha Christian says. Along with fellow Assistant Programmer Anahita Ferasat and former Programmer Cassie Williams, she had a dream: to have the most happening 18-and-over venue in all of San Diego. The creators wanted to produce a club that would be a great alternative to the city across the border for both students and the rest of the 18-and-over crowd in San Diego. According to Christian, the appeal of the club would be unique. “”You always hear songs such as ‘Funky Cold Medina,’ ‘Baby Got Back,’ and ‘Humpty Dance’ in clubs,”” she said. “”Now you get to see the artists themselves.”” Rob Porter of Porter’s Pub offered the venue to A.S., and UCSD’s very first night club was born. Oddly enough, a certain Latin pop star played a pivotal role in the development of the club. Enrique Iglesias’ song, “”Rhythm Divine”” proved to be just the inspiration the creative team needed when throwing around potential names. Williams said it was from that song that the name “”Club Ritmo”” was born. “”We wanted something exotic, something unique, something people would remember,”” said Williams. “”As it happened, ‘ritmo,’ which means ‘rhythm’ in both Italian and Spanish, was perfect.”” Christian wants the club to become something of a tradition at UCSD, and also known throughout San Diego. Christian promises the club will offer an eclectic mix of hip-hop, electronica and anything else you can groove to. Ferasat has high hopes for the fresh new club to develop and grow. “”We have created a certain atmosphere we hoped to attain,”” said Ferasat. “”So far it’s ghetto, but I can still dream! I just want it to be like the Pringles and Cheese Party Commercials!”” The development of Club Ritmo hasn’t been easy and could never have happened without the help of many people. Christian and Ferasat would like to thank the following cast of people who have supported them from the beginning: Scott Mantell, Kathy Lee, Tracie Davee, Steve Evans, Andy Livingston and the Deejays and Vinylphiles Club. Club Ritmo will take a break for the next few weeks and re-open on March 2 with headliner Miss Jane of “”It’s A Fine Day”” fame. Acts for March 9 and April 6 are still to be announced. April 13 will feature “”Baby Got Back”” rapper himself, Sir Mix-A-Lot. You can do the “”Humpty Dance”” on May 4 with Digital Underground. ...

A.S. Festivals Release Winterfest Duds

In the weeks before any major event, the festivals coordinators of the A.S. Council are hard at work trying to book popular acts to come to UCSD. But sometimes the bands who are being courted can’t come here for one reason or another. Next week we’ll have the official list of who is coming to Winterfest. As for this week, we’ll see the bands who snubbed UCSD: Greg Gorman Paisley Park ATB — DJ Andre Tanneberger produced the massive club hit “”9 P.M. (Till I Come),”” which pounded through clubs from TJ to Europe. However, ATB suddenly changed his U.S. tour plans from February to March and may not even come to San Diego at all. EVE 6 — Popular alt-rock band caught the ears of the public with lyrics talking about putting a heart into a blender. They will be playing in San Diego the week before Winterfest. By the time Winterfest comes around, Eve 6 will be somewhere in the Midwest. EVERLAST — After spending some time with House of Pain, he went solo and even scored a duo with Santana. But he’ll be in Texas during Winterfest and he can’t change his plans. GEORGE CLINTON — Yes, we could’ve gotten the funk master himself but he’s performing in San Diego just a few days before Winterfest and he can’t stick around for the weekend. INCUBUS — This funk-metal band from Calabasas wanted a lot of money. Money that we don’t have for Incubus. SHAGGY — Winterfest or David Letterman? Shaggy went with Letterman. Forget him. Next! Winterfest will be on Friday, Feb. 23. UCSD students get in free with a can of food and there will be a limited amount of guest tickets available. ...

MTV production, ""Save the Last Dance,"" overcomes low expectations

We all enter movie theaters with preconceived notions. I waited to see “”Save The Last Dance.”” The movie got mixed reviews. Some said it was good while others told me not to waste my time. Naturally, I decided to take the risk. Without high expectations, I sat down and got comfortable as the lights dimmed. Once the movie was over, the lights brightened again and I was thoroughly pleased with the time I spent in my ruby-red theater chair. “”Save The Last Dance”” is a story of fulfilling dreams, conquering fears, falling a little into love and, of course, dancing. The plot is interesting, attention grabbing and led by vivacious characters who can, incidentally, all dance extremely well. Whatever abilities they lack as actors — and at times the acting talent does fall short — are made up for on the dance floor. Of course, some scenes were cheesy and some of the story was unrealistic, but for an MTV production, I was impressed. All the little subplots involving one character with another make for a well-choreographed story that was as entertaining as the dance routines. What I loved is that despite the obvious conflicts and serious obstacles the characters have to face, the plot revolves around the dance. The predictable but satisfying ending encourages you to confidently accomplish any goal, or at least to catch the next bus heading for TJ for some clubbing. Considering that “”Save The Last Dance”” is, for the most part, a love story, I would recommend this movie for a light-hearted night out with the girls. For all the Romeos out there, it is a worthy first-date movie. Don’t expect magic to bounce from the screen and pluck at your emotional chords, but do expect an interesting story and lots of entertaining dance moves. ...

Hiatus Weekly Calendar

Courtesy of Dave Hignett Hardcore: A new look for Vanilla Ice who will perform on Friday at the Pub. 01.25.01 R.L. Burnside is 74 years old, but he can still play the blues guitar like no other. With classic tunes about moonlight train rides and loneliness, he stands as a living legend. He performs at the Belly Up Tavern at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $12 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling (619) 220-8497. New York City guitar player and songwriter Leni Stern performs at Dizzy’s in downtown San Diego. Stern has developed her unique guitar style over a 15-year recording career. Her 1998 release, “”Recollection,”” hit the Top Ten of the Year in the Billboard Jazz Chart. The show starts at 8:45 p.m. and tickets cost $8. Call (858) 270-7467 for ticket information. 01.26.01 Vanilla Ice is still alive, and better yet, he is coming to Club Ritmo at Porter’s Pub in the Student Center. The show starts at 9 p.m. and the party goes until midnight. Tickets are $10 for UCSD students. For more information call (858) 534-5259. San Diego natives Celia Lawley and Joel Reese perform their style of fiddle music and country ballads at Dizzy’s. They will be backed by their band, Thunder Rose. The show starts at 8:45 p.m. and tickets cost $8. Call (858) 270-7467 for more information. Neil Diamond cover band Super Diamond will put their own spin on all the classics that your parents made you listen to. This San Francisco group will be at the Belly Up Tavern tonight at 9:15 p.m. and on Saturday at the same time. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster at (619) 220-8497. Prince Tamino goes on a quest to save a beautiful princess in a world of sorcery, dungeons and wild animals in the San Diego Opera’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The words will be sung in German while English translations are projected above the stage. The performance starts at 8 p.m. Additional performances this Sunday start at 2 p.m. and on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $33 to $124. Call (619) 570-1100 for ticket information. 01.28.01 The infamous Blue Oyster Cult will perform their wholesome Satanic metal at 4th & B. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $15. Call Ticketmaster to buy your tickets at (619) 220-8497. Salsa combo Orquesta Primo will perform at the Belly Up Tavern. Primo will be the host of the Belly Up Tavern’s Salsa Sundays. A one-hour class at 7 p.m. will help you with your moves. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are only $5. Call Ticketmaster at (619) 220-8497 for more information. 01.29.01 Poison the Well is a south Florida metal band that will be supported by Martyr A.D. and American Tragedy. The show at the Che Cafe will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $6. Call (858) 534-2311 for ticket information. 01.31.01 Creeper Lagoon was voted the best new artist of 1998 by “”Spin”” magazine. They will perform songs from their upcoming album, which will be released on March 27. Creeper Lagoon have performed with Elliott Smith, the Dandy Warhols, Rocket from the Crypt and Harvey Danger. Call (619) 232-4355 for ticket information. 02.01.01 The duo known as the Rembrandts might be better known as the duo who sing the theme song from the hit television show “”Friends.”” They will perform at the Brick by Brick. Tickets cost $10 and the show starts at 8 p.m. To purchase tickets call Ticketmaster at (619) 220-8497. ...

Film Review

“”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”” boasts an unusually complex cast of heroes, villains and heroines. Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-Fat play two warriors who conceal their love for each other. Debutante Ziyi Zhang counters as the seemingly complacent young daughter of an aristocrat. The film’s soothingly exotic atmosphere comes from its non-Western setting. The references and symbolism in the movie are probably lost on a Western audience. However, the story deals with universal themes. Two pairs of lovers have to choose their paths in life, toward honor, loyalty, pride or love. A legendary sword called “”The Green Destiny”” forms a point around which the characters’ lives revolve. The plot follows the characters and their supernatural fighting moves, which never stop surprising the audience. Viewing this film requires a certain ability to delay gratification: The dialogue is subtitled, not dubbed, and there is little “”surface action”” in the first 20 minutes. Be warned: Do not leave. The action eventually hits and takes you so high that you might lose sight of your seat. We’re talking platinum-level fantasy-fighting choreography. There is a scene in the film that might qualify as this year’s longest flashback. Lean back and indulge. “”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”” played in independent cinemas right before Christmas. It is now in general release, much to the annoyance of those who saw it without being prompted by the huge billboards outside the megaplexes. Sony has really taken its hat off — and opened its money bag — for this picture, for good reason. If we all give in to our inner desire, scrap our food budget and see the movie more than once, maybe other films will be granted the same privilege and the world will become a better and more informed place, populated by people with the ability to read subtitles. ...