The Minnesota Daily

All content by Matt Graham

Pile-driving, gut-busting, back-breaking theater

April 26, 2007

Professional wrestling has long been the black sheep of the entertainment world. Patrons of the fine arts critique it for its over-the-top melodrama, while fans of "real" sports rag on wrestling for being...

Return of the space cowboy

April 19, 2007

Scene: A dorm room. A BLUE-haired freshman sits listening to the countrified emo blaring from his computer speakers. Enter an upperclassman, his tight-fitting RED T-Shirt emblazoned with a witty saying...

Faith to move mountains

April 12, 2007

It wasn't that long ago in our species' history that the fight with the elements was a day-to-day battle, where there was no guarantee in the morning of seeing the sun set. Now, for lack of any preternatural...

Leave the game, take the cannoli

April 5, 2007

It's gettin' friggin' tough to be a gangster. Back in the old days, we ran things - shipping, unions, gambling, you name it. We even told the cops and the judges what to do. As long as everybody was gettin'...

Cowabunga Bogusness

March 29, 2007

Like most children of the 1980s, my toy box was filled with He-Men and Transformers, Ghostbusters and Ninja Turtles. Their faces were also plastered across my cereal boxes, T-shirts and unmentionables,...

Nightmare on every street

March 22, 2007

Horror movies have been just a little bit too serious of late. With "Saw," "The Ring," "The Grudge," and "Hostel" all in a gruesome competition to see who can make the most whacked out, demented and gore-filled...

The tragic song of Don Juan

March 8, 2007

Near the end of the Jeune Lune's production of "Don Juan Giovanni," the tragic hedonist Don Juan (Dominique Serrand) explains his embrace of sin to his witless companion Sgaranelle (Steven Epp) by saying...

911 is just a joke

March 1, 2007

It's risky business, turning a TV show into a film. Oftentimes, humor that works well in half hour blocks falls flat when stretched out to 90 minutes or more. Sure there have been successes: "South Park,"...

Theater with no refunds

February 22, 2007

When the University's funding committee cut Crisis Point Theatre's support two years ago from $24,000 annually to zero, it came as a major shock to its members. While the group was able to secure $2,000...

Words to love by

February 15, 2007

."Music and Lyrics," - Hugh Grant's latest stab at playing Hugh Grant in a romantic comedy - opens with a music video that looks like it's out of the vaults of Duran Duran or A Flock of Seagulls, with...

Homesick Blues

February 8, 2007

In his 1889 book "Twilight of the Idols," German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche proclaimed, "The actor, the mime, the dancer, the musician, and the lyric poet are basically related in their instincts...

The realer world

February 1, 2007

Watching the Twin Cities Theater Company laugh and chat its way through a rehearsal of "The Shape of Things," Neil LaBute's 2001 play, it's hard to tell when the four person cast is reading their lines...

When Laguna Beachers and NASCAR fans mate

January 25, 2007

Dystopian tales tend to come in one of two flavors, the Orwellian, "1984" variety (Big Brother entity watches and regulates your every move), or the Huxleyan "Brave New World" variety (narcotized public...

Smells like murder!

January 18, 2007

What determines the morality of an action? Is a bad act simply a bad act, or is evil only evil if it is committed with actual malice? This is the primary question behind "Perfume," Tom Tykwer's ("Run Lola...

The Ghost of Christmas Humor

November 30, 2006

I Inspecting Carol WHEN: Now through Dec. 17 WHERE: The University Centennial Showboat, Harriet Island, St. Paul TICKETS: $27 ($22 for groups of 15 or more), (612) 624-2345, http://theatre.umn.edu/events t's...

Different face, same drink

November 22, 2006

It's doubtful Ian Fleming knew what he was starting when he wrote his 1953 novel, "Casino Royale," about a British super-spy named James Bond. The book - about the agent's attempt at bankrupting Russian...

We’re all just part of the machine

November 16, 2006

Bodies dressed in black tumble in slow-motion across the dimly-lit black stage, one scribbles on the wall and another does backwards summersaults while characters spout elliptical lines like "Cement in...

What’s the beef?

November 16, 2006

Anybody who has ever seen a film by Richard Linklater, director of "Dazed and Confused," "Before Sunset" and "Waking Life," knows his style is to let his characters do a lot of talking. His dialogue-based...

Thesaurus-required theater

November 9, 2006

Whether or not you like "The Rivals," Richard Brinsley Sheridan's 1775 comedy of manners, will depend largely on your sense of humor. And your vocabulary. If you want clear-cut, modern dialogue, stay away....

War prophets and profits

November 2, 2006

There is a point during the first act of "Mother Courage and Her Children," Bertolt Brecht's 1939 musical set during the 30 Years' War, when the Chaplain (Grant Richey) says "To die in this war is a blessing,...

Behind the cape, inside the top hat

October 26, 2006

Are you watching closely? All great magic acts demand close attention. The problem is, you never know if you're watching for the right thing or if the performer is using an imperceptible sleight of hand...

Toto, we’re still in Kansas

October 19, 2006

Truman Capote was ahead of his time. The originator of the nonfiction novel would've fit right in during this era of reality TV, bestselling memoirs and countless "based on a true story" films. Still,...

Cops as robbers

October 12, 2006

It's a well known story: The best director of his generation, arguably the top crime filmmaker of all time, gets repeatedly nominated for an Oscar only to lose to the likes of Ö Kevin Costner and Robert...

Stalin for more time

October 5, 2006

.The University's department of theatre arts and dance, along with the help of the always-inventive Theatre de la Jeune Lune, seems to have a little of both hidden up its sleeve with its bewildering -...

The unfortunate fortune

September 28, 2006

Theater, maybe more than any other art form, is a team effort. For a production to work, it takes the combined efforts of the director, cast, costumer, stage designer and the sound and light crew. Even...

I’ll be Franken with you

September 21, 2006

If P.T. Barnum were still around, even he would have to concede: politics is the greatest show on earth. Political personalities have long been known as showmen; President Teddy Roosevelt is remembered...

The sense in all the nonsense

September 14, 2006

Up close, it's hard not to be impressed by the virtuosity of the paintings. The textured layers of oil paint and deceptively simple but minute details reveal the skill of a master artist at the peak of...

McKnight in shining armor

September 7, 2006

The farmhouse rests on a barren, snow-covered field, surrounded by trees, sitting under a big, swirling gray-blue sky. "Road to Rochester" looks like some bleak, yet soothing, watercolor re-creation of...

Finding humanity in the rubble

August 16, 2006

In the week following Sept. 11, 2001, author Edward Galeano made the perceptive statement, "In the struggle of good versus evil, it's always the people who get killed." It's a truth that often seems to...

Beat Street

August 9, 2006

Downtown Minneapolis is a bustling scene on a summer's Friday night, with crowds of people walking the streets, moving in and out of clubs to the rhythm of digitized beats blaring out of subwoofers. But...

No more Times Square, it’s all about Big Ben

August 2, 2006

London has been good to Woody Allen. London and Scarlett Johansson. After last year's solid effort "Match Point," Johansson and Allen are back together for the screwball murder mystery "Scoop." Johansson...

A book of poems with bite

August 2, 2006

Most people don't have to deal with their body's betrayal until well into old age. But for Alex Lemon, a creative writing instructor at Macalester College and a University Master of Fine Arts grad, old...

Off with the cap, Silent Bob speaks

July 26, 2006

It's always surprising to see Kevin Smith when he's not in character. After years of watching his alter ego Silent Bob on the screen, it's easy to forget that the real Kevin Smith is a shorthaired dude...

Can I still take your order?

July 26, 2006

In 1994 convenience store clerk Kevin Smith used his workplace as the location for a movie he filmed on a shoestring budget. The aptly titled "Clerks" followed a day in the work life of two smartass slackers....

Keanu, once again, gets confused

July 19, 2006

Maybe it's better late then never. Science fiction writer Philip K. Dick never really found fame in his life. The writer's body of dystopian novels and short stories gained him a devoted cult following...

Odyssey down the Mississippi

July 12, 2006

It's hard to believe, but Kevin Kling wrote "Old Four Eyes" before Hurricane Katrina. The Mississippi River forms the backbone of the play, specifically its wild nature and the audacity of shortsighted...

Beyond the high school bleachers

July 12, 2006

I hate talk radio. This was the thought I had when, toward the end of the documentary "Heart of the Game," a series of listeners call into a local sports talk station to berate high school basketball player...

I wanna take you higher

July 5, 2006

The first thing Stuart Davis did when I walked in for our interview was give me a hug. This could seem like a bit of a put-on at first, an attempt by a struggling artist to get some good publicity by sucking...

For Superman, it really is lonely at the top

June 28, 2006

It's lonely being a superhero. You'd think superpowers would make impressing the ladies easy, but if there's anything the recent slew of comic book movies has shown, it's that with great power comes great...

Prof gets props with award

June 28, 2006

You don't have to talk to Lou Bellamy long before you realize the founder and artistic director of the Penumbra Theatre - the nation's foremost black community theater - to realize he cares far more about...

Vaudeville gets a life preserver

June 21, 2006

Although he doesn't show up very often anymore, he's a character we all know. "Step this way, right this way!" he barks in a sleazy sales pitch. "You oughtta be in pictures, kid! I'm gonna make you a star!" But...

Rock is dead; so are the musicians

June 21, 2006

Chuck Klosterman is soaking wet from the downpour outside, his jeans and white T-shirt (which has "Fictional Character" emblazoned across the chest in blue letters) stick to his skin. The 34-year-old author...

Music to free the spirit

June 14, 2006

The pandit sits up front, fingers flying across his instrument, with all eyes in the auditorium locked on him. Some audience members make periodic sounds of approval while others sit in stunned silence,...

Finding treasure and a dead body in the wasteland

June 7, 2006

My friend said to me the other day, "TV is a vast wasteland." While I pointed out to him that's the same argument FCC chairman Newton Minow made in 1961, he defended himself, declaring, "Well, it's true." I...

Blazing saddles and splitting side

June 7, 2006

There's good guys and there's bad guys." Such is the favorite saying of Rob Bob, the rodeo rider/romantic lead in "Flaming Guns of the Purple Sage." But while the John Wayne fanatic makes this known several...

X-plosions and thoughts on X-istence

May 31, 2006

You don't expect sequels to big-budget action movies to be this good, let alone the sequel's sequel. But the third installment of the "X-Men" series might well be the best. Without the responsibility of...

Jack White’s super group sounds super old but super cool

May 24, 2006

The Raconteurs' "Broken Boy Soldiers" is the best classic rock album to come out this year, a fact that is its blessing and its curse. The band consists of Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler - the rhythm...

Invasion of the body snatcher

May 24, 2006

People young and old circle the displays, heads tilted, with contorted faces that don't seem to quite comprehend what they're seeing. Is this the Science Museum or the Walker? The traveling exhibit "Body...

U medical building will boost research

October 27, 2005

If you want to be a top-three research institution, you must invest in research. With this in mind, University officials have crafted a relatively large 2006 capital budget request to bring to the state...

University banks on brand identification to bolster school image

October 26, 2005

Branding. It's a buzzword in corporate culture, where companies and focus groups devote time and money to planting their brand firmly in the minds of consumers. And like so many other corporate trends,...

Berman seeks committee limits

October 24, 2005

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. The Board of Regents' Finance and Operations Committee voted down a resolution at its October meeting that proposed limits on the University Senate's Social...

Baraga steps back in role as chairman

October 20, 2005

For the second month in a row, Vice Chairwoman Patricia Simmons will assume the duties of chairwoman at the Board of Regents meeting next month. Tony Baraga, the Board of Regents chairman, is taking a...

University advisers counsel task forces in first town meeting

October 17, 2005

Instead of guiding students, about 60 advisers made suggestions to task forces Friday at the first "town meeting" on strategic positioning. The Academic Advising Network and the academic task forces for...

Florida shows U the ranks

October 14, 2005

The business of ranking colleges is an inexact one. So how will the University know when it has achieved its goal of becoming one of the world's top three public research institutions? "There's never going...

Regents inspect funding wish list

October 10, 2005

University officials will likely ask the Legislature this spring for $206.1 million in capital funding to help pay for building projects, which is almost $50 million more than they requested during the...

Regents adopt metric in quest for world eminence

October 7, 2005

University administration has found a set of criteria to measure progress toward becoming one of the world's top three public research institutions. The Board of Regents decided on a system developed by...

Regents off-site meeting under way

October 6, 2005

The Board of Regents is heading south on Interstate 35W today for its October meeting at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The board typically holds one off-campus meeting a year. Usually it is at one...

U seals task force talks

October 4, 2005

Despite calls for increased transparency during the second round of strategic positioning talks, task force meetings aren't planned to be open to the public. Linda Thrane, vice president for University...

Coordinator keeps realignment running

September 29, 2005

Patty Franklin spent the past five years helping restructure a hospital for orphaned children diagnosed with HIV and AIDS in Thailand. During her tenure, the orphanage expanded from 17 children and 11...

Tuition deals span Midwest

September 27, 2005

Many students know about the reciprocity agreements between Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas that allow nonresident students to attend other states' public schools for resident rates. But they may...

Purpose, if not form, is appreciated

September 23, 2005

Philip Dziuk stood before the wall, reviewing the list of names etched across its surface. "I'm one of those names on there," he said, noting that his first name was misspelled, with an extra letter added. "That's...

Schools steer much of own funds

September 22, 2005

While students know they have to pay tuition for classes, many may be surprised to see where their money actually goes. The process for funding individual colleges is not as simple as a student writing...

Best Buy gives stadium $2.5M

September 15, 2005

The University moved closer to its goal of raising 60 percent of the money for a proposed on-campus football stadium Wednesday after agreeing to a $2.5 million sponsorship deal with Best Buy. Athletics...

Meetings see sparse attendance

September 13, 2005

The Board of Regents is the highest branch of government at the University and makes some of the University's most important decisions - setting tuition, approving the budget and choosing the institution's...

Task forces set to reshape U

September 12, 2005

University President Bob Bruininks presented the Board of Regents with the University realignment plan when the board met Friday. He unveiled the final structure of the 33 task forces that will investigate...

Regents consider free tuition for evacuees

September 9, 2005

The Board of Regents' Educational Planning and Policy Committee on Thursday passed a tuition waiver for at least 45 students displaced by Hurricane Katrina who will be attending the University this year. The...

Regents hold first meeting of new academic year

September 8, 2005

The Board of Regents will meet to discuss University realignment plans and relief for student-victims of Hurricane Katrina when it meets today and Friday. University President Bob Bruininks will present...

Taking a guided tour inside Eastcliff

August 17, 2005

;Eager for attention from visiting faces, the flat-coated retrievers, Foster and Glory, help create a scene common to homes all across the country. But Eastcliff is anything but an ordinary home. Donated...

Union workers, University still talk ‘livable wage’

August 10, 2005

Among the chief rallying cries for union workers negotiating a new contract with the University this summer has been the call for "a livable wage." American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees...

Regent lives out of range

August 10, 2005

Two years after promising to move to the district he represents, a member of the Board of Regents still lives in his old residence. David Metzen, the former board chairman serving his second consecutive...

AFSCME proposes slidingscale health insurance system

August 3, 2005

University workers have felt the pinch of rising health-care costs in recent years. A survey put together by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5 details stories from...

U students will have digital media service access

July 27, 2005

The University announced Tuesday that it will offer a new digital-media service to subscribed students starting this fall. Ruckus Networks is a firm based in Herndon, Va., that focuses on providing college...

U plans for more task forces

July 27, 2005

University administrators are putting together roughly 25 task forces for the second round of a plan to become one of the world's top three public research universities. Officials said they hope to have...

Unions file labor suit against U

July 20, 2005

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5 is suing the University for unfair labor practices during its latest round of contract negotiations, officials announced Tuesday. Members...

University union workers participate in negotiations, salary offer expected soon

July 12, 2005

A sticking point during the last round of negotiations two years ago, University labor unions hope to get a better salary offer next week from officials. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal...

University president suffers wrist injury in bike accident

July 12, 2005

Upcoming work days are going to be a little bit different for University President Bob Bruininks. The top University official is in a sling after suffering significant ligament damage to his left wrist...

University’s Board of Regents convenes with new chairman in place

July 6, 2005

Outside the boardroom in the McNamara Alumni Center, photos of past Boards of Regents hang in rows, a reminder to the present guardians of the University's future. The time has come for a new leader and...

U passes two-year budget

June 29, 2005

The Board of Regents unanimously passed the University's two-year budget Monday, approving the first single-digit tuition increase since 2000-01. The move "puts us strongly on the path to fiscal stability,"...

U’s labor unions to begin negotiations

June 22, 2005

The University will begin negotiating a new contract with its labor unions representing approximately 5,000 University employees this week. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees...

Regents OK plan to cut General College

June 15, 2005

By an 11-1 vote, the Board of Regents gave its approval of the controversial plan for the University's future Friday, allowing officials to implement sweeping academic changes and pursue making the University...

Regents approve plan, several colleges will change or close

June 8, 2005

The Board of Regents passed a plan Friday that aims to make the University one of the world's top three public research institutions within the next decade. The plan passed on an 11-1 vote. One of the...

Regents to vote on plan for future

June 8, 2005

TCorrection: The Daily reported the wrong day for the Regents' vote. The Regents were expected to vote on the plan Friday. he Board of Regents will hold its monthly meeting Thursday with several topics...

Organization to save GC rallies at the State Capitol

June 8, 2005

Approximately 150 people gathered outside the State Capitol on Sunday in a rally organized by the General College Truth Movement. The event came less than a week before Friday's Board of Regents vote that...

University’s plan for future might conflict with Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862

June 1, 2005

In the waning days before the Board of Regents votes on the University's plan for the future, some opponents are saying the plan's emphasis on research conflicts with the University's mission as a land-grant...

Some regents undecided about U’s plan for future

May 25, 2005

Still pondering the University's plan for the future, several Board of Regents members said they are carefully weighing facts and opinions before they vote on the plan in June. But with less than two weeks...

GC dean to leave U for Morehouse College

May 25, 2005

The future of General College remains unknown, but it will not include David Taylor. The General College dean accepted a position at Morehouse College in Atlanta on Thursday and will become provost and...

U lecture series hosts Tom Daschle

May 3, 2005

Former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., addressed approximately 300 people Monday at Cowles Auditorium at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs as part of the Martin Olav Sabo Lecture Series. Daschle,...

Department, competition affect faculty members’ pay rates

May 2, 2005

Faculty pay at the University depends not only on the amount of work professors do but the field in which they do that work. Average faculty salary varies greatly from department to department. For example,...

University ranks low for faculty salaries

May 2, 2005

In comparison with other research universities in the nation, the University is 28th out of 30 for faculty pay. These institutions make up a "peer group," which consists of the top 30 research universities...

Plan gives U workers’ kidstuition break

April 28, 2005

The University Senate passed a resolution earlier this month proposing a tuition reduction for dependents of University employees. Dependents must be working toward a four-year degree at the institution. Dependents...

Some say grad employee union vote affected by science students

April 26, 2005

Differences of opinion between students in the sciences and humanities might have made the difference in the graduate employee unionization vote earlier this month. The Graduate Teaching and Research Assistants...

GradTRAC organizers plan to continue, despite losing

April 21, 2005

Despite losing last week's vote to unionize, graduate employee union organizers plan to keep pushing for reforms at the University. Participating in the vote were 3,075 graduate employees who turned down...

Graduate workers vote, reject union

April 19, 2005

UCorrection: the Daily incorrectly reported the number of eligible voters and the number who cast ballots. Out of 4,461 eligible voters, 3,075 cast ballots, with three blank ballots and two void ballots. niversity...

Union might affect dept. relations at U

April 14, 2005

Supporters of graduate employee unionization have argued that a union will help negotiations, but opponents said it is more effective for graduate employees to deal directly with their departments. Graduate...

Memorial concert to honor deceased U electrical engineering professor

April 13, 2005

A memorial concert will take place Sunday to honor a recently deceased University electrical engineering professor. Allen Nussbaum died Jan. 5 of bone cancer after being diagnosed in December. Nussbaum,...

Grad workers express concern

April 13, 2005

Graduate employees voiced concerns about unionization Tuesday at a Truth About Unionization information session in Smith Hall. The crowd of primarily Institute of Technology and chemical engineering students...

GradTRAC meeting stirs disagreements

April 12, 2005

With elections for a graduate employees' union slated for this week, some students said they are upset with what they call "undemocratic" actions by the union. A group of students protested a Graduate...

University Senate focuses on diversity

April 11, 2005

Despite a controversial plan to close General College, the University still wants to increase its diversity under part of a new proposal, an official said Thursday at a University Senate meeting. E. Thomas...

Former U prof, pioneer in entomology dies at 90

April 8, 2005

Retired University professor Huai Chiang died March 30 in Ithaca, N.Y. He was 90. Chiang taught entomology at the University from 1953-84 after receiving his master's and doctorate degrees at the University. "He...

Some workers with families support union

April 7, 2005

Leni Marshall said it is hard for her to give proper time to her doctorate work. A mother of 6-year-old twin daughters, she works three teaching jobs to support her family and edits the National Women's...