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The Charlotte Observer from Charlotte, North Carolina • Page 84
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The Charlotte Observer from Charlotte, North Carolina • Page 84

Charlotte, North Carolina
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lfT y- -tfwi-i-tVA Miiifi'tewrirtfi'iTfiM-iwrii 6H SUNDAY NURCH27 200S f) ARTS THF CHARI OTTF OBSFRVFR I vvww charlotte com Austin music fest is a manic medley Set in a Seattle hospital where stars (from interns must prove smart enough and tough enough to measure left) Ellen Pompeo Sandra Oh and TR Knight ABC PHOTO up new ensemble drama A healthy dose of doctor dramas AUSTIN Texas Skip Matheny of the NC band Roman Candle embodied the giddy chaos of last South by Southwest Music Convention during the Saturday night showcase at the Monkey The baby-faced guitarist leapt spastically into the air arms and legs all a blur until he hit the ground again nearly taking fellow guitarist Nick Jaeger down with him' Matheny shook his mop of wet red hair and grinned like a 12-year-old in a skate shop There was plenty of childlike grinning going on in this crazy music town between March 16 and 20 when about 10000 industry people from artists and label reps to fanzine writers -gushed through live-music district like a flash flood A good chunk of the folks at the 19th South by Southwest 1350 to be exact were singers rappers guitarists tumtablists Uzbekistan percussionists and whatever else you can think of that sings or plays music The range of music at this South by Southwest offered further proof of its commitment to diversity although the vast majority of attendees remains predominantly white and male On Wednesday the 91-year-old piano legend Pinetop Perkins kicked things off the Austin Music Hall opening the revelry with one of the building blocks of American popular music: boogie-woogie From there music in the clubs on the streets and inside the Austin Convention Center ranged from blues and country to rock rap and dance music to an infusion of sounds from across the globe Bands from Great Britain to Africa the Middle East Canada Latin America Asia and Scandinavia played showcases (Two acts one from Iran were forced to cancel because they could not obtain visas due to heightened security since 9-1L Another act the highly anticipated Sri Lankan-bom rapper MIA had to cancel two earlier gigs in the United States due to visa problems and arrived in Austin only two hours before her scheduled performance on Thursday) This big-name music vets included gospel-soul singer Mavis Staples former Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant pop savant and former Beach Boy Brian Wilson punk-era singersong-writer Elvis Costello and neo-soul goddess Erykah Badu Two Texas music eccentrics Roky Erickson of the psychedelic-garage band 13th Floor Elevators and indie songwriter Daniel Johnston were celebrated in documentaries during a film festival that preceded the music conference Both gave rare public performances But at South by Southwest the biggest names necessarily generate the biggest buzz That comes from names you recognize until next year For example the big name last year was Franz Ferdinand the hip Scottish art-pop band that topped many 2004 best-of lists A couple of acts whose names were on the lips of this convention-goers were MIA the female Sri Lankan rapper with a tough political message and the Go! Team a hip-hop-inspired rock band from Brighton England whose line outside the Friday night British showcase at Buffalo Billiards extended two blocks at one point Some of the best moments were surprises: a sudden performance from the Blind Boys of Al- C0MMENTARY Mark Kemp abama as shoppers combed through bins at Waterloo Records shop a spontaneous show by Senegalese hip-hop trio Daara during the world music panel discussion on Saturday an afternoon club show by the Clutters an energetic Nashville garage-rock band whose drummer plays with the hep-cat cool of a young Ringo Starr (if been a girl with dyed-black hair) Queens of the Stone Age at an unofficial SXSW party soul-man John Legend at an outdoor showcase There are so many music events going on all at once that any one person (or even ten people) could not possibly take in everything The best way to see the most is to bar-hop like crazy catching one or two songs from each act before sprinting to the next club As a member of the Canadian band Stars commented South by Southwest like of indie-rock You have 20 minutes to impress us OK Five Highlights Having attended SXSW off and on since 1990 Tve learned a few tricks along the way For one thing I waste time standing for hours in long lines just to catch a couple of buzz bands I leave that to the terminally hip Instead I take some of the roads less traveled and it never fails to make all the difference Here are a handfid of personal highlights from 2005 MARK KEMP The Clutters We were walking up Red River after lunch Thursday when we heard this Nasvhille garage band blowing the doors off Beerland Women on drums and Farfisa organ a singer who sounded like PiL-period Johnny Rotten and a jerky version of Neil You Ready for the Country?" Andrea Echeverri The hippie-punk front woman of Colombian art-rockers Los Aterciopelados showcased songs from her new solo disc Thursday night When she dug into her regular band's catalog the faithful fans who packed Mambo Kings sang along The Emeralds This Japanese rock trio blew the top off the club Caribbean Lights on Friday with whiplash originals like about and "Cranberry Classic" I got the idea they were singing random English words which made them even more fun Daara i settled into a hot discussion among the Saturday afternoon world-music panelists when this Senegalese hip-hop trio walked into the conference room rapping a cappella in French and Wolof Stunning Aesop Rock and Mr Lif -Dynamic underground hip-hoppers from Def Jux collective pulled out all the stops during a wee-hour show Sunday at Dramatic powerful and better than most of the (c)rap you hear on mainstream hip-hop radio perfected the ensemble hospital show and (1982-1988 NBC) improved on the design It was the grittiest of the genre set at the seen-better-days St Eligius Hospital in Boston pulsed with urban disorder ego clashes and throbbing libidos a physician-pathologist tryst was once consummated on the morgue slab amid the unflinching customers Dr Donald Westphall (Ed Flanders) was the father figure to the interns and Dr Mark Craig (William Daniels) was a brilliant but insensitive surgeon The show also had the worst finale in TV history: St Eligius it was revealed was all in the imagination of an autistic child Cross-town rivals Following the ensemble template a decade later were the Chicago twins (1994-2000 CBS) was set in the woebegone Chicago Hope Hospital bathed in perpetual gloom by marital problems personality clashes and managed care The cast which included Mandy Patinkin Adam Arkin EG Marshall and Peter Mac-Nicol was ever-changing The series endured for six seasons despite its paralyzing birth it debuted in the time slot opposite another new Chicago hospital drama based on the experiences of creator Michael medical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital was set in the emergency room of Cook County General Hospital For 11 years patients have been admitted with a ritualistic hubbub of doctors barking orders while stressing over the vitals Beyond the clinical commotion a talented cast which has included Anthony Edwards George Clooney Noah Wyle MD TV fromlH That along with the medical symbols for each was the opening of Casey" (1961-1966 ABC) with heartthrob Vince Edwards in the title role world was deadly serious life hanging in the balance at all times The series introduced the concept of doctors junior and senior an experienced pro lingering nearby to pass on wisdom or deflect disappointment surgical mentor at County General Hospital was Dr David Zorba played with Yoda-like flair by Sam Jaffe Producers pushed the lenses to the limit using extreme close-ups of the intensely handsome Edwards to punctuate the most dramatic moments Casey was all business for the early years but in the final season he got a love life falling for a woman who had just emerged from a 13-year coma Setting the pattern for medical romances to come it an easy courtship as he had to compete with a virile young intern for her affections Debuting the same season as Casey was (1961-1966 NBC) based on the successful movie series of the 1930s and 1940s The show starred Richard Chamberlain as the earnest intern at Blair General Hospital trying to satisfy his paternalistic mentor Dr Leonard Gillespie (Raymond Massey) performances were so strong that he was imprinted on the psyche as the ultimate physician and it took years for him to find other dramatic roles (Chamberlain even returned to the healing arts in 1989 on as a holistic practitioner in Hawaii The show tanked after six months) Then came Marcus Welby Contemporary uncomfortable social issues came to the fore in medical TV with Welby (1969-1976 ABC) Set in a suburban general practice became biggest hit in history up to that time drawing an audience that reached about a fourth of the households Welby (Robert Young) was the senior doctor mentoring Dr Steven Kiley (James Brolin) but with a twist: Kiley was the by-the-book guy while the elder Welby took an intuitive and often unconventional approach to his healing considering his lifestyle psychology and temperament in reaching his diagnosis Autism rape drug addiction and venereal disease were topics Welby tackled head-oa Unbeknownst to viewers who found inspiration in compassionate manner a personal drama was playing off-screen as Young struggled with alcoholism and depressioa Comedy and commentary Tapping the vein of social commentary pioneered by Welby was the many-faceted (1972-1983 CBS) which turned the hospital genre on its scalp Set in a mobile Army medical camp in the Korean War it was at once a political story (offering remote commentary on the then-contemporary Vietnam War) drama (whole episodes would explore serious topics often the morality and human toll of war) and dark comedy (one whose writing was so sharp it endures today in reruns) Amid a blur of sexual longing operating room drama and military frustration was a revolving cast in which every key actor seemed to be replaced by one even better Its finale in February 1983 was a national event with 60 percent of the households tuned in for the episode which still stands as the No 1 most-watched TV show in history Enter the ensemble had accidentally extremely ambitious and un-apologetic and driven and sometimes not very Oh says you weigh the opportunity to actually do good work but understanding the medium and who working Oh returns to television after a series of films that included Princess the Tuscan and for which directorco-writer (and husband) Alexander Payne won the adapted screenplay Oscar (The couple recently announced they had separated) Raised in Canada by her Korean-immigrant parents she began studying ballet at 4 had pigeon toes and my mother heard that that was a good way to straighten them Oh recalls She got into theater at age 10 and despite her disapproval began a professional acting career before she was out of her teens was very bad at that says Oh who opted out of a university education many Asian households to not go on to higher education like a big no-no I know my dis Julianna Margulies William Macy and CCH Pounder persevered through a web of romances and every personal crisis available A plague of health problems afflicted the staff too including AIDS brain tumors and stab wounds Thanks to frequent injections of fresh blood on the cast it remains one of the best-ever hospital shows Now in its 11th season an advanced geriatric state by television standards it remains among the most-watched shows on TV NBC has picked it up for two more years matter Now comes which addresses the medical center matrix told from the viewpoint Seattle Grace Hospital is the setting for the surgical residency program Meredith Grey played by Ellen Pompeo has to contend with work stress as well as the dementia of her mother once a surgical pioneer in her own right And then the unfinished business with Dr Good-bar the fling who turns out to be a surgeon Tension headaches seem to be par for the course classmates range from the ruthlessly competitive to socially awkward and her mentor lives up to the nickname Under its stressed sexy skin pries at the conflicts between right and wrong morality vs expedience and finds the answers ever nestled in shades of gray explores the genre through a female-oriented prism but at its heart still new minds facing old conundrums the issues Ben Casey so aptly described in a quaintly pure pre-HMO world: a human tragicomedy of birth death infinity Mark Washburn (704) 358-5007 mwashburnigjcharlotteobserver com play the best friend or their she muses is my Even caused a flood of starring offers been really lovely is that now not just two scenes playing an assistant which is where I was stuck for a very long time So the roles are now a little more Oh said a little more for me to do been difficult for her being a Korean-Canadian to gamer work in says co-star Isaiah Washington that only one of a (small) percentage of Korean actors in the forefront besides Margaret Cho a huge not lost on Oh grew up never seeing myself on-screen and really important to me to give people who look like me a chance to see themselves I want to see myself as the hero of any story I want to see myself save the world from the she says For now though content to save lives in a TV operating room PLAYS SURGICAL INTERN ON Sandra Oh moves sideways into TV role couragement was for my own protection and really close to them now but they understand that there is value in this because they In 1991 she left home to study at the National Theatre in Montreal By 1993 landed the title role as a teenage prostitute in the CBC television drama Diary of Evelyn Later director Mina Shum cast her in the 1994 film and she starred onstage in David After winning numerous awards including two Genies Oscar equivalent Oh came to Los Angeles in 1995 A year later she landed on winning a best-actress CableACE Award for comedy Oh has a number of upcoming independent features including and and in May she films Grace Like in Korea Still big-budget American films offer her little more than supporting parts come in for two or three days to Star of stage HBO and recent hit film loves the character she'll portray By Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn Associated Press LOS ANGELES Sandra Oh who played a freewheeling single mom in gets tough as a surgical intern in medical drama But Oh who spent six years on the cable TV series first had to dissect corporate than she expected in her first major project for a broadcast network find it challenging having to make decisions by Oh 34 says during a break on the set was lucky on I basically got to do whatever I wanted because HBO is great for The role of Christina Yang on proved too good to resist she says get to play a woman who is DANIEL C0ST0N SPECIAL TO THE OBSERVER The band Roman Candle from Raleigh kicks into gear at South by Southwest last weekend i.

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