Recapping the summer with Daily Arts

Courtesy of Old Spice
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Published September 8, 2010

Corrections: This story incorrectly named the ad agency involved in the Old Spice campaign as Wieden & Kennedy. It is actually Wieden + Kennedy. Also, the story originally mislocated the Cannes Film Festival in Paris. It's in Cannes.

The "Lost" Finale

If there's one time not to alienate your fans, it's a series finale. There will be no more chances to redeem yourself. You can't go back. The island is done with you. There is no other life in which you will see us, brutha. The series finale of "Lost" could never have wrapped up every mystery. Even the most diehard fans who obsessed about every small unanswered question must have realized that. But the final minutes of "Lost" sent shockwaves through the fan community, leaving many wondering and/or texting their fan friends, "Um, what?" But even after its misfire of a finale, "Lost" is still one of the most captivating television programs of all time with an unprecedented fan movement. If you missed any or all of the series, it's not too late to catch up. The fans will still be talking about this one for years to come.

Old Spice Viral Campaign

It would take one hell of an innovation to land an advertising campaign on a list of notable summer arts events. Well Old Spice innovated like you wish your man could innovate, taking the social media world by storm for an epic two-day outreach campaign. It started out harmless enough, with a few personal YouTube responses from Isaiah Mustafa (a.k.a. the man your man could smell like) to celebrities and fans of the Old Spice commercials. And the general response was, "Oh, that's really cool, they're giving back to the fans with an attractive, shirtless man making grand, manly declarations." That is, until everyone quickly figured out it was happening in real time. The videos would be posted on YouTube and linked in the @OldSpice twitter account (where you can still go back and find them). But when people responded to these new videos, the Old Spice man would respond back. Yes, for two days a complete crew of copywriters and producers from the ad agency Wieden + Kennedy — and one muscly actor — stood around on a bathroom set reading the Internet and writing macho replies. Over 180 macho replies, earning more than 35 million views in just the first week. It was unprecedented. It was hilarious. It smelled like chainsaws, bear-wrestling and being a good listener.

Theater Changes

While you were out, the Washtenaw County movie theater community was rocked by two separate changes. First, in late April, Showcase Cinemas became Rave following its acquisition by a Texas motion picture company of the same name. Besides proving that we still love the '90s, the new Rave has vastly improved on the old Showcase formula by switching from Pepsi to Coke products. Then, about two months later, Briarwood Mall's dollar movie theater closed its doors for good. The space that once provided second-run flicks for cheap to preteen mall rats and stingy college dates alike will now cater to a different crowd. The new occupant, MC Sports, plans to use the area to expand its collection of hunting and fishing gear — jocks, 1; movie geeks and deer, 0.

Gary Coleman

Gary Coleman did a great job of clinging to the edges of the spotlight years after his “Diff’rent Strokes” run. He popped in and out of the tabloids with bankruptcy, fan assault, divorces, domestic violence, a turbulent medical history and a gubernatorial race against Arnold Schwarzenneger in California’s 2003 recall election. Clearly, Coleman’s fame went beyond “whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?” Gary Coleman never stopped trying to turn things around and find a respectable career with his adult life. Whether he succeeded is a question to be pondered for years. Coleman died on May 28 and hit tabloid covers one last time as the celebrity death of the summer.

Betty White

Last summer, Betty White was just that cute old lady from “The Golden Girls.” A Facebook campaign to make her an SNL host and a few Snickers ads later, and Betty White is the coolest grandma since yours knit sweaters and baked cookies for you when you were eight. Betty White’s Mother’s Day hosting gig of SNL made her, at 88 years, the oldest person to host and was the highest rated episode in two years. It also led to an immediate Facebook push for her to host the Oscars, which tragically failed. Her popularity doesn’t show signs of slowing as White announced her own clothing line and posed for her own 2011 calendar. She will guest star as an anthropology professor in the season premiere of “Community” to air on Sept. 23 on NBC after having sizzled in the summer series "Hot in Cleveland" on TV Land.

“A Very Potter Sequel”

Let us all hail once again the (totally awesome) talent of Team StarKid, the theater troupe of Music Theater & Dance students and graduates that has taken cyberspace by storm with their brilliant unauthorized re-imagining of J.K. Rowling’s characters. When it premiered at Walgreen Drama Center in May, we had nothing but genuine affection for the show’s original songs, humor and creativity. “AVPS” became a genuine phenomenon this summer: Hundreds of thousands of YouTube hits, a soundtrack album that charted on iTunes, an appearance at the Harry Potter fan convention Infinitus and a shout-out on Entertainment Weekly’s Must List have cemented these StarKids’ stellar reputations — and the University’s, too.


Oh my God you guys, do you remember when Ellen Page folded an entire city by waving her hands? And when Joseph Gordon-Levitt spun around in that hotel hallway and it was all like “Whoa!” and then the music was going “BRRRNNNHHH” and there were four different levels of reality but they were all awesome? But then the crazy ending happened and we were all like, “What’s the reality?” and then someone said “What is reality, anyway?” and then no one knew. Has anyone even stopped talking about this movie since July?

‘U’ students at Cannes

It was a surprisingly great year for University students at the world-famous Cannes Film Festival in May. LSA senior Claire Sloma starred in “The Myth of the American Sleepover,” a coming-of-age dramedy that was invited to the festival’s International Critic’s Week. Sloma earned raves for her first-ever big screen performance. And LSA senior David Devries was given the opportunity to participate in the Real Ideas Studio program, where he was the Director of Photography for the short documentary competition’s grand prize winner, “Lumières.” Hollywood — or at least France — better be prepared for the impending herd of Wolverines.

Lindsay Lohan Goes To Prison

LiLo got locked up. Everyone knew it would happen sooner or later, but did anyone expect the process to be so hilarious? The video of her sentencing was probably the finest piece of unintentional humor this summer. It starts off with what is far and away Lohan’s best performance ever, as she tells the judge with a straight face, “As far as I knew I was in compliance with my program,” and seconds later, “I have to provide for myself.” But right when you thought it would be another case of a celebrity getting off easy, the judge doles out the discipline: 90 days. Lohan reacts like she was just condemned to die by firing squad. As the judge lays into her, Lohan weeps and stares crazy-eyed at her attorney as the latter nods grimly, desperately avoiding eye contact. Double Rainbow ain’t got shit on this. Too bad she served only 14 days. Lady Justice works in mysterious ways, folks.

Arcade Fire

Congratulations, Arcade Fire. You’ve officially become the biggest band in North America. August saw the release of the group’s third album The Suburbs, which went straight to number one in three countries and was loved by just about everyone. But Arcade Fire wasn’t content to simply make music this summer; they strove to change the way we consume it. The band’s Aug. 5 concert at Madison Square Garden was streamed live on YouTube, with Terry Gilliam directing and a menu of different camera angles from which fans could choose. Then came the interactive video for “We Used To Wait.” Thanks to Google technology, viewers could type in their home addresses and get a customized video featuring their very own “suburb.” Next on the agenda: Arcade Fire saves Haiti — IN 3-D! OK, maybe not.