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April 12, 1972 - Image 2

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1972-04-12

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Wage Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Wednesday, April 12, 1972

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY
5

A new coffeehouse in a familiar place

By JOHN MARSTON
Since January Ann Arbor has
had a new co-operative coffee
house and theater, called The
Conspiracy, in the space that
was the Alley Cinema, and be-
fore that Canterbury House.
The original impulse to form
The Conspiracy came from the
members of American Revolu-
tionary Media (ARM), a group
that had sponsored theater and
film showings around campus.
They discovered that they could'
have a coffee house for less
money than they had been pay-
ing to rent University audi-
toriums. And so, with a loan
from the Black Economic De-
velopment League and other fi-
nancial help from relatives and
friends, they began operations at
the Maynard Street location.
Setting up the coffee house-
theater was motivated by a de-
sire to fill the gap created by
the absence of the old Canter-
bury House. Like Canterbury
House, it is essentially a place
where people can gather freely
and an inexpensive space for
programs that would have diffi-
culty finding a place to meet
otherwise.
The coffeehouse stays open
every day from 10 a.m. to 1
a.m. except on Sundays, when it
opens at 2 p.m., and always has
a counter with food and pastries
and things to drink. In the morn-
ings lunch is sold, and at night
there are usually programs:
movies, theater, music, speakers.
The Conspiracy, growing out
of ARM is more consciously po-
litical than Canterbury House
was. They do not want to be put
in the social category "left-
wing" but prefer to define them-
selves politically as simply op-
posing oppression: the coffee-
house is "a social, cultural, po-
litical space positively oriented
to the question of liberation."
Reflecting this attitude, the
coffeehouse is striving for an
atmosphere where people will
feel they have the freedom to
make it what they want to. It
is ran as a cooperative effort.
and since its formation mem-
bership has continued growing
beyond the original ARM group.
There are now around 30 mem-
bers, but they told me, "We
haven't really counted recently."
A surprising variety of people
come to the coffeehouse. It has
had middle-aged ladies out shop-
AND NO
A WORD
FROMOUR
dvrtlng contributed v i
\ for the public good naiO J
JC nC

SATURDAY NIGHT, APRIL 15,9 p.m.
Bursley Hall Enterprises Presents:
MAGGIE SMITH and ROBERT STEVENS in the
Academy Award Winning
THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE
25c popcorn charge (at door)
FOR ALL THE POPCORN YOU CAN EAT!

Letters to The Daily

ping and conservatives. For a
while, they told me, a hard-hat
was a regular. A formative the-
ater group practices there, and
the coffeehouse is 'an informal
meeting place for groups like the
B1 a' c k Economic Development
League and the Medical Commit-
tee for Human Rights, welfare
people, and PESC classes. One
member described the groups as
"lumpishly political," but went
on to express the opinion that
they are "gently driven in"
from the atmosphere of more
commercial places.
"There's an important feeling
as a woman walking in here
that it is less oppressive," Con-
spiracy member Laura Platt
said. They especially want the
coffeehouse to be a place where
women can come. Children are
free, "a recognition of objective
reality, not a policy," so women
can feel free to bring them there.
The programs at the Conspi-
racy are quite varied. They have
scheduled several concerts: rock,
folk music, blues, even a "dada-
ist jazz-rock band with nine
pieces and a syrithesizer." This
week the Ann Arbor Theater
Company will put on their first
production at the Conspiracy,
and in May the Broomstreet
Theater from Madison, Wis., will
return to Ann Arbor, to put on
"Hot Wankel" and "Midsummer
Night's Dream."
The bulk of the Conspiracy pro-
grams are movies. They have
been somewhat limited by prices
in their selection of films, but
as the coffeehouse gets going
they are looking for more variety
in this area.
The Conspiracy. tries to have
nationally known speakers at
least once a month, such as
Muhammad Kenyatta, author of
the Black Manifesto, which de-
manded reparations from white
churches, and Sister Elizabeth
McAlister, who was on trial iur
conspiracy against the federal
DANCE
ELLSWORTH-ELLI S
THESIS CONCERT
Friday and Saturday
April 14 & 15
8 P.M.
Schorling Auditorium
School of Education
FREE

government. They also regularly
have local speakers and panel
talks. All these programs are bill-
ed as "conversations." They are
intended to put the speakers on
the same level as the audience,
and the prepared speech is gen-
erally kept down to a, 15 minute
introduction, leaving most of the
time for answering questions, de-
bating and talking with the audi-
ence. The goal of this setup is
exemplified by the Sister Mc-
Alister program. A working class
Catholic who had been upset af-
ter seeing her on television came
down and brought his family.
Members of the Conspiracy say
that the two were able to "really
talk," that a "human dialogue"
was set up.
They see this as a success, in
part because it mixed groups of
people who would otherwise hake
been kept apart. The Conspiracy
is anxious to reach a public in
the county beyond the Univer-
sity. Member George dePue
talked about people of certain
age whom he described as
spending a lot of time in cars:
"those white and blue collar
workers who are so desperate."
They see this kind of person as
a potential audience for the Con-
spiracy, want to bring them in,'
expose them to different kinds of
culture, and let them feel and
talk.
For one program the coffee-
house had Bernard Cullen, an
For The Student Body:
LEVI'S
Corduroy
Bells
Twelve Colors
State Street at Liberty

activist from Northern Ireland
and now a student at the Uni-
versity, showing slides and film
materials of the conditions in
Northern Ireland, and gave dra-
matic readings from his corres-
pondences with friends and rela-
tives there. T h e Conspiracy
seems to see human experience
as a type of drama in itself.
"Culture and politics are the
same thing, essentially," dePue
said. "They are both about peo-
ple's lives." They see the coffee-
house as a source of this drama:
the involvement of people in
music, film, and discussion with
the effect of cultural and poli-
tical change. Eventually they
would like to be able to video-
tape the programs at the Con-
spiracy.
Right -now they are trying to
get themselves going strong
enough to continue operating
through the summer. They still
need money, and they are slow-
ed down by having to rent a lot
of the equipment they use. The
owner of the building would like
to get a beer and wine license
and turn it into a. beer-rock club.
But the Conspiracy is counting
on the participation of thezpeo-
ple to keep alive a cooperative
coffeehouse and theater in Ann
Arbor.

To The Daily:
I HAVE JUST a few words of
explanation to offer concerning the
University's Gilbert and Sullivan
Society. It seems that your review-
er, Jeffrey Laine, is slightly con-1
fused about the distinction be-1
tween our two shows that were
performed this semester.
Our society maintains two dif-
ferent companies: The main group,
which is presently in Lydia. Men-
delssohn performing Patience this
week, and the S m a11 Company,
which performed Thespis two
weeks ago in the residential col-
lege auditorium. The Small Com-
pany is a group of G&S lovers who
are not a part of our regular pro-
ductions.
They (because of our "pittance"
of a budget) usually perform
scenes or songs from various G&S
shows as publicity for our main
production. This year, however,
they chose to do a revival of the
long lost Thespis, the first Gil-
bert and Sullivan show ever writ-
ten.
It was an historic event, and, 'f
you are familiar with G&S, quite
delightful. However, the m a. i n
show is NOT a low budget, let's-
just-have-fun group, and I imag-
ine we all were a bit startled at
Laine's frugality in using the
same closing paragraph for both
reviews, for they don't merit the
same attention.
I believe Laine's previous view
of our just-for-fun Thespis has un-
justly biased his view of our more
serious effort, Patience. Our so-
ciety was working with consider-
theres
thru
CIa siffed

ably more than a "pittance of a
budget" when the "passable" cos-
tumes and the "good" scenery
were designed and executed.
It is not my aim here to review
the reviewer, and I'd better stop
before I really get going. My only
wish is to clear up the distinc-
tion between the two companies,
and to express our relief that
Laine enjoyed Patience, e v e n
though he's not "even sure we
were good."
Well, we are sure. We are proud
of both our companies, large and
small, and we invite you all to
attend our remaining four per-
formances.
Eric Stern, '74
Program Inform tion 8-6416
1214 S. UNIVERSITY
TURE
BEST PITURE
OF THEYEAR.
-National Board of Review

I

Admission complimentary

BURSLEY HALL WEST CAFETERIA

I

po

Z I ' ' BOX OFFICE OPEN 7:00
.,.,, SHOW STARTS AT DUSK'
CHARLTON HESTON
"The Omega Man" PG)
Shown Nightly at 7:25 & 11:00
RICHARD HARRIS JOHN HOUSTON
"Man In The Wilderness" (PG)
Nightly at 9:15

4

Now! Two Great Features at Both Theatres!

.41

In Everyone's Life'
"SUMMER OF

There's A
'42"

(R)

C4Irm is Pk UMSPmTsemta P.*w mu&dm
DomanPtolansks
MACBETH
Wed.-Sot.-Sun. Mon.-Tues.
1:15-3:45 Thurs.-Fri.
6:15-8:45 6:45 and 9:05

Nightly at 7:25 & 11:20
Academy Award Winner JANE FONDA

"KIUTE"

9:20

.

-U

LOVE from Detroit
Hear this GREAT singer
and girl-boy band
::ma
C24 at the
golden falcon
just a great place to get togetherQ
fine food, drinks (check out our
stimulating atmosphere golden hour 4-6)
reasonable prices
SHOP TONIGHT UNTIL 5:30 P.M.
THURSDAY 9:30 A.M. TO 9:00 P.M.

THIS WEEKEND DON'T MISS
at the Power Center
SO'N HOUSE:
Sat., Aril 15, 8 P.M.
with MANCE LIPSCOMB
and ROBERT PETE WILLIAMS

photo by David Capps
SON HOUSE

SON HOUSE-a friend of Charlie Patton, the mentor. of Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, one of
the last links to the source of the Mississippi Delta Blues Tradition. Muddy Waters called him "the
best we had." Muddy Waters: "Son House played this same place. for about four weeks in a row, and I
was there every night. You couldn't get me out of that corner, listening to what he's doing." One
of the real living legends of the blues, on his last trip to this area. Don't miss him-you'll never have
the chance again.
PLENTY OF GOOD SEATS STILL AVAILABLE
Get them now at Salvation Records (330 Maynard) and the
Michigan Union 11-2 P.M., or at the door.

TV & Stereo Rentals
$10.00 per month
NO DEPOSIT
FREE DELIVERY, PICK UP
AND SERVICE
CALL:
NEJAC TV RENTALS
662-5671

I

SHOWCASE 4!
i bsen' s
A DOLL'S
HOUSE
ARENA THEATRE
OPENS THURS.
Box Office opens 2:00

FEIALE
EMAENCI

I FRE to r i P 1ar l- 11 1

1 W n A mA

I

I

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