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September 20, 1977 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-09-20

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Page 6-Tuesday, September 20, 1977-The Michigan Daily


at the Ark

style, is one of his many strong points.
With banjo in hand, he turned the ever
popular song about a most unpopular
bug, the "Boll Weevil," into an exciting
concert opener. The instrumentation
was as important as the words.
Vanaver was attracted to folk music
during the fifties. "Everybody was get-
ting into international music and folk
dancing," he noted. Through his in-
volvement in folk dancing, Vanaver dis-
covered the music of Greece, the Bal-
kins, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria.
Several years ago, Vanaver stopped
touring the folk coffee house circuit.
Along with Livia, whom he recently
married, he founded the Vanaver Cara-
van, a New Paltz, New York based dan-
ce troupe. "Everything I've done in the
past few years has been geared towards
the company," commented Vanaver.
He composes, arranges, and along with
three other musicians, performs the
music, while Livia choreographs the
work of four dancers.
"The show includes anything from
folklore to modern dance. It's kind of a
festival," Vanaver explained. The
company has toured India and Europe
with the United StatesDepartment of
State. In addition, the Vanavers are
writing and choreographing "A Thou-
sand Nights and a Night," a variation
on The Arabian Nights, in connection
with the Manhattan Project, a New
York City theater group.
Twice Vanaver performed songs by
Uncle Dave Macon, a wagon-maker
who didn't like automobiles. He often

re-wrote old gospel tunes, adding his
own political commentary in the pro-
cess. "From Earth to Heaven" had the
chorus, "I'll becha hundred dollars to
half a ginger cake, I'll be here when the
trucks are gone."
Vanaver's composing and arranging
ability often added to the beauty of his
performance. He did Elizabeth Cotton's
rolling "Freight Train" and Woody
Guthrie's "Pastures of Plenty" with un-
usual, lilting arrangements.
Although Vanaver performed a num-
ber of tunes in their native languages,
including Green and French, he also
played "The Immigrant," the only
Greek song he's ever translated into
English. It is a powerful, melodic song.
Much of his material is closely rela-
ted to' the art of story-telling. "Quelle
Dommage Martin" is about a wood-
cutter whose nose freezes and falls off.
Three nuns discover it and decide to use
it to snuff out candles back in the con-
vent. "Some earlier versions have the
nuns deciding to use it as a candle.
Some people believe in the original
story it was something other than the
man's nose that fell off," explained
Vana ver.
Vanaver closed the evening with a re-
turn to Georgia Sea Island hand-clap-
ping. This time he got the crowd to clap
in four-part harmony. This clapping led
naturally into a well-deserved, hearty
round of applause for an artist who had
given a evening of unique entertain-




arts on printed page

A few years ago, Eric Keller, ab-
ssorbed in his self-styled Concentra-
Ition labeled "art perception" in the
Residential College, suddenly con-
fronted an unsettling reality. Visual
art, as a modern aesthetic form, had
disappeared from the streets and
show windows of Ann Arbor's cultur-
al haven. In their place appeared
popular crafts, marketable goods
pedaled as souvenirs of a town that
had once stood as a vanguard of crea-
tive thought and expression. These
crafts were mass produced and sold
as hand crafted to those patrons who
were willing to pay a little something
extra to capture the popular spirit of
"naturalism" that pervaded the
In response to overwhelming de-
mand, art fairs cropped up through-
out the city, offering ceramics and
other appealing coffee table articles
that Keller described as "the art of
Birmingham and Southfield, not' of
Ann Arbor."
However, while this marketable
art thrived in the core of the art
community, new fringe groups were
developing alternative techniques.
Using technology to create a new.
When Steve Miller comes into town for his
October 14 concert, he's bringing with him
an opening act you'll find to a pleasant
surprise compared to most opening acts
groups take on tour with them; THE NOR-
Stone" article on Norton Buffalo (no kid-
ding, that's his name) quoted Mike Bloom-
field as saying: "He's the best harp player
I've ever heard. One night he ran through
a medley of fiddle tunes so fast that my
harp player ran out from the dressing room
from to watch. He couldn't believe one hu-
man being could possibly play what he was
hearing." Commander Cody said, "He's the
best cat blowing harp today . . . We
ended up taking him on our European tour."
A recent Detroit Free Press review said,
"Buffalo is eccentric and eclectic . . . he
gives you a taste of jazz, rock, blues,
pop, country, honky tonk, and roller rink.
But the overriding feel is of a crazy, laid-
back country/western Boz Scaggs." Tickets
are on sale at the Box Office in the lobby of
the Michigan Union (763-2071).
Probably the most unique series of con-
certs ever presented was George Benson's
four day stint in New York City last May.
Entitled, "Benson x 4," the concept pre-
sented the brilliant guitarist in four differ-
ent halls ranging from the Museum of
Modern Art to Avery Fisher Hall and each
performance was a distinct performance,
one with the Dance Theater of Harlem,
one with Earl Klugh/Les Paul/Gabor Zabor
one with Minnie Ripperton ...

Eria Keller
genre, local artists began to experi-
ment with photography, typography,
and xerography, and an unexploited
frontier in graphics extended a
beckoning invjttion to explore its,
That this fringe never yielded to its
potential was largely due to the fact,
in Keller's opinion, that competi-
tion among artists was driving exper-
imental art further underground.
Students refused to purchase or even
acknowledge the work of their com-
petitors. Several arty magazines
sprang up but inevitably reverted to
becoming a showcase for a few
narcissistic souls who were eager to
see their own work in circulation.
In response to this, Keller collected
a group of artists of varying me-
diums together to'publish what they
termed "a unique image-based mag-
azine of ideas, events, and informa-
tion. . . an arts magazine not con-
tent to stay on the horizon of one art
Thus, in the middle of 1975 Light-
works was born, only to expire two is-
sues later when everyone connected
with the enterprise left town. Disillu-
sioned and dispirited by the lack of
support from the community, Keller
kicked around several ideas for rear-
ranging the format of the publica-
Eventually Keller met up with
Charlton Burch, who became co-
designer and editor. Burch and'
Keller decided to drop the literary
emphasis of the magazine and con-
centrate on pursuing a completely
visual approach.
Working with the idea that readily
accessible mediums of creativity,
such as video, should abandon an elit-
ist approach, Burch and Keller deter-
mined that their publication should
be a free vehicle for the exercise of,
visual expression. They solicited art
from the community and abandoned
any restraints on the method of
Although Keller acknowledged that
most of the copy represented "a sort'
of Marxist attitude toward art and'
society that sets us apart from other
art magazines," Burch added that
the accent was on "challenge and
exploration rather than any heavy-
handed dogma."
"Art as a concept must never
rest," declared an introduction to one
of the early issues. "To impose a
definition is to limit the meaning and
opportunity for redefinition." The
magazine aims to "destroy a lot of
social pretentions about artists."
Distribution is also on a national
scale. And though Lightworks is a

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