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September 04, 1980 - Image 119

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-09-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Ark sails on as folk m

BY STEVE HOOK
The University has become a mid-
west icenter for many aspects of the
performing arts - Eclipse Jazz attrac-
ts the nation's most prestigious jazz
musicians, the University Musical
Society hosts the world's leading
classical musicians, in addition to
opera and dance artists. Major Events
brings well-known rock and pop
musicians to town, and its museums
feature many of the midwest's most
sought-after collections of paintings,
photographs, and sculpture. But for
Wfolk music, University organizations
take second billing to a quiet, unob-
trusive house on 1421 Hill St.
Known as the Ark, this stately home
is considered the midwest's capital for
folk music. It has been drawing the
world's most talented folk musicians
for nearly 15 years, and remains, to the

artists, a highly valued stop on their
American tours - like coming home
again.
THIS IS WHERE David Brom-
berg spent his early years as a
professional musician, along with Leon
Redbone, John Prine, and Steve Good-
man. In addition, more traditional, less
'well-known folk musicians are attrac-
ted to the Ark: respected English and
Irish folksingers like Owen McBride
and Lou Killen, instrumental bands like
the Red Clay Ramblers, American
revivalists like Michael Cooney and
Margaret Macarther. Every weekend
during the school year, the candle-lit
living room of the Ark is filled with ap-
preciative music lovers, who consisten-
tly are treated to authentic, sincere
performances.
There is no hype surrounding the Ark
- in fact, it has been virtually on its

knees financially since it was founded
by three local churches in the mid-ยข0's.
The small audiences prohibit large
profits for the Ark, which has survived
the past three years due in part by
sponsoring the annual Ann Arbor Folk
Festival, held each winter at the Power
Center.
The Ark is operated by Dave and Lin-
da Siglin, who live in the house with
their daughter, Anya, their German
shepherd, FleetaMay, two cats and a
hampster. During the week, the Siglins
are busy lining up musicians for future
weekends, and promoting the Ark
through the local media. On weekends,
they open their doors to the folk
musicians and their audiences. Known
as a "coffeehouse," no liquor or beer is
served in the Ark during the perfor-
mances. During intermissions, Dave
and Linda offer hot coffee and tea to the

audiences, and what many call "the
best popcorn in Ann Arbor."
Activities at the Ark are not limited to
Friday and Saturday nights. Musicians
often perform on Thursday night, as
well as Sunday night, when gospel
music is occasionally played. On Wed-
nesday nights, known as "Hoot Night,"
local folk-singers and instrumentalists
are invited to take the stage them-
selves. Throughout the week, posters
announcing upcoming concerts are at-
tached to campus kiosks and bulletin
boards, and the events are listed in
local arts calendars.
Sadly, most University students
leave Ann Arbor without visiting the
Ark. Those who do check it out report
memorable evenings filled with
emotional, intriguing song and conver-
sation - the essence of folk music.

The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 4, 1980-Page 9-E
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Daily Photo by DAVID HARRIS 4
Ark manager Dave Siglin (center) chats with neighbor's on the folk music coffee-
house's front porch.
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Campus imgoing an adventure

(Continued from Page 2)
ventilation are enough to drive anyone batty. Add to
that the uncomfortable seating, with just enough
space between rows to make stumbling past seated
viewers dangerous and potentially very em-
barrassing, and you have the worst of the main cam-
pus screening locations. Another minor but nagging
source of irritation in viewing at "Nat. Sci." is its
popularity as a lecture hall; it's always somewhat
depressing to attempt being entertained in the same
place where you might have had all those dull
Medieval History lectures or flunked your chemistry
exam.
There are other film organizations, but they keep a
lower profile, screen much less frequently, and are
often tucked away in minor locations. Gargoyle and
Alternative Action generally show a film per week,
always on weekends; their choices are pretty much

worth the time and expense. This cluster of four
theaters almost invariably gets first pick of new
releases, so if you're planning on catching whatever
might be the latest Apocalypse Now, The Shining or
Star Trek, you'd better plan on spending some time
out at the mall. The only drawback at Briarwood's
frequent monopoly on the latest biggies is the fact
that the theaters themselves aren't particularly
large-thus watching Apocalypse can be somewhat
disappointing, since the screens are relatively con-
fined in size and the sound systems are not equipped
for Dolby. As partial compensation, Briarwood has
frequent sneak previews (as do several local
theaters) to watch out for. These are one-shot
showings of new films a few weeks before their actual
release, which may interest anyone to whom being
able to talk about a particular movie before anyone
else is a status symbol.

some form of justification in the damned thing by ex-
periencing it at Briarwood, where people throw pop-
corn and yell things and dress up. Gee, just like you
read about in People and Us. Briarwood runs other
midnight flicks as well. Dawn of the Dead, that air-
bag masterpiece, is a favorite, and often the regular
evening features are given midnight screenings as
well.
At present, none of the local theaters beyond
Briarwood and State St. have regular midnight
showings, though the success of the idea at those two
locations have prompted other theaters to make at
least sporadic attempts.
The Fox Village Theaters are even Further Out
There than Briawood, and definitely require some
kind of special transport. This complex was, not so
long ago, a single theater with one nice big screen. It
got axed into two over a year ago, and just last winter
was fragmented even further intono less than four
theaters. Why? The question is a legitimate one,
because Fox Village is too often concrete proof that
sometimes there just aren't enough good movies to go
around. When a theater hangs on to '10' for months,
eventually pairing it with such gems as Roller Boogie
and Guyana-Cult of the Damned, something must be
wrong. Still, if this locale doesn't get many of the
more interesting new releases, you never know when
one might slip past Briarwood and somehow make its
way to Fox Village, like last year's All That Jazz.
The remainder of Ann Arbor theaters are all,
happily, simple single-screen deals, though they
rarely get anything first-run beyond the latest Adven-
tures of the Walton Clones, Sun Classic duds, Disney
re-releases and cheap horror flicks. The nicest of the
second-run houses, and indeed probably the pleasan-
test theater in Ann Arbor, is, of course, the Ann Arbor
itself. Located about a ten minute walk from central
campus, this is a terrifically comfortable place, even
if most of the time it features little more than second
or third-run commerical flicks (The Rose, Animal
House, etc.). The Ann Arbor is too large to earn a
solid living off these throwaway bookings, and rarely
holds a film for more than a week or two-unfor-
tunately, because lately it has been showing oc-
casional new foreign films of some interest, including
Fassbinder's The Marriage of Maria Braun, the
Italian To Forget Venice, and Bertolucci's ravishing
Luna.
The Campus, located just a couple of minutes from
the Diag on South University, offers a similar diet of
second-runs and delayed or minor first-runs. Its
prices, however, are a dollar lower than the com-
petition's, and there have been some welcome recent
attempts to start up weekend matinee series' of
notable older films. The Wayside, on Washtenaw, is a
fair distance away, which matters little because its
films are rarely worth checking out. They usually run.
along the lines of family flicks and other cheap
thrills. You might just as well wait and see such items
on cable TV in a few months.
The Michigan Theater is Ann Arbor's last surviving
memoir from the days of grand Hollywood movie
palaces, complete with a large balcony section, a
classic lobby with the perfect old-movie staircase
(one envisions Marlene Dietrich making her Big En-
trance, sliding down the steps so slowly in a Von
Sternberg film.. .), impressingly baroque carvings
on the wall and ceilings, and a nice general feel of
mossy nostalgia. For better or worse, it also has a
magnificently well-preserved, enormous theater
organ, which rises up mechanically from the depths
of the orchestra pit to subject infrequent audiences to
organ music (does anyone really like this stuff?)
before screenings. Films have been limited lately to
occasional nights rented out by the campus co-ops
and other organizations for special showings. The
rest of the time, the Michigan sits empty, or is oc-
cupied by various concerts and miscellaneous events
(most notably the 16mm Film Festival in the spring).

Read ?tf
764-0558

119 W. Washington
761-1110
11:00am to 9:00pm M-F
10:00am to 6:00pm S

Daily Classifieds Get Results

Discover CANTERBURY'LOFT'
-a center for the performing arts sponsored by the
Episcopal Campus Ministry
332 SOUTH STATE STREET
(two doors south of Nickels Arcade
on the second floor)
FOR LIVE PERFORMANCES
THAT YOU CAN AFFORD
DESIGNED TO LEAVE YOU
MOVED AND THOUGHTFUL
Call 665-0606 for information
All events at the Loft are listed in the Michigan Daily
Episcopal Chaplain: ANDREW FOSTER
Producer: BILL SHARPE

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Daily Photo by MAUREEN O'MALLEY
For Cinema Guild patrons waiting in line before a film, unusual window displays provide much-
needed diversions. The movie-goers don't always have the chance to see a live mannequin, though.

middle-of-the-road. Dorm groups occasionally show
films, often for free and most often at the beginning of
the school year, but these are not frequently very well
publicized or very interesting.
One exception, if a minor one, is the Weekend Por-
taculture Film Series, which is run by some East
Quad students and tends toward neglected camp
masterpieces (i.e., Gidget Goes to Rome, Plan Nine
from Outer Space, etc.) which are shown roughly
every other weekend in E.Q., usually for free.
Area commercial theaters have been doubling and
quadrupling into multitheater complexes a lot lately,
leaving Ann Arbor with more than enough outlets for
new Hollywood and foreign products. The State
Street Four, the Campus and the Ann Arbor are
within easy walking distance of central campus. All
the others can be reached fairly easily, though not
awfullyfapt, by taking various city buses. Be warned,
however, that most of the bus schedules do not run far
into the evening, so other forms of transport may be
necessary to attend evening shows-a car, if
available, or a taxi, if affordable. Prices for all of
these theaters are pretty much the usual dismal for-
tune (offering further incentive to scan those co-op
schedules instead), with the usual matinee discounts,
and often further reductions for those with student
I.D., etc. Since ticket prices and policies are always
being changed, it's best to check a newspaper or give
the theater a call if you're uncertain.
Briarwood is the archtypical shopping-center
theater complelx, slick and impersonal, but often

The State Street Four is another four-theater com-
ples, though better located and somehow more com-
fortable than Briarwood. It gets pretty much the
second-best as far as first-run films go, though there
are worthy offerings from time to time. The theater's
main attraction for most students is its Friday and
Saturday midnight shows-four, count 'em-which
are just $1.50 with student I.D. The midnight of-
ferings here are a variable mix of concert-footage
and musical-collage documentaries (usually more a
matter of musical taste than anything else), a few
certified midnight staples (Eraserhead, Harold and
Maude), and assorted oddities. Among the latter, try
to avoid movies that just sound very funny, because
they generally aren't. Sure, it is possible to make dull
movies with wonderful titles like Linda Lovelace for
President and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. When
watching some of these items, being in a druggy haze
isn't just helpful, it's required for survival.
Briarwood started the area's midnight trend with
the unavoidable Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is
still playing and just won't leave. If you're one of
those people (like me) whose first reaction to Rocky
Horror was a polite retch, you may finally discover

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