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B R s
By Dan Grantham
THINGS WERE really shaking at the
major events office last year.
While pulling in such major acts as Joe
Jackson, Phil Collins, and Prince, the
office also threw out its director and
head booking agent.
Despite the firings, which were the
result of an audit last spring, MEO says
it is once again ready to produce shows
that are worth standing in line all night
And the office has a good track record
to back that up. MEO shows such as
The Police, Billy Joel, and Fleetwood
Mac have consistently filled 12,000-seat
Crisler arena. When Springsteen
opened his 1980 tour here, scores of
students took up temporary residence
in Crisler's parking lot.
But 12,000 seat sellouts are not the
only thing the office looks for. Major
events also brings to town lesser known
acts which have a strong local
following. Peter Tosh, Ry Cooder, Rita
Marley, and Peter Gabriel have all fit
Getting big-name acts is not easy,
says Kevin Gilmartin, the office's ac-
ting director. Although Ann Arbor has a
large student population, most bands
touring the midwest have their sights
on huge arenas like Joe Louis or Cobo
Hall in Detroit.
"(Ann Arbor) is a secondary market
to Detroit," says Gilmartin. "Some
groups want to play Detroit and don't
want to play a secondary market.
There is competition for groups."
"We bid, in most every case, against
Joe Louis and Cobo. (The band's)
natural intuition is to play Joe Louis
because they can take more money
home," he says.
The office makes special efforts to
book artists who appeal to a college
crowd, says Frank Cianciola, who
oversees the operation from his post as
student Union director. But he adds
that "We don't want to get locked into
one type of performance." Ann Arbor is
too diverse to consider it only as a
The overriding criteria for booking
bands, however, is if they are in the
area-and most of all, money.
"You have to realize that we are a
self-sustaining organization, we can't
do a show that won't make money,"
says Gilmartin. "We book shows on
their commercial viability."
Commercial standing, he says, is
determined by how well the artist is
doing in other cities on the tour, and by
how popular he or she has been in the
Although MEO produced shows last
year by Prince, Patrice Rushen, and
the Gap Band, it has been criticized in
previous years for neglecting black ar-
Gilmartin, however, says MEO will
book black artists only if the office
thinks they can turn a profit. Prince
passed that test, this year, says
Gilmartin, but the Gap Band was a
MEO's job goes well beyond attrac-
ting the artist. Once the date is set, the
office has to arrange a place for the
band to play, and then worry about
keeping the crowd under control.
Because the three facilities MEO
uses-the 12,000 seat Crisler arena,
smaller Hill Auditorium, and the ever
cozier Power Center - are so different,
the office takes special care to match
artist with surroundings, says Gilmar-
Still, some of the past billings have
been strange at best. Last year, both
Chicago and The Oak - Ridge Boys
played at Crisler. And, whoops, Blue
Oyster Cult somehow made an ap-
pearance at the prestigious and
wearable art show in November.
Degraff-Forsythe Galleries (201
Nickels Arcade; 663-0918)
At thirty-five years, Degraff is one of the
oldest galleries in the country. It
features American and Latin American
contemporary art, and has exhibited
work by Univeristy professors in the
past, including Wendell Hears and
Richard Wilt. With Blixt and Alice Sim-
sar, it is one of only three exclusively
fine art galleries in Ann Arbor. Prices
are beyond student range. Fairly con-
servative but high quality exhibits.
Comments director Gambino, "Work
gets seen in Ann Arbor only after it gets
seen elsewhere." Not trendy.
Fifteen Hands (119 W. Washington; 761-
Representing 35 artists, Fifteen Han-
ds offers continuing exhibits of local
regional artworks, and contemporary
crafts. Staffed by member artists,
classes are offered on a regular basis
and advice is always free, says mem-
ber artist Stan Zweber.
Offering "something for everyone's
budget," Fifteen Hands gives art af-
ficionadoes a choice of everything "from
a $6 one-of-a-kind coffee mug to a $700
piece of stained glass," said Zweber.
Slusser Gallery (Art and Architecture
Bldg., North Campus; 764-0397)
The place to see what your art
student roommate does all day. Slusser
offers some of the best art school work
around, which doesn't always mean
much, although some of the pieces are
Slusser consists of one fairly large
room-an open and uncrowded in-
troduction to the art school. The rest of
the Art and Architecture building is also
filled with rotating student work, in-
cluding some exciting graphics by ar-
chitecture and design students. Worth a
Museum of Art: A prestigious permanent collection.
trip sometime before graduation.
Lotus Gallery (119 E. Liberty; 665-6322)
A hop, step, or leap from Campus Inn,
Lotus Gallery specializes in oriental
work, although pottery and weaving by
the Hopi Indians also graces the walls.
You'll find an impressive selection of
older porcelain and jewelry in jade and
bronze. High quality stuff.
Museum of art (South State; 763-1231)
Backed with the financial resources
of the University, the Museum is able to
display work by artists of the highest
stature. In addition to its permanent
collection, including works by Eastman
Johnson, Charles Wimer, and Jacques
Lipshitz, the gallery has recently
hosted exibits of Frank Stella and
Leonardo Da Vinci.
Those shows don't come at the expen-
se of local talent, however. The
museum holds several shows each year
featuring works by professors in the art
school. A retrospective of inter-
nationally known works by Jerome
One of A
one of two
Help Make Live Jazz Happen!
Live Bop, Feel Bop. BEBOP!
Prince: A smaller act, but big local draw.
Copyright © 1983 The New York Times "Al! the News That's Fit to Print"
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