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October 30, 1986 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-30

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4

Page 8 - The Michigan Daily, Thursday, October 30, 1986
Ferron, Bim, Caldor to warm Power Center

By V.J. Beauchamp
There's nothing like looking
forward to a show with a performer
you know is going to be great.
Here we have one of those evenings
to really look forward to: three great
performers on one bill. Tonight at
7:30, Ferron, Bim, and Connie
Caldor will perform at the Power
Center.
Canadians all, they are. And they
are no strangers to Ann Arbor's
flourishing folk scene. They have
all appeared at the Ann Arbor Folk
Festival: Bim in 1985, and Connie
Caldor and Ferron were both in
1984. And they are all familar faces
at the Ark(637 1/2 S. Main), as
well.
Connie Caldor, tonight's opener,
is a singer/songwriter with a
versatile range. Equally adept at
piano, guitar, and singing acapella,

Caldor is a real charmer. The
majority of her songs are story
songs, performed with a dramatic
flare, mixed with a generous
amount of patter. For awhile,
Caldor was a regular facet in the
Mr. Floods' Party/Ark circuit,
while she was making Ann Arbor
her home. Her aim is to make her
audience feel at home, and she
usually suceeds.
Bim is a great Canadian hero. He
has , a strong following in
homeland. Bim is the sort of
person you can't be lukewarm
about; you either love him or hate
him. His appearance at the 1985
Folk Festival inspired bursts of
swooning admiration by one half of
the audience, and a mass emigration
by the other half. The rumour goes
that Bim began his career as a
gospel singer. His present non-
gospel style of performing is a

bluesy rock shuffle, and he hides
his quite nice voice in the raspy
tones of "bluessingers." His voice
sounds much worse than it really
is. But don't be deceived. Bim is a
great guitarist, a great songwriter,
and a great performer. For just a
taste of his live performance, check
out Anything You Want, his
live1982 solo acoustic LP put out
by the CBC. Yep, them Canadians
sure like Bim.
Then there's Ferron. She's a bit
of an acquired taste. Her
songwriting and performing style
has been compared to Bob Dylan
(though she claims her Vancouver
childhood was so sheltered from
pop culture that she didn't hear him
until she was 23. And then she
wondered why he couldn't carry a
tune). Ferron has received some of
the most glowing reviews as of late
of all the up and coming folk
artistes, and her live performances
demonstrate these raves are entirely
deserved. She has a clear, rough alto
and a simple, evocative guitar
style, and her songs are filled with
emotional landscapes and natural
imagery.
Ferron's musical style is rooted
in traditional Canadian folksinging,
and while she is well known in
N.Y.C. 'among the Folk City
crowd, she still lives in Vancouver.

Already, I know, there are some
of you who are saying "ooh, yuck,
sensitive girl folksinger." That's
your loss. While Ferron is often
put in the "Women's Music"
category because her love songs
deal with women, she is by no
means a "women's musician."
She's the first such performer to
win over mainstream audiences. In
a review of her last album,
Shadows on a Dime, Rolling Stone
critic Don Shewey lavished great
praise upon her and confessed
learning her songs by heart. Her
concerts usually have both sexes
represented in close to equal
numbers. As well, she doesn't fall
into that women's music hole of
self-righteous, windblown,
overworked lyrics about idealized
relationships that keep women's
music separate and overlooked. She
sings to regular people trying to
make sense of their lives, with a
spontaneous, unembellished voice,
and clear concise songwriting. She
is frank and disarming, funning,
perceptive and weather-worn. Arti-
culate, compelling, and unresolved.
It's unfortunate that Ferron's
recorings don't capture this sense of
immediacy, nor are they as
compelling. Testimony, her first
U.S. release was obscured with
rippling guitars and prettypretty

I

I

Canadian singer/songwriter Ferron will be performing at the Power Cen-
ter tonight with Bim and Connie Caldor.

back-up vocals. While Shadows
manages to cut through this ugly
wax build-up, it doesn't reach out
and grab ya like she does in concert.
Her singular name translates to
"iron" and "rust." This is not
wimpy potatoes, friends, even if
you are scared that a person might
talk about emotions. Her voice
rasps and cracks and is sometimes
harsh, and her sincerity is already
written in her words.

So, what we'll be seeing tonight
will be somewhat varied an I
somewhat representative of the
different directions of Canadia
folkmusic. Connie Caldor, who
wins the audience with stories and
sheer charm. Bim, who wins the
audience with stories and sheer
bluesy guts. And Ferron, who win$
the audience with sheer strength.
Tonight at the Power Center,
7:30pm.

Brecht Co. presents
By Karin Edelson .2

In a society that is filled with
expanding options for a woman,
should she still be forced to make a
distinct choice between a career and
mothehood? Caryl Churchill's
* enlightening 1982 play, Top Girls
t hmi explores this issue and tries to
answer this improtant question.
The Brecht Company's
production of Top Girls features
seven women, some playing dual
roles, each depicting the various
functions that women play in the
workplace, the home, and in
Sdutl S 8history. Characters of the present
mix with characters from the past
in illusionary scenes to show how
women are presented through the
ages.
Top Girls" main character,
Marlene, is the woman who
LIVEENTERT AINMENT EVERY T HURSDAY NIGHT! chooses a career over motherhood
and, as a result, becomes

'Top Girls'
women have become 'Top Girls' by
allowing themselves to look at
make ideals as top," Thorne says.
Men can also identify with some of
the same feelings that women have
about struggling to reach the top, of
a corporation.
In spite of its serious premise.,
Top Girls is an extremely
humorous play. It provides
entertainment as well as an
important message and allows us to
take a fresh look at our lives andl
our choices. Thorne explains that
the best way to make a point is to
amuse the audience, and Top GirlsE
is sure to make us laugh while also
teaching an important lesson.
Top Girls will be'performed
at the Residential College
Auditorium at East Quad for three
consecutive weeks. Showtimes for
ekend explores Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
performances will be at 8:00 p.m.
and Sundays, November 2 and 9 at
s of women and 2:00p.m. Tickets for Thursday and
ople in relation Sunday performances are $4.
Friday and Saturday performances
are $6. A special preview price for
ay seems to be Thursday, October 30 is $3.
irector, Barbara Tickets are available at the
nen will like it Michigan Theatre Box Office. For
amused at how more information, call 995-0532.

The Brecht Company's presentation of 'Top Girls' this wee
the struggle of modern women.

completely authoritarian in her job.
As the head of an employment
agency, Marlene becomes
systemized in her "slotting" of
women into their various positions.
This systemization eventually
encompasses all of the facets of her
life. She becomes carried away with

the class differences
over-categorizes pe
to her job.
Although the ph
devoutly feminist, d
Thorne feels that m
too. "Men will bea

The English Composition Board's
ACADEMIC WRITING SERIES
Presents
"EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW
2 ABOUT GRAMMAR, PUNCTUATION AND MECHANICS*
*BUT DIDN'T KNOW WHOM TO ASK"
Proper grammar, punctuation and spelling facilitate the presenta-
tion of a writer's ideas. But how can you clarify your writing
if you are uncertain when to use or whether to use "there,"
"their" or "they're"? The third lecture-workshop in the ECB
Academic Writing Series will answer such questions. ECB Lecturer
Michael Marx will moderate a forum on grammar, punctuation
and spelling ECB Lecturer Robert Carlisle discusses pronoun use
in "Problems with the Use of One"; ECB Lecturer Ele McKenna
explains how to use commas in 'Using the Comma Purposely";
and ECB Lecturer Barb Morris offers some guidelines for spelling
in "What Every Writer Knows: Nobody Speaks Spelled English."
A question and answer session will follow the presentations to
answer individual queries.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30
4:00 - 5:15
229 ANGELL HALL

4 chloav -fnro k nnt onnuwh

1 AOf LLGy 19, vV LN ivy

By Todd Levin
Robert Ashley will be
"returning" to the Ann Arbor
campus for two performances on
Sunday, taking on the role of
composer/performer with both
Gerard Pape's Sinewive Ensemble
and the Ann Arbor Chamber
Orchestra. This homecoming is
long overdue; since Ashley was a
student here in the early '60s as an
undergraduate and graduate in the
School of Music. His avant garde
'operas' have garnered recognition
all over the world, and he has
single-handedly formed the oeuvre
now known as "performance art."
Ashley, along with three other
University students, formed the
contemporary music group known
as ONCE during the early '60s.
This group was the first of its kind
to specialize in performances of
contemporary music in the United
States. In its five years of music,
ONCE invited such legendary
names as John Cage, Robert

Rauschenberg, Luciano Berio, and
the Domain Musicale as guests,
well before these people reached
their current height of fame. Ashley
also formed the Sonic Arts Union
in conjunction with his association
with ONCE, and begun working on
his multi-media 'operas.'
Two of these such pieces will be
performed Sunday at the Michigan
Theatre. The Wolfman (1964) is
probably the best known feedback
piece ever composed. Ashley says
that the main prerequisite of this
composition is "The use of volume
levels that are unattainable except
through electronic amplification."
He stresses the need for the right
type of equipment and for the
correct placing of loudspeakers so
that very high levels of
amplification are possible without
feedback occurring, but 'leaving
volume in reserve so that feedback
can be produced when required.
Against a background of a tape
collage the composer improvises on
four components of vocal sound.
Each phrase lasts one breath and
divides into three Darts. Between
each phrase the amplifier level is
turned up to produce feedback.
Ashley says of the nature of this
feedback, "the particular kind of
vocal cavity allows a certian
amount of acoustical feedback to be
present within the sounds produced
by the voice."
The frightening sounds produced
by the high amplification and
feedback is accentuated by a visual
presentation which pushes The

considered Ashley's "Magnum~
Opus" anddattains the highest level
of artistic thrust of his many
'operas' (Perfect Lives, No
Eleanor's Idea, That Morning
Thing). The word 'opera' must 1e
construed rather loosely here, as its
application pertains to the overall
staging and not to the formal piaI
or plot development usually
attributed to opera. Atalan ta
contains three large episodes, based
loosely around the characters of
Max' Ernst (surrealist painter ,
Willard Reynolds (shamai
storyteller), and Bud Powetl
(composer, pianist). Ashley views
these acts as dream sequences,
slightly out of focus- as if you
just woke up from an afternoop
nap, and can only fuzzily recover1
fractions of the dreams you had
while asleep.
The ancient Greek myth of
Atalanta is central to this 'opera'
Ashley's point of departure for the
'opera' catches up with the story
centuries later. It dramatizes the
type of man a great woman might
choose as a companion by
recounting three aspects of extra=-
ordinary men of our times (Ernst,
Reynolds, and Powell). Not coin-
cidentally, since the 'opera' iy
devoted to her story- it is kit
'opera'- the genious of these threk
men can be taken to represent three
aspects of the 'opera' itself: image,
narrative, and music.
Ashley will be speaking tonight
at Eyemediae'(214 n. Fourth) jA
conjunction with a video sho

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