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December 07, 1987 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-12-07

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4

Ndge 8 -The Michigan Daily-Monday, December 7, 1987

Copley

captures

essence

of

O'Keeffe

By Jose-Arturo Martinez
-This past weekend, The J. Parker
.opley Dance Company opened
Ohir fall season with an evening
1ength tribute to artist Georgia
U'Keeffe at the Trueblood theatre. I
tend to approach evening length
dance concerts with a sense of
Irepjdation. They are the hardest kind
of work on both the choreographer
and the audience. I shouldn't have
.Vvorried. When the concert ended I
found myself wondering where the
tilno went.
Portrait of an Artist., dedicated to
Georgia O'Keeffe, is the latest work
byJ. Parker Copley and is by far his
best work yet. It was alternately fast
laced, moody, and attention riveting,
anil was unquestionably some of the
best dance in Ann Arbor this season.
; Beginning with the first glimpse
of the set, designed by Ray Wetzel,
the viewer was transported into the
cOurtyard of O'Keeffe's home in
Santa Fe, New Mexico, complete

with adobe brick house, tumble-
weeds, and sand. The work show-
cased the life of the American artist,
who was played in differing rendi-
tions by Noonie Anderson and Julie
Guy, with a very strong performance
by the supporting cast. Performed as
12 vignettes, O'Keeffe came to life
in the context of her New Mexico
home.
Anderson, who appeared at vari-
ous points of the work, gave another
high quality performance with the
company. She reminded the audience
that it was the themes created by
O'Keeffe that were the strand of
consistency throughout the produc-
tion. Her grace and suppleness, in
what were at times difficult exten-
sions to hold, were simply a marvel
to watch.
The seventh movement, "In the
dusk of a late winter... in the valley
of disarming shadows," was a
haunting portrait of a woman on the
verge of a mental collapse. Ander-
son, dressed in black, was reminis-
cent of the sorrow O'Keeffe experi-

enced in the 1930s. In the piece,
Anderson was haunted by a wraith-
like figure, played by Guy, who
embodied all of O'Keeffe's insecuri-
ties and fears. This figure haunted
her bedroom and was an ever-present-
force during her two year period of
breakdown.
Guy appeared in a pale beige leo-
tard and combined a sinewy style of
movement with a some of the most
anguished and haunting facial ex-

pressions since Edvard Munch's
lithograph of "The Shriek." Though
reminiscent of desert ghosts (she
played one in the next movement),
she was actually the naked and vul-
nerable side of O'Keeffe. This image
may have been better served if she
had danced this section in the nude,
as she had done in "Zeitgeist," an
earlier part of the program. How-
ever, the costume served to protect
her modesty as well as that of the
audience.

Terri Sarris and Mary Fehrenbach
performed the only two solos in the
program. They were both impressive
in their movements and their ability
to hold the audience's attention.
Fehrenbach, who is new to the
company, adapted Copley's style and
incorporated it into her repertoire
very quickly.
The only marks against the per-
formance were some rough spots on
the "tech" side of the dance. Missed
music cues at the onset were mildly

irritating but did not detract from the
quality of the performance.
The J. Parker Copley Dance
Company's tribute to Georgia
O'Keeffe was an interesting and sen-
sitive look at the career of the artist
both as a woman of her times and in
terms of her personal conflicts. The
performances and choreography rein-
forced the themes within the perfor-
mance, while staying independent of
this innovative concept of artistic
tribute.

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SI'

Records
Frank Allison and the
Odd Sox
"The Rodent of Love"/l"Some
Odd Girl"
Relapse Records
Frank Allison and the Odd Sox
are one of Ann Arbor's finest garage-
bred pop bands.With loads of energy
,and a genuine ragged feel, the Sox
carefully tote all the paranoias and
frustrations of our urban youth scene
but without any of its distasteful
pretensions. Trouble is, they also
don't seem to get the notice they de-
serve - probably because they also
don't put out much in the way of
:vinyl.
But when you're in a position
where you've gotta do it all yourself,
one fine single ("This Is Your Father
Speaking," released about two years
ago) is worth more than a shoddy LP
and with a new single that's just
,as catchy, the Odd Sox are sure on
,the right track.
"Some Odd Girl," this new
record's B-side, is a rolling, guitar-
strumming good time. Allison's
singing is as emotion-soaked and
yenjoyable as ever but, like the band's
playing, has abandoned the rough
,edges that characterized his more
angsty last 7". Instead, the Odd Sox
have gone into the studio and
smoothed out their touch; they've
left all the feeling, but have added
some polish.
Strangely, these tracks sound like
;they were written by two different
;people. The bouncy, carefree B-side,
xfreminiscent of early Stones, is
pmatched with "Rodent of Love," a
: more structured, jagged tune in
something like the Cars' tradition.
t"Rodent"'s lyrics are pretty odd-set.
'They're too clever for their own
good and tend to drag down Allison's
-hiccoughing vocals. Luckily, the
fervent playing keeps it afloat.
If you missed the Odd Sox's
record release party at the Blind Pig
last week, keep on the look-out for
them. With enough encouragement,
maybe they'll be able to scrape up a
full LP. -Beth Fertig

WEEKEND
MAGAZINE
Fridays in The Daily
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4

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