Page 8 -The Michigan Daily-Monday, November 23, 1987
By Jose-Arturo Martinez
Advanced choreography classes are part of the normal requisite of
courses that all dance students are required to take in their dance
education. As such, you never know what to expect at one of these
concerts; you can at times see works that obviously need more work, or
works that are pleasant surprises. Happily there was more of the latter
than the former this past weekend when the University Dance
Department successfully presented a Dance and Related Arts concert in
Studio A of the dance building.
For Dance and Related Arts, nine student choreographers strutted
their stuff and combined with other artists in the areas of set design,
costuming, and original music. Of these performances, Thomas
Cocco's "Romper Room Rubbish" contained the single strongest
visuals of the concert. The dance opened as an eerie blue light rose up
to reveal an immense garbage structure that served as a metaphorical
icon for the ever-increasing problem of toxic waste. In the foreground,
three toilet paper festooned figures twitched and came up from the
murky depths. The dancers rose with their backs turned and slowly faced
the audience, only to reveal darkly painted and streaked faces that only
hinted at the befouled world that they come from.
But the work did not fulfill the promise of this great beginning. The
scene succeeded in capturing the attention of the audience, and the
images of toxic waste, latch-key toddlers "playing" in their
environment, was well crafted. However, I found myself wondering
where the dance was going, and the work ended with what seemed to be
an unfulfilled promise. Potential was there but fell a bit short.
The single most polished effort came from Victoria Lundell and her
dance "Swerve." What might have otherwise been a tedious and boring
exercise exploring open and closed spaces was, in Lundell's hands,
turned into an exciting dance. The stage set was bare except for a copper
tubing structure designed by Varda Ben-Tal that was bent upon itself
and suggested a struggle in space utilization, or the damndest job of
piping any contractor has ever attempted. Lundell's costume, also
designed by Ben-Tal, complemented the set with its aqua-colored tint
and piping-like trimming.
Lundell's sinuous lithesome movements interacted teasingly with
the set as she alternately invaded and then retreated from the space
occupied by the copper tubes. She started slowly in her movements, and
then picked up the tempo until she ultimately resembled a woman
caught up in the passion of the moment with her surprisingly
Patricia Plasko has shown a taste for the absurd before, as well as a
wry sense of current news and events. Her powers of observation were
well evidenced in her "Coelacanth" (pronounced se-la-canth). Plasko
took a story of the discovery of a living pre-historic species of fish and
produced it on stage with her own unique views and insights.
Plasko succeeded in reporting this event, yet she had the sense to use
it for her commentary on the nature of relationships. Plasko
demonstrated the interchangeable roles of dominant and submissive, as
well as the parasitic relationship between discoverer and discovered. As
a whole, this work performed in three movements showcased Plasko's
growing talents as a choreographer and illustrates what can happen
when choreographer and collaborators reach a harmonious balance.
For almost 20 years, Buchanan
has proved himself an extremely tal-
ented guitar technician, capable of
playing solos few could match.
However, most of his Polydor and
Atlantic albums were plagued by
overproduction, the aimlessness of
his solos, lack of a decent singing
voice or vocalist, and poor song se-
Since signing with Alligator
1records, Buchanan has experienced a
revival of sorts. Hot Wires, his third
Alligator release, continues his
r4surgence. His studio band, in-
ctuding the estimable Donald Kinsey
do guitar, is superb. The production
doesn't get in Buchanan's way, and
his playing is relatively restrained,
while still displaying the fire you'd
expect from him.
Vocalist Johnny Sayles' two
tacks are wild, soulful, heavy metal
hues while Buchanan's and vocalist
Ianika Kress's rendering of Patsy
Mline's "These Arms of Mine" is
revelatory. Kress lends the song a
g'ospel urgency, while Buchanan
displays surprising subtlety and fi-
nesse in his soloing.
The instrumentals, too, are su-
perb, highlighting Buchanan's solos
without getting lost in them.
"Sunset Over Broadway" is jazzy and
fluid while "Flash Chordin"' and
"Country Boogie" are fast and furi-
ous. The former highlights Larry
Exum's rock steady bottom heavy
bass lines while Stan Szelest's bar-
relhouse piano stands out from
Buchanan's "talking blues" vocals
on two of the tracks are pretty silly
and he would have been wise to give
it up and bring Sayles or Kress back.
Nonetheless, Hot Wires is the
type of album which a talent as large
as Buchanan's deserves to make.
Now, if only he could keep this band
together and hit the road...
Hot damn! Round up yer doggies
and lend an ear 'cause Angst is a
band not to be missed. When their
razor sharp guitar and folksy vocals
come over those speakers, I just
feel like slumping in the corner
with a bottle o' Texas Driver and
singing and crying along with 'em.
Now, given SST's reputation
based upon the success of bands
such as Black Flag, Dinosaur Jr.,
and Sonic Youth, it may be hard to
imagine a folksy SST band. But it
should be realized that all of these
bands can be lumped together in a
class of music named "power." And
that's the key factor here. Folk
music doesn't have to be wimpy -
which I think is a common mis-
conception. Luckily Angst shatter
this falsity for anyone who gives
them a chance.
Of course, they have a couple of
slow songs on this, their second
full length LP, but slow doesn't
always mean weak. "What's the
Difference" exemplifies this better
than any other song, with the wail-
ing, "What's the difference... be-
tween you and me?/ What's the dif-
ference," blanketing the easy tempo
of the rest of the band. The vocals,
more than anything else, give these
songs their power. It's easy to vi-
sualize the vocalist, eyes shut tight,
red in the face, sweating through a
version of this, or any other song
on the album. Now that's power.
Their true ability, however,
shines through most clearly on the
quicker songs, the faster, raging
guitar stabs at the social issues
plaguing the earth. Angst take an
interesting path with Mystery Spot,
shying away from the token
"hardcore mentality" political tunes
Angst deliver a gutsy folk sound o
Joseph Pope, and Michael Hursey.
so many of today's underground
bands fall prey to. Songs like
"Outside My Window," and "Mind
Average" show this and rock so
hard while they're at it. Yee-haw!
Here are two fine new country re-
leases by up 'n' coming female
artists. Very fine, in fact, and very
different. The Glenda Faye album is
a case of "truth in title." An all in-
n their new album 'Mystery Spot.'
strumental session featuring Faye's
amazing flatpicking and produced by
C&W veteran Porter Wagoner.
Sidefolks include the legendary(ies)
Bill Monroe and Vassar Clements.
The album is fresh and lean;
sounding as if the players were just
havin' a ball in the studio. Included
are several standards and even a cou-
ple of tunes that are rarely arranged
for guitar such as the fiddle classic
"Orange Blossom Special." It's all a
joy. When is she coming to Ann
Kathy Mattea is a vocalist who is
righteously reckoning with a degree
of commercial success. Integrity is
the key here. The production remains
spare and simple. The songs are
They are (left to right) Jon E. Risk,
sung and played with genuine feel-
Mattea's voice is husky and pas-
sionate. The sidemen deliver exactly
the kind of quality support that her
repertoire of love songs deserve. The
sound is a little sad but never corny.
Her singing grabs you heart and
makes you lean forward in your
chair. This is a sof LP: not a new
C&W rocker like Dwight Yoakum.
And it's not as upbeat as Glenda
Faye's instrimental romp - but it
is uplifting. There is something
special going on around the heart of
the land. Lend an ear and find out
more about it.
-Marc S. Taras
A feast for the
eyes and ears
By David Hoegberg
The University's School of
Music Opera Theatre continued its
tradition of sterling opera produc-
tions last weekend with Puccini's
delightfully melodic La Rondine.,
It was a feast for eyes and ears to
mark set designer Peter Beudert's
recent faculty appointment. His
wrought iron sets in all three acts
sfbtly suggested the swallow's bird
cage, while billowing white gauze
added to the lush, dreamlike atmo-
sjhere. Background lighting pro-
vided a balancing touch of realism,
especially in Act III, where the
ature sky faded tellingly into twi-
light as the drama darkened.
Jay Lesenger's direction was full
of meaningful details, too, such as
the way Magda haltingly let her
hair down to the orchestral reprise
of the dream music at the end of
Act I, the comic irony of the second
pair of lovers kissing on the first's
picnic blanket in Act III, and the
beautiful conflation of time as
Magda's friends returned her to the
palm reading scene while Ruggero
in anguish remained on stage at the
La Rondine is "an opera of text
and feeling," according to director
Lesenger. Genuine feelings were
well portrayed by both casts, but
the text tended to get lost in Puc-
cini's rich orchestrations. This was
especially frustrating in the case of
the poet Prunier, a very verbally
oriented character sung by a light
tenor in both casts. Robert Breault
(Friday and Sunday) was more
audible while Thomas Hueber
(Thursday and Saturday) had a more
Other differences between the
two casts were slight but notice-
able. Both Magdas had the soaring
high notes Puccini requires, but
Julie Wright's (Friday and Sunday)
voice has a hint of metal that made
it stronger in the lower register,
while Beth Veltman (Thursday and
Saturday) produced a creamier tone.
Wright's acting was more detailed
and self-possessed, Veltman's more
passionately involved, but both
were the center of attention
Gregory Broughton as Ruggero
revealed a marvelously focused
voice, clear and understandable in
his every phrase (true also of his
Rambaldo, Kyle Marrero), and in-
tensely emotional at the end. Steve
Anson Simmons' ( Friday and
Sunday) tenor was not quite so
strong, but it is an uncommonly
beautiful voice with a free top and
delicate, long-breathed phrasing.
Lisette was strongly portrayed by
both Laura Lamport (Thursday and
Saturday) and Monica Donakowski.
The men's chorus in Act II was
The most memorable moment
of the production was the glorious
quartet in Act II, which won a well-
deserved ovation from a charmed
audience. Three soloists, chorus,
orchestra, sets, costumes, lighting,
and staging, not to mention flower
petals, combined to show once
again the artistic heights -the Uni-
versity's School of Music consis-
Editor's note: Friday and Satur-
day's cast was seen by the reviewer
during a dress rehearsal last
The Michigan Daily
of The University of Michigan
The calendar combines meeting, lecture work-
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other events happening each week on campus.
It is based on The University Record calendar,
and is open to all University sponsored groups
and organizations recognized by the Michigan
Student Assembly. Items must be submitted in
writing by 5 p.m. the Tuesday before publi-
cation. Address all information to: Julie A.
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ord, 412 Maynard St. Asterisk (*) denotes
events to which admission is charged.
Women's Okinawan Karate Club--Mtg, 6:30-8 pm,
Martial Arts Rm IM Bldg. New stds welcome. 996-5634,
Christian Science Org--Mtg, 7:15 pm, 3rd Fl Mich
Tae Kwon Do Club--Mtg, 6:30 pm, 2275 CCRB. Beg-adv
u..lriwn _MarNi-? S
Ctr for Near East & N Afr Studies--Brown-bag lec, S
Esmail, "Twilight before Palestine," noon, Lane Hall
Studies in Religion--Lec, R Ruether, "Women's Issues in
Theology and the Church: Crises Around Sexuality, Dissent
and Liberation Theology in Contemporary Catholicism," 8-
10 pm, MLB3. 764-4475.
Ctr for Western European Studies--Mtg, MV Gonzalez-
Widel, "Summer Program in Spain," 4 pm, MLB 4th Fl
Guild House--Poetry reading, Epique Scibble, 8 pm, 802
Monroe St, 662-5189.
Computing Ctr--Courses: In Rm 3001 SEB: Lotus 1-2-3, Pt
2, 8:30 am-12:30 pm; Programming in dBASE III Plus, Pt
2, 1-5 pm. In Rm 4003 SEB: Basic concepts of Database
Mgmt Systems, 9-11 am; Basic Concepts of Word
Processing, 1-3 pm. Reg req. 763-7630.
Studies in Religion--R Reuther: informal disc, 10 am-noon,
Wesley Fdn, 602 E Huron; colloq, 1 pm, 3050 Frieze Bldg,
Commons Rm; recep/book signing, 4-5:30 pm, Shaman
Drum Bookstore, 313 S State.
Botanical Gdns--Mtg, Sierra Club, 7 pm, Aud, 1800 N
and the Middle East," 10 am-noon, 990 Wall St. Reg req.
Series tickets, 764-2556.
Psy ch ob i ol--Colloq, W Aldridge, "Globus Pallidus Neuronal
Activity in the Awake Cat and the Effects of Striatal
Lesions," 12:30 pm, Rm 1057 MHRI.
Anthro--Brown-bag lec LR Hiatt, "On Cuckoldry in
Maningrida (East Arnhem Land, Austrailia),"noon, 2053
Ctr for Chinese Studies--Brown-bag lec, L Kohn, "Laozi
and the Tao: Myths & Legends," noon, Lane Hall
Computing Ctr--Courses: In Rm 4003 SEB: Basic Concepts
of Local Area Networks, 8:30 am-12:30 pm. In Rm 3001
SEB: MTS Basic Skills, 9 am-noon; dBASE I Plus, Pt 2,
1-5 pm. Reg req. 763-7630.
Baha'I Club--Mtg, 6 pm, Mich League Rm A.
Engr--Sems: "Tele-Automation and Collaboration
Technology," 4 pm, 1301 EECS; E Davison, "Decentralized
Control," 4 pm, 1200 EECS.
Gay Liberation--Mtg, LaGROC, 8:30 pm, Rm 3100 Mich
WCBN (88.3 FM)--Gay & Lesbian Radio Collective, "Your
Voice is Our Voice," 6 pm.
Univ Lutheran Chapel--Devotions, 6:15 pm, 1511
TARDAA--Mtg, 8-11 pm, 296 Dennison Bldg.
Med Ctr--Mastectomy disc grp, noon-1:15 pm, Rm 2A235,.
2nd level Main Hosp. 936-4296, 763-5756.
Intl Ctr--Study abroad mtg, 3 pm, 603 E Madison. Reg req.
Karate Club--Practice, 7:15-9 pm, Martial Arts Rm CCRB.
Christians in Action--Mtg, 8:30-10 pm, 2031 E Engr
Bldg. All stds welcome.
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship--Thanksgiving
worship, 7 pm, Mich Union Pendleton Rm.
*U-M-Flint--U-M-F Theatre Dept. Cabaret, 8 pm, U-M-F
Gay Liberation--Men's coffee house, 8 pm, Guild House,
802 Monroe St, 763-4186.
Univ Lutheran Chapel--Video night, 7 pm, 1511
Chinese Christian Fellowship--Bible study, 7:30 pm,
3150 Glacier Way, 761-7503.
Korean Christian Fellowship--Worship, 8:30 pm,
Campus Chapel, 1236 Washtenaw Ct.
Women's Crisis Ctr/U-M Lesbian Advocates Ofc-
Tea/soc grp, 5:30-7 pm, 306 N Division. 761-9475, 994-
*Ruthven Planetarium Theatre--Show, "The Christmas
Star," 2 & 3 pm, Loc 4th Fl Nat Sci Mus, comer Geddes-
*Womens Athietics--Basketball, U-M vs U-Indianapolis, 2
pm, Crisler Arena.
*U-M-Flint--See Nov 27.
*Ruthven Planetarium Theatre--Show, "Holiday Skys,"
11:30 am; "The Christmas Star," 2, 3 & 4 pm. Loc 4th Fl
Nat Sci Mus, comer Geddes-Washtenaw. 764-0478.
*U-M-Flint--U-M-F Theatre Dept, Cabaret, 2:30 pm, U-M-F
*Ruthven Planetarium Theatre--Show, "The Christmas
Star," 2, 3 & 4 pm. Loc 4th Fl Nat Sci Mus, corner
Zen Buddhist Temple--Meditation svcs: in Korean, 10 am-
noon; in English, 5-7 pm, 1214 Packard. 761-6520.
Univ Lutheran Chapel--Bible study, 9:15 am; worship,
10:30am.un n er,6 nm. 1511 Washtena. 663-5560,