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January 29, 1988 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-01-29
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w w w w w







Meredith Monk



By Beth Fertig
Meredith Monk's voice is too
dangerous to imitate at home. Her
silvery, quavering sounds are decep-
tively soothing if caught at the right
moment. But in a breath she can
turn with a deadly fury on her un-
wary listener. The power of this cre-
ative Renaissance woman, who is
prolific in film, dance, and music, is
that she utilizes her skills to such
daring extremes. For Meredith
Monk, all are fair game.
Monk's work defies easy catego-
rization. A choreographer, a perfor-
mance artist, and a singer, her music
is the one link holding most of this
work together. With her minimalis-
tic compositions, relying primarily
on keyboards, a string instrument or
two, and her voice, Monk's visions
assume a frightening surrealistic
glow. She is as much at home
singing along to the squeaky sounds
of her fingers rubbing the rims of
water glasses as she is gurgling
fragments of lyrics.
Monk has set out to create a new
type of vocal music which relies not
on words but sounds. Think back to

Yoko Ono with the Plastic Ono
Band. Like Ono, Monk relies heav-
ily on Eastern musical traditions.
She has studied with Mongolian
artists to develop her style, but
Monk is much more subtle than
Ono's alarming howl, though rely-
ing on many of the same heart-
wrenching feelings and frustrations.
Monk's first performance was
1964's Break , a mixed-media piece
presented in Greenwich Village. In
1968 she formed the House Founda-
tion for the Arts, which today con-
sists of the House Company for
music-theater productions and the
Vocal Ensemble and includes 20
artists in addition to Monk. Since
the '60s, she has written approxi-
mately 50 works and won several
awards, including two Guggenheim
Fellowships, the Brandeis Creative
Award, and three Obies. In addition,
she was awarded the German Critics
Prize for Best Record of 1981 with
The Dolmen Music, a disturbing LP
where her voice splatters like shrap-
Monk has poetically explored the
Civil War, turn of the century im-
migration, World War II, and nuclear
apocolypse in The Games, while on
the album/videoTurtle Dreams she

whimpers in desperation to express
the dehumanization of the modern
world. Her most recent LP, Do You
Be (on ECM Records) includes por-
tions of The Games, along with
more quiet, haunting, recent pieces.
In 1985 Monk began work on
Book of Days. Although the film .
portion is still in progress, and will
be shot in Paris this March, Monk
and the Vocal Ensemble will per-
form the score tomorrow night at the
Michigan Theater. In addition, the
company will perform parts of Do
You Be, and segments from her
films Quarry and Ellis Island. Be
sure to catch this exciting and in-
triguing performance as one of our
most critically acclaimed contempo-
rary artists makes a rare area apear-
Vocal Ensemble will perform
tomorrow night at the Michigan
Theater. Tickets are $15 and perfor-
mance time is 8 p.m. For a more
personal glimpse of the artist at
work, People Dancing will present a
workshop with her on Sunday from
noon until 2:30 p.m. Workshop fee
is $15 in advance and $20 at the
door. It will take place in Studio A
of the University's Dance Building.
Call 665-5784 for details.

Continued from Page 8
ture. Theytold me I would have to
get a job soon to earn money for
school. Working over the summer
wouldn't be the trauma I anticipated
because Susie and I had broken up
well over a month before. No Susie,
no need for free time.
"Well, son. Three years from to-
day, you'll be celebrating big num-
ber 21. Any thoughts on what you'd
Continued from Page 8
The songs that are lasting ones are
the ones that really touch people. I
think the ones that stick are those
that the audience can sit there and
nod their head and go, "yeah, I've
had that feeling before." Or they say,
"Hmmm, that's a new piece of in-
formation, I've never thought of that
before, I'm glad to have heard about
that." So people might come for one

like to do for it?"
"I dunno."
That's what I said, but it wasn't
what I thought. I fully anticipated
the coming of my 21st birthday as
the coming of the apocalypse; vi-
sions of empty vodka bottles,
women with red hair, and lamp-
shades danced in my head. I thought
I was just going to party and party
hard and then I was going to drop..
Then I was going to get up and

party harder.
"It's hard to believe you're going
to be an adult soon," they told me.
And so here I am, on the verge of
adulthood. Today I am a boy.
Tomorrow, I am a man. It's funny
how people look at this one day as
the changing of a season or as if
youth evaporates all in one day.
Youth passes gradually in a slow,
often painful metamorphosis. You
lose a piece of it when you stop

believing in Santa Claus and another
when you experience the heartbreak
of a failed .relationship. Piece by
piece, it slips away.
How will I spend tomorrow? I
will tell you. I will spend the entire
day not at Dooley's, but in a car,
driving from Philadelphia to the
place where I have done much
growing up. The place is not home;
it is Ann Arbor. You may not have
realized it, but when your parents

to go
I te
age o
be ki

reason but walk away real excited
that a door opened to something
else. But the most important thing
to me about a live concert is that
people feel inspired to be their most
complete self. Music I think is a
. way people expand their own inner
identity. Whether it's instrumental
or has words, music is a very heal-
ing and powerful medium.
D: Do you think there should be
more coalitions between different
groups? It seems to me that it's all a
little too segmentized between the
struggle against racism, and the
struggle against homophobia, and

the environment...
N: Yeah, it's all broken down into
categories. I think part of it comes
from the fact that people who
choose to become activists are over-
extended and so they can't do every-
thing. So they try to focus. It takes
a lot of work to become an expert
on, for example, the nuclear waste
situation so you can really go out
and work on it. Or, there may be
someone who works against racism
but is homophobic. It will take
some time before they realize that
those things are one and the same.
And that is a role I have gladly fit

into is to be an artist who actually
crosses over a lot of those barri-
ers....it's not like "hey we're really
all the same." It's more - stretch
really hard because we're all really
different and be excited about those
differences , and celebrate those dif-
ferences, rather than try to white-
wash them and make us all the
same. I think people tend to want
everything to be the same because
then they don't have to be afraid of
the difference and people are differ-
ent. They come in different colors,
and sizes, and sexual preferences, and
ideologies, and stages of develop-

I'm e
that d
to, w

Continued from Page 7
in Uncle Tom's Cabin. I remind you
that all this "jes grew" stuff resulted
from Harriet Beecher Stowe's
attempt to include a "negro" woman
in an institution the nature of whose
"white" and "Christian" first
principles Stowe was not really able
to hold out for effective re-

Performance artist Meredith Monk appears tommorow night at the.
Michigan Theater.



of the


comments to
Faculty Senate.


adapted from

John Zorn
Nonesuch Records
Most of us live in a world where
tangible meaning is derived through
a linear presentation of events and
ideas. We see things in terms of
how they relate to what comes be-
fore and after and feel as if our
minds have been tricked - naturally
or artificially - whenever expecta-
tions are deceived, and events take
on a frightening, uncontrollable
John Zorn revels in just such
randomness, that flip side of the
rock we collectively crawl under be-
lieving in the safety it offers. For
Zorn, creativity comes to its full
realization in deliberately skewered
musical compositions, where dozens
of different images collide and
merge. Spillane, his latest - and
most enjoyable - release finds him
thrown head first into the greatest
movie ever captured on wax.
The title track is a masterpiece
- the composer's reflections upon
the author, Mickey Spillane. Zorn
uses the entire first side of the LP to
establish "Spillane," a fantastic
conglomeration of sound-images
from the woman's shriek which

opens the piece, to the muttered
spoken lines which occasionally
creep through ("I put his head where
his wallet used to be").
As usual, Zorn is joined by a
sack full of New York's finest. Bill
Frisell, Bobby Previte, Robert
Quine, Wayne Horvitz, Christian
Marclay, Ronald Shannon Jackson,
and the Kronos Quartet are just a
few of the names listed on the record
For "Two Lane Highway,"
which fills most of side two, Zorn
dedicates his talents to capturing the
sounds of blues guitarist Albert
Collins. Collins shoots sparks into
the chilling journey, stopping every
now and then for a nightcap along
the way. This is the most accessible
section of the album, a sure fave for
blues fans and esoterica-grubbers
Just as Collins hits the end of
his journey, Zorn plunges us into
"Forbidden Fruit," dedicated to
Japanese film star Ishihara Yujiro,
who died last year. Like most of the
record, there is an inner fury that
seeps through this piece. It's fast
and furious, demonic and uncom-
fortable. There's so much going on
in one space that it threatens to take
us along, removing us from our

quiet, comfortable existence.
But then again, most of us don't
live in John Zorn's type of world -
yet. -Beth Fertig
The Kinsey Report
Edge of The City
How do you "get in the mood?"
The Kinsey Report studied complex
sociological answers to this question
but a band of the same name needs
only two guitars, bass, and drums to
turn the trick itself.
It is no mere stroke of luck that
the Kinsey Report's Edge of The
City is a diverse and polished debut
LP. The group, composed of Kinsey
brothers Donald, Kenneth, and
Ralph and childhood friend Ron
Prince, have been playing together
off and on all their lives and have
performed with a wide array of top
notch artists.l
Lead guitarist, singer, and princi-
ple songwriter Donald has worked
with Albert King, Bob Marley, and1
Peter Tosh, as well as fronting his
own heavy metal trio.
Edge of The City kicks off with
"Got to Pay Some Day," where
King's influence can be heard.
However, the rhythm nears heavy
funk, while the overall thump ap-

Blind racism
Omari Kokole
Political Science Prof.
Blind racism does exist in this
country as a whole. This structural
racism is reflected in a variety of
ways across the board including n-
stitutions of higher learning like The
University of Michigan. In a way
blind racism is worse than overt and
conscious racism. In the latter case
the perpetrator knows what he or she
is doing to the victim. Likewise the
victim knows what is hitting her or
him. It is easier to illustrate what is
happening concretely and and unam-
biguously, but when racial injustice
is depersonalized and disguised, it is
far more difficult to grapple with.
That is our dilemma. The culprit is
elusive and many-sided.
Institutional racism at the Uni-
versity takes a variety of forms. This
includes underrepresentation of cer-
tain groups in terms of student en-
rollment, faculty, and general staff
figures. There disparities are a legacy
of our own history, residues of the
inequalities of the past, from the
slave trade to lynchings, from segre-
gation of the races to disenfran-
chisement. Just as females were once

comprehensively underprivileged in
this country so were some racial
minorities. Discrimination by sex is
akin to victimization by race. This
University is unlikely to have a fe-
male president (of any race) for the
rest of this century. A Black presi-
dent is an even more distant dream.
And that is just one illustration of
hidden racism. There is no law that
says the University of Michigan
cannot have a female or colored
president. Yet that is the reality for
the time being. That is institutional
racism - when macrosocial forces
operate in such a way as to favour
some groups while underprivileging
others in an impersonal way.
Precisely because it is so
impersonal, institutional racism is
harder to define and combat. Differ-
ences of what constitutes it abound.
This is to be expected. Sensitizing
the community to the insidious na-
ture of the demon of racism is a
useful beginning point. The careful
choice of words in dealing with the
problem could facilitate inter-group
communication and enhance
prospects of solving the problem.
Also a greater sensitivity to the fears
and anxieties of minoritygroups
could help. Some progress has been
made but the struggle for racial
equality and dignity, and for equal
opportunities is not finished.
Smashing barriers
Wendy Sharp
MSA Vice President
Institutional racism is the
acceptance that people of color are
not as capable of doing the same job
as a white person. Institutional
racism is saying that minority
recruitment and retention is not a
priority when it should be first on
the list of priorities.
At this University, institutional
racism is scary because it' s

somewhat concealed, hidden behind
the hierarchy of white male power
that dominates U-M. The white
males who rule cannot empathize
with people of color, cannot under-
stand racism and some just don't
want to understand.
One of the reasons why there is
so much disagreement over institu-
tional racism is because people deny
its existence. They don't see how
racism, sexism, and homophobia are
internalized beliefs that are then
integrated into the institution and
therefore society.
In my opinion, the best qualified
people to decide what is racist, both
overt and institutional, are people of
color who truly understand racism..
Personally, I can only empathize
with people of color who truly
understand racism. Personally, I can
only empathize with people of color.
I cannot possibly understand racism
to the extent that they can, because
I'm white. However, I can fully
understand sexism and discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation.
The University needs to enforce a
strong affirmative action policy to
recruit and retain minority admini-
strators, faculty, and staff and place
minorities in "higher up" positions.
That is one way of working within
the system to fight institutional

These such structures include
legislation and education. It mani-
fests itself in such ways as under-
representation of minorities in the
student body and faculty.
But mine is just one inter-
pretation of institutional racism.
There are as many ways of defining
this concept as there are people.
Different backgrounds and exposure
to varying viewpoints cause one's
view of racism to differ from
everyone else's. Each such definition
sets parameters on what can or
cannot be construed as racist within
a particular institution. In other
words, pinpointing institutional
racism is dependent upon what one
chooses to see.
I believe that institutional racism
does exist within our society,
including the University. However,
the problem of juggling the varying
definitions hinders our fight against
it. Unless University officials can
adopt a definition for institutional
racism, an effective solution/plan
may never be implemented.
No one person is best qualified
to define what is racist. In fact, I
believe that there is some bit of

had I
On t
We I
to us
can s
all in


on racism

John Zorn pays tribute to blues guitarist Albert Collins on 'Spillane.'

proaches heavy metal. "Give Me
What I Want " features jazzy chord
changes with soaring, razor-sharp
leads and old fashioned bluesman's
demands for fidelity.
The Kinsey's reggae influence is
evident in the dropped beat o f
"Backdoor Man," which also features
infectious chord changes which
should have you shuffling your feet.
Hearing the gospel influences in the

next cut "The Game of Love," you
will through back your head, shut
your eyes, clap your hands, and
stomp your feet. The song is a jazzy
blues with sweeping organ overlaid
by sparse stinging leads and surging
rhythm chords.
The Kinsey Report once repre-
sented the cutting edge of sex re-
search; it now stands for the cutting
edge of blues. - Alan Paul

Barbara Eisenberger
LSA Student Govern-
ment President
It is undoubtedly difficult to de-
fine the concept of "institutional
racism." However, I will attempt to
give my definition as best I can. To
me, institutional racism is the
oppression of minority races within
the very structure of our society.





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