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November 27, 1989 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-11-27

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ARTS
Monday, November 27, 1989 Page 9

the Michigan Daily

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Poets bring magic to Guild

BY JAY PINKA
IT'S quite chilly out in these gray November
days. While finals loom ahead, you realize that
once again, your student income will turn you
into an unwilling Scrooge. You're dreaming of
volcanoes humming over the steamy tropical
landscape of Guatemala, made gothic with
monasteries superimposed on the superstitious
supernatural vision of peasants. Or maybe
you're whizzing back in time to the beat of
couplets, back to the wit of metaphysical poet
John Donne, where people's teeth glitter while
they laugh through their melancholia under a
crescent, melon rind moon.
Stop those bah-humbug blues and let fic-
tion writer Ian Gonzales roll your frozen
imagination into Guatemala, where women
claim to have been impregnated by unexplained
beams of light that have menaced the city for
five years. Push yourself out of the chill and
into the warmth of Guild House, courtesy of
poet David Grove, who will extend you into a
metaphorical, record-playing adolescence laced
with astronomical imagery:
Once I was a ,planetl Orbited by black
moons I'd remove onel From its cloud/ And
the stylus/ Would walk on it like an astronaut.
"Language is a woman, in a way," says the
Hopwood winner, who writes about "death and
aging, memory, solitude, self-absorption as
opposed to involvement with other people, and,
love poems - when not in love." Grove calls

his eroticization of language, filled with "witty
concerns with dualities... puns, paradoxes...
conceit... figures of speech elaborated to the
point where you can't elaborate anymore."
Occasionally accused of "extending metaphor"
until it seems absurd, Grove has accommodated
his free-wheeling, image-flushed intellect by
using more traditional designs, for example
couplets, in his poetry.
"It forces you to say something," says the
Flint-raised poet. Grove likes how structure,
unlike his previous habit of free verse, forces
him to change his original idea, giving him
closure in his writing. He explains his poetic
dilemma in human tones, creating literary self-
reflexivity, his humor verging on self-
deprecation:
Now I use couplets like a pair of tongs
To drop hot coals of feeling in my songs.
The poet recreates this intimate insight and
humor in his clipped, poetic biography, that,
in depicting Flint, alludes to Carl Sandburg's
words on "the city" of Chicago.
If only he could return! to his halcyon
youth! to his birthplace! city of the carrion-
strewn shoulders! cement boot he grew out of
like afoot.
If you're inspired by the stained glass win-
dows and light plays of church architecture, but
intensely bored by sermons, the ornamental
scope into eternity of Ian Gonzales' narrative
escorts you into a spark of Christmas-like
imagination. You'll experience the multi-cul-
tural, colonial Guatemala, filled with Indians,

Spaniards, nuns, and priests through the eyes
of 93-year-old Esperanza, who narrates the first
part of Gonzales' novel. Gonzales' own
heritage as son of an anthropologist and a'
Guatemalan architect is evident in his use of
historical information in the work. Esperanza's
experience, of beng raped by a Franciscan
monk and drowning her only child in a
monastery pool, shoots an uncanny intensity,
of emotion through Gonzales' lyrical, iconical
language. The writer weaves an invisible cur-
tain of Gothic by imposing the supernatural
through his visionary narrator, who laces
fragments of magic, onto his "changing cot-
ceptions of the city."
Time becomes folded up in dense layerings'
and then she increases it with effortless
violence and prises a final cusp above zb
memory quick beating and fragrant that wings
her back over all the staled time in between.
And it is as though her thick callused soles are
still damp with piss and warm with friction and
the original morning is imprisoned in the net of-
her hands which undo themselves now.
Gonzales, a visiting lecturer and M.F.A.
graduate, is also innovative in his teaching'
practices. He presently teaches a creative writ-
ing class, in which he blindfolds students: "I
pass around a ginger root and ask them what-
village this man or woman came from."
DAVID GROVE and IAN GONZALEZ will
read tonight at 8:30 p.m. at Guild House, 802,
Monroe. v

Samuel Ramey's wonderful bass voice will reverberate in Hill Auditorium
this evening.
Bass Samuel Ramey
sings with stature
BY ELLEN POTEET
ALMOST any experienced operagoer has his or her stories to tell of
moments when the whole fantastic enterprise of an opera performance
wavered between debacle and stunning success. One evening in January,
1984, I sat in the rafters of the Metropolitan Opera House waiting for the
bass Samuel Ramey to make his debut entrance with the Met in Handel's
Rinaldo. He rode in on a chariot, in the elaborate style of any Met
production, but then something went wrong with the brakes and the chariot
came to a sudden halt. All the laws of physics demanded that Ramey take an
embarrassing fall. With the agility of a stunt artist, Ramey turned the cards
in his favor, catching his balance in time to the music and singing his aria
in superb form. The audience, of course, went wild.
Ramey's voice, however, can carry a show without the unexpected
display of showmanship. He himself is a tour de force and a reminder to
American audiences of the range and power of a bass. Will Crutchfield,
music critic of The New York Times, has written, "One thinks of Mr.
Ramey's singing mostly in athletic terms."
Born in Kansas in 1942, Ramey has sung with most of the leading opera
companies in Europe and the U.S. He made his debut with the New York
City Opera in 1973, quickly earning the praise given to his predecessor
Norman Treigle. But Ramey's strong technique, imposing stature, and, at
times, electrifying stage presence, distinguish him also in his own right. He
moves with ease and command from the tragicomic in the title role of
Massenet's Don Quichotte, to the egotistical grandeur of Escamillo in
Carmen, to the gothic evilness of the four villains in Offenbach's Tales of
Hoffmann.
Samuel Ramey's performance tonight is an opportunity to hear one of
the most renowned bass singers, both for vocal and dramatic talent, in the
U.S. and Europe today.
SAMUEL RAMEY will perform tonight at Hill Auditorium at 8 p.m.
Student rush tickets, if available, can be purchased at Burton Tower.
GET ITtE
The Pr rsonal Column
MICHIGAN DAILY CLASSIFIED ADS

Monroe.

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KM1

I

Dizzy and Mr.
B get down
for The Count
The historic Michigan Theater
proved to be the perfect setting for
Saturday night's musical extrava-
ganza honoring one of history's
most loved musicians. "Dizzy And
Mr. B Salute The Count," starring
Dizzy Gillespie and Billy Eckstine,
along with The Count Basie Orches-
tra, captured all the abandon and pre-
cision of the big band/be-bop sounds,
of yore. Performing separately and
together, the two stars showed that
they weren't getting older, only bet-
ter. The one thing missing, of
course, was the late, great William
James "Count" Basie.
As well as backing up Gillespie
and Eckstine, Basie's Orchestra, led
by Frank Foster, kicked off the
evening. Twelve of the 20 perform-
ers in the ensemble were hired by
and performed with the Count, who
died in 1984. Johnie Williams' bari-
tone sax solos were a highlight, as
was drummer Duffy Jackson's daz-
zling, floundering, acrobatic time-
keeping. Numbers like "Splanky,"
and the band's signature tune, "One
O'Clock Jump," were given spirited,
polished workouts. Hefty vocalist

Carmen Bradford trotted out a bluesy
"Ain't I Good To You," but left the
stage all too soon.
Always suave and silly, Dizzy
Gillespie paid his tribute to Basie,
whom he described as "one who has
created innumerable foibles," with
exquisite readings of "Night in
Tunisia" and "Lover Come Back To
Me." His famous inflatable cheeks
are indeed something to behold; they
expand so fast and so much that they
threaten to explode messily. But the
only thing that grossed the audience
out Saturday was Dizzy's disman-
tlin{ )f his contorted trumpet so that
he could spill about a quart of spit
onto the floor. Thelonious Monk's
"'Round Midnight" and the Afro-
Cuban "Manteca" more than made
up for that oversight in etiquette.
Billy Eckstine, the crooner's
crooner, turned 75 on his last birth-
day but was vital enough to crack
dirty jokes and to deliver heartfelt
versions of some of his most loved
ballads. Simons and Marks' "All of
Me" in particular sounded fresh.
Everybody liked "Beautiful People"
so much that Eckstine sang it twice.
A Duke Ellington medley, featuring,
among others, "Beginning To See
The Light" and "Lush Life," might
have been out of place technically
during a night dedicated to Count

Basic, but nobody seemed to mind.
A hapless attempt to transform "I
Apologize" into a sing-along was
about the only failure of Eckstine's
set.
The entire company got together
for the finale, an energized romp
through "Gee But I'm Lonely." A
little more time for Dizzy and Mr. B
to share the stage might have been
an added bonus, but as it was the
night had more than enough magic
moments.
-Mark Swartz

NTHE SPOTLIGHI
Free tickets for Bert Hornback's
ever-popular reading of A Christmas,
Carol (to take place December 9 an4
10 at the Museum of Art) will
distributed starting today at 8 a.m.a
the Union Ticket Office. Get som
before Scrooge takes them all.
FEELING D9WN?
We're here to el
It's a new Write: Help I
advice c/o Michigan Daily
column in 420 Maynard
the Daily. Ann Arbor, MI 48109
'a Partlcfpat r Democraqy
This 124 page book presents practical
solutions to correct the decay of out
federal government. Your government
Your f ture
In a unique but basic way it combines
the conflicting philosophies of
Hamilton and Jefferson to produce a
stronger national system with total
local control at the congressional
district level.
You risk nothing.'You will be billed
$8.50 + $1.50 p&h when you get your
book and you may remit the $10.00 (or
not) after you've read it,but we do want
your comments and we hope for your
BY phone only. Call at any time.

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