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January 26, 1990 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-01-26
This is a tabloid page

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W 0

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It was a match that could only
be made in Ann Arbor.
In a city where the number of
starving artists is rivaled only by
the number of Co-ops, the two
were, as the saying goes, destined
to come together.

Thanks to the cupid-minded
Rene LeMar, a dynamic/dead-
headed 34-year-old art freak, the
union of artist and cooperative
was consummated by the Ann
Arbor Artists' Co-op last May.
LeMar lives in average shabby

student-like house on Prospect
Street. His housemates, draped in
beads and headbands, are likely
to greet you at the door with a
karma-radiating smile. And upon
entering the the house you'll find
a huge wooden magazine rack,

piled with hundreds of back
issues of Artnews, Omni, High
Times, and National Geographic.
Besides ill-placed reading
material, woodcarvings, cartooned
caricatures, and catnipped felines
are also dispersed throughout the
Listening to an Erasure album,
petting an orange purring tabby
on his lap, and turned away from
his desk, LeMar's voice changes
his melodically mellow tone to
one filled with excitement as he
raves about the Co-op. According
to LeMar, the purpose of the Ann
Arbor Artists' Co-op is to bring
together local artists to help one
another with creative and
business development.
"There wasn't any local art
work being shown in this town,"
said LeMar. "There was no
artistic organization that really
helped the local Ann Arbor
people." LeMar said both the
Michigan Guild and the Ann
Arbor Art Association didn't really
provide enough opportunities at
low costs for local artists, so he
and his artsy friends decided to
start a co-op.
"We like to think of the Co-op
as a refuge for the indigenous
artist," said LeMar.
Like all cooperatives, the
organization is owned by and
operated for the benefit of those
using its services. Communal
equipment, studio spaces, a dark
room along with framing and
photography services are some of
the benefits being made available
to members. Students and Ann
Arbor residents alike comprise the
membership of the Co-op, and
that's another positive feature of
the cooperative according to

by Donna ladipaolo
LeMar. "Working with other
artists, collaborating with one
another - especially with this
mixture of students and Ann
Arbor residents - will help all
the artists involved in the Co-op,
as well as the community."
But according to LeMar's
research, it's not easy to maintain
an artists' association in Ann
Arbor. Over the past year, LeMar
said he investigated over thirty art
and art oriented club, guilds,
associations, and councils in the
area. Less than half still exist
So what makes LeMar think
this Co-op will survive?
LeMar believes his passion for
promoting art, along with his
marketing experience, will enable
the Co-op to grow.
"I've had a lot of experience in
marketing," he said. "About
fifteen years worth." LeMar co-
founded the discount organization
SEMCA (Southeast Michigan
Consumer Alliance), and also
worked for a telemarketing
company. But LeMar said he
found the business world
confining, and he left. Instead, he
was compelled to go back to his
original calling, art.
An artists' Co-op, soothing both
to his political and artistic senses,
followed logically for LeMar.
"I got to the point where the
only product I fell was worth
developing and marketing was
artwork," said LeMar. "I felt I
could better use my energy to
help artists with my business
experience so they could help one
LeMar's artistic focus has
generally been on T-shirt design,
as he majored in printmaking at
the Maryland School of Arts and
Design and the Art Institute of
But as far as success is
concerned, the Co-op seems to be
in pretty good shape. Since being

Dear Alex,
Could you please watch your
brother this wfkend?I've always
taught you boys to share, so why not
let him write that cute little column
you do for the paper? It would make
up for the time you ate allthe Sara
Lee Black Forest Cake out of the
Love, Mom
Anything you say, Mom.
Alex seems to be really gracious
letting me do this, but I think
he's just being lazy. Being in high
school, I have a little longer
vacation than you Michigan
people, so I came up to spend a
little quality time with my
brother, Alex. But this time, with
the prospect of writing this
column in mind, I paid a little
more attention to the town
around me.
I found there are a wide variety

of activities to do in Ann Arbor if
you like to either walk around,
drink, or watch T.V.
There are many fine shops in
the Ann Arbor area. I did manage
to score a great haircut at
Supercuts for only eight dollars.
Also, there are so many places
where you can go and get
Michigan paraphernalia. I bet
there's a sweatshirt for everyone
on Earth.
And so many places to eat it's
unbelievable. Every five steps
there's a restaurant or a
convenience mart. I managed to
find a few good places to chow
thanks to Alex and his friends.
Here are the places and how
they tempted my taste buds. First
of all the Brown Jug on S.
University had very good little
after-party snacks to temp
anybody's urge for late-night
nutrition. I learned you should
inhale, rather than savor the food,
especially those nachos.
A great place for breakfast was
Angelo's on Catherine St. It had
the most terrific French toast in
this world; make sure you order it
made with raisin toast. And get
the American potatoes, well done
if you like crunchy food, or
normal for fans of a soft mushy
I found at the Bagel Factory on

S. University-the food was good
but nothing to rave too much
about. The Fragel, a raisin bagel
deep fried and then sprinkled
with cinnamon sugar was the
main attraction. Outstanding.
Last but not least was world-
famous Zingerman's on Detroit
St. One the last delis with
blackboard menus, they served
me a real good turkey sandwich.
However, it wasn't that large for
the price, which upset me,
because the other restaurants
gave the right amount of food for
the price.
Enough about the eats; how
about what every high school
pupil thinks college is all about,
the parties. I have been visiting
this fine community for four
straight years, but never before
have I experienced anything as
fun and as crazy as the two parties
that I went to last weekend.
The first one, which I think
everyone has heard about by now,
was at Jake's house. They had the
great idea of showing up with a
video camera, which is horrifying
for the owner but means
showtime for partygoers.
America's Funniest Home Videos
can get some real dosers. For
example, Alex's more than
famous infamous shatterproof
ketchup bottle trick - in which

the bottle when dropped from an
approximate height of four feet
six inches (1.4 meters) is no
longer shatterproof-- has been
preserved on VHS forever.
The following night was Liz's
chance to outdo Jake. I'm sorry,
Liz, but Jake beat you by a nose,
although I personally loved the
party just as much. I would like to
thank Mitch, Bill, Marshall,
Mindy, and everyone for
introducing me to quarters. After
a few hours one becomes either a
pro at the game or drunk as a
skunk. Often both. They also
played some great Milli Vanilli
tunes that rocked the house
down. (As if anyone doubted he was
in high school. -Eds.)
The only bad thing about
parties is that sooner or later they
have to end; too bad it always
seems to be sooner rather than
later. To rate the partying for this
weekend, on a scale of one to ten,
I would have to give a cumulative
score of eight. It could of been
higher if I knew more people than
I did and if the video camera was
at Liz's party too, where I was
much wilder.
For my last night in Ann Arbor,
I went to see the legendary band
Sense Of Smell at Rick's
American Cafe on Church St.
They played a wide selection of

songs from
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From previous page
understand African-American
culture of the United States as a
culture that's a part of a world
family of cultures based in Africa.
W: Why did you bring Shirley
Childress Johnson, the sign
language interpreter, into the
R: If we were really committed
to working with a sign language
interpreter, it needed to go beyond
getting to a city and hiring one.
We had poetry in our songs.
Much of the poet;ry was based on
idioms that were African-American
and most sign language
interpreters would need time to
work with the language before
doing the translation.
W: Did she open you up to a
new audience?
R: That's not how I think of it.
If you are involved in the issue of
accessibility, you can't keep your
eye on how many people buy a
ticket at a certain concert.
We used to ask a sponsor if they
would P.R. the deaf community.
One night we were in Ohio at a
college campus and the sponsor
had said they didn't have any deaf
students. We looked up and there
were two rows of deaf people who
, had driven over 100 miles to that
concert because they knew that

Sweet Honey in the Rock had a
sign language interpreter.
W: How has the response been
in other countries to Sweet Honey
in the Rock? What did they think
in Japan?
R: There was this incredible
power of participation from the
audience. One of the things we
found when we walked off stage
was that many of the people were
in tears, and I think it was not just
the power of the program but also
the power with which they tried to
respond. And the fact that they
don't do that a lot, so their
emotions really got worked.
D: So there's a worldwide appeal
for your type of music.
R: I think we attract a basically
Sweet Honey audience wherever
we go, which means there are
Sweet Honey fans who go around
telling people if you're going to
this place, you better be ready to
W: Are you encouraged by the
popularity of rap music, which
articulates social injustices in new
and different ways than your group
R: I think people are much more
wanting to make connections with
their responsibilities for the state
of things in the world. And artists
echo what is in the community.

perf orm
in classic
As with many of the arts, dance
is a form of social as well as
individual expression. But, not
many dance forms can
communicate artistic themes as
gracefully and as fervently as
Bharata Natyam, the classical
dance of India.
Not only does this dance style
have rhythmic hand gestures and
footwork, beautiful silk costumes
and symbolic facial expressions,
but it also combines a story or
message to audiences. This is one
of the main goals of "Lotus
Blossoms", an Indian dance ballet
choreographed and produced by

Malini Srirama. This ballet uses
both the classical and folk dance
styles of India to depict a social
theme in a colorful and
captivating fashion. The ballet's
use of a social base for its theme is
unique in that it deviates from the
common Indian practice of
performing dance based on Hindu
The story unfolds as Kamala, a
girl growing up in a village, tries
to learn and perform the classical
dance of the elite class. She is
taunted and outcast by the others
and while distraught she meets a
wandering monk. He asks her for
food and water but she denies
him for fear of being punished by
the villagers. The monk
accompanies her to the village
and with his eternal wisdom, he
convinces everyone that human
spirit is valuable and that all are
equal despite their origins.
According to Srirama, this ballet
exposes discrimination in the
caste system not only in India but
in real life as well. It shows that
good can come out of society and
reforms can take place. The title,
"Lotus Blossoms," symbolizes the
changes that take place with
Kamala as she goes from an
untouchable villager to a person
accepted by society. And, as
beautiful as lotus blossoms are,
they usually grow in shallow,.

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Ann Arbo
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"Participation is the key," says
Co-op member Michael
Thomas paints on a mural

4EEKEND .Jahuary , .U

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