Thursday, October 4, 1990
'The Michigan Daily
'Network play is a real Drag
by Iene Bush
W hen boy meets girl in a typical
musical comedy, an audience can ex-
pect to be entertained and romanced
in a traditional manner. However,
*when boy meets boy in Tom Si-
monds' Drag, all previous notions
of love and relationships seem inap-
plicable. Drag chronicles the per-
sonal and professional life of Stan-
ley, a female impersonator. The
show opens with Stanley visiting
the zoo, where he meets and is in-
stantly infatuated with a man named
"Stanley is a hopeless romantic
who falls in love immediately," ex-
plains Jim Posante, director of the
musical comedy, which deals with
common trials and tribulations of a
drag queen during the early 1970s.
Posante, a freelance director and
choreographer, is currently working
on the Performance Network revival
of the play.
Posante, who has also directed,
co-directed and choreographed 14
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre produc-
tions as well as the Amaizin' Blue
swing/show choir, was a friend and
colleague of Drag's now deceased
writer, Jim Simonds. The two
worked together on junior theater
projects such as Simonds' Brothers
Grimm, allowing Posante to gain a
genuine familiarity with Simonds'
Simonds, an Ann Arbor native,
wrote Drag in 1972. After nearly a
decade, the show has undergone rela-
tively few structural changes. With
the help of Rick Krupinski, Posante
has altered some of the original dia-
logue in order to enhance the charac-
ter of Judy, Stanley's best friend.
Furthermore, in light of the AIDS
crisis and the general risks associated
with sexual promiscuity, the two
opted for a more positive ending
than that of the original.
The majority of the play's action
takes place in the Golden Rainbow
Club, where both men and women
perform musical ensembles in drag.
Drag especially touches upon the
difficult life of a homosexual
"...going through the traumas of try-
ing to build a relationship," Posante
explains. With all the complications
of heterosexual affairs, the partners
at least have societal parameters such
as courtship and marriage which they
can chose to follow. Homosexual re-
lationships, however, fall into a gray
area, and the partners in such a rela-
tionship must act, in a sense, as pi-
Another motif which Posante
hopes to emphasize in Drag is that
of the performer behind the mask.
Stanley may be shy and reserved in
his personal life, but, as Posante
comments, he "...has amazing poise
on stage." Moreover, Stanley finds
drag performance liberating; it seems
as if he hopes to find as much free-
dom in his personal relationships as
he does from his performances.
In addition to the expressive free-
dom of performing in drag, Posante
notes the shock value of such an art
form. For instance, some male drag
performers wear women's clothing
and do not shave their legs or faces,
a practice which enables the artist to
maintain his male qualities. Al-
though this androgynous image may
be bewildering or even disconcerting
to some, this is precisely the effect
that the performer is. trying to
achieve. In a state of confusion, the
audience is hopefully knocked from
its pedestal of rigid judgement and
sees that, as Posante explains, "Face
value is not what you should be
BRasement Arts has
by Greta K. Schnurstein
Most of us pass at least one of those big Gothic-style Catholic churches
during our weekly routine. Imagine actually walking through the heavy
doors into the church during a mass. Imagine seeing the pews filled with
a silent congregation, dressed in their church clothes. Imagine the priest
up at the front, an imposing figure orating his message from the pulpit.
Then imagine yourself standing up in the middle of it to confront the
priest in front of the entire congregation, asking, "Don't you want to
know why I think women should be priests?"
This isn't the diag, where customs are slightly varied. It is a
conservative church, but that doesn't stop Mark Dolson, played by John
Connon, in this week's Basement Arts production of Mass Appeal,
written by Bill C. Davis.
Not only does Mark interrupt services, but he fights against traditional
song and dance theology, argues in behalf of presumed homosexuals
dismissed from the church seminary and asserts that the church will soon
become obsolete. That's difficult enough for a member of the church to
do, but for Mark it's worse. He desperately wants to become a priest.
Aaron Williams plays Father Tim Farley, the priest who becomes
Mark's advisor. Although Father Farley is popular among his followers,
Mark condemns him and his methods. Yet, only by listening to him can
Mark avoid being given a lifelong job as a deacon in some monastery in
the mountains. For all of his faults, Father Farley honestly believes in his
student and in the future of the church.
Directed by Daniel Blatt, this production of Mass Appeal is not an
attack of the Catholic church or its ways. The reason this piece was
chosen had very little to do with the religious content. Instead, Mass
Appeal is an interesting and provocative piece of theatrical material, and,
written in 1980, a challenging piece of current work, both to the
performers and the audience.
MASS APPEAL will be performed Thursday, Friday and Saturday at S
p.m. in the Arena Theater, on the first floor of the Frieze Building.
Admission is free, but seating is limited.
Need the hot news fast?
Find it in the Daily.
Don't be silly, work with
The Performance Network's production of Drag deals with romantic and
other issues in an atypical and provocative way.
DRAG will be playing at the Per-
formance Network on Thurs., Fri,,
and Sat. at 8 pm, Fri. and Sat. at 11
pm, and Sun. at 6:30 pm Oct. 4 -14.
General admission is $9, $7 for stu-
dents and seniors, and a $6 group
rate per person for groups of 20 or
more. Call 663-0681 for more in-
Every Thursday 6-9pm is
Yo La Tengo
Yo La Tengo. English Transla-
tion: I have it. Interpretation: This
band's name is in Spanish so that
most people won't understand the
meaning and laugh--because they def-
initely do not have it.
Y.L.T. is comprised of musicians
with ability, but perhaps they could
be a bit more diligent in proving it.
They're Woodstock wanna-bes that
somehow found themselves in
Hoboken, New Jersey. Their music
isn't corny enough to be labelled
country, but it is too pathetic to be
What can be said about a group
that names a song "Griselda?" This
lick can only be appreciated by
someone who has actually met a
Griselda. "Barnaby, Hardly Working"
is one of two songs on the LP that
is not incredibly bland. Singer, Ira
Kaplan, is annoying but the track
would not be all that bad if he would
just shut it.
"Andalucia" is the other not so
bad song. Actually, it's even good.
The music is pleasant, and the song
is simple and nice. "Yellow Sarong"
made me ask myself, "Didn't I just
hear this song?" The lyrics question,
"How will we reach you?" I have the
answer--you don't. "You Tore Me
Down" is embarrassingly bland. The
* following song, "Emulsified," is
even worse. A combination of a
white James Brown and a gutless
Otis Redding with a hint of "The
Monster Mash," it is genuinely nau-
seating. The remainder of the album
follows basically a similar format.
Fakebook, Yo La Tengo's fourth
LP, does not really bother you, but
why bother turning it on? It should
contain a label stating--Warning:
This album will most likely induce
extended periods of unexpected coma-
Persistence of Time
In a pathetic,... err, bathetic
attempt to tap into the legitimacy of
a canonized art movement, speed
metal cliche mavens Anthrax chose
to name their latest release after one
of the giants of modern art's great
masterpieces. But like Salvador
Dali's art, most of it is only
worthwhilefor crews of lame stoners
who find it impossible totalk about
anything else other than getting
high, or eating theworm at the
bottom of a tequilla bottle, or
rehashing the same old high school
mythology surrounding Led
Zeppelin and Cliff Burton.
Dali was a hoax, a charlatan, and
the greatest manipulator of the media
this side of Madonna. Of course, this
See RECORDS, page 8.
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UAC Mini-Courses Fall 1990
UAC Mini-Course Registration... We still have room for you!
Tuesday, September 11 to
Monday, October 8
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M-Sat., 8a.m.- 9p.m.
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PREDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS IN
Fellowships are for full-time study toward the Ph.D. or Sc.D.
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Less than one year of post-
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eM.S., D.O., D.D.S., D.V.M.,
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' November 9, 1990
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