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November 19, 1990 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-11-19

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ARTS
Monday, November 19, 1990

'The Michigan Daily

Page 7

!.Bizarre
band
* Evis
by Greg Baise
H ow can you compress "The
History of American Music" into
"Three E-Z Pieces"? If you're
bizarre-tists like the Residents, it's
E-Z!
"The History of American Music
in Three E-Z Pieces" is the subtitle
of the Residents' latest magnum
N ,opus, supratitled Cube E. The
narrative of the two-hour per-
formance, which is broken into three
parts and an intermission, shows
how the mating of cowboy trail
songs of the 1850s and African-
American influences, such as work
songs, blues and spirituals of all
forts, developed into rock and roll,
producing Elvis Presley.
The Hero to Most has been the
pop cultural icon the Residents have
been fixing their collective gaze
- upon for their past two recordings,
The King and Eye and Cube E. On
these two, as well as in the third part
of their live show, Elvis is
' deconstructed, demolished and
demythified.
Of course, the regurgitation of
the music isn't as simple as the flow
of the narrative. Many of the
melodies are electronically distorted
almost beyond recognition. Many
songs are sung in manners which
bring out some hidden meanings
which may or may not have been
intended by the songs' authors. And
darkness tends to dominate the
performance, revealing something
about the Residents' views of human
nature, perhaps, while certainly
shrouding in darkness their own
identities and that of their
collaborators.
In the dim past of 20 or so years
ago, the Residents hailed from

IN

'evi

e

Sweet Charity Express
delivers yourself

Carrying on where Kurt Russell as Elvis in Elvis and David Keith as Kurt
Russell as Elvis in Elvis in Heartbreak Hotel left off, the Residents
present their portrayal of the King.

Shreveport, Louisiana, but moved to
San Francisco and proceeded to
become America's best cult-followed
anonymous underground art band.
That they might be the only one of
those doesn't matter, for the
Residents rip through performance
genres as easily as they rip through
the prestige that surrounds icons of
all sorts.
There are two cornerstones to the
Residents' image: autonomy and
anonymity. Their label, Ralph,
preceded the mid-'70s boom in the
flourishing of independent labels,
and having their own label allowed
them to do the kinds of things that
might upset your average police
officer from Royal Oak, both
musically and visually. For instance,
on the original copies of the
Residents' second record, Third
Reich 'n Roll, a Nazi officer on the
cover looks suspiciously like Dick
Clark, and the satirical graphics on
the original copies of Meet the
Residents were said to have upset
the Rock in which the Beatles'
Church was set - Capitol Records.
Anonymity allows the Residents
to present their art/product to the
audience/consumer without hindering
the presentation through the
injection of any distractions like
personality, although the collective
has most definitely developed its
own iconoclastic identity over the
years. The number of actual

Residents is even debatable. Does
one include the dancers which are
featured all throughout Cube E? Or
perhaps one of the musicians is a
guest musician, and not a true
Resident. One can even envision a
situation where the Residential
masterminds pull the strings from
the home base of the Cryptic
Corporation while their envoys
perform the actual road show. Much
of the music does seem to be
prerecorded....
It is generally believed that there
are four Residents, as curtain calls
reveal three bowing eyeballs and one
bowing skull. Their contemporary
look is much different from the
eyeballs initially presented on the
cover of the Eskimo record of 1979.
Instead of those tuxedoed people
wearing eyeball masks, the
Residents are now body-stockinged
people wearing giant, faceted eyeball
suits. Of course, in commemoration
of the theft of one of those original
eyeball masks, one of the Residents
continues to appear as a death's head.
I'll bet some joker out there feels
really proud.
THE RESIDENTS weird out at the
Michigan Theater tonight at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $16.50 (plus evil
service charge) in advance at
TicketMaster and $18.50 (without
an evil service charge) at the door.

It escapes me how I could emerge
from A Little Night Music - one of
the most exquisitely polished,
professional shows ever to appear on
this campus - earlier this semester
and give it a highly critical notice,
and then come out of Soph Show's
unpolished Sweet Charity last night
brimming with good things to say
about it, too.
Sweet Charity was one of the
most charismatic shows I have ever
seen. The players were teeming with
energy and charm, and the most
wonderful of all was Jennifer Watson
in the title role. She did well with
the choreography and kept an unusu-
ally high energy level throughout
the performance. She was a perfect
mix of optimistic innocence and
streetsmarts, sexy in her little black
dress but never sly.
Tracy Plester and Danielle Archer
were a stunning singing duo in
"Baby, Dream Your Dream," and the
team was enhanced by the addition of
Watson in "There's Gotta Be
Something Better Than This" in
which the trio complimented each
other's voices beautifully. The rest
of the parts were also well-cast, with
the possible exceptions of Michael
Kania and Kristin Barbour, who were
awkward with each other and uncon-
vincing as the "international film
star" Vittorio Vidal and his jealous
girlfriend Ursula. Pete Vassalo, on
the other hand, did a superb job with
Oscar Lindquist, the nervous but
well-dressed tax accountant who al-
most marries Charity.
The most spectacular musical
number outside of the two men-
tioned above was "Big Spender," in
which the lighting and the choreog-
raphy gave a vivid impression of the
seediness of the Fan-Dango
Ballroom. The choreography was ex-
cellent for all the dance hall scenes,
despite the fact that the choreogra-
phers seemed determined to pound it
into the audience that Bob Fosse was
the choreographer for the original
Broadway show.
I sympathize with the directors
and producers; I am sure that it is
difficult to get serious Music School
students to find time to be in pit or-
chestras. However, it would be nice
to hear an orchestra that is not work-
ing in opposition to the interests of
the performers.
The production was unpolished,
but this did not detract from the per-
formance. The overwhelming charm
and enthusiasm of the cast was
strong enough to overcome the few
rough bits, making Sweet Charity a
thoroughly enjoyable show.
-Beth Colquitt

A male dancer dons a zebra-
striped dress and prances across the
stage prococatively; a dancer leaps
over her partners who lie on the
floor blowing party whistles to the
theme of Sesame street, she is then
unceremoniously sprayed with silly
string. Thus ended the BFA thesis
dance concert. To End and Begin was
a night full of drama, athleticism,
and best of all, wacky creativity.
The four women who created the
concert gave a fine representation of
the wide range of style and context
that characterizes modern dance. Each
choreographed a group number and
performed in a solo dance. This for-
mat gave the group freedom of ex-
pression as well as a chance to dis-
play their individual talent.
Jill Moskow's choreography for
"In Time" was inhibited by the
heavy-footed dancers who didn't do
her spritely themes justice. But it
was a clever and entertaining inter-
pretation of the baroque dance tunes
of Handel and Corelli. Ironically,
Moskow's most personal expression
seemed to spring from her angry and
passionate interpretation of Gay
Delanghe's choreography in
"Knock." Throughout the group
numbers, it seemed that the dancers'
simply could not live up to their
choreographers' ambitions.
However, Jennifer Bulgarella's
tropical bird theme and Ginger
Glenn's clever rendition of her
experiences teaching children in
"Before Things Got Complicated"
were entertaining. Glenn's solo,
"Regret," utilized a unique frame,
depicting the frustration inherent in
choreographing one's own piece.
Glenn utilized desperate repetition
and pained facial expressions,
showing the personal investment
that she placed in her choreography
and assuring that this piece was
above ordinary.
But it was Lesli Cohen who stole
the show. Her expression seemed to
embody everything one hopes to see
eminating from this "diverse" cam-
pus. Cohen enhanced her solo per-
formance by choreographing her
piece, a wild and highly dramatic
version of an urban hell. Cohen de-
veloped the piece's theme of over-
coming violent 20th-century oppres-
sion by manipulating an imposing
network of iron bars. She displayed
intense theatricality when she broke
out of a flailing and wild dance cycle
with a sudden calm and innocent
smile. With a skill that surpassed
most beginning choreographers, she
performed with creative strength and
intellectual complexity and she
performed without pretense.
Cohen followed this overwhelm-
ing work with "not quite different,

completely absurd, yet all together
uninteresting." This witty piece
ended the concert with a musical col-
lage that included Aerobics instruc-
tion, an Almond Joy commercial and
the sounds of bubbling water. The
dancers flourished within this cre-
ative context, integrating themselves
skillfully with Cohen's bizarre in-
spiration. Cohen made the piece fun
but also creatively expressive - a
difficult task to pull off successfully.
-Elizabeth Lenhard
This life is
(not) most
jolly
"Can honor feed a man when he
is hungry?" asks the excessive but
lovable Sir John Falstaff. Quickly
he answers "No." The School of
Music Opera Theatre presented a
wonderful interpretation of Verdi's
Falstaff last Thursday, portraying
the hilarious glutton as a bit more
sophisticated than the traditional
Falstaff we are all used to.
The Power Center's stage was
uniquely utilized. The audience
watched Sir John Falstaff battle with
Good and Evil on a stage of numer-
ous ascending stairs toward
"Heaven." The powerful and unique
staging greatly added to the the more
somber undercurrent of the comic
opera. Aside from some technical
problems with the 10 crosses in the
final scene, Falstaff's "Martyrdom"
in Windsor Park was intriguing and
effective. Additionally, the dark
lighting created an interesting mood
but at times casted unflattering shad-
ows upon the actors.
The women, elaborately cos-
tumed as angels with feathered
wings, all had impressive voices.
Especially good were the voice's of
Mistress Meg Page and Nangetta
(Clare Stollak and Karen Swan).
Timothy Jones as Ford did a superb
job as well, as did Richard Banks as
Falstaff. However, because platforms
were set far back on stage, the voices
were sometimes lost before reaching
the audience.
Verdi's beautiful music was
successfully joined to the text. Witty
and symbolic, the whole production
demonstrated a wide range of talent
and creativity. From the inevitably
unsatisfied Falstaff it is important to
remember the final note of the opera
- "life is but folly."
-Julie Komorn
:.t he_ act
DAly-

Winnipeg Ballet celebrates 50th

.# by Urvi Doshi

M
N

The grace and elegence of the
Royal Winnipeg Ballet will charm
the audience tonight at the Power
Center in a 50th anniversary celebra-
tion. The company returns with a
new artisic director, John Meehan.
The performance will feature the
one-act story ballet "Anne of Green
Gables," a new work by Mark
Godden, "Grand Pas Classique" from
Raymonda and "Tarantella."
"Anne of Green Gables" was cre-
ated by Jaques Lemay to the music
of Norman Campbell based on the
tale created by author Lucy Maud
Montegomery. The ballet tells the
story of a young and precocious girl
who dreams of growing up to be an
elegant lady. But she can only imag-
ine from inside the orphanage where
she is being raised. Her life changes
when she is adopted. The rest of the
ballet tells the story of her trials and
tribulations at a school as she tries
to win the love of a man who is

competing for the same academic
scholarship as herself. The decor and
costumes, designed by Mary Kerr,
bring a fun flavor to the ballet.
Mark Godden's untitled ballet,
performed to Christopher Rouse's
Symphony No.1 is a combination of
classical and contemporary dance.
The ballet, unlike "Anne of Green
Gables," does not center on the ac-
tions of a single individual. Instead,
the collective movements of the
group convey the themes of the bal-
let. A piano is deliberately used to
capture the curiosity of the audience
in grasping the mood of the ballet.
In addition to choreograph-
ing, Mark Godden has been a soloist
with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet
since 1984. Godden performs a vari-
ety of roles in the Royal Winnipeg
Ballet repertoire including featured
roles in Romeo and Juliet and Swan
Lake. Tonight's premiere is not his
first attempt at choreographing.
Godden's "Forms of Distinction"

won enthusiasic praise at its opening
performance as part of Dance
Spectrum '88. The work went on to
represent the Royal Winnipeg Ballet
at the Canada Dance Festival in
Ottawa. In 1989, he received the
Clifford E. Lee Choreographic
Award for the ballet Sequoia which
received its world premiere at the
Banff Festival of the Arts.
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, al-
though from Canada, has ties to
Michigan. Principal Dancer
Elizabeth Olds began her dance stud-
ies in Ann Arbor with Nancy
Abbey and Marjorie Randazzo. She
joined the Royal Winnipeg ballet in
1982 as a member of the corps de
ballet and was promoted to Principal
Dancer in 1989.

THE ROYAL WINNIPEG BALLET
appears tonight at the Power Center
at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are available at
the Union Ticket Office.

......... . rtteD iy
S5n letter to
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The:M:hig.n:.il.on.MT

Career Opportunities
at Morgan
for U niersity of Michigan students
interested in
Operations Management
RiesearchI
Sales
Please plan to attend our
information presentation on
Tuesday, November 27
7:0pmn
Michigan Union, h uenzel Roomn
A11rmajors vwelcorne

MICHIGAN vs. OHIO STATE
Michigan Wolverines vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Friday, November 23, 1990
Kickoff the Toys for Tots Collection
Saturday, November 24, 1990
Yost Ice Arena
Puck drops at 7:30 p.m.

Don't forget to bring new unwrapped toys on Friday, November 23

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