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September 05, 1991 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-05

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Thursday, September 5, 1991

The Michigan Daily:

Page 11



Stuff to read while y

by Jen Bilik

Less Space, older crowd
. What will the underage people
do when they wanna dance.?

by Annette Petruso
Gone are the rock posters of bands
in bold colors, replaced with stark
black and white murals with movie
quotes. Gone are the two floors that
hosted many a dance night and live
concert, replaced with one floor of
upstairs fun: a large dance floor,
with a bar and some seats surround-
ing it.

was too big ... so we remodeled ...
and I think it will be the last for
quite some time," explainedsMike
Bender, co-owner and co-manager of
the venue.
The reasons are simple, underage
drinking and money.
"The space that we had was too
large to guarantee a hundred percent
of the time that people that were 18
in here drinking couldn't or

'The space that we had was too large to
guarantee... that people that were eighteen in
here... couldn't and wouldn't drink'
- Mike Bender,
manager of the Nectarine

go down, and nobody with a stamp
up," explains Bender. This means
underage people probably won't
drink, but also can't hang out with
older friends while they indulge.
One student says he thinks that
the Nectarine's age change has po-
tential drastic effects. "Kids are go-
ing to have to go to Detroit or
places likethat ... Maybe someone
will open up a new club. The
Nectarine is fine but it's not enough,
it hardly caters to the entire Ann
Arbor community, gay or other-
wise...," says Dannie Sullins, an
EMU junior.
Gay nights now dominate the
Nectarine schedule, on Tuesday,
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
"Basically, we're just more or less
md of a gay bar," says Bender.
Sullins was a regular before the
remodeling but says he doubts he'll
go as much. "Granted, I'll go, it's
fun, it's something to do on a night,
and there's relatively ... few gay
places in Ann Arbor so I mean, I go,
my friends go, so to be with them,

When most students were here
last May, the Nectarine Ballroom
was still open. It had been an-
nounced that it was going to be re-
modeled, and probably changed
drastically. Patti Smith, Fred
"Sonic" Smith and friends played
the farewell concert to the Second
Chance, the early incarnation of the
Nectarine Ballroom. At the end of
May, it closed, repening on July 23,
only on the second floor.
While change is not unprece-
dented at 510 East Liberty, the new
Nectarine (sans Ballroom now) just
isn't the same. "We opened the
Second Chance in '74, August of '74,
rock and roll seven nights a week
through ... '84 ... (and) that was
slowing the last several years. It

wouldn't drink," he said.
"We could've just gone 21 in
that space but we couldn't fill the
space enough on enough nights to
pay for the space itself.... And you
know if we had gone 21 in the big
space, we'd have just collapsed fi-
nancially," Bender continued.
The effects are drastic. While

A ccording to The Bathroom
Readers' Institute, "there are two
kinds of people in the world -
people who read in the bathroom,
yfyou fall ino the latter category,
sneaking a quick trash skim or
you've found something else to
play with while your bum's bare.
If you rank among the coolest peo-
ple in the world, you've probably
compiledbcriteria forliteratureo
tellectual content, and ink that
doesn't run when wet.
It's a cop-out to settle for mag-
azines, newspapers, or the Guiness
Book of World Records. Penthouse
just doesn't count. New psycholog-
ical theories about bathroom read-
ing emerge daily - no longer can
we judge a man by hemorrhoidal
cream and pink toothbrushes. Look
instead for his ability to enjoy
himself during bodily functions
and his willingness to make the
most of every moment, because the
toiletdis the last frontier of unspo-
ken free time.
dForging the way for a newly re
vived genre of literary excellence
is The Bathroom Readers Institute
(B.R.I.), with its Uncle John's
Bathroom Readers , first, second,
and third. Underscoring the anal
repression in our society, the B.R.I.
notes that bathroom reading "isn't
something we talk about, but it's
understood," and has since com-
mitted itself to fighting "for the
rights of bathroom readers every-
where." Each book is a gem of
anecdotes, etymologies, and bits of
Americana, divided conveniently
into three sections: "Short - a
quick read;" "Medium - one to
three pages," and "Long - for
those extended visits when some-
thing a little more involved is re-
It's in Uncle John's that you'll
find the little histories of some-
thing all but soap opera stars do;
namely, defecate. Toilet paper, for
example, is a fairly recent even-
tion,replacing appetizing wipe-
toys like bones and hay. In the 18th
century, trend-setting plebes like

you and me began to swab with
their deluge of junk newspapers
and mail-order catalogs. The new
materials left newsprint on their
privates but inspired the way of the
latrine librarian; bones, as you
might guess, provide little literary
All three editions of Uncle
John's (with a fourth upcoming)
provide entertainment galore, with
an eye to social awareness and
slightly urbane humor. In the sec-
ond Uncle John's we find a narra-
tive of Gumby and Pokey's inven-
tion; Art Clokey, their inventor,
colored Pokey orange because he
represents the critical, doubting,
more earthy side of life," while
Gumby's green indicates "the
chlorophyll found in plants, while
his bluish tint reflects the sky.
He's got his feet on the ground and
his head in the sky." The original
Uncle John's reveals the history
behind elementary school rumors,
like the one about Life Cereal's
Mikey, who supposedly exploded
after snarfing Pop Rocks and soda,
or the urban legend that added spi-
der eggs to Bubble Yum's list of
Each Uncle John's displays that
appropriate pot pourri of delicacy
and humor, welcome while reading
at so sensitive a time. Running
along the bottom of each page are
facts and F.Y.I's, practically guar-
anteeing success at fully-clothed
Trivial Pursuit games. Scatological
achievement is their name, and con-
stipation is their fort6, finding
their success in a little exploited
area. Ask not "do you feel fresh?"
but instead, "can you read?"
Inadvertently educating com-
pulsive bran eaters, books like
Richard Lederer's Anguished
English and genius Cecil Adams'
collected columns of trivia, The
Straight Dope convulse the muscles
with a chuckles and a squeeze.
Charles Panati's Extraordinary
Origins of Everyday Things, which
reveals the histories of products as
diverse as Tupperware and the zip-
per, can fill the porcelain book-
shelf for those more ambitious. In
a more serious vein, Anna'
Quindlen's book of short essays,
Living Out Loud, compiled from
her stint at the New York Times,
gives a sometimes comic but al-
ways human portrait of our world
as it goes to hell in a handbasket.
Corny but mildly amusing, and a
favorite among parents, is Roger
Fulgum's Everything I Needed to

ou wipe
Know I Learned in Kindergarten,
one and two (something about a
burning bush).
Anguished English, an English
teacher's revenge fantasy, is "an an-
thology of accidental assaults upon
our language," proving that even
the most inane of elocutions can be
quite funny, such as the ad on the
bus that asks "Illiterate? Write
today for free help." In Lederer's
pastiched history of the world,
drawn together from verbal errata,
we learn that the Middle Ages
were "when everybody was middle
aged," that "Shakespeare was born
in the year 1564, supposedly on his
birthday," and that the Odyssey
"was not written by Homer, but
by another man of that name."
Among actual explanations writ-
ten on accident claim forms, insur-
ance agents, a loathsome species at
best, might dicker with "the tele-
phone pole was approaching fast. I
was attempting to swerve out of
its way when it struck my front
By far the most underrated and
undiscovered of bathroom pulp
must be Cecil Adams' newspaper
columns, The Straight Dope and
More of the Straight Dope. In addi-
tion to being a scream, Adams is
the most knowledgeable citizen of
the universe, finding answers that
elude even library scientists.
Sample questions such as "why do
Eskimos stay there?" "do cats have
navels?" and "what exactly is a
fart?" go head to head with more
serious queries into technology and
science. Tongue nestled abrasively
in cheek, Adams' wit is sharp and
quick. One reader writes, "I think
my roommate is having sex with
his cats. Could you explain the bio-
logical reasons why cats can't be
impregnated by human beings?" to
which Cecil deftly replies, "for
the same reason you can't park a
Cadillac in a closet, you bozo."
Since D & D geeks realized they
could replace cheese log catalogues
with comic books, cartoons have
long been textual staples of the
powder room. In earlier days, sin-
gle-issue newsprint comic books
tended to wad on the tile in a par-
ticularly repulsive manner, but the
new breed of collected works, ac-
coutered with fine softcover,
doesn't disintegrate if your aim
misses its mark. Garry Trudeau's
Doonesbury reminds us what real
political satire used to be like be-
fore the days of the yuppie, and
See STATE. Page 13

'I'm done with those. Too many problems, too
many crazy people. Just not not worth it'
- Mike Bender,
on concerts at the Nectarine

Monday alternative dance nights
were 18 and over for part of August,
this means there are few clubs, or
popular bars, that allow students

'Maybe someone will open up a new club. The
Nectarine is fine but it's not enough. It hardly
caters to the entire Ann Arbor community'
- Dannie Sullins,
EMU junior

I'll go. But do I consider it a quality
place? No, not really," he stated.
The physical aspects of the
Nectarine, Sullins admits, are not as
bad. "Considering all the renova-
tions they did and how much space
they lost, the dance floor is still a
good size. ... I mean, I'm not
crowded on the dance floor. I like
the set up I suppose, the seats, the
way they're arranged but the
glassed-in drinking area has gotta
go," he said.
Another mainstay of the
Nectarine Ballroom, a kind of hold
over from its Second Chance days, is
the live concert. In the fall espe-
cially, when it seemed like there
was a crowed and sweaty concert ev-
See NECTARINE, Page 15

was kinda like everyone grew up and
moved.on ... plus the bands were
getting more expensive and less
people coming, so (we) remodel(ed)
to a dance club thing in '84, '85, and
the intent then was to be 21 after
reopening and having more or less an
adult place to go and again this place

under the age of 21 inside, save the
U-Club which now does not.serve
alcohol. Even the potential 18 and
over night at the Nectarine involves
some logistical changes. "You have
to be at the bar or in the glassed in
area to drink. I can block, I can have
somebody at the stairs so no drinks


W I. K. ........ . . ....... ..O ' E l
Loo k out. Sam ShepardI
T1he aterstude nts expeiiment in the Basement

by Julie Komorn
Cobwebbed-covered wine bottles, dusty skis, an old
train set, musty boxes - the sights and smells of a
basement. The University's Basement Arts, however,
evokes none of these images though technically, it does
perform in a basement - the Arena Theater in the
basement of the Frieze Building.
The Basement Arts presents 15 off-beat, experimen-
tal, free-admission shows each year. The theater group
was started very informally three and a half years ago
by drama student David Turner and Drama professor
Hilary Cohen. Since then, the enthusiasm and participa-
tion from students has helped the group become a well-
established performance organization.
Each term, 16 to 20 students choose plays they
would like to direct or produce and submit their ideas
to the. Basement Arts. One month before the end of the
semester, an advisory board reviews proposals for the
next season and selects what plays will be performed.
About half of the shows chosen represent original
works written by students, while the other half in-
cludes contemporary plays, usually the work of ob-
scure playwrights.
Last season, musical theater senior Matt Rego chose
to direct Kitchen Help , a three-part play by theater.
student Andy Newberg. Line, a one-act absurdist play
by Israel Horowitz also performed last semester, de-
picts five people standing in line jockeying to be first.
Using sex and other tricks, they lose track of their own
Tracers, a play from two years ago, is still consid-
ered one of the groups most successful performances.
Althnnah this Vietnam War drama ran imn1tnnelv

educate students in the necessary steps toward a quality
production. Founding father Turner insisted that
shows were not reviewed by newspapers, so that stu-
dents were not under pressure to produced polished
shows. This allowed them to be more comfortable de-
veloping new techniques.
Although the group is completely student-run, fac-
ulty members often help out. Theater Professor Peter
Ferran remained an encouraging advisor during the past
year, helping and educating new directors, playwrights
and actors. "He was a leading force behind Basement
Arts," says BA leader Kevin Humbert. "he gave good
criticism and helpful advice. He was more involved in
student theater than any other professor."
Recently the University has implemented a B.F.A.
program in which students will be required to direct.
Predictably, the Basement Arts will be an outlet for
this new requirement. Also, graduate students/play-'
wrights will have automatic slots in the seven to eight
shows per semester which may decrease the undergrad-
uate writing participation.
Performances are given free of charge in the Arena
Theater. The theater contains a quality repertory set of
lights and sound system. The group uses minimum and
collapsible sets because the stage is used during the day
for acting classes. Productions are very low -budget,
usually costing about $100-150 per show, and are
funded by the University.
The fall 1991 season includes fewer original plays
than usual, but more contemporary greats such as
Steinberg's The Great Highway originally written as a
long play with a long cast of characters (select pas-
sages were pulled and compiled to create a shorter,
mmre "mnr idnI n.nvi"\


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