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September 05, 1991 - Image 14

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

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Page 14-The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 5,1991

Continued from the A & E insert
(which you haven't reached yet)*
InFocus Filmworks: The new-
est of the film groups (celebrating
its first birthday sometime in the
fall), InFocus is also the most dif-
ferent. Picking up the Co-op's origi-
nal tenet, InFocus is a support group
for local filmmakers and videogra-
phers. Its monthly showings do not
contain any commercial, or mass-
produced film, just the work of its
members. As founding member
Jennifer Kim says, "we're into mak-
ing films rather than just watching
them." She later says that "student
films are more fun to watch because
they take risks that commercial
filmmakers generally don't, so
we're here to encourage the creative
use of the medium." And she's
right: where else can you see films
made by your next-door neighbor?
Last year, in addition to the
monthly showings, the group orga-
nized a film festival.
The group's organization is very
loose. Says Kim, "Anybody can be
part of the group. (In the fall) we're
not going to have a president or a
vice president or a secretary,'"
though people do volunteer to take
on duties such as organizing audito-
riums. She adds, though, that "last
year we had too much organization;

this year we're going to try to make
it more production" and encourage
its members to work on projects to-
Other Film On Campus: There
are several other groups on campus,
none of which are independent, but
all of which show films:
Mediatrics, a subsidiary of the
University Activities Center, is
generally considered the third of the
remaining Big Three groups that
show film on campus. As John
Cantu says, "it's the most perfect
mirror of the general student popu-
lation." This means that they show
the most mainstream films of the
three groups, with a typical sched-
ule containing blockbusters from
previous years, plus newer main-
stream films.
Hill Street Cinema is sup-
ported by, and shows at, the Hillel
Foundation. Their focus is on more
politically charged mainstream fea-
tures. They show less frequently
than the other film groups and the
showings usually aren't in Univer-
sity auditoriums.
The Silent Film Society shows,
unsurprisingly, silent films at sev-
eral non-campus locations.
The Program in Film/Video
Studies also has regular free show-
ings of classic films either from its
collection, or rented for the occa-
sion. The Program also sponsors

special events, such as a recent series
of avant-garde filmmakers and an-
other of video artists.
The most regrettably thing
about all of this is that, even though
these groups are working very hard
to keep afloat, they may follow
their sister groups, which flour-
ished.in the '70s, into oblivion. John
Cantu says that right now is a piv-
otal time for all campus cinema and
that "it's becoming readily apparent
as we move into the 1990s that the
film audience that existed even as
late as the mid-1980s has really be-
come fragmented" and that "this
coming academic year the under-@
graduates will have to make a deci-
sion about their entertainment dol-
lar, as the well-being of (the inde-
pendent) groups is very strongly
dependent on their patronage."
Matt Madden agrees, he says that
"up until the last five years or so, it
wasn't really an issue, since every-
one knew who the film societies
were. Now, all of a sudden we fine
our audience totally gone, and we're
unknowns." Ultimately, then, -it
comes down to public taste;
whether the groups will flourish or
whether they will set below the
horizon, leaving behind quaint
memories of an outdated idea, will
be decided in the next couple of
years. It will be decided by you.

Orson Welles' magnum opus Citizen Kane (Welles is in the center) is one of the few films that most of the
University-related film societies would show at one time or another.

Continued from page 12
symphony orchestra featuring pop-
ular orchestral repertoire.
The voice students in the Music
School have the opportunity to
show off their skills each year in a
full-length opera (last year, it was
Falstaff). To showcase everyone's
talents, excerpts from other operas
are performed in a workshop. Scenes
last year were drawn from a variety
of sources, from Trouble in Tahiti
to The Marriage of Figaro.
Particularly encouraging for stu-
dents perennially short of spending
money is the large number of free
concerts on campus. Student groups

often charge little or no admission,
and other venues offer a student
discount, so bring your ID card. In
addition to the ensembles already
mentioned, high quality student and
faculty recitals account for a tre-
mendous amount of activity at the
Music . School, which is ranked
among the top music schools in the
country. There are hundreds of free
recitals each year; check at the
School of Music for postings. There
is also a bi-monthly brochure list-
ing events at the school.
The majority of students leave
Ann Arbor during the summer
months, but that doesn't mean that
Ann Arbor becomes a ghost town.
The School of Music still shows

some signs of life, if it lacks the
cornucopia of events that take place
during the Fall and Winter. The pro-
gram of concerts at the University
Hospital continues during May. In
June, the Ann Arbor Summer Fest-
ival kicks into high gear, with a veri-
table smorgasbord of music, dance,
and theater. For those still short of
cash, the free movies outdoors at the
Top of the Park provide a welcome
diversion. During the Art Fair, a
steady stream of bands set up in
front of the Union to entertain
foot-weary shoppers.
For those musically inclined,
there is truly something for every-
one in Ann Arbor. Enjoy!

Continued from page 12
Siglin admitted, "But I found it
very spiritual."
So strong was Siglin's attrac-
tion to the Ark that he and his
wife Linda began running it in
1967 and have remained at the
helm ever since. By 1973, the
church had lost interest in the
venture and divested itself of any
managerial or oversight involve-
ment. In 1984, the Ark was forced
to move from the mansion on
Hill to the attic-like warehouse
room it now occupies over the
South Main Market near Hill and
Siglin is very quick to delin-
eate between the music business
and the music industry - what
sets the Ark and its performers
apart from shows at Ann Arbor
bars and clubs.
"I'm not a concert producer.
I'm in it for the music," Siglin
says. "I'd rather see someone
draw well and do well in Ann
Arbor than put on my own
The majority of musicians that
come through the Ark tour con-
tinuously as a source of income.

For them, music is a business. On
the other hand, bands that play
Rick's or the Blind Pig tour only
periodically to promote records
or other merchandise. They hope
to eventually "break" -into the
pop music industry.
"Most of our acts are people
who choose not to enter into the
pop medium," Siglin says. "Peo-
ple just don't want to go beyond
the club scene.,,
Not to say that the Ark hasn't
had its share of famous perform-
ers. Most of the biggest folk leg-
ends like Arlo Guthrie and Joan
Baez have played in the old man-
sion or above South Main Market.
More recently, the Ark helped the
Indigo Girls, Suzanne Vega, and
Bonnie Raitt along the way to
their wide acclaim.
Musicians aren't the only ones
who are drawn to the Ark. Much
of the Ark's 170 volunteers and
dedicated constituency - affec-
tionately known as "Arkies" -
feel the same way.
"This place is an Ann Arbor
classic," says Henry Flandyz.
"Here people really come for the
music." After coming to the Ark
for 12 years, Flandyz said he felt
compelled to give something back

and recently joined as an Ark vol-
Terri Wilkerson, who has been
volunteering for the last four
years, calls it "a jewel." The in-
timacy of the club makes seeing a
show at the Ark like having
someone perform in your living
room, she says.
For all its renown and appeal,
the Ark has only two full time
paid employees and has remained a
non-profit corporation. Aside
from the Siglins, the club is run
on the co-op-like spirit of volun-
"The people that work here
have an investment in the music,"
says volunteer Deborah Fisch.
Attempting to discern a defi-
nite work structure among the
volunteers will fail. "Things just *
get done and you marvel at how
much actually gets done," says
Could the Ark turn positive
profit margins? Probably. But
that's not what this place is all
about. The main this is the music.
"The Ark isn't here to make
big bucks. It doesn't want to lose
it's roots, its origin," says *

The Michigan Daily M as S M e etin g is Sept 12th at 7:30
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