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February 07, 1992 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-02-07

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01

ARTS

- 9

*The Michigan Daily

Friday, February 7, 1992

Page 8 *

Dance with the masters

Graham 's choreography

is an angelic diversion

by Aaron Hamburger
Although guest dance conductor
Stanley Sussman has worked with
Liza Minelli and Kathleen Turner,
his real coup is to be associated with
the works for legendary choreogra-
pher, Martha Graham. Needless to
say, Sussman is very excited about
the University Dance Company's
production, American Masterworks.
The Dance School's annual
show, one that always pulls out all
the stops when it comes to music,
movement and technical wizardry,
reflects the dance and music of the
United States exclusively this year.
Surprisingly, a national concentra-
tion of this sort is not often seen in
theater.
Sussman, whose job it is to coor-
dinate the dancers with the orchestra,
says, "What stands out about this
performance is that it's all-Ameri-
can, which should be a more com-
mon event."
American Masterworks highlights
dance interpretations of the works of
some of our country's great com-
posers, such as Leonard Bernstein,
Aaron Copland, Norman Dello Joio,
Joan Tower and University professor

William Bolcom.
Also featured in the program is
Martha Graham's "Diversion of An-
gels." This weekend's performance
marks the first time in fifteen years
that Graham's work will be per-
formed on a stage outside of her own
company.
A longtime friend and associate
of Graham, Sussman cites two major
contributions the late choreographer
made to Modern dance. "She allows
the dancer to become a dramatic ac-
tor through movement," says Suss-
man. More important, he believes,
was Graham's "devotion to contem-
porary, twentieth century music,"
because it brought conventional
dance into modern times.
Graham's work is the gem of this
show, but faculty choreographers
will also have wares to exhibit. Mas-
terworks will showcase works by
Bill DeYoung, Linda Spriggs, and
Gay Delanghe. DeYoung chore-
ographed a piece to Copland' s
"Clarinet Concerto" which was orig-
inally commissioned by Benny
Goodman. The work will be per-
formed by University Music profes-
sor Fred Ormand.
Another Copland piece, the well-

known "Fanfare for the Common
Man," was choreographed by De-
langhe, who may add a little com-
mentary to the theme. She will also
present Tower's "Fanfare for the
Uncommon Woman," promising, no
doubt, an uncommon interpretation.
Linda Spriggs unfailing creative
energy should be reflected aptly in -
her piece, "In a Whimsical Mode,"
set to Bolcom's "Duo Fantasy." And
what could conjure up the "Big
City," more than Bernstein's tribute
to Big Band jazz, "Prelude, Fugue
and Riffs." "City," will be Spriggs'
other contribution to the jam-packed
program.
Choreography won't be the fac-
ulty's only contribution to Master-
works. They've also trained the per-
formers. Sussman is very impressed
with the University dance students'
handling of the pieces.
"The students have grasped this
work very well. They've shown a
great deal of interest," he says. Un- z
der the direction of dance depart-
ment chair Peter Sparling, MFA and University Dance majors Amy Drum and Matthew Rose dance in Martha Graham's "Diversion of Angels."
BFA students will perform the inter-
pretations to the sounds of the Ann Sussman. "You don't have to have AMERICAN MASTER WORKS will Sunday at 2p.m. Tickets are $12, $9,
Arbor Symphony. any music or dance training to see be performed at the Power Center and $6 for students. For more
"It's a very exciting event," says and enjoy a production like this." tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. and information call 764-0450.

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by Mark Binelli
"Robyn was thinking of calling
the band the Psychedelic Jews, but
he thought that might be a problem,
so, continuing in the Middle East
theme, we became the Egyptians,"
says Andy Metcalfe, who, as the
bass and keyboards of Robyn Hitch-
cock's band of merry musicians, is
responsible in large part for the
terminally surreal pop artist's sig-
nature sound.
The group's latest album, Per-
tpex Island, laden with deliciously
digestible songs such as "Ocean-
side" and "She Doesn't Exist,"
made SPIN magazine's Best of '91
list. And with Hitchcock and the
Egyptians (made up of Metcalfe and
drummer Morris Windsor), di-
gestible is not synonymous with
disposable.
Ridiculously catchy jingles like
the unforgettable bass-line in
"Balloon Man," the excellent sin-
gle from 1988's Globe of Frogs, are
backed with lyrics like the bril-
liantly non-sequiturial "And it
rained/ Like a slow divorce/ And I
wished/ I could ride a horse."
"We've known Robyn for so
long, we usually know what he
means," says Metcalfe of his eccen-
tric bandmate's lyrics. "We've been
friends for fifteen years, and it's
like any bunch of friends, you know?
You just know each other so well ...
And I find it quite odd when people
say they don't understand.

"Usually, Robyn has the lyrics
sort of half-written, and a kind of
idea of how the song's roughly
gonna go, and then we just kinda jam
around, and very often the music
ends up completely different,"
Metcalfe continues.
"I think that the more interest-
ing, or rather, the less straightfor-
ward, songs that we do, usually are
kind of ... they have a kind of life of
their own. They grow out of what-
ever it is we do, and then the lyrics
will get finalized after that."
But Perspex Island does mark a
departure of sorts from the lyrical
psychedelia that made previous
Hitchcock albums so memorable.
The first single, "So You Think
You're In Love," is a fairly
straightforward love song. In addi-
tion to the sound, the lyrics of
"Love" could be mistaken for early
Beatles, and Metcalfe calls this
change "quite deliberate."
"I think a lot of emotions that
Robyn's written about in the past
have been difficult emotions to
write about," he says. "It's been eas-
ier to write about them by disguis-
ing them as other things. And this is
an album which is deliberately very
positive."
But Metcalfe bristles at critics
who only concentrate on the lyrical
side of the band.
"What I find very weird is that
at a lot of stages in our career - I
don't want to sound sort of big-
headed - but I think we've made

Robyn Hitchcock is looking a little Picasso-ish, a little artsy-fartsy, wouldn't you say? This artiste certainly wouldn't want to sell out like his Athens
buddies R.E.M., would he? Of course not. Right, Robyn?

r
r
'

The University Dance Company in a special collaboration
with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra
American Masterworks
Martha Graham's
Diversion of Angels
and faculty dances
to the music of.
Bernstein, Bolcom,
and Copland
U. Dance Company
Power Center
Feb. 6 -8 at 6 PM;
Feb. 9 at 2 PM
Featuring the Ann Arbor
Symphony Orchestra,
made possible by
funding from the Dayton
Hudson Foundation

very musical records," Metcalfe
says. "And it pissed me off that ev-
erybody said, 'Oh, here's another
collection of songs about fish.' And
in fact, with this album, what really
amazed me was, because the lyrics
were more straightforward, nobody
... has said, 'Here's an album with
very straightforward lyrics.' Ev-
erybody' s gone, 'Great. We really
like the guitar playing on this.'
"Everybody likes to get hold of
a particular facet and then wangle it
around like a dog with a slipper.
And if you write songs that are a bit
weird, people grab hold of the
wacky slipper and just nag that to
death.
"We pick up interviews and arti-
cles about ourselves, and even in a
foreign language, we know. You can
Dear Kristen:
Nassau four days behind us,
Semester At Sea is the best!
Still can't believe this incredible
ship is my campus for 100 days.
Magnificent sunsets from deck.
I miss you. Signed up for Global
Ecology, Intro to International
Trade, World Music, and
Comparative International
Studies. Just read "The Art of
Crossing Cultures". That book
sold 400 copies at the bookstore

scan through it and there'll be these
key words, and you see them and you
'Usually, Robyn has
the lyrics sort of half-
written, and a kind of
idea of how the
song's roughly gonna
go, and then we just
kinda jam around ...'
-Andy Metcalfe
bassist/keyboardist
think, 'Oh, fuck, it's just the same
bloody assholes again.' You know,
there it is: Syd Barrett ... the Velvet
Underground, R.E.M., Michael
Stipe."
Speaking of Stipe, both he and his
cohort Peter Buck appear on songs
on Island. Has success spoiled the
Gods of Athens?
"Peter's been around with us for
about six years now," Metcalfe
says. "He's a mate, you know? He's
a mate who's become incredibly suc-
cessful. They're pretty down to

earth, and because we're people who
come from a time before their
(sarcastically) 'meteoric rise to
stardom,' there's no kind of bull-
shit, you know what I mean?
"Peter's pretty incorrigible,"
Metcalfe continues. "We wanted
him on about three songs and he
ended up playing on about eight.
You can't stop him once he starts.
Never get him up on stage until
halfway through a gig is the rule."
Metcalfe, who has been working
on some solo material of his own,
denies accusations of any kind of
sell-out or shot at the mainstream
with Island.
"I'm not jealous of the idea that
R.E.M. plays stadiums and we play
clubs," he says. "That doesn't
bother me so much. What I'm jeal-
ous of is the idea that actually, if
they wanted to stop, they could.
Which they wouldn't, of course, but
if they suddenly wanted to do some-
thing very bizarre, they've no longer
got to worry about whether or not
it'll make any money.

"If you sell a million albums
and you make everybody's salary for
a couple of years, of course they're
gonna say yes. They're not gonna ar-
gue about it. If you say you wanna
make your video on the moon or
something, they'll say yeah. But if
we saywe wanna do a video,- they
get a bit upset."
Which, Metcalfe admits, he
doesn't really mind.
"Robyn's there making videos
because he's an artist, if you like,"
Metcalfe says. "I'm a musician, and
I'm a pretty good musician, but I'm
not an actor. And I don't mindlean-
ing around in front of cameras - ut
doesn't bother me - but it's not
what I dropped out of college for."
ROBYN HITCHCOCK AND THE
EGYPTIANS, along with MAT-
THEW "MATT" SWEET, play
Wednesday, February 12, at the
Royal Oak Music Theater. Tickets
are $18.50 in advance at Ticket-
Master (p.e.s.c.). The show starts
at 7:30 p.m.
Channel Z
When you were little and you
played with your Barbie dolls, you
probably wanted nothing more than
to be Miss U.S.A. when you grew
up. Maybe The 1992 Miss U.S.A
Pageant (9 p.m., CBS) will change

5TH AVE. AT LIBERTY 761-9700
$3.00 DAILY SHOWS BEFORE PM
STUDENT WITH 1.0.$3.50
GOODRICH QUALITY THEATERS

jXI Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
Second Stage Productions
the death and life of
A NA

I

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