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April 09, 1992 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-04-09

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The Michigan Daily-Weekend etc. -April9,1992-Page 9

move to a
recipe -
No Fat

Jessica Cocoran's sort of thing

by Alexandra Beller
There were 19 of them in '88, ten in '89, and eight in
* Now, in the spring of 1992, there are only three re-
maining graduate candidates from the original incoming
class of Dance majors. Daniel Gwirtzman, Nicole
Meyer and Rebecca Shubart, after four years of classes,
rehearsals and performances have one final obstacle be-
fore graduation - their final thesis. Joined by senior
Gordon Van Amburg, who has studied with them for
the past three years, the artists present their BFA con-
cert this weekend, No Fat Added.
Gwirtzman explains this group's longevity, "It isn't
just coincidence that we're the only ones left. We all
showed the same devotion. We decided to stay and we
Having shared so many experiences and worked to-
gether with such intensity has brought a shape to the
concert not usually found in a thesis program. "We've
grown up together. We've seen each other develop artis-
tically and personally," says Shubart.
Meyer, in her solo entitled, "You're Late," confronts
herself and her idiosyncrasies. Essentially a comic look
at her tardiness, the piece takes on a deeper tone as she
deals with the frustration she feels toward herself.
On another comic note, Meyer's group work, "Vain
Janes" is a spoof on women's shopping rituals and the
secret activities behind the dressing room curtain.
Using a set, connotative video images and an original
score by Steev Hise, the mixture of media arts is aimed
at "having fun with this secret part of a woman's life,"
says Meyer
Gwirtzman will be presenting "Division," a solo
work juxtaposing the concepts of movement and music,
*stillness and explosive kinesis. It is a highly abstracted
piece dealing with the emotions of separation.

His group work, "Quartet," is a series of four vi-
gnettes, each dealing with a different aspect of human
interrelations. Gwirtzman looks at how various commu-
nities, including one stricken with an AIDS-like plague,
deal with each other within the context of their envi-
Shubart, who performed her solo in the November
BFA, will present "Closed Quarters," a dance for five
women. Set in a reflective cage designed by University
graduate architect students, it deals with the idea of
confinement, both physical and emotional. "Closed
Quarters" will be set to a different piece of music each
night, relying in part on chance and fate. Although
Shubart says this "makes the dancers nervous," she also
contends that it "adds to the feeling of discomfort" es-
sential to the text of the dance.
Gordon Van Amburg will perform a solo,
"Landscape with Human Figure," choreographed by
University alumna Benedette Palazzola. Performed in
silence while using a series of entrances and exits, the
dance offers a fragmented, abstract narrative of the
landscape and its elements. His group work, a quartet, is
set to a score entitled "Flannel Dreams," composed by
faculty member Stephen Rush.
The concert has no unifying theme; if there is a
common element, Meyer says it's that they have
"stripped away the artificiality, the excess." This ex-
plains the title, No Fat Added. "Aside from the obvious
pun," says Gwirtzman in reference to dancers fanati-
cism about diet and body image, "We wanted to say that
we were going to be pure, straightforward ... to peel
away the surface."
NO FAT ADDED will be performed in Studio A at the
Dance Building, tonight through Saturday at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $5 general admission. For more informa-
tion, call 763-5460.

by Annette Petruso
4I think people find me to be a bit
of a novelty sort of thing because of
my age and situation sort of thing,"
says Jessica Cocoran, a British 21-
year-old record producer.
Though a young female producer
might be an oddity in the male-dom-
inated music biz, the list of albums
and artists Cocoran has produced is
impressive - an almost who's who
of British pop. Her work includes
new American releases by the
Senseless Things (The First of Too
Many) and the Mega City 4
(Sebastopol Rd.), and the more well-
known breakthrough album, God
Fodder by Ned's Atomic Dustbin.
"She's produced all our singles as
well," explains Alex Griffin, one of
Ned's bassists. "We just heard about
her because she worked with, like,
the Darling Buds, the House of Love
and the Wonderstuff. We just liked
what she'd done and so we gave her
a go and have done all out stuff with
her. But we might be looking for
somebody else, just to experiment
for our next single."
Because a woman in the biz is
such an anomaly, and a woman in
charge is a problem for many with
charging testosterone, it seems
Cocoran might run into problems
with the bands she works with.
"I'm very fortunate as in all the
bands I've worked with have been
really nice people," she says. "Real-
ly easy to get on with. That helps a
hundred percent, sort of thing. You
can't possibly work with people if
you don't get on with them from the
start, sort of the thing. It just won't
Griffin doesn't see much of a
difference between working with a
man versus a woman. "Well, we've
never worked with anybody else so
we wouldn't know," he says. "But
yeah because she's a girl, a woman,
well she's only our age ... which is
"I don't know, we might respect
her more than we would a man, not
to be sexist like, but the fact that
she's a woman, she could just say
something and we're not going to
say, 'Ah, fuck off,' because you
know, I don't know, she doesn't
have an attitude. Mind you, it's the
same, I'm sure that there's nice
blokes that do it as well."
Cocoran hasn't always wanted to
be a record producer. She says that
she's wanted to be one "probably
since I was about fourteen or fifteen
... I don't know why. I just did. I

went from wanting to be an air host-
ess to wanting to do this ..."
She has always worked in one
studio, Greenhouse Studios in North
London, where she was when we
talked on the phone. After she got
her start, she moved through the
ranks, gaining a reputation.
"I started off about five or six
years ago at Greenhouse Studios,
here," Cocoran explains. "(I) started
off basically as a tape hop and ...
started engineering with a producer
called Pat Collier. Just took it from
there basically."
'We might respect her
more than we would a
man. Not to be sexist
like, but the fact that
she's a woman, she
could just say
something and we're
not going to say, 'Ah,
fuck off,' because you
know, I don't know.'
- Alex Griffin,
Like Cocoran, Greenhouse
Studios enjoys a positive regard in
the music world. She says, "It's in
the city. It's quite a big studio. It's
got two studios. It has quite a good
reputation. We've been going about
ten years. It's got a reputation of do-
ing a lot of up and coming
independent bands sort of thing."

Cocoran's method of production
isn't unique, but her output has been
uniforihly uncluttered, well-con-
structed energizing pop.
"I do my own engineering as
well, so basically working on with
the deck and all that equipment," she
says. "Producing basically involves,
a band will come to you to produce a
track and you'll put your point of
view across - how you think the
structure of the song should be ... It
just a new ear on a band's song basi-
Though Cocoran has little time
outside of the studio, working long
hours with rare days off, she feels
seeing bands live is an important
part of her job. "I do go to a lot of
gigs," she says. "I definitely do sort
of try to make a point of seeing the
band I'm doing live. You get a much
better impression of how (they
sound). Most bands always say, 'We
want to sound like we sound live,' at
least the bands I work with ..."
Cocoran's future holds more of
the same. She says, "I've just been
doing some stuff with a band,
Sensatize, and band called Bedaz-
zled, producing some tracks for Be-
dazzled's album. Doing an album
with Sensatize. Band called the
Would-be's, Nautical William, an
Australian band called the Falling
Beyond these bands, Cocoran
wants to "continue what I'm doing
definitely. No great ambitions, keep
on producing bands in the same vein
as what I'm doing now." No one
could ask for more.

Mega City 4
Sebastopol Rd.
Big Life
Despite Jessica Cocoran's primo producing skills, the Mega City 4's
problems begin with the band's name - a poor mockery of The MC5's (our
precious Detroit mothers) moniker. Beyond the packaging, the 4's music is
a much worse blasphemy than their name even begins to evoke.
The MC4 is an unhappy liaison between American college rock (The
Replacements and R.E.M.) and British pop A la Ned's Atomic Dustbin and
the Senseless Things. While Ned's and Things have an energizing rush to
their guitar-based pop, the Megas have no assault nor any subtlety. Se-
bastopol Rd. is filled with obvious guitar hooks and self-righteous, self-
possessed lyrics that, as in the music, unsuccessfully straddle the line be-
tween sing-songy and mockery.
The vocalist's pimply singing style doesn't make the tunes any easier to
swallow either. The touch of acoustic guitar rave ups on some of the cho-
ruses, most notably "Scared of Cats," could be a saving grace, but alas it,
plus a fansong about "Anne Bancroft," isn't enough. Their kiss-ass thank
yous in the sleeve include the aforementioned pop leaders, even god himself
Bob Mould, seal their fate as wanna-be's, but as the MC4 sing in "Ticket
Collector," "If it kills me, it kills me." It did boys.
- Annette Petruso

The Pirates of
n caseyou'veeverwondered what
a pirate dressed in 1920s garb
would look like, here's your big
chance. TheUniversity's Gilbert and
Sullivan Society will present a new
take on Pirates of Penzance, a pe-
rennial favorite for adults and chil-
dren alike.
H.M.S. Pinafore and The Mikado
head the list of other works of good
clean fun which that wild and crazy
duo, W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur
Sullivan are responsible for.
Eric Gibson, who co-directs with
James Nissen, explains the motiva-
tion behind setting it in the roaring
'20s: "One of the main things for a
group dedicated to aparticularcanon
is repetition. The challenge of exclu-
sively working with a body of fif-
teen works is to keep it new and

Penzance meet the roaring 120s

interesting. By setting Pirates in the
1920s we hope to breathe new life
into the work, capturing the bold atti-
tudes and fashions of the period.
"Besides, it made a great deal of
sense to take advantage of our amaz-
ing designers. The set designer worked
for the Croswell Opera House and the
costume designer is a U of M gradu-
ate. Both are more than capable of
exploring the creative possibilities of
the period."
The operetta itself tells the story of
Frederic (played by University Mas-
ters studentRobertMirshak). We meet
Frederic, the reluctant member of the
scurvy gang, on a beach in Penzance.
As a boy, Frederic is mistakenly ap-
prenticed to aruthless bunch of swash-
bucklers whose only weakness is a
sympathy for orphans. He thus grows

up as an unwilling member of the
notorious band. This same sense of
duty compels him to leave the pi-
rate ship on his 21st birthday and
devote his life to the extermination
of piracy as an atonement for his
evil deeds. Onshore he falls in love
with Mabel (played by doctoral stu-
dent Lisa Romero). As one can pre-
dict, his affiliation with the pirates
eventually forces him to wrong his
love as he leads an attack on the
Mabel's father, the Major General.
"I think some people are going
to be surprised at the ability of the
performers throughout. Even
though it is a community produc-
tion, all of the principals are from
the School of Music as is much of
the chorus. The players are wonder-
ful and have great voices," says
Pirates of Penzance will run
April9 -11and 16-18 at8 p.m., and
April 11,12,18,19 at 2 p.m. at the
Mendelssohn. Tickets are $8.50,
$9.50, $10 and $11. Student seating
is only $5 . Call 761-7855 for more
- Roger Hsia

"Pimply singing style" would naturally result from adolescent pastimes such as Mega City 4's jungle gym habit.

This pirate, in a snazzy '20s suit, hasn't yet discovered the glory of Scope.
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