The Michigan Daily
Wednesday, November 11, 1992
Lester plays again
OyamO jazzily profiles
by Carina A. Bacon
A seedy New York hotel room is the scene.
Background music by inspiring and famous
jazz artists plays while we are transported into
the mind of a dying man as he reflects back on
his life. Whether you are in avid jazz follower
or not, the upcoming performance of "The
Resurrection of Lady Lester," a poetic mood
song based on the legend of jazz artist Lester
Young, is sure to give you a little history of the
time, era, and dance of the early 20th century.
Worried about having very little lknowledge
of jazz? There's no need to be. "You don't
have to understand anything about jazz in
order to enjoy the play," said U-M professor
and playwright OyamO. "It's really a play
about people trying to create in the first half of
The name of the play, ironically, is not
making any reference to a woman. "(Young)
believed that a 'lady' was the most
sophisticated, graceful, beautiful, most
spiritual quality in the world," remarked
OyamO. "So, if there was a musician who
could, in a sense, touch God ... through his
music or her music, that person became a lady.
So, when I wrote the play, I decided to call him
After becoming interested in Lester Young
through the influence of a classmate at Yale
musical great Young
University, OyanO attempted to create a play
based on this jazz legend's life. Finding
information about Young was difficult at the
time; there were some reviews, record jackets,
and one chapter in a book, but nonetheless, this
man's uniqueness pulled at OyamO's soul.
"He (Young) thought that his art was very
important, and it was the thing that motivated
his life. He expressed how he felt, and he was
not afraid to create music that he wanted to
create," he said. Growing up in the early 20th
century, racism was a touchy subject for
Young. He had an absolute hatred for it, and
on many occasions he was hurt by it.
"Yet, at the same time, he embraced the
music of all cultures," commented OyamO.
Famous white musicians like Frank Sinatra and
Frank Trunbauer were great influences on
Young's music. "For him, music was a healing
force ... Whoever could touch that force
through the music - that was a good person,
and he just didn't give a damn what color you
As OyamO attempted to write this play; he
had to take what he knew of Young's
personality into account. Young had a
tendency to make up words ('hat' stood for a
woman) that were also unique. "I coulqn't
possibly write a straight play about this guy,"
See LESTER, Page 8
Lester Young (Charles Jackson) and Billie Holiday (Elise Bryant) have a smoke as they share an aching, penetrating, longing look .
Pro-Pain shows their dose of reality
Lark!'What goes there?
Expand your mind with yet
another wacky Performance
Network thang, "The Song of the
Lark." Billed as "Our Town"
meets "Portrait of the Artist as a
Young Man" in a musical, it stars
the ubiquitous Whitley Setrakian.
Shows are Thursday through
Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at
2 p.m. Tickets are $10, $8 for
students. Call 663-0681.
Nostalgia update: Night Ranger
plays that favorite venue for has-
been bands, Harpo's. If we got
pumped up about these things, we
would undoubtedly, well, er, try
and find something else to do.
What's your pointill?
You know, we haven't
mentioned it for a while, but the
ArtVideos at Noon are still going
on at the Museum of Art, and we
insist that you go see the survey of
the life and work of Georges
Seurat - you know, the creator of
pointillism. Call 747-0521.
Campus Orchestra does
a dreamy program
by Josh Snyder
Monday night, the, University
Campus Orchestra walked onto the
stage at Hill Auditorium looking
very sophisticated. This was a
reflection of both their program and
their style of performance. The
program was like a musical Dream
Team - Tchaikovsky, Wagner,
Mozart, and Copland. The scene was
set for a wonderful display of talent,
and the themes for the night were
contrast, breadth, and diversity.
Indeed, very little seemed to go
wrong. One or two squeaks and
November 9, 1992
some bows that were out of sync, but
* no catastrophes. The most impres-
sive thing was the broad and effec-
tive use of dynamics and rhythm.
The orchestra was able to be ex-
tremely powerful on pieces like
"Marche Slave" and "Hoe-Down."
At the same time, Prelude to Act I of
"Lohengrin" were soft and subdued,
providing a nice contrast.
Ricardo Averbach did a mar-
velous job conducting. His gestures
added to the power of the music. His
abrupt baton movements emphasized
the staccato. And yet he, like his Or-
chestra, was able to switch gears,
and go immediately into a quiet
The program was arranged quite
well. The middle two pieces allowed
the strings to sing the melody. In
fact, one forth of the Orchestra,
mainly winds, brass, and percussion,
left after the first piece to return for
the last because their parts were not
needed. The Copland was especially
diverse with the use of instruments.
Piano, harp, xylophone, and triangle
all had their fifteen minutes of fame.
The counterpoint here was also very
The crowd was very responsive.
Audiences, and performers too, I
suspect by the enthusiasm of play,
enjoy music they recognize. This
was a delightful concert for those of
us whose only source of classical
music is cartoons and TV commner-
cials - one of the movements of
Copland is excerpted in a Visa
by Kristen Knudsen
Let's begin with the most obvi-
ous question: what kind of name is
Pro-Pain? Well, it has nothing to do
with that stuff you put in your car.
It's also not meant to promote pain
infliction. No, Pro-Pain is a new
thrash/hardcore band out of New
York City, and, for them, the name
has a more philosophical meaning.
According to singer/bassist/lyri-
cist Gary Meskil, the name of the
band - which also includes drum-
mer Dan Richardson and guitarist
Tom Klimchuck - is just a "dose of
reality," away of describing the
"da ily grind" of life.
This daily grind is homelessness,
drugs, violence, and political hypo-
crisy - topics which are discussed
in greater detail on the band's debut
album, "Foul Taste of Freedom."
But be prepared: Meskil's view of
the country is grimly realistic, at
"You know, if you don't fix
something," he explained, "it just
gets worse and worse, and that's re-
ally what happened to the country.
There's very few people that are liv-
ing the life that they want to live."
"Foul Taste of Freedom" outlines
Pro-Pain's view that democracy as
we know it is a sham with intense,
headbanging songs. The need for
education is made vivid on "Lesson
Learned," drugs and violence are
cursed on "Pound for Pound" and
the extreme misery of homelessness
is illustrated on "Stench of Piss."
The images aren't pleasant but, said
Meskil, "I think it's a pretty realistic
feel of what's happening, as tfar as
the lyrics are concerned."
To Meskil, satire is important
too, and he hopes that his lyrics
aren't seen as overly negative. "It's
music, also, so I try to make some of
the things a little more lighthearted."
The song "Picture This," for exam-
ple, is a clever vehicle for making
you think about why one guy can
have a maid, while another doesn't
have a home.
The political statements Pro-Pain
makes are a way of life for them,
and it bothers Meskil that so many
bands ale now walking on political
ground. "A lot of people are singing
about the same thing, to the point of
where it's almost become cliche, in a
lot of ways,"he said.
It seems that Pro-Pain has been
thinking about societal problems for
a long time. "This is a style that I
haven't thought up overnight or
anything. I've been writing this kind
of stuff for like the past ten years,"
Meskil clarified. "I think as far as
the material goes, everything's
pretty genuine. It's not like we're
jumping on any sort of bandwagon
and writing real political stuff just
for the sake of doing it because ev-
erybody else is doing it."
Pro-Pain's messages are honest
and realistic, but they don't offer any
concrete solutions. "It's taken a long
time to g;et ourselves into the mess
we're in, and it's going to take a
long time to get out of it."
It looks like Clinton's got his
PRO-PAIN will appear with TES-
TAMENT and lD.R.I. this Friday at
Harpo 's. Tickets are $10 at Ticket-
master or at the door. Doors opem at
Gary Meskil, Tom Klimchuck and Dan Richardson show how serious they are about change - and goatees.
AIR FORCE ROTC UNITS
FILLEO TO CAPACITY
Don't believe everything you hear.
The Air Force continues to seek
outstanding students to fill future
officer requirements. See yourself
becoming a leader, graduating
from college as an Air Force
officer with fully developed
qualities of character and
managerial ability. Notice, too,
the opnortunities. Like eligibility
The University of Michigan
School of Social Work
the Thirteenth Annual
Leon and Josephine Winkelman Memorial Lecture
UNDERSTANDING CREATIVE POTENTIAL IN LATER LIFE:
IMPACT ON RESEARCH, PRACTICE, AND POLICY
Gene D. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D.
' National Institute on Aging
The Office of International Programs
INFORMATION MEETING FOR ALL STUDENTS INTERESTED IN STUDY
ACADEMIC YEAR IN AIX-EN-PROVENCE, FRANCE
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9, AT 5:00 ROOM 2440 MASON HALL
The Aix-en-Provence program offers the opportunity to take regular classes in the French university system. A
variety of housing Is offered including apartment, homestays, and dorms.
SUMMER LANGUAGE PROGRAM IN SALAMANCA, SPAIN
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10 AT 5:00 ROOM 2440 MASON HALL
Students may study any level of Spanish language. Housing will be with families or in residencias.
SUMMER LANGUAGE PROGRAM IN SAINT-MALO, FRANCE
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11 AT 5:00 ROOM 2440 MASON HALL
Students will live with families while studying either French 232, 361, or 362. Students will also take a 2 credit