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March 10, 1995 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-10

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 10, 1995 - 9

Emo Philips' standup stands apart

By Brian A. Gnatt
Daily Arts Writer
The hilarious and very absurd co-
medic genius Emo Philips has been
cracking up and entertaining comedy
lovers for over a decade now, with his
isharp-witted and brilliant stand-up act.
"I just try to bring a little joy to
,people, that's all," Philips said in a
telephone interview from his home in
Chicago earlier this week. "I've always
,said, if you can make at least one person
M-laugh, you're already doing better than
F. Alan Thicke."
Famous for his absurd facial ex-
,pressions and ostrich-like movements,
:Philips' performances are almost as
-visually intensive as they are verbally
-charming. The comedian's puppy-dog
Keyes, Prince Valiant haircut and sweet
uchild-like voice help portray his inno-
cent and sincere persona. With his
;limbs flailing and jokes flying
throughout his act, Philips claims ev-
erything just comes out naturally."Un-
less I have an enema or something.
I've been lucky the past few weeks,"
Philips said.
Although Philips is concentrating
i on his stand-up act these days, his
credits include a butter-fingered shop
teacher in "Weird Al" Yankovic's
cult comedy "UHF," a crooked game
show contestant alongside Phil Collins
in an episode of "Miami Vice," nu-
merous cable specials, and an un-
countable number of appearances on
just about every late night talk show.

Recently, Philips has spent the
last two months in England working
on his one man theater production,
"An Evening With Macaulay Culkin."
"It shows me as Macaulay Culkin.
I do him as an older man, about the
year 2015, talking about his life. I've
always been a fan of his, ever since he
was born. And it's nice he finally got
famous, because otherwise, no one
EMO PHILIPS
When: Friday and Saturday,
8:30 and 10:30 p.m each
night.
Where: Mainstreet Comedy
Showcase
Tickets: $12
would know what I was going on
about."
While many comedians cite some-
thing in their childhood that drove
them into comedy, Philips had a hard
time putting his finger on that driving
force. "I was trying to look at my
childhood because people always ask
me if there was anything that made
me go into comedy," Philips said.
"Unless it's the time when my grand-
father was on his deathbed and my
mom said 'Try to make him laugh,
Emo,' and I tried to make him laugh,
and he died, and she said 'Because
you couldn't make him laugh, he's
dead now. You're a wicked, wicked,

wicked boy.' Apart from that, I can't
think of any instance in my childhood
that might have led me towards com-
edy."
Although he did attend college,
Emo never graduated because of ex-
tenuating circumstances. "College
was difficult for me," Philips admit-
ted. "I had to drop out suddenly be-
cause my Dungeons and Dragons
character was killed off. He was killed
by a dragon. The shame was too great."
When asked which college was it
was where the dragons killed Philips,
he replied "They pay me not to tell. It's
a good thing I came out of there now,
with all the politically correct kind of sh
-" as he caught himself. "The 1963
Peking mentality that they're so fond of
these days. If your say the wrong word,
you're sentenced to pick rice with your
teeth for two decades."
After years of stand-up perfor-
mances, Philips said that he has fi-
nally perfected his act. "I'm at the
height of my comedic powers now,"
Philips boasted. "People saw me in
the old days, and I still had some dead
spots in my act. But I've taken all
those dead spots out now, and it's just
six minutes of absolute dynamite."
In his quest to make this planet a
much friendlier place, Emo has be-
come somewhat of a vegetarian, but
for quite different reasons than most
people. "I don't eat beef at all," Philips
said. "I wouldn't eat any animal I
wouldn't have sex with. I think if

Comedy Showcase. How can you say no to a face like this?

(Go on, see Emo Philips at Mainstreet

everyone had that kind of attitude,
this would be a far better planet. I
think Gandhi was like that. Not the
Gandhi you know. Gus Gandhi. He
ran a restaurant by our house."
When he's not busy tickling his
audiences' funny bones, Emo enjoys
tinkering with things. "Sometimes I'll
buy a radio at the second hand shop,
and I'll take it apart," Philips said. "I
like taking things apart. Once I went
to an autopsy actually. You know,
they check your pockets when you

leave the morgue."
Born and raised in Chicago, Philips
is disturbed by the violence in that
city today. "I grew up in the hood," he
admitted. "It makes me cry to see
what has happened in the hood. I see
these teenagers are shooting people
for their running shoes. I think it's the
height of absurdity to kill another
human being for a pair of running
shoes that weren't fast enough for the
victim to escape in the first place."
The Chicago native also recalled

making a trip to Ann Arbor many
years ago. "Once when I was a kid,
my father took me to a game (at Michi-
gan Stadium). It was very cold,"
Philips said. "That's all I remember.
It was freezing. I remember thinking,
'Why am I here?"'
"I like baseball. When I was a kid,.
do you know what my nickname
was?" Philips asked. "Mr. Baseball."
And why was that? "I don't know. I
guess because the stitches in my face
maybe."

Chris Duarte has beginner's luck

Sinfonia in perfect harmony with University's theme
Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki will appear with cello soloist Allison Eldredge and the Warsaw
Sinfonia ensemble tomorrow night at 8 p.m. at Hill Auditorium. On the program are works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn
"and Penderecki.
i(nysztof Penderecki, along with his compatriot Witold Lutoslawski, represents a break with the romantic tradition
associated with Polish masters from the 19th century. By employing chromatic textures for strings or the voice, Penderecki's
Idiom is more abstract while still maintaining a Polish flavor In his music. Tomorrow night's concert marks a unique
opportunity to experience Penderecki conducting his own compositions.
This concert is part of the University's Copemicus Endowment's theme semester, "From Polonaise to Penderecki: Polish
Music at the University of Michigan." Maestro Penderecki will also be delivering the University's Annual Copemicus Lecture
tonight at 8 p.m. In the Rackham building. Tickets cost $16.$42, and student rush tickets will be available for nine dollars
today at the North Campus Commons from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday at the Union Ticket Office from 9 a.m. to noon.
Call 764-2538 for more Information.
- Nik Chawla

By David Cook
Daily Music Writer
To listen to Chris Duarte talk,
one would start to think that he is a
novice at the music scene. He likes
to describe himself at "being in the
infancy of this whole process" and
points out that "I have a lot of work
to go." Listen to him play, however,
and it becomes obvious that he isn't
quite the beginner he makes himself
out to be. His playing will be on
display Saturday at the Michigan
Theater, and chances are good that
he will contradict most of his self-
deprecating statements when he
opens for guitar legend Buddy Guy;
Duarte has the talent to move the
audience as much as Guy will, if not
steal the show from him altogether.
It is obvious that Chris Duarte
loves what he is doing - nobody
could pull off a tour like he is in the
middle of if music wasn't the most
important thing in his life. Armed
with an itinerary that reads like a
guide to North America (from Wash-
ington state to New Hampshire,
Oklahoma to Quebec), he has set off
with the intention of always im-
proving his playing and constantly
searching for a higher musical level.
This is often at the expense of com-
mon sense and good old fashioned
sleep; at the beginning of his cur-
rent tour, his trio played 27 days in
a row. To hear him tell it, however,
this was not a problem at all. "I do it
because I like to play; I want to try
and create every night," said Duarte
by phone Tuesday. "I want to try
some new ideas I've worked on ev-
ery night. Every night we go out, I
try to play harder and better than I
did the night before. That's how
I've gotten better."
Duarte's debut album, "Texas
Sugar/Strat Magik" was released last
PRINTING
HIGH QUA UTY
WW"'RICES

year, and the concept of playing
hard is evident in each and every
song. With a playing style that is
rooted deep in the tradition of Stevie
Ray Vaughn but that extends to all
different kinds of influences, Duarte
is as quick to mention players like
CHRIS DUARTE
When:Saturday at 8p.m.
Where:Michigan Theater
Tickets: $15 and $20
Advance tickets available at
Schoolkids' Records.
John McLaughlin and Al Dimeola
as he is to talk about Vaughn. At
times, "Strat Magik" sounds almost
too much like Vaughn's work, but
look for Duarte to move away from
the styles of the artists he listens to
into his own, more personal style
with each subsequent album. By
Duarte's own admission, don't lis-
ten to "Strat Magik" if you are ex-
pecting to hear his best work. He
describes his first effort as an accu-
rate representation of what he has
been playing lately, but says, "It's
an okay album - I'm not extremely
happy with it. But I'm never happy
with anything."

Even though he genuinely means
what he says, try not to buy into
Duarte's "infancy of the whole pro-
cess" routine. Touring with long-
time friend and bassist John Jordan
and new drummer Barry Smith,
Duarte is garnering critical praise
and a growing fan base day by day
with each date he plays. In the mean-
time, he tries to keep things in per-
spective. "Music comes first in this
band, and that's why we're here -
because we are playing music. We're
not here to give ourselves a vaca-
tion, or to 'pick up chicks,' or to
party; that's not our thing. We are
here to play music, and that's what
moves us. That's why we can do 27,
28 dates in a row." Is he ready to
assume the spot vacated by the de-
parted Stevie Ray Vaughn? Or that
of the legend he is opening for?
Maybe not yet, but Chris Duarte is a
work in progress that could demand
your ear for years to come.
READ DAILY
ARTS
WRITE DAILY
ARTS

r

DANCE WEAR SALE

The Harmonettes masterfully mix

By Matthew Steinhauser Erin Kelly, student leader
For the Daily Harmonettes, agreed that gaini
For the last 15 years, roughly 10 stu- ognition from their fellow stud
dentmembersoftheUniversityWomen's hard "only because we are stude
GleeClubhaveunitedtheirsingingvoices so we are the only people pro
in the a cappella group known as the ourselves."
Harmonettes. After four to five hours of Of course, a splendid, polish
weekly practice and numerous perfor-
mances with the Glee Club, the
Harmonettes also manage to organize,
produce and sing their own brand of fun. E HARMONET
As an entirely student-run group, When:Saturday at E
the Harmonettes must coordinate all Where: The U Club is
business, management and musical as- Michigan L
pects before hitting the stage. They Tickets: $6; can be purch
sacrifice many hours promoting their from members or at the
concerts, selling tickets, arranging mu-
sic and practicing. formance is the best way to ga
Afteronly 15 years in existence, the audience's approval, an
Harmonettes strive for recognition, fac- Harmonettes seek to impress wit
ing a constant struggle against com- tiful sounds and a dynamic pr
parisons withvariousothercampus sing- They arrange most of their own
ing groups. "A lot of the time different drawing from different eras and
groups on campus are compared. It's "A member of the group will
hard to compare the groups because the that there's a song that they really
musical aspects aredifferent,"remarked that they think would be a good
Harmonette RachelErmann. "Also, the for us," Ermann explained. "'T
Harmonettes are a fairly new group, so ten to the music - the backu
we don't have the exposure that some piano, the guitar - and try to ins
groups have, but I think it's growing." rate that into something vocal."
The Sixth Annual

of the
ng rec-
dents is
ent-run
moting
ed per-

music and fun
Without any males to provide deeper
volumes, the Harmonettes occasion-
ally have trouble adapting the bass lines
in songs to theirhigher feminine ranges.
"Sometimes its hard to get the depth
that male voices add to a choir," said
Kelly. "But we're all cute,"she laughed.
The product of The Harmonettes'
toils is "a whole range of (music)," said
Ermann. "We have a couple of jazzy-
type pieces, we have a couple of cute
pieces, and we have a few more popular
pieces from the '70s and '80s." So this
Saturday evening at the U Club when
the Harmonettes unveil the fruits of
their labor at their annual Spring Con-
cert, don't expect them to sing somber
profundities. They won't perform ren-
ditions ofHandel's Messiah or Mozart's
requiem.
The Harmonettes sing "fun mu-
sic," revealed Kelly. "It's definitely
for entertainment and for our own
enjoyment.''

I

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An opera about eternal love, or so it seems .. .

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ARE WE REALLY LIKE THAT?

:a:
Ki .,N

By
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sung in Italian F
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