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March 19, 1996 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-03-19

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abe Sitditwu D130g

Catch the 'Night Train'
The continuing Polish film series w illh be presenting director Jerzy
Kawalerowicz's classic 1959 film, "Night Train,. tonight at the Natural
Science auditorium. The movie, about a group of pilgrims on a train to a
seaside resort, is the latest installment in the series celebrating post-
war Polish cinema. Tonight's screening is at 7:30. The festival runs
through March 29.

Tuesday
March 19, 1996

5

4ew talent keeps Alvin Ailey Dance Theater's dreams alive
World-famous troupe arrives for a week at Power Center

By Orit Greenberg
For the Daily
"The dance is for everybody," Alvin Ailey once said. "The
dance came from the people. It should always be given back
to the people."
Today, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will
begin its four-day residency in Ann Arbor. In conjunction
th the company's performances at the Power Center, the
Iiversity Musical Society is hosting several activities
throughout the week focusing on African American music
and dance.
Founded in 1958 by the late Alvin Ailey, the company has
grown to become one of the most acclaimed international
ambassadors of American culture. Based in New York City,
the company has
THE ALVIN AILEY N.* toured to 67 coun-
A E CAtries and has per-
formed for an esti-
ANCE THEATER mated 18 million
Where: Power Center people. Now in its
When: Tonight at 7 o'clock. 36thseason, the31-
Wednesday, Thursday and member company
Friday at 8 p.m. is in the middle ofa
Alt tickets are sold out. lengthytour, which
ends in May.
Judith Jamison, whojoined the troupe in 1965, has been its
artistic director since 1989 - the year Alvin Ailey died.
Guillermo Asca, a company member who received his
training at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, com-
mented in a recent telephone interview, "When Alvin Ailey
Suld walk into the room it would just be magic, and (Judith
amison) creates that same magic."
On the bill for Wednesday and Friday night's perfor-

mance is Jamison's new ballet, "Riverside." '"Riverside'
talks about what people do around the river, the rituals, the
courtships and the friendships. It is a mixture of modern
dance, with the lines and agility of classical ballet, mixed in
with the earthiness and strength of African dance, and also
popular dance," Asca said. Although the seven sections are
"different from one another they are all tied in with the
music." The score is composed by Kimati Dinizulu, who
used traditional African, Southern and Caribbean instru-
ments.
"Fandango" is featured on the same nights and is choreo-
graphed by Lar Lubovitch, who also choreographed the
Broadway musical "The Red Shoes." As Asca described,
"'Fandango' is a duet; the music is 'Bolero' and the move-
ment is pure seduction!"
Of course, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater could
not leave town without performing its signature piece "Rev-
elations." Inspired by his "blood memories" of Texas, the
blues, spirituals and gospel, Alvin Ailey choreographed the
piece in 1960. Set to traditional Negro spirituals, "Revela-
tions" is a concerto for the hips. The dance is full of pulsating
rhythms, fluid torsos, active hips and traditional African
dance movement.
"It is phenomenal the way it is received everywhere .
they are just as wild about it in New York as they are in
Munich and Spoleto ... even though they may not understand
the words," Asca said. He credits the ballet's popularity to
the way the piece "is not congested with so much move-
ment," but portrays complex emotion using a simple lan-
guage.
"It seemed so complex the first time I saw it, yet dancing
it is so simple ... every time you do it there is a new
meaning."

Melancholy
Bl ossoms

Members of the Alvin Alley American Dance Theater perform. The celebrated company will be in Ann Arbor, playing four sold-
out shows at the Power Center through Friday evening.
Canadian rockers beat the odds

ake it on
thle road
By Brian A. Gnatt
Daily Music Editor
Nine years and 2.5-million records
#er they began playing smoky, beer-
shed clubs in their hometown of
Tempe, Ariz., the Gin Blossoms have
done what very few bands ever do -
they made it.
With their quickly expanding plati-
num song book including their smash
hits "Hey Jealousy," "Found Out About
You," "Until I Fall Away," "Allison
Road,""Till I Hear It From You," and
the latest edition, "Follow You Down,"
S Gin Blossoms' journey to the top
s been nothing short of the wildest
roller coaster ride on Earth.
"I don't think it's probably as excit-
ing as it used to be, like the first couple
times you see the country. It's a little
different," said Gin Blossoms' bassist
Bill Leen. "We're veterans at this now."
Veterans of the road and of the re-
cording studio, the Gin Blossoms' sec-
ond full-length album, "Congratulations
I'm Sorry," hit shelves last month. With
gther potent batch of the Blossoms'
lovable pop tunes, the album proved the
band is much more than your typical
'90s one-hit-wonder.
On the road again, Gin Blossom Leen
had a chance to chat last week about the
band, the new album and how the tour
has been going. "It's different now," he
said in a telephone interview. "Now
we're popular. There's a certain excite-
nt of being the underdog, the un-
Uwn, the opener on a bill when no-
body knows who you are, and there's
the possibility of maybe topping the
headliner. I'm probably not as excited
about it as I was. I'll tell you it was a.
great feeling though to get this new
record out."
Made up of Leen, Robin Wilson (vo-
cals), Jesse Valenzuela (guitar), Scott
Johnson (guitar) and Philip Rhodes
(drums), the Gin Blossoms' sweet songs
ost love and other depressing topics
lrake their music and lyrics accessible
and nothing short of loved by fans of all
ages and musical tastes.
Despite all the sad songs, are the Gin
Blossoms really such a sad bunch of
people? "I guess," Leen responded. "I
guess if you were hanging around us
you would probably just break down
after a while. As far as subject matter
jes for the song lyrics, that's where
9 find inspiration. I think it would be
really hard for me personally to sit
down here and try to write something
about how everything is so wonderful.
Maybe it's because we like to just keep
our asses covered; maybe a little super-
stitious or something."
. rnn, the trademared iangivguitar

The Gin Blossoms perform tonight at the Michigan Theater.

$IN BLOSSOMS
WITH 'tE ODDS &
3 DAY WHEELY
Where: Michigan Theater
When: Tonight at 7:30.
The show is currently sold out,
but more tickets are scheduled
to be released for $18.50 each.
"Congratulations I'm Sorry" was diffi-
cult to make, but well worth the effort.
"This time it was real open to any sort
of suggestions or contributions from
everybody in the group, and it was
never like that before," he said. "The
first one was basically our greatest hits
from a few years of being a bar band
back home. All these songs were cre-
ated specifically for a record that was
due out on a certain date, so it was a lot
different."
Leen said the rather peculiar title of
the record has to do with the circum-
stances that surrounded the band after
they hit big with their double-platinum
debut, "New Miserable Experience."
The Gin Blossoms' original guitar-
ist, Doug Hopkins, who wrote the
group's first two hits, "Hey Jealousy"
and "Found Out About You," was fired
from the band at the end of recording
the first album because of an alcohol
addiction. When the record began
sweeping the charts in late-1993, the
alcoholism and depression overcame
Hopkins, and he committed suicide in
December of that year.
"Our first record was successful, and
a lot of people - friends, fans of the

group - congratulated us on it. And
everything that went down with Doug
... people would come up and say:
'Congratulations,' and then right after-
wards, almost as a disclaimer, say:'I'm
Sorry.' It was literally how people would
greet us. I guess now it's back to 'Con-
gratulations,' which is nice," Leen said.
"What happened with Doug is much
more serious than any sort of success
you could have," he continued. "Per-
sonally, I took it really hard, and it
definitely wasn't a party. He was fired
pretty much the last day we were in
Memphis, right after we had completed
the album. He really just couldn't go on
with it.... It was just a terrible situation.
... We try to just distance ourselves
from that. We have a lot to prove.
There's a lot of people who seriously
doubted we could pull anything off
without him.
But the Gin Blossoms proved they
could continue without Hopkins when
they returned to Memphis in August
1995 to record "Congratulations I'm
Sorry" with producer John Hampton,
who also produced "New Miserable
Experience."
"The success that we have achieved
is fine with me. It's very livable,"
Leen said. "We don't have any de-
sires to become twice as popular or
anything. It would be nice to break
into Europe a little more, but as far as
the States go, I think we're all just
content being a platinum or double
platinum act. You don't have to sell
10 of them. I don't know what the
pressure would be like after doing
something like that."

By Brian A. Gnatt
Daily Music Editor
Before the Gin Blossoms take the
stage tonight at the Michigan Theater,
be sure to check out show openers, the
Odds. One of Canada's hottest bands,
this pop/rock sensation combines their
beautiful melodies with enough hooks
to catch a dead fish.
Nominated for four Juno Awards (the
Canadian Grammys), the band's third
LP, "Good Weird Feeling," throws 13
great addictive tracks together for a fun
and quite impressive record. The first
single, "Truth Untold," kicks off the
album with delectable harmonies and
fuzzy guitar riffs that may very well
help the band explode Stateside.
Others like the Matthew Sweet-
sounding "I Would Be Your Man" and
the rocking "Eat My Brain" showcase
the band's technical and songwriting
talents. The songs even top the band's
big U.S. hit "Heterosexual Man."
The Odds have been opening for the
Gin Blossoms on their recent college
tour. This group is a perfect comple-
ment to the headliner's irresistible pop
melodies. Odds' vocalist/guitarist Craig
Northey said the bands' pairing was no
coincidence. "We met before either of
us had record deals," Northey said in a
telephone interview with The Michi-
gan Daily. "We met in Los Angeles
through a friend and did some shows
together back then, and maintained our
friendship."
Whilethey'rejustgettingoffthe ground
in the United States, the Vancouver-based

band has been very busy in their native
homeland. Since forming in 1987, the
band has been nominated for 14 Juno
Awards in all, and they've had three very
successful albums, including 1991's
"Neopolitan" and 1993's "Bedbugs."
"Good Weird Feeling" was released
in the United States only a few weeks
ago. but it was released a year ago in
Canada and has since gone platinum.
Northey said he recently completed
the underscore for the forthcoming
"Kids In the Hall" film due out in April.
The full band also contributed two tracks
to the movie's soundtrack.
For now, the band is hoping the open-
ing slot on the Gin Blossoms' tour will
help it get a little attention south of the

Canadian border.
Northey said being popular in Canada
"used to be .a stigma. I think that's
changed a lot. There's a lot of genre-
breaking artists like k.d. lang and Cow-
boy Junkies, and around the late '80s
and early '90s era, things broke the
Canadian stereotype."
While Canadian-born alterna-queen
Alanis Morissette was able to break big
across national borders, there are few acts
who have been able to transcend the bor-
ders of the Great White North. "She's
huge," Northey said. "Anything that's
huge here is huge everywhere else, pretty
much. Mickey Mouse is universally
known. But I don't think Mickey would
go down on you in a theater."

The Odds emerge from the Great White North to join the Gin Blossoms on tour.

U U

Syin

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