The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 21, 1996 -11A
poets take a captivating 'Visit to the Gallery'
Museum of Art is honored by an all-star group of local literary masters
By Dean Bakopoulos
Daily Arts Editor
There are certain times when one can't help but feel
proud to be a part of the Ann Arbor community, times
when the rich uniqueness of this place resounds with
cellence. Tuesday night at Rackham Amphitheatre's
Visit to the Gallery," was one of those times.
An all-star slate of the best local literary talent was
on hand for the event, which featured nearly 20
writers musing about their favorite works in the Mu-
seum of Art's permanent collection. But this was no
ordinary poetry reading; instead, it was a wonderfully
and carefully planned multimedia event.
On stage, the poets and prosers read their newly
created works to the capacity crowd; meanwhile, over-
head, images of the artwork about which they had
written were displayed via special slides andprojections.
Between each reading and artistic image, music played,
a vast variety of tunes ranging fromclassical sympho-
nies to the opening chords of the
Grateful Dead's "St. Stephen." The
images, sounds and words spun to-
gether to create a truly splendid
"Evening at Rackham," as thet
monthly lecture series is called.
The event itself was part of the Rackhanr
Museum of Art's 50th anniver-
sary celebration. Eventually, the
effort between the local writers
and the Museum will culminate in a book, "A Visit to
the Gallery," which will be published in January
1997. University English professor, acclaimed poet
and multimedia guru Richard Tillinghast, will serve
as the collection's editor.
The effort is much morethan anice way to commemo-
rate the Museum's 50th year. In fact, it is an important
and interesting look into some deep aesthetic issues.
How do different art forms relate? How can two artists,
working through different mediums and with two dis-
tinct visions, understand one another? How important is
artto us, and how do our own personal realities influence
the way we perceive the work of others?
Tuesday night, the local poets gathered at Rackham
explored issues like these, some of them in a light-
hearted mood and some of them assuming serious
tones. But above all, it was a chance for both audience
and artists alike to have some fun with art - and it
definitely seemed like that was the case.
It's almost unfairtopickhighlights from the evening,
because almost every second of the fluid event was a
delight to the eyes or ears. Conrad Hilberry, a sort of
elder statesmen among Michigan poets, delivered a
provocative poem about Egon Schiele's "Portrait of
Franz Hauer." And Charles Baxter's piece reflecting
on Whistler's "Sea and Rain" was, as expected, re-
strained and lyrical.
Novelist Nicholas Delbanco, one of the few writers to
contribute a prose piece, delivered a tenderly written
essay on Max Beckmann's "Begin the Beguine," which
closed with a phrase attributed to Beckmann: "I don't
A Visit to
March 19, 1996
analyze my paintings, nor should
Indeed, many writers shared
Delbanco's implicit desire to re-
flectratherthan analyze. Inhisusual
sharp, but vastly rich form, poet
Ken Mikolowski had only this to
say when it came his turn to read:
"You are what you art/that single
moment/the truth of the thing."
Beat the cold with some hot jazz tonight. }
Up and coming jazz artist David S. Ware (Homestead Records) will be appearing at
Alvin's in Detroit this Thursday, March 21. Ware's music is strongly rooted in the
tradition acoustic jazz world while still accomodating the loose textures of Trane's
second great quartet (Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison and Mcoy Tyner.) Those
looking for something old, something borrowed something new and something
blue are well advised to check this one out. Tickets are $10 in advance and
$12.50 at the door. Plus, there are two shows, on at 8 p.m. and one at 10 p.m.
For more information or directions call Alvin's at 313-832-2355.
University Prof. Thylias Moss was her usually
charming and captivating self, reading her poem
reflecting on John Philip's "The Highlander's Home."
Meanwhile, Keith Taylor, Shaman Drum Bookshop's
"poet-in-residence," delivered his musings on Joos
van Cleve's "St. John Evangelist on Patmos" in a
delicately straightforward, humorous and provoca-
tive poem entitled, "On the Easy Life of Sainthood."
In all, it was a night full of highlights, one that
celebrated the vast perceptions we have of the beauty
around us. Still, most writers chose not to get too
analytical, and all ofthem shied away from proclama-
tions. Rather, they danced with possibilities and per-
ception, and did something that too often becomes a
rarity in academic settings: They praised the sheer
enjoyment, exhilarating wonder and downright fun
which art can bring into our lives.
Ann Arborites can truly consider themselves lucky
to live in a community with an outstanding art mu-
seum and a top-notch cast of literary laborers. Like
poet Danny Rendleman read in his reflections of
Phillipe de Champaigne's "Christ Healing a Deaf-
Mute," March is the month "when baffled men lift
their hearts against harsh weather." On this cold,
windy and sleeting March evening, "A Visit to the
Gallery" was indeed enough to lift our hearts.
piversity English prof. Richard Tillinghast will edit
e book version of "A Visit to the Gallery."
Continued from Page 10
just take the time and make it right."
"For 10 points," DeAndre began as
we drove through what used to be
Brewster Projects, where Diana Ross
grew up, "can you tell me who her next
door neighbor is?"
The correct answer is William
"Smokey" Robinson. I guessed some-
one else, but I was wrong. DeAndre
understood, though, as I'm from At-
lanta. But many Detroit natives don't
know the stories and legends that sur-
round Detroit's former partnership with
Motown. He lamented this fact, "It's
nice to know my Detroit history be-
cause a lot of people here don't. I know
this place used to be off the hook, and I
want it to be off the hook again."
We continued our drive through some
of Detroit's worst projects constantly
avoiding the riddle of potholes. "Look
around. This is where a lot of bad ele-
ments come from and where a lot of
hopeless dreams reside. These are people
I intend to work with once I'm estab-
lished. I'm going straight to the projects.
There are the people who will work their
hardest; these are the motherfuckers who
ain't got shit to lose."
He is heart bent on helping the kids
there, if no one else. I see it in his eyes
as three pre-teen girls, learned in the
sordid nature of ghetto life, walk by.
"African American children need role
models, point blank," he said. "If it has
to be me then so be it."
Sadly, many people tend to see the
music business solely in terms of sing-
ers and musicians. If they aren't per-
formers, many, ignorant of the purely
business side of music production, feel
that the industry's corporate ladder
swings above their grasp. Realize that
DeAndre is by far not the only college
representative around. On the Univer-
sity campus alone, there are representa-
tives from Sony/Columbia, Virgin
Records and more.
College students comprise the greatest
music consumer group; as such, labels
are growing more and more competitiv#
in recruiting college dollars. DeAndre
began as an intern for PGD's Warren,
Mich, office, and he strongly encourages
others his age with an interest in the
business side ofmusic-orjust business
period - to follow in his footsteps.
As our interview came to a close and.
we hit 1-94, DeAndre took D'Angelo
out of the CD player and tuned his radio
to 97.9 FM. "You Will Know," the
uplifting theme song on the "Jason's,
Lyric" soundtrack from black men to
black men, began to play. DeAndre
perked up as this song has bears a spe.
cial significance to him. "Working on
this soundtrack was my first major
project. To get an award for being a
component of an effort which led to the
LP going platinum is a great feeling."
The return ride to Ann Arbor was vir-
tually silent save DeAndre's smart-alek
remarks toward the various bad drivers
around us. He did break the silence once
to thank me for interviewing him saying,
"I don't really expect to be recognized for
what I do. It's nice when someone sees
me as worthy of some recognition."
This is DeAndre's story, and it's still
unfolding. He has many future plans,
and only time will tell of his achieve-
ments. But, he doesn't expect to be
remembered - not by you, not by me.
And for reasons only he comprehends,
he seems to prefer it that way.
It's Great When You're
Straight ... Yeah
I never liked The Happy Mondays.
They sounded like a Fruitopia commer-
cial played through a Casio. Talk about
-being in the right place at the right
time... that was them. The place was
Manchester. The time was the late '80s.
The Stone Roses were the only truly
great band to emerge from the
"Madchester Scene," most likely be-
cause they spearheaded it. Everyone
se was balsa: The Charlatans, The
appy Mondays. Lightweights, all of
them. Unfortunately, five years down
the road, The Stone Roses' performance
isn't quite up to snuff. Only a few songs
prevented their so-called "Second Com-
ing" from practically becoming the
"Grease II" of rock music. But if you
want to talk about resurrections, let's
deal with Black Grape.
Formed by singer/songwriter Shaun
*yder and doer-of-precious- little-but-
shake-the-maracas, Bez- the two
Mondays not currently on the dole, on
the drip, etc.- and joined by rapper
Paul "Kermit" Leveridge, Black Grape
comibinte Northern English rock 'n'
rowwwl with dance beats, '70s Stones-
inspired raunch and funk more success-
fully than The Happy Mondays or even
The Stone Roses ever dreamed of (as-
sunigthe obvious: That "Fool'sGold"
as crap and The Roses' strength lay in
naffected sugar-pop songs).
Starting off the album with a scream,
bongos and a harmonica, "Reverend
Blac Grape" hits the listener's heart
like the crazed sermon of a Southern
Baptist soapbox preacher. First, Kermit
inquiring, "Can you feel the spirit of the
Lord?" and then Ryder sneering, "Oh
come all ye faithful, joyful and trium-
phant/Come gather'round while I blow
y own trumpet!" Slide guitar and wah-
ah flood the track like Ecstasy-imbib-
ers descending upon the Hacienda.
The soul food continues with "In the
Name Of The Father" as Kermit's vo-
cals turn dancehall and Emma Day belts
out the gospel chorus over a sitar riff.
Two songs into the album and we've
not seen many more innovative pop
culture-takes on spirituality since
George Harrison's initial solo efforts.
"Tramazi Party," "Submarine" and
"Shake Your Money" showcase a Roll-
ing Stones-derived influence absent in
The Happy Mondays records, to the ex-
tent that the second of these three songs
steals the chord progression for "Sympa-
thy For The Devil" while the third is such
an obvious nick of "Fool To Cry" that
Ryder can't resist singing a lewd rewrite
of the chorus as the song draws to a close.
The slower ballads, "Yeah Yeah
Brother," "A Big Day In The North" and
"Shake Well Before Opening" signal a
lull in the mad musical party that "It's
Great When You're Straight" succeeds
gloriously in being, but after the blister-
ing slide guitar intro of the uproarious
skeptic's song, "Kelly's Heroes," one
almost needs a breather.
Black Grape's Ryder and Bez have
come a long, long way from The Happy
Mondays. Their sound is stronger, more
solid and has a heavier groove. More
guitars. More listenable. They take the
best elements of funk, soul, rock and
roll but thankfully, leave out the most
frustrating staples of each respective
genre. And as far as the hype goes, this
time you can believe it.
- Thomas Crowley
10,000 Mona Lisas
Point: 10,000 Mona Lisas made mi-
nor waves recently with a brat-punk
cover version of Alanis Morisette's
smash hit single "You Oughta Know".
The cut got some radio play, and was
covered by MTV News.
Counterpoint: Does any band that
shamelessly calls attention to itself by
riding the wave of the current summer's
malternateen anthem, thus guarantee-
ing lots of airplay on novelty-hungry,
short-attention-span radio stations ev-
erywhere, deserve my respect?
Point: Sure, but "You Oughta Know"
was on their debut EP. This is their first
full-length disc, and showcases their
ability to write smart, melodic punk
songs instead of their ability to exploit
the whims of Joe Public, who mistak-
enly thinks "You Oughta Know" is the
greatest thing since Milli Vanilli.
Counterpoint: Wait a minute, where
are all these smart, melodic punk songs?
I mean, it's marginally original; and
vaguely melodic, but Bad Religion does
this sort of thing much better. I'd rather
support a band like BR, who made a
name for themselves through hard work
and talent, than some lame coattail-
riding flash-in-the-pans like 10,000 ---
what was their name again?
Point: Hey, aren't you dwelling on
this "You Oughta Know" thing a little
much? Maybe you should consider that
"New Disease" was produced by Geza
X, who's worked with punk icons like
Black Flag and The Germs.
Counterpoint: True. Unfortunately,
Black Flag and The Germs had talent
and credibility, whereas 10,000
whatchamacallits have a shrewd mar-
keting strategy. But hey, maybe I'll just
pick it up for that Alanis song. Maybe
my little sister will like it.
The Seventh Annual
"The Physician Of The Future"
Saturday, March 30
10:00am - 3:30pm
You'll find it at the Ann Arbor Hands-On
Museum, where young and old can explore
psychology in action. This one-of-a-kind
traveling exhibition features interactive exhibits
and experiments that are educational and
fun - for pre-schoolers through mature adults.'
It's an experience that will tease and please.
TH ROU6 H MAY 12
THE ANN ARBOR HANDS-ON MUSEUM
219 E. H URON " (31~3) 995-5439
T-F 10AM-5:30PM - SAT 10AM-5PM - SUN IPM-5PM
$4 ADULTS - $2.50 STUDENTS, SENIORS, CHILDREN
apiro Library Building
D:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
duplicate volumes from
the University Library
collection will be on sale.
Most of the items are