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October 24, 1996 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-24

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Mama, I Want to Sing
Eastside Productions presents the longest running black theater off-
Broadway show. Evelyn Collins directs this passionate story of a
woman's struggle on her way to international stardom. The show
begins at 8 p.m. at Washtenaw Community College, Morris Lawrence
Building. Tickets are $12. For more information, call 763-8587. The
production runs through Oct. 27.

October 24, 19969

STribe hip-hops into town with Fugees

By Brian M. Kemp
Daily Arts Writer
Even after this summer's unprece-
dented, yet very successful Smokin'
Grooves Tour and an amazing new
album, "Rhymes, Beats, and Life," A
Tribe Called Quest hasn't begun to slow
1 Once again, Q-
p the Abstract, PR
Phife-Dawg, and
All Shaheed
Muhammad have
packed up their
bags, turntables At EMU s Bowen Fie
and microphones
to start on a college tour. It may disap-
point you to hear that they are not grac-
ing our University with their presence,
lut fear not, because they are basically
performing in our backyard. This
Saturday night, A Tribe Called Quest
will take the stage with their cohorts,
the Fugees, at Bowen Field House on
Eastern Michigan's campus.
A Tribe Called Quest can be consid-
ered the hip-hop group with the Midas
touch, for every album they've put out
has become an instant classic. This is
astonishing because the style on their
irst album, "Peoples Instinctive Travels
Wnd the Pathways of Rhythm" (1990) is
not even noticeable on their newest
release just six years later.
A Tribe Called Quest's key to suc-
cess lies in the brotherhood of the
group. Although the two emcees, Q-tip


and Phife, often seem to occupy oppo-
site poles, somehow they balance out
their styles to come through with
rhyming of an unworldly nature. "Tip
and Ali do their things, Phife does his
thing. But, as Tribe Called Quest, we
do it together," Phife said in an inter-
view with The
Michigan Daily.
E V I E W Not surprising,
A Tribe Q-tip and Phife
have been together
3Iled Quest since they were 2
with the Fugees years old. They
Saturday at 8 p m. attended the same
fHouse. Tickets $25
schools, church,
and even played little league together. "I
started rhyming around fourth grade,"
Phife noted. He ended up going away
during high school, while Q-tip attend-
ed school in Manhattan with Ali
Shaheed Muhammad and the likes of
Brother J from X-Clan and the Jungle
Brothers. After four years, Phife was
reunited with Q-tip and All, and A Tribe
Called Quest was born.
It was at this time that a new style of
hip-hop was emerging from the Big
Apple. A Tribe Called Quest, the
Beatnuts, Black Sheep, De La Soul and
the Jungle Brothers were all compli-
menting each other's styles. This
spawned the creation of the Native
Tongue Family.
"The Native Tongues was just a
group of friends who liked hanging
around each other, and occasionally

working together. The record labels
blew it out of proportion back then,"
Phife said.
Whether it was blown out of propor-
tion or not, this set A Tribe Called Quest
into motion with "Peoples Instinctive
Travels ...", which combined house
party music with insightful lyrics. "A
lot of people say we were-ahead of our
time," Phife said.
One year later, they amazed the
record industry again with what was
coined "jazz-rap fusion" on "Low End
Theory." "It's a hip-hop classic in a lot
of people's eyes, which I am thankful
for," Phife said. This may be true, but
their 1993 release, "Midnight
Marauders," sold millions of copies
too. "A lot of people say that's their
favorite album. It's a toss up between
the two."
A Tribe Called Quest always lets the
past be the past and continues to evolve
and progress. "('Rhymes, Beats, and
Life') is way, way, way over a lot of peo-
ple's heads. There's a lot of teachings
going on," Phife said. This is partly due
to Q-tips acceptance of the Islamic
faith. Although Phife doesn't necessari-
ly accept all the ideas. He remarked, "I
can't condone the Muslim religion
because I've never really read into it."
One thing that he does respect about the
belief is its followers soundness of body
and mind. "Most Muslims I know are
very healthy people."
This change on "Rhymes, Beats, and

Life" might not be so accepted, as in the
past. The way Phife sees it, "People are
still checking for A Tribe Called Quest,
but some people aren't. ... This album
is ahead of their time. They need time to
catch up."Though Phife noted, "Tip and
Ali might see it differently."
Another big change on the new
album was the production crew. The
Ummah ("brotherhood" or "commu-
nity" in the Islamic religion) consist-
ing of Q-tip, Ali and J.D. from Detroit
produced "Rhymes, Beats, and Life."
J.D., of the local hip-hop group Slum
Village, was first noticed by his demo
tape that he gave Q-tip at the 1994
Lollapalooza show in Michigan.
Since then, J.D.'s beats have gained
much attention, and he produced the
latest Pharcyde and De La Soul
Phife has fond memories of that tour.
"It was definitely a different experi-
ence, but at the end it was a success," he
said. "I just couldn't get with some of
the things they were doing, like throw-
ing mud on stage and stuff like that. I
couldn't understand that one. But, that's
the way they do it."
As for the future of A Tribe Called A Tribe Called Quest's Phife (left), Q-Tip (top) and Ali Shaheed Muhammed.
Quest and hip-hop, Phife wasn't sure. "I -
don't hate hip-hop, but I don't love it Phife's sights are set on the sports with the Fugees this Saturday nig
right now. ... Hip-hop is 50 percent industry, especially in becoming a see what progressions are being
positive and 50 percent negative." broadcaster, and opening a sporting in the hip-hop scene. "We'll b
Although, Phife said he's sure he does- goods store. "I'm a big Michigan fan," this weekend. Just enjoy the shor
n't want to still be doing hip-hop when he said. it real. Don't drink and drive
he's 30. So go check out A Tribe Called Quest leave the mud at home.

ght, and"
g made
e there
w. Keep
e." And

Tharp! dances to Power Center

By Stephanie Glickman
Daily Arts Writer.
Tharp!, choreographer Twyla Tharp's
freshest company, invades Power
Center this weekend presenting three
new works. Tharp, the woman who got
ballet dancer Baryshnikov dancing in
tennis shoes, now brings to Ann Arbor a
group of 14
diverse, young
dancers to contin- PR
ue her tradition of
defiant, energetic,
modern dance. A Today t
rebel, innovator, At
artist, Tharp's
work has been
everything from minimalistic to motion
picture choreography.
Tharp literally dove into her 30-year
career as a modern dance choreogra-
pher with her 1965 piece, "Tank
Dive," in which, wearing a white cap,
fencing jacket and tights, jumped
from a set of steps, spun around a sub-
way pole and hurled her bodysspread
eagle onto the stage. This sort of
ground-breaking work has propelled
Tharp's career. Her pieces span all
mediums and possibiikies. She has
danced in silence, to Jelly Roll
Morton, Frank Sinatra, Mozart and
Chuck Berry.
Tharp's early works, born out of the
turbulent 1960's post-modern art scene,
question the boundaries of performance,
male authority and the making of "pret-
ty" dances. Tharp began choreograph-
ing just on herself and then for only a
few other women. Not until 1971 did

ny. She has worked with dance and film
greats, from dancing in Paul Taylor's
dance company to choreographing for
Milos Forman's 1978 film, "Hair."
Her newest grouping of works
draws musical inspiration bracing a
wide range of time, beginning with
"Sweet Fields," a piece set to tradi-

hrough Saturday at 8 p.m.
aturday matinee at 2 p.m.
Power Center, Tickets $5

tional American
choral music,
including selec-
tions of music by
the 18th century
c o m p o s e r,
William Billings.
Tunes in "Sweet
Fields" also draw

music, featuring works by Esquivel.
Completing the show, and in the spir-
it of a completely different musical
genre, "Heroes," is a symphonic ballet
composed by Philip Glass. Based on the
recording of the same name by David
Bowie and Brian Eno from the late
1970's, Glass strives to reintroduce the
innovations and avant-garde techniques
used in the original "Heroes," and com-
bines these with his own material.
Dance critic, Clive Barnes, has
described Tharp's vision as seeing
"choreography as an explosion of
movement, a sort of centrifugal shout
of joy that goes out and covers the
stage." While her three newest dances
alone will easily fill the Power Center
stage, Tharp's performance contribu-
tion to Ann Arbor extends further
than the three performances this
As part of a week long residency
here, Tharp, with the help of ballet mis-
tress, Shelley Washington, is recon-
See THARP, Page 10A

from the Shaker and Sacred Heart tra-
"66," also set to American music, is
a wander through kitsch-filled 20th
century Americana. An homage to the
popular highway that has carried trav-
elers and created adventures for
decades, Tharp creates the retro theme
of the piece with 1950's bachelor pad

'men pose in fronty of a road sign on the way to the Million Man March in Spike Lee's latest film, "Get on the Bus."
Bus highlights racial struggle

" t vY i one of my favorite direcitor$"
- Quentin Tarantino

By Kristin Long
Daily.Arts Writer
Once again, Spike Lee has created a film of the times. In
its latest venture, "Get on the Bus," the emotional and com-
plicated aspects of modern society are reflected in the tension
and enthusiasm of African American men on their way to
support their race.
The plot focuses on 20 men whose lives have converged on
a bus to Washington for the Million
Man March. They come from all walks.
of life, but are all bound by a common RI
goal. The clash in their personalities
make the story far from the standard 21 Get
cross-country tale. They have had no
*rior knowledge of each other, and the A
way their lives change through the
coUrse of a six-day trip from Southern
California to the nation's capital is amazing.
When the men initially "get on the bus, they bring extra
baggage from their home lives. They first encounter the dri-
ver George (Charles Dutton) whose stability keeps the riders
under control. He hesitantly welcomes Evan and his son
Junior (Thomas Jefferson Byrd and DeAundre Bonds) who
axe joined by handcuffs; a court order has linked the two
together because of Junior's delinquent habits. They undergo
uch criticism when their fellow riders attempt to judge the
orality of the situation.
The leader of the criticism is an older man whose only
rtotivation is to arrive in Washington to support his people.
Jeremiah (Ossie Davis) is the elder of the group whose wis-
dom and experience proves to be the bonding link among the
battered souls. His battle to reach the capital is the most
In the midst of one of Jeremiah's prayers, Flip, an arro-
gant actor (Andre Braugher), interrupts with a speech on
how the bus could hardly have left without him. His egotis-
*cal attitude is indicative of the diversity on the bus, and his
persona stimulates the tension that makes the film worth-
Although the bus is comprised of all men of the same eth-


nic origin, there is also much diversity. A fight between the
homosexual couple initiates much antagonism from fellow
travelers, especially the self-absorbed Flip. The couple's open
communication raises many eyebrows, but their overall rela-
tionship is extraneous and only deters from the point.
Flip also questions Gary's (Roger Smith) motives for mak-
ing the excursion, he is the only man of mixed background,
and the fact that he classifies himself as black despite his
white mother receives even more skepti-
cism. His need to conform to rules brings
E V I E W many of the underlying issues to light.
The other riders contribute additional
on the Bus character to the lifeline of the Spotted
*** k Owl. The Muslim, Jamal (Gabriel
State and Showcase Casseus), brings his values to the group,
who do not understand his lifestyle and
The characters are defined through the lens of a UCLA
student's video camera; Xavier's (Hill Harper) role is the
hope for the future. He only observes, but it's obvious that he
absorbs the different opinions. He asks everyone why they are
on the bus, and his questions reveal aspects that might have
been left misunderstood.
The diversity among the men alleviates the boredom that
might have developed from watching the trip. The major flaw,
however, is that the excursion tends to be a drawn-out tale of
human relations. The character conflicts do keep the plot
stimulating for the most part, but after an hour and a half of
watching the interactions, "Are we there yet?" begins to cross
our mind.
Despite the various conflicts, "Get on the Bus" has an over-
all mood of compassion and understanding. It reveals a less
extreme version of a rather complicated event. Lee manipu-
lates the camera perspectives to alter the mood, and as a
result, avoids the harsh tones that might limit audience appre-
ciation. He also does a remarkable job of avoiding the one-
sided perspectives of his previous films.
"Get on the Bus" deals with 20 men with one objective. It
is a story of struggle, but not of whining. Overall, the film
successfully highlights all sides of an important racial issue.
Ā® I

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