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December 08, 1997 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-12-08

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t~1w Sic~igwn i~tig

'Afln' resurrected
Catch a special free screening at the Michigan Theater of the sci-fi
classic that started it all -- "Alien." Directed by Ridley Scott and
starring Sigourney Weaver, the film lauched many careers and
spurred many imitators. The screening begins at 6:30 and is open
exclusively to students - admission will not be granted without stu-
dent ID. In space, and at the Michigan, no one can hear you scream.

Monday
December 8, 1997

Thish phunks
out Palace crowd

'Ida"s slow plot, dull
music fail to captivate

By Rob Mitchum
IDaily Arts Writer
Allow me to introduce myself. I am
*Phish snob. In the two years since I
first experienced these four guys from
Vermont, I have obsessed over every
facet of their careers. I collect tape after
tape of past con- _ ___
certs, memorize the
setlists, analyze
their jams and i
attend as many
shows as financial- The Palac
possible each
ur. Because of
this knowledge, I can be harshly critical
of a Phish performance, to the point
where something as trivial as mediocre
song selection will decrease my enjoy-
ment of the show. Thus, I am a Phish
snob, and I'm hard to please.
Behind me sit five large guys in base-
ball caps and tight t-shirts, intoxicated
from a variety of substances. "So, do
these guys dance or anything?" asks
e of them, unaware that Phish usual-
Ty shows about as much emotion as four
cardboard cutouts on stage, preferring
to let the music provide the action. "I
hope they play 'Bouncin' Around the
Room' tonight, man. That would be
awesome!" These guys haven't seen a
Phish show before, and they've come to
hear the few Phish songs that are well-
known enough to qualify as "hits," not
to see long, complicated improvisation-
jams.
This is the dilemma that Phish has
had to face every show since it moved
into larger arenas and ampitheatres. In
an audience split between elitist obses-
sives like myself and the casual fans
behind me, it would seem impossible
fdr the band to send everyone home

eU

happy. But Saturday night at the Palace
in Auburn Hills, Phish was up to the
task, providing a show that left not one
fan in the arena unfulfilled.
Right off the bat, Phish provided an
example of its completely unique sound
with the opener, "Golgi Apparatus." The
song, like most in
E V I E W the band's catalog,
is a train-wreck of
Phish different musical
styles, alternating
of Auburn Hiils between hyper ska
Dec. 6. 1997 chording, arena
rock dynamics and
intricately composed solos, all beneath
Phish's trademark nonsensical lyrics.
The crowd wasted no time in becoming
a gigantic, jiggling mass of dancers,
moving in the light of a hundred joints
simultaneously being lit.
Phish fed off of this energy, moving
swiftly into an unusually early version
of the traditional set closer "Run Like
an Antelope,' which gave the band its
first platform for launching into impro-
visation. Guitarist Trey Anastasio led a
10-minute jam session in the middle of
the song, using a variety of pedals and
soloing techniques to add atmosphere.
"Bathtub Gin" also featured an
extended jam, this time built upon the
spiraling riffs of Anastasio. As the band
effortlessly soared through the jam, the
incredible light show put on by crew
member Chris Kuroda perfectly com-
plemented and sometimes even seemed
to play an active role in the improvisa-
tion. The almost psychic communica-
tion between the members of Phish was
also seen as they suddenly turned the
jam on a dime into a darker groove,
from which the song "Foam" slowly
segued.

The members of Phish recline in fine style in their luxurious touring van.

"Foam," a track from Phish's first
album, "Junta," shifted the spotlight
from Anastasio to the melodious bass
lines of Mike Gordon and the fiery key-
board work of Page McConnell.,
Drummer Jon Fishman also laid down a
seemingly impossible beat, all four of
his limbs keeping perfect time through
the many twists and turns of the song,
The rest of the band's first set turned
away from the strong improv of the first
five songs. What followed was a run of
songs aimed specifically at my inexperi-
enced friends behind me: songs such as
"Sample in a Jar" and "Fee" to which
they could pump their fists and sing
along. Here, Phish showed its ability to
write a pop song that could be consumed
by the general public, but in doing so
sacrificed the eccentricity and talent that
separates the band from the pack.
As the set closed with the sing-along
anthem "Cavern" (you haven't lived
until you've heard 17,000 people
singing phrases like "serpent deflector"
and "viral dissector"), the difference in
opinion among the crowd was obvious.
As the group of guys behind me

exchanged high-fives, I wondered
whether I was becoming too jaded to
fully enjoy a Phish concert. When one
of the guys exclaimed "That set rocked
because I knew all the songs!", I won-
dered wlhy the band wasn't experiment-
ing more and playing more rarities.
Where was the sense of adventure that
had made ne so excited at other Phish
shows?
But soon after the second set began,
every ounce of disappointment I had
experienced in the first set evaporated.
The band opened with "Tweezer," a
song that has been known to reach
lengths of more than 30 minutes in the
past. But this version took a completely
different direction than had ever been
heard. As the band moved into the jam
section, Anastasio positioned himself
on his wah pedal and proceeded to lead
the band into a deep funk jam. Gordon's
bass led the way with some of the most
danceable grooves this side of Bootsy
Collins.
As the intensity grew higher and
higher, Anastasio left the wah and let
See PHISH, Page 8A

By Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud
Daily Arts Writer
Gilbert and Sullivan operettas are an
acquired taste. For those who like
chipper and perky characters dancing
and singing ludicrously, the Gilbert
and Sullivan Society's production of
"Princess Ida"
could have been
just what the doc-
tor ordered.
What is unfortu-
nate, however, is Mend
that most of the
players in
"Princess Ida" give'flat and uninspir-
ing performances.
Princess Ida (Andrea Leap), the title
character, was married to Prince
1-lilarion (Gerald Aben) when just a
babe. Now, Ida runs a fortified
women's college and teaches her
novices to hate men. Hilarion wants to
marry his betrothed, but she never
shows up for the wedding. So off he
sets, with his companions Cyril (Mitch
Gillet) and Florian (Peter Christian), to
woo the unfriendly princess.
Arriving at the fortress, the three
jolly men enlist the aid of Lady Psyche
(Tricia Klapthor), Melissa (Amy
Spencer), and Lady Blanche (Lisa
Wirtz). King lildebrande (Robert
Sherrane), Hilarion's father, is keeping
Ida's father King Gama (David Zinn)
prisoner until she consents to marry his
son.
Many attempts are made at laughter
but the production often falls short of
funny. One of the few entertaining and
amusing scenes occurs when the three
suitors dress in drag to fit in at the
school. A whimsical dance scene
ensues, which can actually claim the
honor of holding the audience's atten-
tion.
Craziness and zaniness ensue as the
women are pitched in a battle against
the men. What audiences want out of a
Gilbert and Sullivan production are the
many songs that intersperse the musi-
cal, but the songs and much of the
singing were rather lifeless and ordi-
nary.
For the life of me, I could not hum
one of the songs if someone asked me
to.
The infantile lyrics and forgetful
melodies are in no way the production's
only problem. The leads either sang

'E
P
fe/

with little personality or just don't have
good voices.
As Ida, Leap is completely incom-
prehensible and sounds as if she is
singing opera rather than campy
songs. Aben, on the other hand, has a
good voice but too often lacks the per-
sonality that is
VIEnW eeded to sing
Gilbert and
S u l l i v a n
prinCess Ida Similarly, the act-
ssohn Theater ing is rather weak,
Dec. 3,.1997 from the lifeless
leads to the over-
acted chorus.
The only excellent performance is
turned in by Christian as Hlilarion's
merry friend. Christian truly seems to
enjoy the part and gives his character
more vigor and intensity than the rest of
the troupe put together.
The orchestra provided no support to
the struggling singers and was, at times,
out-of-tune playing. The string section
sometimes actually draws attention
away from the stage.
The dancing is equally dreadful, with
slow and unimaginative moves. The
players seemed merely to be going
through the motions.
Production design, in accordance
with the rest of the operetta, is poor at
best. I've seen high school productions
with better background scenery and
more exciting costumes and props.
Although the setting itself is scant,
that would be forgivable if the action in
front of the props were interesting or
eye-catching.
Instead, in the many moments where
the singing just kept going on and on, I
found myself looking for other things
on which to focus.
At more than 2 1/2 hours and three
acts, "Princess Ida" overstays its wel-
come and would weary even the most
patient of spectators.
Slow and fast songs alike are played
with the same mind-numbing sluggish-
ness. Perhaps a little cutting here and
there would preserve the audience's
attention.
Ultimately, the biggest problem with
"Princess Ida" is not the performances
but rather the score composed by Gilbert
and Sullivan. "Princess Ida" is dead on
arrival thanks in large part to monoto-
nous music and a dreary plot that is just
a second-rate rehashed fairy tale.

Lee unleashes his 'Beast' on Borders tonight

By David Erik Nelson
For the Daily
The Vatican and CIA aided Nazi war criminals
evading justice. U.S. interests in part financed the
Holocaust. Murray's and Hernnstein's "The Bell
Curve" has distinct ties to ® -
neo-Nazi eugenics revivalists. P
The CIA hired Nazi war crim-
s for espionage work, and
'ese hirelings, through fabri-
cation and spin-doctoring, sin-
glehandedly fed Red Scare
paranoia to the point of gener-
ating the Cold War. Joe McCarthy came to the
legal aid of SS officers convicted at Nuremberg.
Former members of the SS trained Arafat and the
PLO, and German corporations built Hussein's
eclectic war machine. Oswald, Hinckley and
Timothy McVeigh were all tied to the American
Nazi Party.
MThese are conspiracy theorists' bread and butter, the
spirit knocks and levitating tables of the modern
American socio-political seance. But how do the
aforementioned differ from, say, the alleged USAF
cover-up of the "Roswell Incident?" These are all
scrupulously explored and documented in Martin A.

U

Lee's "The Beast Reawakens."
What started 15 years ago for Lec as a "quirky
journalistic hobby" of interview-collecting has cul-
minated with this most recent investigative work,
which Lee, in a recent interview, characterized as
"flesh(ing) in the picture" on the
E V I E W neofascist (especially neo-Nazi)
scene. Although violently active,
Martin Lee the scene has remained largely
Tonight at 7:30 unfettered (even at times encour-
Borders aged) by communities and gov-
Free ernments worldwide.
Neofascist thought is not lim-
ited to the fringes of German society, but is a
global phenomenon, manifested in the American
militia movement and Klan, Middle Eastern ter-
rorist organizations, ethnic cleansing in Eastern
Europe, skinhead street gangs all across the
Northern Hemisphere and even in government
policy.
Neofascism is fostered by its "opportunistic and
pragmatic" nature, Lee said. This opportunism, which
"almost supersedes ideology;' makes neofascism a
very real threat, a virus against which there seems to
be no possible innoculation.
Lee paints a vivid picture of a world where militia

members perceive "It was the American Dream in
blacklight: everything pointed to a conspiracy so
immense,' as Senator Joseph McCarthy once said, a
cabal so sinister, a future so bleak that armed rebellion
seemed the only sensible response" and "Xenophobia
as a habit of the heart, a taste on the tongue, was unre-
lenting."
"The Beast Reawakens" is a perfect example of a
new journalistic style, in which history is woven into
a narrative following the lives of various key players.
Lee's writing is extremely readable: His turn of phrase
is delightful despite what is frequently a terrifying
topic and his language vivid and evocative but never
gruesome.
Lee's bibliography reveals an impressive array of
sources, including interviews that Lee himself con-
ducted with key players in this macabre subculture.
Tonight at Borders, Lee will read excerpts from
"The Beast Reawakens" and discuss a broad
swath of topics within the neofascist genre,
including neo-Nazis and the militia movement,
and share anecdotes from his life as an investiga-
tive journalist delving into this shadowy and
bizarre country. His speech is as smooth, authori-
tative and lively as his writing, and certainly not
to be missed.

Recvc(e the Daiiv.

I'

l

ce lence ewared
Save up to
$120
on College Rings!

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