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December 10, 1997 - Image 14

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-12-10

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L4- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 10, 1997

'Dance'

concert delivers diversity

By Lucija Franetovic
For the Daily
The School of Music's Department of Dance will
present the Dance and Related Arts concert this week-
end at the Betty Pease Dance Studio Theater. There are
exceptions to the presentation:®
There won't be ordinary dance, PR
nor will it be performed only by
dance students. Dance
The Dance and Related Arts is a
class offered in the fall term. It4
gathers students from all disci- Betty Pea
plines within the arts into a collab-
orative effort to design an expressive work that brings
together various ideas and talents.
Taught by Bill DeYoung and Stephen Rush, this
course is not lacking in artistic guidance and inspira-
tion. The five pieces are original student works, prod-
ucts of classwork and outside practice.
Though the pieces are not necessarily about the Beat
Generation, Rush and DeYoung used the poetry of such
Beat poets as William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and

Jack Kerouac to serve as a shared inspiration and spark
the creative energy of the students. Poems were listened
to and passed out at the first class meeting and inde-
pendent research was assigned and encouraged.
"We pair people up by random for a 30-minute exer-

EVIEW
and Related
Arts Concert
Thurs-Sat. at 8 p.m.
ase Studio theater - $5

cise and it's like spontaneous com-
bustion," explained Rush. "The
Beat Generation was a period of
great artistic freedom in music,
jazz and poetry; it was a powerful
firmament of breaking some pat-
terns and making something new,"
said DeYoung. "We do whatever

cal movement and spoken text, a violin, a trumpet, a
scream and banners from the ceiling are some of the
things you will encounter.
The dancers will take the form of water, the natural
elements, of people in daily routine and adolescents
experiencing embarrassing moments in high school, of
human spiders and go-go dancers.
"Go Go Boys Love to Dance" is an analytical pieco
about strippers. It starts out with the male performers
(almost) stripping on the runways. Later, words from a
Gina Bonati poem are heard: "dancing 5 a.m. into a
massacred dawn, raw and ravenous nerves, ravaged
wanting," while the dancers touch each others' faces
and Jason Roebke improvises on his base.
"The class was a chance to see more perspectives in
art. Sometimes ideas and artistic vision stick to a tradi-
tional mode. With other aitists I found that it was chal-
lenging and inspirational," explained Major.
The Dance and Related Arts is an effort of workin9
together and sharing creative ideas and discipline, "You
get to hatch some ideas you wouldn't otherwise get a
chance to do," DeYoung said.

we can to break situations where people create bound-
aries. We want to get people away from the idea of my
piece and my way," he added.
The participants include musicians, composers, actors,
dancers and visual artists and the performers don't nec-
essarily stick to their craft. There are music majors danc-
ing and composers choreographing. "It is a venue for
them to find a path out of what they do," said Rush.
Video images on a backdrop screen, poetry, theatri-

Price makes ActiMates Barney not worth loving

i

By Stephanie Jo Klein
Daily TV/New Media Editor
If you want to give your little sister
nightmares for Christmas, they now come
in a convenient purple and yellow box.
With a price tag
of $109.95, your
sister's trauma now
answers to the
name of Barney. Int(

e

E

0

For Barney's lat-
est incarnation,L
Microsoft's evil
empire has extended into formerly
sacred territory - PBS, the home of
the overly happy sing-song kids' show.
It's not enough that Barney already
stunts the imaginations of American chil-
dren with his goofy laugh and clumsy
dancing on TV and videotapes. With
ActiMates, Barney can now frighten chil-
dren whether they're watching TV, play-
ing computer games or merely having
high tea with the doll in their living room.

The eery sci-fi adaptation for the
Barney ActiMates is that Barney is no
longer just the goofy dinosaur on televi-
sion or the plush toy to play with; the
new doll talks and can be hooked into
the TV, VCR or per-
V i W sonal computer via
a funky, frisbee-
ActiMates shaped transmitter.
active Barney Like Teddy
* Ruxpin in the '80s,
Microsoft the battery-operated
Barney doll spews
numerous warm-fizzy catch-phrases like
"I like getting hugs," "I love being here with
you" and "Exercise is good for you." And
when watching the videotape, Barney
responds to signals from the transmitter so
that he intermittently sings parts of songs
and says "Isn't she a great dancer?"
Although Barney and his cheeseball
sidekicks are mildly annoying for the
babysitters who've got "Barney and the
Sandbox" on repeat, it's undeniably fun

for children who like to sing along. But
unlike the intelligence of "Sesame
Street," the Barney show, especially
with the addition of the talking doll,
encourages impressionable children to
let others do the thinking for them.
When your favorite toy tells you you're
enjoying yourself, don't you believe?
And don't you want to repeat the same
actions over and over to insure maxi-
mum fun? Not exactly imaginative.
If your little sis isn't already a total
idiot, talking Barney only instigates an
imminent media coma. Should a child
look away or begin to play with some-
thing else, Barney courteously reminds
the kid: "Look, there's the TV!" How
nice.
The frightening thing about the smil-
ing T-Rex is that he appears so innocu-
ous that kids don't have a clue that their
minds are being co-opted for the sake of
the almighty merchandising buck. After
all, they're just glad to have a playmate
- all their buddies are busy playing
with "Tickle Me" Elmo, "Sleep 'n
Snore" Ernie, "Fart On Me" Barbie or
"Peel My Banana" Curious George.
If young children want to play with
ActiMates Barney while they watch TV,
they may not be able to if parents aren't
around, what with all the plugs, cords and
the transmitter necessary to start him up.
Surely this is the idea behind making
Barney function on his own, but even
then he's hard to operate. Little ones grab
and poke at anything, talking or not. If
they continue to squeeze Barney's toe too
many times, he will stop singing random

songs and go into a musical seizure,
twitching out "Mary had a twinkle twir
kle A-B-C-D-E-F bah bah black sheep
eensy beensy spider ..."
Another scary find with the standalone
Barney - Barney has a foot fetish.
Before you realize the purpose ofsqueez-
ing his hand (he plays "Peekaboo"
games) or foot (he sings songs), he yelps
out "Oh! Oh! You're tickling my feet!
Oh! I like it when you squeeze my toes!"
I guess Bill Gates is a bit more desperate
than he looks. Children unskilled wit:
mechanical dolls may be frightene
when Barney flails his arms in Peekaboo,
when they keep covering his eyes.
The only redeeming factor of
ActiMates Barney is the PC version.
Perhaps the game is a success because it
hardly features Barney. The doll sits
near the computer and the transmitter,
aiding the child (and the parent or older
sibling who will have to play to super-
vise) and giving positive reinforcemen
and directions.
The characters in the counting and
spelling games are cute, with songs'
from a sassy lighthouse named Lucy
Letter and snazzy owl named Hootin'
Annie. It's a surprisingly worthwhile
purchase from Microsoft.
The obscene price tag for the high-
tech Barney-fest is just too high. To save
the money and the mind of your little
tyke, skip ActiMates Interactive Barney
To spur your little sister's mind and nc
her nightmares, buy her a cushy brown
teddy bear that she'll still love 10 years
from now, even if the nose is chipped.

I I - 7 "

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