The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 18, 1998 - 11
;Wheels make music go round
By Jewel Gopwani
For the Daily
Confirming that numerous Michigan bands
have the talent and the potential to reach great-
ness, 19 Wheels is well on its way. But before it
gets there, the band will make an anticipated
op at the Blind Pig tomorrow night.
Tomorrow at 9:30 p.m.
19 Wheels' sound,
which is reminiscent of the
trinity of Uncle Tupelo,
Wilco and Sun Volt isn't
just twang rock. 19 Wheels
brings back "real" rock,
with strong but melodic
songs, all of which feature
comforting and reflective
lyrics. Chris Johnston's
gruff vocals harkens back
to Bruce Springsteen in his
In a recent interview,
Johnston discussed the
band's first single,
Sunday," "Colorado" deserves airplay for the
most important reason: It's a meaningful, origi-
nal song. But that's not always the most impor-
tant factor to radio stations.
None the less, 19 Wheels trudges on. Proving
its sincerity, 19 Wheels is determined to help out
whenever possible. When the members of a
Grand Rapids elite attempted to take MTV off of
the cable lineup, 19 Wheels, The Verve Pipe,
Semisonic and Horse played a show, which suc-
cessfully kept it on the air.
Aside from pleasing fans with its music, 19
Wheels reaches out to them, even the little ones.
"On our last tour, all of our equipment was
stolen. After a schoolteacher and fan in Nashville,
Michigan, heard about this, we got all these hand-
made cards that his fourth grade class made for
us. We thanked them and asked if we could play
for them. Everything was perfect about it. The
kids had a great time," Johnston said.
Even in a rough industry, the talented and
humble 19 Wheels has made great progress.
October of 1997 marked the signing of 19
Wheels with Columbia Records.
Often, major labels can be overbearing and
hinder creativity. Johnston promises that this
will not be the case. "It (the major label deal)
won't change how we go about things. It will
give us more flexibility and more time to record
our next album."
But in the meantime, 19 Wheels continues to
tour in support of "Six Ways from Sunday," on
the "Aware Records Showcase," with label
mates Dovetail Joint from Chicago and Train
from San Francisco. "It's a good night of music
and we're better than we've ever been," Johnston
In addition to playing at the Blind Pig tomor-
row night, 19 Wheels will appear on 103 W IQB
tomorrow at 1 p.m. for an interview and to per-
form a few live songs.
Because the Blind Pig is only for those 19 and
older, younger fans might want to stop by Tower
Records at 4 p.m. for an intimate in-store per-
formance by the band.
Bands with good music and good intentions
are hard to find. Check this one out to get a
refreshing taste of real Michigan rock.
Train and Dovetail Joint will open for 19 Wheels.
Tickets are $6 in advance available at Schoolkids'
Records or Michigan Union Ticket Office, $8 at
the door This is a 19-and-older show
"Colorado, its place in the music industry and,
most important, playing live performances.
From its January release "Six Ways from
Courtesy of Aware Records
The East Lansing band, 19 Wheels, is on a musical roll, coming this week to the Blind Pig.
JeLillo scans oddities
of heart in 'Underworld'
New York City Opera presents a
'Daughter' worth waiting for
Aside from protagonist Nick Shay's
comic Mafioso impression ("Dis scum-
bag? Fugetaboutit!") there are no gang-
sters in "Underworld"
The underworld DeLillo has in mind
does not exclude such clandestine crime-
syndicates, but rather is far more inclu-
sive. His underworld is the underworld
of the heart, all of those
ings that we
would rather bury
than face: Love
waste, drug abuse,
STDs, ad infinitum.
It is the underworld of
all that which, by its very
ture, must frequently
main below the surface.
"Underworld" is the culminating
union of DeLillo's two great artistic con-
cerns: The vibrant reality of the life that
flows and pulses beneath the visible
facade (see DeLillo's "holographic" nov-
els, such as "Libra," a fictional examina-
tion of the life and times of assassin and
sometime-Communist Lee Harvey
Oswald) and the overwhelming, unspo-
*n, mythological power that our own
cultural refuse (e.g. Marilyn Monroe
pin-ups, McDonald's Happy Meals,
gang violence and serial killers) has over
us. The best example of this is his
ground-breaking novel "White Noise."
DeLillo has found a vocabulary of
images and ideas that can speak to both
of these ideas, binding together his pro-
jection of people's inner lives with his
interpretation of our culture's powerful
consumer fetishes and taboos.
*"Underworld" is written in this bind-
ing, symbolic language: FBI chief J.
Edgar Hoover and Bronx nun Sister
Edgarshare the same pathogen paranoia.
Jayne Mansfield is a boy's masturbatory
fantasy and an artist's icon for the
American franchise-fame bandwagon.
The same Russian nuclear warheads that
threatened the United States since the
early '50s also are our only hope for
,aste-management in the coming mil-
nnium. The novel is like a literary
super-collider in which images are intro-
duced, split and sent caroming off the
walls to collide with other demi-images.
and form new elements.
This same super-collider simile holds
.frthe novel's plotting: There are at least
; dozen distinct narratives, each with its
1 separate life and central characters
(.g. Nick's brother Matt, the fate of a
.- Giant's home-run baseball, the
hies of the Texas Highway Killer.,
c.). Nick's story reverberates through
iach sub-plot; each is a new element
-frged by the fissioning and fusing of
Nick Shay's life.
"Underworld" is a somewhat more
nwieldy work than DeLillo's earlier
books; formalistic problems at times
make it hard to follow.
DeLillo's dialogue displays a really
annoying degree of fidelity. Anyone who
has ever had to transcribe a conversation
knows that human speech copied verba-
tim to the page is almost entirely unin-
telligible. People generally talk sloppily.
The silver lining is that these voices,
which are at times over-zealously ren-
dered, are marvelously lyrical, evoking
the full range of American voices and
Nick Shay is a young man in the
Bronx, shooting pool with George
Manza -- his friend, a neighbor-
hood regular, the man Nick will
shoot and kill under cloudy
circumstances. Manza says
something that might suf-
k. fice for the "Reader's
Digest" summation of
particular life. Under
the surface of ordi-
nary things. And orga-
nized so that it makes
more sense in a way, if you understand
what I mean. It makes more sense than
the horseshit life the rest of us live."
- David Erik Nelson
"The beautiful kingdom is over,"
Mark Doty meditates on a swan, set
against the contemporary, mechanical
and unnatural city-world that man has
created. His new collection, "Sweet
Machine," probes the world with which
all poets struggle, where beautiful swans
are overwhelmed by gaudy, man-made
creations; the same new kingdom that
holds all of us.
The American Academy of Arts and
Letters writes "Moving, splendidly
observant and unflinching, Mark Doty's
poems extend the range of the
American lyric poem." His career
includes four books of poetry, the T.S.
Eliot Prize and the National Book
Critics Circle Award. In his new col-
lection, this mature writer confronts
one of poetry's most difficult problems:
how the lyric can survive in a world
building over natural beauty.
"Sweet Machine" opens with an ode
to the man-made color, "Faurille' a
color of glass with "compounded metal-
lic lusters in reference to natural
sheens." In contrast between natural
beauty and this artificial object, Doty
discovers "the luster of things which
insist that they're made." The book cen-
ters around this uncomfortable new
beauty, in the modern "world of tiny
Doty tears into that uneasy gap
between plastic, unreal experience and
Don DeLillo delves into the
appreciation of modern beauty in "Lilies
in New York." Contemplating a sparse,
unfinished sidewalk drawing of flowers,
he curses the frenzy of city life:
"Trumpet, now New York's a smear and
chaos of lilies." But before leaving his
urban vision, he realizes "a sketchy, pos-
sible bloom, about to, going to, going to
be, becoming open," the traces of resur-
rection in a dark corner of modern
The poem "Fog Suite" deepens these
feelings from a literary perspective. The
fog serves as both a metaphor for Doty's
own confusion with words and the "vis-
ible uncertainty" of contemporary alien-
ation. In all this confusion, he reassures,
"it feels like home here, held - like any
line of text - by the white margins of a
By translating the overcrowded, con-
sumer world into similarly difficult lan-
guage, Doty calls poetry itself into ques-
tion He proves that the days of natural,
reassuring pastoral images are gone. In
his poem "Concerning Some Recent
Criticism of His Work," Doty answers
complaints about his dissonant, over-
loaded lines. Calling his new idea of
ideal art "an opera of atmospheres," he
defends his flashy, strange words by
writing, "every sequin's an act of praise."
Doty's craft is strongest and cruelest
in his title poem, "Sweet Machine." He
pounds out of the tragedy of a young
crack addict with the frightening, stun-
ning lesson of contemporary life. "We're
all on display in this town, sweet
machines, powerless, consumed, just as
he consumes himself."
Underneath the darkness in those
lines, Doty saves the end of the book for
images of "Mercy on Broadway." The
chaos of words and meanings in his
poetry is translated into a new rhythm
and hope for salvation. For beneath this
sweet machine. Doty finds "lonely and
fragile armor dressed up as tough, its so
many beats there's something you can
That powerful, deep foundation holds
his wild, consumed poetry to human
roots. a balance rare in poets who tackle
the darkness of modern lives. "What did
you think, that joy was some slight
thing?" he finally concludes, finding a
source of fire and hope for poets to work
with in years to come.
By Stephanie Love
Daily Arts Writer
Good things are worth waiting for. In the case of this week-
end's performance of Donizetti's comic opera "Daughter of
the Regiment" by the New York City Opera National
Company, the audience wound up waiting through the entire
While the performance was in no way mediocre, the sec-
ond half saved the show. Part of the problem was unavoid-
able -- "Daughter of the Regiment" is an opera where the
audience leaves without humming the music and without
mulling over the complicated and entertaining plot. There
are no memorable arias, no great choruses, no moving over-
ture, and very little action in "Daughter of the Regiment," a
reality that was in no way the fault of the performers them-
Cathy Thorpe gave a commendable performance as Marie,
the daughter of the 21st French regiment, as did David Ward
as the Sulpice, Marie's most important father figure.
Unfortunately, the opera didn't give them a chance to make
an impression on the audience in the first act, and only as
Marie was learning to become of woman of rank in the sec-
ond act under the Marquise de Berkenfeld (Melissa Parks)
did the audience begin to take interest in the opera.
Parks was one of the standouts of the evening. flaunting
her high society manners throughout the opera. She also
had the most complicated character, revealed to be Marie's
mother at the end of the opera. The combination of Parks,
Thorpe and Ward in the second act as the Marquise
attempted to teach Marie to sing a love ballad created the
best scene. The Sulpice, clad in a robe over his military
uniform, tossed tea cakes across the
room while Marie scattered the music
of the increasingly flustered Marquise
attempting to accompany on the
piano. Unfortunately, it took more
than an hour to get to this point in the
Additionally, the Duchess de
Crackentorp (Nancy Shade), was by far
the best comic figure of the evening.
Her brief but memorable entrances had
the audience laughing, while the first
act tenor aria of Tonio (Matthew
Chellis) made the audience wish he had
taken the nine
Courtesy of Carol Rosegg
Cathy Thorpe stars as Marie in Donizetti's "The Daughter of
rooftops become chairs, but cast members spent most of the
first act pushing buildings around stage as they sang about
the regiment. Sometimes, the only action consisted of peel-
ing potatoes or doling out rations and rum.
By the second act, the audience wasn't sure what to
expect, but fortunately, the story picked up, as did the
action. Suddenly, the audience was able to watch the opera
unfold, rather than reliving the story of Marie's adoption by
the regiment for an hour. The Marquise's story was told, the
regiment rescued Marie from an arranged marriage and the
opera ended, not a moment too soon. The problem was not
the New York City Opera National Company but the opera
high C's down the octave.
Another problem with the opera
was the story. The opera simply had
no action, few plot twists and too
much repeated narration about
Marie's life in the regiment. The
entire first act was staged "some-
where in the Alps," and the set con-
sisted of a miniature Bavarian town
that seemed a cross between
Munchkin land and a lot of nicely
decorated bird cages. Not only did
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Plymouth, MI 48170
The Psychology PeerAdvisors Present V
On Wednesday, Mar 18, from 7-9 PM
4th Floor Terrace of East Hall
Careers in BioPsychology
Dr. Warren Holmes
Chair of BioPsychology Area
Department of Psychology
Enter through the Church Street Entrance.
The elevator is to the left. Go to the 4th floor
and follow the signs to the Terrace.