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September 10, 1998 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-10

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1

U ersity Prof. Jennifer Robertson will read from her book,
"Takaruzuka: Sexual Politics and Popular Culture in Modern
Japan," tonight. Robertson is an anthropology professor at the
University, and the reading is celebrating the book's publication.
It takes place at Shaman Drum beginning at 4 p.m., and admis-
sion is free.

U~lije £cftto t Jd11
IRT

Tomorrow in Daily Arts:
Check out a review of the new generation comedy, "Your
Friends and Neighbors."
Thursday
September 10, 1998

A

Dance tai
By Kate Kovalszki
For the Daily
A random mixture of sights, sounds and
smells surround you as you pass through the
tunnel-like pathway of trees and foliage that
comprise the Medical Center entrance to the
N ols Arboretum. All of your senses are
e cised as you hear the crunch of gravel
under your shoes, interspersed with he sub-
tle movements of the forest.
Barely do you perceive the wind's touches
upon your skin, before you realize that you
are in the company of something that con-
tains just as much life and activity as the
land: the river. It is just such a medium with
its constantly present yet
>4 transient nature which
drew movement artists
Eiko and Koma to it as
River the setting of their work
Nichols aptly titled, "River."
Arboretum "River" will be Eiko
Tomorrow and and Koma's University
Saturday at Musical Society debut,
8:15p.m. when they perform
where the Huron River
passes through the Arb
tomorrow and on
Saturday.
The performance is
one of more than 20
works created by this Japanese husband and
wife team, whose theatrical performances
incorporate several movements in the world
of dance and theatre.

es to the

Although born in Japan, the couple has lived
in the United States for more than 20 years.
Eiko and Koma have been together as as exclu-
sive and independent artists since 1972 in
Tokyo, Japan, and have been influenced by
characteristics of the Japanese avant-garde the-
atrical movement in the '60s and the NeuerTanz
German modem dance movement in the '70s.
Their creations bear the closest connection
to German Expressionism and hold as their
subject various aspects of the environment and
life. Their work sets forth the notion that
nature is not so narrowly defined as one may
think.
While the couple perform only their own
choreography, they have worked in collabora-
tion with composers such as Somei Satoh and
have created pieces for a number of dance
companies, including Pittsburgh's Dance
Alloy.
Their rich and fruitful contribution to the
artistic arena has led to their reception of many
awards and honors. Most prominently, Eiko and
Koma were named the John Simon
Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellows for
1984 and were awarded the first Mac Arthur
"Genius" grant ever bestowed upon collabora-
tors in 1996, for "two exceptionally creative
people who work as one."
"River" comprises the third piece in Eiko and
Koma's Environmental Trilogy, with "Land"
(1991) and "Wind" (1993) being the first two.
in this installment, the artists will combine sev-
eral elements, namely film, dance and music,
to present a production which blurs the sep-

'River'
aration between the human body and the
environment.
The performance will begin at dusk, and will
start with a short film, followed by Eiko and
Koma's slow but deliberate procession down the
river.
Using incremental movements, the cou-
ple's bodies are often morphed into definite
sculptural entities. While production incor-
porates unnatural elements such as stage
light and traditional Japanese music, the
artists mainly emphasize becoming com-
pletely joined to the river, not as human tres-
passers, but as welcomed inhabitants.
Koma states that their inspiration for
"River" stems from "nature, whether from
the ducks which dry themselves along the
river's bank or the movement of a leaf down-
stream in the river." He also emphasizes that
while he and his wife are interested in social
movement and human emotions, those are
their main objectives of their performance.
Koma highlights the unique qualities that
define their performance, and extends a warm
welcome for all to view their work. He under-
scores the idiosyncrasy of each rendition,
where "much depends on the characteristics of
the river, especially the current speed."
And finally, he reminds us that it is the all-
important source and setting of their work,
namely nature, which "provides a great
experience where the audience and the per-
formers can share the same things, such as

sounds, breezes and
clouds."

movements of the

Courtesy of Ihe University Musical Society
Elko and Koma's "River" performance will take place tomorrow at Nichols Arboretum.

U

fCmmy
hopes to
i "
limit
boredom
The Washington Post
This year, to mark the 50th
anniversary of the Emmy Awards,
NBC will allot four full hours,
rather than the usual three, to the
ceremonies scheduled to begin
Sunday at 7 p.m.
There will be many features
esigned to hold a TV audience's
attention for the evening, includ-
ing vintage clips from award-
nights past, trivia quizzes and a
selection of the greatest moments
in TV history.
But veteran viewers of such pro-
ceedings and the people who pro-
duce them know that nothing can
bring a lull to an awards show
quicker than a boring acceptance
eech. When a winner approaches
e microphone and pulls out a
legal-size sheet of paper and starts
by thanking, say, a nanny from
childhood, you know that the
hands holding those remote con-
trols are getting twitchy.
Don Mischer, who's produced
Emmy, Tony and Kennedy Center
Honors award programs, acknowl-
ged the problem.
"I think nothing bores people
more than seeing a winner come
up there and unfold a piece of
paper and start thanking, you
know, the agents, the manager, the
dog and so forth," he said.
Probably the most-anticipated
aspects of an award show are the
clothes worn by the stars, the sus-

Ya-Ya Sisters are simply 'Divine'

Courtesy of Fox
Callsta Flockhart, with Courtney Thorne-Smith, is a choice contender for an
Emmy. If she wins, Emmy producers hope she won't thank too many people.

pense surrounding who will win
and what will happen when the
winner takes the stage. Will he or
she say or do something outra-
geous, funny or moving? Probably
not if 29 of the allotted 30 seconds
are given to a laundry list of thanks
to people known only to them.
"We've thought about how we
can do this but do it with respect,"
said Mischer. "If someone wins an
Emmy, it can be the high point of
their career. It's one of the greatest
moments of their life, and I feel
real strange going up to them and
saying, 'Look, (if you win) don't
mention your dog or your agent or
whatever.' It's somewhat presump-
tuous on my part to do that. It's
going to be hard to influence that."
Meryl Marshall, president of the
Academy of Television Arts and
Sciences, which awards the Emmy,
noted that the thank-yous can be
contagious.
"When one person thanks his
wife, everyone else figures they
can't go home without doing the
same," she said.
The academy hopes to impress

nominees with the historical sig-
nificance of the Emmy - "the
company they're keeping" by
being nominated and possibly win-
ning, she said. "We hope to create
an emotional show in which every-
one will get swept up."
If, as appears likely, the show
includes high points from past
Emmy ceremonies, winners might
take note of some of the nifty
acceptance speeches that have
been made in the past.
There was the time, for instance,
when the diminutive Michael J.
Fox said he was so happy, "I feel 4
feet tall."
And there was Sally Field's
Oscar acceptance, in which she
gushed, "You like me!"
"What we want is for people to
come up there and talk about how
they feel," said Mischer. "If they
do that, it would be very helpful."
Mischer has a laundry list of his
own of features that he wants to
pack into the four-hour show -
which he promises will not run
past 11 p.m. Est. (He recalled that
See EMMY, Page 10A

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya
Sisterhood
Rebecca Wells
HarperPerennial
C'est une histoire manifique. It is the zestful tale of
friendship, love, anguish and depression. Yet, it is not any
ordinary tale for its main players are not an ordinary bunch
of ladies. Teensy, Necie, Vivi and Caro are La communaute
des soeurs. In her heart-warming novel "Divine Secrets of
the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," Rebecca Wells paints the intriguing
picture of four exotic, erratic, neurotic friends that make-
up the Ya-Ya sisterhood.
Wells describes the unique bond of friendship that four
southern belles share. She depicts their crazy adventures
as youths and their extremely bizarre bonding rituals.
Wells then describes how the lives of
these women affect their children, the
petite Ya-Yas, focusing mainly on the life
of Sidda, Vivi's oldest daughter. Wellsr
paints the plunge of the lead character,r
Sidda, into a mid-life crisis so swiftly 4
that the reader does not even recognize it
until Sidda herself does. Wells then uses
the basis of the crisis to further describe thef
other generations of women. The story
unfolds in the present, and is then drawn further
and further into the past. It constantly regroups in
the present where Wells further clarifies the cir-
cumstances and, eventually, the novel ends in mod-
ern time.
In so doing, Wells sheds light on how much a mother
can affect her daughter, and the potential disaster this
influence can cause. Through brilliant language and cun-
ning style, the reader is both sympathetic and angry with
the turn of events. For example, Sidda blames her mid-life
crisis on her mother, yet her mother has a personality that
one can hardly detest. Vivi had a habit of abandoning her
four children and this has now left Sidda with some severe
abandonment issues. But we learn that Vivi's abandon-
ment of her four monsters is actually a direct result of the
deep resentment and hatred that Vivi received from her
mother.
Wells does not explicitly say this, but rather tells

thrilling tales that lead the reader to such conclusions.
Through violent twists of fate, Wells intricately weaves the
lives of three generations of women so masterfully and
swiftly that the transition is not apparent, yet the reader is
never left with any doubt as to who the anecdote relates.
While focusing on the bonds of sisterhood and friend-
ship, Wells still manages to explore many other poignant
subjects, including the travails of adolescence, lost love
and alcoholism. All of these issues, the love and loss that
the women endure, add to their character, and are then
passed on to their children.
Throughout the novel, Wells intersperses key French
words and phrases which serve to draw the reader into the
culture of central Louisiana, the home of the Teensy, Necie,
Caro and Vivi. It is a time and a place where elegance is
the standard, and where the smell of fresh pastries perme-
ates the air. The Ya-Yas create for themselves a world in
which worry seems not to exist, where women
can explore their nature without the pressure
of society's stigmas.
Wells use of French phrases strengthens
the poetic rhythm of the novel. The fan-
tastic placement of such phrases leaves
the non-French speaking reader with
an understanding of the mood, and
those with even mild French com-
prehension can relive the scene
almost firsthand.
The novel is so unique because
its characters and their relationships
are quite rare. The bonds of love that
existed in the Ya-Ya sisterhood are unparalleled; the read-
ers lives vicariously through the friendships that are so hard
to find. The only jealousy is that which arises in the read-
er who yearns for such powerful, unconditional, eternal
bonds of friendship.
While a man may not love this novel, it is great oppor-
tunity to learn about the inner enigma of women. It is
certain however, that it will enthrall women everywhere.
The language of Wells alone captures the reader, and the
300-plus pages read like a short story. The laughter com-
bine with tears that prove the impact of Wells's gift.
It is sentimental without being sappy; it is intellectual
without being difficult. Sans doute, sans doute.
- Corinne Schneider

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