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March 24, 1999 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

0 The author of "The Book of Ruth" will appear at Borders.
Hamilton will be signing copies of her new book, "The Short
History of a Prince." 7:30 p.m.
8 Wednesday
March 24, 1999

Utie £icui~m taitE

Tomorrow in Daily Arts:
* Weekend, Etc. magazine looks at a popular college
drink, the 40 ounce beer.



'Flute' presents
Mozart in English

'It's like, you know'

' very watchable


By Jeff Druchniak
Daily Arts Writer
The question of one person's fondness
or abhorrence for opera is about as sub-
jective as it gets. However, the School of
Music is by no means sitting back and
leaving audience response to chance
when it comes to this year's Spring

Opera. The work
The Magic
March 25-28

chosen for this week-
end's production
at the
Mendelssohn is
"The Magic
Flute," one of the
all-time audience
favorites and the
masterpiece of
Mozart's career as
a composer.
The School of
Music has enlisted
Kenneth Kiesler
as the opera's
musical director.
Kiesler, who tradi-
ts the University

new orchestra, the 38-piece University
Philharmonic. "Perhaps this is a chal-
lenge with any Mozart" piece, Kiesler
said, "But you have to get everyone on
the same page, stylistically."
"Over the course of 200 years, so
many different approaches have sprung
up to deal with Mozart's music;' Kiesler
said. He is seeking to attain a more basic
interpretation of the score, without the
adornments that have curried popularity
with Mozart's many interpreters.
This is in keeping with the artistic
plan for all aspects of the production.
Staged by Joshua Major on a minimalist,
abstract set, the burden of the perfor-
mances will rest squarely with the 40
singers, graduate and undergrad stu-
dents, in the cast, as well as the students
in the Philharmonic.
"The Magic Flute" is essentially a
comedy, although it contains many
more serious themes and elevated
moments. It essentially follows the
quest of the heroic, intellectual Prince
Tamino, along with his earthy compan-
ion Papageno, to rescue the beautiful
princess from the. captivity of the High
Priest. Tamino embarks on this adven-
ture to prove his love for the princess to
her mother, the Queen of the Night.
Kiesler has conducted a wide range of

By Erin Podolsky
Daily Arts Writer
In the year since the departure of
"Seinfeld" from the airwaves - and
even before it ever went off the air -
several shows have tried out the
"Seinfeld" format in the hopes that
viewers wouldn't notice the copycat
syndrome if they called the George
character, say, Duncan, or set the sit-
com in Anytown, USA. Each of
those derivative shows has failed
because they haven't understood or
taken the elements that made
"Seinfeld" great and made them
their own.
Until now. At last there is a wor-
thy heir to the "Seinfeld" throne
without being terribly overt or
unbearable, and wonder of all won-
ders, it's like, you know, set on the
opposite side of the country, nay, the

Courtesy ofDavidSmith Photography
Rebekah Nye and Michael Ryan star in "The Magic Flute."

operas, as well as other works by
Mozart, but this is his first Mozart opera
since his graduate student days.
"Mozart has ways of telling you
what he means, (through) hidden mes-
sages," he explained. "Over time, you
grow sensitive to them ... (and) come
to realize that every note he ever wrote
is operatic."
With an obvious relish for the time
he has spent working with this opera,
Kiesler is nonetheless frank about the
more practical demands of his job. He
emphasized the blending of many cre-
ative perspectives in operatic interpre-

tation. '
These include those of Kiesler, Major,
the singers in the cast, scenic designer
Gary Decker, costume designer Lisa
Parkel (a Uniwrsity graduate student),
and lighting designer Justin Burleson, an
undergrad theatre major.
"In the end, an opera is the compos-
ite of all these views put together,"
Kiesler concluded.
Tickets for "The Magic Flute " are $18
and $14 or $7/br students (limit 2per
ID), and are available at the League
Ticket 4fjice. For more info, call
(734) 764-0450.

tionally conduc

Symphony Orchestra in the Fall Opera,
is handling the spring production at the
special request of Music Dean Paul
As a result, Kiesler has had to develop
a working relationship with an entirely

it's like, you
know ...
Tonight at 8:30

universe: La La
land. "it's like,
you know..." is
the creation of
Peter Mehlman,
a former
"Seinfeld" cre-
ative dude and,
as told through
the eyes of
New Yorker
Arthur (Chris
Eigeman), does
for L.A. what
"Seinfeld" did

trying to suavely gain her affection
after discovering that she is a regular
part of Robbie's crew as Shrug's pe
sonal masseuse.
The wild card in all of this that
allows "it's like, you know..." t4
avoid the "Seinfeld" gang syndrome
is the addition of a slim wacky
neighbor. But the term "wacky
neighbor" automatically makes the
show stereotypical, you protest. Not-
so, young grasshoppers. The wacky
neighbor is none other than Jennifer
Grey playing...Jennifer Grey! That*
right, the very same girl who dirty
danced her way to the box office and
threatened Charlie Sheen's testicles
if he mentioned her brother is back,
from oblivion. In the ultimate twist,
Grey plays herself in an essentially
autobiographical role as an actress
unable to get work after a face-alter-,
ing nose-job.
Arthur finds himself unable to,
fathom the levels of ennui that the-.
natives call an active life, spending
much of his time up in arms over
such L.A. quirks as the entire city,
grinding to a halt to watch a highs
speed chase or expressing disbelief-
over the effectiveness of an "amnesi-
ologist" that Shrug sees to forget bad
memories. These plots take over
entire episodes after the pilot in an
engaging fashion; the opening
episode itself manages to avoii
mechanical introductions of charac
The cast spits out the speedball
dialogue like it's second nature. Thee
bitingly sarcastic tone that Eigeman
perfected in his work in Whit
Stillman's films ("Metropolitan") is
a perfect contrast to the lackadaisical
mentality of the Californians, while
Langer's "attention surplus disorder"
nonstop chatter fills scenes with a
buoyancy long missing on televisior
The only slight distraction in the
show is Grey herself - her appear
ance is pinch-worthy.
"it's like, you know..." is proof that,
just because a show is a midseason-
replacement doesn't mean that it's
middling. It's a show that will have
you laughing out loud at the absurd
reality that pretends to be normal in
the fake plastic world of Los
Angeles. Share Arthur's indignar
New Yorker disbelief, envy Shrug's
shiny pate and wallet, or just boggle,
at Grey's attempt to reinvent and
poke fun at herself. Just like, you
know, watch it.

All Stars bring klezmer groove to ther

By Chris Kula
Daily Arts Writer
If klezmer is the traditional Jewish music of celebra-
tion, then the version of this style played by the New
Orleans Klezmer All Stars would be the soundtrack to
an after hours, Mardi Gras-style drunken blowout.
Perhaps the only band that can
inspire rabbis to dance with prep-
school hippies and elderly jazz
New Orleans cats to groove alongside small
New Or .s children, the All Stars are at the

Klezmer All
The Ark
Tonight at 7:30
liaiy bass, bright

foreground of a modern rejuve-
nation of the age-old Yiddish
In the eight years since the
band's formation, it has created a
high-energy sound that equally
blends Old-World flavor with
modern jazz-funk elements.
Swirling clarinet and saxophone
melodies skitter above a founda-
tion of neo-gypsy guitar, swamp-
accordion and shifty second-line

music," accordion player Glenn Hartman said. "I mean,
the last thing in our minds was that this was how we'd
be making our livings."
Presently, though, the band is a full-time career for its
six members - and a rewarding profession at that. The
Allstars have released four recordings, and their newest
effort, "Fresh Out the Past" on the Shanachie label, is
an invigorating collection of original klezmer composi-
"I've been quite proud lately," Hartman said. "1 real-
ly love this new record."
And the Allstars have a formidable list of accom-
plishments worthy of self-satisfaction. They've become
mainstays at some of the nation's most prestigious
musical gatherings, including the High Sierra Music
Fest, the H.O.R.D.E tour and Ann Arbor's own Jazz and
Blues Festival. The band was given the Big Easy Award
for best world music group in 1997, and it won the envi-
able Best Crowd Participation prize for two straight
years at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest.
"I love the fact that we do well in New Orleans,
which is a town where if you do well, it means you've
definitely got something going on," Hartman said.
In fact, the band's Crescent City origins have meant
a tremendous amount to its current success.
"I don't think we'd be the band that we are today if it
wasn't for New Orleans," Hartman said. "People down

there really love live music, and they expect to hear
good, original music. Therefore, you have the opportu-
nity to develop as a live band"
In a city that thrives on nightly performance, weekly
gigs give up-and-comers like the Allstars the chance to
stretch out on-stage.
"You have the whole night to play music, so you play
from 10 until two in the morning," Hartman said. "You
have to learn how to stretch yrur repertoire, you have to
learn how to jam and you have to learn how to make the
people dance."
"And eventually it gets to about one in the morning
and it doesn't matter if you're playing Yiddish music
over funk grooves, because everyone's already drunk,"
Hartman said with a laugh.
New Orleans playing connections also led to the
band's past recording collaborations with drummers
"Mean" Willie Green of the Neville Brothers and
Stanton Moore of Galactic.
"That just wouldn't happen in another city," I lartman
And perhaps the most refreshing aspect of the
Allstars is their true passion for the music.
"It wasn't like Let's try to twist this music in a new
kind of way,"' Hartman said. "This mix of styles -- it
all just happened so naturally, which is why I think it
sounds so real. You know. the energy is just real."

for New York.
Arthur is a magazine writer work-
ing on a book about his hatred of Los
Angeles and has moved into his best
friend Robbie's residence for two
months. Robbie's home is actually
the guest house of a bald-headed guy
named Shrug, his second best friend
and "Trustafarian" - he never has
and never will have to work a day in
his life thanks to his trust fund.
Robbie, on the other hand, has
worked at least three days in his
loafer's life, having made millions
off a scheme he calls "pay-per-Jew"
that telecasts Jewish High Holidays
services for much less than the cost
of a ticket to synagogue.
On the plane to L.A., self-con-
fessed hypochondriac Arthur is seat-
ed next to a bubbly masseuse/
process server/chiropractic student
named Lauren (the radiantly enter-
taining A.J. Langer). He and his sar-
donic "I hate L.A." wit fall hard for
her, and he spends much of his time

In other words, it's not your average Sunday after-
noon walk through the musical park.
'(The band) came together out of an interest in the


Oscar fashions offer yet another lesson in award politics

Whether you agree or disagree with
the winning Oscar recipients, Sunday
night's awards ceremony was an event
not to be missed. The Academy of

Motion Picture
Arts and
Sciences, in its
infinite wisdom,
bestowed honors
on the actors,
directors, and
other artists
involved in cre-
ating what the
A c a d e m y
deemed to be the
best of the year's
best films.
The Oscars
represent more
than talent, how-
ever. They repre-

sent more than creativity. They even
represent more than the politics and
campaigning of the nominees.
They represent the hottest fashion
trends of the year.
A disclaimer for this column: I
admittedly have no fashion sense.
None whatsoever. I've had the same
sense of style since high school -
that is, if I'm not wearing comfortable
jeans and a sweater, I'm not happy.
The whole idea of formalwear baffles
For exactly that reason, I was per-
plexed by the way the media focused
on what everyone was wearing to the
awards ceremony.
As an example, look at the official
Oscar Website (wwwoscar.com). The
Website's second option, below the list
of winners, is "Red Carpet Arrivals:
Oscar Fashion," where the site boasts

that "an all-encompassing report will
complete another year of gorgeous,
glamorous, global fashion!"
The official pre-show, hosted by
Geena Davis, also spent a great deal
of time on the fashions of the event
(in between the segments on the nom-
inee selection process and how Oscar
is transported to the awards ceremo-
ny). And a notable amount of the
other media coverage included two
articles - a report of the award-win-
ners and a report of the best-dressed.
Really, who cares'? Yes, everyone
looked nice. And yes, there were
some outfits that were very original,
and some that were just very ugly.
But Sunday night, Gwyneth's pink
dress and the masses of diamonds
appearing around every woman's
neck were not about personal taste or
style. Every choice was made with the

intent of setting a trend - or at least
keeping off the supermarket tabloids'
"worst-dressed" lists.
In that sense, the Oscars are com-
pletely about politics, in fashion as
well as in everything else. The design-
ers who create the one-of-a-kind out-
fits and the celebrities who wear them
are all competing to capture "that
look," the appearance that will be
admired (and copied) this season by
fashion buffs around the world.
Personal style is not as important as
being one of the "beautiful people"
who set the trends, and many of the
camera-ready Oscar attendees will do
anything for that privilege.
This is yet another item to add to
my list of reasons why I was delight-
ed by Roberto Benigni's appearance
at the Oscars. His uncontrolled exu-
berance (such as when he climbed

over the rows of seats to reach to
stage when "Life Is Beautiful" won
Best Foreign Film) and apparent joy
"just to be nominated" represented
what the awards really mean. It's not
about making an appearance or creat-
ing a trend. It's about filmmakers
looking and feeling their best, and
being proud of their achievements in,
the field.
I admit, on the off chance that
someday attend the Academy Awarea
I will not appear in my jeans. But I
will refuse to wear anything pink,
anything with sequins, or anything
that weighs more than 10 pounds.
And, fortunately or unfortunately,
that probably means that you'll never
see me highlighted on any Oscar pre-
show. But maybe that's ok ... I really
don't care what Geena Davis thinks of
my appearance, anyway.

EM Travel
Council on International
Educational Exchatuge
1218 South University Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: 734-998-0200

State of
the arts

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