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January 13, 2000 - Image 21

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-01-13

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10B -The IChigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine - Thursday, January 13, 2000

0

k 1999 - The Year In Performing Arts
Local arts scene trots globe, honors history in busy year

The Michigan Daily - kend, et. Ma:
A SMOKE-FILLED ROOM BY ANY OTHEI

By ROUSMary Met
Daily Arts Writer
Janus, the mythological gatekeep-
er for the New Year, is doing triple
duty these days. Not only must he
look back at the old year, he must
catch a glimpse at the end of the
century and peer into the new.
One of the most striking features
for this end of the centur. end of the
year perspective is an artistic shrink-
ing o e globe. A century ao, a
con1ert by the Estonian National
Male Choir wxould not have been
possible. Traxel wxould lhaxe been
prohibitive, if not non-exisrenr.
Cultural awCareness would have ben
limited, perhaps even uneYome.
Yet. in the autumn of i 9. tis
choir appeared on the stage of Hill
Auditorium with the Detroit
S -mphony Orchestra, Neeme Jarvi
conductin. Cultural and political
barriers were flung aside as the
soloist sang the poems of Yecgeny
Ycxtushenko, the dissident Russian
poet.
Another coup was scored when
the Berlin Philharmonic appeared in
Ann Arbor. Our town was only one
of four stops in the nation for this
world-class orchestra, in an era
marked by similar belt-tightening by
most comparable orchestras. The
legendary Claudio Abbado conduct-
ed.
That island 90 miles off the coast
of Miami was represented by the
sunny and sensual sounds of Ibrahim
Ferrer Orquestra and Ruben
Gonzalez y su Grupo. These Cuban
stars from the "'Buena Vista Social
Club".electrified a Hill Auditorium
audience on the night before
Halloween. As if these sounds were
not enough, the Flamenco Sextet

with their guitars and castanets
warmed an early winter evening at
Hill.
In a breathtaking return to U.S.
shores, Harlem's gift to the world,
the Boys Choir, appeared on the Hill
stage. Their repertoire ranged from
spirituals to Gershwin and
Ellington. The Harlem Nutcracker,
with its re isionist text of the holi-
day fable, sang and danced in their
annual presentation.
"Candide" the sparkling musical
be Leonard Bernstein, took the stage
af the Power Cnter in April. Taken
from the toltair'e text, the ousical,
with its cast of handreds, charmed
us into imagining a life in "the best
df all possible worJsp
Jeff Daniels micht have wished
for a foot in that best of all possible
worlds. His Purple Rose Theatre col-
laborated for the first time with the
Theatre Department to present
"Orphan Train" as part of an extend-
ed attempt to test the play's fitness
for eventual mounting at the Purple
Rose. Despite Guy Sanville's migra-
tion from the Chelsea playhouse to
direct, these hopes were apparently
shelved for the foreseeable future.
The seminal theatre event that
closed out the last century was the
staging of 'The Tempest" with an
all-star cast bridging faculty
throughout the School of Music with
students and townspeople. Such
luminaries as emeritus Law Prof.
Beverley Pooley, Theatre
Performance Prof. Philip Kerr and
local drama celebrity Malcolm Tulip
took parts in a rollicking presenta-
tion, directed by Kerr, of
Shakespeare's own apocryphal last
hurrah.
"isn't it rich" ... Sondheim's

melodies floated through the
Mendelssohn Theatre when "A Little
Night Music" played to delighted
audiences in packed houses.
In the final winter of last century,
during the epochal snow storm of
last January, soprano Renee
Fleming gave a recital at Hill
Auditorium. Later in the winter. The
Merce Cunnincham Dance
Comipanv arised on camps for an
artistic residensry. This vorld-
famuously unc 'nventional dance
evny wprfo-rmed on sagc at Hill
Auditorium, then spen' two week-
rnaste: class wxith the Dance
Dpthrnentb The aecs, iverless
Alv in Ailey Dance Cormnpany, wxpith
its dazzling talent, also visited Ann
Arbor.f
Duke Ell gtonl s 100th birthday
was celbraled in grand styc in the
spring. \nton Marsalis has been a
tireless champion of this monolithic
American composer, and his Lincoln
Center Jazz Orchestra observed the
event wvith roof-raisin~ jazz at Hill
Auditorium.
And on the subject of anniversary
observances, Rude Mechanicals per-
formed "All My Sons,' by Arthur
Miller at the Mendelssohn Theatre
- 61 years after the first pcrfor-
mance of this work. U-M alum
Miller now holds the further distinc-
tion of opera librettist. "A View
From the Bridge;" one of his major
plays, was set to music by Music
Prof. William Bolcom. This autum-
nal work was performed in the clos-
ing days of the milleniupm at the
Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Janus will forever stand at the gate
which divides the new and old year.
He will eternally be able to look
back and ahead, at the waning year

A friend of mine has a theory. Like a
lot of his theories, they're alcohol-
inspired, but that only means it takes a
little bit longer for them to make sense.
When it comes down to it, though, it's
simple.
"All the good bars have names with
two words or more," Ben said. "But all
the schwag ones have one word
names."
"That's a pretty general theory. Isn't
Cheers a bar with one word?" I said.
"No, I'm talking about the bars
around here." Ben said. "Think about it
- Rick's, Mitch's, Scorekeepers,
Touchdowt n's. those aren't exactly
places to reLix?
"But they're cood bars. I mean dollar
pitchers are what God invented on the
eighth day when he realized he didn't
want to go back to work."
"It's not like they don't have their
good sides. Dollar pitchers, great.
People our age, great. Women in tight
black pants and tank tops in the middle
of January. even better."
"So, what's the problem?"

'I can't get over the feeling that I'm
going into a frat party every time I go
to a campus bar. I wait a half an hour in
the cold, pay a cover to get in and then
pay money for my drinks, while being
crammed in a
small, hot, dingy
room with a
bunch of people .
'V e Seed there x
before but have
ne ce' real
taked to I
m'an. dd a
r f' t x

least you know who your friends are."
"Yeah, but it's not like I get to talk
them that much without trying to shout
over the DJ's speakers. Seriously, every
time I go to a one-word bar I feel like
I'm a little less mature. The whole
super-male ego kicks in again. I'm with
my boys. We're drinking beer, watching
sports and the tightly dressed women
around us. The level of testosterone
tends to go up. while the conersation
tends to dumb down."
LDoesn t that happen jtabout
',?2 but h ee-n in
ina nod o etioment. adte
e ti ra igtem to drn ac
amontsof alcohol doesr.' eacrl
seem to inspire intelligent coat ersa-
rions. But then again, it might hax e
something to do with the qualitx of
beer that I'm drinking there too."
"So the quality' of beer determines

how mature someone's actions w
when thev duink?"
"No, the quality of the bar. The
word bars have this plastic, ultr
young, fast-paced multi-miedia in
It's pretty shallow. There isn't any
acter to them."
"Character?"
"Yeah, character. The two-word
have character. The one-word
don't."
"Lhhhhh7
"Loot it this a[axLin rxao-
ba. tobcan sittraand hate a
Sportscee
"But don' xo eel itelk
"Yuppie scum Yeah, a lite h
the same time. in order to go to p
w ith char'act r for an intelligent co
sation you have to sacrifice a lit
mean, the beer is better and comn

rn
ie.t you know_
some of the peo-

Jon Zemke
St Michge

ple at the bar compared to being a
freshman with no clue x, hat your iden-
tity is in a University of 30.000 plus. Ar

DAILY

ARTS

Courtesy of University Musical Society
Wynton MaIs s was one d a brigade of important artists to play Ann Arbor last year.

and the emerging new year. This
year, Janus watched as the 20th cen-
tury faded into history. The impossi-
ble became possible, even probable,
in this past century. Artistic walls

were opened, barriers broken; not
least in Ann Arbor were these the
hallmarks for the immediate past,
not to mention the departed century.
Janus is inevitably smiling.

4

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.I

Bebe MillerCo ay
Saturday, January 5,8p.m.
Power Center
Over the past decade, Bebe Miller has vaulted tc
the top ranks of American post-modern dance,
and her company's stellar reputation is built on
driving, high-energy dance in which every nuance
of movement is infused with meaning and every
fiber describes emotion.

Take 6

Monday, January 17, 8 p.m.
Hill Auditorium

call us today.

Celebrate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s
birthday with these a cappella superstars in their
UMS debut. The winner of seven Grammy Awards
and five Doves (Gospel Music Awards), Take 6's
concerts are a marvel of expression,
interpretation, and instrumentation.

THE
PRINCETON
REVIEW

1-800-2REVIEW

www.review.com

'I ' '~ * 1.
v,

U)niversty Musical Society'* 764.,253E

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