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October 07, 1999 - Image 20

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-10-07

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48 - The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine - Thursday, October 7, 1999




The Michigan Daily - Weekend,

Profs implement Internet, changing classroom dynamic

Loyal musicians take refuge from mafstr

By Sarah Blitz
For the Daily
In the wake of the current techno-
logical tornado, it seems we can do
everything except keep up with the
intensely rapid revamping of the
world. Heads are spinning in the
unending frenzy to get ahead, but it's
already too late. Now is the time to
aim for merely catching up: The vir-
tual world of the Internet is technol-
ogy's most timely and accessible
solution to the mystery of living at

warp speed.
University students already can't
imagine, nor scarcely remember, a
world without e-mail and the World
Wide Web. URLs are expanding
into the most common language spo-
ken around campus. Every class in
the course guie now has, at the very
least, an e-mail group if not its own
specialized web page. The newest
addition to these learning resources
on the Internet include COW (con-
ferencing on the Web) and e-note-
book, both of which allow students

to participate in an online forum by
discussing pertinent classroom top-
ics. Such formats encourage stu-
dents to express their opinions, fos-
ter a continual camaraderie of
shared ideas, and provide an atmos-
phere less intimidating than some
lecture halls.
Incorporated into many English
and political science classes, as well
as throughout the University, these
new online formats have generated
approval among many students and
teachers alike. LSA graduate student

instructor Emily Chan said the
Internet is "certainly positive. It has
significantly facilitated communica-
tion between me and my students."
As it increases communication
between teachers and students, the
internet has an innate tendency to
eliminate face-to-face interaction,
an activity that is frightening for
some students when dealing with
authoritative figures. LSA graduate
student instructor Sam Sommers
claimed assertively, "Students who
would otherwise have been too shy


or intimidated to approach their
instructors can do so over e-mail
This raises one of the most preva-
lent concerns about virtual commu-
nication. Does the comfort, security
and anonymity of one's PC interfere
with the development of students'
capacities for live interaction? This
question elicited a divergent mix of
"I don't care what anyone says,"
Engineering senior Pete Musgrave
said, "an e-mail relationship is no
substitute (for human contact)
between a student and a.teacher, and
when you have an emergency at
crunch time, you find that out."
Similarly, some teachers worry
that the value and quality of a good
old-fashioned handshake will be
lost. Based on current trends,
though, dissenters run the risk of
being left behind. Large numbers of
students and teachers alike declare
they are willing and eager to shower
their excitement upon technology's
revolutions. Despite fundamental
drawbacks to Internet communica-
tion, e-mail has won the hearts of
many wolverines from all corners of
the world.

By John Uhl
Daily Arts Writer
When asked recently what type of
music audience members could
expect from his group at this year's
Edgefest, multi-reedist and festival
performer Vinny Golia answered
sheepishly, "Well, it's called
Edgefest, so we decided it would be
a little edgy."
The recurring monosyllabic root
"edge" complacently refers to the
notion that Kerrytown Concert
House's third
annual jazz and
creative music
festival stands"
on the cutting gef '9
edge of the Kerrytown,
improvisational Various venues
music world.
And with a ros- October 7-9
ter of perform-
ers willing to
push the bound-
aries of their
music sonically,
and education-
ally, the festival earns its title's
This fact is apparent with even a
quick glance at the festival's roster,
which will divide its performers
among four local venues. Golia
diverges from the standard saxo-
phone sound by employing an array
of 20 different woodwind instru-

way to approach music and named it
"Po Music."
The University of Michigan
Creative Arts Orchestra juxtaposes
traditional symphonic instruments
and standard jazz orchestration in an
improvising milieu that provides the
University's music program with an
eclectic alternative to the standard
big band.
Also set to perform are the
acclaimed saxophone/bass duo of
Tim Berne and Michael Formanek
and Bobby Previte's Latin for
Travelers, a raucous band whose
classification might lie somewhere
in the neighborhood of inebriated
Of course, for experimenting
artists to exist at all, there must be
both an audience that anticipates the
unexpected and a performing envi-
ronment that tolerates this unpre-
dictability. And this association
between artist, venue and audience
seems to be an important factor in
the decision for performers to par-
ticipate in Edgefest.
"I like the area of the country,"
Golia said of Ann Arbor and
Kerrytown. "Every time I've been
there, the people are very, very nice
to me."
Melford's feelings are much the
same. "I've played at Kerrytown
before," she said, "and I had such a
great time. It's a wonderful space
(the concert house) and I like the

The sax/bass duo of Formanek(teft) and Berne(right) perform this w



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cert house as part of his third ensem-
ble configuration since May..
Kerrytown's amenable musical
setting has been a boon for local
artists as well. Tonight, this year's
festival opens with performances by
three groups who spent their forma-
tive years in Ann Arbor:
Transmission, Block and Explosion:
Appropriately enough, the 1999
edition of Edgefest 'is headlined by
Dutch saxophonist/composer
Willem Breuker, an artist who, per-
haps more than any other living per-
former, bases his conception of
music on the interrelationships
between artist, audience and per-
forming environment.
Breuker's lII-piece Kollektief can
assemble the influences of Duke
Ellington, free jazz, marching band,
circus and European classical
musics into a homogeneous mish-
mash so smoothly that some may
miss the dramatic breadth of their
palette. Yet the band's theatrical flair
certainly won't be missed when
members cavort with the audience or
perform vaudeville-like pranks on
stage - while the rest of the band
continues to play.
"I hate to sit in a row (at con-
certs)," Breuker said emphatically in
a recent interview from his home in
Amsterdam. Confine him to formal
speculation by the usual concert hall
settings, and he will quickly lose
interest in the stage and start pon-
dering "people sitting in their
frocks, or if their shoes are well pol-
ished or how is their hair or if they
have bellies."
The playwright Bertolt Brecht
also understood the audience's limit-
ed attention span. Unsatisfied to let
his plays become mere entertain-
ment, he devised a new technique
extolled by some admirers as "epic
theater." By scattering unsentimen-

tal compositions int
song-induced action
emphasize Brecht's m;
hold interest without
emotional histrionics.
The Kollektief's
sprightly stage antics
functionality whe
acknowledges his de
Breuker's symbiosis is
theater" in reverse, dr
ater to enhance the auc
ciation of his music.

Courtesy Pieter Boersma

Willem Breuker's11-member Kollektief perform at the Edgefest.

ments. Likewise, pianist Myra
Melford is interested in expanding
the textural scope of her piano trio,
Crush, in which Stomu Takeishi's
fretless electric bass is occasionally
attended by the dabbles of drummer
Kenny Wollesen and Melford, when
those two branch out into sampler
and harmonium (a small, hand-oper-
ated organ), respectively.
Saxophonist Joe McPhee,
impressed by Dr. Edward de Bono's
concept of lateral thinking (provoca-
tive, even outlandish, ideas inspire
accidental but welcome discoveries),
turned this thought process into a

people who run that festival."
These sentiments have not saturat-
ed the jazz world, and Kerrytown's
snug converted town house has posi-
tioned itself as an ideal stop for a
small community of musicians who
collaborate outside the mainstream.
"Their audiences are selective, but
not large," according to festival
coordinator Dave Lynch. Thus the
names of certain appreciative musi-
cians may appear on the Kerrytown
events calendar frequently. In
November, for instance, the interna-
tionally heralded drummer Gerry
Hemingway will appear at the con-

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We've BenTre

Joe McPhee weaves his

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