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November 29, 1999 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-29

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The Michigan Theater screens "The Commitments" at 7 p.m.
This 1991 Alan Parker romp features a fun, lively rocking sound-
track and an exciting look at the forming of an Irish rock band in

ARTS┬ža ~~

Check out Breaking Records for a review of the new Richie
Hawtin album.

November 29, 1999

By Undswy Alpert
Daily Arts Writer
As winter quickly approaches, the hol-
iday season comes as well. Local malls
are packed with shoppers, houses are
vered in fairy lights and "The Radio
Christmas Spectacular" is brought
to life in various cities across the nation.
Looking at the faces behind the bright
smiles, eye-high kicks and teddy bear
costumes in the show, two faces may
look familiar. Rockette Kristi Young and
chorus member Matt Toronto graduated
from the University.
"I graduated in '98 with a degree in
Musical Theater," explained Toronto,
who will sing and
dance in the cho-
rus for his first
Radio City show.
The Young, howev-
ROCkettes er, is a six-year
veteran of the
Fox Theater show. "I had
Through Dec. 30 always seen the
Rockettes at
" Macy 's
Thanksgiving Day
Parade" and when
I saw an audition
posting in the
Trade Paper," I thought I'd be right for
the part," said Young, who danced and
co-directed with Impact Jazz Company
while at the University.
She competed against hundreds of
aspiring Rockettes auditioning across
the country to become one of the
roximately 200 current Rockettes.
Wce 1932, nearly 2,000 women have
danced as Rockettes.
Aspiring Rockettes must be proficient

Guitarist Meeks, Days of the New
rock St Andrew's during holiday

By David Reamer
Daily Arts Writer
Singer/guitarist Travis Meeks rolled
into St. Andrew's Hall in Detroit sporting
a new band with an old name, poised to
prove himself as one of the music indus-
try's newest golden boys. Following in
the wake of a successful new album,
released after a messy breakup between
Meeks and his old bandmates, Days of
the New came to impress, and did so
with gusto.
Canadian punk rockers Bif Naked got
the night started with an energetic No
Doubt impression, complete with tight
leather pants and a spandex shirt. Lead
singer Bif even played the cute, innocent
girl pioneered by Gwen Stefani in her
breathy segues between songs.
Of course, Bif Naked isn't No Doubt,
and the small St. Andrew's Hall crowd

Courtesy of Olympia Entertainment
The Rockettes perform during the holiday season at the Fox Theater.

in jazz, tap, ballet and modern dance,
and must also have vocal talents. "We
sing about four numbers in the show
while dancing, so it's kind of hard to
catch your breath," said Young.
Rockettes also must be between 5' 5"
to 5' 10" to meet a height requirement.
The tallest women are placed in the mid-
dle. Young is third from the middle this
year to create an optical illusion. "You
really have to work as a cohesive group,
so it takes a lot of practice" said Young.
"It's grueling work," said Toronto.
"The chorus goes in for rehearsal around
I p.m., practices for four hours, gets a
dinner break and then goes back until 9
p.m." Once the show starts its run, days
will become even longer. In the 5-week
run, the Christmas Show will be per-
formed 70 times, meaning there are
many days with three performances.
"It's tough," said Young, "It's kind of
like having finals week for a month. You
have to take your vitamins and eat right.
There's a ton of chocolate and coffee
Equally as tough is the performance
itself Cast members go through many
clothing changes between scenes, some
in less than 80 seconds. Rockettes have
10 costume changes, which includes
outfit, hats and their famous tights.
"Costume changes were the most diffi-
cult part to get used to," said Toronto,
who will appear as a polar bear and
robot. "My most difficult change is
when I have two minutes to change and
then run under the stage to get to the

other side for the next number."
Several teddy bears, such as Toronto's
polar bear, appear in the Nutcracker
scene. The bear costumes weigh up to 60
pounds and are extremely hot. "I have to
do normal ballet steps while in my polar
bear costume," said Toronto.
Two months of intensive work seems
like enough to burn out anyone, but not
Toronto or Young. Young came in from
Las Vegas where she performed as a
Rockette in the year-round "Great Radio
City Spectacular" show. She also holds
the distinction as one of the few
Rockettes to be a wife and mother.
"I'm the only one in the Detroit show
with a child," said Young. "I get a lot of
help from my husband and parents who
live here. I danced until I was about four
months pregnant and then took some
time off"
Toronto is also married. He lives in
New York now with his wife, who is
also an actress, dancer and singer. Since
graduating in '98, Toronto has per-
formed in the musicals "Chess,"
"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor
Dreamcoat" and "West Side Story."
So what might the pros suggest to the
aspiring college performers?
"Don't be afraid to try something
new," suggests Toronto. "When in
comes down to it, if you really want to
be an artist, just do what you feel is
right for you." For aspiring Rockettes,
Young recommends, "Work on your tap
dancing and practice those eye-high

Musician Travis Meeks is the only remaining member from the original Days of the New.

Days of
the New
St. Andrew's Hall
Nov. 23, 1999

was well aware of
that fact. From the
extended, crack-
ling intro track
until their final
song of the night,
the band was bar-
raged with cries of
"We want Travis"
and "Why don't
you play
After a more
than fashionably
long intermission,
Days of the New

and his guitar, he travels with a full
ensemble on tour. In addition to the bass,
drums and two guitars, the band was aug-
mented by a keyboardist and the stan-
dard belly-dancing backup vocalist.
During the course of the show, Days
of the New demonstrated Meeks' musi-
cal creativity by including a number of
interesting effects in their songs. Most
notably, a megaphone was used repeat-
edly to create a screeching vocal sound
like that in the hit single "Shelf in the
Room." Also recurring throughout the
set were synthesized violins and medita-
tive chants that filled the concert hall
with a pleasant, worldly atmosphere.
Days also showed their range during the
show, at times sounding more like an
acoustic jam session than anything else,
but at others forging a harmony between
vocals and the various guitars that was
almost hypnotic.
In the midst of a set spanning the
breadth of both of their studio albums,
Days' performance reached its musical
peak during a moving rendition of the
ballad "Weapon & the Wound." Soon
after came a solo performance of "Freak"

that received an appreciating ovation
from the audience. By far the most atyp-
ical song in the set was an extended,
heavily electronic version of the single
"Enemy," which had none of the reso-
nant beauty of the other songs in the set.
It was apparent from the beginning of
the set that Meeks was intoxicated. He
kept up a steady but occasionally baf-
fling banter with the crowd, mostly about
how much better he is than most other
rockers and how much he cares about his
fans. He did stop briefly to laud some of
the more worthy members of the music
industry, but then proceeded to bad-
mouth hard rockers in general.
His onstage antics even built to the
point where he refused to play his final
song until he was furnished with another
beer. Despite his obvious drunkenness,
Meeks' guitar work was impressive from
start to finish, and none of those present
for the finale of the show left disappoint-
ed. At the end of the night, Days of the
New had backed up Meeks' arrogant
words with a solid performance, and
demonstrated their worth as a unique
musical institution.

finally took the smoke-filled stage amid
the recorded sounds of thundering hoofs
and droning chants, immediately break-
ing into "Flight Response," the first track
off of their new album. Strobe lights cut
through the artificial fog during the
song, an effect that was repeated often,
to the delight of the crowd. Although the
band is essentially comprised of Meeks
I as


Errors hinder AIDS exhibition reels in fun

By Nick Faizone
Daily Arts Writer
ince most central campus community members do not
frequent North Campus on a regular basis, an art exhibit
staged in Pierpont Commons would have to be both entic-
ing and unique to draw a significant number of visitors
who did not live or study in the building's immediate
vicinity. Yet the newest exhibit to open there - a small,
uninspired presentation that attempts to stress AIDS
awareness - is not even alluring enough to attract those
who normally visit the area.
The presentation, neither intriguing
nor striking, focuses on a selection of
artwork located in one of the building's
AIDS lounges. The exhibit dominates the
AwareneSS room; there are works featured both in
Exhibit the center of the area and on three of the
Pierpont Commons four walls surrounding the lounge's fur-
Through Dec. 3, 1999 niture.
Upon first glancing at the multitude
of works, most consisting of red, black
and clear horizontal and vertical ban-
ners, it is easy to discern the topic of the
exposition. Phrases such as "End the
silence" and "totally preventable" jump
out at the viewer, as do the ubiquitous
red ribbons, symbols for AIDS awareness.
A closer look at the artwork, however, shows that
much of it has been assembled without a great deal of
care. For example, the center of the lounge features two
clear plastic cubes, one on top of the other. Affixed to
two sides of each cube are long clear sheets of plastic
with AIDS statistics and information written on them in

black paint. A closer look, though, shows that the plas-
tic cubes are conspicuously cracked, an example of neg-
ligence that the artists could have easily corrected
before the exhibit debuted.
Perhaps even greater testament to the presentation's
mediocre assemblage is the artwork located on the exhibit's
south wall. This side of the exposition consists of eight verti-
cal banners - four made of a clear plastic which, once again,
feature AIDS information and statistics in black writing -
mounted on glass. The painters have highlighted the most
important phrases on the banners by painting a white back-
ground behind them. Perhaps they did not intend for anyone
to read what they had written, however, for they have care-
lessly misspelled many words which are central to the com-
prehension of the phrases.
For example, instead of writing "avoiding the sharing of
needles;' the artists chose instead to paint "avoing" and "nee-
dle's." In addition, the painters frequently added or left off
portions of the phrases' words. "Ununprotected" appears
instead of "unprotected," 't' in lieu of "to." The effectiveness
of this portion of the exhibit is ruined when the viewer dis-
covers - through the frequent spelling mistakes - how
shoddily the painters assembled the banners.
Although there are no rules in art, it is obvious that the
exhibit's negligent installation does not help contribute to
greater understanding of the presentation's purpose. The
carelessness only aids the viewer in seeing just how
quickly the artists put together the exhibit. Though the
exposition addresses an important topic in American soci-
ety - AIDS prevention and cognizance - it approaches
the subject in a trifling manner, consequently turning the
viewer away from both the artwork and, perhaps, further
understanding of the issue.

by the ton
Sega Bass Fishing
Fishing is probably one of the
strangest genres of video games to have
made it to this country, at least until the
Japanese fish/man crossbreeding simula-
tor "Seaman" comes over. The really
weird thing about "Bass Fishing" is it's
really fun.
This incarnation is not a simple simu-
lation of sitting on the back of a rowboat
and waiting for something you can't see
to take your bait; you can see the lure
under the water and the fish around it. A
disembodied voice, presumably a back-
seat angler, rambles on about fish within
striking distance. While this commentary
on proximity is pretty good, he's dead
wrong most of the time on how to move
your rod. That's not a problem, however,
because the game's learning curve is
pleasantly low.
Arcade mode is a simple set of four

stages requiring you to catch a certain
amount of pounds of fish in a limited
amount of time at each location. Since
the "Average Size" fish can be under two
pounds and you need 13 pounds in one
minute, the fishing is a mad dash much
of the time. Don't worry, you can keep on
going when time runs out by pressing the
start button. And when you continue
while a bass is hooked, you get the incon-
gruous command "Fight!!" It would
make more sense if you had to beat a
huge, vicious fish pwith an oar or risk
being pushed into the lake, but it's still
pretty fun. And if it happens while a fish
is being hooked, you get to stare at the red
innards of the bass. Freaky.
Original mode adds ways of playing
and new environments. Competition
enters the mix as you must be in the top
10 out of 40 fisherman in terms of bass
weight to continue, with increasingly
more stringent standards as you

progress. And given a bad round of
fishing, you may easily fall back in the
pack. To be competitive you need to
catch big fish quickly in fishing spots
you haven't been to before and hopeful-
ly with special lures that have been
awarded to you but you have not used
yet. Fear of getting knocked out of
competition as well as the boat rocking
glee of pulling in a lot of big fish and
ending up with 20 more pounds of bass
than anyone else can make the game
strangely exciting. And you'll be proud
to display the plaques you win in your
virtual trophy room if you're good
enough to place first in a tournament.
"Sega Bass Fishing" is the surprise of
the current crop of Dreamcast games.
Fun, addictive and full of continuing
playability, the disc will complement
Sega's newest platform quite nicely. Like
the game says, enjoy your fishing.
- Ted Watts

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