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February 05, 2001 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-02-05

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8A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 5, 2001

ARTS

Afro-Caribbean inspired
.1 0

k"

pop songs rule during

MtSs

Rackham to.
host Dunn.
reading
By Marie Bernard
For the Daily
The first time I heard Stephen Dunn
read I was 15 years old. At the time, all
of my intellectual abilities were held

By Chris Kula
and Christian Hoard
Daily Arts Writers
Forget about the synthetic "oonce
oonce" of techno: Latin music is the
ultimate form of dance music. Some-
thing about the combination of layered
percussion, bright horns and lively
polyrhythms makes for an undeniable
and joyous groove - which, we spec-
ulate, is exactly the reason why so
many well-known artists chose to
incorporate these elements into their
recorded output during the '80s.
The songs on this list comprise the
best Reagan-era attempts at mixing
mainstream pop music with either
Latin or Afro-Caribbean inspired
sounds. Some of the artists featured
below worked frequently in this hybrid
style, while others were simply dyed-
in-the-polyester pop stars trying to
cash in on a new fad. Either way, these
tunes all are equally deserving of
heavy, heavy rotation on Ann Arbor
radio-stations.
10. "Hot, Hot, Hot" by Buster
Poindexter
Ole, ole, ole! This salsa-inflected
number recently set a Guinness world
record by inspiring the highest number

of wedding reception conga lines in
just one hour (exactly 43). "Hot, [lot,
Hot" marked the biggest career hit for
Poindexter, a saxman and bandleader
best known for his alleged role as the
ghost of Christmas past in Bill Mur-
ray's "Scrooged" ("Hot, Hot Hot" is
not to be confused with "Ho ho ho").
9. "Pass the Dutchie" by Musical
Youth
An early anthem in the war for mar-
ijuana legalization, "Pass the Dutchie"
shocked the world as Musical Youth's
five Rastafarian youngsters glorified,
through their catchy, kiddie-reggae
tune, the smoking -- and subsequent
passing to the left - of pot. In 1982,
the underage members of Musical
Youth were brought before an anti-
quated, white-wigged federal court on
two counts of possession with intent to
sell as well as resisting arrest, but after
breaking into a spirited rendition of
"Dutchie," all charges were dropped.
8. "The Rhythm of the Night" by
DeBarge
After polishing their gospel-style
vocal chops Sundays at the Fountain
Street Church, the DeBarge farmily
broke out of the fertile Grand Rapids
music scene with "Rhythm of the
Night." Well-known pop music critic

John Gonzalez called it "the most
authentic expression of feel-good
Latin energy by a West Michigan
group since 'The Freshmen' by The
Verve Pipe." Rumor has it that El
DeBarge progeny Chico DeBarge still
can feel the rhythm of the night, and
that he indeed dances until the morn-
ing light.
7. "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul
Simon
As his 1986 Graceland album is the
epitome of bastardizing - er, incorpo-
rating distinctly African musical ele-
ments, it's no surprise that Rhymin'
Simon is represented on this list. The
hard part, though, is selecting just one
song from this excellent collection of
slyly appropriated musical collabora-
tions. We went with "Al" because
we're big Chevy Chase fans. Accord-
ing to popular legend, the song's title
was inspired by Ladysmith Black
Mbambazo member Alangoneyou
Dhamshombo who said to Simon,
"Mr. Paul, you can call me Al, because
you're too fucking lazy to learn my
given name."
6. "You Shook Me All Night Long"
by AC/DC
"Well the walls were shakin'/The
earth was quakin'/My mind was
achin'/We were makin' it"-- this one
speaks for itself.
5. "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel was originally the
singer for Genesis, an art rock band
from England. After being replaced by
Phil Collins, Gabriel moved to South
Africa, where he lived in a shanty-
town for several years, learning local
customs and living with a woman who
spoke no English. Legend has it that
this track was originally called "Flies
Are Breeding (In Your Eyes)," and was
inspired by Gabriel's memories of the
multitude of malnourished corpses
preyed on by swarms of mosquitos.
When he returned Stateside, a lengthy,
half-coherent speech by John Cusack,
who for encouragement held aloft a
boom-box blasting Collins' "Sussu-
dio," convinced Gabriel to change the
tune to a more accessible, groove-
inflected romantic ode to red-eye syn-
drome.
4. "Africa" by Toto
Toto was Dorothy's dog; Dorothy
was swept up in a tornado and sent to
Oz. Speaking of Oz, that place was
just as foreign to Dorothy as Africa
must have been to Toto the band when
they wrote this slice of. new-age
cheese, what with their distinctly non-
African synthesizers and overwhelm-
ing whiteness. "Boys," a Columbia

Stephen
Dunn
Rackhamj
Auditorium
Today at 5 p.m.

captive by the
irregularities of
adolescence and
I wasn't particu-
larly interested in
poetry. To this
kid, the language
of poetry was as
accessible and
comprehendible
as Sanskrit.
In the four
years since that
November read-
ing, Stephen
Dunn's work has

vi

Courtesy of PGD/Polygram Records
Buster Poindexter is not to be confused with Busta Rhymes. Hot!

Records exec. must have said, chomp-
ing on a cigar and throwing his arm
around the shoulders of drummer Jeff
Porcaro, "You ain't never been to
Africa, have you?" No, sir. "Well,
that's alright. With a beguilingly allur-
ing chorus like that, each of you
shoulk make yourselves enough
scratch to fund your very own African
rhino safari."
3. "Red, Red Wine" by UB40
"Red, Red Wine" combines a
blissed-out tune with immaculate pro-
duction, a slick pseudo-reggae sound
and one all-important X-factor: An
appeal to Americans' weak-kneed
longing for vin rouge. Sure, purists
might note that while an authentic reg-
gae outfit like Third World would
rather cruise the streets of Kingston
and pass big spleefs back and forth,
this inauthentic reggae band from the
not-so-mean streets of Birmingham,
England, chose to record a Neil Dia-
mond song devoted to a drug that you
can purchase at any corner liquor
store. But guess which band had a hit
on VI-l?
2. "Kokomo." by the Beach Boys
The Beach Boys rose to fame with
songs that were about all the best Cali-
fornia had to offer- girls. fast cars
and surfing, namely. But by 1986, the
Golden State just wasn't cutting it as a
source of pop song fodder. For truly
faddish subject matter, you had to look
to super-exotic locales like those
showcased in "Miami Vice." Jimmy
Buffett tunes or the Christopher
Atkins-vehicle "The Blue Lagoon."
This in mind. Beach Boys vocalist

Mike Love assembled his remaining
beach brethren to record "Kokomo," a
tune that name-checked Caribbean
provinces like a 7th-grader frantically
trying to finish his geography report.
It's not brimming with genius like the
oldies, but you gotta respect the
kitschy "tropical" melody as well as
the video, which features TV legend
John Stamos on drums and Mr. Love
miming the Kenny G-style sax solo.
1. "All Night Long (All Night)" by
Lionel Richie
Unlike Madonna, Prince and several
other pop stars who turned out an arm-
load of hits during the '80s, Lionel
Richie was never terribly obsessed
with "reinventing" himself, not count-
ing that one time when he quit the
Commodores, grew that wicked jherri-
curl and became an introspective
ladies' man. But with "All Night Long
(All Night)" Richie cast himself as an
easy-listening pied piper, summoning
anyone who would listen --and
especially wearers of pastels, drinkers
of wine coolers and your mom, too -
to get their lite-funk groove on. This
No. I marked the first time since he
lent his voice to the 'dores "Brick-
house" that Lionel went out of his way
to make some feel-good music, and
the party-time horns, silky synths and
multi-ethnic chants certainly didn't
hurt his cause. "lello. Is it me you're
looking for?" No, Lionel, we ain't
looking for nothin' but a good time,
and so long as this tune is on the
stereo, we've just called to say thanks
for the merriment. Let the music play
on ... play on ... play on ...

Courte:sy of SM Entrtamnit

Lionel Richie likes to sing "All Night Long (All Night)."

'Plant Life' harkens back to Spring with nature

By Rosemary Metz
Daily Arts Writer

first item on display.
medicinal purposes as

Herbals were used for
well as garden plants in

"If winter is here, can spring be far behind?"
This might be the theme for the Plant Life exhi-

bitions currently
of the Museum
UM Museum of Art
Through March 4

on display in the Paper Gallery
of Art. This exhibit offers a
number of works which are
inspired by the world of
botany. The natural world is
depicted in this collection
ranging from herbals from
16th Century Western
Europe through modern
etchings.
Herbalists advised, in
1597 that, "there will be
diverse herbs comprehended
under the title of Fumitorie,
some wilde, some with bul-
bous or tuberous rootes."
The common, or purple

thel5th and 16th Centuries.
Groupings include an "Ilodgsonia Heterclita,"
done in sepia tone by Sir J. Dalton Hooker in
1855. This work bears a similarity to Georgia
O'Keefe's sensual renderings of' exploding seed
pods and opulent flower petals. An aqua print
freesia by Donald Sutton, and Olivia Parker's
glorious "Two Cyclamen," complete the spring
ensemble.
An etching and aquatint of "Apple Blossoms,
20th Century" was done by Leonard Baskin.
Baskin was also a noted sculptor. His Holocaust
remembrance piece stands at the east corner of
the Rackham Building. Next to this piece is
"Sunflower III," by Joan Mitchell, a color
aquatint.
Riotous colors surround the sunflower, an evo-
cation of summer heat and nature's palette.
Johannes Teyler's "Bowl of Flowers" is a tease,
as well.
Reds, yellows, purples tumble from a glass
bowl, with saucy tendrils toppling along the

sides. Ikeda Zuigitsu presents a color woodblock
block, entitled "Dendrobrium Wardianum," a
minimalist representation of flowered branches,
with the often paradoxical least, yet fullest of
detail. "Monument Valley, 1982" is William
Lemke's gelatin silver print, suggesting Califor-
nia and the Sonoran Desert in warm, sunny cli-
mates.
To further nudge the travel bug, there is a plat-
inum palladium print by Lois Connor of Yang-
shoo, China. A reach into the past brings the
viewer to Palermo-the Botanic Garden, Avenue
of the Palms, done on albumen print by Giorgio
Sommer, in 1870. Both prints are alluring with
their call to far away places.
Expressign of the natural world remains an
inspiration for the creative and scientific commu-
nities. Herbals, seedpods, and flowers are sources
of life and study for the botanist and artist. Our
physical and social lives are enhanced each day
by the presence of plants in all seasons. for this
wintry season, with slush, snow, high winds and
sleet, a trip into the plant world offers a welcome
respite and a sign of the spring days ahead.

found its way into every aspect of my
thinking. Favorite writer. Period. I am
officially obsessed, and I love poetry -
or at least, his poetry.
Today Dunn is reading from his new
collection, "Different Hours," at Rack-
ham Auditorium.
Dunn, a New Jersey native at the
Rackham School of Graduate Studies-
faculty-in-residence, has published
eleven books of poetry, including
"Loosestrife," "Between Angels,"
"New and Selected Poems: 1974-1994"
and "Riffs and Reciprocities (Prose
Pairs)." He has also published a book of
prose, "Walking Light: Essays and
Memoirs" He is the recipient of the
Academy Award in Literature from the
American Academy of Arts and Letters
and the Livens and Oscar Blumenthal
Prizes from The Journal of Poetry,
among other homes. lie has been
awarded fellowships from the National
Endowment for the Arts, the New Jer-
sey State Council of the Arts and the
Rockefeler and Guggenheim Founda-
tions. The New York Times called him
"one of the strongest voices of his gen-
eration."
Dunn's work is compelling by virtue
of its brutal honesty. It is compelling by
the light he casts on our seemingly rou-
tine actions. It is compelling by his
uncanny ability to capture the most
accurate and revealing details of our
lives. "Because finally the personal/is
all that matters." he writes in "Essay on
the Personal." "We spend years describ-
inc stones/chairs, abandoned farmhous-
es /until we're ready. Always/it's a
matter of precisioniwhat it feels like/to
kiss someone or to walk/out the door.
Slow good it was/to practice on
stones/which were things we could
love/without weeping over."
To call h-is work simply "accessible"
would be to undenine the very com-
plexity which makes it function so
accurately. It is true that his work is
accessible, but he makes it so by reveal-
ing the secret functions of what once
seemed vague or abstract. lie puts life
into words. As writer Richard Wilbur
said. "To read a few lines of a Stephen
Dunn poem is to feel suddenly in touch
with the way things are, and the way we
really feel about them."
His work focuses on a variety of
subjects, but he tends to stray frequent-
ly towards the reahn of relationships. In
his poem, "After Making Love" Dunn
writes: "No one should ask the other,
'what were you thinking?'/No one, that
is, who doesn't want to hear about the
past/and its inhabitants, or the strange
loneliness of the present/filled even as
it may be, with pleasure, or those snap-
shots/of the future, different heads on
different bodies."
Often, he is also extremely humorous
- perhaps my strongest recollection of
that first reading is "Decorum," a poem
that sent the captivated room into stitch-
es.
If you have ever enjoyed a poem.
ever enjoyed a word or a sentence made
of words, ever hated a poem, ever had a
thought, ever had a feeling, ever lived,
or ever breathed, see Stephen Dunn
today. As Judith Kitchen wrote. "What
is at stake in his poetry is more imme-
diate and more essential: How to live
the one life we're given with integrity,
with humor and exuberance, and, yes,
grace.
DAILY ARTS
SEEKS YOUNG,
INEXPERIENCED
WRITERS WHO

ARE WILLING TO
LAY THEIR LIVES
ON THE LINE

0
6'

S

Courtesy of Olivia Park~er
Olivia Parker's works will be exhibited
at the Museum of Art.

Fumitorie is drawn alongside the less common,
white variety in a hand colored woodcut, the

D L G O

Experience the power of a
forty-foot tall robot in 'Blaze'

University of Michigan Business School

0 0 90 " s

r7" " fbruarv Q ,ndi

11th New Di rections
Asian f"rAsia 0@@ ,O@
Businesst~ ayn buline
Business ' and make imorrant
Conference . Connections
Keynote by Kenneth G. Lieberrhal
Senior Director for Asia, National Security Council
Panel Sessions:
u _R;, . Thk Fnnhled1 Acirn unrcno m

By Jeff Dickerson
Daily 'T'V/New Media Editor
Imagine a world where the A-Team
is lead by Optimus Prime rather than
George Peppard's classic portrayal as
John "Hannibal" Smith. Instead of

t

motoring the streets

Gungriffion
Blaze

of Los Angeles in
Mr. T's van
(Why the van? If
you had i11 sib-
lings you'd be
driving a van
too), you take
control of a
forty-foot tall
robot with one
thing in mind ...

Playstation 2, the "Gungriffon" series
makes the transition faithful to its pre-
decessors while improving the graphics
ten-fold. Aside from the meticulously
detailed war mechs, the other visual
elements are a disappointment. Build-
ings consist of several boxes placed
together and the rest of the background
is filled with dull images of blue sky
and grassy terrain. Considering the
tremendous power of the Playstation 2,
"Gungriffon Blaze" fails to impress in
the graphics department.
When operating a large metal object
or any other form of heavy machinery,
control is of utmost importance. Thank-
fully the developers took this into con-
sideration. When you're "on the jazz,"

the tight movements make for missions
that are fun. not frustrating. Too often
in the "giant planet eating robot" genre
the complicated controls bog down the
fundamentals of gameplay.
Wondering what the premise is? In
the year 2020 the 501st GriflOn squad
was sent to bring about world peace for
a war they didn't start. These mecha-
nized tanks of destruction promptly
escaped from a maximum-security
stockade to the Los Angeles under-
ground. Today, still wanted by the gov-
ernment, they survive as robots of
fortune. If you have a problem, if no
one else can help, and if you can fid
them, maybe you can hire the 501st
Griffon squad.

Grade: B-
For Playstation 2
Workinn- Designs

INJ

I ,

J

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