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January 11, 2002 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-01-11

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Triumphant Arc ...
The Michigan Theater is playing "Le
Passion de Jeanne D'Arc," the silent
great will be accompanied by a live
organ. Sunday at 2 p.m. Free.
michigandaily. com/arts

fIaFrbun Dau
ARTS

FRIDAY
JANUARY 11, 2002

The Bard visits the 'hood
in urban 'Romeo' update

Strand showcases
work to Haydn s
profound 'Christ'

By Rachel Lewis
Dily Arts Writer

Ph
T
dai

To most students, the rough urban streets of
hiladelphia bear notresemblance to the land-
scapes of 16th century Eng-
land, but to Rennie Harris,
the founder and director of
the Puremovement dance
Rome & company, the two might as
Jewels well be neighbors. This
weekend, those two worlds
Power Center will merge at the Power Cen-
Tonightand ter, as UMS gives Ann
omorrow at 8 p.m. Arbor the opportunity to
experience its first "hip-
-' hopera," "Rome & Jewels."
Inspired by, but only
loosely based on, "West Side
Story" and Baz Luhrman's
film "Romeo + Juliet," the
nce performance will retell the classic Shake-

The families in "Rome & Jewels" are distin-
guished by their style of clothing, theirmusi
and their very movement. The "b-boys" and.....b-.
girls" are characterized by dynamic break danc-
ing, which is mostly acrobatic floor work done
on bodily supports other than feet. The hip-hop
family is more verbal and political, but displays
an array of stylized social dances, creating a duel
not only between two rival gangs, but also <
between two competing dance styles.
These dance styles are performed by the
famous Puremovement dance company, a t
Philadelphia-based group founded in 1992, dedi-
cated to preserving and disseminating hip-hop
culture through workshops, classes, hip-hop his- :
tory lecture-demonstrations, long term residen-
cies, mentoring programs and public
performances. The company is committed to pro-
viding audiences with a sincere view of the courtesy ofUMS
essence and spirit of hip-hop rather than the Harris showing off his guns.
commercially exploited stereotypes portrayed by
the media. of the two art forms and the legitimate expres-
While Harris had originally intended to tell the siveness of hip-hop.
tragic story through dance alone, he was Harris finds the power of this compatibility in
intrigued by the possibility of fusing Shake- history, having observed that Shakespeare was a
speare's rich, Elizabethan language with the body poet of the people, writing for an audience that
language of hip-hop. To him, this was not only a he characterized as "the scourge of the earth."
way to blend together two forms of poetry, but Both hip-hop and Shakespeare, Harris has said,
also to blend together two groups of people. Eliz- "are about tragedy, love and death." Shakespeare
abethan verse and rap have been thought of as knew that the way to captivate people was
mutually exclusive when it comes to readership, through rhyme and rap employs a similar tech-
oftentimes considered symbols of high and low nique for a similar audience. The success of
art, respectively. The synthesis of the two in "Rome & Jewels," which has sold out in 90 per-
"Rome & Jewels" proves both the compatibility cent of its stops, can attest to that.
inredux of 'Candid Camera'

By Jim Schiff
Daily Fine/Performing Arts Editor
The "Seven Last Words of Christ"
is often considered to be Haydn's

Mark
Strand W/
Brentano
String
Quartet
Mendelssohn
Center
Sunday at 4 p.m

darkest and
most profound
work. Any
ensemble that
tackles the
piece has their
work cut out for
it - consisting
of long, solemn
movements, it
requires a great
deal of patience
on the part of
the musician
and the audi-
ence. But with
the Brentano
String Quartet
and Pulitzer

spearean play, combining Elizabethan language,
rap verse and hip-hop choreography. While
"West Side Story" features the rival gangs, the
Jets and the Sharks, "Rome & Jewels" pits the
"Monster Q's" (the "b-boy" family) against the
"Caps" (the "hip-hop" family).
Here, real life urban demons like teen sex and
adolescent gang violence force everyone to take
sides in the ongoing family feud. Harris has said,
"People like to look at them as gangs; I charac-
terize them as family. If you ask a gang member
about it, they say 'family first."'
Kenned stars

short time has risen to the pinnacle
of success. Currently the Quartet-
in-Residence at Princeton and NYU,
the members of Brentano pride
themselves on their interest in con-
temporary music. Always seeking to
adopt new musical ideas, Brentano
commissioned Strand to write poet-
ry to Haydn's piece. "With seven
slow movements, it's difficult to
concentrate and listen to without
some intervening speaking," said
Brentano violinist Mark Steinberg.
"We wanted something that would
be interesting and not completely
religious."
Haydn's "Seven Last Words"
actually originated as an orchestral
work and has taken several forms:
Whether performed by solo piano,
chorus or string quartet, the piece
represented a significant departure
for the composer. The back-and-
forth musical conversations charac-
teristic of Haydn's other string
quartets are noticeably absent from
"Seven Last Words." "The texture is
really very simple - mostly
melody and accompaniment," said
Steinberg. "The surface of the
music is not at all complicated, but
the expression of the music is very
profound and deep."
After many months of prepara-
tion, Brentano and Strand are eager
to introduce this original show to
Ann Arbor. Both are confident in
the ability of the music and poetry
to play off each other - and they
should be. With these artists as
Haydn's interpreters, the audience
can definitely look forward to an
otherworldly performance. "I think
it's going to shed a new light on the
piece," said Steinberg. "It's going to
give people a wonderful two-art
experience."

By Melissa Gollob
Daily Arts Writer
Just when you thought you were

safe from hidden
JKX: The
Jamie
Kennedy
Experiment
The WB
Sunday at 9
era." Kennedy wi

cameras and that
you could walk
into a public
place without
worrying about
being duped by
some hotshot
comedian, The
WB brings all
those fears back
to life with
"The Jamie
Kennedy Exper-
iment." Jamie
Kennedy stars,
in this updated
version of the
classic show
"Candid Cam-
11 try to attract a

scare and embarrass unsuspecting vic-
tims. Kennedy does not talk to a sepa-
rate audience about the skits, so his
impressions are non-existent. There
are also no voiceovers that narrate the
action. The lack of narration helps to
focus on the action of Kennedy and
the other participants. Without com-
ments from Kennedy or others, he lets
the sketches stand-alone. This is a
bold move for any show, especially a
mid-season premiere. Basing it solely
on his talent and the outrageous
actions of his marks, Kennedy is
putting himself on the line.
He dresses in full costume and
make-up to authenticate his charac-
ters. For the most part he appears con-
vincing enough for his ;target to
believe him, but some of his antics are
too extreme to be funny. In "The
Death of a Salesman" skit, Kennedy
becomes an infomercial inventor sell-
ing his product. While filming, an
accident occurs that appears to injure
a volunteer from the audience. The
other audience members refuse to par-
ticipate in testimonials about the prod-
uct until Kennedy offers other
incentives to endorse the product.
Although how he entices the audience
members to say they love his product
is funny, the injury and consequences

involved almost make the experiment
a complete failure before the skit
begins.
Johnny Knoxville's short-running
MTV show, "Jackass," featured regu-
lar people and their stunts. As a suc-
cessor to shows like "Jackass" and
NBC's "Fear Factor," it is Kennedy's
turn to do the action and stunts. The
show takes practical jokes to a new
level that exposes people in their
moments of weakness. Kennedy push-
es people to their limit and shows how
far someone would go in a situation.
But unlike "Fear Factor," the stunts
are not gross and Kennedy does most
of the work. The others are just along
for the ride. "The Jamie Kennedy
Experiment" also takes some of its
ideas from the Australian game show
"Who Dares Wins." Even though the
participants do not have a choice as in
these game shows, the mental control
required is the same for all. With a
Kennedy character in the targets'
faces, how they react will not only
show their true personality, but give
the rest of us a chance to laugh at their
silliness.
Kennedy attempts to be funny
throughout the show, but he tries too
hard throughout most of the first
episode. When he lets himself go in

Prize-winning poet laureate Mark
Strand at the helm, the "Seven Last
Words of Christ" has the potential
to be one of the most uplifting con-
certs of the year. This Sunday, the
audience will be treated to an ambi-
tious fusion of music and poetry.
Challenging our views of Christ
and his last hours on the cross,
Strand adopted the Gospel of
Thomas as a basis for his poems.
This original poetry, read between
the movements of Haydn's piece,
has been a two-year, labor-intensive
project for Strand. Differing from
the Canonical versions of Christ's
last words that appear in the New
Testament, the Gospel of Thomas
focuses on Christ as a wise man,
rather than a divinity. "They are
very poetic, they have subjectivity,"
said Strand. "You get a sense of
Jesus as a poet or a gifted preacher."
For Strand, composing poems to
the "Seven Last Words of Christ"
was both a new and rewarding expe-
rience. Though his works have often
been set to music, this was his first
commission in which he interpreted
a previously written orchestral
piece. In doing research with the
Gospels and other early Christian
texts, Strand worked hard to avoid
clich6s in his poetry. "You can't tell
the story again-you have to do
something else, otherwise you may
as well stick with the original," he
said. "The piece has a biblical air
about it, but at the same time, it's a
contemporary poem."
Undertaking such a project was
also challenging to the Brentano
String Quartet, who in a relatively

Jamie Kennedy has a show?

slightly older audience than the WB
usually draws with his hidden come-
dy. The situations are more early-
adult orientated, such as job
interviews and the awkward first
meeting of your significant other's
parents.
The show consists of sketches put
together by Kennedy to freak out,

the last sketch, he demonstrates his
potential for comedy and the show.
Jamie Kennedy can be funny when he
stops thinking and just plays off the
other actors and his unknowing prey.
Even though he does not have any
reoccurring cast members-other than
himself, Kennedy uses his supporting
cast well. "The Jamie Kennedy Exper-
iment" has some laughs but lacks the
knockout punch needed to make the
show a complete success at the
moment.

Courtesy of U
Smiling happy people holding strings.

Local Donkey Punch to unveil
new CD tonight at Blind Pig

,1By Stacy Anderson
Daily Staff Writer
Blind Pig has been the host to many a band over the
years, but one band has used this venue to create an
intense fan base and a loyal follow-
ing. Donkey Punch, formed in 1998
by seven University of Michigan stu-
dents, first started playing at friends'
Donkey parties and now headlines the 400-
Punch capacity Blind Pig. They've created
a well-blended mix of punk and ska
Bind Pig by using not only bass, guitar and
Tonight at 9:30 p.m. drums, but a trumpet and trombone
as well. And they have acquired
devoted fans, who know all the
l words to their songs and even swoon
over them like they were the Back-
street Boys.
After releasing their first CD, Your
Everything Else, they have achieved
fame in Ann Arbor, play regularly in Ohio and are even
planning an East Coast tour in May. This campus has had
the privilege of being able to see Donkey Punch on a reg-
ular basis, but soon this band will be all over the country.
This Friday night, they kick off the release of their new

CD, 8 Track, with a party at, you guessed it, the Blind
Pig. With Eric Day on vocals, Aaron Brink playing guitar,
Todd Bauer and Brian Drake on the trumpet, Todd Waters
on drums, Garrett Mendez playing trombone and Christo-
pher Lee on bass, this eclectic mix of performers and
melodies gives Donkey Punch a sound all their own.
"We'll have a longer set (at the Blind Pig), so we'll try to
throw in some old favorites," said Brink. For those of you
not acquainted with 'old favorites', try giving East Coast
Girl or Na Na Na a try. With lyrics like "She drinks
Woodchuck and I drink beer/She hunts for sanderabs and
I hunt deer/She's never even been under arrest/And I'm a
criminal from the Mid-west," you'll be singing along in
no time. "We always like our new stuff though," added
Lee.
At the record release show, they'll be playing with the
band PT's Revenge, which Lee and Brink describe as
"punk/pop/rock," and Few and Far Between, described as
"indie rock" "We'll jump around a lot and get the crowd
into it," said Lee. "We're entertaining to watch." Not only
will you be able to get an energetic, heart-pounding show,
but they'll also be giving away raffle tickets with prizes
like a Donkey Punch alarm clock, mouse, and snow
globe. There really is no reason not to be there. Be at the
Blind Pig at 9:30 p.m. tonight, bring a couple of friends,
and be prepared to see a refreshing and fun show.

[SPRING BREAK1

Dubrinsky, Gould play Tea Room
By Gina Pensiero written a lot of songs that I want to Dubrinsky, who has been playing

r

Law Library
Web Assistant Needed
0 Edit, scan, and create
documents; limited amount
of web design

Daily Arts Writer
Crazy Wisdom Tea Room will
host two local singer-songwriters,
Annie Dubrinsky and Jens Erik
r a C ad of, th oal band Curious

do by myself.

Local

They are per-
sonal and trav-
eling stories
inspired by a
trip to Europe,"

piano since the age of seven and
has always had a strong interest in
poetry, is supporting her indepen-
dent EP entitled "Try As I Might."
She often plays with a band but
will be performing tonight as a

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