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April 05, 2002 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-05

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Student Film Festival ...
Film Farm showcases the best in
student filmmaking. Saturday at
Angel Hall Auditorium A.
8 p.m. $3.
michigandaily.com

ARS

FRIDAY
APRIL 5, 2002

5

'Compulsive Lyres'

'Tripping' probes
psyches and souls

"

a

continuing success

d

By Neal Pais
Daily Books Editor

By Jim Schiff
Daily Fine/Performing Arts Editor

For some of us, the third time's a charm. But
for the Compulsive Lyres, the first time was the
winning ticket. Newly minted as the university's
premier a cappella
group, the Lyres will
take their award-win- I I
ning repertoire to East T COMPULSIVE
Hall Auditorium
tomorrow night. LYRES
The Lyres were East Hall Auditorium
shocked a few weeks
ago to learn that they Tomorrow at 8 p.m.
had advanced to the
final round of the
International Championship of Collegiate A Cap-
pella (or ICCA) competition. Besting fellow uni-
versity ensembles, such as 58 Greene, the Dicks
& Janes and Gimble, the Lyres placed first both
in the Midwestern quarterfinal and semifinals.
The final round, held at Lincoln Center in New
York City, will allow them a shot at the ultimate
prize: The title of best collegiate a cappella group
in the nation.
The news of their advancement was particular-
ly overwhelming for the Lyres, who entered the
ICCA for the first time this year. The last ensem-
ble from Michigan to perform in the final round
was Amazin' Blue in 1998. "It's been a Cinderel-
la year for the group," said Lyres musical director
Senior Mark Surprenant. "We started pretty much
at ground zero in September with a new focus on
music."

A self-proclaimed
"social organization," the
Lyres shifted gears this
year into competition
mode. Performing popu-
lar favorites such as
Chicago's "Hard to Say
I'm Sorry," they gained .
the attention of audi-
ences and critics alike.
Their newfound success
was first manifested on
the Best of College A They make the other a ca
Cappella (or BOCA) CD. As the only university
group featured on this year's BOCA disc, the
Lyres, in the course of a few months, have become
one of the nation's finest a cappella ensembles.
"Most of the group had never even seen the
inside of a recording studio before, so we really
put all our eggs in one basket," said Surprenant,
reflecting on the BOCA experience. "My jaw
almost hit the floor when we got the call saying we
were going to be featured on this disc."
The Lyres attribute their newfound success to
lengthy rehearsals and a highly collaborative work
ethic. Though Surprenant arranges most of the
group's music, in recent months, many of the
younger members have stepped up to the plate.
Surprenant hopes that at some point in their Lyres
career, each singer will arrange and rehearse at
least one song. "This year has brought us closer
together than we ever thought possible," Suprenant
said. "The unity is reflected in the music - you
can see it on stage and hear it in our sound."
Convening on April 28, the concert at Lincoln

Courtesy of The Compulsive Lyres
pella bands look like a bunch of pussies.
Center features the top six ensembles from
around the nation. There, the Lyres will face
groups from Oregon, Boston University, the Uni-
versity of Maryland, Cornell and Skidmore Col-
lege. Though the competition is steep, Surprenant
is confident in the Lyres chances to take home
the trophy. Regardless of the outcome, the group
is most anticipating the performance at such a
prestigious venue and in the company of such
fine ensembles. "It's going to be a great show,"
said Surprenant. "It's been awhile since a U-M
group has made it this far, and we're looking for-
ward to showing the nation what the maize 'n
blue can do."
At tomorrow's concert, the Lyres will perform
their competition set in addition to their favorite
tunes. Jesse Nager, who won the best soloist
award in the semifinal round of IACC, will lead
the group in "Hard to Say I'm Sorry." The show
will also feature rock band U2's "Still Haven't
Found What I'm Looking For" and Vox One's
"Over the Rainbow."

It is the opinion of Charles Hayes,
author and proponent of responsible psy-
chedelic experimentation that "there are
now even more compelling reasons to
sanction the practice of judicious psyche-
delic use." Posed with the question of
drug use in the aftermath of Sept. 11,
Hayes recently offered this insight to
Tikkun magazine, a pro-
gressive periodical focus-isc
ing on Jewish culture and
politics. 1
In his new book "Trip-
ping," Hayes exposes the TRI]
significant emotional By Char
impacts psychedelics have p .u
offered to myriad persons Pengu
from all walks of life.
From this great range of perspectives,
influenced by various psychotropic
drugs, comes the recognition that psy-
chedelics play a much greater role in
society than what they are accredited
with. What is even more impressive is
that most of the authors are now success-
ful, respectable members of society; this
aspect of the book helps to dismantle
some of the stigmas surrounding misun-
derstood drugs such as LSD and psilocy-
bin (the active psychedelic agent found
in "magic mushrooms").
All of the narratives found within
Hayes' anthology are delightfully elo-
quent. An abundance of literature has
spawned from the annals of the drug cul-
ture; much of this material fails to draw
considerable notice, generally due to a
cheaper, hastily conceived approach.
However, "Tripping" proves to be an
exception to this standard, with each
story more endearing and appreciable
than the last. Also interesting is the inclu-
sion of brief background sketches of
each writer; describing their occupation,
place of birth and current residence
allows readers to grow more attached to
the speakers, thus drawing more value
from the real trip accounts.
Particularly wonderful is "A Blink of
Rabbit Fur," a story by a Scottish woman
residing in Southeast Asia. The narrative
details an unexpected but deeply mean-
ingful first taste of mature sexuality
under the influence of Ecstasy. The
account is particularly fascinating
because it tenderly articulates the mental-
ity of a female teen while exploring the
effects of MDMA on interpersonal expe-
riences. Also captivating is an experience
reported by "Carl," a biochemistry
PhD. raised in the American Southwest.
Discussing his experience on peyote in
the canyons of Arizona, the story is pro-
foundly philosophical, deeply probing

PP
rle

perception, reality and happiness.
Along with 48 other, similarly enter-
taining stories is a transcribed conversa-
tion with the late Terrence McKenna, a
celebrated shamanologist, scholar and
spokesperson for the psychedelic experi-
ence. The dialogue includes McKenna's
theories about psychedelics throughout
time as well as fascinating discussions
about the dissolution of consciousness
while under the influence of powerful
psychoactive.
Although "Tripping"
does sometimes romanti-
cize the experiences, a dis-
tinct stress on personal
PING responsibility is main-
es Hayes tained throughout the
book. Not all of the
Compass reports are pleasant
some are, in fact extreme-
ly frightening - yet they are valuable.
The book simply seeks to educate people
about the possibilities that psychedelics
can potentially offer those who are pru-
dent and strong enough to experiment
with them. Hayes made clear his individ-
ualistic stance on psychedelics, saying in
an interview, "I don't advocate the use of
psychedelics. I advocate their being
made acessible to those who could bene-
fit from them."
What ultimate emerges from his "Trip-
ping" is non-technical education about
the nature of many commonly used hal-
lucinogens and empathogens. The book
is compiled exceptionally well, making
for an entertaining and valuable read.
And it certainly lives up to Hayes' own
statement at the conclusion of his pref-
ace: "If dreams conjured in sleep should
have any meaning for those awakened
by them, then these (stories) gathered
here, spun out of some keen yet alien
wakefulness, might have even more."
Q,48R""

Corwin's 'And Still We Rise'
offers triumphant short tales

By Laura LoGerfo
Daily Arts Writer
The triumph over tremedous dis-
advantage is, and always has been,
one of the more ubiquitous themes
in literature. Most such stories are
cheap and trite, yet the tales in "And
Still We Rise" do not reflect this
common trend.
"AndStill We Rise," written by
award-winning Los Angeles Times
journalist Miles Corwin, follows,
for one school year, 12 bright,
industrious and thoughtful teenagers
in a South Central high school's
gifted and talented program.
Corwin focuses his attention on
the seniors in an Advanced Place-
ment English class taught by an
embittered teacher named Toni Lit-
tle. The story's narrative shifts fre-
quently between Little and her
students. While the teacher feels tor-
mented by her English department
chair, provoked into vicious battles
over the curriculum, her pupils
struggle with their own more tragic
battles.
Olivia, a beautiful, extraordinarily
intelligent and savvy student,
bounces between nasty foster homes
and crummy rat-infested apart-
ments, finding herself unexpectedly
derailed from her once-inevitable
college scholarship. Another smart
girl who has persevered through
much family drama leaves school

when she becomes pregnant, only to
return the following semester, jug-
gling baby formula with calculus
formulas. One young man jettisons
the gang to which he once belonged
in order to earn a col-
lege scholarship, but
loses momentum when
he perceives the isola-
tion he has wrought on
himself.AND S
These stories are R
gripping, and they are By Mile
important to know and
understand. Too often, Harpe
the media feeds us tales
of South Central horror: Rampant
murders, vicious gangs, anarchic
streets. Corwin shows us the hope
that lives in the hearts and minds of
these students.
However, the author's bias some-
times interferes with these stories,
distracting us from the pure message
of hope and inspiration. Little, the
English teacher, suffers from
burnout and a martyr complex,
vehemently lecturing her students
about the sacrifices she has made
for them. But the entire school con-
siders Little their most gifted
teacher, and the lectures which sub-
stantiate her good reputation are
given short shrift.
Indeed, Corwin begins the story
as a relatively objective journalist
and ends as an active, empathetic
participant. He substitute teaches at

T
-I
e s
erC

the school, drives Olivia to court
appearances, and buys products that
Olivia sells. Four of the 12 students
with whom the author bonds most
tightly grab the spotlight so fre-
quently that the audi-
ence is left in the dark
about the other intrigu-
ing students.
Corwin's personal
ILL WE crusade against.affir-
SE mative action is mani-
Cor.in fested through
Corwin repetitive discussions
Collins of California's repeal
of proposition 209, the
controversial legislation that ended
affirmative action in that state. Yet
most of the students in this book
head to private colleges outside of
California with substantial mone-
tary offers in hand, except for the
few who are sidetracked into jail or
family obligations. The argument
does not seem to fit this story. Cor-
win's arguement would be better
suited if he returns to the material
in a few years to witness the conse-
quences of this controversial repeal.
Overall, "And Still We Rise"
offers one incredibly interesting
story that comprises many vivid
dramas of defeat and success with
which the reader cannot help but
sympathize. Corwin's bias may be
forgiven when one considers her
own impassioned reaction to the
personal accounts, five years after

the stories were lived.
In the tradition of Alex Kot-
lowitz's "There Are No Children
Here" and Jonathon Kozol's "Sav-
age Inequalities," Miles Corwin
presents a tale that at once pro-
vokes terrible sadness but also
great hope.

,

j

Fi iThe tragic story of the trial and lynching of a Northern
Jew wrongly accused of killing a young Atlanta girl.

A LOVE STORY A TRUE STORY A MUSICAL

Delta Heavy

Tour will keep

tecimo-lovers in musical trance

'Parade s one of the most gratifying serious book
musicals in a ong time. - Newsday
Winnerf 2 Tony Awards!
Book by Alfred Uhry, author of Driving Miss Daisy
Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
April 11 - 13 at 8pm - April 14 at 2pm
Power Center . LUM Musical Theatre Dept.
s .League Ticket Onfce 734-764-2538

By Jeremy Kressmann
Daily Arts Writer
Love it or despise it, trance has
been part of our collective con-
sciousness like the
hickey you got from
your significant other.
When you caught on DELTA
the first time, it was SPRIN
fun and spontaneous. T
Yet, much like the
hickey, trance has left Michigan
interesting scars on the Tomorrov
realm of electronic $2
music.
Some have criticized trance as
being the "dumb" cousin of dance
music. It is often overproduced,
repetitive even for techno and
embraced by the *gasp* main-
stream. Yet, trance's popularity in
the late '90s is a testament to not

G
O
Fa
>w ;
0-

trum. Along this more progressive
frontier is DJ pair and friends Sasha
and John Digweed.
The duo gained worldwide popu-
larity in the later half of the '90s
with their airy, some-
times dreamlike trance
and house mix discs.
HEAVY The Sasha and Dig-
2002 weed sound proved
UR popular enough that
they were even award-
airgrounds ed a residency at New
at 8p.m. Yokr City's Twilo in
$25 1996.

the tour is Jimmy Van M. Both a DJ
as well as a DJ Agent, Jimmy met
John and Sasha through his booking
agency, Balance, back in 1992.
Yet with the disappointing per-
formances of several big U.S. head-
lining DJ tours like the Mekka Tour
in the summer of 2001, expectations
are riding high on Delta Heavy to
provide a turnaround. Delta Produc-
er Kevin Lyman, veteran of both the
Lollapalooza and Warped Tour,
remains optimistic of Delta's suc-
cess. "It's a new challenge to bring
the creativity of electronic music to
a multitude of diverse venues."
1 ao IM P7:, O M

__j

Since that time, the
pair has continued to build a large
American following due largely to
their distinctive live sets. This Sat-
urday, John and Sasha carry on their
distinctive sound when they arrive
at the Michigan Fairgrounds for the
Delta Heavy Spring 2002 Tour,
alrncr zwith gues~t Iinmv Vain M. The

A

00O

2 -

Friday, April 5
7:00pm #6 Michigan vs. #2 Colorado State
10:00pm #11 Texas A&M vs. #15 Buffalo
Saturday, April 6
5:00pm #2 Colorado State vs. #15 Buffalo
8:00pm #6 Michigan vs. #11 Texas A&M
Sunday, April 7
12:00pm #2 Colorado State vs. #11 Texas A&M
3:00pm #6 Michigan vs. #15 Buffalo

i 2! !" 7 ZAA

Aorll 5-7.200 1 1

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