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April 16, 2003 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-04-16

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gill 16, 2003
mae@michigandaily. com



professor of
awards to
winners last

Hopwoods honor up-
and-coming talent

By Aurelie Martins
For the Daily



By Jeremy Kressmann
Daily Arts Writer
This past.Thursday night at Ann Arbor's The
Necto, a line of people an hour deep stood patiently
outside in the chilly spring air. While hour-long
lines might be the norm in New York nightlife, they
are certainly a rare sight here in Washtenaw County.
Yet like an army of faithful pilgrims, the crowd was
tensed, ready to unleash its evangelical dance ener-
gy on none other than Paul Van Dyk.
The Michigan Daily sat down with Van Dyk
before his show last Thursday to talk about politics,
music and dance culture in America.
The Michigan Daily: Is it interesting for you to
play in smallervenues like The Necto as opposed to
bigger city clubs like in New York or Chicago?
Paul Van Dyk: Well, first of all there's the con-
nection with Detroit and the whole area. (Detroit)
is a root of electronic music with places like Berlin,
Manchester and Sheffield. This is where this music
actually came from. Therefore it's so much like I'm
going into a provincial area. Instead I know I'm
coming back to a place I know has a strong connec-
tion with electronic music.
TMD: Does it feel strange to be here touring in
America given the current world events?
PVD: It's not strange touring while this is going
on because I have a very clear (political) position. I
make that standing very clear through my Internet
site (wwwpaulvandyk. corn) and through interviews.
So in a way, I think it's even better to be out, to have
the opportunity to talk to people like yourself and to
be somehow connected with people in the crowd
and make them aware of what's going on.
TMD: What about the Detroit influence on your
music and your interaction with Detroit when you
were growing up in East Germany?
PVD: Detroit techno made me become a DJ in a
way. I heard all this electronic music even in East
Germany on the radio and this was how I got really
infected with this music.
TMD: Given where dance music is now in 2003,
do you ever have an urge to go back to 1988 or
1989 when the Berlin Wall came down when this

music was really just breaking through in Europe?
PVD: I'm still as excited about this music and as
passionate about this music as I was back then. I'm
very happy that I was able to experience (that time
period), but I'm a very optimistic and forward-
looking person. You will never hear me say 'The
good old days were better.' My experiences back
then were totally cool. Yet the thing is it's even bet-
ter these days. So many people worldwide are con-
nected through this music to each other.
TMD: I've noticed the electronic music scene in
Berlin and Germany in general these days seems
very broad. People are doing everything from
trance and house, to glitch music, IDM and micro-
house. Do you see your style of music as contem-
porary with these newer artists and the directions
they've taken with electronic music?
PVD: The thing with Berlin is that it never had
its own sound. Frankfurt, Germany, had its own
sound, and there's a certain sound from Manchester
in the U.K. The new styles were coming from
places like that, not from Berlin. The reason is that
we have a lot of very talented, passionate producers
and DJs that all have their very own unique idea
about music. I have my own idea, someone like Jan
Driver has his pumping house style, there's DJ
Westbam who has the whole electro thing on his
side. There's so many different (genres), and it's all
on a very high quality level. I won't even say we
influence each other. This is one thing Berlin has -
very strong, clear ideas.
TMD: What do you think about some of the
legal restrictions they have here in the U.S. -
early closing hours for nightclubs, tight control
over substances, compared to the nature of night-
clubs in Europe?
PVD: The only thing I can address is the drug
issue because I think it is a worldwide problem, and
I think it's approached totally different. When they
close a club down, it's not preventing kids from
being attracted to drugs. What would make much
more sense is to actually inform them what they
actually do to their bodies if they take something.
Taking away the glamour to it (is crucial), like 'I'm
taking an E!' so they know what's happening to
them. That way it's not becoming normal, but they

will know what's going to happen so they don't die
or have health problems after they do it.
The other thing to ask yourself is from an idealis-
tic view, and that is why people take drugs. They
take drugs to get out of their real world. This prob-
lem lies in the social system of the country. If you
give people options and possibilities in their life
they will never get caught in this drug spiral that's
become so problematic.
TMD: Have you heard of the legislation they are
proposing here in the U.S. called the RAVE Act?
The act makes it illegal in some cases to have par-
ties because they are associated with drug use.
PVD: That would be the same as if you say
driving a car is illegal because you could run
someone over. That doesn't make any sense, but in
that regard, they teach people how to drive a car.
They control the process of learning to drive a car.
As absurd as that sounds I think it's a good com-
parison. There's some danger involved, but in the
driving situation they're taking precautions and
making people aware of what's going on. In the
drug issue they don't - they just basically don't
want anyone to 'drive.'
TMD: What things make you feel optimistic
about the future of electronic music?:
PVD: The great thing is that because of the open
character of this music it is able to absorb all the
experiences, atmosphere, and different cultural ele-
ments. Therefore it's always developing further, and
there's always something influential coming along,
and this might influence someone who has nothing
to do with it.
TMD: Is there anything that makes you feel cyn-
ical about where dance music is at or where it is
PVD: Some of the cheesiest bullshit is called
electronic music right now, rather than what it really
is. There's all these '80s cover versions that are like
danceable pop music but have no roots in the clubs.
I could imagine that someone living in Detroit get-
ting really pissed off with music like this because
(Detroit) used to be underground rock and roll, and
suddenly you hear Don Henley. This obviously
makes it a bit cynical, but in general it's a very posi-
tive thing, otherwise I wouldn't do it.

The Hopwood Awards given out to
undergraduate and graduate writers are
one of the many things that make the
University stand out among other
schools. In demonstrating a continued
loyalty to and admiration of literature,
young writers are awarded for their
novels, dramas, short fictions, poetry,
screenplays and essays, and this year
are blessed with the opportunity to be
awarded by the Pulitzer Prize-winning
poet and translator Richard Howard.
Being honored with the Hopwood
Awards allows these young writers
the opportunity to greatly increase
their chances of success with their
writing careers by putting their names
out into the open.
One such writer, Tyler Lieberman,
was awarded the Naomi Saferstein Lit-
erary Award for his screenplay, "The
Good Doctor," about a surgeon who
murders a man in order to use his heart
in a transplant operation. Lieberman
faced his biggest challenge with this
piece in his attempt to create a sympa-
thetic character, in order for the audi-
ence to understand that although a
murderer, the doctor's intentions
remained noble.
Along with this interesting dilemma
in the plot, the junior film and video
studies major's goal always focused on"
hisjability to find a comfortable ending
for the reader.
The winner of the Robert E Haugh
prize was given to Joshua Gross, for his
submission of two stories. One of these
stories, "All Right, Fine, Let's Talk
About It," deals with a man forced to
confront his own helplessness as a
father on the anniversary of his friend's
son's suicide. His other submission,
"The Revisionist," is about a young
man coping with his guilt after he has
won the lottery by playing the numbers
tattooed on his grandfather's forearm
during the Holocaust. Gross plans to
move to California next year to pursue
his writing career.
For his screenplay, "Last Heroes of
the Plastic West," Josh Izenberg
received the Leonard and Eileen New-
man writing prizes. This will be the

second piece that Izenberg has written
for his screenwriting class. A serious
story written with a trace of comedy,
"Last Heroes of the Plastic West" is
about a country western singer on the
run from the law.
Along with Megan Newell, John Cox
was the recipient of the Meader Family
Award for the collection of poems in
his manuscript entitled "Special Collec-
tion," most of which were one-sentence
vignettes about history. Cox plans to
continue his writing career and to pur-
sue a doctorate in literary theory after
completing his current Master of Fine
Arts degree in poetry.
The Geoffrey James Gosling Prize
was awarded to Elizabeth Kostova,
for her novel in progress, The Histori-
an, which concerns the historical
Dracula, and the three generations of
historians in constant pursuit of his
career. Kostova is enjoying her stud-
ies at the University as she is current-
ly in the first year of the MFA
program. She plans to finish her
novel during the summer and write a
second one after graduation, one with
a contemporary American setting.
Proving that the third time indeed
really is the charm, Amanda Frost was
awarded the Paul and Sonia Handleman
Poetry Award after entering her poetry
into the contest for the third time. The
submission, a culmination of three
years of work and longer than most
winningmanuscripts at approximately
50 pages, contained many poems that
were inspired by the biology and histo-
ry classes that she has taken at the Uni-
versity; they can be classified as nature
poetry or romantic poetry. As a junior
who has been writing poetry for seven
years, Frost anticipates applying to an
MFA program for graduate school in
order to explore environmental and
technological issues and their impact in
her future poetry.
With the many talents at the Univer-
sity, the Hopwood Awards enable many
young writers to be recognized for the
gift and enthusiasm that they have for
the art of writing. Receiving such
awards will permit them to expand their
horizons and to attain the many goals
that they have set for themselves and
their literature.


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