The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - 7
Novelist Ann Patchett visits 'U'
By Johanna Hanink
Daily Books Editor
Ann Patchett, whose most recent
novel was the critically acclaimed
and enduring bestseller "Bel Canto,"
leads off the Department of English
2003-2004 visiting writers series ros-
ter tonight at 5
p.m. in Angell
Hall Auditorium Ann Patchett
B. Patchett will Tonightat5p.m.
be reading from Angell Hall Aud. B'
"Bel Canto," a
tour de force of magical realism, as
well as from some of her more recent
works; her visit to the University is a
fitting beginning to a series which
promises to bring some of the most
interesting writers working today to
"Bel Canto" marks the latest large-
scale achievement of Patchett, whose
sale to the Paris Review of the short
story "All Little Colored Children
Should Learn to Play Harmonica,"
while she was still an undergraduate
at Sarah Lawrence College, foreshad-
owed her literary success. Patchett
also attended the extremely presti-
gious Iowa Writers' Workshop after
Before the publication of "Bel
Canto" in 2001, Patchett enjoyed a
warm critical reception of her first
three novels: "The Patron Saint of
Liars" was a New York Times Notable
Book of the Year (1992); "Taft"
(1994) won the Janet Heidinger Kafka
prize and "The Magician's Assistant"
(1997) was shortlisted for the Orange
Prize. Five years later, "Bel Canto"
won Patchett the Orange Prize, the
United Kingdom's largest literary
prize awarded to a female author.
In "Bel Canto," Roxanne Cross, an
operatic singer, is performing at the
home of a South American vice presi-
dent for a party with. an international
guest list. Terrorists take the party
CRASH ONTO ANN
By Julie Sills
For the Daily
hostage, however, and what Patchett
describes is an emotional and vivid
exploration of the interactions and
bonds that form between this unlikely
group of people. Patchett's reading is
sure to be the first in an interesting
series of visiting writers - and will be
worth taking the afternoon off to enjoy.
Direct from the Berlin Festival, the
U-Theatre Drummers of Taiwan are
bound for Ann Arbor with their U.S.
premiere performance of "The Sound
of the Ocean." This Taiwanese theatre
troupe has astounded audiences with
its amazingly physical and rigorous
drumming, along with an uncanny
ability to combine theatre, music and
dance into one astounding show.
Having originally performed in Tai-
wan in 1997 and toured around the
world to venues in Asia, South Amer-
Yr.' .:z "i
Naess gets all ly- r
By Niamh Slevin
Daily Arts Writer
With her bubble-gum-pink CD, complete with an
inscribed heart motif, Leona Naess proves she's just
one of the girls in her upcoming self-titled album.
Within 11 tracks, Naess incorporates ballerinas, broken
hearts and all that is stereotypically girly into an other-
wise nondescript compilation.
On the surface, the album is neither distinctive nor
particularly creative. Naess adopts
a style not too unlike every other Leona Naess
low-key pop princess of the late
'90s: the Natalie Imbruglias, the Leona Naess
Jewels and the Natalie Merchants of Geffen Records
the world unite. The music is not
really unpleasant to hear, but it's not especially memo-
rable either. Each track sounds strangely similar to the
last, and although typically upbeat, the sound is rather
mundane to those searching for something new.
The voice behind the music elicits a comparable
response. Naess produces a smooth sound with little
variation or fluctuation between songs. While it is cer-
tainly not hard
on the ears,=
it's also not
overly note- h x
ering the $
influx of xxd
Naess s 'k
lyrics are what
truly separate her music from her predecessors. They
rank among some of the most shallow and insipid to
grace the page. Her metaphors are random and forced;
her messages are, at best, predictable and stale. With
songs like "Don't Use my Broken Heart" and "He's
Gone," the jilted lover rant grows old fast and only
seems to further the indistinguishable quality of each
Although the new album attempts to console the
lovelorn and lonely, it lacks the emotional depth and
variation to adequately do so. Despite her vocal poten-
tial, Naess' music comes off as the whiny, worn out
battle cry of yet another pop wannabe.
ica and Europe,
will have per-
Sound of the
Ocean" at least
75 times before
a unique and
of the Ocean
Tuesday at Sunset
At Nichols Arboretum
Friday and Saturday
at 8 p.m.
At the Power Center
"Liu Ching-Ming, the U-Theatre's
artistic director, began the company
in 1988 to create a theatre form that
reflects the contemporary concerns
she feels in the world around her,
while at the same time embracing her
own Taiwanese roots and Chinese
culture," Deirdre Valente, the group's
American based producer, told the
Daily. Without a direct story-line or
spoken text, both uncommon charac-
teristics of U-Theatre productions,
"The Sound of the Ocean" portrays
water as a metaphor for the cycle of
life. Using the rhythm of the drum-
ming patterns to give the show its
structure throughout the five titled
sections, the actors reveal how water
develops from a raindrop, into
streams and oceans, then into the sky
and, finally, how it is an integral part
of the whole earth both physically
Hi-yahl Watch out for the flying sticks.
These men and women have
rehearsed and performed on a
mountainside in Taiwan, but
tonight will engage their onlookers
with a special one-night outdoor
performance of "The Sound of the
Ocean" in Ann Arbor's own
Nichols Arboretum. The group's
relationship to the natural environ-
ment is crucial, and their perform-
ance in the Arb is the perfect way
for the audience to see just how the
U-Theatre reflects and respects
nature. "It will be great both for
the company to perform and for
Ann Arbor to see the U-Theatre
acting in such a natural open-air
setting," Valente said.
But not to worry, if you are less of
an outdoorsy person and enjoy more
the indoor atmosphere of a theatre,
the U-Theatre will perform "The
Sound of the Ocean" two more times
this weekend at the Power Center.
With the goal of reaching the widest
possible audience, it aims to make
their shows accessible to all in many
different kinds of settings. "In fact,
'The Sound of the Ocean' was origi-
nally created for a formal inside
venue, revealing how the group has
clearly responded to theatre and per-
formance of the wider-world of
today," added Valente.
Whether you are a theatergoer, a
lover of music, have a joy for dance
or just want to be dazzled by unreal
drumming of the utmost intensity,
you should not miss the U-Theatre
Drummers of Taiwan's perform-
ance of "The Sound of the Ocean."
In the words of Valente, "The
drumming is absolutely incredible
- you can feel it in your heart and
in your chest, and it is an experi-
ence you cannot get from watching
a TV or video performance!"
How sweet the sound of Spiritualized
By Andrew M. Gaerig
Daily Arts Writer
For most artists in the present radio
climate, any premeditated move toward
lo-fi recording techniques, grimy gui-
tar textures, or sloppy "rock 'n roll"
attitude would likely be construed as a
keting ploy. Some
ivory towers out
there might even Amazing
throw the dreaded Grace
"sell-out" tag on
any group of Sanctuary Records
garage rockers. At first glance, this
would seem the case for Jason Pierce
and Spiritualized. After all, Pierce's
last two albums were glossy affairs,
steamed to perfection in studios filled
with full orchestras and gospel choirs.
The music was big, brash and unapolo-
Though this approach has certainly
served Pierce well, astute music fans
might remember that Pierce forged his
identity in the druggy, white noise,
psychedelic sound of Spacemen 3. A
longtime fan of the Velvet Under-
ground and the Stooges, Pierce's aes-
thetic switch feels less like trendy pan-
dering than a return to the junky guitar
haze of his youth.
Amazing Grace opens with several
seconds of guitar feedback before
bursting into "This Little Life of
Mine," a glorious guitar stomp high-
lighted by ham-fisted piano fills. "She
Kissed Me (It Felt Like a Hit)" contin-
ues in much the same fashion, with
craggy guitar solos and a charged
Pierce growling through the noise. The
sound is thick and venomous, produc-
ing what are easily the two most
aggressive Spiritualized tracks to date.
Even the slower songs on the disc
benefit from the new composition
style. "Hold On" survives its trite
lyrics and builds to a frothing, harmon-
ica-led coda, and "The Ballad of
Richie Lee" is a sighing, textured tri-
umph. "Cheapster" dreams up Dylan's
"Maggie's Farm" as a skittish, rhyth-
mic assault. "Lord Let It Rain On Me"
is a sticky-sweet ballad that distills the
essence of Pierce's gospel epics. On
"Never Goin' Back," the band turns in
a churning, vitriolic masterpiece that is
as memorable for its heavy blues
trudge as it is for its scathing white-
noise guitar solo.
The band cools off as the album
ends, soothing the burn with two
stripped-down hymns, the best of
which, "Lay It Down Slow," bathes
Pierce's tired, survivor voice against a
gorgeous Hammond organ, soft piano
chords and a solitary violin. By the
time the drums kick in, the dirty guitar
is making its peace with the choir, and
white flags are waving from every cor-
ner of the battlefield. Amazing Grace
contains neither Pierce's best songwrit-
ing nor his most captivating composi-
tions, but its energy is relentless,
successfully re-imagining Pierce's
work as punk rock salvation for the
Bubba ain't no shrimp as
rapper lets the Spax fly
Bubba Sparxxx turned hip-hop
heads when he arrived on the scene
with the Timbaland-produced "Ugly"
in 2001, and when it was revealed
By Joel Hoard
Daily Music Editor
that he was, in
fact, not black
(he's actually a
tubby white boy),
he turned even
E m i n e m,
title from the 1972 film, but never
has a title set the mood for a record
so well. Images of Ned Beatty crawl-
ing through the woods in his under-
wear should be flashing through your
mind right about now.
Sparxxx's booming Southern
drawl rumbles over Timbaland's
solid foundation of thumping bass
and twangy harmonica and fiddles
on both the title track and
"Nowhere," creating a beefy sound
that is rooted deeply in the South.
After a while, Deliverance begins to
sound a bit repetitive, but there are
enough surprises, such as an appear-
ance by Justin Timberlake on
"Hootnanny," to keep it interesting.
Wearing his Southernism on his
sleeve during songs such as "Jimmy
Mathis," Bubba confidently spits
lines like "This what they must face,
I'm-a be right here / Spittin' these
flames out and drinkin' Bud Light
beer / 'Til the cows home and the
dogs quit barkin' / Daddy, tell 'em
who I am, and don't beg no pardons."
This ain't the South of that grub-
by pimp Ludacris or them Cash
Money bling-blingers, and it sure as
hell ain't the South of them brainy
OutKast boys. This is the South of
black-eyed, toothless banjo players
and "You sure got a perty mouth."
This is the South where one X just
ain't enough. This is the Dirrrtiest
South, because one R just ain't
Sparxxx managed to find a major fan
base and earn the respect of the hip-
For Deliverance, his second LP,
Sparxxx again teamed up with Tim-
baland for a romp through the Dirty
South. Indeed, Bubba borrowed the
the michigan daily
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At last, 'Conspiracy' revealed
By Aubrey Henretty
Daily Arts Writer
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Music, cinema, stage!
On one level, it seems unfair to
evaluate Wellwater Conspiracy's self-
titled fourth album as anything other
than a well-funded side project, an
over-hyped jam session that may
never have made it out of earshot
were it not for the wild respective
successes of the band's lead singer
and guitarist. And indeed, frontman
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Swirling with solid riffs and trippy
undercurrents, Wellwater Conspiracy
blends the flannel and the psychedel-
ic in ways that will surprise and
impress even the most cynical listen-
er. From the quirky and melodic
"Galaxy 265," to the deep, dark
"Dresden Overture," to the truly
bizarre cover of Tom Petty and the
Heartbreakers "Something in the
Air," the album is strong, eclectic
and more than worthy of the hype.
John McBain (Monster Magnet) have
lots of money and little to prove. For-
tunately, they also have talent.