November 9, 2005
R TeSichigtt til
Thanks for the turkey
As college students, we live in
a sort of pseudo-real world.
We know we're grown-ups,
but for many of us, the parents still
pay the rent. We complain about the
workload of our classes, but still take
some of them pass/fail. We're in a
constant state of transition, floating
between being kids and
being adults, and not in
the way Britney Spears
was during her odd soul-
searching phase. For the
most part, we're still iso-
lated from the ways and
wiles of a fast-paced mod-
ern world. We don't have
to worry about things like '
mattress shopping and '
mortgage payments yet:. BE
It's pretty fabulous, if I do NG
say so myself.
What adds extra sweetness to my
undergraduate experience is that I'm
fully aware of its transient state. This
isn't a permanent position. I know
that after college and grad school,
I'm on my own. My parents won't
be bankrolling my Ramen or my
coin-op laundry anymore. I realize
that it's a big, dog-eat-dog world out
there, and even though I try to deny
it, there's evidence all around me that
not everyone makes it, even though
we all think we will.
So now it's fall. Halloween's over,
along with its mini-candy and mini-
skirts, leaving only foggy memories
for most of us. Midterms are on the
downswing. The weather's getting
colder - and annoyingly warmer,
and then colder again. Football is
at its peak. We all know what that
means, right? Thanksgiving is only a
few weeks away! It's awesome, really
- Thursday and Friday with no class,
and food ... lots of food. Turkey, and
pumpkin pie, or for the more ethnic
of us, off-beat cultural food like daal
or pho hidden behind a large roasted
fowl, a token tribute to a pilgrim cul-
ture we really know nothing about.
For me, Thanksgiving's usually just
an excuse to eat as much as I possi-
bly can, hang out with family while
I enjoy my two days off from school
and fall asleep in a contented haze of
what I like to call a food coma. And
also shopping. Can't forget that.
But really, what does Thanksgiv-
ing mean? I remember drawing tur-
keys in kindergarten from the outline
of my hand, learning about the May-
flower and Squanto teaching the Pil-
grims to bury fish when they planted
corn. I remember the first year my
family had a turkey. It
was a big deal. I remem-
ber writing poems about
what I was thankful for
and saying prayers.
Really, though, in my
everyday life, I never
take the time to stop and
think about all the great
things. Who does, on this
busy college campus?
NIE We're too busy hopping
JYEN from class to class, or
trying to get notes from
the lectures we missed because we
were hungover. We're too busy run-
ning for e-board on our favorite stu-
dent groups, making enough money
to cover this semester's expenses and
studying for our LSATs, MCATs or
GREs. We're just too busy.
The Diag is gorgeous now, all yel-
low and orange and crinkly with
leaves. The ivy on the face of the
Union is flaming to its most dazzling
reds and golds. It is beautiful, even if
the nights are freezing cold, and I love
being at school, no matter how much I
complain about exams and papers and
lack of sleep. I would rather be here
than almost anywhere else, and it's
zooming by unbelievable quickly.
So I'd like to take this opportunity
to give thanks. I mean, I don't stop to
do it nearly enough. But I'm thank-
ful for my friends and family, for
my dogs and for the experiences that
come along with being in college.
I'm thankful for my education, even
if I do forget everything as soon as
I learn it. I'm thankful for the single
blessed fact that I'm here, at the Uni-
versity, and will be here for another
year. Because it's going to end soon.
- Nguyen is still searching for
a book that effectively combines
her love of ducks with the youthful
magic of "Harry Potter." E-mail her
suggestions at email@example.com
JEWEL HEART BENEFIT
CANCELLED DUE TO LACK
OF TICKET SALES
By Alexandra Jones
Daily Arts Editor
For weeks, posters by the Michigan Theater's box
office advertised a Nov. 9 concert that would benefit
Jewel Heart, an Ann Arbor-based organization dedicat-
ed to spreading Buddhist teachings adapted for everyday
life. Despite months of planning and a lineup including
luminaries in the classical, pop and local music scenes,
the concert was unexpectedly cancelled Monday.
The benefit was officially called off around 5 p.m. "At
this point, at the rate (tickets were selling), we weren't
even going to break even," Debbie Burr, a spokeswoman
for Jewel Heart, said a few hours after the cancellation.
Even with the flat rental rate that the Michigan Theater
asks of nonprofit organizations and the chance that door
sales could spike the day of the show, it wasn't feasible
for the organization to go ahead with the event. "(We
sold) less that 20 percent of the hall," Burr said. And,
with tickets priced at as low as $15, it wouldn't do much
good to slash prices.
For Burr - as well as for the music lovers and Jewel
Heart supporters who had bought tickets - the most
frustrating aspect of the cancellation was that there was
no clear cause for such low sales. The planning, accord-
ing to Burr, who was in charge of publicity for the con-
cert, was the same for previous Jewel Heart benefits at
the Michigan Theater and at Hill Auditorium - except
that those concerts achieved their goal.
"We did a decent amount of advertising, and we had
articles come out and it was on all the lists," Burr said.
"Some of (the past concerts) have been more successful
than others - things fluctuate - but this, by (Mon-
day), just looked like it wasn't going to be feasible."
Composer and pianist Philip Glass, who has been
organizing Jewel Heart benefit concerts for decades,
arranged the event's lineup.
At press time, Glass could not be reached to com-
ment on the cancellation. In an interview last week,
Glass explained his selections for the benefit's bill.
"What I like about (the lineup) is (that) it's not just art
music, it's not just experimental music, it's not just pop
music, it's not just rock'n'roll," he said.
"ourte syo' v urange mouin music
Influential composer and pianist Philip Glass organized the benefit, which was cancelled on Monday.
Glass sought out artists and bands with local connec-
tions as well as star-power: The Paybacks are a longtime
powerhouse of the Detroit-rock scene, and composer and
violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain earned his Master's
degree from the University's School of Music in 2000.
Alt-blues outfit Califone, "new folk" singer-songwriter
Shawn Colvin - a veteran of mainstream radio - and
country-music performer Jimmie Dale Gilmore were to
round out the evening.
"(Glass) has sold out the Michigan Theater a number
of times just by himself," Burr mused. "The Paybacks
are really popular, Califone's been popular opening for
Modest Mouse around the country, Jimmie Dale Gilm-
ore has a big following and is pretty big locally."
During a season in which a lot of big acts played the
Michigan Theater, one might think that locals would be
more aware of other events there. "Most of the concerts
that we've had were presented by Ritual," said Tara
McComb, the Michigan Theater's Director of Opera-
tions and Programming. "(Ritual has) a huge market-
ing machine to deal with this kind of promotion, and
Jewel Heart ... They don't have as much experience."
Unfortunately, the lineup - a grouping of innovative
musicians from an array of genres - may have contrib-
uted to sluggish ticket sales. McComb has seen a few
trends over the venue's busy concert season this fall.
"I've noticed with some of the shows that we've had
recently - we've had a lot of sold-out shows like Interpol
and Sigur R6s and Death Cab for Cutie - I'm expect-
ing the college crowd and maybe a little older (in the
audience). (But) it's a lot of high school students. And I
think it's a disposable income thing, because if you have
a money source in high school (and) you don't have any
bills to pay, spending 30 bucks on a concert ticket is no
big deal. But for a student, it's a really big deal."
While Ann Arbor's classical music community is
strong, thanks to the School of Music and the Univer-
sity Musical Society, classical performers - especially
those who don't fit a local or more mainstream niche
- can't always expect to do as well at large venue.
McComb used the Ann Arbor Symphony, which
performs their concerts at the Michigan Theater, as an
example. "They do a great deal of development, and
also, many symphony subscribers come to the sym-
phony every year - they buy season tickets ... So
that's sort of a devoted fanbase, sort of a community
Lee Berry, the Michigan Theater's Marketing and
Development Director, offered another explanation: In
addition to the concert's midweek date, the "Upcoming
Events" calendars for local publications seem jammed
with things to see and do. "I can only think that it's a
very congested market right now, with a lot of events,"
Berry said. "I see that not only here at the theater, but in
the Ann Arbor market. (It's) just saturated with a lot of
really interesting things to do right now."
Though the event didn't go on as planned, Burr
remained sanguine, expressing gratitude to those who
bought tickets - especially to those Jewel Heart mem-
bers who didn't ask for refunds in order to support the
organization. "We want to thank everybody who bought
tickets, and they can get their tickets refunded through
ticketmaster or the Michigan Union Ticket Office ...
We thank them and hope to see them again sometime."
E . E...E...
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