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November 15, 2005 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-11-15

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 15, 2005




Frank Pahl's Little Bang Theory performed at the UM Art Museum.


By Kat Bawden
Daily Arts Writer
"This is called 'Toy Suite #3,"' announced Frank Pahl,
the troubadour and visual artist behind the experimen-

tal-music trio Little Bang Theory,
before launching into the first song
of a captivating evening. Between
the marble walls of the Univer-
sity of Michigan Museum of Art,
Pahl sat proudly in front of his toy
orchestra - nostalgic and colorful
noisemaking toys: two baby-blue

Frank Pahl's
Little Bang

and woodblocks, warbling whistles and hums were all trans-
formed into precise and complimenting motifs that braided
together in a bizarre orchestra. The Little Bang Theory was
the very opposite of self-righteous entropy - the performance
was organized, tight and focused.
The result could have been the soundtrack to a Dr.
Seuss story. Though they could have stuck to their own
wordless repertoire, they tossed in a cover of Brian Eno's
"By This River." And it's only fitting that the trio consist-
ing of Pahl, choreographer Terri Sarris and Doug Shim-
min of the Immigrant Sons would take a cue from this
prolific figurehead of textured, ambient music.
The band's name comes from the title of an essay by
Frederic Rzewski, an improvisational musician. The
main idea is that "each note can lead to a universe of
sound," and that we "can treat life as a little bang theo-
ry," Pahl explained.
Music like this could have taken months of painstak-
ing composition ... or simply created in an explosion of
creativity during a late-night jam session. Either way, the
spirited performance had the power to envelop the audi-
ence in giddy rapture. Between these three imaginative
minstrels in the UMMA, there was more soul than the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra mashed up with the whole
of the Disney repertoire.
Pahl, Sarris and Shimmin shared the strength of des-
potic crusaders, but also the delicacy of a childhood.
There was the restless adventure of a desperado galloping
into the horizon, but the indiscreetly calculated cleverness
of "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"


Playschool pianos, ukuleles, xylophones, a songflute,
weathered audio recording parts, a variety of melodi-
cas, woodblocks, glockenspiels, cowbells, a rusting tuba
and indefinable homemade objects, to name a few of the
unexpected instruments.
But don't assume for a second that a toy orchestra
is a euphemism for a purposefully chaotic flurry of
indecipherable sound. Their musicianship is not to be
reckoned with - this trio performed solidly both as a
deeply woven group and as individually cunning musi-
cians. As wild as the set up looks onstage, the results
are endearing.
The music is so detailed it's almost inconspicuous. Hol-
low chirps of a baby-blue, Playschool-toy piano, otherworldly
drones of melodicas, small mallets skidded across xylophones






Age bring
rap to 'U'
By Uloyd Cargo
Daily Arts Writer
Golden Age's visit to the University
marks an important step toward legiti-
mizing hip hop in the academic world.
The group, consisting of lyricists DLO, a



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Mr. Parker of
Dumate, Rob DZ
and turntablist
BroDJ, hails from
Madison, Wisc.
They'll display
their improvisa-

Golden Age
This week
Canterbury House and
Rackham Auditorium

Courtesy of hhhhh

Golden Age prepares to make the voyage to Ann Arbor.

tional chops through a series of clinics,
workshops and concerts, where they will
showcase their unique approach toward
audience interaction.
Today they'll host a clinic during Prof.
Ed Saraths's Improvisational Forms
course before taking the stage at Studio
Four with members of the University's
renowned Creative Arts Orchestra.
Tomorrow, Golden Age will appear at
another workshop during Prof. Sarath's
Creativity and Consciousness class as
well as performing a concert at the Can-
terbury House with the same members of
CAO. Wrapping up their visit, the group
will join the entire Creative Arts Orches-
tra for a highly anticipated show at Rack-

ham Auditorium.
Golden Age attempts to place their
audience in a "Whose Line Is It Any-
way?" mind set, performing improvised
songs consisting solely of audience sug-
gestions of any person, place, situation
or role play. "It's completely improvised
hip hop. Little is planned in advance; the
only thing that is sort of planned is the
music, because the beats have already
been made. The beat selection and mix-
ing of the music is improvised and we
take topics from the crowd. The MC's
will rhyme about any subject or situa-
tion; sometimes we will do scenes and
situations where the two other MCs and
myself will act as different characters,"
said MC Mr. Parker.
"We got together two or three years
ago. It started off as BroDJ, Rob DZ and
myself rapping about topics a crowd had

given us. It went well, so we decided to
make a thing of it. We invited DLO, the
third MC, to join us about a year ago."Mr.
Parker said.
In addition to gaining a loyal local fol-
lowing, members of Golden Age have
performed with such esteemed artists as
Talib Kweli, Dave Chapelle, Sick Rick,
and Afrika Bambaataa.
Mike Nickens, a Rackham doctoral
student and a member of CAO, empha-
sized the significance of their appearance.
"I think it's a big deal that the School of
Music is sponsoring a hip-hop group to
come through and are giving them the
same amount of respect they would any
chamber or jazz group. It's a milestone '
and a step in the right direction in break-
ing down some musical walls and being
more accepting of things that can have a
stigma in the world of academic music."

English Prof Carson shares poems

By Mary Kate Varnau
Daily Arts Writer
It's rare to find more than a sprinkling of University pro-
fessors and students at a poetry reading in Ann Arbor. Even

if the writing is accessible - and not
the stereotypically cryptic language of
contemporary poetry - local readings
usually don't attract more than a couple
dozen people. But Anne Carson, one of
the most difficult poets working today,
packed Auditorium B in Angell Hall
Thursday night with an intense, focused
reading that drew not only from her pre-

Angell Hall Aud. B.

was a nice way of allowing the audience to form their own
connections between the mediums.
Carson moved on from Greek mythology to a revisiting
of the Bible's Book of Isaiah. She laid out the poem in four
parts, attempting to cohere the disjointed narrative of the
Moving from the objective to the profoundly personal,
Carson went on to read a series of poems written for her par-
ents, including her first poem to appear in The New Yorker,
"Father's Old Blue Cardigan." She jokingly remarked that for
her mother, this represented the pinnacle of Carson's career.
"Seated Figure with Red Angle (1988), by Betty Good-
win" is Carson's response to the painting, an essay written
entirely in "if-clauses." The poem, which opens with, "If
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