February 10, 2006
arts. michigandaily. com
fl e d ii nN UI
Local Slumber Party
to play at the Halfass
By Molly Schulman
For the Daily
Get ready for ladies' night as
Detroit's favorite femme-pop phenom
Slumber Party heads
to the Halfass.
The lullaby quin-
tet, spearheaded by
lead vocalist and
cia Berg, creates
At the Halfass
ors of life on the road - the V
landscapes. Through April
2, visitors can enjoy these
images presented in photo-
graphs, paintings and wood-
block prints in four exhibits
at the University of Michigan
Museum of Art's "Landscapes
of Longing: Journeys Through
Memory and Place."
UMMA's curators have
LSA sophomore Will Turner (left) and Engineering junior Leif Knag visit the new UMMA exhibit.
assembled a large and diverse project that gives
visitors a chance to see the groundbreaking work
of several artists spanning decades. Creative
interpretations of travel, memory, space and time
form an intriguing blend of monuments and land-
scapes of the Eastern world.
"Passage to Angkor," one of the two photography
exhibits, greets viewers on the first floor. Japanese
photographer Kenro Izu traveled to Cambodia to
capture the majesty of stone mountain temples built
during the Khmer Empire in the 9th to 13th cen-
turies. Shot in the dim light of dawn and dusk, Izu
manipulates his medium to capture the essence of
these ancient ruins.
By drawing viewers closer, Izu takes them inside
the world caught by his lens, transporting them to
past ages. The dim light emphasizes and softens the
monuments' impressive architectural details. Mov-
ing through the exhibit, Izu's pictures unfold into
crumbling structures over taken by nature. Large
branches and carpets of leaves stake their claim
on the ruins; the physical memory of the Khmer
Empire becomes slovly erased.
Upstairs is another era. The enormously influ-
ential style of Ando Hiroshige, famously borrowed
by Van Gogh, is showcased in "53 Stages of the
Tokaido." The vibrant woodblock prints represent
the lives and experiences of road travelers in 19th-
century Japan. Hiroshige incorporates brilliant col-
ors that saturate his prints and give life to scenes
of journeys through towns and landscapes. The sur-
really bright colors characterize the buildings and
topography around the traveler, adding fantasy and
imagination to the journey.
But Hiroshige still keeps an element of reality.
Heavy snow and rain drench the travelers and their
destinations, the effects of the seasons inescapable.
With simple strips of pink, orange or gray across the
sky, he casts another temporal dimension over the
work as the travelers walk through day and night.
On such journeys, the landscape dominates, with
natural features serving as more notable landmarks
than buildings. Hiroshige underscores the travelers'
admiration of their surroundings as they stand amid
deep blue mountains and green hills.
Landscape finds another medium in the third
exhibit. "The Idyllic Retreat in Chinese Landscape
Painting" displays the talents of various Chinese art-
ists from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The Nvorks
range in size from large hanging scrolls to smaller
The final exhibit showcases the talents oflcontem-
porary Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto in
"Time Exposed." His abstract photographs fuse
together sky and water. With only his camera, Sugi-
moto freezes the essence of these two infinites, giv-
ing the photographs weight and gravity despite their
The amazing exhibit takes up nearly two floors
of wall space, offering visitors a chance to explore,
through an Eastern lens, themes that are univer-
quixotic beats that
lightly allude to Velvet Underground
softly-'60s girl punk.
Sharing the Kill Rock Stars label
with other indie favorites Deerhoof
and Elliott Smith, Slumber Party
is a testament to girl power (minus
the heinous, patent-leather boots
and Union Jack micro-minis). The
Detroit-raised rockers formed in
1998 and have since played with tal-
ented Michigan neighbors Pas/Cal
and the Von Bondies. Slumber Party
is known for delighting audiences
with tight harmonies and synthesiz-
Playing with Slumber Party
tonight is Showdown at the Equator,
old friends of Ann Arbor who have
graced the Blind Pig stage several
times in the past two years. Another
five-member pack, Showdown show-
cases Kelly Caldwell on lead vocals
vhile her playground posse of boys
Showdown acknowledges their
major influences as airy-love-croon-
ers The Clientele and San Francis-
co's Nedelle & Thom. Like Slumber
Party, Showdown's tunes are hum-
bly romantic and breezy. Caldwell's
hushed and urgent kiddie-whisper
rock is reminiscent of recess wed-
dings with dandelion bouquets.
The final part of tonight's dreamy
jamboree is another Detroit band,
Marie & Francis. The semi-epony-
mous group is comprised of Betty
Marie Barnes (of Saturday Looks
Good to Me) and Nathanial Francis
Burgundy (of Pas/Cal).
Both Saturday and Pas/Cal have
left major dents in Detroit's music
scene, performing other local bands
like Great Lakes Myth Society, Elec-
tric Six and The Sights. The new col-
laboration is certainly one to look
forward to. It will mix Saturday's
girlish figure with Pas/Cal's charm-
ing instrumentation into a new and
spunky sip of pop.
The performance tonight will
strive for an incredible consistency
of sound. In some shape or form,
various members from Slumber
Party, Showdown and Marie & Fran-
cis have already met, played with
each other, danced with each other
and so forth.
A fun and comfortable atmosphere
is a given. The Halfass is run by the
East Quad Music Co-op and is an
alcohol-free venue, but tonight's
wistful tunes should prove intoxicat-
ing enough on their own.
Brandon Zwagerman, booker for
EQMC shows, said the performance
is sure to enchant. "All in all, it
should be a night of dreamy indie-
pop music. Beautiful vocals and
harmonies and charming love songs
- perfect for Valentine's Day."