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April 14, 2006 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-04-14

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Friday
April 14, 2006
arts.rmichigandaily. com
artspage@michigandaily.com

RTS s

5

£9 RCreative landscape
art graces the Diag

"Seussical the Musical" will play tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Power Center.
THE DOCTIR IS IN
DR. SEUSS MUSICAL HIGHLIGHTS THE MAGIC OF CHILDHOOD

By Andrew Klein
Daily Fine Arts Editor
Science has thrown art in our
faces, and frankly, it isn't so bad.
The neon molecules, the red rib-
bon roots, the arboreal memorial,
the rows of smiling yellow tulip pin-
wheels - these Diag installations
are the products of Beth Diamond's
Natural Resources and Environment
501 class documenting the history
and theory of landscape architecture.
Diamond is a first-year professor
in the School of Natural Resources
and Environment's department of
landscape architecture, the only one
of its kind in the country.
This campus, Diamond said, "is cry-
ing out for things that will get people to
talk to one another."
And she's right. Students clustered
nearby in discussion each day these
installations were up.
"(We) are so anesthetized to our
environment," Diamond said. "How
do you use a public space, especially
at a public university?"
Diamond's solution was to blend
the spheres of art and ecology into
a visceral, 3-D medium that not only
appeals to a sense of aesthetics, but
also challenges its viewer to enter
into a dialogue with the work of art.
For instance, if you frequent the
Tisch Hall side of the Diag, you
probably spotted - and were ini-
tially confused by - an interesting
installation just outside Angell Hall.
It's comprised of logs and orange
spray-painted boughs forming con-
centric arcs around a previously
existing concrete block, draped with
a black canvass.
Closer examination would show
you that each log lists in chronologi-
cal order various arboreal epidemics
- either parasitic or viral - in Mich-
igan's history. With that in mind, the
reasoning behind the installation is
made clear: This is a tomb.
To be sure, it's a macabre image,
but it's also a pointed one.
"This is accessible," Diamond said.
"People are hungry for interaction."
Public art is no stranger in Ann

Arbor. Large-scale murals can be
found alongside Borders Books and
Music on Liberty Street and in the
alley behind Amer's Mediterranean
Delicatessen. There is a constantly
evolving display of spray-painted
stencils underneath our feet -
"Pink is the new conformity," for
instance.
And what about those footballs
that still grace our sidewalks and are
purportedly still under police surveil-
lance? It's been done before. Chicago
had cows, Kentucky had horses and
Washington D.C. had donkeys and
elephants. One minute of casual obser-
vation will tell you that hardly anyone
glances at them anymore.
Not so for the Diag gems, unfor-
tunately scheduled to be taken down
throughout the weekend. The instal-
lation "Flux," made up of linear
arrangements of neon-orange pegs,
originally featured a comment book
that was quickly filled.
Coincidentally, several other
installations not affiliated with the
SNRE have appeared in odd places
around campus, but the truth is that
though they are probably well-mean-
ing and pop up unexpectedly, they
are mostly hit-or-miss.
The aged mailbox in front of the
Espresso Royale Coffee on State
Street has been obnoxiously roman-
ticized as a crossroads of communi-
cation. "Standing through rain and
shine / my mouth remains open /
for your correspondence / between
traveler's hands united," drones the
mailbox's label.
This is not to claim that Diamond's
students created flawless, expertly
crafted works of art. But their uni-
formity of vision lends a didactic
edge to the installations.
We need this.
The aesthetics of the Law Quad-
rangle and the fagade of Angell Hall
aside, we as a student community
need overt artistic expression as a
catalyst for our imagination. We need
evocations of the earth's lifeblood.
We need to see 10-foot neon sculp-
tures of dioxin molecules. Go out and
enjoy them while you can.

By Catherine Smyka
For the Daily
Imagine the deepest creations of your childhood
imagination and magnify them
to real-life dimensions.
This doesn't even begin to Seussical
describe the dialogue, sets and the Musical
costumes of Lynn Ahrens and Tonight and
Stephen Flaherty's "Seussical Saturday at 8 p.m.
the Musical," which opened Sunday at 2 p.m.
last night at the Power Center $22
and will continue Friday and Students $9
Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sun- Atthe Power Center
day at 2 p.m.
"Seussical" is a musical fusion of classic Dr.
Seuss stories. The Cat in the Hat narrates the col-
lection with young Jojo (fourth-grader Quintan
Craig). Through the inner workings of his imagi-
nation, Jojo fights through the terrifying Jungle

of Nool, encounters the hopeless love between
Horton the Elephant and Miss Gertrude McFuzz
and ends up in Whoville, "the tiniest planet in
the sky." Though "Seussical" sets the stage for
a cheesy sing-a-long, the exaggerated costumes
and creatively goofy sets prove deceptive.
"We all grew up with Dr. Seuss stories," said
Linda Goodrich, director and choreographer.
"In 'Seussical,' we are able to allow ourselves
to play."
Gigantic slides, giraffes on stilts and fanciful
gymnastics appear with familiar childhood charac-
ters like the Grinch and Yertle the Turtle. Several
different backdrops, including a 20-foot clock and
periwinkle mountain ranges, move in and out dur-
ing the show, guiding the audience through Jojo's
imagination.
Each figure appears in head-to-toe Seuss garb
with potent purples and greens, along with sequins,
feathers and maize wigs.
Included throughout the melodious tale are jazzy
rhythms and upbeat musical numbers. In tandem

with the original sets, these tunes sound like circus
fanfare, though they somehow meld seamlessly with
the choreography and song occurring on stage.
"Dr. Seuss uses play and imagination to get to a
solution, but he always has a point," Goodrich said.
Though the show can certainly be enjoyed by
University students, songs such as "Anything's Pos-
sible," "A Person's a Person, No Matter How Small"
and "Tell Yourself How Lucky You Are" target
younger viewers. Though the cast is full of talented
School of Music performers, a few four-foot hope-
fuls also join the fun.
Upon entering the town of Whoville, you'll dis-
cover a pint-sized marching band in bright purple
uniforms. The developing voices of grade-school-
ers blend harmoniously with the resounding vocals
of School of Music seniors for a perfect balance of
innocence and entertaiinment.
"There is a wonderful thing we observe in chil-
dren and it comes through in this production,"
Goodrich said. "This play allows people to be in
the moment and embrace the moment."

'U' brings Tally Hall to Spring Game

By Daren Martin
Daily Arts Writer

Rob Cantor, Tally Hall guitarist, will never forget storm-
ing the field after the Wolverines
beat Ohio State 35-21 his freshman
year. Likewise, one of bassist Zubin Spring Game
Sedghi's fondest Michigan memories Festival
was watching Braylon Edwards in Saturday at 3 p.m.
Michigan's 17-point, six-minute come-
back against Michigan State. So when Children under 12 $10
the five University alums were offered At Pioneer High
the opportunity to be part of Michi- School (tentative)
gan's football tradition, guitarist Joe
Hawley summed up their feelings: "Giddy up!"
Tally Hall will headline the first annual Spring Game
Festival, to be held immediately following the Spring
Game on Saturday. The price of admission will cover
food, autograph sessions with former football players,
carnival games and live performances from Tally Hall
and "American Idol" finalist Kimberly Caldwell.
RMS International, which has started similar, long-run-
ning programs at other universities, is organizing the event.
In the hopes of creating a similar tradition in Ann Arbor,
RMS president Adam Robbins has arranged a variety of
food, fun, sports and music to appeal to all Michigan fans.

RMS International searched for a popular local act to play
the event. "The name that kept popping up all over the place
was Tally Hall," Robbins said. The band, which defines its
genre as "wonk rock," recently released their debut album
Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum.
The band's fame has risen steadily since their forma-
tion in December 2002, and has taken them to prime-
time television when Fox's "The O.C." featured their
song "Good Day" on a recent episode. Yet the band still
considers Ann Arbor their home, and Sedghi doesn't
hesitate to recognize the role the University played in
providing the band gigs.
"It's nice to have a hometown to come back to," he said.
Tally Hall isn't alone in celebrating a homecoming
of sorts. Accompanying them will be Ann Arborite
Caldwell, who has enjoyed a stint as the co-host of "Idol
Tonight" and "TV Chat."
Caldwell is currently producing her first album with
Randy Jackson. According to Robbins, her vocal talents
would be enough to merit an invitation to perform, but
he also believes her charisma and personality will be an
added draw for festival-goers.
A critical recruitment tool for the University, the Spring
Game gives fans a chance to catch a glimpse of their favorite
up-and-coming football phenoms. Now they'll get the chance
to see rising stars from a different field. The Spring Game
Festival promises to showcase more than just athletics. It's an
opportunity to celebrate Michigan at its finest.

Local band
. comes home
to Half Ass
By Chrissy Courtney
For the Daily
CONCERT PREVIEW
A musician's nightmares about
damaging equipment or being unable
to find the scheduled
venue might nor- Nomo
mally be the result
of nerves. Saturday at
But that's defi- 9:30 p.m.
nitely not the case $5
for Elliot Bergman. At the Half Ass
As the frontman of
African-influenced polyrhythmic
jazz band Nomo, Bergman claims
these recent dreams are more the
result of excitement than anxiety.
After taking a brief hiatus, the band
will kick off their U.S. tour in Ann
Arh.r . the ornimn'c hirthnae,

Courtesy of Elliot Bergman
Nomo will perform at the Half Ass Saturday at 9:30 p.m.

good vibe across the country.
So why pick a small venue like the
Half Ass to kick off the tour?
"I've been trying to get the gig at
the Half Ass for two years," Berg-
man said. "All our friends run it, so
it's almost like playing in our living
room."
Playing at a more intimate venue
is ideal for Bergman. The Half-Ass
allows the audience more of a chance
to interact with the hand - if you

ecstatic event, especially when we
play in Ann Arbor."
When the stage is filled with eight
band members - sometimes more
- playing an assortment of instru-
ments that range from saxophone
to thumb-pinao, the audience can't
escape the need to let go.
After being home in Chicago for
a couple of weeks, Bergman is more
than ready to hit the road and drive
the few hours tn Ann Arhor When

"R x.. ' "" "" '

I

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