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September 05, 2006 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-05

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ARTS

Tuesday, September 5, 2006 - The Michigan Daily - 11A

FRONTIER
Continued from Page 8A
way less awesome than the sea-
son premiere of "Grey's Anato-
my."
The wilderness pushes back:
Southern rap, once dually
regarded as the graveyard and
DMZ of hip hop, has controlled
the Clear Channel airwaves for
half a decade now, producing
the lion's share of rap's platinum
albums and most enthralling
new talent (Clipse, Lil' Wayne).
What's more, the whole world is
absolutely obsessed with South-
ern rap now, so numb, inhu-
man, thick artists like Yung Joc
have multiple hit singles to their
name. And we can't tell the
difference. John Milton. Dan
Brown. Yung Joc. Rakim. Jet.
The Rolling Stones. MySpace.
The Guttenberg Bible. Face-
book. All equally deserving of
praise and criticism. We have
nothing else to do.
We are overwhelmed by one

wave of pop and taken by anoth-
er before we can even right
ourselves. We stuff theadigital
wilderness with more albums,
more films, more TV shows.
Contemporary "criticism" is
staged, articulated and refer-
enced within minutes. People
can, and sometimes do, literally
go into severe depressive epi-
sodes when their favorite tele-
vision characters dies. That's
our true communal experience,
cheering when Jack Bauer guns
down people like a fascist foot
soldier.
Pop culture is more impor-
tant than the family. And youth:
Acres and acres of grainy young
high-schoolers get thrown
through the MTV thresher
affectionately known as the 10
Spot in the hopes of aping the
career path of Kristin Cavallari
(fashionable, mildly witty bitch-
dom, quickly canceled concept
reality show, small-scale video
appearances for one-off emo
bards, already fading looks).
We don't want to be areat: we

want to be filmable. We need to
be just enough. Fame is the only
fight left. Anonymity is the dark
cave. Paris is America. Art isn't
art, it's a means to an end.
We can stomach new lows.
They're not even lows. Cat-
egorically talentless "people"
summon most of the national
consciousness. People cre-
ate viable careers out of being
filmed during their most emo-
tionally trying and desperate
moments - "The Real World"
alone has brought us drunk
driving, the death of an actor/
character/real person's mother
and countless more moments of
existential grief - artful, frigid
moments of emotional trauma
from a person your age going
through the same painful emo-
tions you have had or will have.
You, the witness, are the star,
without having lifted a finger.
It's not that barriers got torn
down, it's that they were never
there. No taste is taste. All art
is equal. Some art is just more
equal than others.

DIY entertainment: A2's mikes

By Andrew S. Klein
Associate Arts Editor
Your bleeding heart needs release. Dorm acous-
tics just can't cut it. Luckily for Ann Arbor trou-
badours, there are plenty of opportunities for the
brave and the timid alike to share their musical
efforts with people who don't live in their hall.
Open mikes and small venues are always an
important aspect of a music scene. They're the
static-filled, squeaky-voiced venues for any
amount of sonic exploration. Ann Arbor boasts a
thriving open-mike scene that ranges from down-
home folk to indie rock of the most extreme
nature.
The former side of that spectrum finds its home
at The Ark, one of Ann Arbor's cornerstone ven-
ues. Tomorrow kicks off The Ark's tradition
of hosting "Open Stages." Doors (and sign-up)
open at 7:30 p.m. A raffle is held to determine
the order of performances (15 minutes each), and
those who don't make the cut can present their
raffle ticket the next time around (and double
their chances of getting chosen). The Ark may
not be for the faint of heart. It's a warm, intimate
venue with the audience in close proximity.
Acoustic performers can be spotted all over
town, from Kerrytown's Crazy Wisdom Tea
Room to the Union's Ballroom. Even Potbelly on
State Street brings in singer-songwriters.
Perhaps the easiest and most comfortable venue
in Ann Arbor is the Diag. Last spring witnessed
an unprecedented variety of musicians. There
were violins, sitars and harmonicas, accompanied

by barefoot dancers. Spontaneous jams coalesced
and dispersed on the hour. The September weath-
er is again waxing perfect, so look to the center
of campus as a sounding board for local music
and artists.
And don't ignore the latent power of porches
as a viable outlet for budding musicians. Cruise
Kerrytown for porch-lounging music lovers. You
might meet your future rhythm guitarist on the
way to that awesome party.
And if confidence is not your cup of tea, there
is always karaoke night at The Blind Pig. PBRs
are $1. Courage comes cheap.

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