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November 16, 2007 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-11-16

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, November 16, 2007 - 5A

the audience

There's something oddly
personal about walking
into a
dark room with
five projection Allegorica: A
screens and Videodance
music playing
in your ears. Vaudeville
Whether you're in Nine Acts
alone or in an
audience of 50 Through
people, a dia- Saturday
logue between Noon to7 p.m.
the installation
and yourself Atthe Media
is inevitable. Commons in the
This is the caseD
for "Allegorica: Free
A Videodance
Vaudeville in Nine Acts," a
filmed dance sequence by for-
mer Martha Graham dancer
and longtime Dance Prof. Peter
"Allegorica" teeters between
a film and an exhibit. Not only
does the audience watch pro-
jected images, we're invited
to walk through and examine
the objects scattered across the
room. The objects are illumi-
nated as they are presented in
the sequence and, in a sense, are
used as symbols for the themes
Sparling experiments with.
A set of wings, a large stool, a
guitar, a briefcase full of pennies
and two tree branches are a few
of the props Sparling interacts
with throughout the improvised
sequence. As he does, the audi-
ence can't help but wonder if and

When dance
becomes an
By Priya Bali
Daily Arts Writer
when to interact with them as
well. Although seeminglyunusu-
al as a collection, each speaks to
the pieces in different ways. In
an interview, Sparling described
this area of objects as "a dream
space" because of the flexible
range of meaning it inspires.
"It takes a full viewing to fig-
ure out why these objects are
there," he said. "Their purpose
can be to exemplify, symbolize,
become a catalyst or a memen-
"Allegorica" becomes a col-
lage of statements on the human
condition. Sparling testifies to
themes of greed, physical suf-
fering, unfulfilled ambition and
lost love in what he calls "mod-
ern-day parables." These themes
were born out of the improvi-
sation, which is set to music by
such artists as Bach, Frank Pahl
and Frank Williams. Certain
melodies allowed Sparling to
magnify his feelings with the
projected images.
Not only does the style of

dance vary between each act,
they sometimes transform with-
in them. Sparling plays with the
concept of multiplicity when he
changes characters. Each role
can be defined by certain move-
ments and parts in the music.
In a sense, the audience is
also improvising its movements.
We can either focus on the main
screen, look right or left at the
smaller screens or simply move
to the center to explore the vari-
ous objects.
In order to maintain a com-
plete experience, one's attention
must remain divided.
"In a way, I wanted to paral-
lel how we are challenged in real
life to take in simultaneous hap-
penings and to somehow draw
meaning and to connect them
into a sense of our own orienta-
tion relative to all those events
happening," Sparling said.
Fragmented images overlap
on the screen to tell a story from
various angles.
"This was partly to challenge
the audience to opentheir frame.
Dramatically, it was to allow
for multiple perspectives of the
same moment," Sparling said.
Such video technology derives
multiple meanings from multi-
ple sources, which is something
we cannot normally experience
during a live performance. As a
result, each audience member
"choreographs," as Sparlingsaid,
her understanding and experi-
ence of the installation.

When are beautiful performances like these going to head over to Central Campus,

The more
the better
DailyFine Arts Editor
"We try to be a little bigger than what the
guitar can usually be," Los Angeles Guitar
Quartet's MatthewGreifsaidin aninterview.
The four professional guitarists that formed
the quartet 27 years ago
built a formidable reputa- The Los
tion for crowd-pleasing,
challenging performances Angeles
of an unusual scope. This Guitar
Sunday at 4 p.m. the quar-
tet will perform a program
that takes heavily from Sunday at
their newest release of 4 p.m.
Brazilian compositions,
but also includes Celtic At Rackham
pieces and Liszt's Hun- Auditorium
garian Rhapsody at the $10-$48
University's best chamber
music venue, Rackham
The range of musical styles and forms they
adapt to their instruments may best charac-
terize the quartet, known as LAGQ. Their
versions of pieces historically unusual to
acoustic guitar go beyond inventive arrange-
ments. When the quartet last appeared at
Rackham in April 2006, the sounds of cello
and flute were worked from expertly manip-
ulated guitars. The performers pounded on
the bodies of the guitars for percussion and
attached bits of metal to their nylon strings
to imitate a gamelan, or Indonesian drum
The jazzyopener onLAGQBrazil, released
in September, features flutist and MC Katisse
Buckingham not only making his flute sound
more like pan pipes in an improvisation, but
beat-boxing - while playing.
Such "How'd they do that?" moments
make their way into LAGQ's live perfor-

'Poet of plastic'
comes to Detroit

Four six-string samurais. What else could you want?

mances as well. In person, the quartet's
music takes on a more playful quality for the
audience, which can visually track minute
communications between the musicians and
try to distinguish lines of music in pieces that
maybe too interwoven for the untrained ear
alone to dissect.
"With four guitarists, in a recording it is
difficult to pick out," Greif said. "In a way it's
a compliment, because I think in these Bra-
zilian pieces it should sound a bit like one big
Greif said that while noticeable differ-
ences between the recorded and live expe-
riences aren't always intentional, they do
come into play.
"The more traditional pieces are going
to be less different visually," he said. "But
in some things, like where we're using per-
cussion, visually it'll have a real different
Greif, long-time friend, student and fan
of the quartet, replaces 16-year member
Andrew York, who Greif said left the group
amicably to concentrate on his compos-
ing and solo performance. The quartet's
members occupy themselves with teaching,
two of them at the University of Southern
California, composing and performing with
musicians outside of the quartet.
"We're lucky to have an active performing
life, but for many musicians you can't make
a living on performing alone," Greif said,
echoing a reality evident in the University's
own music institutions, where faculty split
their time between performing and train-
ing and students who anxiously wonder how
to "make it" as performers. The LAGQ itself
has just come from three concerts and a day

of teaching in Germany.
"Pretty much every professional musi-
cian I know maintains that balance," Greif
said. "But it makes you a more well-rounded
musician, to teach and play."
Sunday's varied program is the product of
what Greif called a "pretty democratic col-
laboration" between the quartet's members.
Several of the pieces have been pulled from
earlier years. "It's a really effective pro-
gram," he said, "with serious music up front
'We try to be a little
bigger than what the
guitar can usually be.'
and more fun stuff in the second half."
The LAGQ is part of a spate of Brazil-
ian musical influence on campus in recent
weeks. Greif said that because the acoustic
nylon string guitar is the instrument used
for classical guitar music and for Brazilian
jazz, the group's classically trained guitar-
ists have a "natural affinity" for their recent
Fans of any music type should find some-
thingengagingaboutSunday's performance,
which Greif is also looking forward to.
"The performer can feel if an audience
is into it, with their intensity and level of
attention," he said. "There's a complemen-
tary wave of energy that passes between the
audience and performers, back and forth."

Daily Arts Writer
Imagine feeling sexy while vac-
uuming in a completely non-June
Cleaver kind ofway. Cairo-born and
New York-based designer Karim
Rashid - with his streamlined
cordless cone-
shaped design for
Dirt Devil- has Toyota
made that possi- Lecture
ble. With the clean
lines and smooth on Design
curves of this with Karim
minimalist metal- Rashid
lic design, vacu-
uming suddenly Today at 4 p.m.
seems appealing.
A well-respect- At the College
ed and award-win- tdes inetruit
ning designer in S
the fields of prod- Free
uct, interior, fash-
ion, furniture, lighting design and
art, Rashidhasbroughthis distinct-
ly futuristic vision to more than
2,500 products and venues. Beyond
Dirt Devil, Rashid has designed for
a wide array of companies includ-
ing Prada, Alessi, Lacoste, Timex,
Yahoo, Umbra, Target and Toyota.
In addition to his product designs,
Rashid has written design books
and his noncommercial work is
currently on display in museums
worldwide, including the Museum
of Modern Art and the San Fran-
cisco Museum of Modern Art.
For Prada, Rashid created pack-
aging for its latest skincare line
that appears bright and sterile -
for Alessi bold color blocked plas-
tic watches, for Lacoste a limited
edition version of its classic cotton
polo featuring a large neon gator
and jagged trim. For Umbra, Rashid
designed bestselling and award-
winning black-and-white plastic
office chairs for comfort and style.
Named "the poet of plastic" by
Time Magazine, Rashid takes what
could be a mundane item-such as a
chair or a vacuum and makes it art
pushing companies to the future of
His designs are playful featuring
bold colors and geometric shapes
toying with mod and space age
themes. Rashid proves that you can
be innovative as an artist while still
maintaining a business sensibility.
His works are sleek and functional
reflecting the need for convenience
while never failing to appeal to
contemporary fashion sense.

"This is the business of beauty.
Every business should be complete-
ly concerned with beauty - it is
after all a collective human need,"
Rashid writes in the "Karimanifes-
to" featured in his website.
In this manifesto, Rashid also
expresses a disdain for all things
nostalgic, wishing that all peo-
ple would accept and live in the
"modus of our time, to participate
in the contemporary world."
Today at the College for Cre-
ative Studies, in collaboration with
Detroit-based fashion and design
magazine Clear, Rashid will speak
on his design philosophy and vision
in an open lecture sponsored by a
grant from the Toyota Foundation.
Rashid's experience is especially
relevant to students interested in
becoming involved in the design,
fashion or entertainment.
More than a designer, Rashid
markets himself as an engaging and
flamboyant personality. Follow-
ing the lecture, Rashid will take on
his alter ego "DJ Kreemy" and spin
Vacuuming is
sexy in Karim
Rashid's hands.
beats at the MOCAD for a night of
drinking, dancing and conversing
that is also open to the public.
While Detroit may not seem
like a great draw for a designer
of Rashid's caliber, Clear maga-
zine events manager Dan Soryl
explained that while often over-
looked, Detroit is a design capitol
with a hold on one thing that no
other city truly has: the auto indus-
"Detroit is the epicenter for
automotive design and we're try-
ing to hold on to that title," Soryl
said. "There are a lot of forces
going against that these days and
we're trying to bring more design-
ers here."
Aware that Karim Rashid is sure
to draw quite a crowd, Soryl said
he expected the throng of attend-
ees to reflect the reputation asso-
ciated with CCS, Clear magazine
and MOCAD - "a pretty artsy and
polished crowd," while bringing in
new designers.


Action theater
* from the'60s
comes to North
"Two by Fassbinder: 'Pre-Para-
dise Sorry Now' and Katzelm-
Tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m.
Sunday at 2 p.m.
At the Arthur Miller Theatre

$9 w/ student ID/$24
Upon entering the Arthur
Miller Theatre this week-
end for the University's latest
fall drama, audiences will be
brought into the midst of post-
WWII Germany. Student actors
in full costume will engage the
audience in conversation in the
lobby, perhaps bringing them a
little closer to what itmight have
been like to see famed revolu-
tionary avant-garde screenplay
writer and director Rainer Wer-

ner Fassbinder's action theater zelmacher" relates the tension

in the 1960s.
Director and Theater Prof.
Malcolm Tulip carefully chose
two of Fassbinder's works he
believed to be the most engag-
ing and resonant: "Pre-Paradise
Sorry Now" and "Katzelmach-
er." Both pieces speak to alien-
ation and discontent in the
post-war era. "Pre-Paradise
Now" is the story of the infa-
mous Moor Murders in Great
Britain in the mid-1960s. "Kat-

that arises and the discrimina-
tion that comes into play when
a Greek migrant worker moves
into a Germantown and disrupts
the peace. Tulip actually added
violence into the piece in care-
fully choreographed moments,
with an innocuous caress of a
gun on the cheek or a lit ciga-
rette coming towards the face.
Both pieces display a darker side
of the human condition.


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