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March 06, 2008 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-03-06

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MMVAU side

U The Michigan Daily I michigandaily.com I Thursday, March 6,2008

The Daily Arts
guide to the best
upcoming events
- it's everywhere
you should be this
weekend and why.

Come witness a significant
part of The Ark's history
when the venue says
farewell to longstanding
program director Dave
Siglin. Throughout the
three-night bash, The
Ark will host many of the
acts that Siglin pushed
into national prominence.
Tickets are $35 and the
shows start at 7:30 p.m.
tonight through Sunday.

don't think it really hit
any of us until we were
about to sit down to a
home-cooked meal made by
the same woman who had
prepared food for the likes of
Muddy Waters, Howlin'Wolf
and B.B. King when they
played in Greenville, Miss.
We played guitar outside
Hirsberg's, a neighborhood
store where the legendary
Robert Johnson played - on
the same benches he sat on,
no less. We visited various
museums, admiring count-
less pieces of iconic blues
history. We reverently laid
coins on Charley Patton's
grave. But it became real
when we were packed into a
small Greenville diningroom
experiencing the most gra-
cious Southern hospitality
you can imagine.
While many students were
soaking up the sun and lying
on beaches in Acapulco, a
group of five students led
by Professor Bruce Con-
forth toured the Mississippi
Delta in search of the seem-
ingly forgotten world of early
20th-century blues.
Being in a region pur-
portedly filled with legend-
ary landmarks, you'd think
it would be easy to find the
town where Robert John-
son lived with his first wife
or the family graveyard of
famous musician "Missis-
sippi" John Hurt. But, many
of these sites aren't just
neglected but downright for-
gotten, overgrown with years

of sprawling ivy or burned to be sure, most of these musi-
the ground. It begs the ques- cians were constantly tour-
tion: How did these monu- ing, settling down for only
mentally important sites, short periods of time. Even
the homes and communities those who became legends,
of America's arguably most like Robert Johnson, led
famous and original musi- nomadic lives and died more
cians, become so archaic and or less unknown. This life-
obscure? style is the pimary cause
In an attempt to escape of the forgotten world of
the desolation and hopeless- the Mississippi blues. It's
ness of Southern sharecrop- thought that,;after Johnson
ping during the first third died in his house (folklore
of the 1900s, artists began holds that he was poisoned
to spring up throughout the at a bar days before his ago-
Mississippi Delta. Musicians nizing death), the few people
like Muddy Waters, Charley who knew him took him to
Patton and Son House trav- the closest church to bury
him. Miles outside Green-
ville, his true grave lies in a
small yard among random
The orgaotten others, commemorated only
by a slightly more impressive
lives of the headstone than those sur-
rounding it.
blues's greats The church, Little Zion,
isn't impossible to find,
but unquestionably lies off
the beaten path. But most
eled through the area, play- surprisingly, there are no
ing various juke joints and markers or signs within the
street corners, often scarcely city that tell where one of
making enough money to live America's most legendary
by. Many of them began to musicians -is buried. You'd
gain notoriety while count- think there would be count-
less others continued to play less pilgrimages like our own
in relative anonymity. These to visit the man's grave, but
bluesmen weren't exactly the aside from a few tokens of
MTV crowd of today. There gratitude and fandom, his
was no mass broadcasting grave is lonesome.
of blues at the time and they But this is the trend with a
weren't celebrities. When number of famous bluesmen,
they traveled to a town, there like "Mississippi" John Hurt,
weren't parades of adoring who is buried in a forest in
fans. Avalon. His family'sgravesite
Living an unstable life to See BLUES, Page 6B

In case you've forgotten,
the first Friday of March
is here, so that means it's
time once again for the
Ann Arbor Soul Club at the
Blind Pig. Catch DJs Brad
Hales and Robert Wells
spinning some of the best
forgotten soul and R&B
from the Michigan area.
Doors open at 9:30 p.m.
and tickets are $5 for
those 21+.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: The headstone of legendary blues guitarist Charley Patton; Little Zion church
where Robert Johnson is actually buried; Stovall's Plantation store after it was rebuilt; Dockery Farms, the
plantation that Charley Patton grew up on.

n acERT PREVio'o
Black L ip s's 'flower punk' sh ine s on stage

It's a play that's all the,
rage. Now find out how
"Wicked" has shaped
facets of culture when
Stacy Wolf gives a lecture
titled "Defying Gravity: or
How Wicked's Witches
Queered the Broadway
Musical" tonight at S
p.m. in Angell Hall room

American troupe travels
to distant venues with
their unique sound
Daily Arts Writer
Some time ago, the Black Lips crossed
into Tijuana and came out with more
than just a bag of churros and a gut full
of Tecate. They brought
back a whole live album.
Los Vlientes del Mundo Black Lips
Nuevo was released in
2007 and captures the Tonight at
band characteristically 8 p.m.
romping through a half- At the Magic Stick
hour set full of sweaty,
drunken garage rock $8, all ages
(or what the band calls
"flower punk"). The term
was coined after one too many overblown
descriptions were used to pin down the
band's sound. As drummer and screamer
Joe Bradley put it, "Spin or some other
magazine called us ninth-hand rock-a-billy
garage core, and that was the last straw."
So, since then, the band has opted for a
moniker that's both "tough and wimpy."
"It's kind of a paradox," Bradley said.
The only downside to the album is the

handful of antics that typically mark a
Black Lips live performance - nudity, uri-
nating, vomiting, fireworks, large blonde
wigs, etc. - that can't really be captured
onan audio recording. Butthat's whatYou-
Tube is for.
As exotic as Tijuana sounds, it's just one
of several international destinations that's
hosted the Black Lips recently. The band
traveled to Israel and the West Bank last
year for a series of shows. According to
Bradley, many American bands promise to
perform in the Holy Land but ultimately
bail, so their accomplishment has helped
the group's popularity in the region.
"In Israel,they treatus really,reallywell,
'cause no band goes down there. The Red
Hot Chili Peppers promised them a concert
for a long time, butI guess Anthony Kiedis
isn't down with the Jews," Bradley joked.
While other musical acts are more con-
cerned with performing in larger venues,
the Black Lips seem attune to a more global
"We want to offer our music to all the
places in the world," Bradley said. "If we
can establish that relationship with people,
they'll remember you there for life."
This mantra might help explain why the
band seems content to tour less-frequented
venues. In Palestine, theband actually per-
formed in the street, drawing the audience
in with a rendition of "Johnny B. Goode."

This won't be your
typical 9 to 5. Check
out the celebration of
the trombone at the
University of Michigan
Trombone Symposium
Saturday starting at 9 a.m.
Trombonists from across
the United States will
collaborate with members
of the University faculty as
well as students at the E.V.
Moore Building.

weeeeee. cars!

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