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October 09, 2008 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-10-09

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4B - Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

4B - Thursday, October 9, 2008 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

TELEVISION
From Page 2B
Betty on "Ugly Betty" and Molly
on "The Starter Wife" have
their flaws but don't conform to
others' expectations. Betty and
Molly don't intentionally hurt
others for personal and profes-
sionalgains,evenifsomeoneelse
has wronged them.Unlike Betty
and Molly's good consciences,
Blair Waldorf on "Gossip Girl"
is the queen of mean. If someone
dares to wrong her, they better
be ready for the social sabotage

Blair has planned for them.
Watching Blair out her ex-best
friend Serena's alleged drug
problem in front of their whole
school is like witnessing a train-
wreck.
Shows like "Gossip Girl"
aren't going away anytime soon,
and they shouldn't be cast off
all together. People of all ages
watch frivolous TV to escape
from everyday life, and these
shows aren't the only programs
on that depict stereotypes or use
sensationalism to attract view-
ers.i
In high school, the need to fit

in causes adolescents to become
impressionable. Consequently,
these shows will most likely
have more of an influence on
a teenager than a mature and
independentadult.Ifayounggirl
watches "90210," she isn't auto-
matically going to become the
school's biggest gossip queen.
But in recent years, adults have
become increasingly concerned
about how young women inter-
act with one another and proj-
ect themselves in society. TV
shows aren't the only cause, but
they can promote problematic
behavior.

COURTESY OF CHARLENE KAYE AND MY DEAR DISCO
Ann Arbor artists Charlene Kaye (left) and My Dear Disco (right) will release new albums this weekend.
ALBUM E SE PARTIES

Local favorites usher
in new albums with
release parties at the
Pig and Yellow Barn
By PRAKASH VENKATRAMAN
For the Daily
A classically trained pianist-turned-
songwriter, Charlene Kaye is an indie
spirit headed for greatness. Her style
is distinct and cannot be categorized.
Kaye bleeds versatility. In her album
ThingsI Will Need in the Past, her clas-
sical training is evident in her ability
to effortlessly blend genres using only
a couple of keys or strums of the gui-
tar.
On "Magnolia Wine," she mixes
classical staccato with a folk-inspired
sound to produce a track that's both
light and vibrant. Kaye's wordplay is
pure poetry, and her alto voice hits
every note on point. "Strike a Chord"
is a perfect example of this; the melody
and lyrical grace provided by Kaye's
voice is morethan enough to keep ears
glued to the record."Skin andBones"is
definitely the favored track, featuring

a guest appearance by Ann Arborite
Darren Criss. The beginning has an
earthy feel to it, and Criss's voice only
adds to the song's smooth appeal.
"(The album) blossomed from ques-
tions regarding time and the nature
of memory in general," Kaye said in
a phone interview.
"Hindsight is 20/20,
and looking back you Charlene
can perceive things K
differently."
Kaye's album Tomorrow,
takes a personal 8 p.m.
stance as well - it The Yellow Barn
was inspired by a
long-distance rela- My Dear
tionship she'd been D.C
in. Her music inves- Ds
tigates relationships Saturday,
and how humans 9 p.m.
connect; in doing The Blind Pig
so, it's soulful. In
addition to classical
music, Kaye names her primary influ-
ences as Joni Mitchell, Fiona Apple
and American pianist Burt Bachar-
ach. Her album debuts Friday, Oct.10,
at the Yellow Barn.
Kaye is'nt the only new artist on
the horizon. With only a year and a
half's experience under their belt, My

Dear Disco has been creating quite a
stir among local music aficionados.
Besides having a great name, MDD
mixes lofty vocals with a synthesizer,
guitar, saxophone and even bagpipes
to produce an eclectic sound: soothing
yet exciting, trippy yet mellow. They
call it "Dancethink" (also the name
of their album). In an interview with
The Graphic, founding member Tyler
Duncan described his group's music
as "the type that's as good on the
dance floor as it is in the headphones."
"White Lies" is a catchy techno song
with airy lyrics while "All I Do" and
"The Way" are the closest My Dear
Disco comes to pop songs. The tracks
retain their indie roots through the
lyrics and beat, but it's not difficult
to imagine them playing on a top 10
countdown.
My Dear Disco is being hailed as
one of the best acts to come out of Ann
Arbor, and considering their ensemble
of award winning singers, composers
and instrumentalists, it's not surpris-
ing. Their album should be a surefire
hit, especially since Grammy-nomi-
nated sound engineer Mark Saunders
is mixing it. The release party is this
Saturday at the Blind Pig. Doors open
at 9:30 p.m.

CONCERTS
From Page 1B
between American promise and American real-
ity." The crowd he was addressing was markedly
different too, with the navy blue "African Ameri-
cans for Obama" signs giving way to occasional
flashes of their emerald green "Irish Americans
for Obama" counterparts. A quick glance over the
mass of people gathered on EMU's baseball field
revealed an older group, full of families, war vets,
retirees and fire fighters.
Beyond the veneer of big-name artists and
flashy stage shows, these concerts were essen-
tially political rallies for awell-oiled Democratic
machine. At the exits in Ypsilanti, fresh-faced
college volunteers handed out little yellow slips
of paper listing all the "correct" candidates for
office. Beyond the baseball diamond, scores of
scruffy opportunists competed with campaign
representatives to sell Obama posters, T-shirts
and other memorabilia. Even in the more festive
confines of Cobo Arena, the politics were never
far from center stage; an army of volunteers lined
the walls, proudly wielding clipboards and voter
registration forms.
So was this a return to the '60s - that long-
prophesized, much-heralded and eagerly-awaited
comeback of the activist masses? The synchroni-
zation of popular music and liberal activism into
one great, youthful thrust at political change?
No. And it shouldn't be.
Woodstock may be an iconic moment in Ameri-
can history, but the baby boomers who experi-
enced it have idealized the movement itrepresents
beyond all recognition. What we're left with is
an exaggerated image of that age and generation
- an image of extraordinarily involved students
protesting to the tune of Jimi Hendrix - that's
as misleading as it is fascinating. It's an ideal that
the babyboomers' millennial children might find
appealing, but couldn't live up to if they tried. And
really, they have no reason to. As the protests to the
Iraq war showed, the techniques thatonce defined
American political activism no longer apply.
In a way, then, these concerts for Obama point
to what might come next. They were not sponta-
neous gatherings of people with a common cause
just trying to be heard. Nor did they come off as
shallow, largely nonpartisan celebrity appeals
to "Vote or Die." From top to bottom, they were
events organized by a specific party and political
candidatewithaveryspecificgoalinmind-toget
votes. And the artists employed here were simply
willing draws for a targeted constituency. It's why

6
6

"

Barack Oama last Sunday ana onday.
Jay-Z performed in a black metropolis while the
Boss showed up in a whiter town. And.if Spring-
steen's acoustic strumming harkened back to the
days of Dylan, the Obama staffers spread among
the crowd were a constant reminder that, for once,
such idealism had a very practical backbone.
Is this a winning formula? We'll know soon
enough. Bruce Springsteen and Shawn Carter
may have long since left our state, but the thou-
sands of left-leaning voters they've helped regis-
ter remain. And if these thousands of new voters
translate to a blue state on Election Day, come
2012, we might see a few more free shows thrown
our way.

SIGHT
From Page 3B
months:
This may sound like sensory overload, and
for good reason. But it's not just atechnologi-
caldisplay. Onthecontrary,those involved in
the production are primarily musicians and
want to create something as organic as it is
abstract. The piece may be intermedia, but it
features alllive, acoustic instruments such as
piano, drums and guitars.
The balancing act between traditional per-
formance and technology is a near impossible
feat. While the two crafts certainly comple-
ment each other, theytend to be ideologically
opposed. Technology is always in the midst
of reinvention. The same cannot be said of
art. The fundamentals of art - such as narra-
tion, spacing and progression of time - have
changed minimally in the last few hundred
years, which is why Beethoven and Sopho-
cles still hold precedence in our performance
halls. While art upholds timelessness, tech-
nologyupholds fast-paced change.
Moorefield recognizes this paradigm, and
wants to make sure art doesn't become stag-
nant.
"We are, as a society, valuing technology,

the how, far more than the what, the con-
tent," he said. And that's why Moorefield
plans to manipulate technologyto propel fine
arts into the new millennium.
Moorefield has been working in multime-
dia performance for the past few years, and
he has been composing music for the past
25. After earning an M.F.A. and Ph.D. in
composition from Princeton University, he
released three full-length CDs, wrote a book
about the artistic aspects of producing and
toured with several bands as a percussion-
ist. He has received Rockefeller Foundation
and MacDowell composition residencies, as
well as several grants, including one from the
National Endowment of the Arts.
Moorefield embarked upon his project
"Five Ideas About the Relation of Sight and
Sound" in late 2005, and started rehears-
ing at the University about four months ago,
acquiring the assistance of musicians and
programmers Robert Alexander and Devin
Kerr. He considers tonight's performance
the premiere.
The structure and technology of Moore-
field's piece is certainly avant-garde, but the
concept of visual music has a history reach-
ing as far back as civilization itself. Ancient
Greek, Chinese, Persian, Arabic and Indian
texts mention empirical connections between

sound and color. In 1704, synesthetics entered
academia with Sir Isaac Newton's book
"Opticks," in which he proposed a theoretical
relationship between musical scales and the
light spectrum. After Newton's publication,
several inventors designed mechanical instru-
ments displaying sound-color relationships,
usually involving glass shields and hundreds
of lamps. These creations reached a peak in
1893 with Alexander Wallace Rimington's
famed color organ. Twenty-two years later,
Changing the way
you feel sound.
Russian composer Alexander Nikolayevich
Scriabin used this design for the symphony
Prometheus in Carnegie Hall.
As the 20th-century progressed, visual
compositions flourished. One of the more
prominent inspirations for Moorefield dur-
ing this era is Oscar Fischinger (1900-1967),
responsible for Walt Disney's "Fantasia" -
one of the first films to have a surround sound
system built for it, custom-designed by Disney
engineers. But that's only a small, pop-culture
portion of what Fischinger contributed to the

field. His lesser-known abstract works, such
as "Motion Painting No. 1," correlate light and GOSSIP
sound in more theoretically interesting ways. From Page 3B
With technology moving ever faster today,
Fischinger is, as Moorefield describes, "the pack in my car, I am a true Ameri-
grandfather of what is now possible on any- can like Sarah, so we're (sic) good."
body's laptop." Inother news, Jessica Alba
Robert Alexander, a performer and pro- recently appeared in an ad for
grammer in the piece, also recognizes how far "Declare Yourself.com" wear-
we've come. ing a muzzle, the less than adroit
"(In the early 1900s) people went to a the- metaphor being that not voting is
atre and they were freaked out because they like giving up your voice. Seeing
saw a train coming and thought, 'Oh my God, Alba gagged is a bit off-putting, but
I'm going tobe hit by atrain!' and everyone I knew it wasn't a dream because
ran out of the theatre," Alexander said. "And she didn't have furry handcuffs on.
concerts, nowadays, you go and you expect On the complete opposite side of
that there are going to be laser-lights going the hotness spectrum, "comedian"
everywhere ... it seems that the trend is that Sandra Bernhard was recently
the level of immersion is steadily increasing banned from a benefit dinner for
as technology has progressed." jokingthat Palin would get "gang-
The movement toward sensory immersion raped by my big black brothers."
might be due to the allure of technology, the She also added that her Mexican
excitement of live animation or nostalgia for brothers would steal the hubcaps
our childhood days as synesthetes. Whatever off Palin's car and asked if there
the reason, multimedia has consumed soci- were any other useless, tired ste-
ety and will continue to do so to ever greater reotypes she had left out.
extents. "Five Ideas About the Relation of Finally, a YouTube video packed
Sight and Sound" is a performance embed- with the most random array of
ded within our present sensational world, celebrities - since "I'm Fucking
and perhaps paving our sensational future. Ben Affleck" at least - has Leo
DiCaprio, Forest Whitaker and
some "Entourage" guys sarcasti-
cally telling the youth of America
not to vote. Based on the idiocy
mentioned in this column, it seems
that a lot of celebrities might do
well to heed their own advice and
stay home November 4th.
Schultz's Alba fantasy is nothing
compared to his Spears fantasy.
E-mail him at markthos@umich.edu.

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