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October 16, 2008 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-10-16

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The Michigan Daily I michigandaily.com I Thursday, October 16, 2008

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

David Sedaris has ingrati-
ated himself with comedy
connoisseurs for over a
decade with his humorous
books, essays and high-
pitched contributions to
NPR. In support of his new-
est collection, "When You
Are Engulfed in Flames,"
Sedaris will give readings
tonight at Hill Auditorium.
The performance begins
at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30-

Since making a name for
himself contributing to fash-
ion and music magazines in
the early '80s, British pho-
tographer Steve Pyke has
added to his celebrated
output with a series of por-
traiture books and collabo-
rations with film directors.
Pyke stops by Tappan Hall
from 4 to 6 p.m. tomorrow
to discuss his work in his
lecture "Acts of Memory."

Former Michigan student
Matthew Dear got his start
mixing beats at house par-
ties. Inthe past few years,his
signature techno blend has
shifter further and further in
a song-based direction, cul-
minating in last year's Asa
Breed. Dear returns to Ann
Arbor at the Blind Pig Friday
at 9:30. $25.18+.


Daily Arts Writer
It ran on Broadway for 12 years, became a
major motion picture and found its way onto
the iPods of angsty teenagers
and show tune junkies every- RENT
where - and now it's com-
ing to the University Starting Oct.16 to 26
tonight, with an extended run At the
through Oct. 26, the Depart- Mendelssohn
ment of Musical Theatre will Theatre
be performing "RENT" live at
the Mendelssohn Theatre.
For anyone who somehow missed all 5,124
Broadway performances, or the film released
nationwide, "RENT" is the story of eight friends
living in the East Village of New York in the
1990s. As homelessness, homophobia, riots,
drugs and AIDS prevail, the characters struggle
to find love while living without fear. It's a cel-
ebration amid poverty and death, a refusal to
sacrifice the _bohemian lifestyle for corporate
America and a reminder of the fragility of what
matters most.
These heavy themes have caused the Uni-
versity production's cast to go on a journey far
beyond the stage, into long discussions about

1980s punk rock, drugs, AIDS and homosexual-
ity, as well as conducting extensive research on
the sociopolitical context of the era.
"Heroin's become a huge part of my life,"
School of Music senior AshleyBlanchet said, jok-
ingly. Blanchet plays the role of Mimi, an HIV-
positive exotic dancer and drug addict.
She pulled a dime bag of brown sand from her
backpack and looked at it apprehensively, for a
moment almost forgetting that it's a prop.
"But seriously, it is dark; it can. be difficult to
shake off sometimes," Blanchet said. "To find out
what it means to be a drug addict can be really
School of Music junior Kent Overshown, who
plays Collins, is taking a course about AIDS in
America. Collins is a gay, homeless philosophy
professor who falls in love with drag queen
Angel Dumott Schunard.
Research was a pivotal part of the rehearsal
process for everyone involved in the play. The
cast learned about East Village Park as it was in
the late1980s, atimewhenhomelesspeople, drug
pushers, prostitutes and skinheads domineered
and tyrannized the neighborhood. By 1988, the
situation was so bad that the local government
instated a curfew, and the neighborhood reacted
See RENT, Page 4B

Milton Nascimento has
been one of Brazil's most
acclaimed pop musicians
since the 1960s. His impact
has even been felt in the
United States; he won a
Grammy in 1998. Joining
with the Jobim Trio (featur-
ing the son and grandson
of Antonio Carlos Jobim),
he performs at 8 p.m. Sat-
urday at Hill Auditorium.
Tickets start at $10.

Mark Ayesh and Cary Tedder performing in the University's production of "RENT.

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