The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, January 14, 2010 - 3B
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, January 14, 2010 - 38
On the prowl for
The Collage Concert provides a series of challenges for the technical staff, as transitions between performances must be done swiftly as applause is held.
A collegiate, musical collage
When the five-minute
walk to class feels like
a trek up Mt. Ever-
est, and it becomes commonplace
not to feel your
fingers or toes
as you head
know it's that
of the year: It's «
shopping time! XU
It all started
for me when a friend and I
braved the frosty winds in search
of Christmas presents for our
respective boyfriends. As we
breathlessly stumbled into Mid-
dle Earth, we were greeted by the
familiar smell of incense, a wide
assortment of gag gifts and a nice
selection of animal winterwear.
As a joke, I jammed a knitted
leonine toque hat atop my head.
The striped ears waggled up and
"It looks cute!" my friend
assured me through her giggles.
"You'd never wear it, though."
Remember that part in "Harry
Potter" when Luna Lovegood
dons a colossal lion's head in
support of Gryffindor in the
big Quidditch final against Sly-
therin? It has huge whiskers
and eyes that bug out and like
a gazillion brown and yellow
streamers coming out from
behind it. Yeah, the hat looked
kind of like that, except it had a
tail in the back, too.
Though neither of us was able
to find a suitable present that
afternoon, I walked out of the
store with a newfound resolve. I
would be the owner of that hat.
"I'm buying it," I told my
friend. "I'm telling you, I'm buy-
Purchasing a winter hat
shouldn't be such a big deal, butI
am known to be obsessively picky
with little things like accessories.
I'll plunk down $25, $30 for a
new dress, no problem, but tell
me to buy a scarf and I'll spend
hours and hours picking through
the best and worst of Ann Arbor's
couture, preening at my dissatis-
fied reflection in the mirror. My
criteria for winterwear, in partic-
ular, are enormously stringent.
Things I try to avoid at all
costs: Ugg boots, or any sub-
par imitation of them (I'm sure
they're warm, but wearing them
over leggings kind of nullifies the
purpose, doesn't it?), The North
Face because it's out of my bud-
get, long johns and big woolly
scarves that look comfortable but
when you take them off decide to
fry your hair all over the place.
I'm also over pretty things
that secretly make you freeze
because I've already caught two
colds since October, and we're
not even halfway through win-
ter yet. Thanks, Forever 21, for
repeatedly damaging my immune
system while depleting my bank
account with your stupid "return
for store credit only" policy. I'm
really fond of those beret-type
hats that "Gossip Girl" has popu-
larized, but I've always wondered
what part of your head they actu-
Working up the
courage to buy a
ally protect - the back of your
scalp? A few strands of your hair?
In a state where the windchill
impedes you from walking in a
straight line, I'd say form wins
over fashion, any time.
Not that it means that I con-
done waddling around in huge
swaths of cloth. I've found that if
I'm not completely comfortable
with what I'm wearing, I won't
wear it, no matter how many
colds I catch or classes I miss.
I had made a connection with
the lion hat. From the second I
laid eyes on my reflection, I fell
See XU, Page 4B
The Collage Concert never
rests, presenting a variety
of performance styles
By ERIN STEELE
Daily Arts Writer
At some point in their academic lives, almost
all students at the University have made a col-
lage with magazine clippings and various other
art supplies. On Saturday, Jan. 16, the School
of Music, Theatre & Dance
will present another type of
collage that the student body
may not find as familiar: a Collage
musical collage. The 33rd cet
annual Collage Concert will
be held in the Hill Audito- Saturday
rium at 8 p.m. at 8 p.m.
TI-e concertis described by Hill Auditorium
artistic coordinator Dr. Julie
Skadsem, associate professor
of Music Education and Choral Conducting in
the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, as "a
meshing of different musical pieces."
"In the concert you'll hear a wide variety of
music from classical to contemporary," said
Skadsem. "There's some world music, folk
music, and the concert will flow from piece to
piece seamlessly so that the end of one piece
runs into the beginning of the next."
The Collage Concert first found its place
here when the University hosted the State
Music Educators Conference in Ann Arbor,
which traditionally featured this kind of con-
cert. When the conference moved to Grand
Rapids a few years ago, the tradition of the Col-
lage Concert stayed at the University.
The concert is composed of two 35- to
40-minute sections, during which applause is
held, and swift shifts between different moods
and genres create an eclectic collage effect.
Each of the musical pieces is between two and
four minutes long, and among the performers
are the primary ensembles of the School of
Music, Theatre & Dance, along with 15 other
students and groups who were selected to per-
form their original works.
The ensemble conductors and selected
groups collaborated to form a diverse and
kaleidoscopic program. The wide variety
of performance material and participating
groups should make the concert appealing to
an audience with diverse tastes and expose the
participants to new kinds of performance.
Music, Theatre & Dance freshman Tara
Sheena described watching the concert as "a
whirlwind experience and definitely unlike
any other show on campus."
"My favorite aspect of The Collage Concert
is being able to see all of the small groups from
all of the disciplines of the School of Music,
Theater and Dance," said Frederick McGirr,
a Music, Theatre & Dance senior who will be
playing in his fourth collage concert this year.
"We get to see groups play that we don't get to
see on a daily basis."
For example, McGirr will be playing the
repenique, a Brazilian drum, for Saturday's
"It's very well attended," Skadsem said. "It's
a very popular concert, I think because it has
such great variety. It showcases the entire
school of music."
Because of its broad scope and continually
flowing nature, rehearsing the concert pres-
ents a unique set of challenges. This includes
accommodating students who perform in
See COLLAGE, Page 4B
a lack o
versity to promote," he added.
ANIACS Heise maintains that this stigma is a mis-
Page 1 B conception, which is evident if you take a
look at the club.
"We have a very diverse group of people,"
irces and advertisement rather than Heise said. "We have Engineers and LSA
f anime fans on campus or in Ann people and Art & Design people. We have
people who aren't what you expect to see
n't want to say theUniversity doesn't when you think anime fan."
us, because we do get money from "I think being open-minded and watch-
d LSA-SG," Heise said. "But I think ing some anime even if you don't think
University has other things they'd you're going to like it is important," Heise
romote than the anime club." said. "Sometimes you'll get a nice surprise
re is a stigma attached with anime from a source you never expected."
it would be undesirable for the Uni- Animania is attempting to overcome its
obstacles. Heise encourages showing anime
that is less mainstream, not what you
may typically think of when consid-
ering the genre's identity.
"The shows I promote are the
ones that aren't what people think
anime is," Heise said. "It's not all
Njust the magical girls and giant
robots, even though there are
shows like that out there."
Eldred is still proud of the Ann
Arbor anime legacy he has left
"Once in a while
I'll hear through the
grapevine that Anima-
nia is still going,
and it makes me
feel like a proud
father," he said."I
think what makes
special is that it
was around before
anime went mainstream.
They're in a position to appreciate
the roots and the history."
"When I think of all the
friendships and cross-cultural
interest that must have resulted, I
think it can only be a good thing for
any community to have an anime
Anime: more than a cartoon?
The existence of such a large group with
so many avid fans demands the question:
What is it about anime that makes fans so
passionate they jump right into the sur-
rounding communal hype? The answer is
simple: Anime is more than just a cartoon.
"It's not just for kids," said Charlotte
Raines, Music, Theatre & Dance junior.
"Some people may only be familiar with the
'Pokdmon'- or'Dragon Ball Z'-type stuff and
might be skeptical, thinking that 30-year-
olds are watching kids' cartoons, but anime
is a lot more than those shows."
"They delve into many more topics than
your typical Bugs Bunny cartoon," said Ken
Childers, a fifth year LSA senior and mem-
ber of Animania. "It's not really some sort of
slapstick animation. There's a lot of anime
that delves into philosophical subjects, like
what it means to be human."
Raines explained how she takes issue
with most Americanized anime cartoons
because they have a tendency to be one-
dimensional, focusing on one aspect like
dirty comedy or action.
"Anime just has so many more layers that
people probably are not aware of," Raines
explained. "It's so much more meatier."
Alongside its philosophical components,
anime provides an entire fantasy realm in
which to escape. Raines explained how, for
some fans, this cultural aspect is anime's
main draw. For instance, there are viewers
who get really into the outfits the characters
wear and the worlds in which the characters
live. This is referred to as "cosplay" (mean-
ing "costume play") in the convention world.
Fans dress in clothes and accessories to
mimic characters from their favorite shows.
Others are drawn to the whimsical char-
acteristics of anime - the use of primary
colors and swirling images coupled with
gorgeous people and the trademark big eyes,
a beautiful, simplistic quality that creates a
magical feel often lost in realistic computer
Still other viewers, as Roberts explained,
are interested in the quality of the animation
- with special attention to detail regarding
anatomy, lighting and backgrounds.
Unfortunately, fully immersing oneself
in the world of anime can bring on societal
"I've found that it's hard to get into art
colleges by having an anime style, because
it's seemingly copying," Roberts said. "But
S know from myself, and other artists, that
the anime style can vary greatly."
Many "otaku"- the term coined for hard-
core anime fans - are fully aware of the stig-
mas that come with their chosen passion.
"When someone thinks 'anime fan,' they
probably think of someone who just sits in
his room and watches anime all day, doesn't
go out, is overweight, pimple-faced, looks
at pictures of little girls," Heise said. "You
know, all these really extreme stereotypes
- a nerd persona."
"Every stereotype is based on truth,"
Raines said. "Some of those people do
exist - I have seen them at conventions. So
whenever I tell people I like anime and they
don't know much about it, they snicker at
me and automatically place me in the geek/
"I feel that for alot of otakus and anime
fans in general, we are aware of that stig-
ma," she added. "Most of us just deal with it
by hatingthe 'normal' people."
Because of the stereotype, most outsid-
ers feel that anime is always perverted or
sexual in nature, but the genres, ideas, top-
ics and maturity levels explored in anime
And Heise feels anime is becoming
increasinglyaccepted by the general masses.
"I think we are definitely getting near to
the point where people aren't goingto say it
can't be serious if it's anime," Heise said.
There are other ways for Ann Arbor anime
lovers to get their fix besides frequenting
screenings with Animania and perusing the
assortment of manga available at the local
bookstores. The anime scene here extends
past the point of hobby and into - believe
it or not - the educational realm. Here at
the University, many courses are offered
through departments such as History of Art,
Screen Arts & Cultures, Art & Design and
Japanese Studies that deal partially - and in
some cases exclusively -with anime.
Kevin Carr, assistant professor of His-
tory of Art and Asian Languages and Cul-
tures, has been teaching a course for the
past three years called History of Art 392:
Anime to Zen. The course attempts to pres-
ent a thematic analysis of Japanese art his-
tory, as seen through the contemporary lens
of pop culture with anime and manga serv-
ing as primary objects of study.
"One of my larger projects as a teacher
is to make the students more cognizant of
how images work and how they work on us
- what they make us do," Carr said. "Anime
and manga are two good objects with which
to consider those issues, because they are
very compelling for a lot of students, but at
the same time the messages they hold are
Because anime and manga express cul-
tural ideals through illustration, Carr
believes that they impact a viewer far dif-
ferently from the way live action can and,
like most mediums, there is room for exper-
"I don't know if this is the 10-year-old
in me coming out or not, but I think there
is a certain magic to drawn animation,"
Carr said. "It creates a space of wonder that
allows one to sit back and enjoy the enter-
tainment without taking it so seriously,
while at the same time it can be very effec-
tive in communicating messages and trans-
formingthe way people think."
Carr believes that using pop-culture
elements like anime in class can be useful
for wooing students from other fields who
may not otherwise be interested in takinga
course dealing with art history or Japanese
"Sometimes we joke in Japanese Studies
that if you want to attract a lot of students
to the class, just put anime in the title," he
said. "I can usually assume that someone in
the audience knows a lot about (anime). So
there is kind of a familiarity and immediacy
to the students that in other classes is hard
"It's really nice to draw on that passion
and enthusiasm, and general interest in the
material," he added.
Carr acknowledges that serious study
of art forms like anime in school can cer-
tainly kill the art form's magic, but for those
willing to take that risk, there are ample
opportunities right here at the University
for students interested ina critical study of
anime as art. And Carr is happy to see that
there are, indeed, more and more students
interested in the material.
"It's become more mainstream," Carr
said. "I mean, for goodness sake, profes-
sors like me are talking about it, so obvi-
ously it has fallen into the general mass of
Anime friends in Ann Arbor: If you
build it, they will come
Although there's a prevalent anime pres-
ence on campus and plenty of resources to
seek out in Ann Arbor, it's not a scene that
goes out recruiting new people. If you're
interested in finding fellow anime lovers
around town, you'll need to smoke them out
of their caves.
"When I first got to this school, I actually
had trouble finding anime fans," Raines said.
"They are here and they definitely exist at
the University, butthey kind of keep to them-
selves.You have to actively go look forthem."
Raines said her experience with anime
at the University has been relatively inde-
pendent, watching most of her anime on
the Internet and with fellow otaku. But
she said that Ann Arbor is a great location
for getting active in the convention scene,
with some of the most popular Midwestern
conventions happening in Detroit, Dear-
born and Chicago.
of course, for anyone interested in seek-
ing out the Ann Arbor anime scene, Anima-
nia is very accessible and a great place to
Anime is not a passive entertainment
experience. Although the preconceived
notions about anime may bring forth visions
of the ultimate sedentary nerd stereotype,
the cultural and societal involvement of the
artwork with its fan base has created an
entire world that is anything but stagnant.
It's a cultural phenomenon in Japan that
has made its way to the United States and
launched a living, breathing, vibrant sub-
cultural community. And that movement
has a unique, deeply rooted footing in Ann
Arbor. It's up to the students and locals to
keep it going.
LLSTATIOBY OLVAZN/r teDaily