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October 22, 2010 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-10-22

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, October 22, 2010 - 7

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com Friday, October 22, 2010 - 7

Anew season with
Basement Arts

Max Weinberg led the band for both of Conan O'Brien's late night shows.
M ax Weinberg to set
the beat att Ark

Daily Arts Writer
When Max Weinberg was six
years old, he made a promise to
"My self-
imposed man- TWAaX
date as a young Weinberg
drummer was: ft Band
Play as much as
possible, prefer- Saturday
ably every day." at8 p.m.
Fifty-three The Ark
years later, $30
Weinberg con-
tinues to uphold
his promise. He is considered one
of rock'n'roll's greatest drummers
as the anchor of Bruce Springs-
teen's legendary E Street Band and
has brought his music into mil-
lions of homes during his 17 years
with the house band for Conan
O'Brien's two late-night TV shows.
"A day with drumming, for me,
is adaywell spent," he explained in
an interview with the Daily.
Weinberg's penchant for per-
formance and desire to constantly
play his instrument motivated him
to start a new project as the leader
of a big band. Billed as The Max
Weinberg Big Band, the 15-piece
orchestra is touring the country
and will make a stop in Ann Arbor
tomorrow night.
"We're (performing) what I
consider my favorite songs from
the top shelf of my record collec-
tion," he explained. "It's kind of a
musical odyssey of my life, of what
influenced me, whether it was the
big band sound or rock'n'roll or TV
The setlist contains no origi-
nal material, but past concerts
have included instrumental ren-
ditions of tunes by Frank Sinatra,
Buddy Rich and even an occasional
Springsteen song.
No plans have been made to
record the Big Band, but it's not out
of the question.
"My priority and my goal is to
play live as much as I can," he said.
The nature of these perfor-
mances, however, are drastically
different from Weinberg's normal
routine with the E Street Band.
His role as bandleader, the style
of music and the smaller venues
all contribute to an entirely new
"When you're leading your
own band, you try to (keep the
band) motivated.-,. You try to give
everybody their spotlight," he
said. "When I play with Bruce, I
have to be completely in service of
what he's doing and go in whatever
direction he's going to go into."
Certainly the contrasting styles
of rock versus swing music dictate
another notable deviation from his
past job description to his current
"Drumming for a rock band,
you're going for more impact," he
explained. "The music I'm play-
ing (now), which is largely based

in swing, technically speaking, is a connec
dotted eighth, sixteenth note, trip- teen an
let feel." "It's
Regardless of style, however; be atta
there is an "esoteric pulse" and he sai
balance the drummer must con- have a
stantly maintain. O'Briei
"You know it when it's happen- And
ing, and you certainly know it and easygol
you feel it when it's not," he said of an und
this balance which is the drum-
mer's essential duty.
Perhaps the concert tour's most
glaringchange from E Streetshows
is the jump from stadiums packed
full screaming fans to small clubs do
with the audience taking a more
casual approach to listening. i
For Weinberg, this discrepancy en
is hardly worth noting.
"The size of the venue is incon-
sequential," he said. "To me, it's
about the people and getting them keep h
to the point where they're thor- the latt
oughly entertained. For example, "Wh
we played a place last night in closely
Indianapolis - The Jazz Kitchen drumm
- which seated about 125 people at me, wb
tables. And it was just as exciting as cc
as playing in an arena." for tha
This contentment with his cir- ming -
cumstances also comes through a half
in Weinberg's outlook on his past hours
positions as a sidekick rather than everytl
as a frontman. "I havc
Living in the shadow of two cul- to do ii
tural giants for an entire career drums
would be discouraging to some. But someth
Weinberg considers his unshakeable lives."

tion to O'Brien and Springs-
undeniable privilege.
the great honor of my life to
ched to those two names,"
d. "Who wouldn't want to
Bruce Springsteen or Conan
n in their life?"
eso it seems that Weinberg's
ing personality mixed with
ying passion for music will
Venue size
esn't matter;
t's all about
im feeling youthful even in
er years of his life.
en I drum, it keeps me very
in touch with that little kid
ner that still lives inside of
ere everything in the world
'mplicated as the world is -
t amount of time I'm drum-
- whether it's an hour and
with my band or for four
with the E Street Band -
hing is very simple," he said.
a job to do. I have a desire
it well, and when I play the
I feel like I'm contributing
hing very useful to peoples'

Abundance of
productions allows
for the quirky hits
Daily Arts Writer
"We're like the push-up bra
of student theater," joked Kacie
Smith, director of marketing for
Basement Arts and senior in the
School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
From troublesome relation-
ships 'with imaginary friends
in "Mr. Marmalade" to Santa's
reindeer outlining his sexual
escapades in "Eight Reindeer
Monologues," Basement Arts has
a number of entertaining scripts
that will come alive on the stage
of Studio One in the Walgreen
Drama Center this season.
Basement Arts is a student-run
organization on campus that pro-
duces free theater, and is most
notable for hosting original pro-
ductions like "A Very Potter Musi-
cal" and "A Very Potter Sequel,"
which have gained national rec-
ognition and a performance at
Universal Studio's Harry Potter
theme park, as well as "Me and
my Dick," with a soundtrack that
made the Billboard charts. The
organization provides an outlet
for students to pursue their inter-
est in theater outside of main-
stream University shows.
"We're able to do things that
other student groups on campus
and the department of theater
can't do," said Corey Lubowich,
co-artistic director for Basement
Arts and a Senior in the School of
Music, Theatre & Dance. "It's real-
ly a place where students from all
over campus can come and sort of
dive in and get dirty, if you will."
The name "Basement Arts"
comes from its birthplace in the
basement of the Frieze Building,
which was the home of the theater
department before it got knocked
down (North Quad has since risen
in its place.) With the move to'
Studio One on North Campus, the
distance from Central Campus
has concerned some students.
"Walgreen Drama Center
... isn't as far as people think,"
Smith said. "People are so afraid
of North Campus if they've never

been there; it's just like a 10-min-
ute bus ride."
Funding from the theater
department affords Basement
Arts the chance to not charge
their audience for admittance.
"When people hear'free' they're
like 'Oh cool, it's free,' "Smith said,
though she also acknowledged that
freetheater can have a certainlow-
quality stigma.
"In our opinion, our shows
match or even surpass the qual-
ity of University productions," she
added. "You're not goingto get the
same technical elements because
our budget is a lot smaller, but
there are some really quality per-
formances and fun shows."
Shows usually involves five
directors, six designers and three-
to 13-person casts. They can come
from any major or school at the
"Everyone can be involved,
everyone can produce shows and
anyone can propose to direct a
show," Smith said. "One thing
we've been working at is to kind
of expand our base and let people
know that they can audition."
The season lineup is created
through a proposal system, in
which scripts are submitted and
reviewed by the 26-person Base-
ment Arts board. I
"It's up to the directors to
choose what shows they want to
propose, which is why we have
such an eclectic season," Smith
explained. "We look for things
that push limits and push the
boundaries of what we've done

before, and things that have never
been done by the University pro-
"Ultimately the school still
needs people to buy tickets so that
kind of influences what they pick,"
Lubowich added, explaining the
difference between these shows
and those of Basement Arts.
While most student production
groups only produce about two
shows a year, Basement Arts puts
on 10 to 14.
"Since we do so many pro-
ductions, there's room to do
something quirkier," Lubowich
explained. "It's not like our eggs
are all in one basket, we spread it
out over the season; there's some-
thing for everyone. It might be
a really dark contemporary pl4y
that makes you sick to your stonrn-
ach one week, and one week it's
'Me and my Dick."'
A smaller stage and intimate
atmosphere connect the audience
to the productions.
"It's a really different experi-
ence when you're in this tiny the-
ater with 100 different people as
opposed to the Power Center with
1,500 people," Lubowich said.
"There's electricity and magic
that happens there, and that's
really excitingto me as a designer,
director and as a supporter of the
theater and the arts."
The kickoff for the season will
be "Mr. Marmalade," directed by
Olivia Lloyd, a sophomore in the
School of Music, Theatre & Dance,
and will envelop theatergoers
with its dark and chilling themes.

Winter Coats, Fleece, Hats, Gloves,
Wool Sweaters, Boots, Scarves,
Long Underwear, Fitness Clothing
Jeans, Tops, Dresses, Jewelry,
Handbags, Body Products
...And 01 Course
Quality Outdoor Equipment
Except Select Merrell, Northface, Patagonia, Kiehl's
Sunday, October 24th

Weinberg knew he wanted to be a drummer when he was six years old.


E-mail join.arts@umich.edu for
information on applying.

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