28 - Thursday, Jarnuary 6, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
28 - Thursday, January 6, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
The year in
The Dance Department started off 2010 with a bang, show-
casing its technical virtuosity and impressive artistic utility in
a concert featuring original debuts by dance professors Amy
Chavasse, Jessica Fogel and Sandra Torijano, and as a restag-
ing of prominentAmerican modern choreographer Paul Taylor's
"Le Sacre du Printemps" (The Rehearsal). The University Dance
Company displayed a remarkable range of talent as it tackled
works both old and new. "Le Sacre du Printemps" was restaged
in honor of Taylor's 80th birthday and displayed a fresh outlook
on Taylor's renowned choreography while remaining trueto the
original work. In addition to commemorating a classic compo-
sition, the company reminded the audience of its strong voice
and originality in the refreshingly innovative faculty pieces. The
concert set the tone for what turned out to be an impressive sea-
son for the department.
"The San Francisco Symphony"
The audience at Hill Auditorium went wild after the last heav-
enly chord of Gustav Mahler's massive Second Symphony rang
out. In honor of the composer's 150th birthday, the combined
San Francisco Symphony and University Musical Society Choral
Union - both Grammy Award-winning ensembles - crowded
the stage of Hill Auditorium under the baton of world-renowned
Maestro Michael Tilson Thomas. Spectacle was the theme:
Before the performance, President Mary Sue Coleman awarded
Tilson Thomas and the SFS the honor of UMS Distinguished Art-
ist Award. Thomas then went on to lead an army of choir mem-
bers, orchestra players and two female soloists in a masterfully
handled interpretation of Mahler's epic "Resurrection" sympho-
ny. The conductor brought out all of the emotional complexities
of the 90-minute work - its luscious romance, a sense of over-
whelming frustration and the religious ecstasy of the final choral
"A Very Potter Sequel
Walgreen Drama Center
Fans, cameras and enthusiastic mayhem descended upon sum-
mer's sleepy Studio One last May to an intoxicating effect. The
reason? The highly anticipated "A Very Potter Sequel," a musi-
cal martini with a comical twist inspired by the "Harry Potter"
series and concocted by Team StarKid, a theatrical production
group made up of University students and alumni. The musical
was posted on YouTube in July, racking up over a million views
since that time. 'U' alum Darren Criss (who has recently gained
fame as Blaine on "Glee") starred as Harry and also wrote the
hit music and lyrics. The tight bond between the group of writ-
ers, producers and actors stood out like Potter's lightning bolt
scar, so character interactions rather than punchline jokes cre-
ated soaring laughs. Despite the humor, "AVPS" was no parody.
The writers shared a love of "Harry Potter," illustrating that the
series is a genuine treasure to our generation.
July 31 - Oct. 24
Walgreen Drama Center
Berlin-based Jakob Kolding juxtaposed urban structures
with images of skateboarders and breakdancers in multimedia
collages of urbanity for his UMMA Projects exhibit. The artist,
who has a background in sociology, explored the contradictions
in how modern, urban spaces are planned and used. His thought-
provoking collages contained diverse materials: black-and-white
images, cityscape photos, patterned paper cut into phrases and his
own drawings. Themes of urban decay and inner-city revitaliza-
tion were also featured in the exhibit. Images of trees and grass
were often collaged to poke through concrete, reflecting the blur
between urban decline and renewal. Kolding drew inspiration
from Detroit for this exhibit, and some of his new collage works
featured his own photos of Detroit spaces, making the exhibit of
particular interest to Detroit-area audiences in Ann Arbor.
Arthur Miller Theatre
While audiences are accustomed to experiencing works by
William Shakespeare and Richard Rodgers and Oscar Ham-
merstein It, as well as other notable names, the School of
Music, Theatre & Dance's "Gibson Fleck" reminded University
audiences that talent can be found at home. "Gibson Fleck" is
an original piece of musical theater conceived by three musical
theatre majors (the book was written by junior Ali Gordon and
music and lyrics by seniors A. J. Holmes and Carlos Valdes).
This beautiful and "homemade" production incorporated folk
rock alongside other more familiar musical theater sounds to
assist in telling the story of a young man who is searching for
a place of his own.
Viral videos: 2010's
top time wasters -
Every once in a while, a sound bite comes along that just exists
to be Auto-Tuned. The summer news clip of Huntsville, Ala.'
native Antoine Dodson warning against bed intruders is a perfect
example. Dodson's public service announcement advising viewers
to hide their kids and wives (and husbands, too) is almost pain-
fully catchy. His distinct phrases, like "climbin' in yo' windows,
snatchin' yo' people up" are funny enough, but add the enraged
body language and intense eye contact with the camera and you
have a recipe for Internet stardom. The original clip is equally
funny, if only because we've heard the addictive musical version.
Essentially, there isn't anyone who disliked this video. But if
you did, we gon' find you.
"Single Ladies Devastation"
What's not to love about this video? It has all the right compo-
nents for a successful and funny home video, including a catchy
pop song, little kids singing and dancing and a cute young Asian
boy throwing a fit. As the little kid instantly goes from jubilant to
wailing when told that he is not a single lady and shouldn't sing
the song, it's hard not love every second of the video. Whether
this was really just a precious family moment caught-on tape or a
common occurrence for the little boy is hard to tell. But really, it
doesn't matter. Fake or real - that boy is just too dang cute. After
watching this, it's clear that everyone should be allowed to jam
out to Beyonc6 - single, female or neither.
the greatest advertising ploys ever devised. Old Spice was the
first to use new media (whatever that is) to interact with its fans
in a genuinely meaningful way. From the original ads to the del-
uge of videos responding to viewers, Mustafa and Old Spice con-
quered the Internet in manly fashion.
"This Too Shall Pass" Music Video
Most viral videos are one-hit wonders; in time, we forget the
people behind them and move on. The exact opposite is true of
pop-rock sensation OK Go's consistently amazing music vid-
eos. "This Too Shall Pass" not only upholds the brilliance we've
come to expect since "End Love" and "Here It Goes Again" but
tops it in terms of originality and execution. The video is one
mesmerizing shot of the band in a warehouse; surrounded by
a continuous machine that eventually splatters the four musi-
cians with brightly colored paint. It's nothing short of transfix-
ing, a feat of physics and cinematography that you can't help
watching through to the end every time you click on the link.
Other bands could learn from OK Go's creativity - one thing we
sincerely hope does not pass.
Two rainbows, one man. And then, that one man's uncondition-
al joy at witnessing such a beautiful thing of nature. The "Double
Rainbow" video was first uploaded in January and gained expo-
nential popularity in the year that followed. Some loved it, some
thought it was stupid, some overheard it and thought it was porn.
Regardless, the "double rainbow guy" - less commonly known as
Paul Vasquez - became an internet celebrity and embraced his
newfound fame so much so that he was interviewed everywhere
from CBS News to "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to sex and relation-
ships website nerve.com ("Sex Advice From The Double Rain-
bow Guy"). At three-and-a-half minutes, the detailed account of
Vasquez's overzealous reaction to a double rainbow never gets
old. It's beautiful, all the way.
Old Spice Ad Campaign
It began with a simple instruction: "Look at your man, now
back to me." Well, it didn't take long for all of America to do just
that, and when they looked back, they liked what they saw. Old
Spice's "Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign - featur-
ing the beautiful, divine, elegant, dragon-taming, feral, gentle,
loving, hilarious and muscular creature that is Isaiah Mustafa
- achieved astonishing hype from the masses, inspiring one of
Five best singles of'1O
An unlikely trend in recent years has birthed songs like
OutKast's "Hey Ya!" and Amy Winehouse's "Rehab." These
Grammy-winning, chart-topping tracks have roots in Motown-
influenced rhythm and blues, but transcend that listening audi-
ence with sing-along choruses that createultimate appeal. With
a tambourine flick, Cee-Lo adds a bit of vulgarity to this canon,
accompanied by a couple of organ chords, vitally contagious
rhythm guitar and some snarky back-up singers. At its core,
"Fuck You" is a statement song. Not only do the lyrics address the
problem of shallow, gold-digging ex-girlfriends, but the song's
very existence as a Top-10 hit confronts its Auto-Tune-obsessed
peers, who substitute the compelling instrument arrangements
of yesteryear for the same stale beats that are cut and pasted
from each fleeting and forgettable track. So no matter how your
musical compass orients itself, don't be ashamed to embrace this
instant classic - it's undeniably the year's best song.
How nice for Kanye West that after simply hearing the same
lone piano note repeated three times over and then once more at
a lower octave, millions of listeners instantly knew it was him.
That's all it takes; the repetition a half-step below just proves it.
Toasting douchebags at the 2010 VMAs just a year after West's
(arguably) biggest douche move ever at the 2009 show, "Run-
away" gave us all the Yeezy bravado we could hope for in 2010.It
also gave us all the Yeezy not-quite-apologies we never thought
we'd hear - plus that excellent line about the emailed penis pic
- all over that same four-note motif. Piano is all about pushing
the right keys at the right time, and Kanye West is so used to
pushing buttons that hitting the same one three times is all it
takes for him to make heads turn.
nated the charts. She took a few seemingly played-out cliches
and turned them into a dreamy; nostalgicromp on the beach to
which anyone who has ever had a crush can relate. The track is
a simple love song with low expectations ("You think I'm pretty
without any makeup on / You think I'm funny when I tell the
punch line wrong") as it drifts along until Perry explodes with
passion for her ideal lover. "Teenage Dream" appealed to the
lowest common denominator in all of us. She made a quiet, uni-
versal dream a triumphant reality.
"Sprawl II (Mountains
Despite all of its successes, The Suburbs has one obvious,
glaring flaw. "Sprawl II" in particular brought to light just how
underused and underappreciated Regine Chassagne truly is.
The wife of frontman Win Butler and occasional vocalist deliv-
ered her most memorable performance to date on a song about
being silenced in the face of an unbreakable yet non-tyrannical
repression. The protagonist describes her mall-ridden, clock-
in-clock-out surroundings as a source of creative stagnation,
similar to the artistic restraints that have been unintentionally
imposed on Chassagne over time. How's that for art imitating
real life? Thematic and lyrical content aside, the track is musi-
cally significant because it marks Arcade Fire's first foray into
disco. A thumping beat lays the groundwork for the seven-piece
group to crescendo in its signature anthemic style, and a darkly
colored breakdown makes way for a hopeful coda, encapsulat-
ing the grim and uplifting ping-ponging of the album.
"Giving Up The Gun"
Tracks with heavy rotation on mainstrear
have a lot of longevity. Katy Perry's seeming
"Teenage Dream" had a guileless charm th
oversexed party track that saturates the Top
refrain "we'll be young forever" struck a few
-SHARONJACOBS The Upper East Side band of prepsters - Vampire Weekend
- is known for producing some lyrically challenging, but unbe-
lievably catchy tunes. Though listeners may get tongue-tied try-
ing to spit out the words, "Giving Up The Gun," from the band's
second album, Contra, includes mesmerizing piano plinks, a
I" call-and-response hook and a music video cameo by Jake Gyl-
lenhaal in tennis shorts - come on, isn't that just what every
m radio don't often great indie single needs? Ezra Koenig's charming vocals with a
gly clich6-laden hit Greek Bouzouki sound creates a light, airy atmosphere with a
at outlasted every hint of sophistication. Clearly, Vampire Weekend keeps it classy
40. Perry's wistful - yet again.
chords and domi-
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