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October 20, 2011 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-10-20

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4B Thursday, October 20, 2011 // The d

When TV and music
mix, the songs shine on

The ways we
question reality

Thursday, October 2C, 2011 / The B-Side 5
Layers of glitz in Cavern complex

Senior Arts Editor
Everyone went bananas when
"Glee" hit the small screen two
years ago, hooking the shower
singers, the high school drama
queens and critics alike. And if the
show itself wasn't enough to blow
your socks off, the music sure did:
Each of the "Glee" albums (except
the soundtrack from "Glee: The
3D Concert Movie") hit within the
top five on Billboard. It seemed as
if "Glee" had finally created the
ultimate combination of music
and TV.
But no matter how special
"Glee" might seem, the concept of
mixing music performance and TV
was popular before everyone on
the show (except Jane Lynch) was
conceived. And if it had been con-
ceptualized back in the late 1960s

Bet Mercedes wouldn't screw up "American Pie."

and ear
been a

music h
of mop-
toms w
1968) a:
never in
the nex
to anot:
of free I
ger) co
side of7
ing whi
son 5? P
him out
coldly l

ly 1970s, "Glee" would have in a quest for fame, Greg learns a
sing-a-long dime-a-dozen. valuable lesson about the impor-
tance of family and rewrites the
audition piece to incorporate
rady Bunch Peter's puberty.
The resulting song, "Time to
kled puberty Change," stands out on 1993's
often-forgotten compilation It's
ith panache. a Sunshine Day: The Best of the
Brady Bunch as one of the syndi-
cated siblings' best tunes. And it's
this album, more so than re-runs
le most notable of the TV- of "The Brady Bunch," that sticks
tybrid shows from the time with me. The days of watching the
-top haircuts and bell bot- Bunch (and "Get Smart," "Green
ere "The Monkees" (1966- Acres" and "The Andy Griffith
nd "The Partridge Family" Show" - I was a nerd) on Nick
974), these shows were at Nite with my family are over.
mportant to me. Sure, I like But, walking to class, I just might
eam Believer" as much as tune my iPod to a classic Brady
t person, but I was drawn Bunch '60s groove such as "We
her TV show from the era Can Make the World a Whole Lot
ove and fringe that is often Brighter" or "Gonna Find a Rain-
en for its (admittedly mea- bow." My sister and I fell in love
ntributions to the music with Barry Williams's (Greg) ver-
TV: "The Brady Bunch." sion of "Sweet Sweetheart," and
could fans of the beyond- when he came to Cincinnati as
larger-than-life family Captain Von Trapp in "The Sound
he few performance-based of Music," we waited backstage
s like "Dough Re Mi," dur- for his autograph with the mid-
ch the bunch auditions to dle-aged women still hot for him
a family act a la The Jack- after all those years.
'eter's voice cracks during The Bunch kids were not
al and Greg wants to kick nearly as talented as the cast of
of the group. Instead of "Glee." Not one of them could
eaving his brother behind belt like Mercedes or command

the stage like Rachel. In fact, a
lot of the songs off It's a Sunshine
Day are just plain awful. There
is an annoyingly sweet (and out
of place) rendition of "Frosty the
Snowman" and a shortened, ter-
ribly off-tune and completely
lackluster take on Don McClean's
immortal "American Pie." These
songs are so bad that they some-
how end up being good.
More than that, though, they
represent nostalgia for me in a
different sense than the nostal-
gia "Glee" evokes: I remember
my grade-school self jumping up
and down on my bed singing the
Bunch's "Cheyenne" into a hair-
brush; I remember geeking out
over "Glee" with my roommate
my freshman year in our prison
cell-sized dorm room. Similar to
my disinterest in watching "The
Brady Bunch," "Glee" as a TV
series has lost all appeal to me, but
I'll still listen to the "Glee" station
on Pandora when I need some fun
music to study to.
This is the fate of music/
TV hybrids - "The Monkees,"
"The Brady Bunch," "Glee," even
"Flight of the Conchords." These
shows entertain for awhile, but
which do you do more often:
watch the shows, or listen to the
tunes? The beat goes on.

t's highly rare that 24 hours
SinAnn Arbor will roll by
without a person coming
in contact with "Is this real
life?" If not that phrase exactly,
slight adapta-
tions of it are
- but always
familial ones,
like a jaguar to
a lion: unreal,
not real, real
life. A lot of JULIA
times, I may SMITH-
not even be EPPSTEIER
receiving the
through my ears, but through the
visual world of social media - par-
ticularly in the form of hashtags on
Why do we do this? I'm fairly
positive it isn't our generation
harkening back to "Bohemian
Rhapsody." We are not Queen dis-
cussing remorse, but it's unclear
what we are doing. Unlike the
trend of "Keep Calm and (fill-in-
the-blank-here)," which originates
from the World War II morale-
boosting posters producedby the
British government, the trend of
#isthisreal has no home.
But no home doesn't mean no
parent. I think there is a very
distanced parent of this trend - a
young boy named David who got
high on Novocain, his terrify-
ing but hilarious reaction to the
drug made public when his father
scored footage of it and uploaded it
to YouTube. "David After Dentist"
went viral in 2009, featuring the
boy asking his dad the questions,
"Why is this happening to me? Is
this going to be forever?" and most
importantly,-"Is this real life?"
More than 100 million people
watched David's wise question,
leading me to believe that this is
not an orphaned trend, but rather
one that started with the child's
sincere moment and has since
been unleashed on Generation
Y. #Isthisreal appears to have
reached its current state as its own
sensation, running wild on social
The phrase is first and foremost
used to question and comment on
the minor absurdities in our lives.

Many times when Iread or hear
the variations of this "real life?,"
it is referencing an excruciatingly
long day, an excessively difficult
exam or anything overwhelming
going on in a person's life. It's not-
ing something negative, perhaps
a certain level of stress or exhaus-
tion because of the specific situ-
ation, and maybe expressing it to
the public makes one feel better
about his or her life, which is so
busy that it can't be real.
It's comedic, though, because
when asking, "Is this real?," there
is a great possibility thatthe
person inquiring thinks that the
subject in question is not real or
normal-seeming, but rather ridicu-
lous and #unreal.
Yes, this is real
life. Since you're
When the phrases aren't in ref-
erence to an impressive amount of
work, they are likely referencing
an impressive amount of party-
ing. Whether it's that fifth tequila
shot or the trippy light show at the
Deadmau5 concert, it's typically
something enough to deem the
evening far from reality. But things
seem to be "not real" so often for
late teens and early 20-somethings
in present day that the phrase
might be losing meaning before
owning anything definitive to
begin with.
Anytime I hear the hypotheti-
cal question fall out my mouth or
anyone else's, I want to say, "Yes,
of course it's real. We are alive and
tangible." But the idea is valid in
a big way. Life can get fairly crazy
and be worthy of takinga step
back and asking about its nature:
How are you, yourself, interacting
with the crazy world?
Little kids ask the essential
question numerous times a day in
their own simplified ways. They
wonder about almost everything
they see, hear, touch, smell and
experience. Something that is full

Four clubs stacked
up with cages, live
tunes and popcorn
Daily Arts Writer
A place where Greek Life
comes to grind, hipsters come
to sway and older folks come to
not feel like grandparents does
exist - it's called Cavern Club
Entertainment Complex and
it's a bit out of the way from
the normal nightlife spots. Ann
Arbor is a town geared toward
the crazy disposition of college
students, and places like Rick's
American Cafe and Scorekeep-
ers Sports Grill & Pub are the
obvious answers to the nightlife
dilemma. But there happens to
be an underexposed alternative
a block past Main Street. The
club may have a mere 20-per-
cent college student demograph-
ic, but Jason Segel and Emily
Blunt jammed to the DJ's beats
there during the filming of "The
Five-Year Engagement" this

past summer. Nick Easton, the
owner of the complex, manages
the four eclectic bars within the
building: listed from bottom on
up, Cavern Club, Millennium
Club, Gotham City and Circus
Bar & Billiards.
Easton's life trajectory has
changed wildly - he began his
career as an elementary school
teacher and is now the success-
ful manager of a quartet of con-
nected clubs.
"I wanted to be my own boss,"
Easton said. "I had that entre-
preneurial spirit and I'm inter-
ested in histories, so I started an
antique store here back in '94. I
bought this building and it just
kind of evolved over time."
The place that currently
houses the complex's Cavern
Club used to contain antique
items, but Easton took it upon
himself to convert the space
into a banquet hall. After this
was well received, he took it a
step. further by getting a liquor
license and remodeling. More
than a decade later, it seems the
transformation was a wise one.
Now the Cavern Club, which
is rented out for private soirees

like sorority-fraternity date par-
ties and events for the dental
school and the business school,
resembles nothing I've seen
As I walked into the under-
ground club, I was confronted
by a deer head hanging from the
wall, twinkle lights in garland
outlining the bar and over-sex-
ualized modern grinding juxta-
posed up against a large painting
that echoes Michelangelo's The
Creation. That made the place
feel like a Christmas cabin
gone wrong. All of that said, the
cherry on top was that the DJ
seemed to have a man crush on
Usher. Frankly, the club is the
perfect place to givea handful of
disposable cameras an authentic
night out on the town.
Venturing upstairs, I found
myself amid the neon lights of
the Millennium Club walking
by cages, a glittery fish tank and
empty poles seen in the front
window. These used to be alive
with hired dancers back when
the club launched in 2000. This
particular venue is open on Sat-
urdays, when a live band plays.
See CAVERN, Page 7B

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