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November 11, 2011 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-11-11

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, November 11, 2011- 5

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Friday, November 11, 2011 - 5

Michigan duo goes global

By LUCY PERKINS
DailyArts Writer
Last night at The Ark, the ears
of many Ann Arborites were
graced by soft, twangy folk melo-
dies of Michigan's Seth Bernard
and May Erlewine. The concert
celebrated the Oct. 28 release of
their latest album, New Flower,
born from a recent pilgrimage to
Ethiopia. Their energy was infec-
tious - beneath Bernard's bushy
brown beard he never stopped
smiling - and only grew as Erlew-
ine sang. Despite the wild range
of influences from tunes reminis-
cent of a dark night of Ethiojazz
(Ethiopian jazz) to the melody of
a summer morning in northern
Michigan, there was one constant
- their audible happiness.
But Bernard and Erlewine are

Eugene Rogers will direct the Men's Glee Club during tomorrow's 152nd Annual Fall Hill Concert.
A growing Glee Club

ADAM LANZMAN/Daily
Seth and May performed tracks from New Flawer last sight at the Ark.

Leadership changes,
variety of repertoire
on show at Hill
By JONATHAN ODDEN
For the Daily
From the hushed silence bursts
a perfectly pitched note, causing
hairs to bristle in resonance as the
audience waits
for the live Men's Glee
power of the
performance to Club: 152nd
pour over them. Annual Fall
It is this emo-
tional fervor Hill Concert
that defines the Tomorrow
Michigan Men's at8 p.m.
Glee Club.
Under the new Hill Auditorium
directorship of From $5
Eugene Rogers,
we will see not only this famil-
iar energy, but also a new level of
global depth within the repertoire
that advances the lauded tradition
of the Michigan Men's Glee Club.
"(It's) not just singing diverse
types of music, but actually in giv-
ing of ourselves to that repertoire
with a fuller understanding of the
music and its culture and where
it come from, and then to do that
with as much authentically as
possible," Rogers said.

Rogers is associate director
of choirs and assistant professor
of conducting in the School of
Music, Theatre & Dance. He has
taken over the reign of the Michi-
gan Men's Glee Club and will be
debuting four premiere pieces in
his first concertas director tomor-
row in the 152nd Annual Fall Hill
Auditorium Concert.
"We're doing everything
from classical pieces to spiritu-
als, music from Germany, Lat-
via, America - anywhere you
can imagine," said Raul Jimenez,
public relations manager for the
Men's Glee Club and a junior in
the School of Music, Theatre &
Dance. "It has been a challenging
transition, but Director Rogers
has brought this twist to every-
thing, which has added so much
to our identity as a group."
Among these new twists is Rog-
ers's "Pan African Medley." This
song combines six African pieces
and its compilation speaks to the
range of stylistic breadth that Rog-
ers has as a composer and director.
"These pieces are not con-
nected as much bytextbut in that
they show you different types of
African expression, which spans
from primal energy to traditional
South African music, from joy-
ful Tanzanian tunes to slow and
intimate moments, before ending
in a triumphant Zulu anthem,"

Rogers said.
The Men's Glee Club will
also perform Dave Matthews's
"Gravedigger" and Timothy
Takach's "Luceat Eis" - which
remembers the death of 9/11 vic-
tim Mary-Yolanda Dowling and
reminds us of the value of selfless-
ness during the toth anniversary
of the tragedy.
The show also features a spe-
cial performance by students
from Renaissance High School in
Detroit through the "Brothers In
Song" program, which Jimenez
describes as "a diversity and com-
munity engagement initiative that
provides outreach to underrep-
resented choral programs across
the state."
The "Brothers In Song" pro-
gram has grown large, thanks to
the work of University alumni
and has emerged on other col-
lege campuses. In the concert, the
So young men from Renaissance
High School will both sing their
own material and join in collabo-
ration with the Glee Club.
"But it is not just about sing-
ing," Rogers said. "It is about
engaging them and showing them
our school. It's a tangible way to
connect with others who have
trouble imagining themselves at
this university. That bridge begins
with the Glee Club, and I am very
honored to be a part of that."

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han musicians. They are "Run Across Ethiopia," consisted
of advocacy for their com- of 16 people from the U.S. and
, in everything from social Ethiopia completing a marathon
- encapsulated in local every single day for 12 days.
itiatives - to water rights "(May and I have) always
er school arts programs. dreamed of going to Africa
oughout their relationship, together," Bernard said. "After
een impossible to pinpoint listening to Ethiopian jazz music
their "community" begins we just fell in love with it and
here it ends. Based out became excited about it."
thwestern Lower Michi- Though Bernard and Erlew-
ernard and Erlewine were ine were not runners themselves,
each day they would get up early
with the runners, send them off
with a blessing and a song and
tth and May hen travel by bus to the commu-
ing Ethiopia- nity at the end point of the day's
g Op marathon.
spired tunes. "Once we got there, we'd go to
the school and play music while
the kids in the village created art-
work as a collaboration with Art
illy solo artists, traveling Aid International," Bernard said.
the country and playing Art Aid International (not
ere they were allowed. Just affiliated with On the Ground)
ven years ago, the two met is a nonprofit group based in
gan making music together Ada, Mich. that raises money to
artnering with many local provide art supplies for children
zations that encourage around the world, according to
unity-based sustainability. Bernard.
trong musical partnership Bernard and Erlewine used
'fed into a lasting relation- their time in rural Ethiopian
d a recent marriage. communities to incorporate
creative couple spent involvement with Art Aid Inter-
weeks in Ethiopia last national into the project.
y in a collaborative proj- "Later on in the evening the
th On the Ground, a non- runners would arrive and we
group that raises money to would all have a big Ethiopian
stainable development in feast together," Bernard said.
g regions worldwide. "That night, if we had the oppor-
ris Treter (the founder of tunity to, May and I would play
e Ground) convinced us music with local musicians for
e had to go, help and bring everyone in the community."
of Ethiopia back to Michi- In the middle of the trip, Ber-
ernard said. nard and Erlewine spent two
the Ground's initiative, days at a hotel in southern Ethi-

opia working on music inspired
by the trip.
"The hotel was on this big lake,
and we just wrote (songs) the
whole time," Bernard said.
Though each track of New
Flower is tied to the couple's
Ethiopian expedition, some of
the songs, like "When We Run"
and "Talkin Coffee," are more
transparently connected to their
experience.
While some of Seth and May's
songs are performed together,
"Talkin Coffee" features Seth
alone. It focuses on the creation
and importance of fair trade cof-
fee through the musical style of
talking blues, which was made
famous by artists such as Woodie
Guthrie and Bob Dylan.
"The talking blues form is dear
to my heart," Bernard said. "The
form is traditionally American,
where you just talk about the
news of the day, whether it's the
word on the street or an opinion.
I talked about coffee because it's
the third largest traded com-
modity in the world and I wanted
to relate to the coffee regions
throughout the world through
music."
Other songs, like title track
"New Flower," holistically
embody experiences and themes
they found in Ethiopia.
"A lot of our inspiration came
through a lot less educationally
and more inspirationally," Ber-
nard said. "It's about hope strug-
gling and surviving. We were
trying to take what we learned
and experienced from the Ethio-
pian people and put it out there
with all of our heart."

A gross 'Allen Gregory'

By KELLY ETZ
DailyArts Writer
Allen Gregory is one preten-
tious, precious, mean-spirited
seven-year-old. If only he were
actually funny.
The cen-
tral charac-
ter of FOX's Allen
new animated
series "Allen Gregory
Gregory," cre- Pilot
ated and voiced
by Jonah Hill Sundays at
("Moneyball"), 8:30 p.m.
the insipid pint- FOX
sized intellec-
tual is the only seven-year-old
boy ever created with absolutely
no redeeming qualities.
Right off the bat, he's estab-
lished as an incredibly cultured
crybaby. From his overtly osten-
tatious speech to a hissy fit on
the balcony, the character is
just plain awful. In said balcony
scene, Allen Gregory's father,
Richard (French Stewart, "3rd
Rock from the Sun") and Rich-
ard's partner Jeremy (Nat Faxon,
"Bad Teacher") say they have
some bad news for Allen Gregory.
In which Allen Gregory replies,
"Jeremy has AIDS? Full-blown-
sies?" A crucial mistake for the
writers - if you're going to tell
an AIDS joke, it better be gut-
wrenchingly hilarious.
In fact, Jeremy doesn't have
AIDS, but he does have to get
a job. Meaning Allen Gregory
is stuck going to public school
with the rest of the masses. The
tiny genius only gets worse when
forced to interact with the ele-
mentary school heathens, strut-
ting around obnoxiously and
having awkward fantasies about
his over-60-year-old principal.
And when he's not doing any of
that, he's verbally abusing his

Justin Bieber's Christmas gift

FOX
"Is this red wine? It's red with meat, white with fish, father!"
adopted Cambodian sister Julie When, halfway through the epi-
(Joy Osmanski, "Fired Up"). sode, it's revealed that Jeremy is
Shockingly, none of it is amusing. probably a closeted straight man,
Allen Gregory's character is the irony doesn't even register.
simply too off-beat and overtly it's too difficult to work past the
annoying to be likable in any way. constant victimization of the
The attempts to make him seem character. And so much for Allen
sympathetic fail gloriously, as he Gregory being raised by Richard
is such a spoiled prick that his and his partner Jeremy - as the
inability to fit in with other kids episode progresses, it's more like
seems richly deserved. Richard and his sexual victim
Jeremy instead. Charming.
"Allen Gregory" is offensive
This is just to its core, whether rooted in the
T s s contrived dialogue or the pomp-
ous, egocentric main charac-
offensive. ter. Beyond that, it's just boring.
While the art-deco stylized ani-
mation is well executed and the
What the audience is left with, secondary characters aren't bad,
after each joke falls comically flat, there's no reason to waste a half-
is an overarching sense of cruelty. hour on those factors alone.
The constant dismissal of Julie, Unless the series can figure
especially by her adoptive father, out what exactly it's trying to do,
who maintains that he and his it won't have a snowball's chance
partner adopted her to save her of overcoming such absurdly
from being "turned to glue over executed - not to mention poorly
there," provides neither satire written - dialogue. The show
nor humor - and all the while is isn't saying anything, and it's cer-
overtly and unnecessarily racist. tainly isn't employing any amount
The same uncomfortable criti- of humor with which to say it.
cism is heaped on Jeremy, who With a vast amount of better
is continuously degraded by options available, "Allen Gregory"
both Richard and Allen Gregory. just isn't worth the time.

By ANDREW ECKHOUS
Daily Arts Writer
Like so many child stars before
him, Justin Bieber is slowly
veering away from his straight-
laced, G-rated,
Alvin-and-the-
Chipmunks
persona toward Justin
an edgy, Staples Bieber
Center-pater-
nity suit life- Under the
style. "Bieber Mistletoe
Fever" no lon-
ger represents Island
the wholesome
bowl cut that entranced millions
of tweens into spending their
parents' money on Bieber swag,
but rather an alleged father who
raps over Watch The Throne beats
(seriously, Google it).
With a surreal, Maury Povich-
esque court case pending against
the 17-year-old minor, he's prob-
ably relieved his latest album, the
Christmas-themed Under The
Mistletoe, was released last Tues-
day. The unsurprising chart-top-
per features high-powered artists
like Mariah Carey, Usher, Busta
Rhymes and Boyz II Men, but
J-Beebz can't quite match their
talent. Instead, Bieber seems to
be sending a subliminal message
to the American public, and it
sounds like a high-pitched, "Take
me seriously, pleaset"
Bieber isn't talentless. His
musical releases and his esca-
padesoutsidethe studio - includ-
ing controlling Funnyordie.com
for a day - show he's a shrewd
and hardworking businessman
(businessboy?). But he is repeat-
edly shown up on his own album.
No one should expect him to hold

his own against Usher on "The
Christmas Song," and he doesn't.
Anyone who's contracted Bieber's
eponymous disease will find the
cure in listening to Bieber against
his own guest vocalists. Besides
Usher, Mariah Carey's range on
"All I Want For Christmas is You,"
Busta Rhymes's family-friendly
rap on "Drummer Boy" and Boyz
II Men's multiple reminders that,
ves. thev still do nerform music

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er, don't help JB in his ISLAND
o trade his Disney pedigree
nething more respectable. Tiger Beat America, Bieber out-
shines his costars with an attitude
reminiscent of a Bart Simpson-
Ma be coal Justin Timberlake hybrid. When
J he's not busy living life with reck-
uld be better less "eat my shorts" abandon,
Bieber is serenading his pre-teen
princesses with Shakespearean
prose like, "Ifyou're the only thing
easy for someone outside of I ever get for Christmas / Then
benator's demographics to everything I wished for has come
e him, but his tween-girl true" and, "Leave some cookies
e makes Oprah devotees out / I'm gonna eat'em all."
ickle in comparison. He It's pretty clear Bieber's suc-
like a pre-pubescent Back- cess hinges more on his public
Boy, but his dedication to persona than his talent level, but
n and aversion to even mild in relation to his competition, he's
versy (at least until this a prodigy. Bumble-Bieber's Hol-
"you're the father" thing lywood existence and high-pro-
ned) have allowed him to file relationships have crowned
the market on good, clean him the Prince of (very) young
'ho else could possibly sell showbiz, but it's his insistence
nder The Mistletoe Ulti- that he's a real musician that
Gift Box" for $69.98 in a catapulted him to the top in the
apster world and actually first place. While his act may be
a profit? He may be a joke more at home in a suburban shop-
ny, but there aren't many ping mall than the Hollywood
ans who could profit on Bowl, he's unapologetic about
wn versions of the "12 Days it. Refreshingly, Justin Bieber
er" calendar. doesn't take anything about him-
ing into account who exact- self seriously except for his music,
be listening to Under The and while he is no Smokey Rob-
oe, it might as well be the inson, he's done pretty well for a
eatles album. In the eyes of 17-year-old.

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