The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 3B
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 38
Where was Elizabeth Olsen?
Sarah Chabot, who co-founded Living Room Music, teaches private piano and cello lessons in Ann Arbor.
Brin 1n concerts home
Like in the salons of 17th
and 18th century France,
this weekly installment
living room into
By KAYLA UPADHYAYA
Senior Arts Editor
In Jon Brown's living room,
formal wear becomes t-shirts and
jeans. Stuffy theater chairs trans-
form into sagging couches next to
a staircase where students perch,
bottles of beer in hand.
Since September, Brown, a
graduate student studying per-
cussion at the University, and
his girlfriend Sarah Chabot have
hosted small, in-home shows in
their living room on North Cam-
pus, near the School of Music,
Theatre & Dance. Unlike the typi-
cal party, these gatherings high-
light classical music and other
genres typically constrained to a
more formal setting.
"What we really wanted to
try to do was to get people that
don't come to (formal) concerts
to come out and make it a more
relaxed atmosphere," Brown said.
"So it's not just sitting in a concert
hall having to be really quiet, hav-
ing to sit there with your hands
crossed and not say anything and
not talk to your neighbor."
Chabot originally proposed the
idea of hosting the series in their
home, instead of renting a venue,
giving way to the name "Living
The mood at their concerts
is casual, Chabot explained.
Attendees can enjoy a glass of
beer or wine while discussing and
sharing notes on performances
- a marked change from the tra-
ditional, stuffy atmosphere of
classical music venues.
"I really love having people in
my living room," she said. "It's a
great environment to have people
... playing in."
"It changed how I view my liv-
ing room," Brown said of the first
concert. "It was so communal."
Not only is the atmosphere of
Living Room Music communal,
it's welcoming. Admission is free
and attendees are encouraged to
bring refreshments to share.
The setup is simple: A tie-dyed
green tapestry hangs behind
the main performance space.
According to Brown, all of the
sound equipment belongs to him
and consists of pieces accrued
through his years as a musician.
In between sets at the second
show the couple hosted, some-
one grabs a vinyl from Brown an element of illusion to them.
and Chabot's impressive collec- To achieve the relaxed, effort-
tion - showcased on a bookshelf less flow of the evening, Brown
that also hosts a White Album- and Chabot devote hours of work
cover jigsaw puzzle - and throws and planning to make each show
it on the record player. Audience a success.
members mingle and wander into The first step is to create the
the kitchen for refills, discussing lineup. The couple uses Facebook
their favorite performances so to reach out to artists, and Brown
far. spreads the word in his classes.
Brown and Chabot have a long "Being in music school, every-
relationship with music, meeting body plays music, so it wasn't
as undergraduates in the music too hard to find people," he said.
program at Central Michigan "Everybody was like 'Absolutely!
University. Chabot has a music That sounds awesome, let's do
education degree and teaches it!'"
piano and cello in Ann Arbor. In fact, the series has had such
Brown - who begged his par- a positive response amongstudent
ents to let him play the drums artists that Chabot and Brown
in elementary school - drifted have had to turn people down.
toward rock before pursuing clas- "Usually within a few days, it's
sical music. full," Chabot said. "Social media:
"I just found that classical It's great."
music - once you really delve into School of MT&D senior Chris-
it - it's so complex and so easy at topher Sies has performed in
the same time, so there's always the concerts as a part of Brown's
something new there," he said. quartet.
While most house shows "From the beginning, I was
around campus feature electronic hooked," Sies said. "I knew it was-
music or live bands, the Living going to be a good idea because
Room Music scene is more eclec- ... hosting concerts in your living
tic, geared toward an acoustic room is a pretty brave thing to
sound. do. You're surrendering your liv-
"I like electronic music, and ing space to a concert, and I just
that's all very well and good," really liked that idea."
Chabot said. "But in this envi- As a music student, Brown
ronment, I love having that live, usually handles the artist recruit-
acoustic chamber music." ment, while Chabot plans the
The series has attracted a logistical side of Living Room
diverse mix of artists. Some Music.
have premiered original work in A regular volunteer for a week-
their acts, while others take cre- end-long youth leadership semi-
ative approaches to established nar, Chabot had prior knowledge
arrangements. During the first of the behind-the-scenes work
concert, a Fulbright scholar from that goes into a successful event.
India played the tabla, an Indian She came up with the idea of live
percussion instrument used com- streaming the concerts, which
monly 'in Hindustani classical complicated the logistics.
music. They use two rooms for the
But it was Brown and his quar- concerts: the main part of their
tet who kicked off the series with living room and an annex where
a piece fittingly titled "Living they keep a piano. The set list is
Room Music" by John Cage, an organized so that all of the piano
American composer known for acts are grouped together, which
his non-traditional use of instru- means switching between rooms
ments. is kept to a minimum.
"That was just a perfect way to Despite the careful planning,
open up for the concert series," things can go wrong. At the
Chabot said. "It's one of these . first two concerts, the computer
pieces where (Cage) doesn't list and microphone equipment got
what instruments you need to bumped and the live stream shut
use. He tells you to find your own down halfway through the show,
instruments. So that week before Chabot said.
the concert, all the guys came Even with complications, the
over, and they were just walking live stream is an essential compo-
around my house, just picking up nent of making the series acces-
random things and putting them sible.
down into their setup." "We've been able to have peo-
On the surface, the Living ple from all over the world tune
Room Music concerts can feel in and watch these concerts,"
like a casual party, but there's Chabot said. "I had a friend in
The pair has already begun
brainstorming ideas to make
upcoming shows even better,
such as incorporating visual art.
Chabot explained that they will
feature a visual artist at each
performance and have set aside
a small space where artists will
be able to display their artwork,
whatever the medium might be.
"We're going to try to get some
poetry readings," Brown added.
"I'd like to get some vocalists -
that would be cool."
The next show - to be held on
Nov. 17 - already has a full set.
There will be multiple Phillip
Glass pieces, a contemporary bass
performance and a composer vis-
iting from Michigan State Univer-
sity who will premiere new work.
The series has garnered
increasing attention since the
first show. While Chabot said
they're excited to expand, they're
also limited by the size of their
venue. The second show was so
packed that some people had to
sit on the floor, less than an arm's
length away from the artists.
And yet, Chabot said this is
exactly what Living Room Music
is about: intimacy and leisure.
"Nothing against any other
performance out there, but
when you go to a concert at, say,
Hill Auditorium to see a sym-
phony play, you're in the audi-
ence and they're on stage," Sies
said. "They're dressed up in tux-
edos and you're in your regular
clothes, and it creates a divide
between the audience and the
"With this Living Room Music
idea, it brings everyone together
on the same plane," Sies added.
"No one's up on a stage. Every-
one's on the same level. Everyone
is really close to each other."
Chabot-and Brownhope to con-
tinue to break down that barrier,
meaning the series will remain in
their living room. But when look-
ing for a new home, they will keep
their growing audience in mind.
"That would be the goal for
expanding in the future: to be
able to make it bigger and publi-
cize more heavily," Chabot said.
Running the series from their
home keeps costs down, and as
Sies explained, in the current
economy, arts events are getting
harder and harder to support.
"The underground stuff is
where the real passionate people
are," Sies said. "Everyone who's
participating in this thing is 100
percent in it to win it."
or the ti
one of ti
- but i
had to s
I just d
in this t
od - t
full of t
me. I d
yThe first time I watched "Full
ature two Daily Arts House" was when I snuck down-
s discussing the finer stairs early on Thanksgiving Day,
t mediums flipped on the TV and snuggled
my eight-year-old body into the
at least 10 years ago. cushions. I was young, naive and
unaware of the comic genius that
was about to blaze across my TV
reparing for a lot of flack set and change my world.
aying this, but I hated There he was, standing in all
ouse." I know, I know. It his aproned glory: Bob Saget as
American staple! A lov- Danny Tanner. He was look-
semble sitcom still in syn- ing at Michelle, played by both
today! John Stamos! Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen,
what did "Full House" and attempting to reprimand the
ring to the table? It wasn't four-year old for feeding vegeta-
rt or as "fresh" as "The bles to the family dog, Comet.
rince of Bel-Air," nor did I made it my mission to evoke
the comedy of "Fraiser," a Danny Tanner-esque reac-
vance of "Ally McBeal" tion from my parents: one of
imelessness of "Friends." exhaustion, frustration and
hen it premiered in 1987, eventual acceptance of circum-
t have been exciting and stances. How often has Danny
is, but why on earth did it stood, hands at his hips, shaking
ough eight seasons? And his head atthe current state of his
hy?) does it still air on full house?
years later? Am I missing I'm not saying "Full House"
nghere? is the best show ever. In fact,
ldn't "Full House" be I've never watched an episode
hose throw-away sitcoms and thought to myself "I found
body really remembers, that educational and hilarious!"
mpty Nest" or "News Because, though it's intended to
'But people still can't get be educational and some of the
is "Full House" fetish, jokes are funny, the brilliance
the series was popular behind "Full House" lies in its
-it came off as "real" - completely absurd cast of char-
ormal all-American fam- acters.
ng about their business There was D.J. (Candace Cam-
is that all "Full House" eron Bure), the oldest child, and
ay? In a word: yes. Basi- the one who was smart, pretty
e eight seasons run like and had a boyfriend. She embod-
erblown, preachy after- ied everything any girl in the '90s
pecial after the other. wanted to be: vaguely rebellious
e it's my personal opin- in a non-committal way, secretly
ing its ugly head here, but studious and outwardly caring.
on't see the appeal. Sure, Michelle, the youngest and sassi-
ate and Ashley were darn est daughter was just funny. Her
d family dynamics are role was to exploit Danny, Jesse
fun to explore, but that's (John Stamos) and Joey (Dave
etting from "Full House." Coulier), and say "you got it,
n't inspire re-watching; dude."
y laughed the first time. And then there was Stephanie
not emotionally invested (Jodie Sweetin). Poor Stepha-
hing, but somebody must nie Tanner. The middle child,
en to keep it going for the one forgotten by everyone,
0 years. always. If you're wondering what
"Freaks and Geeks" only she contributed, it was whining.
season? Whining and "how rude."
uld just be the time peri- Jesse and Joey were the sta-
he early '90s, when TV ple guys of the show, people you
hadn't started to push could count on to make you laugh
boundaries the same because their roles in the house
does so well now. There made no sense, and furthermore,
a bevy of shows vying to were mostly unnecessary. Espe-
he envelope." But still, cially Joey - it was him and his
"The Cosby Show" and puppets half the time anyway.
fore that, "The Mary The family dynamic was com-
Ioore Show," series that pletely crazy: Everyone always
back in huge ways. But ran around like mad, trying to
louse" wasn't really try- either clean, get dinner ready or
d sure, that could be just bail one of the kids out of trouble.
ie series was after, to be Nothing really made sense, but
d fun and easy to watch. that was the best part of the show:
y, does it deliver on that watching the characters interact
tut if that's all it was - and make fools of themselves.
ther sitcom in a culture I would spend hours trying to
hem - why do we even develop a "Full House" vibe in
ner? my house. I even started giving
t to the point of syrupy everyone thumbs up and saying,
achy in a way even "7th "Aww nuts!" Unfortunately (for-
" didn't manage, "Full tunately?) it didn't pick up, but
just doesn't do it, for my "Full House" obsession has
on't even see the Stamos yet to fade.
Bob Saget, however, is -ANNA SADOVSKAYA
WE LIKE TO
Unlike traditional concert venues, the intimate setting of Living Room Music lets artists connect with the audience.