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November 22, 2013 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-22

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8 -- Friday, November 22, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

8 - Friday, November 22, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom


Brooklyn Rider
to revive classics

Physics series to
dive into black holes

New York string
quartet to bring
contemporary style
Daily Arts Writer
If you ever thought classi-
cal music was tedious, then you
probably weren't listening to the
right perform-
ers. The music Brooklyn
of the New York R
string quartet, Riderand
Brooklyn Rider, B64a Fleck
is anything but
boring. Sunday at
Formed 4p.m.
while work- Rackham
ing in Yo-Yo From $30
Ma's Silk Road
Brooklyn Rider was born out of a
desire to use the rich medium of
the string quartet as a vehicle for
borderless communication. The
group features violinists Johnny
Gandelsman and Colin Jacobsen,
violist Nicholas Cords and cellist
Eric Jacobsen. With its wildly
eclectic voice, Brooklyn Rider is
re-fabricating the 300-year-old
form of the string quartet as an
essential and innovative 21st-cen-
tury ensemble.
Through the University Musi-
cal Society, the quartet will per-
form this week for Ann Arbor
audiences. Brooklyn Rider will
also collaborate with B61a Fleck, a
world-class banjo player. Togeth-
er, Fleck and the quartet will put
on a show-stopping performance
that will include original compo-
sitions by both artists.
One of the unique features
about Brooklyn Rider that distin-
guishes it from other performers
is its performance style and how it
relates to the audience. Speaking
to their listeners between pieces
and showing their respect for
music is one way that the musi-
cians interact with the audience.
The group also performsstand-
ing because being on their feet
helps to energize the musicians,
and they find that this energy

Their latest album, Recursions, to merge works of a variety of composers.

translates to the audience's expe-
"We reject the idea that a con-
cert is a static experience," said
violinist Nicholas Cords. "I think
there has been this thing in the
past when you're a performer,
and when you get up on the stage,
you purposely build a wall in
front of you to deliver your work
like a finished project. I think we
totally reject that. The audience
is a huge part of the performance
for us -- they give the energy and
the feedback - and this affects
our music-makinga lot."
While it may not be the most
daring or radical group to use the
string quartet in contemporary
classical music, over the last few
years, Brooklyn Rider has stead-
fastly demonstrated that it's one
of the most broad-minded groups
of individuals.
"Whether it's American music
or music from Iran or from the
indie rock world or from the
core classical tradition, like
Beethoven," Cords said, "Or
whether it's music that we write,
we're actually trying to define
what we do really broadly, which
is the most exciting place to be

Brooklyn Rider doesn't limit
its repertoire to any one part
of the world or a single era. Its
2012 album, Seven Steps, brought
together Beethoven's String
Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor,
"Together Into This Unknow-
able Night" by the young com-
poser Christopher Tignor, and
the group's own collectively com-
posed response to the piece.
This year, the quartet released
another album, Recursions, that
merges the works of a variety of
different composers, including
Igor Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith,
Alan Hovhaness, Edmund Rub-
bra and Cords himself. In one of
Fleck's most recently published
works, The Impostor, Brooklyn
Rider collaborated with the artist
to make a concerto of banjo and
string quartet.
"Today, there are so many dif-
ferent kinds of languages that
are next to each other in a world
where I think people's fears may
be more open than they ever
have been in terms of audiences,"
Cords said. "I think it's a great
time to be alive as a musician for
that sole reason."

Daily Arts Writer
This weekend, the physics
departmentwill once againhostits
Saturday Morning Physics event,
this time on the fascinating topic
of black holes.
Started in 1995, Saturday
the series invites
anyone from Morning
the Ann Arbor Physics
community to
join in exploring Saturday at
questions that 10:30 am.
captivate the Dennison
great minds of Free
today. Lecturers
mostly consist of
University postdocs - those who
have received their Ph.D., but are
not quite faculty. The series began
both as a way to reach out to the
community and a place for post-
docs to getteaching experience.
Dr. Fred Adams, a theoreti-
cal astrophysicist and professor
in the physics department at the
University, has been around since
the series' conception. Hehasbeen
the chair of the series for the last
five years and has given a few talks
"There's always this pressure,
and there should be pressure, for
scientists to communicate to the
general public, but that's actually
a hard thing to do," Adams said.
"It's hard for anyone to take the
science and make it accessible
for the public, but the public is
actually not that excited about it
Saturday Morning Physics,
however, has seemed to capture
some attention. Due to uncer-
tainty about public reception, the
first lecture was held in a class-
room, but to the delight of the
series coordinators, there wasn't
enough room and a larger lecture
hall had to be opened up. Today,
because of the size of the audi-
ence, an overflow room is created
in the lecture hall next to the pri-
mary one where the talk is piped
in and the slides are posted.

mean p
body w
a little1
local f
ence of
dents a
will see
ics and
big na
the B
came t
ber," a
here w
the Be
Last ye
the ren
the ven
going o
had tw
was goi
even if
thing o
thing t

public is of course very to cover."
and by the public we For this talk on one of the most
people who are not scien- interesting phenomena in the uni-
Adams said. "These are verse, black holes, Adams asked
lectures available to any- Dr. Rubens Reis to speak. Reis,
vho is willing to think for who came to Michigan from Cam-
bit. You don't have to have bridge, is an Einstein Postdoctoral
or math backgrounds to Fellow and a Michigan Society Fel-
tand. We have a sort of low. He has been studying stellar
ollowing. Over the years mass and supermassive black holes
developed a regular audi- for the past sixyears.
folder people, college stu- "Black holes have a certain
nd even some high schools romantic feel tothem," Reis said.
nd their students for extra "It is talking about the unknown.
This idea that there's something
r the years, the series has that we just do not understand.
host to a variety of top- If you look from a mathemati-
speakers, including some cal perspective, the formula that
mes. When Complicite, describes a black hole goesto infin-
ritish theater company, ity. It's where this equation breaks
o Ann Arbor in 2008 to down."
m "A Disappearing Num- Reis explained that many black
bout the mathematician holes, like Sagittarius A* - the
sa Ramanujan, the series one in our own Milky Way Galaxy
a panel discussion with - are inactive. This means that,
When Philip Glass was while it's still a powerful force
ith his opera "Einstein on in our universe, it doesn't really
ach," Glass, Adams and affect things around it unless they
participated in another get too close. In the event that
discussion for the series. something, perhaps a star, does
ar, to celebrate the newly get too close to the event horizon
ted Hill Auditorium, the (the place past which nothing can
invited Scott Pfeiffer, an escape the gravitational pull of the
i engineer who aided in black hole), the black hole becomes
ovation, to talk about the active. The material from whatev-
behind the acoustics of er has come too close gets accreted
ue. onto the black hole and forms a
disk around it, which powers mas-
sive jets shooting out from the cen-
ter of the black hole.
)piCS aim to "The black hole in the center of
our own Milky Way could poten-
orm laymen. tially become active," Reis said.
"One of the exciting things that
is happening now is there is a gas
cloud that is getting very close to
choose the topics based on the black hole and there is a pos-
happening and who's avail- sibility that sometime next year
Adams said. "There's a lot it will be accreted into the black
n in physics this year. We hole. It will be pretty impressive
o talks on the Higgs Boson for us who are looking for it."
the Nobel Prize was even If you can't make it on Satur-
d. We were pretty sure it day or just want to learn more
ng to be in the running, but about the inner workings of our
it wasn't it was still a big world, all the lectures are avail-
if the year. Basically, any- able free for download on the Sat-
hat's cool in physics, we try urday Morning Physics website.

Candid and meditative 'Journal'


Phone Call' balances
science and belief

Daily Arts Writer
Mitch Albom made the jump
from sports columnist to best-
selling author through works
like "Tuesdays with Morrie,"
"The Five
People You
Meet in Heav-
en" and "The TheFirs
Time Keeper." Th is
His newest Phone
novel, "The Call From
First Phone
Call from Heaven
Heaven," con- Mitch Albom
tinues in the
same vein of its Harper
examining the
complex issues of grief, belief
and hope with the warmth and
heart we've come to expect
from Albom.
The novel revolves around
the various residents of the
small northern Michigan town
of Coldwater (not to be confused
with the real town of Coldwa-
ter, located in Branch County).
It's a typical, quiet small town.
That is, until residents begin
receiving phone calls from what
appears to be their deceased
loved ones. No one's quite sure
whether to think these calls
are a miracle or a hoax. Before
long, the outside world finds
out about the phenomenon, and
masses of people - believers
and skeptics alike - flock to
Much of the story is told from
the perspective of disgraced
ex-pilot Sully Harding. At the
beginning of the story, Sully has
just been released from prison,
serving a 10-month sentence
related to the plane crash he
was in the night his wife ended

up in a coma and eventually
died. Returning to his home-
town of Coldwater, a grieving
Sully finds himself surround-
ed by messages of heaven and
the afterlife. When Sully finds
out his young son is carrying
around a toy phone in the hopes
that his mother will call him
from heaven, he devotes him-
self entirely to disproving the
The skeptical Sully serves as
a nice foil to the enthusiasm of
the rest of the town, and keeps
the story from straying too far
from reality. This is Albom's
first work that plays out as a
real "whodunit" mystery, using
Sully as lead investigator and
representative of the reader. In
general, Albom succeeds in this
Interspersed throughout the
narrative are bits and pieces of
information about the life of
Alexander Graham Bell and the
1876 invention of the telephone.
You might think these inter-
ludes would disrupt the flow of
the story, but Albom smoothly
handles the transitions, work-
ing them to his advantage in
furthering the plot. Plus, you
learn a lot of really interesting
facts about Graham Bell. For
instance, his wife Mabel Hub-
bard was completely deaf due to
a near fatal bout of scarlet fever.
The book's a bit longer than
Album's other novels. It's not
an arduous read, though, as
it relies heavily on dialogue
and uses short, to-the-point
There's a reason Albom's
works stay on bestseller lists
for weeks on end; he's an
engaging writer. There are no
frills or long, flowery intervals

(impressive since most of his
works have a theological slant).
There's a spark in the simplic-
ity of his writing that keeps
his work dynamic. The longer
length of "The First Phone Call
from Heaven" allows for some
nice character development,
shown primarily through the
evolving relationships of the
townspeople. There's also a
good critique of extremism on
both sides of the religion-ver-
sus-science debate, as the two
camps consume the small town
in conflict.
Are you there,
God? It's me,
writer Mitch
The only problematic aspect
of the story is its supposedly
ambiguous ending. A novel
dealing with the concepts of
heaven and belief almost needs
to end in uncertainty; of course
no one knows what happens
after death. While Albom tries
to play up this ambiguity, cul-
minating in a singular event,
I found the incident too eas-
ily explained away by previ-
ous events in the novel. It's not
quite the spinning top at the end
of "Inception."
If you've enjoyed his previ-
ous works, chances are you're
going to like "The First Phone
Call from Heaven." If, howev-
er, you don't count yourself an
Albom fan, this will be the one
to change your mind.

Daily Fine Arts Editor
Flannery O'Connor wrote
the collection of journal entries
that appear in "A Prayer Jour-
nal" when she was 20 years old,
the same age as
many students [-
on campus.
Young readers A Prayer
will relate to
her urgency, Journal
doubt and ten- Flannery
uous relation- O'Connor
ship with the
future. Art- Farrar, Straus
ists working and Giroux
in all medi-
ums, and those
who failed to follow a path that
would have allowed them to
do so, will find it nostalgic or
Her entries are short - even
the longer ones - and so is the
book itself. This isn't a grand
assemblage of the author's
notes, but rather a modest,
sparsely used notebook from
her time at the University of
Iowa in 1946 -47, discovered
years after her death. At times,
in all its chaos and ambiguity,
her collection barely coheres to
a logical progression.
"The rest of us have lost our
power to vomit," she suddenly
concludes in a May entry about
Christ and modern prophets.

As pra
are al
and oc
spite o
who d
Only (
devil i
he has
title, a
ness h
to Iow
these p
as if he

yers, O'Connor's entries wrote for me," she scribes in
ways unique in this way, plain, legible cursive. "Right at
casionally exceptional in present this does not seem to be
f their rushed honesty. His policy. I can't write a thing.
one can be an atheist But I'll continue to try - that is
oes not know all things. the point."
God is an atheist. The It's this determination
s the greatest believer & that charges her wandering
his reasons," O'Connor thoughts with urgency. Even
for another day. when they distract themselves,
this is not, despite its thoughts like these tug on deep-
book about God; it's a er heartstrings that allow the
y box for her artistic anx- short collection - and its fac-
simile - to be worth this publi-
onnor's deep religious- cation and marketing.
elps her cope with the The urgent tone asserts the
of moving from Georgia book's validity. Because, if at
a City. But in many ways, times you find yourself among
prayers interact with God your art asking, "What will I
were a muse, so that her be?" - you are also O'Connor.
ality fuses with the liter- Her words have been your
"This evening I picture theo-
retically myself at 70 saying
it's done, it's finished, it's what
O'Connor it is, & being no nearer than I
am. This moral turpitude at 70
xplores the won't be tolerable."
of And those words hold weight
)mplexity of with us because her work
squashed those fears and ful-
religion. filled her hopes. Does that ulti-
mately, in some way, ease the
reader - make them feel better?
In the end, probably not. Not
ever do get to be a fine permanently, anyhow. But they
it will not be because I demonstrate a vulnerability
fine writer but because shared by all, which drives us
as given me credit for to pursue unlikely ends through
of the things He kindly available means.



"If I
am aI
God h
a few

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