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April 11, 2014 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-11

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The Michigan Daily -- michigandaily.com

Friday, April 11, 2014 - 5

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Friday, April 11, 2014- 5

OKUS event to
celebrate the 'U'

Noname Gypsy and
Kopelliwill headline
annualblockparty
By GILLIAN JAKAB
Communityf£ Culture Editor
After completing their first
year at the University in 2003,
Alma E. Davilla-Toro and Atiba
T. Edwards
felt a need FOKUS
to splatter Anual
some color on
a somewhat Block Party
bland campus Saturdayat12
culture. There
had to be a p.m.-5p.m.
driving force to TheDag
bring together Free
diverse art
forms and
communities,
and thus FOKUS - "Fighting
Obstacles Knowing Ultimate
Success" - was born.
"Itwasstarted,inpart,because
U of M's campus was lacking
the hip-hop acts that Atiba and
Alma were used to, being from
New York City - being able to
go to a lot of urban art exhibits
and hip-hop (performances),"
said LSA Junior Elle Gover, the
Co-Vice President of FOKUS.
"They found that a lot of those
acts were going to Michigan
State and Eastern Michigan
University instead of U of M,
and so that was a huge thing in
founding FOKUS."
In its first year, FOKUS
brought performers such as
Janelle Monie, Slum Village and
John Legend to campus.
"We not only wanted to meet
the world's greatest emerging
artists, but also wanted to
introduce them to our worlds,"
Davilla-Toro recently wrote in a
message to the FOKUS Facebook
page. 4. ,
Though the group has been
highly successful with their
presentation of musical artists,
FOKUS events seek to shed light
on every conceivable genre of
marginalized art or cultural
activity.

"Every year we have an event
called 'Artifacts' which is a
showcasing of lesser known -
underrepresented in our opinion
- art," Gover explained. "We've
done food art, industrial art and
then this past fall we did tattoo
art; it was called 'Inked."'
With "Inked," FOKUS
engaged people from all over
campus and Ann Arbor to submit
tattoo designs and the stories
behindthem.Thefollowingpanel
discussion with tattoo artists
was further encouragement to
discover, reconsider and share.
"We are influencers, taste
makers, activists, and vanguards
who sought balance in our
everyday lives on campus,"
Davilla-Toro wrote. "We needed
a space where we could foster
this creativity that normally took
a backseat to the academically
rigorous university climate.
The goal was to design our own
avenue for change, so we came
together to educate, empower
and unite communities through
the arts!"
Creativity is infectious, and
with spring in the air the group
hopes to spread the FOKUS bug
(no, not the one that plagues us
as we study in the library) with
Vanguards, its annual block
party, this Saturday in the Diag
from 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.
In the past, Vanguards
has been shaped by different
themes. One year, the block
party was "circus" which played
with the idea of exploitation
and stereotype. Another year,
the Diag became a portal to
our childhood -'90s galore.
Saturday, however, forgoes a
concrete theme, and rather
embodies the history and
evolution of FOKUS.
"This year we went with
'Reflektl0ns' ... we're reflecting
in general on the last ten years;
.we'll have posters and other
(visuals) showing things that
have happened in the past
decade on campus, in our club
and worldwide," Gover said.
"It's a celebration of FOKUS
and celebration of being on this
campus."

The block party's headlining
performers are Noname Gypsy
- an artist who not only has
been admired among FOKUS
members as they've been playing
her music at meetings, but
recently by the larger campus
as well, who loved her music
when she opened for Chance the
Rapper at Hill Auditorium last
month - Detroit rapper Kopelli
and several other incredible
artists.
The day will be filled with
temporary tattoos, an interactive
chalkboard that prompts: "ten
years ago; in ten years," gigantic
bubbles and a 25 foot-long
sandwich all set to the backdrop
of a DJ and studded with
performances by the University's
Pure and Encore dance groups,
and this year's FOKUS Beat
Battle winner Jonah Gray.
Gover hopes to teach people
about FOKUS and its history;
she knows people often see the
eye-catching aesthetics of their
poster designs, but may still
wonder "what do they actually
do?" Most importantly, she hopes
everyone coming to Vanguards
just has a really great time.
"Our entire planning for this
particular Vanguards revolves
around making it a really fun
day for everyone involved -
introducing people to new
musical artists and to each
other."
With Davilla-Toro and
Edward's establishment of a
Brooklyn chapter upon their
graduation in 2006, FOKUS'
influences now spread far and
wide. It is important to celebrate
the University community that
fostered the group's growth and
who probably needs to charge
their solar panels and de-stress
before finals - what better way
than a block party?
"FOKUS awakened our souls
and taught us howto be curators
of life," Davilla-Toro concluded
in her message. "It brings great
joy to see so many ideas come to
fruition throughout the years.
We're going ten years strong and
still fighting obstacles knowing'
ultimate success."

"How to Train Your Dragon 3"
'Game of Thrones'
upholds high standard

By ALEC STERN
SeniorArtsEditor

The award-winning
Akamus comes to A2

By COSMO PAPPAS
DailyArts Writer
The names Mozart and Bach
evokemanythoughts-maybethose
of harmony, maybe lavish Viennese
court recitals or
maybe the hopes Ai-dem e
of upper-class
parents that furAlte
playing Mozart Musik Berlin
in the cradle
will get their kid Sunday at
into Harvard. 4 p.m.
Most likely, the
average person HilllAuditorium
does not think of $7 Students; Up
an ensemble like
the Akademie fur to$70 General
Alte Musik Berlin Admission
as a "courageous
display of
musical sovereignty against the East
German socialist regime," as several
performing arts organizations have
put it. Coincidentally, neither would
the ensemble, which will bring a
program of those composers to
the Hill Auditorium this weekend
through the University Musical
Society.
"It'sneverreallybeenlikethat.It's
not that we've always been making
music outofprotestagainst acertain
system," said Felix Hilse, the group's
manager of six years and the son of
a founding member. "It's always has
beenaveryunpoliticalthing."
The group's core membership
counts 32 musicians but will range
from 7 to 55 depending on the
demands of the specific repertoire.
Their award-winning recorded
output, released by independent
French label Harmonia Mundi,
features performances of such
composers as W.A. Mozart, Bach

(J.S., J.C
and his
Handel
The
abbrevis
because
instrum
faithfull
historic
"period'
have
the Ak
enterpri
Rath
and con
era as a'
at its ba
instead;
certain
simply
audienc
"All
gathere
at thel
and act
On
perform
Hilse sa
coincide
got thei
historic;
This
howeve
it is to
ensembl
exhaust
libraries
docume
meet th

C., C.P.E., W.E - the father instruments, some of them greatly
sons), Antonio Vivaldi, G.F. different than their modern
and others. counterparts.
Akamus (the popular "The wall coming down in '89
ation) was exceptional also was our one big chance to show
they made use of period what has happened behind the Iron
ents in order to most Curtain," Hilse said. "And in many
ly reproduce the music's ways we've taken this quality of
ally distant sounds. While isolation to define ourselves, all the
ensembles of this kind wayupthroughtoday."
subsequently proliferated, Keeping in mind Hilse's
amus was a one-of-a-kind explanation of the apolitical
se for its original audiences. status of the ensemble, the group's
er than read their foundation experiences before and after the fall
certizing during the Soviet of the Soviet Union differ primarily
politically motivated gesture at the level of logistics, organizations
se, the Akamus can be seen and publicity.
as an attempt to popularize But even today, the ensemble
forms of music that were functions with a decentralized
unavailable for those model that differs from most
es at the time. classical ensembles. As opposed
of the original members to most symphonic bodies, the
d in Berlin. They all had jobs Akamus is a collective of freelance
local symphony orchestras musicians,owned by asmallnumber
ually gathered in order to of musicians.
"Of course we want to bring joy
topeopleeveryonewantstodothat,
and we want to play Baroque music
ie-of-a-kind in acertainway,"Hilsesaid."But we
want to take the audience by their
interprise. hands and get themoutoftheir seats
S*while we're playing, not after. There
is a certain force that we can create
that Ithinkis quite unique."
contemporary music," Come next Sunday, then, Ann
id. "It was more or less by Arbor will have the opportunity
nce or accident that they to see the Akamus's virtuosic and
r hands on a collection of invigorating vision of Baroque and
alinstruments." Classical music. It is important that
intervention by chance, the Akamus is not seeking only
r, made the ensemble what specialized audiences. Their variety
day. Becoming a period of live performance is one that can
le, Hilse described, was an educate anyone, expert or not, on
ive process of consulting the dynamism of Mozart and Bach
and other historical in such a way that makes age-old
nts in learning how to stereotypes about these kinds of
e demands of the historical music defunct.

Spoiler Alert: this review
contains major spoilersfrom every
season of"Game of Thrones."
"All men
must die" ... or
so the saying
goes. Game of
Sunday Thrones
night marked
the return Season
of one of
television's Premiere
most powerful
series. With HBO
its ruthless
reputation and
a fan base rabid enough to crash
HBO Go, "Game of Thrones" is
as formidable a presence as its
characters. Despite an expansive
cast and sprawling storylines,
HBO's signature drama series
continued to showcase cohesive,
strong storytelling. "Game of
Thrones" is the rare series whose
execution surpasses its enormous
ambition, and in season four, the
stakes are higher, the emotion is
deeper and the looming notion
that "all men must die" ensures
continued excellence and intrigue
fromthemostcompellingserieson
television.
"Game of Thrones" has never
been reluctant to put its characters
in harm's way, consistently
delivering major deaths in every
season - but the Red Wedding
has boosted the series to an
entirely new level. In the wake
of season three's penultimate
bloodbath, there's a heightened
level of suspense throughout the
season four premiere. Robb
Stark's vacancy doesn't dictate a
significant amount of the story,
though his - and his mother's
- absence is a driving emotional
presence.
In the season's tone-setting
opening moments, Tywin
Lannister uses the Valyrian
steel from Ned Stark's sword
to fashion two smaller blades.
With three Starks dead, two
missing and another married
into the Lannister clan, the
titular "Two Swords" served as
a not-so-subtle reminder of the
Lannister's dominance over the
Stark family.
Across the Narrow Sea,
Daenerys' path to the Iron
Throne continues, as she leads
her army on the 100-mile path
towards Meereen. Daenerys is
testing the limits of both her
relationship with her dragons
and her potentially romantic
relationship with Daario
(Michiel Huisman, "Nashville,"
in the role previously occupied
by Ed Skrein).
Already, it seems much
of season four will hinge on
transformations - adjusting
to new surroundings, realities
and restrictions. In King's
Landing, Jaime is forced to
adapt to his disability while
his siblings, Tyrion and Cersei,
settle into equally unfortunate
relationships. At Castle Black,
Jon Snow must re-acclimate to
life in the Night's Watch after
his adventure beyond the wall.

And for both Arya and Sansa, their sword, the youngest Lady Stark
futures are as uncertain as ever, proves her formidability once
given much of their journeys have again.While the openingmoments
been defined by the hopes of being of the premiere may have been a
reunited with their mother and decidedly strong victory for the
Robb. Lannisters, the closing moments
Despite similar themes and leave a different mark, once again
locations, the characters - and prompting the audience to root for
the actors who play them - are the Starks in the end.
what continually revitalize Juggling countless characters
"Game of Thrones." The frequent and storylines - and adhering to
devolution of momentum and George R.R. Martin's intricately
power coupled with legitimate assembled source material -
character development has "Game of Thrones" is an elaborate
propelled "Game of Thrones" into balancing act. As such, "Two
the most elite group of drama Swords" excluded a slew of
series. Showcased significantly in secondary characters (including
"Two Swords," the series' refusal Theon Greyjoy and Stannis
Baratheon), leaving the door
open for more premiere-worthy
"All men must material in future episodes.
And with the introduction of an
die."intriguing new character, Oberyn
Martell, "Thrones" 's upcoming
nine episodes - like seasons past
- will amount to a marathon of
to allow its characters to submit to complexity, collusion, betrayal
stagnation has set up an exciting ands undoubtedly, murder.
and substantial premise to build At its best, "Game of Thrones"
upon throughout season four. is a cerebral genre series, as talky
Specifically, Arya's arc from and calculating as it is action-
royal to riotous is on full display packed - and "Two Swords" is
in "Two Swords" 's final scene. just that. Season four's smart and
As Arya becomes hardened by the eventful premiere is yet another
many setbacks and tragedies she's solid hour in "Thrones" 's near
faced throughout the series, it's perfect catalog. Even more, the
beginning to feel more and more episode, like the series as a whole,
like she will become a major threat is perfectly "HBO" - equal parts
to the Lannisters' supremacy. sexy, foul, fun and significant. As
Presumed dead by many, Arya the story continues to build - and
continues to travel with the "Thrones" 's upward trajectory
Hound in "Two Swords," finding shows no signs of slowing down -
any opportunity to avenge the there's an unshakable feeling that
many deaths she's been witness to. we've only grazed the surface of
When she sees Polliver, the man what this series is capable of.
who killed her friend and stole her After all,... "all men must die."

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