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September 09, 2014 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-09-09

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6 - Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

6 - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Embracing diverse

Rock is very much
alive, Gene Simmons

t doesn't matter if
you've lived in Ann
Arbor for several years
or are just a visitor passing
through; it's crystal clear
that this
city has a
rich and
vibrant °
connection "
to the arts.
at venues
around DAVIS
town to
exclusive affairs, hundreds of
musicians, art exhibitions and
dancers passed through the
city last year to show students
and community members
what makes them different.
Ann Arbor's open-minded and
intellectual community makes
the area a welcoming home
away from home for many
culturally diverse performers,
who make up a large percent-
age of the events that travel
through the city.
As a writer for the Daily's
Community Culture section
last year, I had the opportu-
nity to preview some incred-
ibly fascinating concerts
and events that came to the
city. An intercollegiate Bol-
lywood dance competition,
two world-renowned Hawai-
ian cultural performers and
a Portuguese-language film
festival are just a few exam-
In writing event previews,
it's necessary to have conver-
sations with the people who
wanted to bring their event to
Ann Arbor in the first place,
and learn why they're so pas-
sionate about their art forms.
Whether they were University
students, professors or com-
munity members, each of these
individuals dripped with zeal
for the event they had orga-
nized, hungrily eager for the
community to devour their

type o
that tI
area tl
to acc
as we]
ings, 1
it imp
see pa
if they
For a
arts a

f art. However, every dents and community mem-
time I spoke to such a bers. The more people attend
n, they expressed worry culturally diverse shows, the
he community wouldn't more events will be brought
ice their event and the to the University. Events
i would be dismal. like these have helped Ann
're lucky to live in an Arbor develop a reputation
hat has the resources for worldliness and cultural
ommodate such unique appreciation, a reputation
of artistry that we have that is important to maintain.
With venues like the If the University sees poten-
gan Theatre, The Ark, tial demand in the show,
11 as innumerable loca- they'll bring more and more
within University build- talented, diverse acts that
performers would find may prove to be a once in a
ossible not to find an lifetime experience for many.
ate location to perform. If events flop due to lack of
many of these venues audiences, the University
cked crowds with inter- won't bring them back.
minds, there are still So ask yourself: Why not
rmers who don't gather go to that Afro-Cuban Jazz
;h interest and see less- concert on a Friday night?
adequate crowds, even Why didn't you see the state
y're incredibly talented. of Michigan's only gamelan, a
city as connected to the Javanese and Balinese percus-
s Ann Arbor, this is unac- sion set, in concert? What's the
ble. harm of checking out Akad-
emie fur Alte Musik Berlin,
a Grammy-winning German
chamber orchestra? (All these
Whynot go events really did happen in
) that Afro- Ann Arbor last year, believe it
or not.)
uban Jazz It doesn't matter if you're
graduating next year or just
concert? beginning freshman year:
make it a goal to see a few
performances or exhibitions
that you normally wouldn't
tural performances see. Learn about different
niche performances; art forms and embrace the
e come to the Univer- cultures that have brought
ith the hope that demo- them here. For most of us, our
ics not familiar with time in Ann Arbor will be a
may open their minds few sweet years, so utilize
at they have to offer. the wonderful artistic oppor-
preciate art is to both tunities that are brought
ue and to remove criti- just down the street. It's
to view a piece from important to take advantage
n its culture and outside of the amazing, affordable
Every person in the Ann opportunities to see incred-
r community has the ible performers from all over
y to embrace and enjoy the world, because you never
ypes of art, the problem know when something is a
a the lack of motivation once-in-a-lifetime chance.


sity w
to wh
To ap
of it.]
new t
lies in

to attend these events.
For a performance to come
to Ann Arbor, there must be
adequate demand among stu-

Davis is making the most of
her Ann Arbor experience. To join
her, e-mail katjacqu@umich.edu.

Taking the Kiss
bassist to task
on controversial
Several years ago, I took a trip
with my family to visit my grand-
parents in central Ohio. I was
probably nine or ten years old at
the time, and all I could think
about were the impending spoils
- limitless supplies of chocolate
milk, powdered sugar donuts, a
whole week of staying up late -
that seemed to become a reality
only when I visited my grandpar-
ents. We spent the long summer
days outside at amusement parks
or, when the humidity was too
overbearing, in the coolvastinte-
riors of shopping malls. At night
when the fireflies transposed
constellations on my grandpar-
ents' front lawn, my brother and
I would run and fumble over
each other to try to catch them.
That trip was, for many rea-
sons, one of the last trips we
took to visit my grandparents
there. While the easygoing pulse
of everything throughout that
trip sticks out in my memory, I
remember one evening in par-
ticular. My grandpa was an artist
(among other things, a pianist,
too) and we spent one evening
together in his kitchen, where
I asked him to paint whatever
images would float through my
mind and he, with marvelous
grace, would paint them. I asked
him to paint moon-dwelling
hockey players, cotton candy
flowers, pirates dressed in foot-
ball uniforms, mythical crea-
tures (on sea and land), knights
fighting samurais, and he would
paint them all.
It was somewhat of an artistic
ritual for my grandpa, whenever
he painted, to have music playing
in the background. That was how
I learned about many great art-
ists, classical and contemporary
alike. However, on that particu-
lar evening I heard The Beach
Boys for the firsttime. Brian Wil-
son had just released Smile (this
was 2004) and the song "Surf's
Up" played for what seemed like
an eternity. In light of the deeply
imaginative work that my grand-
father was putting in front of my
nonbelieving eyes, I registered
"Surf's Up" as a song with limit-
less capacity. Of course, I didn't
understand the song's technical
value, its contextual significance
or where it stood in Wilson's
anthology. I wouldn't have been
able to articulate my apprecia-
tion of its rearing melody, instru-
mental spontaneity or simple,
chugging beat. But the song reso-
nated with the moment, and now,
looking back ten years later, the
two remain entwined.
When The Beach Boys
released Pet Sounds in 1966
(the loving parent of Smile), the
realm of rock music was still in
its infancy. The term "rock 'n'
roll" - in its stylistic sense -
was hardly a decade old. A mere
10 years had passed since Little
Richard and Chuck Berry suf-

fused African rhythmic sections
with New Orleans-centered R&B
and early rock structures. Songs
like "Maybellene" and "John-
ny B. Goode" had charted the
course for rock 'n' roll, but the
land ahead was vast and utterly
open. It contained within itself
an unimpeachable excitement
that was mirrored, perhaps for
the first time in contemporary
popular music, by the artistic
style that had started to breach
its territory. Pet Sounds was the
kind of the album that shook the
very ground upon which rock 'n'
roll stood, as it changed the sonic
landscape and diverged from the
direction of the rock genre. Its
diverse instrumentation, psy-
chedelic/baroque sound, eter-
nal sense of melody, quiet air of
sadness, strong sense of rhythm,
legendary rivalry with Rubber
Soul and streamline affection
(thanks to its mono recording)
make it a record of astounding
impact, one that shattered popu-
lar notions of the genre. Rock
music of the late '60s seemed, for
a time, completely unpredictable,

its course foggy and obscured, as Instagram and (more and more)
bands struggled to reciprocate Amazon, artists can connect with
the technical, sonic and cultural fans in new ways and on entirely
reach ofPetSounds. personal levels. Simmons notes
Perhaps in 2014, artists feel the competitive aspect of these
similarly intimidated by the trends, but this is arguably the
incredible sprawl of rock music. best time to be a musician - with
In an interview with Esquire so many media outlets, labels and
last week, Kiss bassist Gene informed fans, there's rarely been
Simmons boldly declared that such opportunity in the industry.
"Rock is finally dead." Sim- To approach Simmons' claims
mons lamented the state of the from an empathetic angle means
music industry, noting in par- to hone in on the core misunder-
ticular the financial shabbiness standing he expressed: that the
of prominent record compa- world of music - not just rock
nies and the changing modes of music - is dying because it's
music promotion. "Some bril- changing. It's true that album
liance, somewhere, was going to sales are declining, listeners are
be expressed, and now it won't, demonstrating increasing inter-
because it's that much harder to ests in house/dance/electronic
earn a living playing and writing music, digital downloads are
songs," he stated. "No one will dominatingthe market and music
pay you to do it." labels are feeling the pressure to
Simmons also harped on the pander to the masses - whatever
ever-increasing problem of file- might be trending on YouTube
sharing. "The problem is that or Twitter. But Simmons' fun-
nobody will pay you for the damental mistake is to confuse
10,000 hours you put in to cre- industry change with industry
ate what you created." Despite collapse. Music is not what it
making a few valid claims - the was in the mid-to-late '70s when
government certainly shares Simmons and Kiss engineered
his anxiety over file-sharing pop-rock hit after pop-rock hit.
and privacy - Simmons seems At that time, industry execu-
highly unfocused in the inter- lives supplanted artful producers
view, speaking out on everything with instituted songwriters who
from false patriotism and "Gang- could crank out and reshape the
nam Style" to Nirvana and "The same material forthe same bands.
X Factor," with each statement Many bands had little say in what
is backed with bitterness and music they produced because they
each topic addressed in rant, it had sold their creative rights to
becomes harder and harder to the big labels. That practice is
get behind the man who sold 100 markedly different from the self-
million albums with Kiss. producing/forge-your-own-way
The issue I take with Sim- techniques of music today. But
mons' claims, mainlythat of rock that doesn't mea the genre or the
being dead,is thathe failsato men- industry is dying.
tion the genre itself. He declares Ironically, the kind of "rock"
very plainly that "Rock is finally that Simmons is referringto - the
dead," and yet he can't possibly album-focused, novel, original
be referring to the music. After work of socially attuned artists
all, he mentions several impor- - was basically invented with
tant artists who influenced the Pet Sounds. As Mike Love, one
music. He voices his belief that of The Beach Boys' prominent
only Nirvana echoes the great- lyricists and vocalists, noted in
ness of The Beatles, Jimi Hen- "The Making of Pet Sounds":
drix, Pink Floyd, Madonna "Before Pet Sounds, the standard
and U2 among others, and that procedure of a record company
since 1984 no "levolutionary" or was to pack an album with 10 or
"timeless" artists have emerged. 12 songs, often hastily recorded,
Aside from the obvious fact that to accompany a single. Often,
Madonna and U2 - two artists the follow-up single was quite
he places into The Beatles cat- derivative or similar to the hit
egory - created masterworks that preceded it. The Beach
after 1984 (Madonna's Like a Boys, with Brian writing and
Prayer and U2's Achtung Baby), producing, changed all that." It's
he turns a blind eye to the work interesting to think about how
of genre masters like Radiohead that reinvention of an album's
and Arcade Fire, who practically format struck listeners of the
reinvented the way we approach day - how the idea of a "unified"
music by reinstating the cultural or "conceptual" album could be
centrality of the album. revolutionary, when we know,
Simmons' one-sided argument looking back, how normative that
often loops back to the notion standard became. But for people
of "numbers," be it video views, at that time, the industry was
record sales, age, work hours or changing, evolving and, perhaps
paychecks. He seems to be mak- for some, dying. Yet here it stands
ing a connection between rock nearly 60 years later, and though
music and high-minded artists the differences are stark and
who get paid loads of money, noticeable, and though several
but the synergy doesn't hold up sub-genres have branched from
all that well. From its earliest its nurturing care, rock music
endeavors, rock music became continues to thrive. The numbers,
synonymous with the youthful trends, practices, publications,
counterculture, forged out of festivals, streaming sites, apps,
post-war rebellion and simulta- blogs, tweets, statuses and videos
neous pre-war protest in the '50s are all evidence of its modern
and '60s. This wasn't intended vitality.
to be music for the masses, and It is commonly believed that, at
it certainly wasn't intended to the outset, early rock artists like
appeal to the big-wig record titans Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Bill
of the day. Rock was born out of Haley and Roy Orbison created
inopportunity. In every sense music for the riotous youth of the

of its sound, feel and visceral world, who were wholly affected
potency, rock carries a sense of by war, political instability and
silly urgency, an uncompromising societal turbulence. Rock became
seductive power, a ruthless back- a channel through which all emo-
beat (and backbone), a light, a soul tional reactions to current events
that notconly defies the "numbers" passed, and the targeted audience
but prides itself in its autonomy was youth. Youth, then and now,
and sub-culture progeny. hold the key to the future. Hope
But even if we do as Simmons for peace, law and order, equality
slyly suggests and look at the and diversity rested in the hearts
cold hard facts, his argument of the young, then burning to
still bears difficulty holding up. the beautiful tempo of songs like
According to recent data from "Tutti Frutti." And 10 years later,
the Recording Industry Associa- Brian Wilson penned "Surf's Up"
tion of America - data based in to promote this idea. The song was
pure calculation - the recording simple enough. Wilson's words
industry is investing more money are clear, his message shockingly
into new artists now than it ever direct. "A child is the father of
has before. Billions of dollars are man," he sings freely. Whenever
spent annually promoting artists statements like "Rock is finally
worldwide, while revenue shares dead" find their way to my screen,
are skyrocketing, smaller mar- I try to remember back to Wil-
kets are beingtapped and millions son's other message in "Surf's
of people are finding jobs in the Up", the one that has stayed
sector. Meanwhile, independent with me since the time I first
record labels that aren't factored heard it in my grandpa's kitchen,
into the RIAA's equation are the one that rock itself - money
seeking out talented, innovative and fame be damned - preaches
and creative artists in places like to us all: we are young, we are
night clubs and local bars. With alive, we have a lifetime to look
YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, forward to.


Call: #734-418-4115
Email: dailydisplay@gmail.com
RELEASE DATE- Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzlez
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis

1 Rhubarb
5 Blue cartoon
10 Spoiled one
14 Mount of Greek
15 Old Testament
18 Move like slims
17 St. Bemrd' bark
18 German WWIt
19 Cowhoy boot
20 Uninviled guests
23 '70s-'80s
Olympic skier
25 Suffi with glob
26"Just as I
27 Gold rush bad
32 Irshsdance
33 Righttriangle
34 Minortquarrels
38 Egg cell
40 Maythe _ be
with you'
43 Fizzy drink
44 Hemmed in
46 Pop's Lady._.
48 Flashlight outat
49 lThieves in the
tombs of the
pharaohs, say
53 mmigrant's subj.
58 Miss Teen -
57 "John Brown's
Body' poet
58 Earyarcade
game with
pxelated aliens,
sod, in a way,
what 20-, 27- and
49-Across all are
631974 Peace
64 Hersey's bell
65 Athletic
equipment giant
that sponsors
golfer Rory
68 This, in Tijuana
69 Twangy
7 Like sunmertea
71 Mumvel Comics
72 Succumbed to
the sandman
73 Jacoh'stwin

1 "Whuaml'
2 Prefix with metric
3 Gullet
4 Jungle joumey
5 Boarded up
6 "_-Dick"
7 Biennial games
8 Rise on hind
legs, asa horse
9 Femme _..
10 "Fiddlesticks!"
11 What rookies are
shown, wilh 'the'
12 Sky shade
13 To the point
21 Radiation
22 Rockefeller
Center muralist
Josh Maria
23 Low-paying
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28 Peter Pann l
29 Numero
30 Road sign with a
31 Attack command
35 "CSI"science
38 Distress signal
37 Speak, bi lcal-

39 Ryan o "When 53 County near
HanryMet Sally.." Londono
41 Bronco or 54 Twitch
Mustang 55 Drinkwith
42 Self-regard steamed
45 Factual milk
47 French cleric 59 Maine cat
50 Chinese and 60 Flower holder
Thai, e.g. 61 Take.__: doze
51 Property 62 Simpleton
destroyer 88 Hawaii's
52 Elton John Mauna __
collaborator 67 College URL
Taupin ending

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32 33 34 35 136 37
38 39 40 41 42 43
44 45 46 47 48
49 50 51 52
53 54 55 56 57
58 59 60 61 62
63 64 65 66 67
68 69 70
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organization, format. All Disciplines.
734/996-0566 or writeon@iserv.net
for I-on-I tutoring for math and sciences
call 734-434-1228

quired. Contact Nancy at nrosen-
zweig stpaulannarbor.org

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