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October 10, 2014 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-10-10

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8A - Friday, October 10, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

.. _ , ,

EVENT RECAP
The Chance'Experiment'

'I'm not sure where my vagina is'
A Horror Story' so
good, you'ii freak,

By WILL GREENBERG
Daily News Editor
Chance the Rapper is in the
middle of what he calls "The
Social Experiment," a project of
new songs that emphasize his
band and choir that breaks away
from the typical ideas of the rap
genre. Here is the lab report from
the Wednesday night iteration of
the experiment.
Hypothesis: Rap loving
20-somethings will enjoy a more
musically-infused sound.
Materials: Eastern Michigan
University's basketball stadium,
large stage, intricate lighting and
sound systems, security guards,
Young & Sick, Sweater Beats,
Travi$ Scott, Chance the Rapper,
roughly 2,000 college students,
a handful of uber-excited"
high school students, alcohol,
marijuana, vaper pipes, giant
glow sticks and DJs who "aren't
here to mess around."
Procedure: 1) Set up stage,
lighting and sound systems
inside of basketball stadium. 2)
Administer alcohol, marijuana,
tobacco products to the college
students and record how they
react with security guards. 3)
Have a promoter throw glow
sticks from the stage. and ask
college students, "Are you ready
for Chance the Rapper?!" for 20
minutes of slightly drawn-out
hype time. 4) Bring artists onto
stage and observe.
Results: The most notable
observation of the evening
was the stark contrast in stage
presence, philosophy and overall
mood between Travi$ and
Chance.
Travi$, an up-and-comer out
of Chicago and recent addition
to the Good Music label, brought
plenty of energy to his set,
warning the crowd early on that
he likes to "rage, mob and sweat,"
at his shows. Travi$ himself was
fully committed, hopping from
either end of the stage through

his best known songs like "Upper
Echelon"and "Sin City,"hislyrics
entirely screamed amongst gasps
for ygen. It was a little crazy,
essentially mindless, but overall
pretty fun. Still, he had some
prety high expectations for a
Wednesday night.
A majority of his songs were
paused 30 seconds in so he
could admonish the audience for
not being loud enough, jumpy
enough, "turnt" enough, etc.
After about his fourth re-started
song, it was clear the crowd
would have settled for a solid
three minutes of continuous
music. Travi$ wrapped up his set
awkwardly after abruptly ending
"Don't Play."
And then there was the other
Chicago rapper.
It really was remarkable how
muchmoreexcitedthecrowdwas
to sing along to Chance's melodic
opening number, "Everybody's
Everything." Chance and The
Social Experiment band have
found the mid-point between
traditional musical proficiency
and 2014 concert explosiveness
aod it's hypnotizingto watch.
The first 20 minutes consisted
of the Acid Rap staples like
"Pusha Man" and "NaNa" before
moving into the new "Social
Experiment" project works,
currently being promoted via
Sound Cloud but not from any
official album. Chance took a
moment to explain the meaning
of the project and the audience's
role as guinea pigs for the group
to try their new work. The results
were truly spectacular.
Short of the rebranded
"Arthur"theme song,"Wonderful
Everyday," attendees knew
sporadic pieces of the other songs
like "Back Up in this Bitch." It
didn't matter, the place was fully
committed to everything Chance
was spitting.
Each new song featured
a deadly combination of
Chance's already exceptionally

written rhymes, a veteran-
level performance from the
band and noteworthy lighting
arrangement. Chance made sure
to highlight his trumpet player
in particular, fellow Chicago
native Nico Segal, who now runs
under the stage name Donnie
Trumpet. Segal is ashow himself,
demonstrating a soloing ability
and wind instrument stamina
beyond his years. As far as the
social experiment goes, these
millennials showed nothing but
love for a band that is essentially
a retooled and modernized jazz
ensemble.
Chance's rapping was crisp,
his dancing impressive and his
even his singing was good. While
not always perfectly pitched,
Chance sings fearlessly, leaning
into his falsetto and commanding
his melodies.
What made Chance's time on
stage so different than Travi$'
was that he didn't demand the
crowd get excited to see him, he
asked them to have fun with him.
The atmosphere was notably
more inclusive than most rap
shows you might see (think
Kanye's wheelchair debacle) and
this was best highlighted during
"That's Love" when Chance
literally stood at the edge of
the stage, pointed from person
to person saying, "I love you,
I love you, I love you." Were it
anyone else in the world, it would
have been a strange, awkward
mess of a stunt but there was a
unshakable sincerity in his words
that had the crowd calling back,
"we love you too."
Conclusion: It's clear that the
Wednesday night crowd found
enjoyment from the show, in
both the original mix tapes 10
Day and Acid Rap and the "Social
Experiment." What's less clear
is whether they even cared that
they saw a rebranded version of
Chance's sound or if it was just
Chance himself that they were
there to see. Probably the latter.

i

By CATHERINE SULPIZIO
Daily Arts Writer
Guys, "American Horror
Story" is officially back and
better than ever. For such a dark
show, it has
a real knack A
for bringing
glee to its fan American
base - but
horror lovers Horror Story
everywhere Season 4 premiere
should Wednesdays
rejoice over
"American at10 p.m.
Horror Story: FX
Freak Show,"
because it
looks to be the scariest season
yet.
Let me take a step back for a
second and put on my critic's
cap. Part of "American Horror
Story" 's flair for fear is that
it refuses to really take itself
seriously even as it ambitiously
barrels through six or seven
plot points per season. The
dizzying maze of storylines
tends to keep a viewer on edge
even if they don't all come to
fruition, and where some horror
maintains solemnity even as it
verges on parody, "American
Horror Story" swings from the
chandeliers. It holds no subject
sacrilegious - from school
shootings to Nazis to slavery,
"American Horror Story"
shocks equally by its daring to
really go there. Last season,
"AHS" overstepped itself with
a race-focused storyline that's
problem wasn't irreverence but
its premature disappearance by
end of the season; Murphy has
a tendency to blow full steam
ahead with some storylines then
mysteriously discard them for
reasonsunknown. The whirlpool
strategy undeniably succeeds in
keeping its fans coming though,
as last year's premiere peaked
with 5.54 million viewers.
However, there is a method
to Murphy's excessive madness.
"American Horror Story" really
knows how to scare: as much
as content drives fear, the
formal elements are integral in
heightening it. On Wednesday's
premiere episode, the camera
pounces from high fish-angle-
lens shots that make us feel like
a fly on the wall to shaky P..V.
shots of murder victims; it
cowers in the corner as villains
loom over us, the camera
careens through forests and
hallways with dizzying speed
- and it switches between all
of these shots too quickly, with
music a hair too loud, lighting a
shade too lurid (or blood red). In
short, "American Horror Story"

uses a lot of classic techniques ringleader, with a Marlene
to effectively induce horror. Dietrich wardrobe and a pinch
Narrative plot arcs can be of manipulation A la Blanche
sloppy or ridiculous sometimes, DuBois. With her GIF-able quips
but the technical tightness of and Instagram-worthy hat-
the show consistently grounds wear, it makes sense Lange is
it. the social media tour de force of
"Monsters Among Us," the "AHS." Mars is just a newspin of
first episode of "American the femme fatale Lange dazzles
Horror Story: Freak Show," as every season, but that's part of
is set in 1952 Jupiter, Florida the fun. "AHS" has assembled a
in a struggling freak show. core cast that we, if not exactly
Florida jokes aside, I was love, have built loyal ties with -
doubtful this would be a scary it's a wink to the fans and way
premise. "A homicidal clown?" of maintaining continuity in an
I laughed when I heard about anthology format.
the signature seasonal monster, The episode also introduces
alas, I believed myself immune Sarah Paulson ("Martha Marcy
to the scary clown trope. Forgive May Marlene") as Bette/Dot, a
me, Ryan Murphy, but I was so two-headed woman (or women,
wrong. Unlike other seasons' I'm not sure of the etiquette),
villains, "AHS" wastes no time which is yet another example
introducing the monster, who of the technical rigor "AHS" is
with the smart costuming and capable of. Lange usually pulls
makeup is insanely disturbing. the spotlight from Paulson,
For all its meticulous crafting who takes the more reserved
of fear, "AHS" knows there's characters, so I'm excited to see
something uncanny about her take up a little more room
simply seeing a monster in (literally) this season. Bearded
plain day - remember the last lady Ethel Darling (Kathy Bates,
minutes of the episode in "True "Misery") is wonderful and so
Detective" where we see Reggie is her son Jimmy (Evan Peters,
Ledoux stalking the plains with "Kick Ass") with lobster claw
his gas mask and machete? syndrome (ectrodactyly) -
It's a fear that wallops you in his condition pays the rent in
your primordial core, seeing the licentious way only Ryan
a creature so discordant with Murphy can dream up.
a familiar environment, yet As a side note, "American
threateningly at ease in it. We Horror Story" positively revels
relegate our fear of monsters in Catholic Guilt-tripping even
to their slow emergence from the most secular of us, with its
the shadows, but sometimes it's constant marriage of sex and
the clown traipsing through fear. Besides moonlighting as a
a pastoral picnic scene that David Bowie cover singer, Mars
delivers the panic. The camera's runs a side film production
wide lens works well here, it company whose business model
highlights the surreal tension relies heavily on date-rape drugs
between clown and landscape. and slut-shaming. Perhaps
this will be one of the moral
seeds Murphy loves to scatter
Revels in through every season, though
the obvious is the freak angle. If
Catholic Guilt- there's one major critique, it's the
superimposed morality Murphy
tripping even insists on less and less overtly
through the seasons, the karmic
the most secular. comeuppancecthat restores order
in the end. "Murder House" and
"Asylum" handled it perhaps
effectively, but "Coven" had
Regardless, if "AHS" is so some truly tasteless moments
confidently delivering this (though Anne Frank's cameo
powerhouse of a monster in in "Asylum" can't be excluded)
the first episode, I'm going to that weren't justified by
assume they have some even Murphy's . half-hearted
scarier tricks up their sleeve. The attempts to reconcile racism.
rest of the episode introduces us Regardless, "American Horror
to the ragtag world of "Freak Story: Freakshow" is a riveting
Show." Like the other seasons, first episode. Even after three
our protagonists dance the line seasons, "AHS" still retains a
between heroes and villains. talent for lassoing scare, social
Do we root for them or run critique and camp into one
from them? Jessica Lange ("The dazzling show.
Postman Always Rings Twice") - Jessica Lange hat count: 1
is back and more fabulous Dietrich-esque fedora 1 toque
than ever as Elsa Mars, circus hat with decorative plume.

EVENT PREVIEW
A Gershwin restored

A

By REBECCA GODWIN
DailyArts Writer
If you've never heard of George
Gershwin - and there aren't many
who haven't - you've no doubt

heard some
of his songs,
either in
movies or on
stage. He was
renowned for
his composing
and piano
playing
abilities. His
music crossed

SMTD
Gershwin
Performance
October 10, 8p.m.
Hill Auditorium
Free

genres, from
classical to folk to jazz and he wrote
songs for various media, from
Broadway to movies to operas.
Hewasbornin1898 inBrooklyn,
New York and started composing
songs for money atthe young age of
15. He went on to create hundreds
of original songs, some on his own
and some with his brother Ira,
for the next two decades. In early
1937, Gershwin's health began to
deteriorate, but it wasn't until July
that doctors discovered he was
suffering from a brain tumor. By
that point it was too late and he
passed away on July 11, 1937 at the
age of 38.
Even though he died young,
Gershwin left a musical legacy
that has yet to be forgotten by
family, fans, or fellow musicians.
Throughout his career, he played
many different pianos, but there
are only three known pianos in the
United States that he personally
owned. One is at the Songwriter's
Hall of Fame in New York City, the
second is at the Library of Congress
in Washington D.C. and the third
is now at the School of Music,
Theatre & Dance, where it has just
undergone a complete restoration
over the last year and a half.
The piano, a 1933 Model A
Steinway, resided in Gershwin's
New York apartment up until
the time of his death, and was
then passed on to various family
members, starting with his mother
and eventually ending with his
nephew Marc George Gershwin,
the man responsible for donating

the piano to the university.
"It arrived in April or June of
last year," said Mark Clague, an
Associate Professor of Musicology
and Director of Research in SMTD.
" $efore it got to us it had always
resided in a Gershwin apartment in
NewYork.'
The piano was donated shortly
after the Gershwin Initiative</a>
was started in 2013. The Initiative
is intended to be a partnership
between the Gershwin Family
and the University by allowing the
University complete access to the
Gershwin Archives. The archives in
turn will then be used to create the
George and Ira Gershwin Critical
Edition, which is the research
project at the core of the Initiative.
"A Critical Edition is sort of a
scholarly researched publication
whereyougoback and basicallyfind
every little scrap of paper having
anything to do with any aspect of
musical work," explained Clague.
"It could be for a literary work or
an opera or just a book of poetry,
and then you process that using
editorial judgment to come up with
the most reliable text possible of the
represented work."
The piano, which hadn't been
used, or used very infrequently,
since Gershwin's death, came to the
University in need of some critical
repairs if anyone wished to play it
again.
"We discovered that there was
a crack in the soundboard that was
irreparable because its particular
location crossed one of the bass
bridges of the instrument," Clague
explained. "So the soundboard
had to be replaced because the
soundboard is basically the natural
resonator of a piano ... and that
particular piece of wood had a crack
in it so it didn'tvibrate right."
Thanks in part to the Charles
H. Gershenson Piano Fund, which
provides the University with
the resources it needs to repair
its various Steinway pianos, the
instrument was sent away to be
fixed. It was sent to PianoCrafters,
Inc., a company located in
Plymouth, Mich., for meticulous
restoration under the supervision of
Assistant Professor Robert Grijalva,

who is a certified Steinway Concert
and Artist Division technician and
U-M Director of Piano Technology.
Over the years,it had suffered some
damage that needed to be addressed
in order to return it to full working
order.
Because some of the damage
was quite extensive, several of
the original pieces needed to be
replaced. The piano received a new
soundboard, strings, keyboard,
hammer and damper actions, but
the exterior was left unchanged.
While these parts did need to be
replaced, the originals were by no
meansgotten rid of.
"One thing we did preserve was
the keyboard,' Clague said. "The
keyboard has ivory keys, which
would be illegal today, butit will be
preserved as a historic document
about the way the instrument was
made and manufactured in the
1930s because this particular piano
is quite rare."
Now that the instrument is
finally finished, SMT&D will
be having a special dedication
ceremony to welcome it officially
to it's new home at the University.
Members of staff as well as several
students will perform a selection of
Gershwin melodies, with the piano,
of course, center stage.
Members of the campus
community as well as the Ann
Arbor community are encouraged
to attend the free concert, alongside
members of Gershwin's family.
Clague, while excited to hear the
piano after its lengthy repairs,
is more excited by the historical
significance of the event and what
the piano represents in the world of
music.
"George developed his own
unique voice and alot of his music,
with this combination of melody
and this 20th century mechanical
sound, was literally created in
conjunction with the instrument,"
Clague said. "It's not like you touch
it and George speaks to you, at least
not in any literal way, but I think it's
a kind of symbol of the partnership
between the University and George
Gershwin, but I also think it's
somethingthat will serve as asource
of inspiration for our students."

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