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November 19, 2014 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-11-19

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The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 -- 5A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, November19, 2014 - 5A

Fran oise Mouly
talks art, comics

Thanksgroovin' to
be high-energy show

Famed Art Editor
of The New Yorker
to give lecture at
Penny Stamps
Daily Community t Culture Editor
Comics, like computers, began in
America as the weird playthings of
those on the nerdy end of the social
Today, they Francoise
are a bastion
for print Mouly: In
publishing, Love with
holding fast Art... and
against the
ever-rising Comics
digital tide. Penny Stamps
Perhaps no Lecture
one is more
responsible Nov. 20 at
for the 5:10 p.m.
ascendencyof Michigan Theater
comics than Free
Mouly, Art Editor of The New
Yorker. Along with her husband,
comic book luminary Art
Spiegelman, author of best-selling
"Maus," Mouly brought comics
from the fringe underground of
basement bookstores to the haute-
couture of The New Yorker covers
and museum retrospectives.
Thursday, Mouly will give a
Penny Stamps lecture in which
her love of print publishing and
the comics medium will serve as
focal points to encourage future
generationsto push boundaries and
recognize opportunities to keep
print publishing thriving.
Like many French kids, Mouly
grew up with children's comics, so
when she moved to New York at
age 19, she thought there would be
no better way to learn English than
through captioned illustrations.
Yet there were no con is 4p the
mainstream bookstores or on the
newsstands. A friend introduced
her to the underground cartoonist
Art Speigelman, and she fell in love
with the artist's advocacy for his
medium - and later with the artist
himself. Through the 1980s, the
two co-edited RAW magazine, an
annual anthology of the year's best
and most progressive work in the
"I wanted to make an object that
showed all of the possibilities of
how comics could function to tell
stories, to illustrate articles,toshow
verydifferentstyles," Moulysaid in
an interview with The Michigan
Daily. "That this wasn't just science
fiction or superheroes, but it could
beliterature; itcouldbe art.
The desire there was again to
demonstrate a museum quality
gathering of comics and a bit in
that Art came from which thought
of comics like this is lowbrow
culture to be read on the toilet. But
I'd seen work, including that of my
husband,thatIthoughtwas worthy
of not being trash and being kept
andbeing read again and again and
had a lot of qualities that made it on
par with art and literature. So that
was the impulse at the time .. to
Mouly was its publisher, designer,
production manager and printer,

using her own printing press
located in their Soho loft. Mouly
and Spiegelman chose the comic
strips together, resulting in
editorial diversity.
"We had a common vision and
we wanted to bring very different
artists," Mouly said. "I was

probably more the advocate for the
conceptual work - I did most of
theillustratedtextpieces. Iwrote a
couple andI did layouts for those; I
wanted graphics that weren't pure
comics in the magazine. We both
were of a common accord that we
wanted a range of artists ... we put
our tastes together and that's a
good way to do it."
"Half the people or more were
our friends," Mouly said. "You
know we had met them, we had
spent time with them, we shared
many evenings talking about how
great comics could be, so it was a
gathering of a lot of different ideas
and different people that were in
different countries, and it was very
exciting because everybody we
published we loved'
The same is true of Mouly's
work as the Art Editor of the New
"All of the artists that I publish,
I pretty much broughtto (The New
Yorker) - such as Robert (Crumb)
and Chris Ware and Charles Burns
and Adrian Tomine and Peter
de Seve. There's pretty much no
artist that's being published that
isn't somebody I brought either
from my old connections or (from)'
discovering their work as I went
along, because I've been doing this
for a while now."
Mouly sees The New Yorker as
a publication that values not only
the aesthetic merit of comics and
cartoons, but also the medium's
power to make a statement,
political or otherwise.
"The New Yorker has of course
a long tradition of cartoons and
of artists being integrated as part
of the contributors," Mouly said.
"One thing that isterrific with The
New Yorker, besides all of the other
wonderful things that we do, is
that we publish the work of artists
as full-fledged contributors, not
just to illustrate somebody else's
workbut the cover is asigned work
by a cartaonist An that seldom
happens in this day and age: that
cartoonists have their voice and
their ideas'
Mouly's process of choosing a
New Yorker cover takes the form
of an ongoing conversation with
the artist to come up with the right
image at the righttime.As aweekly
general interest magazine, The
New Yorker has a quick response
time to current events, but isn't
expected to cover everything that
happens. Mouly's New Yorker
cover caneitherstand onit'sownas
a stylized illustration of seasonal/
cultural themes or can serve as a
timely commentary on a breaking
issue of the day.
"I'm in a dialogue with the
artists so what I try to do is to
encourage them to use this cover
of a magazine as a forum to address
the concerns that they might have
... I actually believe that those
cartoonists and those graphic
storytellers should be telling the
story of our times," Mouly said.
She famously edited the
controversial cover in 2008
depicting Barack and Michelle
Obama as closet militant
revolutionaries in Arab garb fist-
bumping their election to the
White House - a caricature of
those who really believe it. The
controversy was that the targets
of the caricature - and there was
no shortage of them in our nation

- didn't get it, seeing instead a
magazine cover that perfectly
"The thing that's great with
New Yorker readers is that they're
all very sophisticated," Mouly
said. "We can publish images that
are ironic, that are funny, that are

provocative, and they don't have
captions and they don't tell you
what to think, but they presume
that the reader is able to formulate
his or her own opinion, and that's
a great privilege. It's totally the
best thing we have from being The
New Yorker is that we don't have
to caption and explain ourselves
or take it back and we can trust our
readers trust their intelligence."
In 2012, Mouly published a
collection of the covers that didn't
make the magazine entitled
"BlownCovers:NewYorker Covers
You Were Never Meant to See."
The selectivity is the product of a
highvolume ofsketchsubmissions,
yet sometimes the message is not
quite right for the magazine. The
collection stands as a testament to
Mouly by showcasing the breadth
and depth of the art that her
editorship generates, revealing
Mouly's taste for the provocative
and her discerning eye among it.
Mouly also publishes TOON
Books, a series of comics for kids.
As a mother, Mouly recognized
the special place hard copy comics
can occupy for kids the way they
did for her. Mouly views comics as
a transformative keyhole for kids
to see through to power of art and
literature in their lives.
"It's great medium for kids and it
is how youmap out afuture for kids
to love books and to love reading
and to get into holding a story.
It has some magical component
because whenyou read abookby a
cartoonist whether it be Dr. Seuss
or Maurice Sendak or William
Steig, you see the hand of the artist
who actually made those marks
Mouly doesn't ignore digital
technology at The NewYorker. She
edited a cover drawn on an iPad,
by David Hockney, for the first
iPad edition of the magazine and
has edited animated covers for the
online edition.
Cover was a) poetic image by
just rain drops seen through the
window of a cab. So that was our
first moving cover, it was moving
everywhere except of course on
the print issue ... It was such a
perfect New Yorker cover because
it was very abstract, it was like a
dozen raindrops basically. Nobody
else could get away with being so
conceptual and minimalist and so
tongue-and cheek,butwhenyou're
The New Yorker you can do that.
Everybody else would have to be
doing some kind of production
number with some kind of like big
deal moving parts, and we can do
the simplething."
Comics, more so than typeset
books, convey the physical act of
creation. Maybe that's the reason
their fans tend to demand them
in print rather than digital form.
Mouly includes the genre among
her pantheonofsaviorsofthe print
publishing industry.
"I want to share my own
enthusiasm for where we're at in
publishing. Because I am in the
midst of New York City publishing
where a lot of people are in despair
because book publishers are
experiencing alot ofhardship.And
(with) magazines it's difficult -
this is true of various magazines
(and) newspapers - we are in the
midst of a tectonic plate shift in

terms ofpublishingandthingsthat
I like such as books, but because
I am at The New Yorker per se,
and involved with publishing
children's books, and involved with
publishingcomics,Ifeelthat we are
at a very optimistic point, that the
future is bright."

Groove to bring
performance groups
to State Theater
For The Daily
The all-too-familiar thud of
last week's "I forgot about this
and it somehow ended up in the.
back ofthe
fridge" Thanksgroovin'
container Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
after its State Theater
to the Students $5,
bottom Adults $8
of the
trashcan is something we
don't think twice about. Yet
to those as musically minded
as the University's percussion
performance group, Groove,
that nuance becomes a source of
inspiration for one's work.
"It's mostly just the creative
spark, whenyouhearsomething,"
said LSA senior and Groove
president Vincent Sheu. "For
us it's just everyday life, we're
constantly hearing sounds and
interpreting that as 'oh, that could
be something we do in Groove."'
Throughout its 11-year
presence on campus, Groove has
been the University's premier
high-energy percussion and
performance group, known for
transforming ordinary objects
into musical devices. Writing all
their own music, and building
their own instruments, the group
incorporates an unmatched
creativityinto each performance.
"What we do is we play a lot of
music and we drum onthingsthat
you normally wouldn't consider
instruments," Sheu said. "Most

people see us on the Diag playing
trashcans, and we do that in the
week leadingup to our big show."
Groove has certainly grown
since its founding in 2003 and
has continued to maintain an
extensive following.
"Itusedto be a small group that
was performing in Angell Hall
auditoriums which only seat a
few hundred people," Sheu noted.
"Two years ago we actually sold
out the Michigan Theatre which
was like 1500 people ... a really
big turnout and we were all really
happy with that."
Consisting of approximately
30 members and selectively
adding only about eight out
of 60 auditioning each year,
Groove stands as a selective
and competitive student
organization. In order to make
the cut, one must be well versed
in the various aspects of the
musical creative process -
playing, writing and performing
original music is key. Though
the group is focused primarily
on percussion instruments,
many members are guitar and
keyboard musicians as well.
"We really try to branch out
in terms of all the differenttypes
of music that we play, but we
always try to keep it with that
unique sound and that unique
instrument feel," Sheu said. "We
compare very heavily to Stomp
and Blue Man Group. In our show
we actually write a lot of really
diverse music ranging from
heavy drum line sort of songs to
unique songs you would see at a
Stomp show or Blue Man Group
and also covers of popular music
like indie songs or something
that's on the radio."
This impressive range is
sure to be showcased both 'in
the Diag this week and at their

upcoming annual winter show,
"It's going to be a lot of fun,
we're getting in a lot of new
sounds that we haven't been
able to in the past just with new
technology and new keyboards
and synthesizers, things like
that," Sheu said. "Our newbie
class this semester has blown
all of our expectations out of
the water and some of the songs
they're writing are just amazing."
This year's show will also
feature a few University a
cappella groups, opening
with Compulsive Liars and
collaborating with The Dicks &
Jane's for the cover of Animal
Collective's "My Girls." Groove
will also be covering "High For
This" by Ellie Goulding with
Michigan's Pop Orchestra.
"It's a really crazy blend of
songs this semester, and there's
going to be a lot of really cool
covers," Sheu said.
Also featured is the group's
new exclusive mason jar
instrumental, filled with water
to 1create differing pitches. A
song stylized after a traditional
Filipino dance of coconut shell
body percussion is also included
in the lineup, along with a song
of kitchen cutlery instruments.
"We're doing a song with all
those sort of things, just hitting
tumblers and glasses and forks
and knives and things like that
and that's also made into a skit
...in another piece, we play on
ladders, we play on trash cans
and bass cans and like Home
Depot buckets as well," Sheu
Though a four-year Groove
performer, Sheu admits his
favorite moment of each show
is the audience's own rhythm of

Mbrings opera to students

SMT&D puts on a
powerful, emotional
Daily Arts Writer
For many college students,
opera isn't the most appealing
art form. Images of Viking
helmets, sad Italian clowns
and women in red dresses
are what come to mind most
often. However, "Dead Man
Walking," created by Jake
Heggie and Tony-Award-
winning playwright Terrence
McNally, is not your typical
opera. Put on by the School of
Music, Theatre & Dance, the
show was powerful, moving
and far beyond a skeptical
college student's expectations.
The opera, which is based
on a true story, revolves
around Sister Helen Prejean
as she works as the spiritual
advisor to Joseph De Rocher,
a death row convict who
was convicted, along with
his brother, of murdering a
teenage couple. The two form
a relationship through the
duration of the opera, which
starts just before the pair's
first face-to-face meeting and
concludes shortly after De
Rocher's execution.
Sarah Coit, a graduate
student studying vocal
performance, played Sister.
Helen. Her voice was rich and
beautiful, and it rarely seemed
as though she was struggling
to reach any of the notes. Her
acting sometimes felt a little
disconnected from what she
was singing, as though she
was focusing on remembering
the words or notes and wasn't
actingthem. In some scenes her
reactions felt a little weak and
she would often look out into
the audience or over a fellow
actor's shoulder instead of in
their eyes. This was especially
noticeable in the more intense
scenes when there needed to be

a strong connection between
characters. But Coit navigated
the intense emotional content
with a poise that made the
majority of her scenes touching
and poignant - delivering a
stunning performance overall.
James Schmid, a senior
studying vocal performance,
played Joseph De Rocher and
stole the show. His singing
and acting were both spot
on, playing the emotional
turmoil his character was
going through beautifully.
The character of De Rocher
is a subtle balance of bravado
and genuine emotion, and
Schmid excelled in portraying
the emotional journey De
Rocher goes on as he realizes
he is going to be executed.
There were a few scenes that
really stuck out to me with
Schmid's performance, such as
the childlike qualities Schmid
gave De Rocher as he tried to
apologize to his mother in a
truly heartbreaking scene. The
second scene was De Rocher's
execution; Schmid played the
scene so realistically that it
was actually upsetting and
painful to watch as he was
There were a few other
performances that really stuck
out as well. Graduate student
Angela Nieman, senior Nora
Burgard, graduate student
Miller played the parents of
the two teenagers De Rocher
killed with heart wrenching
accuracy. Miller, in particular,
played the devastated father of
the young girl so well that it
was impossible not to tear up
at his grief. Graduate student
Natasha Drake, who portrayed
De Rocher's mother, also gave
a powerful peformance as the
loyal mother who refused,
even at the very end, to believe
her son was capable of such a
horrendous crime.
The staging was well done
and realistic, but at times
could be a little disturbing and
hard to watch. For instance,

the opening scene shows
De Rocher and his brother
attacking the young teenage
couple. The audience not only
saw the pair beat the couple,
but you also saw De Rocher
rape the girl and then stab her
repeatedly while his brother
shot the boy. Later, during
De Rocher's execution, they
actually strapped Schmid to
an execution table and then
hooked him up to an incredibly
realistic looking lethal
injection machine, which lit up
and made noises. The attention
to detail for these scenes was
impressive, but at the same
time seeing such realistic and
accurate depictions left the
audience reaching for tissues
to wipe away tears, which
meant people missed some of
the things that happened after
as they were trying to calm
themselves down.
The set was simple and
directed the audience's focus
onto the actors. There were
supertitles above the stage
that displayed exactly what
the actors were singing, which
proved quite helpful during
some parts. The only thing that
proved to be a little annoying
was the imbalance between
speaking and singing. The
majority of the show was sung,
but there were moments where
it felt like the actors were just
singing to sing, and they could
have just as easily spoken their
lines. But this has less to do
with the production itself and
more to do with the creators of
the opera, as well the genre, in
"Dead Man Walking" was
not simply a sad story with
no message. Every character,
including De Rocher, was so
incredibly human down to
each and every fault, that it
made choosing a side difficult;
regardless of your own
beliefs, there was a legitimate
argument for both sides. It left
you questioning and thinking,
and any show that can do that
is a show worth seeing.

#BBUM one year anniversary

Today marks the one year anniversary
of #BBUM, Being Black at the University of
Michigan. The Black Student Union created this
Twitter campaign in hopes of giving a voice to the
Black experience at the University. This campaign
quickly garnered national attention, and inspired
similar movements on other college campuses
across the nation.
Although a year has passed, the Black Student
Union's work continues. After releasing the
hashtag last year, it, along with members of
the Black community issued seven demands to
University officials on Martin Luther King Day.
Students demanded full restoration of the BSU's

budget, affordable housing on Central Campus, a
new centrally located multicultural center, revision
to the Race and Ethnicity requirement, emergency
scholarships for Black students, increased
disclosure of documents within the Bentley
Library and an increase in Black representation on
campus equal to 10 percent.
Though the hashtag campaign remains a revered
instance of student activism on campus, the BSU
and members of the Black community will continue
striving to make more than a symbolic impact.
This article was written by members
oftthe Black Student Union.



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