100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

February 20, 1991 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-02-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ARTS
Wednesday, February 20, 1991

The Michigan Daily

It's time to mime, but mum's the word!

Page 5
On classic saxophonists
and Cartesian planes

by Julie Komorn

If bodies were completely free to
speak, what would they say? A mys-
terious interpretation of body lan-
guage will be presented by Mum-
menschanz, a Swiss Mask-Mime
troupe. Mummenschanz, which
means "masquerade" or "mummery,"
includes an imaginative mixture of
acting, mime, dance, puppetry, and
magic.
The Best of Mummenschanz is
part of a world tour celebrating the
group's 20th year. The show com-
bines both old and new material, in-
cluding unusual movements of
shapes, extraordinary wrappings, cu-
rious masks of putty and paper, and
a flabby lump of patchworked eider-
downs called "The Blob."
The origins of Mummenschanz
date back to 1969, when two Swiss
mimes, Bernie Schurch and Andres
Bossard, staged their first show of
mask and clown-esque sketches in
the vein of absurdist, Beckett-like di-

alogue. Upon meeting another mime
student, Florinana Frassetto, the
group travelled to Paris to perform,
where they dropped all spoken items
from the act in order to overcome the
language barrier. From this point
on, their programs have relied solely
upon mime and mask. The magical
silence of their movement has since
been performed throughout the
world, developing into a universal
language. Not only entertaining, the
sketches often provoke insight into a
deeper layer of human behavior.
Bedecked in black body suits, the
performers carry the audience
through sketches that range from
wacky to romantic. In one interpreta-
tion of the modern mating ritual,
two of the androgynous characters
wear masks constructed of flip cards.
To portray various emotions, they
writhe in expressive gestures while
constantly flipping from smiles to
fang-toothed rage to eyebrow-raising
surprise. The resultant scene gives a
complete representation of personal

interaction, with a visual technique
that is both hilarious and remarkably
apt.
The three present performers,
who come from various parts of Eu-
rope, have studied genres ranging
from stage-clowning to opera and
dance therapy. They are relative new-
comers to Mummenschanz, each
having joined the troupe in 1989.
Most recently, the mask-players
have been straying away from the
main shows. Instead, they have been
dabbling in a large-scale open-air
production of Faust in Sicily, a
movement-chorus of a rediscovered
baroque opera in Germany, and
they're even making an MTV video-
clip with a Swiss rock group.
THE BEST OF MUMMEN-
SCHANZ will be performed tonight
and tomorrow at 8 p.m. in the Power
Center. Tickets are $12, $14, $18,
and $20.

Stretch
Armstrong

by Diane Frieden
"This is the kind of art, these
hep cats, that Paul Schaeffer
would really get into," a fellow
viewer said of Martha Gelarden's
work at the Michigan Guild
Gallery. Whether or not the Let-
terman keyboardist would really
appreciate this exhibit remains a
mystery, but my companion had
a point. The show, simply titled
Recent Work, pairs Gelarden's
large, jazz-inspired "Saxual Struc-
ture" series with her colleague
Barbara Bushey's small rectangles
of tactile surface art.
The works are hardly identical.
Gelarden uses history and me-
dieval illuminations, as well as
architectural gargoyles, as a basis
for her clay sculptures and char-
coal drawings. The groovy "Do
You Know The Way To Carnegie
Hall?" plays off of the Limbourg
Brothers' "Tres Riches Heures."
Gelarden uses a page from the
medieval manuscript as a model
for her updated jazz version. It is
not common for an artist to reach
so far back into art history for in-
spiration, and Gelarden's modern
twist is pleasing to the eye as
well as to the intellect.
Bushey found her muse during
her travels last summer in Europe
and North Africa. The stitchings
on the surfaces of her fiber con-
structions, such as the "Pompeii
Series," are Bushey's own inter-
pretations of the different cultures
and peoples that she saw. The use
of flexible fabric and linear
sewing is an odd contrast, but

very well done. Bushey is also
fond of geometry grids, incorpo-
rating them in every piece dis-
played. "I translate things into
and approach things through the
Cartesian plane," she says. "I get
that from my science background
it fascinates me."
Also key for Bushey and her
work in woven fibers are the lay-
ers that allow her to achieve
complexity, so that, as she ex-
plains, "nothing is the same on
thesurface." Gelarden, on the
other hand, finds the versatility of
clay and charcoal suitable, but
says that her work is more about
image than the materials or pro-
cesses used.
While the two artists have
completely different styles, seeing
the art side by side is visually
agreeable and at points harmo-
nious. Bushey's detailed stitches
seem to temper the broad strokes
that Gelarden favors, and Gelar-
den's loud, vibrant pieces inject
some color into the earthy palette
that Bushey uses. The Guild is
not a lofty space, but a clever use
of free-standing dividers high-
lights some of the more interest-
ing works of art. The exhibit is
somewhat confusing, but if armed
with the history behind the recent
works, Recent Works should be
quite enjoyable to more than just
math and music majors.
RECENT WORKS is on display
at the Michigan Guild Gallery,
118 N. Fourth Avenue, through
March 15.

Patrick O'Hearn
Mix-Up
"Black Delilah" (CD single)
Private Music
Mix-Up is a very apt title for
this record, insofar as O'Hearn's
music is very difficult to catego-
rize. Succinctly put, this is a sort
of new age, keyboard-based, in-
strumental music that refuses to sit
still. Many of the songs here seem
to be working on two levels which
happen to roughly correspond with
Descartes' notion of the separation
of the body and the mind. The
beat, which is two parts house and
one part Caribbean, speaks to
bodily concerns (i.e., dancing). On
the other hand, the music itself is
mellow, yet manages to avoid
becoming aural wallpaper.
It is a mixture that would seem
incongruous at first. But O'Hearn
succeeds in producing a
contradiction in terms - relaxing
dance music - which is strange
stuff coming from the former
bassist of defunct new-wave band
Missing Persons.
Given the derogatory connota-
tions of the words "new age," I
should probably shy away from this
description lest only future (and
present) yuppies continue reading
this. How about "lite house?" It
sounds like a salad dressing, but
it's not a bad label. This much is
sure: O'Hearn makes some com-
plex and interesting music. Rely-
ing mainly on keyboards and a
wide array of percussive sounds,
he creates a sort of electronic-
mood music.
While this mood is usually laid-
back, the opposing force of the
beat sometimes takes over. The
most notable example of this is
"Black Delilah," which is driven
by a drum pattern similar to DNA's
"Tom's Diner." Featuring a cere-
bral rap by Infamous 3X, this song
is suitable dance-club material.

The remix on the CD single takes
the song a step further and adds
some gospel-influenced female
vocals. The rest of the songs,
however, don't quite succeed as
dance music.

O'Hearn

Mix- Up is not the sort of stuff
that will appeal to the masses, but
then again, music that's not easily
pigeonholed rarely does. Often,
however, the most innovative mu-
sic is that which refuses to be tied
down to one format. While Mix-Up
is not a major, ground-breaking
work, it is nonetheless a refreshing
break from the ordinary.
-Mike Molitor
Chickasaw Mudd
Puppies
8 Track Stomp
Wing/Mercury/PolyGram
Heee-haw! Fuck the electronics
- the Chickasaw Mudd Puppies
don't need 'em. The Puppies make
real, down-home music, replete
with wash-boards, tin cans, cow-
bells, and other things just lying
around the barn, along with
touches of violin (I mean fiddle)
supporting standard rockish guitar,
fabulously long harmonica solos,

and Southern-accented vocals.
8 Track Stomp is the follow up
to their '90 debut EP, White Dirt.
While Dirt was chock full of songs
featuring all of these musical ele-
ments and left the listener longing
for more, 8 Track Stomp wanders a
bit and does some straight-forward
ballads minus the unusual percus-
sion, making the album
simultaneously less obscure and
less interesting.
The songs that continue in the
White Dirt' vein, found at the be-
ginning and the end of the album,
are the best. These tunes, for
instance, "Cicada," "Jambalaya,"
"Omaha," and "Do You Remem-
ber," mostly feature Brent Slay's
vocals, which have a soooey-pig
quality that makes them stand out.
In a way, Slay's delivery resem-
bles fellow-Athens, Georgia band
singer Fred Schneider of the B-
52's, only much more accent-full.
Also, the songs all have an out-
standing rhythm, somewhere in be-
tween shuffle and stomp, that
moves them along. It's like the be-
ginnings of rock 'n' roll, a primi-
tive fusing of blues, country, and R
& B, done differently, by the ulti-
mate retro band. The lyrics, and
therefore, the subjects, are hard to
understand, but that doesn't really
matter; the sounds the words make
become more important than the
words themselves.
When the Puppies slow-up and
do more bluesy/hillbilly songs in a
traditional style, they aren't nearly
as entertaining. These songs actu-
ally outnumber their other, more
uniquely-styled counterparts, but
because they are in the middle and
not uniformly unappealing, they do
not ruin 8 Track Stomp as a whole.
The first hint of a new direction
is in the album's third song, "Night
Time." Although the song still has
an urgent rhythm, its less-noisy
quality and Ben Reynolds' sharing

of the vocal chores make "Night
Time" less interesting. Reynolds'
voice just doesn't have the oomph
that makes his partner's singing so
great; he sings on many of the
slower, less-complicated-sounding
numbers, which aren't as good as
those featuring Slay.
I wonder who is to blame.
Reynolds might have demanded
more of a voice in the music, and
Slay might have given it to him.
Perhaps their use of two producers,
each producing different songs,
might have been a problem. The
band used Willie Dixon as the
producer for several songs, two of
which were covers of Dixon songs.
These songs are okay: "Moving So
Fast" drags the album a bit, but
the harmonica saves it, making the
song sound like early rock 'n' roll;
"Oh Yeah" has a nicer rhythm
than most of the traditional num-
bers and a tambourine saves it in
the end, but the song is just not as
strong as original Puppy material.
Michael Stipe produced the
rest of the album (he also pro-
duced their debut EP), which fea-
tures songs of both styles. He plays
a more obvious role with his back-
ground vocals than last time, but
keeps things sounding pretty much
the same, perhaps becoming a bit
more heavy-handed.
The last thing heard on the
album is a Stipe background vocal
on a Stipe-written song, "Words
and Knives." This song has too
many words and too many ideas,
sounds too grand, and is a little
heavy relative to the rest of the
album, making it seem like the
record isn't the band's own.8 Track
Stomp is a good enough follow-up,
and the Puppies certainly don't
have sophomore slump, but they
should stick to the thick sounds
that they are used to playing next
time around.
-Annette Petruso

Brent Slay (standing) and Ben Reynolds (sitting) of the Chickasaw Mudd
Puppies, a band they formed after their popular, long-running television
series, The Dukes of Hazzard, was unjustly cancelled.
ANN Aib oRI&2
5TH AVE. AT LIBERTY 761-9700
DAILY $2.75 SHOWS BEFORE 6 PM & ALL DAY TUESDAY' ('EXCEPTIONS)
GooReais GREEN CARD
_yThr I Dt~%, ifLife in the r ma) ,,

UAC/Viewpoint Lectures presents

The Media's Coverage of

I

-op

. Q

ii

.

j

Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan