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November 13, 1995 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-13

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 13, 1995

RECORDS
Continued from page 5
Various Artists
Ain't Nuthin' But A She Thing
London Records
What happens when a slew of female
singers from across the music spectrum
come together to compile an album to
raise money for a new foundation de-
voted to funding projects forwomen? A
bunch of thrown-together-at-the-last-
minute songs, recorded in the name of a
good cause, right?
Wrong.
"Ain't Nuthin' But A She Thing"
is a unique compilation of the fa-
vorite songs (composed by another
female, of course) of innovative
female artists like Patti Smith,
Sinead O'Connor, Melissa
Etheridge, Salt'N'Pepa, Queen
Latifah and Luscious Jackson. Un-
like some tributes (i.e. the Sheryl
Crow cover on the Led Zeppelin
tribute album), this album obviously
took some time, effort and even the
interest and ability of each artist
seriously. What a bizarre concept.
The album is composed of 10 tracks,
including contributions from Vanessa
Williams, the British jazz/funkster
Andi Oliver, Annie Lennox, and the
Massachusetts ensemble Come.
Salt'N'Pepa's title track ofjust plain
raw girl power "It's A She Thing,"
kicks off the compilation as a kind of
fun and funky intro. The song is pure
Salt'N'Pepa - from lyrics to sound
- and the witty rhythmic journey
showcases, once again, the control
these rap goddesses have over their
musical domain.
Another artist who covers some fa-
miliar territory is Melissa Etheridge,
whose version of "The Weakness In
Me," a song by British singer-
songwriter Joan Armatrading, is a
moving chronicle of the lure of temp-
tation. Sung in her trademark raspy-

and-wrought-with-emotion voice,
Etheridge brings a sense of vulner-
ability and pain to the song, which
draws the listener right into the raw
emotional core of this tune of the
seducer seduced.
Queen Latifah's version of "Hard
Times," a song by Dr. Buzzard's
Original Savannah Band, is a surpris-
ing showcase for her vocal powers.
Her cover is a slightly lilting, uplift-
ing journey which makes you feel like
you're sitting in a smoke-filled club,
nursing a drink, and contemplating
your troubles. It's quite a welcome
diversion from her usual source of
expertise.
Another stand-out cover is poet and
singer Patti Smith's version of Nina
Simone's "Don't Smoke In Bed." Her
version is a thoughtful and melan-
choly introspection with a very emo-
tional delivery.
Luscious Jackson's cover of the late
French singer Serge Gainsbourg's
"69, Annee Erotique," is another ex-
ample of their original sound, and

eclectic range of influences. An
American band covering a song in
French while simultaneously main-
taining their own unique sound is a
feat worth noticing. As is Sinead
O'Connor's a capella performance of
the Gaelic rebel Irish women's folk
song, "Women of Ireland." This
haunting melody also exhibits the
strength of O'Connor's vocal powers
and the timeless value of the strength
and creativity of centuries of Irish
women.
"Ain't Nuthin' But A She Thing,"
proves that compilations can still
be much more than a commercial
attempt to give one-hit wonders the
chance to cover the songs they
jammed out to in their basements as
teenagers.
- Shannon O'Neill
Pure Soul
Pure Soul
StepSun/Interscope Records
Pure Soul - an all-woman R&B
quartet - has already garnered

some credibility earlier this year
with the release of their debut single,
a cover of the old-school love song
"We Must Be in Love." "I Want
You Back," Pure Soul's second
single (produced by BLACKstreet
lead singer Teddy Riley), was less
deserving of the attention "We Must
Be in Love" received, yet still gar-
nered the group some additional
props.
With the release of their first full-
length LP, Shawn Allen, Keitha Shep-
herd, Kirsten Hall and Heather Perkins
have presented the world with three
things that can't be touched: Out-
standing voices, harmonizing together
like angels descended from above, a
loveliness that transcends all defini-
tions of feminine beauty and four pairs
of legs that could put any NC-17 fan-
tasy to the test. This silky smoothness
is translated into "Pure Soul," 12 songs
of extraordinary quality, clarity and
excellence.
Take "Wish You Were Here," or
better yet, the remake of the O'Jay's
classic "Stairway to Heaven." It's as
if Pure Soul is calling, beckoning,
begging. I haven't been this excited
about an R&B CD since last year's "A
Love Supreme," Chant6 Moore's
lovely, lusty sophomore release.
Pure Soul does an equally remark-
able job with cuts like "Baby I'm
Leaving," which has a distinctly re-
vivalist, bordering on gospel sound.
"I Feel Like Running," is a perfect
blend of the psychedelic music of
past decades with a '90s groove. It
opens with what appears to be a sample
from Zhane's "Hey Mr. DJ," remix. It
is a perfect complement to any night
ofunending passion on a bearskin rug
before a roaring fireplace.
"Pure Soul" is without question one
of the best R&B LPs released in some
time. It is well-written and well-sung
by some well-looking ladies. And to
think I live in a country where po-
lygamy is illegal. A helluva time to
fall in love with four women simulta-
neously.
- Eugene Bowen

The Princeton
Review
Culturescope
The Princeton Review
Admittedly, it's sometimes hardto rec-
ognize the relevance of pop culture. Just
try to convince someone of the impor-
tance of the Simpsons, the Bradys, and
the Cunninghams as indicators of our
societal status.
Laughtrack or not, the fact remains that
these shows tell a story about our culture.
A particular "Brady Bunch" episode
comes to mind, filmed during the
Women's Liberation Movement of the
late '60s and early '70s. The show cen-
tered around Marsha wanting to join
Greg's pseudo-Boy Scout troop. Of
course, Mike and Carol, while sicken-
ingly fair, failed to see the deeper roots of
Marsha's motivation; Greg, in typical
form, recruited Peter to join Marsha's
pseudo-Girl Scout troop. Whilethe Bradys
were certainly not on the cutting edge of
activism, the fact that a top-rated televi-
sionshow,watchedby millions, addressed
the issue of women's liberation speaks
volumes on the state ofsociety at the time.
Remember when Greg went through his
"hippie" phase and turned Mike's office'
into one far-out pad? It's just another
manifestation of the state of society into
pop culture.
As our culture turns to neatly-pack-
aged, USA Today-esque products ofnews
and the arts, the birth of"Culturescope" is
not only expected, but anticipated; it is the
end-all, be-all collection of Western pop
culture. Over 700 pages thick, its self-
described purpose is to promote cultural
literacy. In true Princeton Review fash-
ion, it contains a self-administered
"Culturescope Quiz," through which one
can find his CQ (culture quotient).
The importance of "Culturescope" is-
twofold: while it amalgamates all "im-
portant" cultural aspects into one volume,
the book itself is perhaps the ultimate
expression of pop culture in today's soci-
ety - an all-in-one, inclusive, exhaus-

tive, user friendly, sound bite-like book.
This irony is amazing.
"Culturescope" is well done. It's pre-
sentation is slick, and the layout is similar
to the Hypertext found in Web sites and
other computer applications - all cross-
referenced entries are boldfaced. The book
is divided into 16 sections, ranging from
"Architecture" to "Human Rights" to
"Wars." The index is enormous, and quick,
easy access is the hallmark of this book.
The crux of "Culturescope," however,
is not presentation of the material, but the
content of the material itself. While I was
surprised to find the Stonewall Inn upris-
ing, let alone the gay rights movement, in
the chapter on "Human Rights," Gloria
Steinem's name was nowhereto be found
in the same section. In addition, while the
"Music" section mentions the obscure
Motown punkers MC5, the book pays a
limited tribute to jazz, what many con-
sider to be the only true American music.
The transient question, though, is
whether or not a complete volume of any
topic is too broad to transmit its impor-
tance. "Culturescope" certainly cannot
contain all there is to know about culture.
It is relatively exhaustive, though, and it
would be a challenge to find a-better
collection of cultural knowledge.
It is probably better that individuals.
read "Culturescope" as opposed to know-
ing little or nothing about Western cul-
ture; it can certainly benefit individuals
socially to know about the culture in
which they live. The problem rests in
people who treat "Culturescope" astheir
only resource of culture. The book itself
tries to prevent this, suggesting movies,
books, music and CD-ROMs that offer a
broader look into the topic, but the book
can only do so much top prevent whatone
might call "cultural shortsightedness;"
If readers approach "Culturescope"'
with the caveat that it is a survey' of'
culture, then "Culturescope" is a great
addition,maybe even anecessary edition,
to any library. Drones of cultureheads
spewing broad facts from "Culturescope,"
however, is scary indeed.
- Greg Parker

Unique Invitation' marred by wan performances.

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By Kerry Klaus
For the Daily
The Washtenaw Dance Association
strives to showcase a variety of com-
munity talents. Saturday night's per-
formance at the Betty Pease Studio
Theater was no exception. While there
was certainly no shortage of unique
ideas, "Invitation to the Dance" was
plagued by a lack of energy coming
from most of its performers.
Longtime area choreographer and
teacher Noonie Anderson started off
the night with a solo, "Gentle Persua-
sion." Anderson made broad, sweeping
gestures with her arms - sometimes
lunging, sometimes with both legs
straight. This movement was repeated
throughout, with little variation, and
Anderson never broke out of the mo-
notonous energy level of the piece.
Next was "Forbidden," choreo-
graphed by Renee Grammatico and
danced by students of the Michigan
Classic Ballet Company. This work was
ahighlightofthe show, helpingtopick up
the pace with a lot ofdynamic movement.
Three women danced on pointe, clad
in silky black and white dresses, and the

Washtenaw
Dance Association
Betty Pease Studio Theater
November 11, 19951
two men sported sleek tuxedos. Focus-
ing on the risks of temptation, the piece
explored various scenarios between the
dancers as they passed around a green
apple. One by one, they confronted
each other and the apple, executing
slinky lifts that spiraled to the ground.
The movement was technically demand-
ing, and the dancers used their strong feet
and high extensions to perform numerous
attitude turns and developpes. Classical
ballet movement intertwined with mod-
ern styles led to an ending which found
one of the dancers falling victm to his
desires, consequently "taking a bite."
John Blancha's "The Abode of Asym-
metry," returned to the static energy level
created at the beginning of the show.
Danced by Blanchaand Ariel Weymouth-
Payne, this piece was less dancing than a

reenactment ofa traditional tea ceremony.
Although there were deeper underlying
themes at work here, the movement was
repetitious and painfully slow to watch.
John Chiapuris' "Enkomion," two
solos performed without a break, came
next. The two female soloists, repre-
senting ancient Greek objects of desire,
were technically proficient as they per-
formed a mix of classical ballet and
modern steps. Theirtechnique,however,
did not compensate for the low dynamics
and projection.
After a brief intermission, the slow
pace was relieved by Patricia Plasko's
"Time Trials," featuring the music of
Stephen Rush. A duet danced by Plasko
and Terri Sarris, this performance in-
volved the use of two "Midi" chairs,
created by visual artist Paul Marquardt.
The chairs, when sat on or pushed
with the hands and feet, emanated a
variety of sounds that overlapped Rush's
quirky and fun musical score. Plasko
and Sarris stood on the chairs, rocking
back and forth as frogs croaked and
birds chirped. They circled the chairs,
often with their hands locked behind
their backs or while holding each other
with one arm. The large projection of a
clock on the floor was the focal point,
and the dancers often traced its edges or
lay outstretched in the middle of it. The

overall effect conveyed both a serious
and playful side.
Nancy Udow's revival of her 1977
solo, "The Moral of the Story," was
another playful piece that featured the
text of children's stories. Udow peri-
odically read print sections off of her
white costume, relaying various parts
of Grimm's fairy tales and stories by
Beatrix Potter. The movement was both
bouncy and grounded, weaving Udow's
text with flippant hand gestures or deep
plies. While Udow was a witty story-
teller, this piece's minimalist movements
read more like pantomime than dance.
Ariel Weymouth-Payne's "A Grove,
A Galaxie Encircles the Man" closed the
showcase. Seven dancers waved baskets
of oranges, serving as symbols of the
earth, in circles for most of the dance. The
message was lost in the flat choreography
and powerful music of Deep Forest.
This piece embodied the spirit of the
entire showcase, displaying a lot of
ideas behind the dance but minimal
effects in the actual performance. Al-
though there were some highlights, most
of the energy levels were low, with the
dancers rarely breaking a sweat. While
the efforts of the W.D.A. to bring to-
gether a collage of talents is admirable,
this particular concert failed to create a
dynamic, energetic environment.

' 1

';AUSTRALIA O CANADA O CHILE O CHINA O CZECH REPUBLIC 0
0 r'
" Ot - The University of Michigan 313 764 4311 tel
Office of International Programs 313 764 3229 fax
" G513 Michigan Union
530 South State Street
SO Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1349
PRESENTS:
° INFORMATION MEETINGS
about
4 STUDY ABROAD
z
THIS WEEK:
0
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Clinical Nursing
Benefits
Contact an Air Force health professions
recruiter near you for more information.
Or call
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AIM HU
Health Professions
The Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives
is now taking applications for
Student Program Hosts
positions for the King/Chavez/Parks
College Day Spring Visitation Program
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"WHAT ARE YOU GOING
TO DO WITH YOUR B.A.
IN ENGLISH?"
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 7:30 P.M.
MICHIGAN UNION, KUENZEL ROOM
A panel of English Alumni will be on hand to
discuss career choices and answer questions.
Sponsored by:
The Department of English Language and Literature (764-6330)
and Career Planning and Placement

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