PREVIEW: Basement Arts and The Spectrum Center present BARE

Sponsored by World AIDS Week, Basement Arts presents “BARE: A Pop Opera.” I’ve heard so many great things about this show, and I’m so excited to finally get a chance to see it. And it’s FREE! Basements Arts with support from The Spectrum Center is putting on this sure-to-be-stellar musical at the Walgreen Drama Center on North Campus, Studio One. UM Events website says, “A group of high school seniors at a Catholic boarding school faces issues of sexuality and personal identity…they struggle to come to terms with who they are, and who the world thinks they should be…” (UM events). It is sure to be a fantastic event; especially since the other event I went to sponsored by the Spectrum Center was absolutely amazing. I don’t think we will be disappointed.

The performances of “BARE” run December 1st 7pm-9pm, Dec. 2nd 7pm-9pm and 11pm, and Dec. 3rd 7pm-9pm. Attending is free and more information regarding World AIDS week can be found at their website: worldaidsweekum.wordpress.com

Hope you can make it!

PREVIEW: Comedy Jamm

The Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase hosts its Comedy Jamm night every Wednesday at 8 p.m. For only $5 you can see 12 up-and-coming comedians perform live, most from the Detroit area but others are from various places all over the country. I’ve been once before, and I am looking forward to going again and writing a review for all of you! The one show I attended was pretty interesting–one comedian actually cussed out the crowd and stormed off of the stage because no one was laughing at her jokes! Never a dull moment. Even if the jokes aren’t funny, you can still have a good laugh! Especially if you’ve never had the chance to go to the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase, you should definitely check out Comedy Jamm on Wednesday night, if not this week, then sometime in the weeks to come. It certainly makes for a cheap, fun night out on the town, and a great way to de-stress on a Wednesday night! Hope to see you there!

Review: Whoops! sorry :(

Though I did write a preview about the Beijing Guitar Duo and had tickets and the full intention of going, I also attended Cabaret on Sunday. It was part of my very busy art weekend.

Playing guitar can be much fun gitaar leren

And I was not aware that Cabaret would go as long as it did. Cabaret was absolutely fantastic, but it went longer that i thought, so it overlapped the concert and I was unable to attend. I’m sorry to disappointing you. I too was disappointed to be unable to attend. I’m sure it was wonderful though!

Sending you love and light,

Danny Fob

(Coffee is on me if you can name the show that my sign off is from!)

Review: 8-Prop and Problem

Another event celebrating the birth of the Spectrum Center was the first ever reading of the play “8” by Dustin Lance Black. It was an interesting experience. I had never been to a live play reading before. It was sort of like watching a regular play, except the actors carried the scripts around on stage with them and didn’t deliver the lines quite as well as they would have, though they still did an amazing job. It was also really great because many of the actors were the same Broadway UofM alumni that had performed the night before at the Pink Carpet Gala.

The play was based on the transcripts of the trial in California fighting against Proposition 8. This amendment to the Constitution of California banned gay marriage and recognition of same-sex marriages. The trial was not broadcasted nationally,

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although the plaintiffs did fight for it to be. Because of this, the only record we have of the trial is the transcript, and from this document Dustin Lance Black wrote a creative interpretation. His play will be making a tour around the country at many universities. Hopefully it will help spread awareness of what is happening in California and in the rest of the country when it comes to the rights of TBLG people.

Attending this event was sort of like attending a court trial, as it was staged like one, except that it gave us the bullet points of what happened and also introduced the families that were fighting together against the proposition and the ad campaign used by the supporters of Prop 8. It was sort of funny watching this depiction of the trial, because I’ve always wondered how conservatives defend their “values” like banning same-sex marriage. I always wonder what kind of evidence and argument they can come up with. This is exactly what I thought it would be like. The defense could not provide evidence or even an argument. Its witnesses were absent from court because they were afraid to defend their own words on the witness stand. The one witness that did get cross-examined ended up supporting the plaintiff’s argument, completely crushing any chance the defense had.

The outcome of the case was that same-sex marriage would not affect the rate of different-sex marriage or the rate of procreation, which is the argument the defense was trying to use. The plaintiffs won, though it is being repealed and we are still fighting Prop 8 to this day. The best thing we can all do about it is to stay informed and educate others on what has happened. I believe that is what Dustin Lance Black is trying to do with his play and I hope it works.

For more info on Prop 8, please visit http://www.prop8trialtracker.com/ or search it online for other websites that you might prefer. Also, just a fun video that came out around the time of the trial;

Prop 8 the Musical
Prop 8 the Musical

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_hyT7_Bx9o

Sending you love and light,

Danny Fob

(Coffee is on me if you can name the show that my sign off is from!)

Review: Gala Greatness-Let’s Do it for 40 More!

The Spectrum Center’s Pink Carpet Gala event happened this past Friday at Hill Auditorium, and both I and my colleague Kayla Silverstein enjoyed it thoroughly.

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Since she already gave it such a raving review of the event, I would like to just provide my own personal experiences with the show, because it really was all that Kayla said it was, and more.

The speeches were incredible. Absolutely inspiring. Especially as a gay identified student here on campus that has spent a lot of time in the Spectrum Center and learned so much from the volunteers and employees that work so hard there. I am proud to have been able to celebrate so many milestones in my past three years here with the Spectrum Center. Their programming took me to the National Equality March in 2009, MBLGTACC 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin, gave me the opportunity to participate on an executive level with the planning of MBLGTACC 2011 here at the UofM, and has helped me become the proud Gay man I am today. This event meant so means so much to the community because it was the first ever office on a college campus to deal with LGBT issues, and as the co-founder and first publicly out gay person in Michigan, the speech of Jim Toy was the most hard hitting for me. This man is a legend in the LGBT activism world, and it is an honor to have met him on numerous occasions.

Chris
Chris

The speeches of Chris Armstrong and his father also brought me and most of the people around me to tears. It wasn’t so long ago that Chris was being targeted and slandered, and his family is so moved that our campus stood up and supported Chris in such a huge way. I’ve known Chris ever since my freshman year. He is a fantastic individual and it makes me proud to have been there with him, standing on the diag and at Gayz Craze with him. Andrew Shirvell approached me one time during his time here on campus, and him knowing my name and face before he met me was a little terrifying, so I can only imagine how Chris felt. UofM has proven once again exactly what the Michigan Difference is and that we will stand by our own.

Anyway, to the performers, since that what I’m really supposed to write about. Gavin Creel is amazing. I have to admit, I knew nothing about any of the performers before Friday (I’m more of what I like to call an “Old Gay” in that I listen to people like Patti Lupone, Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters, Dick Van Dyke). I absolutely loved Gavin Creel though. This man, I believe, was THE performer of the night. He sang Something’s Coming from West Side Story and I swear I couldn’t stop gripping the arm of the person next to me. He was amazing.

Gavin Creel...All I can say is Yummy!
Gavin Creel...All I can say is Yummy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAd1Dk6WFmw&feature=related

Everyone that performed was amazing. I think Kayla pretty much sums up how I feel about the other performers, and about how the crowd felt in her review, so I won’t make you read it all again. I really just wanted to report how amazing it felt to be in such a large crowd of LGBTQA people with highly supportive performers and University of Michigan faculty members. The love available in this community is really like nothing else you can ever experience. Plus, we throw the BEST parties!

Stay tuned for more about the Spectrum Birthday Weekend! (And of course by stay tuned I mean read my other review!)
Sending you love and light,

Danny Fob

REVIEW: Musket’s Cabaret

Upon attending Musket’s production of Caberet Saturday night, I had no idea what to expect. I knew the title song “Caberet” from an old recording I have on a Broadway Classics CD I bought at a used bookstore. I always thought it was cheerful and upbeat, and, logically, I presumed the musical itself would be just as light, fun, and energetic as the title song I knew it by.

Umm…not quite.

Caberet tells the story of Berlin at a dangerously turbulent time in Germany, directly before Hitler comes into power. It is a heart-wrenching story with multiple layers enshrouded by the rising influence of the Hitler youth. Two of the plot lines include an affair between an American writer and a British dancer and a tentative engagement between a landlady and one of her Jewish residents. It is the most moving and thought-provoking musical I’ve seen since Spring Awakening (a musical about teenagers trying to handle the new changes in their minds and bodies; also set in Germany, coincidentally).

The star of the evening was by far Connor Ryan, a sophomore Musical Theatre major, playing his “dream role” as Emcee. If you’ve never seen Cabaret before, Emcee is the caricatured narrator who directs the audience as the story unfolds. Ryan’s body language, expressions, and singing voice, of course, were positively magnificent. My friends and I were heatedly discussing the show afterwards, and we realized that there were times when Emcee would say something like “Life is beautiful,” but you’d know he didn’t really believe that. We were left wondering – how do we know he doesn’t think that? It was possibly the best role played by a student performer that I’ve ever seen.

That’s the other crazy part of this performance: it was entirely student directed and performed! Even the music director is only a junior Musical Theatre major! Musket is a student-run organization and their performances are always amazing. Last year, I had the opportunity to see both of their musicals (they do two a year), and they were both equally as well done. I think Caberet was the first time I’d seen them do such a deeply moving show, and they pulled it off with the ease of a professional theatre company.

After the performance, I went back to my room and was reading through the director’s note in the program. I think he sums up the essence of the musical quite well. I hope all of you get a chance to see Caberet performed because it is truly a remarkable show:

“With Cabaret, you get a chance to see how human beings survive in an increasingly evil, decadent society. It serves as a warning to those who would rather sleep in a dream of complacency, ignorant to the injustice around them and helpless to the powers above them instead of face their demons head on and do their part to make a change before it is too late.” – Roman Micevic, Director’s Note