PREVIEW: International Studies Horror Film Fest

Halloween is without a doubt the best holiday in the world. It is a time when the horrors of the night, of the darkest parts of the human psyche, are brought into the light to be reveled in.

With Halloween comes horror movies, of course! And while the great US of A has created a treasury of delightful slasher flicks, we are sometimes lacking in variation. Good thing we have the work of other countries to widen the palate!

Join me at the Hatcher Graduate Library’s Gallery Room from 11 am-6 pm on Halloween (if you’re not too scared). It’s free, there are snacks, and there are English subtitles. I will be in costume to uphold the sanctity of Halloween, and I encourage you to do the same.

Here’s the lineup:

11:00–Little Otik

1:15–What We Do In The Shadows

3:00–Ghost of Mae Nek

5:00–Go Goa Gone

See ya there!

PREVIEW: Rachana (presented by Michigan Sahana)

Meaning “creation” in Hindi, Rachana, Michigan Sahana’s first performance of the year, will showcase Michigan students’ original choreography and skillful mastery of Indian instruments. The musical and dance sub-groups that collaboratively make up Sahana celebrate the traditional art forms of Classical India. Count the dancers’  graceful spins and wonder at their ability to avoid dizziness. Tap your toe to the percussive rhythms of the tabla, the Indian version of bongos (watch this amazing tabla video!)  Indulge in a dip into Indian cultural history and power up for the rest of your Halloween night with a little sitar melody.

What: Michigan Sahana presents “Rachana” – a night of Classical Indian Music and Dance

When: Friday, October 31st at 7:00 pm

Where: Stamps Auditorium on North Campus

How Much?: Free!

Find out more about Sahana at michigansahana.com.

REVIEW: Chrome Sparks, Man vs. Indian Man, & Solar Year @ The Blind Pig

I walked down the cold, windy streets of Ann Arbor at 10 pm, unsure of what to expect at the Blind Pig. Although I enjoy listening to music and my library consists of thousands of songs, I would never consider myself a music aficionado. Unlike my roommate, I do not divide and subdivide my genres into obscure genres like spacesynth and chiptune; and if my library was lacking in any department, electronic was definitely one of them. Fortunately, the concert was not only a perfect opportunity to delve into electronic music, it was an example of the atmosphere and people that also listen to the atmospheric sounds of the genre.

Before going to a concert I like to “research” the headlining artist’s discography, but not the opening acts. Everything about them is completely new and unbiased. Man vs. Indian Man’s gig was only their second time playing a concert. When Jeremy announced this at the beginning of his act, I was shocked: what Man vs. Indian Man (MvIM) lacked in musical innovation and set list, they more than compensated with stage presence. Lead singer Clavius Crates molded his style along with the crowd, picking up maracas and other similar instruments as he pleased, dancing and gyrating to the beat, giving and taking energy to and from the ravers in the middle of the crowd. MvIM’s music began slow and deliberate, then gradually increased until it was impossible not to be swaying and bobbing to the beat. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the first opening act.

After MvIM’s performance, Solar Year was a bit of a letdown. In retrospect, their cool tones and lumbering sound would have been good as a standalone opening act, but they did not work well as a bridged between MvIM and Chrome Sparks. At the same time, a video of the palace combined with the repetitive melodies and voice modulations were effective—it’s a shame they performed when the crowd was energized.

Chrome Sparks simply stood above the others. When Jeremy stepped on the stage and played the first two songs I noticed two things: a confident stage presence and a polished sound. In my mind, these are the things that help distinguish an established artist from amateurs or up and coming groups. Each song was lush, complete, and complemented by a series of videos on the backdrop. As a film enthusiast, I was especially touched by the editing and how it related to each track. Clips from old movies, historical footage, bizarre shapes, funky colors, everything. On top of that were the lights working their magic and the crowd of people dancing to the beat. This was how you experience music. My personal highlight was when Chrome Sparks played their hit song Marijuana. So much energy, people, and music.

Chrome Sparks at the Blind Pig
Chrome Sparks at the Blind Pig

REVIEW: Halloween Concert

As the orchestra marched into Hill Auditorium while playing March of the Little Goblins, I found myself surrounded by zombies, Pokémon characters, the cast of Alice in Wonderland, Mario and his friends, and an entire viola section full of Despicable Me minions, not to mention all of the costumed audience members. After taking their seats, the orchestra proceeded to play without intermission, presenting a concert that showed off their excitement, skill, and playfulness.

The program consisted of seven classical pieces, all with a bit of Halloween flair, conducted by seven different conductors dressed to match their piece. The orchestra was a combination of undergraduate student musicians from the University Symphony Orchestra and the University Philharmonia Orchestra and the conductors were masters students in the conducting program. Although in full Halloween costume, the orchestra played with the precision and enthusiasm of a professional orchestra.

While all of the pieces were played exceedingly well, especially The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld, the highlight of the concert was when the costumed bear who had previously chased one of the conductors around the auditorium looking for food took the podium to conduct a piece. Soliciting laughs and supportive cheers from the audience, the bear danced his way to the podium and excitedly picked up the baton to conduct Queen Mab Scherzo from Romeo et Juliette.

After the final piece, the orchestra delighted the audience with an encore, playing the theme from Ghostbusters. As the seven conductors danced around in blue jumpsuits and lights flashed around the auditorium, the costumed orchestra danced in their seats, and the audience clapped and danced down the aisles.

Overall, this concert was fun and exciting, and the perfect way to get ready for Halloween. The orchestra didn’t disappoint with their creative costumes, skits, and wonderfully performed pieces. Since this is an annual event, be sure to check it out next year.

Preview: (g)imble presents: SPOOKAPELLA! feat. Maize Mirchi & The Harmonettes

With Halloween right around the corner you can feel the pulse of campus increase with vigor.  Halloween is often the most anticipated celebration throughout the school year, and for good reason.  It’s the one time throughout the year that people can dress up, take on different identities and enter a world that resembles something out of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Although Gimble A Cappella may not be ready to take on the likes of Rocky Horror, they will put on a fabulous show at their 2nd annual Halloween a cappella show, Spookapella!

This  year, Gimble will host Maize Mirchi, Michigan’s premier South Asian a cappella group, and The Harmonettes, one of three all female groups on campus.  Gimble will also welcome special guest Scotch Tape, who are coming all the way from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota to open the show and will begin singing at around 6:45pm.  It should be a great night of a cappella!

Here’s the rundown…

Who: Gimble, The Harmonettes, Maize Mirchi & Scotch Tape

Where: Angell Hall Auditorium D

When: Friday, 10/29 @ 7:00pm

Price: $5 Adults/Students, $3 Children

Enjoy the show!