Preview: Trojan Women (After Euripides)

The SITI Company– an ensemble based theater company founded in 1992– will be gracing the stage of the Power Center for the Performing Arts with their production of Trojan Women. First performed over 2400 years ago during the Peloponnesian War, Trojan Women is often regarded as a commentary on the barbaric behavior of the Athenians toward the women and children of the people they conquered. This adaptation by Jocelyn Clarke combines Euripides’ text with contemporary characters.

The prodcution will be running Saturday, April 27th, at 8:00pm and Sunday, April 28th, at 2:00pm. Tickets range from $18 to $48 and this promises to be a show you do not want to miss.

Review: University of Michigan Concert Band

The Michigan Concert Band closed its Fall 2012 season with a music trip to Greece. Featuring pieces by famous composers like Shostakovich, and not so famous composers like Roger Zare– alumnus of the University– the band successfully delivered a geographical and emotional journey.

The concert opened with a rousing rendition of Makris’s Aegean Festival. Opening with virtuosic woodwind runs, the group quickly captured the attention of the audience. Prominently featured throughout this piece was the woodwind family. Beautiful solos went from the clarinets, to the piccolos, to the flutes. The middle of the piece slowed down. A new theme was intoduced with far more melodic lines. A cadenza played by the first clarinet opened up this slower section. The cadenza, beautifully played, demonstrated the range and beauty of the clarinet, and the technical and musical ability of students in the School of Music, Theater, and Dance.

The second piece to follow was a wind band adaptation of Roger Zare’s Mare Tranquilitatis. Zare, an alumnus of the School of Music’s composition department, originally composed this lyrical and mysterious beauty for orchestra. The wind band version proved beautiful and the band expressed just as much sensitivity as a group of stringed instruments. The concert then featured Derek Shapiro, graduate conductor, on Tull’s Sketches on a Tsudor Psalm.

“D like dick, U like uterus, P like penis—no, I’m not being rude! I’m just spelling my name!” — Two Days in New York: Reviewed

Julie Delpy– star, director, and co-writer of 2 Days in New York– has managed to put together what is one of the funniest, yet underwhelming pieces of film I have seen in a while. The movie, a sequel to 2 Days in Paris, is not what I would consider Academy Award material, but its unparalleled realness and freshness make it a must-see.

Chris Rock and Julie Delpy play an interracial couple (Mingus and Marion, respectivelyt) both with children from their previous marriages. This relationship in itself is what makes the movie incredibly fresh. Their interactions stick true to those of many relationships– relationships which, of course, we rarely see on the big screen. Throughout the movie, the pair is shown engaging in realistic arguments, embraces, and quests for mid-afternoon quickies.

With Marion’s family in town, tempers soar as her father spends countless days without showering, as her sister walks around the apartment with not a single article of clothing on her body, and as her sister’s less-than-intelligent boyfriend sparks up joints of marijuana in their apartment building’s elevator. This all begins to expose faults in the relationship of the two main characters. This, paired with the satirical representations Marion’s father getting detained in Customs for trying to smuggle large amounts of sausage into the stared, and with the represenation of Marion’s sister and sister’s boyfriend having loud sex in their bathroom (with what may have been Mingus’s electric toothbrush?) puts audiences in a state of confused awe.

Delpy uses her film to delve into issues of race, culture, stereotypes, and misconceptions in order to bring satire and to heighten comedic value. The French old man– Marion’s dad– barely bathes. Her entire family, for that matter, is loud, and “rude”. Her sister has no sense of shame; she walks around naked or half naked and is not embarassed at all. Marion’s child calls Mingus “fake daddy,” and references to their different skin tone is made. Overall, Delpy “goes there”. She does this in such an exaggerated way that is obviously– or I would hope is obvious– just satirizing stereotypes and misconceptions.

“I like the theme more than the execution,” a critic tells Marion during her photography show’s opening. All in all, that is eactly how I feel about this movie. It has a good idea. It has hilarious moments– the scene described in the title of this post being my favorite. Marion argues with an automated phone machine while trying to spell her name. Priceless. Alas, I think everyone should see this movie BUT I don’t think anyone should see it more than once.

Preview: 2 Days in New York

After a run in the Michigan theater, “2 Days in New York” is now playing the State Theater. This 2012 romantic comedy is a sequel to “2 Days in Paris”.

Marion, played by Julie Deply, lives in New York with her son in order to be closer to the boy’s father  Jack, played by Chris Rock. She and her new boyfriend have a comfortable and cozy relationship. When Marion’s family arrives on vacation from France, the group’s two days in New York are “tested by ‘unwitting racism and sexual freakness'”.

2 Days in New York has received numerous critical acclaims and has played in multiple film festivals including the Sundance.

Check out the State theater any time between now and November 1st to catch this comedy.

PREVIEW: Adam Falkner

The Global Scholars Program at the University of Michigan presents Adam Falkner. Spoken word artist and University of Michigan alumnus, Adam Falkner is a poet, performer, public high school teacher, and educational consultant. The events will carry out through the weekend and will provide the chance to hear him speak, as well as one-on-one meet and greets. The event line up is as follows:

Thursday, April 12th, 2012, 7:00pm – 9:00pm  — Welcome Reception
North Quad, 105 South State St. – Space 2435
Deserts Provided

Social Identities and Creative Writing – Friday, April 13th, 2012, 11:00am – 1:00pm & 2:00pm – 4:00pm
North Quad 2275
A 2 session workshop series
No preparation required; register at

Drop in One-on-One Times
Friday, April 13th, 2012, 7-9 (Media Gateway in North Quad)
Saturday, April 14th, 2012, 4-6 (Media Gateway in North Quad) 

Loving Life After Graduation: Dialogue about how to do what you love after graduation and how to still pay the rent.  – April 14th, 2012, 1:00pm – 4:00pm

Want to Tell Your Story? Story Slam featuring Adam Falkner
Saturday, April 14th, 2012, in 2435 NQ
Open Mic: 7pm
Story Slam: 8pm

Review: Michigan Youth Band and Michigan Concert Band

This past Sunday, the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theater, and Dance, presented a collaboration between the Michigan Youth Band and the Michigan Concert Band. Both groups, under the direction of Rodney Dorsey, assistant director of bands at the University, each presented a 45 minute set of music.

As a musician myself, I must say I was quite impressed by the level of musicianship present in these young musicians. It was very rewarding to hear such young artists excelling so beautifully at their craft.

When the concert band took the stage, however, there was a completely different aura about the concert. The level of professionalism seemed to rise as the Michigan Concert Band opened their portion of the concert with a piece by George called “Firefly”. Virtuosic runs and effortless elegance filled the sound.

The concert took a very interesting turn as the Michigan Concert Band performed a piece by Schwantner entitled “From a Dark Millennium”. I guess it is safe to say that the title should have been warning enough. Between eerie singing, high pitched whistling, and non-chordal harmonines, the piece indeed felt like it was, well, from a dark millennium.

The fun began when the band performed a very lively rendition of Frank Ticheli’s “Blue Shades”. The highlight of the piece came in with the bluesy clarinet solo halfway through the piece. Okay, sue me, I might have a slight clarinet-player bias. Really, though, it was amazing! The ease with which the soloist ripped through runs was absolutely beautiful.

A band concert would not be a band concert without a good ol’ Sousa march. The Concert Band closed the concert with a crowd pleasing rendition of “Pride of the Wolverines”. It was nice to move away from the atonal and arhythmical structure of the Schwantner to the toe-tapping ease of Sousa.

I definitely recommend these concerts to everyone. They’re fun, and free! And most of them have a pre-concert lecture which helps in understanding the pieces to be performed.