Review: Creation. Life. Legacy.

Metallic industrial, organic robotic, digital bug, fluttering verbs.

Form can sometimes be constricting, only allowing for certain expressions while disallowing others. While watching Merce Cunnigham Dance Company perform, I could not align what I was watching with any concrete words. How to translate a dance performance into a concise review seemed like a daunting task, but alas, I will do my best.

Merce Cunningham
Merce Cunningham

For those of you unfamiliar, Merce Cunningham is one of the most innovative choreographers of the last century. Spanning across genre and discipline, Merce Cunningham is perhaps most known for his longtime collaboration with partner and radical composer, John Cage, also working with fellow artistic visionaries such as Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, and Warhol. The Legacy Tour honors Cunningham, who passed away in July 2009, as well as his 70 years of expansive work. Culminating in 2011 with the disbanding of the company, this is the last time his work will ever be performed and UMS was one of the lucky few locations to host the Company. (Check out this Merce Cunningham Interview)

The curtain was up before I had time to anticipate what was hiding behind it. Blinding spotlights on impossible elevation of cinderblock walls. Large green recycling bins and containers, exposed with sheet metal and wooden planks. As anyone’s guess, this was the natural look of the Power Center. My attention was drawn to an acrylic white court surrounded by luminescent astroturf as 4 dancers in steely athletic wear arched across space, while many others watched in the background.

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It is time my friends, it is time to support the glory of the Midwest, and the uncanny ability for unique movement and visions to arise out of what outsiders only recognize as barren land.  My goal is to help bring to light the many wonderful things that happen here in little Ann Arbor and if you scroll down this page, you will see an opportune variety not afforded by many other places.

Ghostly International, a phenomenal record label started in Ann Arbor by U of M alum, Samuel Valenti IV, will be hosting a belated 10 year anniversary this Monday.  Founded in 1999, Ghostly evades definition, instead becoming a community for music lovers and innovators alike, that is redefining the way we think of a record label in the digital age.

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PREVIEW: A Disappearing Number

The theme for this post is do something different.

I’ve spent the majority of this week in pendulum of feeling like I should be doing Halloween activities and justifying why I haven’t been that excited about them.  As a result, I’ve decided to take a step back from the habitual production of Halloween, and go see a production instead, and no, it is not the on stage production of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Merging music, movement, narrative, and multimedia, A Disappearing Number is sure to impress
Merging music, movement, narrative, and multimedia, A Disappearing Number is sure to impress

Instead it is a play along the likes of Aronofsky’s Pi, exploring the nature of infinity and connections among narratives. Produced by Complicite Theater Company, the play is experimental in nature, as you can tell by their website.

UMS and The Michigan Theater will be rebroadcasting Complicite’s A Disappearing Number this Sunday October 31 at 2:00 pm.  Originally premiering in 2007, the highly regarded play will be broadcasted from the National Theater in London in high-definition. While I have never seen a play broadcasted, usually turned away by the thought of theater being ‘broadcasted,’ I find that maybe this will actually add to the play rather than take away from it.  

A Disappearing Number is an exploration of mathematics as well as creativity.  It follows relationships across space, time, and cultures; focusing on the unique collaboration between two very different mathematicians in the 1910’s, a Cambridge professor and a young genius from India.  While the story is interwoven with the present day experiences of an Indian-American women. The play feautures a tableaux of mathematics across the screen which allows for some beautiful intersections of theater, music, film, and numbers.

“A Disappearing Number” Teaser from Sven Ortel on Vimeo.

Student tickets are available from the UMS website and at the ticket office for $12.00. If you want to take a break from Halloween and see something inspiring, this may be just the ticket.


Who: Complicite Theater Company’s A Disappearing Number
What: Broadcast from National Theater London
When: Sunday, October 31 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: Michigan Theater
Why: Break, Boredom, Inspire, Cultivate…
How: $12 worth of halloween candy made payable to UMS

Until then art spooksters,


PREVIEW: An Evening with Broken Social Scene Pt. 2

Broken Social Scene (still not all members)

I’m sure you’ve seen the flyers around campus.  I almost felt deja vu until I recalled in disappointment the night that never was.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if I could have found my tickets to get a refund but I spent the rest of my months blocking it out of memory until recently when I heard the news. Alas, just my luck, I found my tickets in some generic enevelope in some old book in some old backpack while cleaning my old bedroom.  All I can say is: ecstatic.

As I retell this story to you, I urge you to not let shows go unattended, bands unnoticed, songs unheard.  This band is absolutely phenomenal and I am almost positive they will not disappoint live.  Although the show will take place tomorrow at 7pm at the Michigan Theater, tickets are still available!  I only just got my tickets yesterday still scoring 4th row on the main floor so don’t be discouraged by timing.  Student tickets are a steal at $16.50 for balcony and $19.50 for main floor, and if you’re slow-paced like me and still have your old tickets, you can exchange them for new ones!

If you’re still not sure you’re going, watch this.

Who: Broken Social Scene
What:  Mystery gags
Where: Michigan Theater
When: This Friday @ 7 pm
How: MUTO open till 4 today & tomorrow, try checking at the door as well.

See you on the shoreline art seensters.

PREVIEW: Jedi Mind Tricks

Who loves hip hop?  I want to say everyone but if you are part of this group, I definitely suggest you catch the hip hop trio of Jedi Mind Tricks at the Blind Pig tonight.  Even if you don’t like hip hop, it’s still an experience and with a name like that how can you say no? Check it out yo.

Jedi Mind Tricks
Jedi Mind Tricks (Stoupe, Vinnie Paz, Jus Allah)

Jedi Mind Tricks was formed in 1997 by high school friends, Vinnie Paz, DJ Stroupe, and Jus Allah with the release of their first L.P. The Psycho-Social, Chemical, Biological & Electro-Magnetic Manipulation of Human Consciousness.  Sounds like a lengthy psychology thesis but “The Psycho-Social” remains JMT’s most groundbreaking and influential release.   With many albums and collaborations after that, Jedi Mind Tricks continually redefine hip hop with their “lyrical purity.”  Their newest release presents Army of the Pharaohs a supergroup of the most talented underground east coast hip hop artists.

Jedi Mind Tricks will be at the Blind Pig tonight.  Show starts at 9:30 and tickets will be on sale at the door. Michigan native One Be Lo will be opening up so make sure not to miss out.



PREVIEW: The Bad Plus

The Bad Plus + One
The Bad Plus + One

Said by Rolling Stones to be “about as badass as highbrow gets,” The Bad Plus presents a distinctive sound fusing together post-60’s jazz with indie rock to create an entirely new art form, now known as Nu Jazz. They’re no ordinary jazz trio and their unique take on classics create something that is truly inspiring.  (Just for you to get an idea)

The trio formed in 2000 and released their first album on Fresh Sound after playing only three gigs together and have just released their seventh e.p, For All I Care, joined by indie singer/songwriter, Wendy Lewis.  Their catalog is extensive and their performances seem to break the gap between the high culture/low culture distinctions.  As their name suggests, The Bad Plus has recorded jazzed versions of many rock artists.  Nirvana, Pixies, Neil Young, Yes, and Interpol just to name a few. (Check out this rendition of Aphex Twin’s Film)

If you have never gotten into jazz or if you are into jazz come check out these new happenings and I promise you will not be disappointed.

Save the Date!

Who: The Bad Plus

When: Two shows to choose from tomorrow evening, Thursday February 4th, 7:oo p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Where: Lydia Mendelssohn Theater, right inside the League (you can also purchase tickets at the UMS office located in the same building)

See you there!