He has a radio program on WXOU out of Oakland University
Wild At Heart
Had a good week seeing a couple of plays and going to a few concerts. Went to the 33rd Ann Arbor Folk Festival which was wonderful with the three R's of Rosanne cash, Richie Havens and Raul Malo (who kicked major butt) but was saddened that Doc Watson was unable to attend because of weather. It figures that he is south of us but got kept down there due to ice storms. Hopefully he'll be back soon. Heard some rumors of some cool rock stars coming thru town including the three J's of Jeff Beck, John Mayall and Johnny Winter. These are just rumors now but wouldn't it be cool if they all came thru town? I also saw Mariah Carey mainly since how can I pass up an artist who has 18 #1 hits (2nd only to the Beatles). She puts on a great stage show but I still can't tell her songs apart. Also stopped by the University of Michigan Museum of Arts and took in the new art exhibit "Tradition Transformed: Chang Ku-nien, Master Painter of the 20th Century". Chang was born in Shanghai and later moved to Taiwan where he continued to carry on the tradition of Chinese painting and has later gone on to do works of the North American landscape in this style. I have always enjoyed Chinese brush work and this is a nice exhibit to take in if you get to Ann Arbor. I missed it, but their Archeology Museum has reopened with a new wing. I hope to visit the next time in town but it looks nice from the outside.
A number of years ago I saw one of my least favorite plays of all time. It was a small production by the playwright Charles Busch that was held at a theatre which has become one of my favroites and it came with a great title, "Vampire Lesbians Of Sodom". Who would think this wouldn't be fun but it was ultimately disappointing to me. So when I heard the JET Theatre was putting on another of his plays, "Tales Of An Allergist Wife", I was a bit skeptical. The play was nominated for a few Tony's but what does that really mean. It was also his first attempt at reaching a mainstream audience and allows us to explore the character of an aspiring intellectual and middle-aged upper class matron Marjorie Taub, who lives comfortably with her doctor/husband Ira in an expensively furnished condo and spends her days and evenings pursuing culture at various museums and the theatre. Her ongoing effort to improve her mind and soul has brought Marjorie to the conclusion she never will be more than mediocre, a feeling enhanced by her elderly mother's constant complaints about her shortcomings and her husband's altruistic dedication to serving the needs of the homeless. The only real comfort seems to come in sharing books with the Iraqi doorman. Following an emotional outburst in a Disney Store resulting in considerable breakage, Marjorie retires to the safety of her home to wallow in a mid-life crisis. Unexpectedly invading her depression is flamboyant childhood friend Lee who becomes entrenched in the Taub household as a seemingly permanent guest, not only drawing Marjorie out of her dark mood, but affecting her marriage as well. The story does a nice job looking at the various relationships between husband/wife and mother/daughter as well as one's journey to find meaning in what one does in his/her life. The whole cast works perfectly together and I esp like Lynnae Lehfeldt's portrayal of Lee, esp when she is working on seducing both Marjorie (Kate Willinger who does a great job portraying a worn out and frazzled character) and Ira (Phil Powers as the affiable allergist). My favorite parts are the stories she tells about her life which start small but eventually get the size of Manchausian wit as she has done everything from help bring down the Berlin Wall to give Speilberg the idea for ET. The writing is sharp and witty throughout the piece and the actors know how to get the most out of the material. I am glad I have found this theatre and with this second production, have found another theatre in the area bringing challenging and unique productions to the area. If you are looking for a good time out, this might be the best show currently running in the area. My grade is an A.
The Jewish Community Center which houses the JET Theatre also has a few galleries which one can enjoy if one arrives early. "A Walk Through Jerusalem" is a small exhibit in the children's area which takes a look at the 8 gates of Jerusalem's Old City. There are 11 gates total but only 7 are open and these along with the Golden Gate and presented with facts and children's activities at each one. Their is also the "Chamash Project" in the Janice Charach Gallery. The Chamash is a palm-shaped amulet popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The Chamsah, or hamsa, is often incorporated in jewelry and wall hangings, as a defense against the evil eye. This exhibit has artists from all over the world who have created their own chamsah to showcase their own originality.
"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" is a children's novel written by L Frank Baum originally published in 1900 and has since been reprinted countless times, most often under the name "The Wizard of Oz", which is the name of both the 1902 stage play and the extremely popular, highly acclaimed 1939 film version which is the what most of us are familiar with. There are 13 sequels to the books and some highly imaginative silent films based on the books. There have been many different takes on the story including a 70's Autralian rock opera, a muppet version and Alan Moore erotic retelling in "Lost Girls". However, those who grew up with the Judy Garland version will want to get down to the Fisher Theatre as they have brought in the Broadway version of the "Wizard Of Oz". The play is basically a straight telling of the story as it was filmed but with a few added surprises including restored musical numbers such as "The Jitterbug", "Over the Rainbow (Reprise)" and "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead (Reprise)" which were all cut from the original film. The Jitterbug along with the singing crows segment are more than worth it for any big time "Oz" fans as they show what could've been. I am actually glad they aren't in the film since the tone seems wrong but they work in the play and that's what matters. Face it, if you enjoy the film, you will love this version. If you hate the film, you will probably dislike the play. I found it enjoyable despite being at a place where I am indifferent to the film but the play made it fresh for me. I still prefer the newer "Wicked" for my Oz fix but this is still worth it. My grade is a B-. This is a great prodcution for kids.
The week's concerts schedule is mostly made up of local shows with some smaller alternative based shows. Here are my picks for the week:
Tuesday (2/02) Asobi Seksu brings their dreamy pop @ Majestic Cafe
Wednesday (2/03) psychedelic influenced Dr Dog is @ Pike Room
Friday (2/05) rockers Cheap Trick @ Ceasar's Windsor or Shinedown w/Puddle Of Mudd and Skillet @ the Fillmore
Saturday (2/06) Shinedown w/Puddle Of Mudd and Skillet (2nd night) @ the Fillmore, 2 great local bands in Darling Imperial w/Blueflowers @ Majestic Cafe, Child Bite opens for Trevor Dunn's Madlove @ Pike Room, Scarlet Oaks @ PJ's Lager House, Blackberry Brandy (fresh of WXOU's Haitipalooza) @ Albert's On the Alley (Garden City), and classic rocker Dave Edwards & the Look @ Robusto's Martini Lounge (Grosse Pointe Woods)
Sunday (2/07) the Sights open for the Royal Bangs @ Magic Stick and Stupor Bowl VII w/Amino Acids @ Blind Pig
For this week's special artist, I got some inspiration from the "Wizard Of Oz" with my pick Klaus Nomi. I first saw him as a back-up singer on Saturday Night Live as he backed David Bowie on the great "The Man Who Sold The World". I had no idea who he was until years later when I saw the documentary "The Nomi Song", which highlights his life. Nomi was known for his bizarrely theatrical live performances, heavy make-up and unusual costumes which looked like something out of early German silent cinema (think "The Cabinet of Dr Caligari"). Then there was his voice which wove between a deep goth sound to the high pitched operatic stylings which he uses on covers of 1960s pop standards such as Lou Christie's "Lightnin' Strikes" which was the song I originally fell in love with or "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" (hence the Oz connection). It is just so different and unique that it is hard not to like. On a different note, Nomi was one of the first celebrities to contract AIDS which brought about his death at an early age. Here are a couple of tunes to get a feel for his uniqueness.
I hope you have a good week and look forward to talking to you all next week. Enjoy!