I drove to the Musical Arts Center (MAC) last Friday evening with high expectations. I walked out several hours later disappointed.
My disappointment had little to do with the show itself. A Wedding, Pulitzer Prize winning-composer William Bolcom's adaptation of Robert Altman's 1978 film about a high-society wedding, was first staged at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2004. It's Bolcom's third project with IU Opera Theater. His other collegiate premieres, McTeague (1996) and A View from the Bridge (2005), achieved critical acclaim with IU Opera Theater.
Overall, it was enjoyable, and even though the supertitles ruined every single joke for me, I laughed often thanks to the performers' talent and execution.
Murray McGibbon sits on a plush beige sofa, surrounded by native African Zulu masks that scream of far away places. The 2 p.m. sunlight streams in on the native South African and IU theater professor as he discusses The African Tempest Project.
The project, he says, "was a hands-on workshopping of Shakespeare's play within a South African context."
McGibbon's receipt of a Lilly Endowment New Frontiers grant enabled six students from IU and 14 from the University of KwaZulu-Natal to produce The African Tempest Project this past summer in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
And it all might happen again. If more funds are granted through the Lilly Endowment, IU will return the favor, housing several South African students while rehearsals for The Tempest are underway in Bloomington.
INDIANAPOLIS - Indian spiritual leader and humanitarian Her Holiness Sai Maa Lakshmi Devi visited Indianapolis from Jan. 17-21 and made several public appearances, culminating with a presentation on Jan. 21 at a commemoration of the birth of Martin Luther King.
This writer attended two of these events, hearing her speak Jan. 18 at a program of mediation at Indianapolis's Unity Church and again on Jan. 20, when she spoke before the congregation at the service of the Ebeneezer Baptist Church.
At both events, she was introduced by Ebeneezer's pastor, Rev. Tom Brown, an African American versed in both Eastern and Western religious traditions, who linked both these traditions of spirituality together as complements.
It all started with a simple brainstorming session. IU senior Eric Butte, from the IU Business Careers in Entertainment Club (BCEC), wanted to put on a show that would draw a crowd, be fun and worthwhile, and maybe draw a little profit in for the Emergency Room at Bloomington Hospital, which saved his life from a near-fatal motorcycle accident several years ago.
He wanted something fun and simple. What he got was Hoosier Guitar Idol, a two-year-running, rip-roaring good time of a guitar talent show that attracts the best axemen this side of State Road 37.
"There's just something about guitar playing that brings people out, that people love to see," Butte said. "People love guys like Slash and Jimmy Page, and they also love [shows like] American Idol. So the idea just combined the two."
Uncle Fester's House of Blooze got a taste of the real thing last Thursday.
But just a taste -- because when you take a band like the Chicago Afrobeat Project (CabP), whose last show was at the House of Blues in Chicago, and place them on a small stage like at Uncle Fester's, not only do all of the musicians barely fit, they've got a hell of a lot less to work with.
Luckily for the Bloomington crowd, CabP didn't seem too concerned with the venue. They were just having a great time showing us what the Chicago spin on afro-beat music sounds like.
In case you missed the preliminary rounds of this year's Hoosier Guitar Idol, hosted by the IU Business Careers in Entertainment Club (BCEC), don't stress. There is still rock redemption to be had.
The five remaining contenders will battle it out for the "Idol' title at 8 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 28, at Max's Place, located at 109 W. Seventh St.
While competition details are still being worked out, the finalists -- Casimir Lewandowski, Shane Provost, Kyle Gilpin, Austin Johnson and Tyler Baker -- will expose their creative visions, hopefully with their own composed riffs, to the audience for about five to 10 minutes apiece. From these exhibitions, the panel of judges will make their decision on who will be Bloomington's next Hoosier Guitar Idol.
When IU senior Brian M. Frange came to IU in 2004, the improvisational comedy group Awkward Silence was born. Frange, along with six other IU students, performs every Thursday at 9 p.m. at the Indiana Memorial Union.
"Improv is all made up on the spot," Frange said, "but there are a lot of rules that must be followed."
Frange teaches his cast that to form a strong bond with one another and to perform well, everyone must give "relentless support, no matter what somebody does onstage," he said, "and consider every idea the best you've ever heard."
You're invited to a wedding – IU Opera style. On Feb. 1, the IU Opera Theater will open the spring portion of its 2007-08 season with the nation's first collegiate performance of A Wedding by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom.
A Wedding, based on Robert Altman's 1978 film about a high-society wedding, was first staged at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2004 and is Bolcom's third project with IU Opera Theater. Bolcom's collegiate premieres of McTeague (1996) and A View from the Bridge (2005) achieved critical acclaim with the IU Opera Theater.
If David Baas had lived his life according to what other people told him to do, or followed a typical societal timeline, his life would look very different. After all, a biology professor couldn’t keep 12 dusty guitar cases lining the perimeter of his new office. Nor would it be professional to keep a cherry-wood acoustic leaning against his desk for easy access.
His walls would be adorned with diagrams of the DNA double-helix structure and magnified images of the HIV virus rather than a vibrant watercolor portrait of Ringo Starr.
Baas’s office, in the back of Roadworthy Guitar & Amp, has a sort of systematic disorder to it. Loose papers threaten to consume the desk space, music magazines pile up in the corner, and thumbtacks hold countless stray notes to a cork board, far above eye level. If it were neat, Baas joked, he’d never find anything.
With contemporary so-called R&B so dominated by Britney Spears wannabes in blackface, it's so pleasurable indeed to hear the real thing done by a seasoned artist who knows how it's done. Certainly Betty Harris's Intuition fits that bill -- to a tee! It's just an all-around musical pleasure.
Betty Harris perfected her soul, blues and R&B chops from 1958 to 1969, working with singer Big Maybelle and producers Bert Berns and Allen Toussaint, and touring with Otis Redding. Then she retired from music to raise her family, but fan notice posted on the Internet brought her back into performing again in 2005. In December, 2006 she teamed up with producer/engineer/songwriter/musician Jon Tiven to record Intuition, her debut solo CD, released on the well-regarded Evidence blues and soul label.