CULTURAL TIPS FROM MICHIGAN

August 28, 1995
Contact: umichnews@umich.edu

THERE ARE TWO DOZEN OF ‘EM. All 24 of Alexander Scriabin’s will be performed by U-M professor Arthur Greene. These works by the Moscow-born Russian, who was considered a romantic in his early years and a mystic in his later years, are considered among the most challenging and fascinating short pieces in the piano repertoire. The performance Sept. 10 at 4 p.m. in Recital Hall is free. Greene can be reached at (313) 764-5569 or (313) 764-0583.

“DEAR MOM, SEND ME MY PAINTS,” Detroit native William Lewis wrote home during the opening months of World War II. Lewis put his U-M art education on hold but wasted no time in producing watercolors once the supplies caught up with him. Sensitive to the perceived possibility of a Japanese invasion on the West Coast, officials frowned on photography in and around San Diego. “If I had made this view as a photographer,” Lewis said of a rendition of the San Diego harbor, “I probably would have been shot. But nobody seemed to pay any attention to a painter working on board the boat.” And so it was across the Pacific and into Tokyo Bay and bombed-out Yokohama. Lewis continued painting the ships of the Pacific Fleet and the sailors who manned them–ships plying the routes to war, engaged in battle, limping into the dry docks of Pearl Harbor and Ulithi for repairs. He also painted the loss of planes and aviators. An exhibition of Lewis’s paintings will run Sept. 1-Dec. 22 at the Clements Library along with ” Remembering the World War II Era,” an exhibit from the library’s collections. Black-and- white and color photos are available. To schedule an interview or photo session, contact Arlene Shy at (313) 764- 2347.

“PLUCKING” THE KEYBOARD. That’s exactly what Paul Berliner will be doing when he presents a lecture/demonstration of the mbira, an ancient African keyboard instrument. “The Many Creative Faces of African Mbira” Sunday, Sept. 10, at 2 p.m. in Recital Hall will feature the instrument with 8-50 tuned metal keys, a hardwood sound board and a gourd resonator for amplification. In Zimbabwean society, the instrument plays an important role in religious ceremonies, as a bridge between the worlds of the living and the departed. Its sounds help contact the spirits of ancestors for advice and are used to inspire religious devotion. The mbira was also a powerful symbol of cultural nationalism during Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence. Admission to the lecture and demonstration, sponsored by U-M’s Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments, is free.

NEITHER THE DEFENSE NOR THE PROSECUTION had a hand in this DNA study. The results will be demonstrated in the Apse of the U-M Museum of Art on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 11 a.m.-noon when John Dunn and Jamy Sheridan present “Cybernetic Music” Image Environments.” Dunn will present excerpts from his musical work based on the structuring of DNA data. Sheridan will show excerpts from his “magic carpet” works, mosaic-like floor projections of flowing and richly colored images created through software produced by Dunn. The pair will transform the museum’s apse into a viewer-friendly cyberspace where participants can ride a “magic carpet.” Both artists will demonstrate and discuss the systems they build and use. Admission is free. Dunn can be reached at (313) 764-0397. Sheridan can be reached at (313) 764-0397.

FEAST YOUR EYES AND SAVE ON CALORIES with a visit to U- M’s conservatory at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens where David Michener, the assistant curator, is likely to show up in a caterpillar costume or with a teapot full of earthworms. No eating utensils are necessary and no one checks the scales here. All that’s needed are eyes and an appreciation for the more bizarre members of the botanical world. And the price is right—just $2 per adult to peruse the more than 2,000 different items. Even better than that, on Saturdays and Mondays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., it’s all free. Among the plants calling the conservatory home are the shrimp plant, lobster claw, sausage tree, the popsicle plant, the beefsteak begonia, coffee tree, fishtail palm, chocolate tree, guava, black pepper, and those more ordinary and familiar samplings, olive, orange and lemon trees and the pineapple plant. Michener can be reached at (313) 998- 7061.

IT’S A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE IN THE ARB. “As You Liked It,” a fund-raising event co-sponsored by Nichols Arboretum, the Michigan League and the Ann Arbor Civic Theater, will treat travelers to an afternoon tea, scenes from Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” and a ride through the Arboretum in vintage cars as well as modern vans. Though the Arboretum has been closed to vehicular traffic since 1964, this trip down memory lane the afternoon of Sept. 17 will capture the nostalgia of another era. Space is limited, and reservations are required. Tickets are $20 per person. For additional information or to make a reservation, contact Liz Elling at Nichols Arboretum, (313) 763-5832, or Sheila Sikkenga at the Michigan League, (313) 663-0202.