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ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Tuesday, August 28, 1984
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
hewsSports Arts 962-0245
BusinessAdvertising 962-1 181
By LOUIS CORRIGAN
O-Boy, a three-female synth-pop band
from Richmond, Va., performed two
delightfully entertaining 50-minute sets at
Rhythm Alley Thursday night before a
receptive crowd of more than 1 20 people.
In a lot of ways O-Boy doesn't seem
to add up. Three girls, three synthesizers,
and no guitars or drum kit has seldom
(if ever) formed a listenable pop band.
Yet band members Fiona, Zoe Shebelskie
and Julie Jumper" produce appealing
originals and curious covers from the
machine that was the tool of the British
New Wave invasion.
Thursday night the band performed
with flair and confidence, mixing music
similar to that of The Human League with
lyrics reminiscent of the B-52's.
Like the Boy George school of new
music bands, O-Boy also stimulates an
Dressed in a potpourri of multi-colored
garb that they designed themselves, and
with hair recently dyed and styled into
the Cyndi Lauper look by the group's
"Beauty Shop Robot" (a computerized
hairstyler and also the subject of an O
Boy song), the band members bounced
around the stage backdropped by two
white sheets decorated with colorful day
The first song of the evening was a
Caribbean tune called "I Dont Speak the
Language." Like many O-Boy songs, it
was accompanied by jungle sounds from
the synthesizers that, with the help of a
TR808 drum machine, also reproduced
the sounds of a real drum from a
computerized memory. The group doesn't
use sequencers but controls the drum beats
from the three keyboards. The synths
produced trumpet and bass sounds as
well, all of which . was fed through the '
board man who distorted or echoed the
sounds before they were heard through
With her huge black mane of hair and
her girls-just-want-to-have-fun showman
ship, lead singer Julie Jumper dispayed
an enormous stage presence. Encouraging
the audience to get off the back benches
and dance, Julie herself danced around
the front of the stage, her bared belly
button shaking, singing such dance
originals as "Goo Goo Ga Ga " "Too
Perfect," "Don't Lose Your Body in a
Vacuum Chamber" and the rapping "Beat
The other members also contributed
lead vocals on a couple of songs. Fiona's
hard soul voice rang strong on a cover
of Aretha Franklin's "Respect."
Zoe sang lead on a funky, synthed-up
version of Lou Reed's classic "Walk on
the Wild Side," which included a riff in
the instrumental bridge straight out of
The highlight of the first set came near
the end, when Julie introduced the
futuristic mock-striptease "Va Va Voom"
as "a song about sexual discrimination on
MTV." An O-Boy classic complete with
falsetto backing vocals, this song featured
Julie's breathy vocals, which laughed at
their own sensual humor.
The second set included a version of
The English Beat's fast-paced "Ranking
Full Stop," "Beauty Shop Robot," and
a disco version of The Yardbyrds' "Under
Over Sideways Down."
As introduction to "Dance to the End
of the Universe," Julie said, "This is an
American song: apple pie, Chevrolet and
apocalypse." Urgent backing vocals of
See O-BOY on page 2
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Ihe day the music died
By KATHRYN HOPPER
Midnight, Christmas Eve, 1973. At 94.5
on the radio' dial, Brenda Leigh was
singing "Rockin' Around the Christmas
Tree." An announcer came on and told
the audience that, after 30 seconds of
silence, a new station would join the
The station was WQDR, and their first
song was "Bitch" by the Rolling Stones.
WQDR was one of the first stations
in the nation to have a format called
album-oriented, playing all the songs from
an album, not just singles.
While Richard Nixon was in the White
House and American troops were fighting
in the jungles of Vietnam, WQDR was
playing Creedence Clearwater Revival,
the Doors and the Who.
But this week, it will all change.
Next week, instead of Bruce Spring
steen's "Born to Run," WQDR will be
playing Conway Twitty singing "I'm
looking out the window trying to get
through the pain."
WQDR is going country. After years
of jokes and rumors that the station would
change its format,, it really has come to
pass. The. announcement came two days
after the station received the highest
ratings in its history.
Station officials still wont say exactly
when the changeover will take place, but
it is expected to come over Labor Day
weekend. A rumored date is midnight,
David Berry, WQDR's former station
manager, said the threat of a switch to
a country format had hung like a vulture
over the station's staff since the beginning.
But it took more than a decade before
the senior management of Durham Life
Broadcasting Co. decided that WQDR
would be more successful if it aimed for
an older, more consumer-oriented
audience. Rock 'n' roll was too young.
Berry said that top company officials
supported the change in part because,
well, they liked country music better.
"They thought rock 'n roll had peaked
out," he said. "They never believed in it."
Tom Guild, a former WQDR disc
jockey, said the change came as a surprise.
He said that for April Fools' Day the
station announced it Was going country.
"Nobody took it seriously," he said. "But
when we jokingly asked the main office
if it was true, there was no denial."
.. For Berry, the announcement came as ;
relief after years of uncertainty, the
" 'QDR has been
part of the life and
culture of Eastern
North Carolina for
over 10 years. We've
lasted through the
hippies, the preppies
and now the yuppies.
It 's sad to see it all
replaced by a bunch of
managers finally decided to. make it
official. Then the sadness came.
"Format changes happen all the time,
but not to a station as successful as
'QDR," he said.
Listeners were shocked by the announce
ment, Guild said. "I got 300 calls the first
week after the announcement. They were
all the same. 'Is it true? Why?' But there
was nothing I could do. A radio station
should be responsible to the public, but
it is a business. The owners can do what
Guild said the change was "incredibly
stupid. ' .
"It usually takes six months to build
an audience after a format change, but
this will take much longer and the
audience wont be nearly as big," he said.
But Charlie Marcus, the new WQDR
program director, said their research had
shown that a country station would hit
it big in the Triangle. "The top stations
in the Greensboro and Charlotte markets
are country," he said. "Today, country and
rock have equal appeal six years ago
there was no contest."
- Berry i however; said that the Charlotte-
and Greensboro markets include more
blue-collar workers. "This area (the
Triangle) has college students and more
This week, WQDR disc jockeys are
playing obscure oldies and off-the-wall
album cuts. Guild said that this playlist
would probably reduce the audience to
one-half of last spring's. "People tune in
and hear a weird song and some may be
turned off," he said. "The totally loose
format hurts ratings."
Rock fans wont be left in the cold,
though. A new station, WRDU at FM
106, will sign on Friday at 6 p.m. and
play 106 yes, 106 straight hours of
continuous rock music.
The new station was started by 'QDR
Berry, the; man who helped WQDR
through its growing pains, is vice president
of the Voyager Communications, the
owners of the new station.
The station is located in Middlesex, 20
miles east of Raleigh. It will have 100,000
watts of power, the maximum allowed by
the Federal Communication Commission.
"Experts have told us well have 65
percent of WQDR's old audience in two
months," Berry said. Although 75 percent
of WRDU's staff are old WQDR staffers,
the station would be different, he said.
"Well play more mainstream rock with
oldies," Berry said. "In a typical hour you
might hear Van Halen, Lionel Richie, and
an old Beatles tune."
The new station is aiming for an older
audince than the teen-oriehted G-105.
Berry said WRDU will play 60 percent
new and 40 percent old in contrast to G
105's 80 percent new and 20 percent old.
"The problem with 'QDR is it never
got out of its early-70s roots," Berry said.
Berry said he tried to buy the 3-4,000
records in WQDR's library. "The man
agement got nervous," he' said. "They
decided to put them (the records) in
storage in case the company buys a rock
Berry said he was looking forward to
starting another station and using his
experience from WQDR. But he added
he was sad to leave.
" 'QDR has been part of the life and
culture of Eastern North Carolina for over
10 years," Berry said. "We've lasted
through the hippies, the preppies and now
the yuppies.- It's sad to-sec it all replaced
by a bunch of cowboys.
O-Boy, a female synth-pdp trio, performs at the Sigma Chi house.
Rockin9 the Heels
Diverse WXYC pumps out the unexpected
By LOUIS CORRIGAN .
"WXYC. What can I do for you? Sure, what do
you want to hear?"
Deb Trevor, a six-month veteran disc jockey for
UNC campus radio station WXYC, scribbles a song
title on a piece of scratch paper.
"This guy just called up and said, 'I just got laid
off from my job. Can you play me a song?"'
Although many UNC students are unaware of it,
campus radio station WXYC, at 89.3 on the FM dial,
is considered by radio and record people to be one
of the top three college radio stations and top 25
stations of any type in the country, Station Manager
Bill Burton said.
"We're generally considered to be better than other
college stations," Burton said.
Whereas most college stations may have block
programming of jazz for four hours followed by four
hours of mainstream rock followed by 'four hours of
something else, WXYC mixes it all up '24 hours a
day, 365 days a year, with the emphasis on playing
the new without forgetting the old " Whatever 's
good," Burton said.
The disc jockeys also have a surprising amount of
freedom. At commercial stations, jockeys routinely
have no choice of what to play. WXYC, however,
has simple and flexible rules.
Out of roughly 15 songs of commercial-free music
an hour, only five need come from the albums in the
play box, and the iockev mav select anv track from
these albums. Also, of the 15 songs, three need to I
De consiaerea nits, seven must be standards or
familiar rock songs, and -the last five are designated
as others, songs that may never have received airplay.
we change all the time. Burton said. You re never
going to hear the same thing twice. If you want to
learn a lot about music, we're the one to listen to. "
WXYC's stature in the industry is amazing,
considering that the station is financed completely by
student activities fees. Last year the Campus Governing
Council allocated roughly $16,000 to the station, just
about one-third of what Duke University's station
Thanks' largely to its quality programming and
selling potential it serves three universities WXYC
See WXYC on page 4
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OTH Charles Ledford
Keith Weston, a disc jockey for WXYC, gives listeners a "Blast from the Past" on Saturdays.
Triangle area offers avid theatregoers many choices
By STEVE MURRAY
In the Triangle area, curtains are forever ringing up, and
"break a leg" is as common as "hello." This year is no exception.
Theatregoers have the chance to pick and choose among student,
amateur arid professional productions as close as the Paul Green
Theatre or as distant as N.C. State. "
On campus, the Play Makers Repertory Company warms up
for its regular season with the world premiere of a musical
arrestingly titled Three Guys Naked From the Waist Down.
Following the careers of three rising comics, the production
is described in press releases as "off-beat" and "off-the-wall,"
and offers a roll call of impressive company members.
Producer James Freydberg comes to the production following
his succesful work as co-producer of Baby, which was nominated
this year for seven Tony Awards and six Drama Desk Awards.
Michael Rupert debuts as a theatrical composer with Three
Guys. He's best known as a Tony-nominee performer in The
Happy Time on Broadway and as Marvin in March of the
This will also be a first for Jerry Colker, trying his hand
as lyricist and author of the book. Previously he has acted on
Broadway in West Side Story, A Chorus Line and Pippin.
Director Andrew Cadiff recently directed the off-Broadway
musical Brownstone, winner of the Richard Rodgers Production
Musical Director Michael Starobin received a Drama Desk
Award for his recent orchestration of Stephen Sondheim's.
Sunday in the Park with George.
Performances of Three Guys Naked From the Waist Down
will begin with a preview Sept. 8 and will run through Sept.
PRC's regular season begins with Ring Round the Moon
Oct. 12-28. Written by France's prolific Jean Anouilh, the play
promises romance, music and satire in a Gallic vein.
Thornton Wilder's Our Town, a loving tribute to life, death,
small-town dreams and universal bonds in Grover's Corners
(a.k.a. Everytown, U.S.A.), plays Nov. 16-Dec. 9.
PRC's PlayFest, Feb. 1-March 3, offers three distinct plays
from three distinct playwrights.
Curse of the Starving Class is a look at American values,
filtered through Sam Shepard's unique vision of the modern
Caryl Churchill with Cloud 9 comically examines sexual
identity crises and haphazard immorality among members of
a British family living first in Victorian Africa, then in
The third play in rotation proves that a voice from the past
can be welcome indeed. Shakespeare's dark comedy Measure
for Measure explores the limits of love entangled by society,
law and religion. As usual, magnificent language meets wjth
convenient disguises and mishaps for a mixture patently
April 5-21 the owner of theatre's best-loved proboscis, Cyrano
de Bergerac, treads the boards with his white plume and
unrequited love for Roxanne, ending the PRC season.
An original, one-man show by Red Clay Ramblers member
Tommy Thompson, The Last Song of John Prpffit, premieres
Sept. 28 and runs through Oct. 2 1 .
For ticket information, call the PRC box office at 962-1122.
Of special interest is the Incredible Student Pass, asubscription
package offering a 70 percent discount on PRC tickets.
Elsewhere on campus, UNC's Broadway on Tour season,
sponsored by the Carolina Union, includes a showcase for
Mercedes McCambridge, perhaps best known for her uncredited
role as the demon's voice in The Exorcist. McCambridge's role
in 'night, Mother Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 requires no head swiveling
or levitation. But Marsha Norman's emotional, Pulitzer Prize
winning -depiction of a woman's attempt to talk her daughter
out of suicide does demand exceptional acting.
Brighton Beach Memoirs provides comic relief Feb. 1 5 and
16. Neil Simon's semi-autobiographical comedy has won acclaim
' from critics and laughter from audiences.
The final known quantity of the series is Sophisticated Ladies,
a Duke Ellington revue full of singing, dancing and wonderful
music, March 15 and 16.
A fourth Broadway on Tour production is still in negotiation
and has not been announced yet. Linda Wright, assistant director
of the Carolina Union, said this production might be Tom
Stoppard's The Real Thing, a sparkling reflection on art, reality,
infatuation and genuine love.
Another Tony-winner being considered as an off-season
presentation is Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy, a
chronicle of the romantically turbulent life of a drag show queen,
his confused bisexual lover and his domineering mother. No
dates for this show have been confirmed.
Finally, spring and the departments of dramatic art and
English bring the Royal Shakespeare Company to campus
for a series of performances. "They're coming at a good time,
with all the recent celebration of the three-year British
colonization (of North Carolina)," Wright said.
For more Broadway on Tour information, call the Carolina
Union box office at 962-1449. -
Sharing a similar bill of fare is Broadway at Duke, presenting
'night. Mother Nov. 29, and possibly Torch Song Trilogy Dec.
3 and 4. The Duke schedule is going through last-minute
Unique to Duke's series is the April 2 production of Little
Shop of Horrors, the off-Broadway hit about young love and
a bloodthirsty plant named Audrey II. For more Broadway
at Duke information, call 684-4059.
In Raleigh, the NCSU Center Stage Series offers two separate
programs of touring theatre.
Heading the Critic's Choice Series Oct. 7 is Thornton Wilder
Pulitzer Prize winner The Skin of Our Teeth, a comic visit
with the Antrobus family (creators of the wheel, and survivors
of both the Ice Age and latter-day holocausts). The play will
be performed by John Houseman's professional repertory
troupe, The Acting Company.
On Jan. 26 comes 1980's Tony winner for Best Play, Mark"
Medoffs Children of a Lesser God. The drama explores the
relationship between a speech therapist and the deaf, proud
student he falls in love with.
A familiar name, Torch Song Trilogy, is slated for March
The last of this series is Ceremonies in Dark Old Men,
performed by the Negro Ensemble Company, a group frequently
seen on Broadway. Actors Douglas Turner Ward and Robert
Hooks appear in this drama about ghetto life April 20.
The second series offered by Center Stage is the Signature
Series, beginning with Pieces of 8 Oct. 5. The evening comprises
eight short plays by Edward Albee, Tom Stoppard and Jules
Feiffer, among others.
Dec. 2, 'night. Mother completes its local circuit, leaving
audiences emotionally devastated in all three Triangle cities.
Billed as an evening for children and adults alike, Genty brings
the French puppetmaster of that name to Raleigh, accompanied
by a troupe, of mimes, dancers and life-size marionettes Feb.
The Signature Series ends with a one-man, 12-character
appearance by Edward Dukes in Jeeves Takes Charge, based
on works by P.G. Wodehouse, centering on the impeccable butler
of the title. The performance is scheduled for March 22.
For information on either NCSU Center Stage series, call
Also in Raleigh, Carolina Regional Theatre, is ending its 1984
Professional Showcase Season with West Side Story, Sept. 6
9. This Broadway classic reroutes Romeo and Juliet through
the fire escapes and alleys of New York City, changing their
names to Tony and Maria and causing them to sing songs by
Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. And Juliet Maria
doesn't die this time around.
For information on the production, call 755-6916.
Professional theatre is only part of the Triangle's dramatic
stronghold. Non-professional productions also thrive in the area,
including student performances on the UNC campus.
Two department of dramatic art productions are already
slated. Dec. 5-9 Michael Weller's Loose Ends charts the love
life of a couple reeling from the '60s into the "me generation"
lacking the emotional armor needed to face commitment and
their own success.
A second DDA production, not yet announced, will be
presented April 17-21.
March 21-31, the MFA production will be Christopher
Durang's Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You, a one
act visit with a parochial school nun, her best-indoctrinated
student, and four alumni whose psyches have been shredded
by her thorough instruction. The play is outrageously sacrilegious
which, according to one's tastes, should be taken either as
warning or enticement.
In addition, Lab Theatre productions by undergraduate
students surface throughout the year. Announcements for these
are often short-notice and limited but are well worth looking
for. The students hard work and dedication lift their projects
above the cramped playing space and limited resources.
Just a few blocks away in Carr Mill Mall, the ArtSchool
is gearing up for its season, starting with its own Sam Shepard
play, True West. Thrown together to keep their mother's house
while she vacations, two estranged brothers get drunk, trash
the living room and juggle one another's identities in their attempt
See THEATRE on page 3