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October 01, 1978 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-10-01

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Dance troupe uneven

The Michigan Daily-Sunday, October 1, 1978-Page 5
If heavy metal's on the way out,
someone didn 't tell Aerosmith

By ANNA NISSEN
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre is currently
presenting a series of performances at Power Center,
celebrating its twentieth year with a program of standard
company pieces and some disappointing newer works.
The Ailey dancers are at their best in solos, and numbers
not meant to be moving in unison. Otherwise the ensemble
work is sloppy, embarrassingly so in "Streams." Ailey's
choreography in "Streams" is simple and powerful, but
apparently the abundance of prolonged arabesques calls
for more balance than most of the tottering company is
able to give.
"Hobo Sapiens," on the other hand, is competently per-
formed but poorly conceived, too cleverly staged and
titled by George Faison. Dancer Dudley Williams does his
best to perk up the hackneyed theme of youth-to-age
progression in the ghetto with his pantomime and cute an-
tics, such as dribbling a basketball to represent youth. As
graceful as Williams is, though, he comes off looking more
like a Harlme Globetrotter than a trained dancer.
AILEY'S "Masekela Language," set to the music of
South African trumpet player Hugh Masekela and highly
overstaged with bar stools, potted palms, cigarette
smoke, and a contrary jukebos, has its brilliant moments:
Donna Wood's solo of seductive turns; a fun, saucy body-
flaunt by Marilyn Banks; and a convincing rendition of a
barroom brawl.
For a literary work, however, "Masekela Langauage"
is ambiguous and inconclusive. A wounded man staggers
into the cafe-apparently set in South Africa-and after a

passionate, angry dance and dramatic death, lies ignored
on the floor while the other dancers return to their
drinking, brawling, and general apathy. "Masekela
Language" has all the props of a three-act play, without
much plot and certainly without much of a message.
The Company's classic "Suite Otis" was what made the
evening worthwhile. Young couples flirt and bicker to Otis
Redding's "I Can't Turn You Loose," "I've Been Loving
You Too long," and others. Here again Marilyn Banks is
the master comic in a bawdy boogies with Masumi Chaya.
"Suite Otis" proved the Ailey Company still capable of the
high-spiritedness it is famous for; the jazzy, full-skirted
flamenco of five women in "Satisfaction;" and an am-
bitious sequence of lifts with their male partners in "Try
A Little Tenderness," were thoroughly exhilerating.
WHILE MANY Lof the company's tendencies are novel
and refreshing, others are just too distracting and gim-
micky. It was unusual and profound when two or three
soloists danced to total silence, and also when certain of
the performers went the other extreme and made loud,
accentuating shrieks. The mix of racial types among the
characters, the combination of classical music with
popular lyric songs, and traditional leotard costumes with
contemporary street clothes, provide a nice variety
without being overdone.
The Company's penchant for mixing dance styles-even
within a single composition-is nice and was kept under
control; jazz, ballet, and soft-shoe elements merge in a
style that is uniquely Ailey. I think the Company would do
better, though, if they quit depending on stage props and
amusing facial expressions, and put some effort into
coordinating their corps work.

By TIMOTHY YAGLE
There is an intriguing mystique about
Aerosmith. Many still consider them
one of the premier heavy metal ensem-
bles around, but their last album, Draw
the Line, didn't fare as well as expec-
ted, and their popularity seems poten-
tially on the wane.
At the band's concert at Cobo Arena
in Detroit Friday night, a real question
hung in the air: can they still crank it
out with the best of them? As far I'm
concerned, the answer is an unqualified
"yes."
FOLLOWING AC/DC, which attem-
pted to fire the crowd up with some loud
and monotonous punk rock, Aerosmith
walked on stage and the packed house
went berserk. The stage set-up was
similar to Boston's from a previous
concert, except that mirrors were
mounted directly above the stage, I
suppose to create ,a special effect when
beamed on by the spotlights. It didn't
i-I e

work.
But while Areosmith doesn't claim to
have an illustrious stage show, they
performed brilliantly without the
benefit of gimmickery. Their pure
physical presence is intimidating
enough. As usual, a spotlight remained
on the flamboyant Steve Tyler, as he
flew around the stage clad in a black
and white striped tightsuit. The rest of
the band remained rather placid, with
the exception of lead guitarist Joe
Perry, who occasionally sauntered
donwstage to deliver an ear-piercing
solo.
The band's forte was their excep-
tional jamming, and they did a lot of it.
"Back In the Saddle," "Train IDept A
Rollin'," "No More, No More," and
"Lick and a Promise" were all first-
class renditions, although "Sweet

Emotion" suffered, the only bright spot
being when Perry's talk-box tools over,
TWO OF THE highlights, "Seasons of
Whither" and "Chip Away the Stone,"
were ironically the only tame moments
in an otherwise frenzied performance.
During "Same Old Song and Dance"'
and "Draw the Line," most of the main
floor ushers were useless in containing
the onslaught of fans trying to get near
their hearthrobs.
Aerosmith is about to release their
first live album-entitled Live
Bootleg-after five solid studio efforts.
The future direction of their popularity
will surely be indicated by the album's
sales. But if Friday evening at Cobo
Hall was any clue, then their live LI
may just put them right up to the top.
Clearly, they haven't lost it all.

The Ann Arbor Film Cooperative presents at Aud A
Joseph Lewis Night
Monday, October 2 Admission Free
(Joseph Lewis, 1950) GUN CRAZY 7:30Oonly-Aud A
Lewis' masterpiece and one of the most incredible films in cinema history. This
passionate couple-on-the-run thriller makes BONNIE AND CLYDE look like a
still photo, and it inspired Paul Shrader to call it "one. of the best American
films ever made ...-a shockingly brilliant film, it is an exhilarating tribute to
reckless love and nonstop action." JOHN DALL, PEGGY CUMMINS. Mr. Lewis
will answer questions about his career and films in general after the show.
Tuesday: Black Film Festival. ANGELA DAVIS: PORTRAIT OF A
REVOLUTIONALRY and MALCOLM X. FREE

Autoharp virtuoso visits Ark

RamerWerner Fassbinder's

1970

By ERIC ZORN
For most of us, the autoharp is an
nstrument our elementary school
usic teachers plucked amateurishly
hile teaching us to sing "The Happy
Farmer." For Bryan Bowers, who per-
ormed at the Ark Friday night, it is
omething more. Bowers is perhaps the
orld's greatest virtuoso on this
eldom-celebrated instrument, and his
-how at the Ark was splendid.
Unlike the crude scraping usually ac-
1orded the autoharp, Bowers picks with
recision. "The thunm strums the
hythm,"he explained to the audience,
'while the middle finger gets the
elody note, the index finger low har-
mony, and the ring and pinky fingers
et two high harmonies." The com-
ponents of each air fit together neatly
ith a sweet, ringing sound singular in
lk music.
THE FORMER college basketball
player stood tall in front of a generously
'ized Ark crowd wearing a patched t-
hirt and a tiny microphone dangling
rom his shoulder that picked up the
ibrations of his autoharp, which he
radled in his arms likea baby. "This is
a weird instrument," he confessed
asually before kicking off. "I got tur-
ned onto it by a crazed doctor." Without
laborating further he spun into an en-
chanting fiddle tune from the British
Isles, "The Flowers of Edinbergh."
Throughout the evening he reached into
American and British traditional music
for instrumentals including a spirit lif-
ting "Golden Slippers" which sparked
the first set to life.
Where Bowers let things down a bit
was trying two jumpy fiddle numbers,
"Blackberry Blossom" and "Fisher's
Hornpipe," which lost a lot of power
because their proper tempo prohibited
him from improvising and adding notes
the same way he did with the slightly
less allegro tunes. The limitation was

almost certainly in the instrument.
THOUGH HE'S not nearly as live-
wire electric as Steve Goodman on
stage, nor as snappily amusing as Owen
MacBride, Bowers has an easy charm
and with which immediately siezed the
crowd and kept them with him through
the last encore. "I was just thinking',"
he said quietly, setting down one harp
and picking up another, "about one of
my first bar gigs a long time back and
how I learned the strength of these in-
struments.
"I had just finished that Jesse Colin
Young song-the one that goes 'Let's
get together and love one another right
now'-and some redneck drunk in the
first row yells out, 'None of that peace-
nik stuff!' As I start my next song he
comes up on stage after me, so I turn
the. harp over and whack him on the
head. Hardly missed a beat. I was kind
enough not to hit him on the side with
the strings and the pins."
BRYAN'S MUSICAL history is
somewhat unusual. Ho grew up
working in the peanut fields in rural
Virginia singing call and answer songs
and spirituals. His interest wasn't
revived again until the college years,
when he bought a nineteen dollar guitar
to see if he could learn some Bob Dylan
talking blues. Since that was the first
thing he ever did which made total sen-
se to him, he quit school early to try to
earn a living in music, but things came
slowly.
At first he was a street singer in Seat-
tle, then he picked up a job in a bar in
Washington, D.C. He hasn't become a
household name just yet, but with a
record out on the Flying Fish label and
many concert and coffeehouse dates in
front of him, the future is definitely
bright.
IF ALL HE did were play his-
autoharp, that would be enough, but
Bowers has a very fine singing voice to,

complete the act. Several songs were
done a capella, including an amusing
bit about aging containing this line
coming from a man who get up early to
check the obituaries: "If my name is
missing and I know I ain't dead/ I eat a
See BRIAN, Page 7

THE AMERICAN SOLDIER
A full scale homage to the realm of Bogey, black mask magazine and direc-
tors Samuel Fuller and Ravol Walsh. This German film (with English subtitles
of course) centers on "Ricky," a gangster whose holster is always stuffed
with a pistol-maybe loaded. The amazing final shootout is probably the
most startling of Fassbinder's bizarre endings.
Tues.: CORMAN AT THE MOVIES

CINEMA GUILD

TONIGHT at
7:0. 8:15 & 9:30

OLD ARCH. AUD.
$1.50

The Michigan Student Assembly
is now
accepting applications
for the
Central Student Judiciaiy
Apply 3909 Michigan Union
by 5:00 p.m., October 5, 1978

1970

CHRISTOPHER MILES

1970

THE VIRGIN AND THE GYPSY
The simmering eroticism that is characteristic of D. H. Lawrence, brought to
sensuous being in this delicately balanced film rendition of his last master-
piece. JOANNA SHIMKUS is the brooding daughter of a despotic county rector
who meets a Roman Gypsy (FRANCO-NERO)-a man of few words and simple
intentions. She seeks escape in the ribald liberation of a neighborhood gypsy
camp, savoring the intense energies that surround the sultry vagabond.
Filmed in Derbyshire, Lawrence's village, with cultural authenticity acquired
in attic and antique store searches. With HONOR BLACKMAN.
Schedule changel-MEMORIES OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT
on Tues. Oct. 3 (NOT Wed. Oct. 4!)

I

CINEMA 11

TONITE at
789

Angell-Aud "A"
$1.50

MANN THEATRES
e VILLAGETWIN
MAPLE VILLAGE SHOPPING CENTER
769-1300

1'

WED. MATINEES
ALL SEATS $1.50
UNTIL 4:30

Viewpoint Lectures Presents:
William F. Buckley Jr.
"Some of the Problems
of Freedom"
at

SHOWTIMES
SUN-WED-SAT
1:15 3:45
6:45 9:20

Hill Audiim-

8:00pm

ues-Thurs-Sat
6:45
9:20

Tuesday; Oct 3

U.S. POSTAL SERVICE
STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATION
(Required by 39 U.S.C 3685)
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The T'iichigan Daily Sept. 29,19 78
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for info
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tickets 1.50
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Union or at the door.

Sat-Sun
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EDITOR(NameandAddree)GreG- Krupa, 1811 wlashtenaw, Ann Arbor, MI. 48107
Tl'vit$_4A t i.r.A.,.T',.. f~i t' 'Jhino n rn Arhoar NT]'"07

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