The Michigan Daily-Sunday, October 8, 1978-Page 5
by mike taylor
PATTI SMITH'S upcoming visit to Ann Arbor for a couple of poetry
readings at Second Chance brings back some memories.
Last February. It was a mighty cold night in Ann Arbor, and though
hundreds of fans had assembled outside Second Chance by 7 p.m., the
management wouldn't let us in until 8:30, the time written on everybody's
tickets. We kept warm by taking turns visiting Schoolkids' Records across
the street, but when 8:30 finally rolled around and the doors weren't opening,
*we got mad. We started screaming "You're gonna die" and "Fascists," but
to no avail. So we stood there, shivering, until they finally shared their war-
mth with us half-an-hour later. We were furious, but a steady blast of taped
punk rock soothed our souls.
The tape seemed to go on forever, but frequent trips to the bar for
DEVO's (green creme de menthe, whisky, run, and vodka) kept me happy.
Jumping up and down in our seats, which we had piled into the dance floor,
we got ready for the evening's rock 'n' roll promise: Sonic's Rendezvous
Band and the Patti Smith Group. But as Bruce Springsteen has said more
than once, "The promise was broken."
A DARK FIGURE loomed on stage, but it wasn't Sonic's Rendezvous
Band coming on stage, it was Patti! She was mumbling something about her
band, and then she said she wouldn't be able to play that night. The eastern
branch of the Great Blizzard of '78 had stranded her band in New York City,
leaving Patti without back-up, and us without rock n' roll. And we hadn't
waited outside in zero degree weather for this. Patti made a valiant effort
to read some of her poetry as Fred
"Sonic" Smith accompanied her on
electric piano, but we weren't
.Two nights later, Patti's boys
were in town and rock 'n' roll was in
the air again. She gave an incan-
descent show, offering classics like
"Ask the Angels," "Kimberly," and
"Gloria," along with oldies like
"We're Gonna Have a Real Good
Time Together," "Time Is On My
Side," and "Be My Baby," and
treating us to then-unissued gems
like "Because the Night" and "Rock
' n' Roll Nigger."
I had asked Todd Smith, Patti's
i brother and road manager about an
interview with Patti several times
during the course of the evening, and
he had told me to go downstairs after
the show. The Daily had, unfor-
tunately, printed a justly negative
review of the first night's improm-
ptu poetry session that day, and Pat-
ti had responded, I had heard, by
saying she didn't want to see anyone
from the Daily. However, something
must have changed her mind, for af-
Patti Smith ter just a short wait downstairs, I
was ushered into her "chambers" in
a back room.
SHE SAT ON an old grey couch wearing the same tweed coat she had
worn on stage, cuddling up with Fred "Sonic" Smith. Both scowled at me.
"You gotthree questions, and then get out," hissed Patti's sister, who,
though a tiny woman, towered above the pair on the couch as if she was
Meekly, I asked Patti if she has any favorite spots for writing poetry.
"Hey Patti, should I throw this jerk out or what?" Fred asked.
But Patti ignored him and said she visits Delaware twice a year to write
poetry. "It's one of our original thirteen colonies," she explained.
NEXT QUESTION: "Would you like to make an album with Brian
"No, but I'd like to do one with Brian Jones," she answered.
Trying to elicit a response that made sense, I asked, "How easy is it to
convert your poetry to rock 'n' roll?"
"I like to write all my songs in Spanish," she noted, adding, "Spanish is
the loving tongue-it's our most Christian language."
I blurted, "Do you intend to say anything serious with me?," angry at
the way I was being treated.
"Sorry," she said sweetly, "your three question limit is up."
Arts exhibit, Chinese paintings, etc.
Chinese music recitals
Taste of Chinese Food
No Admission Charge
OCT. 8, 12-5:30 PM, MICHIGAN unION
By JOSHUA PECK
Inelegant: lacking in refinement and
grace in movement, appearance, or
manners. And that, in brief, is the per-
sistent adornment of the road produc-
tion of The Sound of Music, closing
tonight at the Power Center.
In example, there is Maria's (Sally
Ann Howes) first appearance in the
show. We find her lounging comfortably
on a remarkably uncomfortable-
looking hunk of scenery. As Howes
begins to warble the title song,
adudience members at the sides of the
NThe Sound o1 Music
Maria Rainer...............Sally Ann Howes
The Mother Abbess............TerrySaunders
Captain George von Trapp........Earl Wrightson
Lies... .................... Christine Cookson
Elsa Schraeder...................... Lois Hunt
Forrest Carter, director; Jim Coleman,musicsat
director; Richard Rodgers, music; Oscar Hammer-
stein II, lyrics; Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse,
house are treated to the sight of a
stagehand behind the set piece, trun-
dling the thing downstage. Inelegance.
You see, he was supposed to be hidden.
ON THE OTHER hand, the perfor-
mance, on the whole, makes for a
reasonably entertaining evening. One
would have to struggle to render
Rodgers and Hammerstein's sterling
score unpleasant, although musical
director Jim Coleman and his
cacophonous crew certainly make a
stab at it. Their playing is absolutely
rife with clinkers.
The story, for those seven readers
who hlave not seen the film version,
concerns Maria, a novice in an Austrian
abbey a short time before the Nazi oc-
cupation. The convent's mother abbess,
believing Maria's exuberantly girlish
ways to be unsuited to nunnery life, or-
ders her out of the onvent for a period
of a few months to see if the outside
world isn't better for her. She becomes
governess to the seven children of a
highly-decorated former captain in the
Austrian navy, Captain Georg von
The captain (Earl Wrightson) is a
widower, and has been running his
household like a battleship ever since
his wife's death. All is discipline in the
house, and there is no love or music in
the children's lifes. That is for Maria to
MARIA BEGINS to breath love back
into Captain Georg's life, and their love
burgeons, though beset by two distrac-
ting factors: a wealthy. rival with
designs onGeorg, and the threat of Nazi
interference with their building a life
together. Both, eventually, are over-
Sally Ann Howes is not the pillar of
talent the publicity proclaims her to be,
but still she carries off her demanding
task with class. She conveys skillfully
the strength that enables Maria to
weather any adversity, even the fascist
presence, and always with an abundan-
ce of love.
Vocally, Howes lacks the sweetness
associated with the role, but then, the
woman once sang for Eisenhower at the
White House. It's remarkable that she
can even play the part, but play it she
does, and comes close to convincing us
that she is as young as the character
PLAYING OPPOSITE Howes is a
severe disappointment. Earl Wright-
son's credit list is impressive, but his
performance here, put simply, is not.
His "emotions" are contrived, even
stylized, and just not the sort of
material which deserves to be called
His voice is pleasant for the most
part, but the richness that a song like
"Edelweiss" calls for can only be
dreamt about in this production.
Technically, this Sound of Music is
miserable. Perhaps it is the fault of the
Power Center speakers, but every time
the nuns sing in chorus, their high notes
are accompanied by a death rattle,
courtesy of the amplification system.
THE FREQUENT set changes are
covered by a gray curtain, in front of
which silent stage business, oftimes
unrelated to character or plot develop-
ment, goes on. Surely there must be a
more graceful way than this to conceal
Finally, there is the problem of the
huge crucifix, supposedly solidly
grounded, which swings gaily to and fro
throughout the first scene in the abbey.
Encased in wood and glass, it would
have made a lovely clock.
Christine Cookson plays Liesl, van
Trapp's eldest daughter, with verve
and charm. "You Are Sixteen," her
puppy love duet with boyfriend Rolf (J.
Martin Byrne), is enchanting without
being saccharine, and makes for an
evocative look into the newly romantic
relationship. A nice touch is added by
Cookson boldly planting a firm kiss on
Byrne's lips at the number's end,
although it is he who has been con-
descendingly singing of his intentions to
protect her from the world. He respon-
ds to her advances by skittering off the
stage in shock.
AUTHORS Lindsay and Crouse and
director Forrest Carter can share the
blame for the graceless infusion of
politics into the story. If the three of
them meant to reveal the growing Nazi
influence menacingly, they failed. The
first mention of the National Socialists
occurs when, at a party von Trapp is
throwing, two guests begin to quarrel
disruptively over politics on a very
childish plane. Addressing the Nazis in
such a broad, unsubtle fashion makes
them seem nothing more than a bother.
The von Trapp ensemble, which sings
quite nicely for most of the show, is at
its disharmonious worst in its last two
numbers. This might be forgivable if
not for the fact that the songs sup-
posedly win the von Trapps first prize
in a competition. The children, good
elsewhere in the show, should have
been whipped into shape here, if
_ Inelegance . . . and neglect. These
partners in crime drag the effort down,
but still are Vnable to smother it com-
pletely. An enjoyable evening of theater
is promised, and one could even see a
perfect show, although it would take
closing one's eyes for five of every 15
minutes. Well, maybe that's why
they're on the road.
GAY COFFEE HOUSE
-meet other gay people
-get acquainted with campus & community
resources (including gay student and
community-based groups "Gay Advocates
Office" (Human Sexuality Office) "Gay Hotline" *
-X- -hear about the Gay Teach-In (Oct. 20-22)
(workshops, films, concerts)
SUNDAY, OCT. 8 HALFWAY INN
* 2 PM-4:30 PM (East Quad)
INFO-763-4186 (entrance on ChurchSt.*
G between Hill & Willard)
* (Gay Advocates)*
The University of Michigan Profhssonal Theatre Program
Today at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m.!
SALLY ANN HOWES
EARL WRIGHTSON & LOIS HUNT .
i"~ M ~Sc T~rlvRICHARD RODGERS
jj~jf 1 i R~cs, OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN 11
wHOWARD LINDSAY AND RUSSET CROUSE
SU GG S G D W V ,,;
,,1! r' " y~r ~af RA-' AMI YSINGF R VMARA tA rA
OC. -8in the POWER CENTER10. ,-
Ticets available at the Power Center Box Office
Sunday Hours: 12-5 and 6-8 p.m.
For futher information call 763-3333
ARTS PAGE STAFF
THE U OF M'S OFFICE OF MAJOR EVENTS PRESENTS
Tn- Fri. 10- 6
Sat, Sun. 12- 5
FIRST FLOOR MICHIGAN UNION
#AV 112 '
Christmas in October? 2 /
Christmas in Octoberi
L IVI NGSTON
SATURDAY NOV.4 AT 8:00 P.M.
HILL AUDITORIUM,ANN ARBOR
Reserved Seats are $7.50,6.50,5.50. Tickets go on saleTues.Oct.10
at 10a.m. at the Michigan Union Box Office.Tickets also at Huckleberry
Party Store inYpsilanti,Wherehouse Records inYpsilanti and E. Lansing.
Sorry, no personal checks. Smoking and beverages strictly prohibited in
Hill Auditorium.To order by mail send self addressed stamped envelope
and moneyorderto: STILLS
Michigan Union Box Office
530 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
in our South University shop
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