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October 26, 1978 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-10-26

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, October 26, 1978-Page 7
oug tales an ld olds

It was several nickels past eight
Tuesday night before the show started,
on an evening when the Man-in-the-.
Moon skittered sunny-side-up, across
the Teflon surface of the skillet-black
This truly was Indian summer's last
stand. As fall-looked back at Ann Arbor
and laughed out loud once before it
boarded at the Fuller train station, the
wind whipped through those standing
outside Hill Auditorium - it was colder
than a gravedigger's ass.
Auditorium, waiting to see the Leon
Redbone/Tom Waits show, were coun-
ting for a special kind of warmth to
come from the performances Tuesday
night. If they were willing to weather a
chilling Redbone performance, they
left happily.
A bucketful of jalapeno peppers
would not have been enough to heat up
Redbone's act. Possessing as much
personality as a discarded wad of
chewing gum, Redbone resorts to a
gimmicky stage manner and a throat-
ful of phlegm to get the audience behind
Unlike his records, on which there is
at least a beautifully smooth and dated
sound to all the tunes, onstage Redbone
simply sounds bored and two-
dimensional. If you've heard a small
portion of Redbone's songs you really
have heard them all. Sure, he plays
some fine guitar, and does nice versions
of blues, novelty and Hawaiian tunes,
but so do countless performers who ap-
pear at the Ark. If this is some kind of
joke he's trying to turn into a career, I
don't get it.
(AND IF ANYBODY really cares
about what diddy-wah-diddy means,
would you please write me? I'd like to
have your name and address on file.)
However, I have to hand it to Red-
bone in one way: he can sure get an
audience going while exerting almost
no energy at all. Who else could enter-
tain an audience by making shadow
puppets, or receive a round of applause
just for looking so funny (his con-
figuration of nose and mustache is truly
odd), or amuse thousands by taking
their picture with an instamatic
camera? I almost fell asleep.
But if Redbone delfated my hopes for

the show (and to be fair, the audience
for the most part loved him) the bard of
the billiard hall, the poet laureat of
parking lots and luncheonettes - Tom
Waits - saved the show from biting the
green shiboda.
YOU'VE SEEN him waiting in the
bus station on Huron, and you've
perhaps picked him out talking to
Shakey Jake in front of Mr. Tony's. He
hangs out in the Central Cafe, chain-
smoking Old Golds and pouring down
cups of coffee. Everyone has seen the
character that Waits plays - and on-
stage, we have to pay attention to this
character which we almost instin-
ctively neglect.
Waits has often in the past scorned
college audiences, opting to keep away
from the down-chic gang, with "little
silver coke spoons hanging from their
necks." But surprisingly, audiences
like the one at Hill Auditorium provide
a perfect listenership for Waits' low-
budget comedy and weird free-
Backed by a competent band, the
Waits' show included a striking pair of
prop gas pumps and an automobile rear
used during the song "Burma Shave,"
and ended with the singer walking out
on stage in a bathrobe, sitting down at
an easy chair and banging a bad
television , set' ("You want to see
Kojak?," he asked the crowd, "Tough
shit, we can't get it.") before playing a
tune at the piano.
- BUT TH response he received for
his wilder songs and monologues did
not force Waits to lean on them unduly:
there also were super versions of such
songs as "Sight For Sore Eyes" and the
striking new "Blud Valentine."
Of course, Waits' melodies are as
vaporous as the fog of cigarette smoke
that surrounds him onstage - he really
pens chord changes more than songs.
But these changes are fine in concert,
giving his band the chance to overlay
improvisations on the skimpy melodies
and letting Waits dig into the primor-
dial layers of his cerebral cortex, let-
ting loose with stream-of-consciousness
monologues and lyric amendments to
his songs more memorable than any of
the recorded originals.
For instance, "Step Right Up" was
stretched out into a much longer rap
and a mild put-down of the audience,
and the show-stopping "Small
Change," narrated beneath a prop

street light, was much more effective.
AMAZINGLY, Waits' voice improved
throughout the show, and by the end, it
almost didn't sound as if the singer had
spent the previous night gargling with
razor blades. But with Waits, the gruff
nature of his singing is almost
necessary for the tough tales of down-
and-out loneliness that he sings. It is a
rasp abetted by the consumption of
oceans of Jack Daniels and uncountable
cigarettes. There is a certain affecting
quality when he attempts to wrap his
vocal chords around a delicate phrase
or a rough interval.
Tuesday evening at Hill Auditorium,
two sides of a very odd coin were

presented. In the world of pop music
eccentricity is a sellable, looked-for
commodity that is snatched up and
marketed with no special regard for the
element of expression inherent in that
eccentricity. At Hill, two performers
showed how the quirky artist may
choose to express himself. He can take
to gimmicks and affect an im-
penetrable mystique, or he may
assume a character and share it with
his audience, never making it static but
never making it simple and obvious.
There is hardly anything simple or
obvious about Tom Waits - and there is
much that is appealing, and that draws
one deeper into his vivid, highly imper-
sonal music.

got you

Take a

. .1

is here at the



phone 763-1085 for info.
box office hours-10 AM-6 PM

The Ann Arbor Film Coo erstive presents at AUD. A
(Jean-Marie Straub, 1974) 7 only-AUD. A
This film of the Arnold Schonberg opera, a monument of 20th century music s itself a masterpiece of mini-
malistic cinema. "The music of (Schonberg's) opera is sensually ravishing, and however intellectually
stimulating the film, its visual splendors ore both sensual and-yes-lush."-Richard Roud, FILM COMMENT.
AN4N ARBOR PREMIERE. In German, with subtitles
(Derek Jorman, Paul Humfress, 1976) 9 only-AUD. A
This modern and profane rendering of St. Sebastian's death has provoked extreme reactions wherever it
has been shown from "liberated" gay euphoria to pious outrage and heterosexual sarcasm. "The most
promising sign of new film life in independent narrative cinema in Britain in many. many years."-Tony
Rayns. ANN ARBOR PREMIERE. In Latin, with English subtitles.

Daily Photo by WAYNE CABLE
Above, Tom Waits growls his way to success at Tuesday night's Hill Auditorium
concert; below, Leon Redbone adds some of his magic to the festivities.

Gilligan rescue misses the boat

Disappointment literally over-
whelmed me Sunday night as I watched
the second installment of Rescue From
Gilligan's Island. Perhaps I shouldn't
have expected so much; perhaps I
should have expected nothing. At any
rate, the program ended with no more
than frustration, almost in spite of its
To begin with, Gilligan's Island was
never conceptualized for modern prime
time viewing. It was designed for
children's enjoyment, but beyond that,
for the children of fifteen years ago.
This put a tremendous strain on the
writers of this supposed "concluding"
episode. They had to devise a show
along two vastly different, almost op-
posing standards: an impossible feat at
best. Happily, they stuck loyally to the
original concept of the showl, and the
characters' familiar antics were a
delight and a relief to see.
THE ORIGINAL cast returned, ex-
cept Tina Louise, who is replaced by
Judith Baldwin. At the program's very
beginning the characters were
somewhat sketchy, and the actors had a
little trouble getting back the feel of
their famous roles. Soon the pace
icked up and began to flow, and the old
magic returned in full. Once again it
was like watching a harmless but great
high-school play endlessly.
Poor Miss Baldwin, though, is never
given a chance. The audience kept its
eyes on the new Ginger to see if she
would measure up. Unfortunately, she
could not. It is not that she is a totally
inept actress Rather, Ginger is given
by far the stupidest lines in the script.
The old Ginger was delectable for her
slyness; this one has nothing going for

her but a very tight dress.
The Professor, it seems, has
discovered that the island will be
destroyed by a great tidal wave, and
Gilligan lets out the secret. The
castaways fumble and bumble to save
themselves. They finally strap them-
selves helplessly into one great hut. At
the last moment, Gilligan dashes out to
save Fifi, Mrs. Howell's pooch. They,
awaken battered and floating in mid-
ocean, and Gilligan is lost! Not
Gilligan, never. He is asleep on a log,
floating right behind. In a great Jaws
parody, they are attacked by a shark.
Gilligan sets the hut on fire trying to
cook dinner, and the smoke is spotted
by a Coast Guard helicopter (in mid-
ocean?) They are rescued. Rescued!
ADMITTEDLY, THIS became a bit
overplayed. The castaways are tugged
into Honolulu Harbor, where a cheering
crowd of thousands awaits them. They
receive the key to Honolulu and a ticker
tape parade in L.A. Then, at the end of
show No. 1, the great sub-plot begins.
Two ever-bumbling Soviet agents
discover that Gilligan has returned
with the memory bank from one of their
top-secret' spy satellites. Dey vill get
heem, no doubt.
In thesecond episode, our castaways
have gone their separate ways. The
Skipper has his Minnow II, but to claim
insurance he and Gilligan must get the
other five islanders to sign a form
proving. him blameless for the first
wreck. Followed always but unaware of
the two Soviets, they succeed in saving
Ginger from a nude scene (she should
have done it) and Mary Ann from a
loveless wedding.
The Professor cannot understand his
fate as a macho hero, but all the college

girls love him. He can't seem to invent
something not done in the past fifteen
years (like Frisbees), and must
sacrifice his work to publicity. Gilligan
stumbles in long enough to destroy an
experiment, but that is all. The Howells
resumb their positions in ultra-high
society and Havana cigars (delivered
by Fidel Castro himself)., The captain
and Gilligan stop in and reveal the
hypocrisy of the Howell's business
acquaintances, and the Howells retain
their humility. Of course, the Soviets
are eventually caught.
4 NOW IS THE disappointing part. The
fated seven reunite for a Christmas
party on Minnow II, and decide to take
its first cruise the next day. You can

figure the rest. Not only are they ship-
wrecked, but they land on the same
island. But Gilligan is not depressed.
"We're home," he says. Fate is one
thing; silliness is too much another.
This is all a matter of prerogatives, I
guess. The original program was won-
derfully frustrating; that was half the
hilarity. This "conclusion" (sequel,
;really) is merely aggravating.
Does producer Sherwood Shwartz
really expect to revive the series? To
him I say: Good Luck. There seems no
place for innocent comedy in a world
enveloped by Charlie's Angels and
Three's Company. Personally, though,
I'd be more than pleasantly surprised
to see him pull it off.
Man Of
La Mancha

98 years of Wolverine
football nostalgia!
From the frst ga me in 1879 and
Fielding Yost's "point-a-minute"
teams to Bo Schembechier's
hard-fought'77 season and
all the glory years in be-
tween, here are photos, sta-
tistics, news clips, memora-
bilia and much more, in a big
8"/2" x1l" paperback. Over 150
black-and white photos.
$7.95, now at your bookstore.

Circle (late ickets desiredl:
November s e2s 3 4,8,9,r 0 atx8 .m. $4.50-center orchestra and balcony
November 5 at 2 pm. $4.00--side orchestra and balcony
November I1I at 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. _. tickets t $ for a total of $






City State Zip
Mail order with stamped, self-addressed envelope and check payable to UAC-
MUSKET, 530 S. State St., Ann Arbor, M1 48109.
Phone 763-1107 for further information.
Daily Phone Numbers:
:..... -74A A ICeA

yt4. A .I J... .b i .. ltl7i l

26.m. & 7Dm.

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