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November 30, 1978 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-11-30

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, November 30, 1978-Page 7

Walken-from J]
By JOSHUA PECK claims to be:



In a brief but memorable scene from,
Woody Allen's Annie Hall, Annie's
brother Duane calls Alvy (Woody)
Singer into his room and proceeds to
detail his fantasies of swerving his car
into oncoming headlights when he
drives at night.
Cut to Duane's calm but grim face
behind the wheel of the family car. The
camera pans over to Annie relaxedly
watching the road, and finally.over to
Allen, eyes wide, plastered to the car
seat with terror.
DUANE HALL was portrayed by
screen and stage veteran Christopher
Walken, who now finds himself in Ann
Arbor, in the title role of Richard II, a
PTP Guest Artist series production.
In person, Walken is not nearly so
imposing as on the big screen, and con-
trasts with his Annie Hall character in
quite a few ways. For instance, when he
introduces himself, it is not the voice of
a clean-cut Wisconsonite which
emerges, but rather the nasal drone of
a New Yorker; Walken is a native of
Astoria, Queens.
I venture a question to determine if
indeed the man is the Astorian he

"WHAT FIRST induced you to con-
sider a-career in the theater?"
And the answer comes back, predic-

ooay to
with an event, rather than what. the
words are."
For Walken, the cerebral aspects of
the theater are of minimal importance,
if any. When I tried to get him to discuss
the directorial focus of the current
Richard II, he replied, " 'Concept'
doesn't mean anything to me. It's just
one of those words that's not part of my
vocabulary. I only care about whether a
given line or scene works."
tion to the average, semi-educated
theater-goer, Walken remarks,
"Shakespeare can be difficult,
language-wise. But if you see actors up
there looking good, you can gloss over
the fact that you don't know what
they're talking about."
I returned to the topic of Walken's
normal speaking voice, a Queens
patois, and its marked contrast with his
resonant standard American dialect on
the big screen and stage. Evidently, he
says, the transition comes easily:
"When I rehearse, I lapse into a big
phony way of speaking. That's the way
I'm gonna do Richard."
Finally, we turn to the topic of theater
critics - their likes and dislikes.
Walken almost proudly reports that
John Simon, critic for the same
publication that has just predicted

stardom for Walken, thinks the actor is
"incredibly bad." Walken claims that
Simon has even referred to Walken's
inabilities in reviews of shows in which
Walken goes not appear. But, continues
Walken, "The fact that I annoy the shit
out of him is, I think, a good sign." "It's
my essence that he hates," and his
dislike is at least evidence that there is
something of substance in the actor.
Thur.,l Nov. .30
at noon
Conference Rooms 1 & 2
Michigan League
Dean Billy E. Frye
College of LS&A
Will Speak on
Non-Tenure Track
For information on joining
AAUP write to W. Kaplan,
Moth Dept., 347 West Eng.
Bldg., or phone 764-8586

Christopher Walken

A ll dressed up
Joan Hackett will play. Christine Mannon in the post-Civil War tragedy by
Eugene O'Neill, "Mourning Becomes Electra" over the Public Broadcasting
television network beginning Dec. 6.


Weekend Warriors
Ted Nugent
Epic FE 35551
Late one night last week, I strolled in-
to Dooley's after catching the last set of
some local rock band at Second Chance.
Having just heard some loud music
(along with several beers), I was in a
good mood so I bought one more and
headed upstairs. And what's the first
thing I should encounter but this Ted
Nugent pinball machine. Here was a
picture of Ted straddling his amp
stacks and firing a Gibson Byrdland
"that had been mutated into a double-
barrel elephant gun. I felt compelled to
The forces of "gonzo" took over as
soon as I dropped the coin into the slot.
The electronic sounds that emanated
from the machine sounded like some
dirty Nugent feedback speeded up to 78
r.p.m. I became "possessed", uttering
hedonistic phrases like "Live it up"
while trashing the machine, working
out all my suppressed anger and
frustration through the flippers. My
frenzy grew so intense that .I finally
passed into the "Beyondo" after falling
unconscious from hyperventilation. I
remember waking up feeling slightly
'revulsed by the commerciality of it all.
WELL, THAT sort of sums up my at-
titude about Weekend Warriors. I can
really get worked up over its good par-
ts, but there are others that are so ob-
noxious they make me want to burn my
Ted Nugent headband.
The commercial aspect of Nugent's
music is the major problem that has to
be dealt with. Sure, the guy is probably
the greatest egomaniac that rock 'n'
roll will ever produce, but he deserves
whatever success he is now enjoying
because he genuinely struggled to
.achieve. Ted is finally making the big
bucks after all those years of pum-
melling the Midwest, having beat the
Bob Seger syndrome. And when he gets
serious, Nugent really is one of the
-greatest. But it's the mediocre stuff, the
songs that seem just perfect for for-
mated radio, that shows his commer-
,cial side.
So on Weekend Warriors we get a
,song like "Cruisin' " which is so
repetitious that I now regret ever
cruising around during my high school
days, because I am reminded of what a
waste of time it often was. The energy
level is there (a lot of machine gun-like
breaks and gutsy sounding chords) but
it just dissipates over a monotone
cho'rus of "Cruisin', cruisin'/That's
.what I do to get back to you/Well I'm
-.cruisin'." If this is how the ride's going
to be, just have Ted wake me up when
,we get there,, And if the song happens to
,come on the radio, do yourself a favor
'and change the station.

Nugent is the most efficient recycler of
his own riffs (though I'm sure he would
vehemently deny this). There's a
predictable structure to most of his
music, usually taking the form where
the guitar riff echoes the vocal line.
"Good Friends and a Bottle of Wine" is
the most blatant example of this type of
Nugent composition here, but it is still a
fair piece of hard-driving rock, despite
its formulated structure. And I'd be
surprised if Nugent didn't include a
song like this on a new album, since
they always end up getting lots of air
Overlooking the commercial preten-
se, there is a positive side to Weekend
Warriors. The beginnings of "Name
Your Poison" and "Venom Soup"
(which, believe it or not, actually starts
out mellow with some intricate chor-
ding. A nice touch.) are interesting but
skip the lyric content that follows. "One
Woman" is a slow, hard blues rock tune
where Nugent's leads just sizzle. This
song alone makes the album exciting
for me, since Nugent hasn't played one
like this in years. There's nothing like a
good rock blues to bring the aesthetics
back into place.
This same sense of rock and roll
basics is at work with "Need You Bad".
If Nugent's concept of "gonzo" ever
had to be explained to the innocent, this
song would provide the perfect aural.
textbook. The energy and speed never
subside; from the opening guitar run,
it's all-out, wild-eyed mania with
Nugent slashing out some truly nasty
leads. Terrible Ted, indeed! If only the
whole album could belike this.
"Tiger Spots" is another good song, if
only for the novelty of its lyrics.
Nugent's brand of romanticism has
never been subtle (as in "Wang Dang
Sweet Poontang") or tender (as in
"Yank Me, Crank Me"). It's not
sexism, only some old fashioned locker
room humor. Ted is actually a family
man with two young children who en-
joys the simpler passions of guns, hun-
ting dogs, and Bronco four-wheel drives
(attested to by the inner sleeve photos).
On Weekend Warriors, Nugent is
working with a revamped backing

band, a change which causes no
noticeable difference in his sound. His
new vocalist Charlie Huhn sings like his
old one, but bassist John Sauter
required overdubs from another bass
player on four tracks (I haven't been
able to figure out the reason behind
this. He seems able to play well enough
on his own.) It's just too bad that
Nugent felt he had to fire his old band
who helped him to reach the position he
is at now. But as Ted trailblazes his way
across the counrty, musicians who
don't maintain his expectant level of
aggressiveness are blown to the
wayside. It's happened to some fifty
Gimmicks are sometimes useful in
this business of rock and roll, and
Nugent has used his legendary
escapades and reputation as the
"Motor City Madman" and his brand of
"gonzo" rock to help him create a
distinct style. Near the end of "Good
Friends", Nugent can be heard
shouting "Sounds fine to me." Some
songs on Weekend Warriors certainly
do, but others are just ear-grating
raunch, wild fast hard rock without any
sophistication. I hope someday Nugent
realizes that gunfire, though it has the
power to excite, is just noise.
Law chairs created
Two professorships, named for
original faculty members when the
University Law School opened in 1959,
have been established at the Law
School, University officials said.
The James Campbell and Thomas
Cooley Professorships of Law were ap-
proved Nov. 17 by the Regents. The
professorships, which include annual
stipends, are the result of a gift by
Regent Robert Nederlander. The
professorships will be filled at a later
Expressing gratitude to Regent
Nederaldner for making the professor-
ships possible, Law School Dean
Terrance Sandalow noted that "James
V. Campbell and Thomas M. Cooley are
among the most distinguished names in
the history of the Law School. The
commemoration of their many con-
tributions is long overdue. "

tably perhaps, "My muthuh."
"Though it is by far the role for which
he is best known, Walken brushes aside
both his casting and performance in
Annie Hall. He remembers his brief
casting session with Allen (he hesitates
to call it an interview because.Allen
scarcely said anything), after which
the renowned director promptly selec-
ted him for the part, apparently
because "I looked like what he wan-
AS FOR HIS performance in the
Oscar-winning picture, he says he had
just a small part requiring two days
work. He seems far more proud of
his stage work in parts ranging from
Hamlet to Henry David Thoreau. Also,
there is the soon-to-be-released The
Deer Hunter, (starring Robert De Niro)
which is sure to make Walken a star,
according to the current issue of New
York Magazine.
Walken willingly shares the secret of,
gaining a measure of notoriety among
theater people. It seems the trick is "in-
timidating people into thinking they
should know who you are."
In recent years, the mustachioed ac-
tor has been rather selective about the
parts he takes. But that was not always
the case. "There was a time when I took
absolutely everything," he says. But
now, "I feel like I know what I needed to
find out." And indeed, it's been quite a
while since Walken took an unclassy
HE SEEMS excited about his role in
Richard II, and is not at all reluctant
about working with students. "I do a lot
of flash-backing when I watch them. I
remember being in their situation."
Walken is more of a popularist than
most of his colleagues of the Actors'
Studio, the school from which he
springs. He thinks many of its members
"would have contempt for me. They
believe your understanding of a text
comes from a personalized association
U-M Artists & Craftsmen Guild
Art Fair
Fifth at Hill
Ann Arbor
December 2
10 AM-8 PM
December 3
10 AM-8 PM



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Arts Editors
STAFF WRITERS: Mary Bacarella, Bill Barbour, Mark Dighton, Patricia Fabrizio, Diane
Haithman, Katie Herzfeld, Steve Hook, Mark Johansson, Eleanora DiLiscia, Marty Levine, Rich
Loranger, Dobilas Matulionis, Anna Nissen, Joshua Peck, Christopher Potter. Alan Rubenfeld, Will
Rubino, Anne Sharp, Renee Schilcusky, Eric Smith, R. J. Smith, Tom Stephens, Keith Tosolt, Dan
Weiss. Carol Wierzbicki, Bruce Young, Eric Zorn.

The Gospel According To St. Matthew


A self-proclaimed Marxist astonished the world with his
version of the life of Christ-tasteful, simple and very moving.
Many non-professional actors, including Pasolini's mother, to
whom the film was, in a measure, a tribute. Italian (with
English subtitles).
Sat: KEY LARGO (Bogart)




7:00 & 9:20


The Ann Arbor Film Cooperative presents at Nat. Sci.
(Alfred Hitchcock 1936) SABOTAGE 7 & 10:10-NAT. SCI.
Tha nknowlaed master of the British blend of suspense and humor, Hitch-

Bob Seger

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