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February 21, 1979 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-02-21

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Graphic gang violence can be entertaining

The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, February 21, 1979-Page 5
RA Tsfound in
Canterbury Loft


Teenagers will love The Warriors.
,Jt's a real adolescent drama, a cut
:above the sort of stupid, immature ad-
ventures that grownup hacks dream up
yfor young people on The Movie of the
4eek or the back pages of Seventeen.
The film, which is about youth gangs in
New York City, has its hokey moments,
but that's only to be expected. The idea
for The Warriors came a long way from
street reality to novel to screen:
Novelists and Hollywood filmmakers
tend to distort real life, either through
conventions or artistic vision.
Writers David Shaber and Walter
Hill, however, have given the film a
certain feel for the way kids talk to each
other, the way they wear their clothes.
Above all, the movie takes kids
seriously, which is just what they want,
if I remember correctly from my own
stormy adolescence.
The Warriors are a fairly intelligent
gang of street fighters. Their "colors"
are tooled, pseudo-Indian leather vests
which they wear draped over their shir-
tless backs, a la Ted Nugent. We meet
them on their way to a huge convention
of youth gangs, organized by Cyrus, a
demagogue in a shiny copper kimono,
who exhorts the assembled gangs to use
their strength to take over the city. Ac-
tually, Cyrus is a bit of a dip. "CAN
YOOOU DIGGIIIT!" he brays to the
cheering throngs, like an agonized
water buffalo. This part always gets a
laugh from the audience.
The leader of a gang called The
Rogues, which is definitely low'*class
compared to the noble Warriors, shoots
Cyrus. When later asked why, the
Rogue replies, "No reason. I just like
doing t'ings like that." The cops then
close in on the convention. In the en-
suing fracas, the Warriors are blamed
for the shooting. Meanwhile, the
Warriors, decide to grab the subway
back to their Coney Island homes,
totally unaware that the entire New
York police force, along with a better
organized network of gangs, is out to
stop them.

Like true epic heroes, the Warriors
confront dozens of adversaries along
the way, suffering remarkably few
casualties. A Molotov cocktail appears
magically when required to scare off
attackers. They knock over nightstick-
brandishing police like bowling pins,
, and disarm attackers with baseball
bats barehanded. A roomful of female
hoods attack three unarmed Warriors
with guns and switchblades, and the
men eseape with a couple of cuts.
One of the nicest things about film is
its ability to make the hero win all the

fights without showing exactly how he
does it. But then, no one ever
questioned how Errol Flynn managed
to fence with three men at the same
time and win without getting shredded
to bits.
There are no "name" actors in The
Warriors. Undoubtedly, the intended
star is Michael Beck, a blond, horsey-
looking creature who plays Swan, the
Warrior who takes charge of the gang
after their leader disappears, and who
eventually "gets the girl." But Joel
Weiss, who plays the Rogue's scummy

leader, overshadows the rest of the cast
in pure screen presence. While Swan
and the other Warriors remain stoic
and righteous, Weiss, with greasy
ringlets and a pimply chin, whines and
caterwauls and plots the Warriors'
downfall with a mixture of arrogance
and deranged pleasure. At times, he's
so obnoxious and villainous that you
feel like hurling your popcorn at the
screen, but hey, that's talent.
And that's what makes The Warriors

They began in September of '78 by
performing street theater skits on the
Diag, and have performed in several of
the University's dorms. They have
made dramatic presentations dealing
with many current issues, including
apartheid, C.I.A. involvement orr cam-
pus, and homosexuality. They are the
Radical Arts Troupe (RAT), and
tonight they will start a four-day run of
their first major production, Edward
Bond's Stone.
Radical? The word scares, alienates,
and mystifies. Just what are radical ar-
ts? As explained by Walter Builder-
back, the director of Stone, the troupe's
use of the word radical is simple - they
aim to get to the roots of things.
For the most part, RAT gets to the
root of politics. "We believe politics and
art are related. We are concerned with

good politics and good play," explained
Lori Yacobson, a RAT cast member',
and University alumnus.
Stone is a dramatic work which",
without explicitly addressing a political
issue, is nonetheless a political parable.
The story is about a young man who is
hired by a strange mason to deliver
stone to the mason's home. This simple
task becomes a journey full of burden,.
and mishap, with, scenes flowing,
together like those in the Twilight Zone:
Meanwhile, the stone gets bigger and
bigger, and the symbolism becomes.
clearer and more prominent.
Before planning the production, RAT
wrote Bond and told him what they
wanted to do with the play. Not only
was Bond enthusiastic about the
troupe's production, but he wrote them.
an encouraging letter and even exposed-
to them the meanings of his symbols.
Two special effects will highlight the
troupe's performance:t the props and
music - which was composed by RAT
Member Lucy Bjorkland to match the
poetic lines of the script.
The cast members handcrafted'
several beautifully colored masks for
the show, and the stone used as a prop is
similarly effective.
Stone is being performed at the Can-
terbury Loft starting tonight, and will,
be shown through February 24. Ad-
mission is on a donation Basis - a1
though there is a "suggested amount" _
of two dollars. Those who cannot afford.
the two dollars, however, will not be,
turned away, and are encouraged to
come and give what they can.

Daily Photo by ANDY FREEBERG

One bass hit

Bassist David Friesen plucks intently during a concert last Friday evening in the Residential College Auditorium.
Friesen performed a program of duet pieces with electric guitarist John Stowall, sponsored as a Bright Moments concert
by Eclipse Jazz. Earlier in the day the two had given instrumental workshops at East Quad.

Brighton and Ortonville, Michigan
Interviewing, February 27
Summer Placement Office
CALL 763-4117 for appointment


Four-day police strike
threatens Mardi Gras

The Entertainment is
free at the.Frieze

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A police,
strike that has dulled the traditional:
midwinter celebration of carnival and
Mardi Gras was felt in hotels yesterday
with some reporting business down 25
per cent.
And in the midst of the threat to the
$50 million festival in this tourist-
oriented city, a police union official was
quoted as threatening to "wreck the
city" if necessary to win the strike.
But Vincent Bruno, president of the
Police Association of Louisiana, later
said he was kidding. A spokesman
issued a statement saying Bruno felt he
was talking off the record to reporters
for The States-Item and the remark
was "made during light banter."
expensive extravaganzas staged by
private social "krewes," or crews -
were beginning to shift to the suburbs,
out of the strike zone.
Mayor Ernest Morial announced the
cancellation of yet another parade,
making it the 11th casualty of the
A federal mediator kept negotiations
going in the four-day-old strike of some
1,100 policemen, while the city was
patrolled by an 80-person substitute
force of state police and National Guar-
TWO KEY issues in the strike were
Teamsters Local 253's demands that
the contract cover ranking officers and
that unresolved issues be submitted to
compulsory binding arbitration.
City officials contend that putting
police sergeants, lieutenants, captains
and other ranking officers in the union
bargaining unit would give the Team-
sters control of the department.
In the courts, a state district judge
opened hearings on a city request for an
injunction against the strike as an
illegal action.
AN ORDER commanding policemen
to return to work pending the outcome
of a court hearing was issued last
Friday but the striking police ignored
Sentries maintained tight security at
city buildings. Everyone entering City
Hall had to pass through metal detec-
tion devices. The City Council chamber
was searched following telephoned
bomb threats.

Bill Langkopp, executive, vice
president of the Greater New Orleans
Hotel-Motel Association, said a spot
survey on Carnival business showed as
much as "a 25 per cent dropoff due to
people avoiding the city because of the
"It's easy to say it's cost a couple of
million," he said. "I know a couple of
hotels lost literally hundreds of rooms
because of it. Multiply that by $40 a day
and you're up to thousands, and if
somebody gets a room, he goes out and
spends money on food and things in the
French Quarter."
HOWEVER, he said there have been
no cancellations for Mardi Gras itself,
the climactic, boozy blast that comes
up Feb. 27.
In suburban Kenner, Mayor Joe Yen-
ni said as many as five of the New
Orleans parades could shift to his city.
Among them was the big Endymion
parade, with its 40-float procession
whose riders will include the rock group
Kiss and the singer Charo. Yenni sajd a
tentative agreement was reached
yesterday for the group to parade in
Kenner Saturday, if the downtown New
Orleans route is closed because of the
"Kenner people have always gone in-
to town to see these parades and we felt
we should do something," he said.
"These people are in a bind. Even if it
costs something, we'll do it."

You can get something for nothing.
Free entertainment is presented
Wednesday and Thursday afternoons at
4:10 p.m. in the Frieze Building's Arena.
Theater by, the University's Theater
Department. The productions are all
performed, directed, and designed
solely by University students.
Martin Friedman, the studio coor-
dinator, is disappointed that turnouts
for these shows have been mediocre. "I
cannot fathom why people don't come,"
Friedman said. "It's a chance to see the
directors, actors, and designers of
The directors of the shows are
students from the Theater Depar-
tment's Masters and PhD. programs.
The auditions are open to anybody. As
Friedman stated, "/For anyone with
any aspirations Qf beingran actor or ac-
tress - this is the place to try it out."
A teaching assistant in the .d octoral
program at Michigan, Friedman is ac-
tive in revitalizing the Arena facility as
well as the Theater's reputation. Con-
sidering that the seven dramas presen-
ted each semester have no allotted fun-
ds, this is quite difficult. Makeup and
simple costumes are provided by the
theater department,and scenery con-
sists of brown cubes arranged to suit
the productions, which usually run bet-
ween 40 and 60 minutes.
Featured in the Theater's February
calendar are Duck Variations, by
David Mamet and Vanities (the third
act only) by Jack Heifner.
T here are no curtain calls following
Studio performances. Each presen-
tation is critiqued by the faculty, and
the students also consider the audien-

ce's response when evaluating their
"We are still in a laboratory
situation," Friedman explained. "The
Studio acts mainly as an opportunity
for students to see if they are indeed cut
out to be .a director or an actor. The
program is valuable since it provides
opportunity to experiment and to fail.
Often," Friedman continued, "students
learn more in the studio experience
than they do in classes."
Friedman claims that theater is for
the masses. And with his Studio's price,
everybody can afford it. "Jokingly, we
suggested charging a quarter for ad-
mission. That way," Friedman
laughed, "people won't fear they're
getting something for nothing."
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