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October 10, 1971 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1971-10-10

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Sunday, October 10, 1971

THE MICHIGAN DAILY Sunday, October 10, 1971

p ~

The Todd Killings: Old hat tricks

-Daily-Rolfe Tessem
BLUES MUSICIANS LIGHTNIN' SLIM (pictured here) and Dr. Ross played before an appreciative,
almost full house of local blues lovers at the Alley last night. Two additional shows are scheduled for
tonight.

13. B. King and owin

Wolf:

Keeping up with young whites

By PETER MUNSING
So you're going to make a
film about murder; you could
have it detective or gangster-
oriented, like Bullitt or Little
Ceasar; or you could have some
demented people, like Whatever
Happened to Baby Jane? But
you want more . . . you want
something else - money. No?
Everybody knows that the major
movie audience is kids; think of
kids and you think of drugs;
combine this with murder and
you get . . . Charlie Manson.
But Chuck, well uh, he was
freaky, but maybe a bit too
freaky; might turn some people
off-wouldn't be fun entertain-
ment; might lose big bucks. So
you play it safe; you put your
drug-murderer in a high school
and you put the high school in
the suburbs.
It's thinking like this that pro-
duces mediocre films, and The
Todd Killings is no exception; it
tries to be all things to all teeny
boppers - a murder/suspense
film with psychological over-
tones, a drug film, and a sey
film. This isn't to say that these
aims couldn't be accomplished;
it's just that it's not in the
scheme of things for the director
of a film like this to have a
generous amount of talent. Be-
cause everything is overem-
phasized it's hard to pin the
blame on any one component,
other than the lack of imagina-
tion; but more than any other
reason this film fails because it
lacks suspense; it is incredibly
predictable.
The central character is a guy
called Skipper (oi, how high
school can you get). He is 23 and
hangs around the local PJ's
("The Renaissance") picking up
teeny boppers, balling ahem,
and killing them. Fine, but do
they have to literally mob him
like Elvis Presley? It get's a,
tad ridiculous when you have
girls coming up to his table to
be told "You're doing fine Mary
Jane-you've got a good set of
knockers coming along," as if
he were the local USDA rep in-
specting the meat. However, this
alone doth not a Manson make,
so Skipper is also a mysogynist.
OK again, but do they have to
tell us in so obvious a way as a
flashback to his talk with an
Army recruiter where he re-
veals: "I can sleep with them
once because it degrades them-
if. makes them dirty," and "I
could almost kill them - they

make demands on me I can't
give." It is hinted that the lad
has a special affection for his
mother. And in case we miss the
point that he is not wholly at
peace with society, he says
things like "You know what I
smell in your house? The worst
smell in the w o r l d - ,stale
dreams," and "Spiro Agnew,
Vietnam, Cambodia - this rat
bucket is sinking, and everybody
knows it. So groove a little."
This wouldn't be so bad if the
director hadn't gone out of his
way to include every cliche of
crime/drug m o v i e s. Skipper
takes advantage of a simpleton,
but in the end the simpleton
causes his downfall. Should this
prove inadequate, we're also
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- - --
_ _ _ - -
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4C A LECTOR

NNOUNCING

RE AND DISCUSSION SERIES

shown an eternal triangle com-
plete with the jilted girlfriend
who spills the beans. The regu-
lation bad trip scene is there
(actually one and a half), as
well as a dandy slow motion rape
that shows nothing. The kid is
arrogant with the police, so the
immortal line "You're playing a
pretty tough game, kid, and
when we get you we're going to
bounce on you - hard," can be
included. Thus we know that
Skipper will get his and justice
will prevail. There is even a
Mafia chief, though what the hell
a Mafia chief is doing in a small-

ish Nevada town is beyond me.
Equally guilty for the supres-
sion of suspense was the music,
which never stopped, thus let-
ting us know in plenty of time
that something was going to hap-
See WHO, Page 10
The Michigan Daily, edited and man-
aged by students at the University of
Michigan. News phone: 764-0552. Second
Class postage paid at Ann Arbor, Mich-
igan, 420 Maynard Street, Ann Arbor,
Michigan 48104. Published daily Tues-
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on
Types of Religious Experience
to include: Mystical, Mythical, Aesthetic,
Psychological, Intellectual, Chemical, etc.
Beginning Oct, 19,'71 ending March 23,'72
DIRECTED STUDIES CREDIT AVAILABLE
For students-but seminar open to
all, Faculty and Community invited
Co-sponsored by the Program on Studies in Religion
and The Office of Religious Affairs
If interested Please Call: 764-7442

Try Our New
HAIRSTYLISTS!
. Jeney Erickson
* Dennis Shaner
DASCOLA BARBERS
near Michigan Theater

4

Saturday and Sunday
YO, JIMBO
(The Bodyguard)
Dir. A k i r a Kurosawa,
1961. with Toshiro Mi-
fune. A shaggy samurai
with a sword for hire-a
comedy-satire about the
bodyguard who kills the
bodies he is suppose' to
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ARCHITECTURE
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By HERB BOWIE
The blues is a rather fragile
art. Transplanting it from its
natural- audience to one of freaky
whites is pretty risky. There is
a world of difference between
hearing a blues artist singing to
a black audience and having that
same bluesman singing to you in
a young white audience. When I
hear Howlin' Wolf's voice on
record rasping "I'm warning
you brother/ You better watch
your happy home," I can imag-
ie myself in blackface in a
club on the South Side, witness
to a ceremony never intended for
my eyes. When, on the other
hand, the Wolf is singing those
same lines looking right at me,
the whole thing becomes a little
absurd.
A blues artist performing un-
der these conditions can react
in one of two ways. His first al-
ternative is to let himself be-
come a museum piece, playing
exactly the role his audience
expects. When Muddy Waters
was here he chose this path,
collecting his standing ovation
before singing a single note and
then playing his best-known
songs almost exactly as he re-
corded them. The resultant :et.
although a little artificial, at
least allowed Muddy to leave the
stage with his reputation and
dignity intact.
A bluesman performing before
a college audience can also try
to adapt his act to suit tre
occasion. This route lets him
remain a creative artist kut pre-
sents quite a challenge: just
how can an aging black man
who has spent most of his life
singing to fellow blacks gauge
the interests of a young white
crowd? The blues concert Fri-
day night at Hill Auditorium
demonstrated just how well and
how terribly a great artist can
handle this task.
Howlin' Wolf was just plain
embarrassing. He played the
role of a big, dumb nigger to the
hilt. One minute he was up on
his feet, grimacing and shaking
his huge head from side to side
like the Wild Man from Borneo;
the next minute he was playing
Gentle Ben, slumped back in his
chair, grinning and saying "Ah
got a big heart but a small
head." His repertoire of stage
tricks included patting his crotch,

waggling his microphone while
holding it in front of his fly, and
crawling around the stage on his
hands and knees like Iggy Stooge.
For one awful moment I en-
visioned him hurtling his huge
frame into my lap, as Iggy is
wont to do, thereby assuring me
a footnote in The History of the
Blues. But he restrained himself
to that extent anyway.
An exclusive interview with B. B.
King and Howlin' Wolf will be
broadcasttby WCBN at 8:30 p.m.,
Tuesday, October 12.
Yet, at times, the music suc-
ceeded despite the Wolf's at-
tempts to pander to what he
thought were the audience's
tastes. After all, a man who has
been playing such great blues
for overathirty years cannotturn
into a complete clown overnight,
no matter how hard he tries.
His vocals and harp-work were
as strong as ever. His back-up
band, although it included a
totally inappropriate saxophone
in place of the traditional lead
guitar, fortunately also had the
veteran Sunnyland Slim on elec-
tric piano. The Wolf and Sunny-
land worked together to produce
some good, if not great, rendi-
tions of classics such as "Moan-
in' for My Baby," "Evil," "High-
way 49." "Smokestack Light-
ning," and "Sitting on Top of
the World."
After Howlin' Wolf's disap-
pointing set, I was ready for
anything from B.B. King-any-
thing except what I got. If any-
one entered Hill Auditorium Fri-
day night doubting that B.B.

King is the absolute master of
blues guitar, he certainly
couldn't have left that way. King,
after years of experimentation,
has finally arrived at a style
perfectly suited to college audi-
ences. And he's done so without
adding to the elements that made
him a success among blacks,
but merely by rearranging them.
I saw him two years ago when
he was touring with the Rolling
Stones and his show was pretty
inadequate for an audience of
young whites. He rapped a lot
about traditional blues topics
mostly foreign to Stones fans
and made brief, but beautiful
use of his guitar. Friday night
his patter had vanished com-
pletely and it was his terrific
singing that was subordinated to
his extraordinary guitar work.
Nearly every song included a
long, exquisite guitar solo. His
back-up band, consisting of trom-
bone and alto and tenor saxo-
phones as well as piano, rhythm
guitar, drums and bass, provided
him with a perfect accompani-
ment. The horns were beautifully
arranged, subdued but giving the
songs just the punch they need-
ed. Together, the group played
classic versions of such King
hits as "Ghetto Woman," "Sweet
Little 4ngel," "The Thrill Is
Gone" and "How Blue Can You
Get?"
By now, everyone knows that
the blues fathered a whole pan-
theon of white rock artists. What
B.B. King proved Friday night is
that the blues itself is not quite
ready to be laid to rest in a
history book. Play on!

I

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The Great White Ho
Starring James Earl Jones, Jane Alexander.

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