Tuesday, October 291 1974
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Th.*esdoy, October 29, 1974 THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Biff Rose is baffling,
irritating and amazing
By JOAN BORUS
Anyone who goes to hear Biff Rose
hese days should be prepared to
xperience something really differ-
.nt. If you heard him at the Ark last
veekend, you probably had a num-
pr of reactions that ranged from
rritation and bewilderment to utter
mazement. Ultimately, you prob-
bly reached the conclusion that Biff
ose is slightly crazy.
If you did, Biff would be the first
agree with you. Interviewing him
like listening to him perform -
s witnessing the creative process
veloping and fermenting right in
ont of you.
Sitting in the "bedroom" of what
s now his home-a red VW micro-
)us -- Biff expounded on some of
he things that are behind the na-
tire of his performances.
What he's doing now is analogous
:o the format of a Joyce novel. His
>erformances resemble a stream of
.onsciousness (he calls .it a "pol-
uted stream of consciousness") -
Semories, experiences, recollec-
ions from magazines and books, lan-
guage patterns and conventions all
'ecome intertwined and fitted togeth-
ar to achieve certain moods and
These patterns are often bridged
together by jazz piano work that al-
lows Biff's mind to flow onward and
improvise new material on the spot.
In many ways this goes back to
Biff's early songwriting experi-
ences. Like Bob Dylan and Randy
Newman he was preoccupied with
how language and music were inter-
related and how certain word selec-
tions and patterns effected the total
meaning of a song.
Explaining his preoccupation with
language he said "I love to con-
spire." The "conspiracy" he speaks
of is, perhaps, the same sort of ex-
perience that drove so many people
to listen to Dylan's songs in terms of
the hidden meanings that they could
He feels that we take the forma-
tion of language for granted; that
we tend to rely on certain situations
and conventions, when in actuality
language and the spirit behind it are
in constant evolvement.
Thus, a performance's primary goal
is to communicate something that
goes beyond a mere presentation, or
what Biff would call conformity. Con-
formity is simply following a format
of presenting familiar items to which
the audience applauds. Such a for-
mat makes the difference between
what Biff calls a "performer" and a
"perspirer", the latter being a work-
er or creator of something new.
For Biff, music is and comes from
everywhere. It can be in a tin can
or a child's xylophone. Just as his
constant travels provide him with
fresh ideas for verbal communication
they also give him new musical in-
sights. Although he was classically
trained he has a strong attraction
for the jazz idiom. In jazz music he
finds the re-echoing of his own ex-
periences of being unemployed, job-
less and without roots. Its jarring,
disparate nature, along with its
breaks in rhythm not only reflect
his own experience, but also en-
ables him to insert his ovyn musical
ideas in such a way to achieve a kind
of resolution or wholeness.
The Ark is a frequent roosting spot
for Biff, and it is very likely he will
be back again soon. Whether he will
be doing the things he is doings
now is difficult to speculate upon,
since he is always evolving into
something new. He may puzzle you
at first, but if you have the chance
to see him, or better yet talk to
him, he wil leave you with some-
thing to reflect upon and compre-
hend in the future.
Doily Photo by STEVE KAGAN
if f Rose
f . -- -
By DAVID BLOMQUIST conflict of technique by si
I must admit I was more ignoring it - and then en
han a little suspicious when I coming out for the better.
irst read that Richard Lester Juggernaut has almost
iad begun work on a pseudo- plot, very little .characte
ioseidon Adventure disaster tion, mediocre to poor ac
lick called Juggernaut. and a bare minimum of
Lester can be a shrewd and pense. Yet thanks to Les
Lery sophisticated filmmaker, wily craft and producer-sc
firb only in a narrow style of writer Richard DeKoker's
ictures. His scopewis rather gaging British wit, Juggei
lexible (extending from the manages to be both an e
enetic Hlps to the classic tainment and cinematic
dapstick comedy Three Mus-=cess.
: Lester vs. machines
.ete rsh but it is nevertheless As in last spring's T h r e e
x~tremely delicate. 'Musketeers, Lester's underly-1
Lester's just-ended six year ing approach to the project is'
absence from films, for exam- through his basic mistrust of
le, was the direct consequence mechanized society. Once again,
of an ill-planned excursion into a cast of hapless men are held
the surrealistic war movie gen-
re that - no pun intended- .. . .
completely bombed at theater
I feared that Lester's experi- uggernaut' has alm
mnt with the disaster fad jgeni 'hs(r
ould be just as catastrophic.
The Lester style is traditionally Characterization, med
loose and nearly improvisation-
9J, often using novel editing
tricks to create a quick, active and a bare minimum o
rhythm. But the traditional dis-
aster suspense film - like
Poseidon Adventure - almost to Lester's wily Craft
depends upon a directly plotted,j
o-nonsense approach. writer Richard eKok
Or so it seemed. Only the
swacky Richard Lester would
esoive such a fundamental' wit, 'Juggernaut' mant
ernment dispatches explosives
disposal expert Richard Harris
and crew to parachute down to
the Britannic and defuse Jug-
gernaut's oil drum bombs.
Those green and yellow man-
strosties, happily ticking away,
carry Lester's man-vs.-ma-
chines theory to the ultimate.
In Three Musketeers, Lester
had to be content with a faulty'
revolving jousting target or a
strange little wine fountain. But
Juggernaut's complex cans of,
death stretch the limit of man's
powerlessness to the fatal ul-
Lester presents Harris' defus-
ing struggle as almost a game-
a chess match between man and
ost no plot, very little
iocre to poor acting,
)f suspense. Yet thanks
and prod ucer-screen-
per's engaging British
ages to be both an en-
Visually, Juggernaut is some-
what more exciting than Three
Musketeers. Lester uses the
traditional techniques of intel-
lectual montage - the old Eis-
enstein idea of "thesis plus an-
tithesis equals synthesis", or a
new concept - to form some
striking but sardonically play-
ful sequence transitions.
Jump cuts from a massive dy-
namite explosion to a flickering
cigarette lighter flame or from
a sophisticated radar screen to
a television pinball game em-
phasize the ever-present nature
of machines inour society, and
draw sone thought-provoking
contrasts and parallels.
The film does suffer some-
what from an obvious attempt
to hold its length to justaunder
two hours. Attempts at charac-
terization are all too brief and
appear more as hollow than re-
alistic. More importantly, key
scenes occasionally suffer from
a too-crisp, too-quick look.
But those faults are basically
minor. Generally, Juggernaut
is a nice, semi-serious piece of
entertainment from a director
who deserves better.
And there is one especially
interesting question raised for
film buffs by Juggernaut: is
Richard Lester mellowing? In
Three Musketeers, the machines
always had the last laugh -
right into the final frames of
the last reel.
But inrJuggernaut, Harris
eventually checkmates the tin
can bombs, finding the magic
red wire that defuses the ex-
plosive. Was it a plot necessity
or a genuine change of heart?
For that answer, we shall sim-
ply have to wait for Lester's
4:00 P.M. to 131 :00 P.M.
ONE GIANT PLATE OF
SP4GHETI orr3RD HIT WEEK!
or I -pTuesday at 7 & 9 only
MOSTACC o Open at 6:45
Wednesdav (Bargain Day) at
for only 1 -3-5-7-9 p.m.
$1.29 All Seats $1 Until 5 p.m.
114 E. WASHINGTON-
Downtown Laot on
BEER - COCKTAILS
NO COVER CHARGE I
Sunday thru Thursday-a
BUSTER K EATO N'S 1926
THE GENERAL (at 7)
Keaton's masterpiece and one of the "Twelve Best Comedy Films of All Time," according
to an international poll in 1967, THE GENERAL is based on an actual Civil War ad4enture
that Keaton single-handedly transforms into one of the funniest and inventive choses
(using trains no less) ever filmed.
KATHERINE HEPBURN as 1936
MARY OF SCOTLAND (at 9)
John Ford directs a star-studded (Frederic March, John Carradine, Hepburn) version of one
of history's most famous romantic tragedies-that of a light-hearted Catholic Queen who
returns from France to rule over a Grim land in a loveless marriage, and has an affoir with
a reckless Earl-all observed by her enemy, Queen Elizabeth.
$1.50 for OLD
CINEMA GUILDBoth Films ARCHITECTURE AUD.
Stephen Stills, formerly of
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
will appear tonight in Ann Ar-
ibor for John Reuther, Demo-
cratic candidate for Congress
in the 2nd- District.
Stills will perform at 8:30 p.
m. and 10:30 p.m. in the "Chan-
ces Are" Saloon, 516 E. Liber-
ty. Admission will be $5 for
Tickets will be available at
tertoanment and cinematic success.
virtual captives by a collection his inventions. At one point,
of uncooperative machines. Harris determines that a for-
T H U R., FRI., SAT.
0 ANN ARBOR
341 S. M
Omar Sharif is badly mis-
cast as the allegedly dapper
captain of a Southampton-to-
New York ocean liner, the Bri-
tannic. About a day or so out
from Southampton, Shariff re-
ceives a frantic message from,
his home port: a mysterious ex-
plosives expert, calling him-
self 'Juggernaut', has placed
seven bombs aboard the Bri-
tannic and plans to sink the
ship unless he receives a huge
ransom by dawn the next day.
Determined not to bow down
to terrorists, the British Gov-
midable looking paper tape
reader clicking merrily inside
the bomb's mechanism is a
fraud, not really connected to
the explosive device. But when
he attemptsto sever the tape,
the machine happily one-ups
him: it sounds a loud, offensive
burglar alarm bell.
.. _ _ - - - - - _
TUESDAY EVENING HOUR-8:00 P.M.
DOM BENEDICT REID, noted Christian mon-
atsic and Abbot of St. Gregory's Abbey, will
TRAVEL MICH. UNION 763-,
NEW ORLEANS CAJUN VACATION'
JAN. 1-6, 1975
* Round Trip Air Transportation
from Detroit on Delta Airlines
" Accommodations at the Le Richelieu
Hotel in New Orleans
Round Trip Transfers from Airport to Hotel
* Sightseeing Tour of New Orleans
DEADLINE NOV. 11
For Further Details Contact
Shakespeare's PERICLES: Four Points of View (University
Course 411, Division 495) One hour credit. No prerequisites
NEW COURSE OFEERING
This mini-course centers around the University of Michigan Theatre Program's production of
Shakespeare's PERICLES starring guest artist Nicholas Pennell, who will repeat his role of
Pericles performed for the past two summers at Stratford Theatre Festival of Canada. This
production will be directed by William P. Halstead and performed November 27-30, in the
Power Center for the Performing Arts at 8:00 p.m. Tickets for the production may be
purchased at the box office of the Professional Theatre Program in the Mendelssohn Theatre
Buildina, phone (313) 764-0450.
Jack Bender, Professor of Speech is the co-ordinator for the humanities progrom. The course
consists of four lectures of the themes of "Reality, Fantasy, and Self-Delusion: The Human-
istic Search for Identity." The lecture schedule is as follows:
218 N. DIVISION
1313 SO. UNIVERSITY
Home Cooking Is Our Specialty
GIVE BLOOD TO
$10 per donation
to buy gas.
432 W. MICH. AVE.
Mon., Tues., Thurs. 9 to 5 p.m.
Tues., Nov. 5th
Tues., Nov. 12th Historian's View of Another Pericles
MARVIN BECKER, Professor of History
Tues., Nov. 19th
Tues., Nov. 26th
Breakfast All Day
3 eggs, Hash Browns,
Toast & Jelly-$1.05
Ham or Bacon or
Sausa.ge with 3 eggs,
Hash Browns, Toast and
Specials This Week
Chinese Pepper Steak
Home-made Beef Stew
Home-made Soups (Beef,
Barley, Clam Chowder, etc.)
Chili, Vewetable Tempura
(served after 2 p.m.)
Fried Rice with Sousoqes
The director of the play will also discuss the historical background of the play at a rehearsal.
Time and date to be announced.
All lectures will be in the RACKHAM AUDITORIUM, except that of November
12th which will be in Lecture Hall 1, Modern Lanquaqe Buildinq. Lectures will
begin at 4:00 p.m.