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February 06, 1975 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1975-02-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Thursday, February 6, 1975

I HE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

Hall h
By DAVID BLOMQUIST
Arts and Entertainment Editor
Many modern American history texts
credit the phenomenal growth of the or-
ganized labor movement after the In-
dustrial Revolution largely to the per-
sonal skill and immense determination
of Samuel Gompers, founder and presi-
dent of the American Federation of La-
bor.
But as Donald Hall's new play Bread
and Roses points out, there were several
other labor organizers actively at work
during the early years of this century-
men and women who suffered, agoniz-
ed, and all too often gave their lives on
behalf of the American working class.
Bread and Roses, which opened last
night at the Power Center as an artist-
in-residence presentation of the Profes-
sional Theatre Program, concentrates on
a small but vocal group known as "the
Wobblies" - properly known as the In-
dustrial Workers of the World (IWW) -
that for a time was an active and some-
what influential Marxist-Socialist labor
organization.
Using actual songs, letters, and speeches
of IWW leaders, Hall develops a concise
documentary look at the short, turbu-

tonors Wobblies
lent history of the Wobblies - from their Hall. Accompanied in a lilting ragtime
shaky beginnings in a 1905 Chicago con- piano on an old Grinnell upright by Wil-
vention to -a slow and extremely painful liam Bolcum, the musical numbers at
demise in the midst of the post-World once brighten up to play and focus its
War I "Red scare". theme. Unfortunately, they also tend to
A grandfather - like figure called the considerably break up the dramatic ten-
"First Actor", played with suitable sion. Hall might be wise to reduce some-
charm by artist-in-residence Walter what the musical content in the first hour.
Rhodes, narrates the historical tour in Richard Meyer, head of the University's
a subtle prose and gentle manner that is theatre program, handled the direction in
reminiscent of the classic Stage Manager a relatively straight but quite effective
character in Thornton Wilder's Our style. Meyer easily crafted difficult tran-
Town. sitions between characters and time
Each of the 19 student actors alternates frames. Some of the group scenes, how-
between several roles within the collec- ever, seemly overly posed and much too
tion of fascinating individuals that made rigid.
up the Wobblies. Most of the names are Bread and Roses still needs some pol-
new to the audience- "Big Bill" Hay- ishing - especially in the first half - but
ward and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, for is fundamentally a strong piece of ma-
example. But some of the people we meet terial. It successfully addresses an ex-
along the way are quite familiar - like tremlyt c templra r emes throegh
lawyer Clarence Darrow, who defended skillful use of some rich historical mater-
the Wobblies in a crucial court battle, and sil
perennial leftist presidential candidate
Eugene Debs, who was one of the IWW's In fact, Bill Hayward and Elizabeth
founders. Flynn - and, for that matter, perhaps
The backbone of Bread and Roses - even Samuel Gompers - would no
and the show's spice - are the biting doubt be quite pleased with Donald Hall's
IWW songs written during the organiza- thoughtful look at the early birth pangs
tion's peak years by Wobbly leader Joe of organized labor in America.

11

I

l

I

,I

SPEED CHESS

RECORD

STEVE FELDMAN (6 times Michigan

Chess Champion)

and BOB BEINISH

I

campj 61ck4
Lucas's success re-
flects film's change
By JAMES VALK
WITH THE '60s nearing a close and the '70s on the horizon,
Hollywood began what is now referred to as "the infamous
transition period." The big budget, large scale motion pictures
became mere shadows of the past; the "new wave" of low
budget, youth-oriented films became the cocktail chatter of
the movietown moguls.
But -as these new films proved somewhat less than prosperous
at the box office, the Hollywood masterminds began to lose en-
thusiasm. Films of the Easy Rider genre were dumped by
the major studios, while directors like Monte Hellman and Jim
McBride once again became the "who?" that they are today,
WHAT PRIMARILY transpired during the "Tinseltown Tur-
moil" was a separation of genuine talent from commercial
exploiters. Accepting the theory that repression cannot conceal
the legitimate forces, our scenario is set. And thus arrives
George Lucas.
Lucas' rise to fame is an ironic one - the very "youthful"
movement that gave him his start almost collapsed his career.
Starting out as a student in San Modesto Junior College, Lucas
experimented with 8 mm films. Deciding that film was the
medium he wished to explore, he enrolled in the USC film studies
program.
While there, he made a total of eight films from one to
25 minutes, the last being a chilling projection of an electron-;
ically programmed civilization. The film won the National Student
Film award, and was ultimately brought to the attention of the
top brass at Warner brothers.
This was in 1968. Oficialy, Lucas became an entity of Warner
Brothers, and was assigned to watch another director at work
on a film. The film was Finian's Rainbow, and the director was
Francis Ford Coppola, who was then at odds with the studio over
a proposed project entitled The Rain People.
BECOMING FRIENI DS with a mutual interest and concern,
they formed their own San Francisco based production unit,
American Zoetrope. Their financing was to be handled by Warn-
er Brothers, who had commissioned them to develop seven more
films, the first being a feature length version of Lucas' student
production.

Fever

Pitch

(of Brooklyn) will try to break the
ENGLISH-HELD ...
81 HOUR 32 MINUTE WORLD RECORD
Starling at 9 a.m. Thursday

By DAVID WEINBERG
Today, tomorrow and Satur-
day, Peachy Cream Productions
moves into Round 2 of their
latest creation, Fever Pitch.
And though the musical review
fizzles and drizzles and a few
people work up a powerful
sweat, Fever just barely nudges
98.6.
I was annoyed with the show
on many counts. Much of the
singing was weak and half-
hearted and there was very little
dancing to speak of at all. Much
of the humor was just plain old
puns and stupid ones at that.
Not as if the show did not
demonstrate some potential, or
an ability, as dancer Judie
Goodman once put it, "to come
to grips with the material,"
but worse than anything was
the inability or unwillingness of
the cast to decipher the good
from the bad, or in some cases,

to think through carefully what
would make a cohesive effort.
It was choppy, unedited, in
places strange, and in need of
a director. The feeling one getsI
is that everything was taken,;
everything was used and that
no one was making an effort to
glimpse the show as a whole.
The production is composed!
of a series of skits, or scenarios,
unrelated except for their move-
ment forward in linear time-
from the '30s to the '40s, et al.j
The overriding goal of the se-
quences, as the cast once ex-
plained to me, is to set the
audience on tenderhooks, es-$
pecially within individual per
formance.
Scriptwriter Peter Anderson
once said the skits "contain
an element of control with an
element of noncontrol." But ifI
the script cannot pull the audi-
ence into it through the text,

how can it expect an audience
to follow it into a physical in-
volvement? In many cases, the
result is for the skit to degen-
erate into meaningless frenzy.
"Good Evening Class," the
lead-off skit in the show, is a
perfect example of this failing.
Starting with the format of a
pedantic college professor who
essays to define for us the
meaning of the word "fever" it
rapidly deteriorates into the
age old parody of a parody-
the screaming howling oozing
college professor.
In a few places actor Marty
Sherman managed to be funny,
but mostly he evoked a vague
feeling of discomfort.
"The Greatest Nation on
Earth," by contrast, was an
exceptionally funny and enter-
taining number, and one of the
few in the show that attempted
social satire. It is this kind of

skit that can set an audience on}
"tenderhooks," but they were
few and far between in Fever
Pitch.
The dancing was far from
reminiscent of the Astair/Rogers
days, and was a lot closer to
boogie, or occasionally 21st cen-
tury impressionism. Only once
did Judie Goodman scamper
across the stage wearing taps,
but it must have been the short-
est number on record. I hon-
estly expected more, much more
variation in the dancing, much
more dancing in general.
And finally, singing too slow-
ed the show down. "Friendship"
was a lively and well-choreo-
raphed number, and even
'Let's 1)o It" with its updated
lyrics were a lift, but there
were many disanpointments, es-
pecially Val Gifford's rendition
of "The Man that Got Away,"
usually a very powerful piece of
mu sic.
All in all, although seemingly
impressive to some members of
the audience, Fever Pitch failed
to be cohesive, funny or even
feverish. It is a badly-edited
montage of Music! Sight! and
Sound! lapsing frequently into
cliche and pun, and to a certain
extent in a confused state as
to what its theatrical goal must
be.

IN

DAVID'S BOOKS

529 E. LIBERTY

663-8441

-..

J

Record czar Davis calls
Dylan most expensive buly

By WABX growing. It now includes Linda
In his recently published book, Ronstadt, Alvin Lee, Marshall
Clive Inside the Record Busi- Tucker, Buffy Sainte-Marie,
ness, former Columbia record Billy Joel, Charlie Daniels,
President Clive Davis says that Tracy Nelson, Roger McGuinn,
Bob Dylan was one of the most Leonard Cohen, Billy S w a n ,I
expensive artists he signed while Bonnie Bramlett, Michael Mur-
with Columbia. phey, Tony Joe White, and fin-
D lan wr fi st ffjrA d five ally Earl's sons Randy and Gary

yran Was r5 vineuJv
per cent of all album royalties,
in addition to a minimum guar-
antee of $500,000. Competitively,
MGM counter offered twelve,
talus an un-front guarantee of

Scruggs.
Johnny Winter is currently on
a massive tour stretching from
January 24 through April 13;
and covering a total of 40 cities.
John Prine is in the studios; as-
sisting him are Jackson Browne
and the Eagles.
John Entwistle of the Wha is

due to begin his first solo tcur
of the United States at the end
of February, featuring his band
Ox. The group members a r e
Graham Deakin (drums), Mike
Deacon (keyboards), Robert A.
Johnson (guitar), and 7ntwistle
on bass.
Rick Derringer is working on
a new album, titled Spring Fe-
ver, including Johnny Winler on
slide guitar, and also Edgar
Winter and Chick Corea on .yn-
thesizer. Jerry Garcia is cur-
rently mixing the second al-
bum for Grateful Dead lvricist
Robert Hunter at their Marn
County, California studios.

ARTS

Upon viewing the rough cut of a film entitled THX-1138, Warn- 1.5 milion. According to Davis,
er Brothers withdrew all support. "They wanted .another Planet Dylan eventually signed w i t h
of the Apes Lucas recalls, and American Zoetrope neared Columbia to a five-year con-
financial collapse tract receiving ten per cent of
his records' royalties.

I

I

Bordering on personal bankruptcy, Lucas began to develop
a script for a film that had been a personal goal. Dealing with
the nostalgic late '50s-early '60s, before nostalgia became a
craze, the script was turned down by virtually every studio that
considered it.
WITH ROUGHT draft in hand, Lucas sought the help of cine-{
matic cohort Coppola, who was basking in the success of
The Godfather. Convincing 'The Sultan of San Francisco' to serve
as executvie producer, Lucas, with .Coppola's influence, was
signed by Universal to undertake a film entitled American Graf-
fiti. And the rest is history.
The interesting story of George Lucas is his tremendous cine-
matic versatility. Where THX-1138 was a cold and repellent view
of the years ahead, American Graffiti comes off as a warm
and nostalgic lapse into the years behind. "THX-1138 is how
I feel as a filmmaker," Lucas explains, "American Graffiti is
how I feel as a person."
What Lucas represents to the motion picture industry is a
totally new attitude in film production. Flaunting his newly
found success to its financial maximum, Lucas hopes to some-
day form a film community in San Francisco, perhaps reviving
the American Zoetrope that he and Coppola started.

Blood on the Tracks, Dylan's
latest album, seems aptly tit-
led. Late in December he re-
recorded five of the cuts. Dylan
recorded the new tapes in Min-
neapolis with the aid of his bro-
ther Dave Zimmerman.
Local Minnesota musicians
were used, including bassist1
Bill Peterson, guitarist K e n
Odegard, drummer Bill Berg,
Greg Inhofer on keyboards, and
Chris Weber on 12 string.
Eric Burdon recently t o k
time off his national tour to lec-
ture on rock at the New York
School for Social Research in
Manhattan.-
The Georgia State Department
of Corrections has given an
award to the AllmanmBrothers
for "outstanding community or-
ganization of the year." '
The list of musicians working
on Earl Scrugg's album keeps

0 LiL6ipper
W ~cancle s
" mid.~Q*M'S
happy valentine's day

I

iE

sto
free
209 s. state
(downstairs)

p in & celebrate
cookies on the 14th

mon.-sat.
10-6

I

Have o flair for
artistic writinq?
If you are interest-
ed in reviewing
poetry, and music
or writing feature
stories a bout the
drama, dance, film
arts: Contact Arts
Editor, 0/o The

. .- . * .

Professional Theatre Program -
TOM MALLOW'
lob
earroll
OFiddler

HANCOCK
Sat., Feb. 22
Hill Aud, 8p.m.

I

HERBIE

Reserved Seats
$6, $5.50, $5, $4.50

Avai1.
5:30
Sorry,i

UM Union 10:30-
d a iI v(763-4553).
no personal checks.

Tomn Mallow+ +I
directed by
written and
JOSEPH A.
WALKER
ILVER&

Based cn Shwom A~lenmS Stores
By Scial PernUSSion of Affnold Perl

4 64
4

'! M CPROOUCE.1WSCOfEOSY
Smokinbg&dbeverages str ictly R TE ria as* otn A A rBkg
prohibited in Auditorium. s. ° ^^-'A--EC
Your cooperation is essential. -\
MICHAEL CURTIZ FESTIVAL 1938
ANGELS IWTH DIRTY FACES
JAMES CAGNEY and PAT O'BRIEN grow up as friends in New York's tene-
ment district. One becomes a gangster and the other becomes a priest.
They meet again in their old neighborhood and, between them, try to

Mr. Robins Oirdio
"repoducd ly
RIARD ALTMAN

Mr. Robb.ns totogtapJy
R.1.eod,.,td Sy
DM ABAFFA

Bi JOSEPH STEIN
',. IM u!JERRY DOCK.

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