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September 30, 1977 - Image 7

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Michigan Daily, 1977-09-30

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, September 30, 1977-Page 7

'artoon fest

lacks continuity

Townshend

's

newest

By KEITH TOSOLT

Fantastic Animation Festival is a
compilation by Voyage Presenta-
tions of sixteen of the best shorts by
young American and European film-
makers.
The ability of the animaters whose
works are presented together here
should be respected, as the making of
animated films is a highly artistic
and time-consuming process.'
Walt Disney Productions employed
thousands of animators and artists,
each specializing in some facet of the
process, to turn out their classic
feature-length cartoon movies. The
shorts in this festival are produced
by only a handful of artists and, in
some cases, are completely individ-
ual efforts.
While there are some excellent
examples in this Festival, one can't
get over the impression that Voyage
included some of the shorts just as
filler to extend its film to feature
length. These films are basically
ventures into the excesses of anima-
tion - rich colors and surreal
drawings, overshadowing any inten-
tion of meaning, form or storytelling.
Great if your consciousness is al-
tered, but barely stimulating if it
isn't.
Light, a study of lighting effects,
could very well have been replaced

with the space monolith scene from
2001 for the same effect. The prism-
like light beams of that scene were
reproduced with less length in Light,
which was left uncredited.
There is also a preponderance of
bizarre and pointless animated films
which seem to be making some sort
of statement. But one's interpretive
powers are strained trying to find
coherent meaning in them.
The commerciality of this project
is its major flaw. The Festival opens
with a leader not unlike the animated
network logos that precede television
movies. Incredibly, the film includes
two animated advertisements: the
Levi's Man and 7 Up. Seen in the
context of TV, animated commjer-
cials of this nature are considerably
unique and far superior to the basic
slop pqt out by production companies
forsponsors. But this commercial art
is out of place in the company of the
esthetic art of the other filmmakers.
Of the shorts in the Fantastic
Animation Festival, the award win-
ners with their more coherend story-
lines, the cartoons and those with
musical scores are the most enjoy-
able.
The film opens with French Win-
dows, a ballet progression through
various geometrical patterns choreo-
graphed to Pink Floyd's "One of
These Days." Also included is Cat

Stevens' Moonshadow, with Teaser
and the Firecat, and Academy
Award nominee Cosmic Cartoon
based on Holst's The Planets.
The classic short cartoon Bambi
Meets Godzilla greets the audience
on their return from the popcorn and
restroom interlude. Its sudden
"punchline" invariably brings a
mixture of groans and guffaws from
the moviegoers, depending on their
individual sense of humor.
Superman, soon to be immortal-
ized again in celluloid, is shown in his
animated manifestation. The mild-
mannered reporter, Clark Kent, is
forced to change into the superhero
to save the pretty tush of Lois Lane
from the clutches of evil and ends up
dumping the scoop into her lap.
The best offering from Zagreb,
where the most important, innova-

tive and active animating company
in post-war Europe developed, is
Kick Me, drawn entirely on separate
frames of film.
Closed Mondays, the story of a
wino who wanders into an art
museum and experiences drunken
delusions while viewing the pieces, is
the finest short of the collection. It
utilizes the process of pixilation,
which involves the working of clay
and the use of stop frame photog-
raphy to create the illusion of
movement. The pixilation is so fine
and expertise that the filmmakers
Will Vinton and Bill Gardiner were
awarded an Oscar in 1975 on its
merit. Closed Mondays is the last
selection of the Fantastic Animation
Festival, most likely an attempt by
Voyage to save the best for last and
end their film on a strong note.

flawed but pleasant
By PATRICIA FABRIZIO
In the past couple of years, a number of egotistical artists in thriving
bands have gone off on their own and made what are known as "solo
albums." Some of these have been good; most have been dismal. When I.
heard about Rough Mix, the new joint effort of Who mentor-guitarist Pete
Townsend and ex-Faces bassist Ronnie Lane, I thought it would rank among
the latter. I was mistaken. Rough Mix contains some of the best made, most
original music to appear in recent months.
Track by track: The first cut, My Baby Gives It Away, is a fast moving,
simple little rocker in the Squeeze Box tradition. Author Townsend uses
sexual references and average instrumentation to get the album off to an OK
start. The song that follows, Nowhere to Run, is one of the album's best. This
surprisingly strong show from Lane is very Dylan in lyric and musical tone
without being imitative. It is a purely original statement. The title track
follows. Rough Mix has the distinction of -being both the only instrumental~
and the only song co-written by Townsend and Lane. Excellent lead guitar
by virtuoso Eric Clapton and electric organ strengthen an already strong
melody, resulting in a track worthy of having the album named after it. The
next track is Annie by Lane, Clapton and Lambert. The first time I heard the
song, I thought of Waltzing Matilda; the Australian ballad. And, indeed, lush
vocals and plaintive instrumentation make it very similar to that song. But
the lyrics are on a deeper level. Side one's fifth track is Keep Me Turning ly
Townsend. Strong but distant lyrics carry this melodically weak song. The
side's last song, Catmelody (Lane), has a combination of 50's sounds, sax,
and country lyrics, and Lane makes it work in this unique and commercial
tune.
Side two starts out with Misunderstood (Townsend). This clever turn of
phrase is like the speaker in My Generation who, narrowing in'on middle age
and still not having set the world on fire, pleads for misunderstanding.
Excellent' Townsend lead guitar, and a brass arrangement by John Ent-
wistle (another Who member) that is kept to economic levels, combine for a
good instrumentation. All told, the song is beautiful and tragic, and shows
Townsend at his artistic best. The last track, Till the Rivers All Run Dry
sounds like Will the Circle be Unbroken. It is country-gospel in tone, but one
is left not quite knowing who the subject of the song is. Sill, nice harmonies
and instrumentation create a sobering end to the album. Rough Mix is
basicly a good album. It is, at times, slow and plodding, but the fine momed-
ts more than compensate. If you can tolerate buying an album that is not A
masterpiece from one end to the other, Rough Mix is worth your time.

A 2

poets encouraged

by local workshops

By CONSTANCE ENNIS
As the arts settle into another fall
season, -the Ann Arbor community is
once again being treated to an abun-
dance of eclectic poetry. Providing a
showcase for both visiting and local
poets, a series of poetry readings,
publications, and workshops are now
well underway. All promise numer-
ous and diversified opportunities for
poets and non-poets alike to meet and
exchange new approaches toward
writing.
Three major poetry series, all
non-profit and communityloriented,
offer a chance to explore a wide
range of styles, cultures, ages and
voi es from traditional to avante-
garde poetry.
Guild House, in its fifth year of suc-
cessful scheduled readings presents
poetry every Thursday evening in a
relaxed, "living-room" atmosphere.
The setting is unique in that it
provides a meeting place for local
poets to actively practice and per-
form the oral tradition of poetry as
well as exchange feedback on their
work.
"We wholeheartedly agree with the
artist's right to express something,"
says coordinator David Oleshansky,
"and we aim to provide a non-threat-
ening form for that creative expres-
sion."
Although Guild House stresses
experimental poetry, the upcoming
series is expected to explore a hetero-
geneous mixture of Ann Arbor poetry
and prose from a variety of back-
grounds. In addition to the readings,

Guild House hopes to continue a
publication of poetry and prosewhich
stems from the weekly readings.
The U-M Poetry Readings, spon-
sored by the English Department,
will be presenting a series of twelve
readings this year. Attracting well-
known local poets and visiting poets
from across the country, the series
offers a real opportunity for poets.
and students to share ideas directly.
"The poet is the expert," says Larry
Goldstein, director, "and this is a
chance to explore the voices first-
hand." This year we will be hearing
from local poets such as Radcliffe
Squires, Gayl Jones, and Lemuel
Johnson as well as visiting poets such
as Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Harp-
er, Rosemarie Waldrop, and many
others.
Unlike most college poetry series
around the country, U-M's English
Department readings are of high
quality, are free to the public, and
strongly urge participation between
poet and audience.
New to Ann Arbor this year is a
series of Saturday afternoon read-
ings at Borders Book Shop. Held in
the second floor art department, the
atmosphere is relaxed and perhaps
less academic than in a workshop.
"We are expecting all types of
poetry," says coordinator Carolyn
Gregory, "pop, classical, avante-
garde, confessional womens' poetry;
poetry representing different ages
and diverse cultures." Expected to
read this fall are local poets such as
Martha Merrill, Martin Berman,
Andrew Carrigan, Ken Mikolowski
(Grindstone Press), and many oth-
ers.
Upcoming series to watch for are
The West Side Book Shop series, The
Hungry Ear, an Eastern Michigan
University series, and frequent Resi-
dential College presentations, where
Stephen Dixon, New York poet, will
be reading on October 25th. For those
who are interested in a group that
meets regularly to discuss poetry,
try the Canned Tuna workshop.
THEANNARSOR
FILMCOOPERATIVE
is accepting new members.
Stop by one of our showings
for an application.

Pas de six

Twyla Tharp and her dance company are coming to Detroit's Music Hall
theater. The performance will be on October 14.

Pirates recording uninspired

By RICHARD LEWIS
Seraphim has just re-released the
Sir Malcolm. Sargent/Glyndebourne
;Festival recording of The Priates of
Penzance (Seraphim SIB-6102, two
discs), and listening to it has
prompted me to think twice about the
Gilbert & Sullivan operas' current
acceptance by Serious Musicians.
Although these comic master-
pieces have recently been featured in
the repertories of such companies as
England's Sadlers' Wells and the
New York City Opera, they have
generally been dismissed by high-
brows as "operas for the unmusi-
cal." A few distinguished champions
have defended them - Sir Adrian
Boult, Lytton Strachey, Igor Stravin-
sky - but, for the most part, the
operas were kept alive for the first
half of this century by the D'Oyly
Carte Opera Company and enthusias-
-.tic amateur groups.
Perhaps things were better in the
old days.
While Sir Malcolm (who served a
term as Musical Director to the
D'Oyly Carte- Company in the twen-
ties) conducts a number of fine
singers in this recording of Pirates,
the result is formal and tedious,
failing to capture either the sparkle
of Sullivan's tunes or the literate
insanity of Gilbert's lyrics.
Much of the fault lies with Sar-
gent's leisurely, occasionally deadly,
tempi. The dum-di-dum rhythms
which accompany such numbers as
"When Frederic Was A Little Lad"
and "Oh, Better Far to Live and Die"
must bounce along if they are not to
sound too even. Unfortunately, Sar-
gent takes these numbers so slowly
that some otherwise excellent sing-
ing is obscured.
James Milligan's Pirate King, for
example, could have been wonderful.
Milligan has a voice as full and rich
as a barrel of rum. He clearly
understands the character: a big,
burly pushover. But Sargent's stately
conducting allows little humor to
come through.
In fact. no one in the cast see~ms to

which Sullivan intended to mock the
light Italian and French opera of his
time. Morison's muscular approach
to the role does not help to point this
out.
There are some nice moments.on
this recording, of course. George
Baker's broad, choked-up "Oh Men/
of Dark and Dismal Fate" is very
funny, as is his performance of the
patter song. Owen Brannigan is also
amusing as the Sergeant of Police.
His rendition of "A Policeman's Lot"
is sensitive and soft-hearted, and his
leading of the "Tarantara" chorus is
superbly cowardly.
Most of the large ensembles work
well, particularly the "How Beauti-
fully Blue The Sky" sequence, and
the orchestra is more than adequate.
I only wish that the recording as a
whole were a little more playful, a
little more dashing, and a lot less
self-conscious.
The old D'Oyly Carte recording
now available on the Richmond label
is still my favorite. Whatever its
shortcomings - yes, Thomas Round
certainly warbles a lot and Peter

Pratt's Major General is rather
brittle - this Pirates has a rollicking
quality that the Seraphim version
never attains.
Chinese philosopher Confucius'
name comes from an anglicized
version of his family name, Kung,
together with his formal title, fu-dz,
meaning "honored sir."

ROBERT ALTMAN'S 1972
- IMAGES
In the beautiful and spellbinding Irish countryside, Altman explores a theme
similar to that of his first film, That Cold Day In The Pork, and of his latest,
Three Women. One of Altman's most effective movies, it features Susannah
York as a woman whose reality and fantasy begin to overlap. Striking cinea-
motography and chilling sound effects.
SAT: THE STORY OF ADELE H
CINEMA GUILD
TONIGHT at 7:00 & 9:00
OLD ARCH. AUD. Admission $1.50

EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Division of Student Affairs, Office of Campus Life and N
PRESENTS
IN CONCERT
"The Ramblin' Kinda Guy"
I STEVE MARTIN
with very special guest
JOHN SEBASTIAN
Formerly of the LOVIN' SPOONFUL
Welcome Back Kotter
"Homecom ing Show
I AT.OCTI. R--Rnm._

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