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November 14, 1976 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1976-11-14

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Sunday, November 14; 1976- THE MI

ICHIGAN DAILY Page Five

.. .

SUNDAY MAGAZINE

BOOKS

1.

' eartland

Mort

Sahis

bitter

memoir

HEARTLAND, by
Mort Sahl. Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich: New York and
London, 158 pp.
By MIKE NORTON
WHAT DO YOU do if you're
a hip, relevant, socially
aware comedian who wakes up
one morning to find that no-
body laughs anymore?
If you're Lenny Bruce, you
can kill yourself.
If you're Mort Sahl you can
white a book about how it's all
a fascist plot concocted by un-
seen enemies to silence you.
Aca dem
(Continueci from Page 3)
"You freeze a jug of fresh
cider solid and then set it
out to thaw," explains Rick.
When it starts to thaw, the
water in the juice will sit frozen
in a lump in the middle of the
jug.
Rick tells you to then drain
off the juice and lethitdfer-
ment a few weeks - "That's
your apple jack. It doesn't taste
like vinegar and it's really
powerful."
Rick works seven days a
week from March until Hallo-
ween. After that, the cider
business slows down and he
cuts back to a six day week.
He had planned to buy some
chickens this year, but pruning
time caught up to him in
March and he didn't get around
to it.
"Maybe I'll get them next
year. When the season starts
you just kiss life goodby for
the next nine months."
It takes four people to run
the pruning machine. "We nev-
er do the 30,000 trees all in
one year. We alternate, half
one year. half the next. In
March it's incredible; the
snow's a foot deep. Still, you
never even get half of, them
done. You prune till you've got
other things to do, then start
up next year where you left
off,"
When it comes time to pick
the apples Rick heads for the
employment agency. He doesn't
like to hire college students to
pick because "they usually
only last a day."
Picking apples is rough -
the workers sometimes spend
12 or 14'hours a 'day perched
on shaky ladders' with apple
sacks hanging from their
shoulders. , And all the apples
aren't on trees. Many are blown
off the branches, and pickers
are forced to crawl under the
rows of trees on their hands and
knees to gather these "wind-
falls".
Rick finds the physical farm
labor to be good for the soul..
"When it's nice outside," he
says with a grin, "the work
can be enjoyable - with the
sunshine on ybur back and ev-
erything. But when the weather
is bad, when it's cold or it
rains, the work is rotten."
The compensation is good no
matter what the weather's like.
"If you keep working," Rick
remarks, "the pay is incredible
- sometimes $80 a day."

You can elevate your private
failure to the level of national
tragedy, weave your legend
into the fabric of history, and
stand forth justified.
The name of the book is
Heartland. It isn't funny.
Sahl began his career in San
Francisco's North Beach dis-
trict in the early fifties. He
was an innovator: the first
American comic to use sensi-
tive political material in his
act, the first to record a com-
edy LP, the first to play the
jazz joints and the university

circuit. Most of today's better into a madman's tale. Full of.
comedians openly acknowledge sound and fury.
their debts to him.

And the man was funny,.
God knows. But somewhere
along the line something hap-
pened to him.
Heartland is Sahl's account
of his journey from success
into obscurity. Its beginning is
innocuous: it gives the im-
pression that what will follow'
is one of those pleasantly vic-
ious memoirs which famous
people leave behind them like
turds. But the book makes sev-
eral turns ,this way and that,
and finally transforms itself

THE TROUBLE started, Sahl
jvsays, when he started to get
involved in New Orleans D. A.
Jim Garrison's investigation of
the Kennedy assassination.
From that moment on, he
claims, he was blacklisted from
nightclubs, television appear-
ances and movies. His best "lib-
eral" friends - Paul Newman,
Hugh Hefner, et al - suddenly
would have nothing to do with
him in public.
Ie was given LSD at a cam-

cy is too easy a target these
days, and Sahl goes on to
launch a bitter attack on lib-
erals in general, on showbiz
liberals in particular.
These days, it's hard to work
up much surprise when some-
body claims the FBI has been
sniffing his bedsheets or poi-
soning his hamster; but the real
point is whether or not the fas-

and debunks myths about a lot
of current heroes. It raises
some necessary questions about
the morality and sanity of the
times we live in - and Sahl
proves himself as adept as he
ever was at calling up the per-
fect image to make his point.
For instance, in a telling con-
demnation of political expedi-
ency, he says:

nant and then trying to fall in
love."
But who benefits when Sahl
stoops to the level of fishwif-
ery, complaining about how
much he's been abused by Pet-
er Lawford and Woody Allen?
Maybe it's therapeutic for
Mort. And maybe he needs to
get it off his chest.
But I can't advise anybody to
buy his book. Let him pay for
his therapy by the hour, like
the rest of us.
Mike Norton is a Daily staff
writer.

cist conspiracy has made Sabi "No matter who the Demo-
un-funny. And 1'm afraid he's crats nominate, the liberal's
managed to do it all by himself: position is, 'Well - I - don't-
know - who - he - is - but - he
H e a r t l a n d, for all might - work - out.' It's reverse
its paranoia, is notmwithout English; it's like being preg-
value. It provides some excel-
lent glimpses into the backbit-
ing world of Hollywood politics

pus party, and
over a cliff as
blames the CIA.

drove his car
a result. He
But the Agen-

to

agriculture

'A

Ikh,

DORM RESIDENTS
File now for University Housing Council Elections
SEATS AVAILABLE

/

"NE OF RICK'S PICKERS is' pickle cucumbers. "This is a

Blackie Alvarez, who la-
bors in the orchards with his
wife, children and grandchil-
dren. Blackie runs the tractor
that hauls the apples, directs
the picking, and often climbs
into the trees himself. His wife
and older childrentalso pick in
the trees, while the youngest
of the family gather the wind-
falls and put them in the older
children's sacks.
In the morning Blackie hauls'
them all to the orchards in the'
back of the tractor. They fill'
the tractor cart, go back to the
barn to unload the apples and'
eat lunch, and then return to
the trees to pick until sun-
down.
When Blackie comes back
from his noon break he sitsf
atop the tractor to digest his
lunch. The kids pile in the back
as he drives up, and when he
stops they slip out of the cart,
rummage for their sacks, and
set off to work.
Blackie earns $30,000 each
year working as a crew fore-
man in a Florida orange
grove for eight months. He
brings his family north at har-
vest timie to pick apples and'

vacation," he says.
Rick says he appreciates}
Blackie's experience and loyal-'
ty, as well as his willingness to
work.
"He does a lot of extra things
for me. He's gone through rows
that have already been picked
to get the windfalls. He's not
going to make any money on;
that. A lot of guys won't do it
but he does. I try to make it
up to him. I give him mores
money tha the other workers.
There's nothing else I can do.
I can't improve his working
conditions. I can't make the
sun shine. I can't make it warm
. . Money is the only compen-
sation I have."
Rick believes that despite all
the mechanization that has
been introduced into farming,
the agrarian life style can still
be romantic. "You can have
the type of farm where you.
have all these great things go-
ing on - your little garden
here, have your cows there,
chickens there, you got your
pigs there.
"I don't have it yet, but I'm
slowly working on it. . . . I en-
vision one day I'll have my own
piece of land."

I

J;:stPTP"
Featuring NICHOLAS PENNELL
Guest Director in Residence
"A
*9 ;;; British
*
LI WELT IRNWv 1AIEt
Nov. 23,24,26,27- 8pm; Nov. 28-2&8pm
Power Center
Tickets at the PTP Ticket Office
Mendeissohn Theatre Lobby, Mon.-Fri 10-1, 2-5
For information Cal: 764-0450
Tickets aso Ava lable at al Hudsons

HILL AREA
(Couzens, Stockwell, Mo-Jo)
1 Full Year
CENTRAL CAMPUS
(West Quad, Barbour, Newberry)
1 Full Year
ALICE LLOYD-
EAST QUAD
1 Full Year

MARKLEY-OXFORC
1 Full Year
SOUTH QUAD-
FLETCH'ER
1 Full Year, 1 Half Year
BURSLEY
1 Full Year, I Half Year
BAITS
1 Full Year, 1 Half Year

Sign up in MSA Chambers, 3909 Michigan Union, Nov. 12-18
ELECTIONS NOVEMBER 30, DECEMBER 1, 2

I

!

Chi Psi Fraternity
PRESENTS
A Special Midnight Concert
WITH THE
David Bromberg Band
I1
ii
i N
ii
F R I DAY, NOV. 19 at Midnight
MICHIGAN THEATER
603 E. LIBERTY, ANN ARBOR
Advance Tickets $5.50. Day of Show $6.50
TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE at Discount Records (both
j stores). -Aura Sounde & Schoolkidis Records and in Ypsilanti
at Where House Records.
(DOORS OPEN 1 1 :301
Smoking or Beverages Prohibited

ANN AU CV FILM 0-CC-C

A

TONIGHT in MLB
SUNDAY, NOV. 14
TWO JAPANESE MASTERS

UTAMARO AND HIS FIVE WOMEN
(KENJI MIZOGUCHI, 1946) 7 ONLY
By the director of UGETSU and SANSHO THE BALIFF. Utamaro
is an ukiyo-e woodcut painter in Edo in the late 1700's-a world
of brothels, love affairs, drinking parties and market places-but
he remains a spectator, concerned only with his art. Surrounded
by models and courtesans, all are only mistresses of his art.
One of the best films of Mizoguchi's middle period. Japanese with
subtitles.
*
THRONE OF BLOOD

(AKIRA KUROSAWA, 1957)

MLB 4-9 ONLY

Kurosawa's version of MacBeth doesn't use Shakespeare's text.
Instead he adapts the plot to Japan during the Middle Ages with
MacBeth as a samuari. Peter Brook calls the result "a great mas-
terpiece, perhaps the only true masterpiece inspired by Shake-
speare." Toshiro Mifune. Japanese with subtitles.
$1.25, DOUBLE FEATURE $3.00

p..
LUCHINO VISCONTI'S 1967
j3 THE STRANGER
Visconti translates one of the landmark novels of the 10th century into
film-letting the omnipresent sun, the solitude of the Algerian land-
scope and Marcello Mastroianni's existential nausea speak the precise
directives of Albert Comus. The director offers a meticulously accurate
recreation of Algiers circa 1938-1939 in a film that is at once, both
' visually beautiful yet faithful to the spirit of the-novel.
TUES.: THE JAZZ SINGER
CINEMA GUILD TONIGHT AT OLD ARCH. AUD.
7:00 & 9:05 Admission $1.25
JEAN RENOIR'S 1948
DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID
An Ah-nerican film by the great French director of THE RULES OF THE
GAMF nndl THF GRAND 1 ISION this "traaic force." in which

TONIGHT!
London Philharmonic

Orchestra

BERNARD HAITINK, Conductor

HILL AUDITORIUM, 8:30

I A'TiiMsic by A rio/i, PIiirand Mic Aahler

I

I

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