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July 21, 1979 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-07-21

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Page 6-Saturday, July 21, 1979-The Michigan Daily
Teenybopper idol bland, lifeless
't1 _7 ... . 4 . ... ...4 .

" 1 r_

Thursday night in the Michigan
Theatre, surrounded by little Pioneer
High girls with fluffy hair and designer
jeans, I turned my eyes to the heavens.
"Please," I begged silently, "let me
like it. The Arts Page is already lousy
with reviews panning everything from
two-bit punk acts to Woody Allen's
latest. Please, please, let me like Jay
Ferguson tonight."
By way of warmup, two dubious-
looking characters-probably renegade
Oberlin students on summer
break-clambered out before the
asbestos curtain and after making the
usual jokes about sex and boogers, did a
set of cute oldies, including "Smoky
Joe's Cafe," "Love Potion Number
Nine" and the theme song from The
Patty Duke Show. One played flute,
baritone saxophone, and clarinet
nicely, and the other, a hefty man with
a hat and long hair like Meat Loaf's, did
patter between songs.
Very ordinary. The Meat Loaf guy
mentioned Twinkies-the audience
giggled on cue. He made reference to
disco and they booed dutifully. "The
nerve!" I thought. A Jay Ferguson

crowd acting superior to disco
listeners! To my ears, all Ferguson is
Middle of the Road, which to any bona
fide devotee of dirty ass rock and roll is
worse than disco. "Shakedown Cruise"
and "Thunder Island" have a certain
naive charm, but no muscle. They're
pretty but bloodless.
FERGUSON THE performer
possesses a sound and persona as bland
And squeaky clean as his music. At his
grand piano, he turns sidewise to sing
at the audience, playfully kicking out a
leg now and then. His crisp healthy
tenor voice comes across nicely over
the overamplified backup. Obviously
well-trained, his voice is strong, never
strained. But there is no energy in
it-he sounds as perky and relaxed as
he does in the recording studio.
So what if Ferguson isn't rock, you
say? He does have his own laid-back
West Coast sound, and he does it well.
But if Ferguson persists in playing
MOR, he really ought to stop
masquerading as a rock star. As it is,
he looks pretty silly using rock
pyrotechnics to illustrate his mellow
music. Highly out of place ear-searing
synthesizer riffs straight out of ELO
punctuate his mild sets. As if to liven up

the proceedings, Ferguson at one point
rips off his suit jacket (gasp), straps on
a guitar, and bounces up to the mnike.
"Does anyone want to get craaazy?" he
asks, then starts crooning about a fool
and his money who were soon parted. I
thought of "Thunder Island," and the
naughty-but-nice insinuations about the
lady in the sun with her dress undone.
Very clean, unadventurous. Must be
typical Ferguson, I thought. Please,
Lord, make me like it, I'm begging ...
A BEERY YOUNG man in a black
tour shirt and backstage pass perched
on the seat next to me. "You from one
of the papers;" he asked.
"Only the Daily," I replied.

Don't knock the promoter, he
said. "It's a mediocre band, but the
promoter did everything he could. The
band reminds me of Mugsy. You know
"Yes," I shot back, loudly, in order to
be heard. "I used to live next door to
one of their groupies in South Quad.
Who is the promoter?"
"Prism. Prism Productions. We did
the lights and sound."
"I like the lights," I shouted. I really
did. They were symetrical and color
coordinated, making the band onstage
look likea row of shiny lollipops in their
brightly colored satin pants. "Please
Lord . . .

Filmmaker's project
to be seen on WTVS

The Ann Arbor Film Coopertfive Presents at MLB -$1.50
Saturday, July 21 SHAMPOO
(Hal Ashby, 1975) 7T&9-MLB 3
WARREN BEATTY stars in this sex force as George, the very heterosexual
hairdresser whose love for women will not allow him to say "no" to any of
them. Funny, erotic, serious and artistic, this film is one of the few to tie
together and make the connection between private (sexual) morals and public
(political) ones. A tremendous screenplay by Beatty and ROBERT TOWN
(CHINATOWN) incisively probes sixties morality in the light of the Nixon
era. A brilliant and entertaining film. Music by Paul Simon. With WARREN
Tuesday and through July 28: Free Showings during the Art Fair
We support Projectionists Local 395

A short film made by University
graduate Scott Mann will air on
Channel 56 tonight after the regular
Film Festival feature, which begins
at 11:30 p.m. Mann tells here of the
production and subsequent attempts
to have thefilm shown.
One day, in May of '77, I stumbled
across a battered old briefcase bearing
the initials M.K. in my parent's garage.
I was a senior at the University of
Michigan, studying film, and looking
for a project to complete my B.G.S.
degree. The briefcase happened to con-
tain 10 or 15 cans of 16 mm color rever-
sal film taken by my grandfather,
Morris Kushner, on his vacations all
over the world. That was the spark
plug I needed, and my independent
study came quickly into focus. I would
use the best of Grandpa's footage, com-
bined with footage of my own, to tell the
Morris Kushner story.
Grandpa was a Russian immigrant
who became a pioneer of the
automobile tool-and-die industry. But
his main love was fishing. When he
retired he used those skills to create
some of the finest bamboo flyrods made
anywhere. They were made with love,
by hand, and with cutters and lathes
personally redesigned in his home shop.
TOGETHER, MY partner John
Roman (from Oakland U.), and I began
the task of deciding which 3/4 of his
footage we should do without. The
public will never see Morris in New
York, at a bullfight in Mexico, or the
race track at Buenos Aires. But they
will see him catch sailfish in the Gulf of
Mexico, coasters in Lake Nipigon, and
brook trout in Montana.
I wanted the story to be personal, and
relevant to my family, so my viewpoint
as grandson and filmmaker became the
focal point of the film. Further, we wan-

ted to interview two men who knew
Morris better than I did.
One was Robert Summers, a rod-
maker from Traverse City, and an ex-
cellent craftsman in his own right.
Summers was the brain behind the rod
building firm called the Paul H. Young
Co. He was able to discuss with Morris
all the intricacies of engineering, about
anything from design and prototype, to
rifles and rodmaking. They formed an
instant friendship that lasted until
Morris' death.
Voelker, ex-Michigan Supreme Court
justice from the Upper Peninsula, and
noted author of Anatomy of a Murder,
(under the pen name Robert Traver).
Voelker included a touching piece on
Morris in his latest non-fiction effort,
Trout Magic.
This poet fisherman, with his
sparkling quick wit and Italian cigars,
welcomed us to his posh home in Ish-
peming, and quickly shuttled us to his
real residence, an isolated fishing
shack forty miles away. The one room
cabin, on a river whose location he wan-
ts kept secret, is a trout lover's
paradise. Running past the glacial-
rock-spotted lawn, the river surrenders
trout on cue.
Voelker is a serious U.P.-er and his
only hesitation about the film was that
somehow the location of his beloved
refuge might be revealed. Satisfied we
would give no clues, he freely
reminisced not only about Morris, but
also about being on the set with Otto

His t
H -


June 24

Terry Gillam's


The mythical boost from Lewis Carroll's famous nonsense poem-see for
yourself if it really has "slithey toves." "The most marvelously demented
comedy to come along since Monty Python and the Holy Grail."-Vincet
Short: Ann Arbor Filmmakers-if You Unscrew an Ape it's a Man: if
Man Screws Up He's an Ape-Paul Tossie (1979)
Sun: Mary Pickford in SPARROWS (Free at 8:00)

o wodleigh-mourice
ltd production
rech o rs
from vornet' bros.

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