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May 11, 1978 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-05-11

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Page 6-Thursday, May 11, 1978-The Michigan Doily
Dick Siegel shines
By R. J. SMITH singer worth his or her salt, the real ex-
Ann Arbor's Dick Siegel is quite a citement is found in what Siegel does
character. Although he works mostly at with the voice he has been given. It is
the Humane Society, I can still imagine the tension of the artist striding the
him lazily chugging wine from the sun- fault-line between safety on the one
bleached porch of some southern farm, hand, and, on the other, forcing the
or perhaps hitchhiking to nowhere-in- voice to do things it shouldn't. Siegel
particular, standing by the side of the really pushes his voice, and he can con-
highway wearing faded jeans and a vey his feelings to a satisfying degree.
silly grin across his face.
For although he played songs of ONE OF HIS favorite tricks is to
diverse styles, one picture stands out manhandle a slew of syllables into a
from his show at the Ark last Saturday compact musical phrase. This worked
evening: Siegel as the carefree, well on "What Would Brando Do?" and
sometimes crazy man, mugging and "Coffee Blues," one of Siegel's
singing with a generally not-too- trademark songs that was played a
reverent grip on his sensitivity. second time Saturday night when a
Siegel has a voice that is not hesitant, good-natured late-comer requested the
but does seem a bit held back because tune half-way through the show. Both
of its nasal quality. But, as with any times "Coffee Blues" exhibited a fine

through roughage

sense of wit and exciting guitar-playing
dexterity. His phrasing technique,
however, didn't work nearly as well on
an unpolished song about the local
group The Silvertones.
michigan DAILY
Another trick Siegel often fell into
was a sort of half-singing, half-talking
style, used on the slower numbers.
Sometimes Siegel would tella story in

'House Calls': Sitcom cinema

House Calls, a revolting little film
currently at the Movies at Briarwood,
opens on a rather far-fetched premise.
After his wife dies, Charley Nichols
(Walter Matthau), a successful
surgeon, finds himself surrounded by
eligible young lovelies panting for his
body. The widower decides to try his
hand at swinging.
Now let me say this: Matthau is a
distinguished and very funny actor, but
the idea of firm, young flesh co-
mingling with his grizzled, flabby body
makes me want to vomit.
Not only is this Dr. Nichols physically
repulsive, he is crude, insensitive, and
a blatant sexist. When he first meets
Ann Atkinson (Glenda Jackson) while
she is in hospital for a broken jaw, he
makes several snide references to her
sagging chin line. This, considering
Matthau's own bulbous nose, squinty

Man.,Tues., Tnurs.,Fri., 7-9e
Sat., Sun., Wed.,1-3-5-7-9
oI, i

eyes and leathery, pendulous jowls, is a
case of the pot calling the kettle black.
After she heals, Atkinson gets revenge,
in an air-headed way typical of women
in this film; when they appear together
on a TV panel discussion, she launches
into an hysterical verbal attack on
Nichols and the medical profession in
remarking that she has "a big mouth,"
and proceeds to date the woman. Atkin-
son soon wins over "Dr. Tact" with
cheesecake and "dignified sex."
Nichols is, however, torn between
domestic bliss with Atkinson and get-
ting his rocks off with the beautiful
groupies hanging round outside his
A nasty little subplot involves the
hospital's head doctor (Art Carney),
who is in the hilarious situation of going
insane while responsible for the lives of
hundreds of people. When a wealthy
baseball magnate dies through his in-
competence, the other doctors must
keep his cheesy widow (Candice Az-
zara), who is the biggest caricature of a
"dumb blonde" this side of Susan
Alexander in Citizen Kane, from suing
them. Fortunately, she is dying to get
into Dr. Nichols' underdrawers, and
Nichols, in his unrelenting search for
sweet F/A, has no qualms about
betraying Atkinson with another
THIS IS COMEDY, not science fic-
Classes Begin May b
U-M Artists &
I Craftsmen Guild
2nd Fl. Michigan Union

tion, and there are a few rather in-
congruous slapstick sequences in-this
grotesque aping of Neil Simon. Matthau
and Jackson tangle fully clothed, trying
to disprove the old Hays Office conven-
tion that two people on a bed can't have
sex if one of them has a foot on the floor.
Matthau, awkwardly sprawled in a
beanbag chair, assures his gorgeous
young date that he liked the "Boz
Scraggs" concert. And, as usual in
films like these where yocks are few
and far between, the plot is twisted so
as to allow Nichols to go to work in
bedroom slippers, a kerchief and a
frilly woman's bed jacket.
This film is obnoxious, unfunny, and
cinematically worthless; in orther
words, it is a TV sitcom slightly too
rude for prime time. But wait six mon-
ths and it will be shown in motel rooms
and dens all over Middle America.
students read Dante's "Divine
Comedy" in English or Italian, but
Mount Holyoke College can supply the
classic in 29 translations.
Gaelic, Chinese, Turkish, Dutch as
well as the international Esperanto
language are represented in some 200
illustrated editions and translations
collected by Valentine Giamatti,
retired Mount Holyoke professor of
The Divine Comedy collection,
believed to be the most complete in the
United States, includes a 1481 edition
illustrated by Botticelli, an illustrated
and autographed six-volume edition by
surrealist Salvador Dali and a 1920s,
ornate, tooled leather version that
covers nearly the entire top of a card
table. Giamatti donated the valuable
collection to Mount Holyoke in 1974. His
son, A. Bartlett Giamatti, president-
elect of Yale University, serves as
honorary curator.

his songs in a particular character's
dialect, straight-out talking to his own
musical accompaniment. In a funny
song about California, Siegel - slowly
strumming while speaking the part of
an Ann Arbor hippie who has trekked to
"the promised land" of the west coast
- intones in a golly-gee voice:
A 'le o matbeaici houh ido
and inving, ore l j
thers llbeeenftorinsta
te waves wl e our hathroom boor .
Domoh nowsomethi fCJalifhornia n
NOW, OF COURSE, this is not Woody
Allen material; it is though, a kind of
humor that is immediate, unassuming
and inviting, more like the jokes one
hears between two friends than
something you'd pick up from Johnny
Carson's monologue. It is the kind of
humor right on-target for the Ark
But although the humorous tunes
made the greatest impression, Dick
Siegel has much else to offer. Exhorting
his digits "alright, fingers, make your-
daddy proud!" he demonstrated a
quick, startling flurry of hands on the
instrumental "Thomas A. Edison."
"He Thankful," inspired by the
Bahamian guitarist Joseph Spence,
was a jumpy song which also relied on
some snappy fretwork. A steel slide
whichwas brought out several times
did not sound terribly effective.
THROUGHOUT the show, he also
sprinkled songs inspired by personal
events. Many of these were quite
striking, and Siegel showed off an
ability to simply express an image, and
yet charge it with much feeling by his
striking word choices. The simple
starkness of his word usage uplifted the
too-rudimental "Molly Rose." "The
Ranger Knows My Name," a
mysterious and touching blues song,
segued well into "Dear Sam," a song as
light as the wind about leaving the pain
of daily life behind. Both were major
highlights of the show.
Quoting singer Bill Broonzy, the Ark
promised of Siegel: He'll make you
loose/He'll make you tight/He'll make
you shake it/in the broad daylight.
Perhaps things didn't go until broad
daylight, and certainly the Ark has seen
more talented voices and musicians.
Still, Dick Siegel's simple strumming
and "look-at-me!" picking, along with
his numerous songs of introspection
and gregarious silliness, rarely took a
wrong step, or failed to entertain and
touch. Siegel is a modest performer,
and a good one. We shook it.
Owen Gleibermaif
ARTS STAFF: Michael Baadke, Bill Barbour, Susan
Barry, Karen Bornstein, Patricia Fabrizio, Douglas
Heller, Paula Hunter, MatthewKletter, Peter Manis,
Joshua Peck, Stephen Pickover, Christopher Potter,
Jeffrey Selbst, Anne Sharp, Eric Smith, R. J. Smith,
Kerry Thompson, Tim Yagle

The Ann Arbor Film Cooperative
presents at AUD. A
Thursday, May 11
(Martin Scorsese, 1976) 7 & 9-Aud. A
ROBERT DeNIRO is Travis Bickle, a New York City cabbie whose boredom
and loneliness finally erupt into a paroxysm of violence. Written by Paul
Schrader, with Cybit Shepherd and Harvey Keitel. "No other film has ever
dramatized urban indifference so well."-Pauline Kael.
Tomorros: Howard Hawks's "HIS GIRL

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