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July 23, 1975 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1975-07-23

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Wednesday, July 23, 1975


Page_ Five

Third World poets
display new talent
at Trotter House

An unidentified young man sits on the marble statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lin
morial yesterday. It took six policemen to convince him he should climb down, and
off fighting. Three officers required first aid, While the lap-climber was taken to St. E
Hospital for observation and tests.
mTommy:' An o energy-paCke
musical assaul on the sens4

As the first night of the sprawl-
ing Ann Arbor Art Festival was
beginning to close, and another
chaotic day of a tightly woven
summer semester came to an
end, some of the nation's finest
Third World poets displayed
their own creativity.
Organized by Garrett Hongo,
recent winner of the National
Poets Festival in Allendale, the
readings took place in Trotter
House with a standing r o o m
:ily crowd. The room served a
dual purpose, exhibiting massive
macram wall hangings by Gary
Jones, a black artist from Chi-
cago. This . is Jones' first ex-
hibit in Michigan and when ask-
ed if he'll attempt to display his
art in next years Festival he was
reluctant to give a definite yes
or no.
THE READINGS themselves
AP Phots were presented in two blocks
consisting of twenty minute per-
coln Me- iods for each poet. Etheridge
Knight, an ex-convict, who's
he came most recent puhlisher works are
lizabeth's Black Voices in Prison- a n d
Belly Songs, began the reading
by giving an over all theme to
his works, "We're all here to-
gether in jail."
Knight's poems concentrated
on his life in prison with such
poems as Hard Rock Goes to
Jail, and Rehabilitation and
Treatment in which he reminds
us that there are as many in-
Moon (the stitutions of rehabilitation in
xual Uncle Michigan as there are colleges
as (the tor- and universities.
'in); Jack Leslie Silko, a Laguna Indian
physician); from the southwest was the
defending next to read. She chose an ex-
cerpt from her latest novel,
y by Dick Ceremony, in which she con-
lor is com- fronts evil, wars, racism, sui-
aordinarily cide, and murder from an Ind-
amera posi- ian point of view. In the selec-
the moods tion an Indian medicine man is
ontinuity of telling-a story to a younger Ind-
often chop- ian who has just returned from
r is not al- World War II and wonders what
the music good are Indian ceremonies
unexplained against the white man's culture.
lace might The story goes on to tell about-
the creation of the white man
eg the film and the imminent path of de-
don't rec- struction he will walk down.
o anyone. THE FINAL poet in the first
tttempt to block was a Japanese-American
rock opera, Lawson Fusao Inada. He began
es -its mu- with the chanting of an oriental
song which lead into a forceful

series of poems against the forc-
ed assimilation of Japanese in
the United States into the Amer-
ican culture. He finished with
telling the audience to "open up
all your senses, remove t h e
wall that you must constantly be
pushing against."
The second set opened with
the Chinese-American p o e t
Mei Mei Berssenbrugge, born in
Peking and raised in N e w
England. Her first poem w a s
about her first nine months of
life in China, entitled Chronicle.
She went on to dread several
more poems about her present
life in New Mexico, one entitled
Leaving Your Country. Mei Mei
concluded in a subtlety and quiet
mood, reflected in her poem,
Old Men Lets Go Fishing in the
Yellow Reeds of the Bay.
Berssenbrugge was followed
by another Chinese-American
writer Shawn Wong, who read a
selection from his most recent
book Night Driver. The sad and
chilling excerpt is about Wang's
great grandfather who 'worked
on the railroads in 1866, and ex-
pressed the Chinese philosophy,
"the past defines the future."
THE NEXT poet to read was
the organizer, Garrett "tongo.
Hongo's success at the National
Poets Festival was obvious
when he began singing ind re-
citing his -most recent wvarks.
A Hawaiian born Japanese-Am-
erican, Hongo began with a
poem entitled Going My Way,
which was a series of hard, fast,
humorous, truths about life in
general/ Hongo's style then be-
gan to mellow a bit as he got
into slightly more traditional
and inner poetry. He finished
with the first Poem he'd ever
written, leaving the audience
totally satisfied.
Hongo was followed by Steve
Crow, an American Indian w h o
told a moving story about a
tank commander who luring
war games was accidentaly or-
dered to run over a corporal
from Minnesota.
The Session came to an end
with. Etheridge Knight, who by
now had developed a s t r o n g
rapport with the audience, read-
ing an old black folk poem,
Shine. The poem was about the
sinking of the Titanic and left
the audience smiling on their
way out.

The marquee outside the Fifth
Theater where Tommy is play-
ing proclaims that after view-,
ing the film, "your senses will
never be the same." The effect
of this Robert Stigwood-Ken
Ruissell production of the Who's
1969 rock opera is, however, not
qlite that profound.
Nevertheless, I'll never hear
the album again without remem-
bering the loud- exhilarating,
energy-packed sensory assault
the film delivers.
DIRECTOR Ken Russell, 47,
who lately has been making
films depicting the lives of art-
ists and musicians, such as The,
Music Lovers, Song of Summer,
Savage Messiah, and the upcom-
ing Lisztomania, knew nothing of
rock music when producer Rob-
ert Stigwood, who did Jesus
Christ Superstar, another film in
the rock opera g e n r e, ap-
proached him a few years ago
with the idea of doing Tommy.
But I wonder just how much
of what went in the film might
be attributed to Peter Town-
send (the Who's guitarist and
composer of the original opera)
who did the musical direction for
the film.
The script is entirely sung;
there is no dialogue. Though the
original songs by the Who serve
as the foundation for the film,
there are some new numbers
added to complete the details of
the opera's previously skeletal
plot. The instrumental interludes
are favorably employed as Rus-
sell uses this time to build his

THE STORY hasn't changed
much from what we're familiar
with from the album. Tommy
becomes deaf, dumb, and blind
at age six as the result of Oedi-
pal guilt upon witnessing the
murder of his long-missing real
father by his mother and her
As he grows older, his parents
subject him to religion, illicit
drugs, and medicine in search
for a cure. Tommy eventually
finds himself through pinball,
and settles for being the world
champion, although he is still
without his senses.
HIS MOTHER is frustrated by
his preoccupation with mirrors,
and one day Tommy's mother
hurls him into his own reflec-
tion, shattering the mirror, and
with , it the shackles on his
senses. He finds the world fas-
cinating, transcends pinball, and
preaches the gospel of life, thus
becoming the new messiah.
Although the casting is good
for the most part, and should
appeal to rock fans, there are
some difficulties. Someone over-
looked the fact that two of the
three central figures, Oliver
Reed (the lover-stepfather) and
Ann-Margret (the mother), can-
not sing.
But young Barry Winch is
lovable in the opening scenes as
Tommy, the child; and Roger
Daltrey (vocalist for the Who)
carries the show with his sing-
ing and surprisingly sincere por-
trayal of Tommy.
OTHERS in the cast include:
Eric Clapton (the faith healer);
Tina Turner (the electrifying

Acid Queen); Keith
wicked and homose
Ernie); Paul Nichola
turous Cousin Kev
Nicholson (the suave
and Elton John (the
pinball champion).
The cinematograph
Bush and Ronnie Tay
mendable for its extr
exciting colors and ce
tions used to depict
of each scene. The c
the film, however, is
py, and if the viewe:
ready familiar with
and its plot, theu
shifts in time and p
be confusing.
Therefore, regardin
on its own merits I
ommend Tommy t
However, as an a
adapt the well-known7
the film accomplishe
sical goal.

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