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March 18, 1980 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-03-18

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The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, March 18, 1980-Page 5;

R UFUS SEDER LEADS FILMMAKERS

16mm Film Festival ends at Mich.

By CHRISTOPHER POTTER
I must shamefully eat my aesthetic
intonations- The Michigan Theater
turns out to be a grand place to watch a
film festival. By the time Ann Arbor's,
18th drew to a close Sunday night the
Wuge old ,oviehouse had magically
transformed itself from a hulking,
austere stranget into a stout, friendly
old uncle. The transformation was
remarkanly painless, eventually rev-
ving up the Festival into the roaring;
whooping happening that epitomized
the Old A&D Auditorium days-which
now seem destined to swiftly slip into
nostalgic obscurity.
Another pleasant surprise: Against
all prevailing odds, the Festival film I
enjoyed the most actually ended ups
winning the grand prize, or at least a
fourth of it. Rufus Butler Seder's City,
Slickers was the best of his group of
four films which copped the prestigious
Tom Berman Award. City Slickers runs
a mere eight minutes, yet is so rich in
visual wonderments that one is scar-
cely able to describe it; Seder combines
a romantic's heart with a surrealist's
eye to fly the viewer into an urban,
nighttime Land of Oz. The film has the
stylized look of a continuous string of
1940's magazine ads: It opens in a
stark, surreal bar, then takes off from
there-a hipster, Tom Waits-like
pianist calls the tune as all the myriad
symbols of swank and seedy nightlife
surge upward in a wild, bubbly dance
on and on through the neon-lit night
skyline of the city. Seder shoots in the
starkest tones of glittering black and
white; there are no walls to hos struc-
tures, no boundaries whatsoever to his
dionysian revelers, who cavort till the
inexorible wee morning hours and send

all things mournfully but liltingly back
to earth.
City Slickers is artistically
reminiscent of Arthur Penn's mid-60's
experimental Mickey One, yet in its
short, concentrated form it captures
the darkside fairyland mania Penn's
overblown, full-length work largely
missed.
SEDER'S TRIUMPH by no means
implies the Festival has adequately
kicked its traditional habit of adulation
of irrelevancies. Major awards to
lengthy non-entertainments like Oxford
Hotel, A Cup of Tea, and Tri-Color-Last
illustrated onve again the judges'
predilection for the principle that if a
film is both boring and incomprehen-
sible, then it must be great art. Ran-
dall Detloff's Untitled, though substan-
tially superor to these other three, still
seemed hardly deserving of the new
Marvin Felheim Award. Detloff's film,
a delicate black and white interplay of
light, flora and hand-held mirrors was
interesting more for its errily-mixed
sound track, though it's doubtful that
was the director's intended point of
focus.
While Untitled succeeds as a
legitimate experimental effort, it
remains infuriating to see far more
deserving films passsed over for honors
entirely. Notable omissions were
Joaquin Pardo's Survival Run, an en-
thralling documentary about a blind
man competing in an arduous
marathon race and Stan Van BDer
Beck's Euclidean Illusions, a magical
depiction df animated cubes floating,
shimmering and mutating through a
haunting deep-space background.
One can of course debate the com-
parative merits of winners vs. losers in-
terminably; yet when you consider that
some 50-odd Festival awards were
See POTTER, Page 7

9 & lshows
By OWEN GLEIBERMAN
"Oh, I've got a gal in Kalamazoo."
sang Steve Cole, initiating the first two
shows of the Ann Arbor Film Festival
winners' night with some classy, Bill
Murrayish Las Vegas sleaze. Draped in
a flowing gold-speckled bathrobe, Cole
sang "Boogie-Woogie Piggie" (or
something) and a few others in such a
seamlessly melliflous croon, he soun-
ded like he'd swallowed a jar of coconut
honey backstage. Ready for anything,
the audience warmed to Cole's gangly
presence and quit wondering exactly
what the guy had to do with the festival.
Besides, he obviously had everything
to do with it. He and Pat Oleszko and
George Manupelli (whose mumbly,
Chris Stein-ish intros each night were
always good for an uneasy titter) and
all those folks at Cinema Guild with the
pink-tinted sunglasses-they're the
ones with the 20-20 extreterrestrial
vision who line the Michigan Theater
with Sacco and Vanzetti posters and
eep this most consumately Ann Ar-
bor-ish of Ann Arbor's cultural events
the wildly eclectic extravaganza it's
come to be recognized as around the
country. There are plenty of other
festivals. But nobody does it quite like
we do.
THIS YEAR gave us not just a Grand
Prize winner but a bona fide festival
star: Rufus B. Seder, whose four
remarkable films-City Slickers, Star
Crazy, The Laughing Cop, and
Miami-all ma'de it to Sunday night and
earned him the proverbial and well-
deserved Big Bucks ($1,000). The 7:00
audience caught the best of the four, the,
sleek, haunting City Slickers, while the

other three were spread over the rest of
the evening, giving anyone who sat it
out the pleasure of observing Seder's
stylistic development and his subtle but
hardly negligible thematic consistency.
Seder's most creative stylistic
flourish is his use of the lengthy lap
dissolve. City Slickers and Miami are
really a series of elaborately mapped-
out, intertwining super-impositions,
somewhat reminiscent of Coppola's
electro-video image-melting in the
opening sequence of Apocalpyse Now.
Seder also fuses technical imagination
with some tacky black humor in Star
Crazy, a tale of a long-lashed would-be
starlet who decides to live out her
fazine fantasies by hopping in the car
and taking a zingy car trip to
Hollywood. Her zealousness takes her
reeling over the Hollywood sign and
crashing below, her star-struck saga
turned to a tangue-in-cheek, Kenneth
Anger-style nightmare. Seder's The
Laughing Cop employed a cruder range
of technical know-how-relying on a
rapid-fire, Eisenteinian editing
style-but unfolded with the same
preverse wit. In this dark slapstick
folly, a good-natured policeman
manages to have a big, grinning
bellylaugh at everything around
him-including, eventually, a speeding
truck that flattens him with Keystone
Kops precision.
OF COURSE, black humor has been
standard fare among independent
fimmakers since pre-Iambi Meets
Godzilla days, and something like
David S. Ewing's The Trouble With
Fred, a two-minute, one-take quickie
with a dead, rotting frog as punchline,
was as lamely predictable as one of
Carson's Tommy Newsome jokes.
Treating death and decay and other
disgusting things with sheeky tom-
foolery isn't automatically shocking;
one must have imagination.

And the most imaginative funs

ny films

of the night were very much in the
"tame" tradition. Pat Oleszko's Footsi,
with two strutting yellow-pages fingers
doing thewalking, was full of charming
ideas (and physically more convincing
than her Kneel and Dimples, though I
wish the judges has canned both of
. them in favor of her comparitively epic
Cinderella parody, Ash Patrol. It was
gratifying, though, to see Backabout
and This is the Title of My Film make
winning reappearances, both eminently

[heatre
enjoyable send-ups of conventiohal
narrative filmmaking.
OTHER COMIC GEMS included the
delightful pop!existential animation
Labyrinth, and Legacy, a tour de foi e
of clay pixillation by Will Vinton,, he
master of play-dough responsible-Tor
such past festival classics as Cloed
Mondays and the incomparable Mou-
tain Music. Legacy is a lickety-splft.
story-book history of the evolutioh,'bf
See GLEIBERMAN. Page 7

U-M Women In Communications, Inc.
presents their
ANNUAL, MATRIX DINNER
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26 -6 P.M.
BATES ROOM--'U CLUB
MICHIGAN UNION--$7.50 per person
-ALL INVITED-
R.S.V.P. needed by Friday, March 21
Further information available at:
Communications Department, 2040 L.S.A. Bldg.
or Call 663-8243 or 663-8133
____THE YEATS
THIEATRE FESTIVAL
presents

Brubeck: It's a family affair

By JULIE SELBST
Although ordinarily one tries to avoid
the use of the word "charismatic" and
all of its cliche ramifications, in the in-
stance of Peter "Madcat" Ruth's per-
'formance as a prelude to the Dave
Brubeck Quartet Sunday night at Hill, it
-f its -
He opened with a traditional blues
number, singing in his sort of half shout
that he alternates with his harmonica.
Ruth also did a haunting piece,
simultaneously playing the harmonica
*a nd an African thumb piano, (more
formally called a calimba), called
"Watching the World Go By." But the
'number that the audience really
'responded to was one he played with a
-Mexican water whistle and a penny
whistle simultaneously, entitled, "The
Bird and the Whistle." He was only
adequately accompanied by bassist
Jason Boekeloo, on all songs.
Ruth, though he hails from Chicago,
's almost custom-fit to Ann Arbor. In-
ian-shirted and barefoot, with his mix-
ture of blues/jazz/folk, he doesn't reach
out to the audience, he seems to come
from it. That he is having a good time
while performing is obvious; the feeling
produced is infectious. Rarely does a
so-called "warm-up" act receive a
standing ovation; in Madcat's case, it
seemed the least he deserved. And if
ever there were an appropriate choice
for an opening act, Ruth was it; he used
to play in the Brubeck Quartet himself
n the early seventies.
Not only was the audience warm, if
anything, it was perhaps too excited for
the somewhat understated appearance
of Brubeck and the rest of his quartet.
Aside from the characteristic sound
of Brubeck's rhythm section, that of
reverberating cymbals arranged in
slinky rhythms, what is most distin-
ctive about the group is their complete
synchronization with each other. Only
Soccasionally did the senior Brubeck
seem to give any direction to the other
musicians, nevertheless they work per-
fectly as a group. Each knows when to
step back and let another instrument'
dominate for a while. Not only is the
group balanced, but there is very little
piggishness or undue flashiness in their
solos, a distressingly common flaw
among jazz artists.
This does not imply by any means
that they are not highly capable
nusicians. Far from it. Butch Miles'
drum solo captures the essence of the
group's sound, especially the sultry,
high-tension rhythms .that had the
audience squirming. Jerry Bergonzi,
the group's saxaphonist, had left the
stage earlier; about halfway through,
the bassist and trombonist Chris
Brubeck put down his bass guitar and
joined him in the rear; so did Mr.
- - ~ mice,

then each returns to his instrument
even more enthusiastically.
If there is a single note to be made
about the Brubeck quartet, they are
serious about their music. It wasn't yet
the second number before Dave
Brubeck doffed his blazer, as if to
dispense with frivolity and move on to-
serious playing. The feeling one gets
from watching them play is that this. is
what they do every night, the only dif-
ference being that occasionally they do
it on stage. Yet to call them uninspiring
would be a gross offense. Dave Brubeck
is an energetic performer, with the
ability to motivate his quartet.
iO
The Dave Brubeck Quartet deserves
its acclaim. The music itself ranges
from moments of spirited interplay as
in the classic "Take Five," for which
they called back "Madcat" Ruth, to an
upbeat, jazz rendition of "Brother, Can
You Spare a Dime?" to even more con-
temporary experiments.
Across this wide range of music,
Brubeck and his band function like a
family. Each player can sense what the
others are feeling and reflect it in their
music. And that is what gives Dave
Brubeck much of his overwhelming
audience appeal.

"YEATS AND
MODERN DRA MA"

A COLLOQUIUM

I. t
i..

MARCH 19-22, 1980

With Guests from Ireland
open to the public
without charge
Please cal l the Center for
Western European Studies,'.'
764.4311, for the complete
festival schedule

Dave Brubeck concentrates fiercely over his piano. He and his young
quartet appeared before an appreciative crowd Sunday night at Hill
Auditorium. The concert was sponsored by Eclipse Jazz.

r

The Yeats Theatre Festival is made possible by a grant from The Michigan,
Councilfor the Humanities & is sponsored by The University of Michigan
Center for Western European Studies

Brubeck senior. The solo continued un-
til the rest of the ensemble picked up
their instruments and returned to the
original theme at just the right
moment.
Both Brubecks seemed elated by the

drummer's efforts, an excitement that
shows up in their music. Both of them,
especially the younger, seem to take a
certain pride in watching the other's
solos. Chris bobs his head and
shoulders, while Dava beams happily,

'4

LISTEN TO CLASSICAl MUSIC
Performed By:
"MUSIQUE UNIQUE'
A Four Piece String Ensemble
Every Sunday Night At:
THE SPAGHETTI BENDER
23 North Washington 485-27
Downtown Ypsilanti

HOUSING DIVISION
WEST QUADRANGLE
RESIDENT STAFF APPLICATIONS
FOR SPRING/SUMMER 1980
Available Starting March 11, 1980
In 1500 SAB
POSITIONS INCLUDE: RESIDENT DIRECTOR AND RESIDENT ADVISOR
Resident Advisor positions require a minimum of 55 credit hours. Graduate status preferred
for the resident directors positions.
QUALIFICATIONS: (1) Must be-a registered U of M student on the Ann Arbor campus.
(2) Undergraduates must have completed a minimum of 55 credit hours and have a 2.5
cumulative grade point average in the school or college in which they are enrolled. (3) Grad-
uate students must be in good academic standing in the school or college in ,which they are
enrolled. (4) Preference will be given to applicants who have lived in residence halls at
University level for at least one year. (5) Proof of these qualifications will be required.
Current staff and other applicants who have an application on file must come to this office to
update their application form. Staff selection and placement shall be determined in the
following order:

50

CAMP TAMARACK
INTERVIEWS
Monday, March 24

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