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February 17, 1981 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-02-17

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Tuesday, February 17, 1981 Page 5

Shocking? Human Sexual

Responds

Be an angel ..
Read t n
764-0558

By FRED SCHILL
"Shock people?" Larry Bangor
repeated. Human Sexual Response, in-
dividually and collectively, was sin-
cerely aghast at the suggestion. The
*dea obviously had never occurred to
them. "I don't think many people are
shocked by our songs," Bangor said in-
nocently.
J, looked around the room. "Who,,
us?" was registered on all seven faces
of-HSR. Methinks they doth protest too
loudly, methought. "Well, some of your
songs contain lyrics that at least might
startle some people," I maintained
guiltily. I Was thinking of "Dick and
Jane" and "What Does Sex Mean to
LMe?", and offered them as evidence.
"What reaction are you trying to
provoke in songs like that?"
4*"WE'RE TRYING TO get every
reaction," Dini Lamot explained. "But
we also write songs like that because
they're fun. They make the show ex-
citing."
This is the same band that is
notorious for appearing on a live Boston
television show and singing their crowd
,favorite, "Buttfuck" - which they
didn't sing here in Ann Arbor because,
Lamot said, "I wrote the lyrics to that
song myself, and I think they are
disgusting."
"Yeah, but that show was totally
ridiculous. Their whole attitude was to
get a bunch of new wave bands and say,
'Hey, look at how weird these people
are.' We just thought if they were gon-
na be that way about it. . ." Bangor let
the sentence trail off.
"THE BOSTON HERALD praised us
9 for it in an editorial. And the same
station later did a really complimen-
tary documentary on us," Lamot ad-
ded.
"But we're not trying to shock
people," Bangor insisted. "We're not in
the same class as Kiss or anybody like
that."
Indeed not. Singers Bangor, Lamot,
Windle Davis, and Casey Cameron
create intricate vocals wrapped around

to learn to like our sound," Lamot said.
"It would be nice if everyone in the
world could hear us just once," Davis
said. "We're not really out to get the
huge stadiums, though. It would be
enough to just draw three or four
thousand."
THEY ENGAGED IN speculation
about whether or not my companion
looked like Anne Frank. Widespread
agreement, though Lamot opted for
Penelope. They poured more beer in
our glasses. They gave my comrade a
bottle of "Opium" (the scent, not the
drug). I found myself wishing fervently
for their success.
"Still," I said, "it seems that a lot of
bands make it big, -and then their
material goes straight downhill."
"I think you're asking the central
moral question that we will all have tb
face if we get that far - whether we are
willing to change for the sake of suc-
cess," said Cameron.
"Well, we're not going to compromise
our music," Lamot vowed. "We've
already withstood all kinds of pressure
to compromise."
"Yeah, they kept telling us, 'You got-
ta change your name,' " Bangor
chuckled. "But we refused. We like our
name.
DISTINCTIVE
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Try a 1980 NEW LONG or SHORT STYLE
THE DASCOLA
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Daily Photo by JIM KRUZ
Human Sexual Response has built a rabid following in Boston and large portions of the northeast. Their creatively dan-
ceable sound and their flair for the unexpected have won them acclaim from fans and critics alike. They played a
Februarv 9 show at Secnnd Chance. the first ston on their first world tour.

a-.-RPa ""AJ V OaaVTT QV A74LViaU vlaCili ,.t. Va{{. aaa OW OVVj! Vl VlaVll ali OV TT Va au VVal.

punchy, slightly psychedelic music by
guitarist Rich Gilbert, bassist Chris
Maclachlan and drummer Malcolm
Travis. HSR's music, like anything else
that isn't Top 40 these days, is most
frequently labelled "new wave." Ac-
tually, it defies all known systems of
classification.
"WHICH ISN'T ALWAYS good,"
Lamot pointed out. "It's not as easy to
get airplay, because we confuse a lot of
DJs with our style."
"We get good airplay on college
stations," Bangor said. "And the album
(their debut LP, Figure 14) is selling
pretty well, considering that it's on a
small label (Passport). Sales are spot-
ty; we're selling a lot of albums in the
northeast, not as many elsewhere."
HSR has built an immense following
in the northeast, particularly in and
around Boston, where they routinely
sell out large clubs. Originally, the four
singers were an a cappella group
singing humorous country songs and
calling themselves Honey Bee and the
Meadow Muffins. Honest.

SOMEHOW THEY ALL drifted to
Boston, where they formed Human
Sexual Response, holding down odd
jobs to make the ends meet. "Larry and
I were working for Saks Fifth Avenue in
Boston when the Fords (then-president
Gerald and wife Betty) were planning
their trip to China. Larry was in the
mailroom, I was in shipping," Lamot
recalls.
"When Betty Ford was buying her
wardrobe for the trip, she had to order
her boots from our store because the
Saks in Washington didn't have what
she wanted," he continued. "When we
found out we were shipping Betty
Ford's boots, we both licked them all
over from heel to top before shipping
them," Lamot grinned. "Just because
they were Betty Ford's, y'know?"
Hence the line in "What Ooes Sex
Mean to Me?": "I licked Betty Ford's
boots/She wore them all over China."
It's true. Just another footnote to
history.
"WE HAD A BALL recording our fir-
st album," said Cameron. "They let us

take all the time we needed, and every
night they had a little dinner party for
us." Quite a step up from just a few
weeks ago, when she was working in a
restaurant as a waitress. Dini was
working in a deli that serves "gourmet
fast food."
"We call this the hobosexual tour,"
Lamot quipped. "This is the first time
we have ever played outside New
England."
"We're virgins," added Cameron.
The initial experience wasn't as
climactic as they had hoped. They were
all visibly underwhelmed after the set,
though they emphasized the strong
points.
"THIS WAS A GOOD experience for
us, because it's the first time in quite
awhile that we played somewhere that
wasn't sold out just for us," Lamot
philosophized. "The show sort of built
up - by the end, we had the whole dan-
ce floor covered with people:"
HSR frankly admits they aren't in
this just for art's sake. "We do some
songs for art's sake, but we want people

'Sneeze' captures the critics at 8mm Festival _

By DENNIS HARVEY
Gary Atkins won the 11th Annual Ann
Arbor 8mm Film Festival's Keith Clark
Award for the most promising film-
maker, for his Variations of a Theme:
Sneeze Through the Ages, and for once
it's practically impossible to quibble
with the decision.
Atkins' 20 minute mini-epic tour of
cinematic history through the
development of its crowning symbol
and subject - the sneeze - as first
immortalized by the famous five-
second Edison shot of a bushy-faced
man in action, had an antic sense of fun,
filmmaking confidence, and the
discipline to follow a good idea through
to its conclusion and no further.
Cleverly imitating the visual styles of a
wide variety of filmmakers from D. W.
Griffith to Bergman, sneeze Through
the Ages was a very genial throwaway
joke, narrated perfectly by a wonder-
fully smug cineaste type.
ALAS, WHAT amounted to a good,
expanded throwaway one-liner isn't
exactly what one might'expect to be the
highlight of the 8mm Festival. Sneeze
turned out to be the only project of any
substantial ambition and merit in this
year's rather disappointing winner's
night. There were other successes, and
indications of talent even in the most
outright failures.
But coming in on the heels of last
year's often dazzling event - reel for
reel, a more surprising and inventive
evening than the more celebrated
16mm Fest - the 1981 winners seemed
wan.
There was a relatively small amount
- of animation and pixilation, the usual
godsends between heavier live-action
works. The sole clay animation film to
\make it into the winner's circle was a
charming frail love story of a man and
a pet, Timothy Hittle's The Little Lost
Lizard. The "lizard" here was a 'bread-
box-sized dinosaur resurrected from
the ancient past by the hapless hero as
he thaws out a prehistoric bone on his
kitchen stove burner. They grow at-
tached to each other, but It dies, in the
same spirit of sniffles as Ali MacGraw
did.
THIS BREATHLESSLY cute stuff
won the loudest audience approval of
the night, deserved by default - few
other films had such a firm grip on their
subjects, viewers, personal ob-
sessions, or anything else. The only
other noteworthy animated film was
Martin Fischer's Distractions, a suc-
cession of constantly merging,
F r- wwL ws 1rOP

changing line drawings - 4400 of them,
for nine minutes of screen time.
Live-action films had to contend
more with the remaining pitfalls of
8mm filmmaking, the mediocre color,
the blurriness. . . and with the un-
focused sketchbookcinematics that so
many amateur experimentalists fall in-
to. John Porter's Amusement Park of-
fered the unbotchable visual ex-
citement of a carnival night speeded up
to grotesque and funny extremes. The
same filmmaker's Down on Me cap-
tured another striking, slightly
disorienting sensory effect by plunging
a camera down the sides of buildings by
a rope, then pulling it up again -
crashing us down to the arms of a
waiting assistant, twirling us around in
mid-air.
PERHAPS THE MOST successful of
these visual exercises was Del Swan's
Spiral, a rather self-conscious film
poem with dancer Mark McSweeny
moving gracefully about various urban
and rural landscapes in a mystical
quest for a woven straw ball and the
secret(s?) it holds. The air of grandiose
pretentiousness worked up between the
symbolism and the too-expansive
classical score was overcome by
Swan's shrewd composition and
editing, making particular use out of a
striking piece of modern architecture.

The narrative films screened tried to
downplay or mask their cliches through
avoidance-Richard Clabaugh's Close
Up: The Murder Mystery told its tale
entirely through close-ups of guilty
hands, guns, high heels, etc. - or
stylization. A small-scale science-fic-
tion epic, Vance Nichol's Mannequin:
The Tear used styrofoam model heads
to portray its benign alien visitors, but
their inexpressiveness did little to hide
the story's solemn, cheap sentimen-
tality. Or they just fell headfirst into
cliches as in 15-year-old Phil Eisen-
stein's Nightmare.
DOCUMENTARIES were adequately
represented by Climbing Ice, about
men who do just that (on frozen-stiff
waterfalls) for fun; Jeff Scharping's
Handi' Man, which followed a rueful
paraplegic through the physical and
mental difficulties of an average day
with depressing insight; and, most
likeably, Nilo Manfredini's
Everything's Relative: The Wedding,
which twisted footage of a lower-
middle-class celebration of the same in-
to something a bit cruel, very funny and
a little obscene.

If there didn't happen to be much
cause for celebration in this year's
8mm Festival films, there's still cause
enough in the Festival's existence and
continuance. There have been much
better 8mm winners, there doubtlessly
will be much better ones in the future,
and this particular slump can only be
(let's hope) a fluke.

Ow VIMMMAWAM

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