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January 09, 1981 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-01-09

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ARTS
Friday, January 9, 1981

The Michigan Daily

Page 9

Performance Guide,
MUSIC
Chuck Berry-Back to the roots, with no rot in sight yet. Berry is, sure, the
Faddai of Rock 'n Roll, yeah, yeah, but beyond the historical worth there
still exists a performer with energy to burn. The fire will be lit at 7:00 and
11:00 at Second Chance, Monday, January 12.
Lonnie Brooks Blues Band-Brooks has been kicking around the blues scene
for years, but his step into the national limelight has been relatively recent,
with a surprisingly well-publicized 1979 LP and this current tour. This date
at Rick's American Cafe should prove an exciting evening. Wednesday,
January 14.
Electromusicological Vidiocity-Partly music, partly video, EV contains
prophetic video art, electronic pygmy rituals, and a multi-images slide show
of "The Great Lakes in Transition, 1850-1980." Fun for the whole family!
Canterbury Loft, January 10 and 11 at 8 p.m.
FILMS
Disney Cartoon Festival'-The 1940 feature Pinnochio took the lavishness of
Disney technique to its artistic peak-today's best animation, logically, is
working toward entirely different goals of experimentation-but the studio's
-most winning work may still be that of its earliest years. This program of-
fers a very rare chance to see some little-shown gems which pioneered
popular cartoonery and have a frilly charm their slicker ancestors usually
missed. Included will be the first Mickey Mouse short, various stages of
M.M. development in the early '30s, the giddy first Silly Symphony '"The
Skeleton Dance," and the first in color, "Flowers and Trees." Great stuff.
Friday, January 9, & 7:00, 8:40 and 10:20, Old A & D.
Time After Time-Nicholas Meyer's ingenious satirical fantasy, in which
H.G. Wells (played by Malcolm MacDowell with consummate
milquetoastiness), having invented a real Time Machine, must use it to pur-
sue Jack the Ripper (David Warner) to modern-day San Francisco. Mary
Steenburgen is the sleepily enchanting heroine. Droll, neatly paced and
played, this is an arch balance of thrills and wit, achieving both without at all
minimizing either. Friday, 7:00 and 930, Nat. Sci.
Chuck Berry
200 Motels--A flaming bizarroe of music, hmor and chaos, with Frank Zap-
pa and Leon Russell, and others drifting through. It's definitely some sort of
achievement, frequently very funny, and at times memorably disorienting;
it's such a constant assault that the flop ideas and sequences. just meilt into
r the thick, greasy but not unpleasant stew. Better video-(f)art than Mgical
Mystery Tour, which it's double-billed with, although there are of cours more
reasons than ever now to see that other musical-fantasy pastiche. 8:40, MLB
3, Saturday, January 10.
Andy Worhol's Bad-Spaced-out black comedy, with a slicker veneer than
such earlier "Worhol" is-it-cinema essays as Trash, but without Paul
Morrissey's underground/overland ambiguity. Carroll Baker, a real
professional actress (and there's a r.p. actor, Perry King, too), plays a
coolly businesslike dealer in assassins. The rest of the cast doesn't bother
iwith feigning wierdness, having already achieved it off-screen. They float by
with casual if well-practiced freak-show fascination. Just for fun, though
never good and clean about it. Saturday, 7:00 and 9:00, Aud. A.
Yellow Submarine-Still thousands of oohs and ahhs ahead of just about any
other pop/op/deco/dodo artifact, bright and busy and silly and clever and
frighteningly inventive, usually all at once. The credit is less due to the Fab
Four, the excuse for it all, than to the droves of animators who labored for
months in order to come up with something that seems as dizzily spon-
taneous as a mushroom dream. Sunday, January 11, 7:00 and 9:00, MLB 3.
The Loves of Isadora-One of the very few films to give Vanessa Redgrave
an epic role to match her goddessy reserves of presence and skill, and as
such worth seeing at any cost. The actress isn't much of a dancer, but her
performance in this large-scale, uneven biography provides large,
tremulous insights into the drives that might have fired Isadora Duncans
legendary persuit of dance as a revival of classicism and a way of life. Sun-
,day" 7:00 andl10:00, Old A &D.
THEATRE
My Fair Lady-Another warhorse of a musical performed by a slightly
talented group, the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre. This production lacks energy,
talent, and creativity, says our Daily critic (see review opposite). Despite
that, tickets are going fast. At the Lydia Mendelssohn, January 9-10, 14-17 at
8p.m.

A 2CIVIC'S LOW-BRED 'LADY'

'Fair' is not the

By AMY MOORE
Community theatre provides
amateurs with an opportunity to par-
ticipate in the world of the stage.
Anyone attending a local theatre
production expecting to see the
brilliance of Broadway recaptured,
however, will inevitably be disappoin-
ted. Although the shows chosen often
provide the ingredients for success,
small theatre groups notoriously tran-
sform large, effervescent.musicals into
futile imitations of the long-standing
Broadway versions.
Yet the goal of community theatre,
and one which is often misunderstood,
is to leave the audience with a sense of
the effort and enthusiasm of the people
involved. Unfortunately, the Ann Arbor
Civic Theatre's production of My Fair
Lady generally fails this humble goal
and simply leaves one with the desire to
chemically drum its irritations out of
the memory.
THE FIRST WORD that comes to
mind in describing this show is "lack."
The production itself lacks energy, the
actors' movements lack motivation,
the show lacks pace (three and a half
hours long, slowly. . .), the perfor-
mances lack characterization and the
blocking lacks grace. If the performan-
ce had been a dress rehearsal, the
director would at least have had the op-
tion of doubling the rehearsal time and
quickly postponing the opening. (God
Bless David Merrick.) Even an af-
terglow for this show would need pall
bearers.
From the opening number, My Fair
Lady dragged. The excitement grew af-
ter each scene-would the flats crash,
would the crewies handle the technical
misdirection, could the performers stay
in character throughout the fiasco-?
Each segment grew more and more
frustrating. The chorus should have
been arrested for loitering. The actors
truly needed a shot of speed. Each bogis
accent and each fumbled line added fuel
to the destruction of the material.
Then hope arrived. With a quick

boost of energy from Alfred Doolittle
(Charles Sutherland), the production
was given the "Little Bit of Luck" that
it so desperately needed. The actors
grew somewhat comfortable with their
bodies, and the whole show took a leap
forward. The chorus of servants, led by
Mrs. Pearce (Alene Blomquist), per-
formed well. By the time Mrs. Higgins
(Burnette Staebler) was introduced,
the performance had grown
measurably, if not :quite redeemably,
more professional. Staebler neatly
characterized the perfect elegant lady,
with style, grace, credibility and talent.
As Freddy, John Butterfield's voice hit
the mark when she opened with the
romantic "On the Street Where You
Live," prompting the traditional gawd-
that-song sigh from each female in the
audience. Colonel Pickering (James
Piper) also added sparkle-so much so
that the Civic's version of My Fair Lady
might have seemed more sound if Eliza
had fallen for his charms rather than
those of Mitchel McElyra's Higgins.
TOWARDS THE end of the staging,
most frustrations melted into simple
amusement, much of it, thankfully, in-
tended. McElyra had to be laughed at.
His interpretation of Professor Higgins
as a scatterbrained, overly exciteable
linguist could hardly attract a down-to-
earth female, although the University
might hire him to lecture. With little ef-
fort, McElyra wildly distorted the stan-
dard Rex Harrison prototype. After the
initial shock at such sacrilige died
down, he gave the audience and show
what they needed badly-comic relief.
Finally, a few words should be said
about Nancie Krug's Eliza. The girl has
talent, although often it appeared as if
she didn't know what to do with it,
perhaps kept adrift by inadequate
direction. As Eliza mustered up the
energy to push Freddy over a suitcase,
"Show Me" proved to have exceptional
life. Given the difficulties of handling
the lead in such a rocky staging, her
performance was "lovery."
My Fair Lady is one of those warhor-
se musicals that a sizable public is

word
always willing to swallow in any form,
and the Civic's staging, is, sadly, about
an average example of Ann Arbor
theatre. It's not all their fault that My
Fair Lady dies in parts-these epics are
always hard for anyone but pros to
carry out. Mesmerized by Burton,
Harrison etc., and stunned by $30.00
ticket prices, audiences feel that they
always have to love these musicals. But
Ann Arbor isn't New York, and you're
painfully aware of this after leaving the
theatre, slightly saddlesore, around
midnight. The show has its moments,
but it leaves you worn out, and you
don't need to pay five dollars for that.

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Cinemna II
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Gimme Shelter
(David and Albert Maysles, 1970)

-4
'*
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t

What might have been just another documentary of a rock tour
becomes radically altered by the tragic events at Altamont,
California. A film about the power and the danger of charisma
and about our own pop culture. With the Rolling Stones, Ike and
Tina Turner, the Jefferson Airplane, and the Hell's Angels.
(91 min.) 7:00 and 9:45

n

PLANNED
PARENTHOOD

I

Fy
14
e
1

';Fol
.11t

be Fourth
Inn Arbor
Ik Festival
two shows
Sunday January 18
Power Center
2pm
Leon Redbone
Margaret Christi
Michael Cooney
he Henrie Brothers
8pm
Leon Redbone
Andy -Breckman
Mick Molonev and

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Rock All Night
(Roger Corman, 1957)
Outrageous dialogue twists and turns this exploitation-type
teen movie into a farce and genre spoof. Musical numbers by
the Platters and others appear at the beginning of the film. (65
min.) 8:40 only.
Friday, Jan. 9 Aud. A
$2.00 one show, $3.00 both shows
Andy Warhol's Bad
(Jed Johnson, 1977)
Truly one of Warhol's most outrageous films stars Carroll Baker
who moonlights by booking young women on assignments to
kill! This comedy-drama, with its revolting nihilistic viewpoint.
is technically excellent. The performances are all good, and the
sharp dialogue embodies keen, decadent insight into the numb-
ing world of the solid citizen. (110 min.) 7:00 and 9:00.
Saturday, Jan. 10 Aud.A $2.00
A.K.A. Cassius Clay
(Jim Jacobs, 1970)
The best of the Greatest. This documentary, made in 1970,
traces Ali's career from his Golden. Glove beginnings in
Louisville, through the Olympics, the Liston fights, and up to
his biggest bout against Uncle Sam. Jacobs' exhaustive effort
contains a wealth of rare footage that will delight all and in-
form even the most ardent fans. (79 min.) 7:00 only.
Sweet Sweetback's
Baadasssss Song
(Melvin Van Peeble's, 1971)
Sweet Sweetback is uncompromising in its realistic view of the ;
black experience in white America. Melvin Van Peebles wrote,
produced, directed, and starred in this revolutionary film about

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