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March 14, 1981 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-03-14

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The Michigan Daily.

Saturday, March 14, 1981

Page 5

Collins rewrites hies-

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Festival favorite Sally Cruikshank
returns with her inimitable creation
Quasi (right) in 'Quasi's Cabaret
Trailer,' Saturday night at the
Michigan Theatre as part of the Ann
Arbor 16mm Film Festival.

Festival gathers steam

It wasn't your everyday run-of-the-
mill blues. Couldn't be. Normal old
blues songs don't take ten minutes to
play and, my God, what happened to
the vocals? What Albert Collins and the
Icebreakers did to the blues Wednesday,
night at Rick's American Cafe was a
phenomenon unto itself.
What they have created can only be
called dance blues. Highlighted by long,
thunderous Collins guitar solos, the
songs scorched and sizzled upon
creation, and the resultant fervor
spread through the steamy, cramped
club like wildfire. It was a challenge to
dance, a call few could resist.
The siren was the Master of the
Telecaster, so called because Collins
has subdued that brand of guitar to his
will. It has given up the fight. They are
Collins reeled off monumental, eter-
nal guitar solos in sporadic and
enigmatic bursts. Dimpled cheeks
grimacing, lips singing along with the
guitar, Collins impulsively twitched
and twisted about the stage, teasing the
audience with abbreviated blasts that
he would repeat and pause, repeat and
pause, before they suddenly exploded
like shrapnel, sending needles up the
spine and shredding jangled nerve en-
Collins' style is fraught with such
sudden changes in tempo and intensity
that he leaves the listener in a state of
ecstatic confusion as to just what might
happen next. He is a singularly talented
guitarist, one of the few capable of
producing lengthy and titanic ren-

ditions of blues songs without making
the extended solos seem gratuitous and
TALENTED AS he is, some of his
appeal is just plain charisma. Collins is
an impetuous man, jubilantly indulgent
to each mood that seizes him, perfectly
willing to try and translate it into sound
and action. This is his own brand of
magnetism, this boyish impetuosity.
When he plunged right through the

crowd and up the stairs, then stood in
the doorway playing his guitar, it
wasn't just a stage, act. Hell, it was
cooler up there.
The playfulness was also evidenced
in the songs themselves. Collins has a
supple voice capable of varying
gradations of inflection, but used
mostly for granular treatments of songs

Needless to say, the Film Festival
is the cinematic event of the year in
Ann Arbor ... if not the entire
Midwest. Covering all the 16mm
territory from animation and visual
experimentation to documentaries
and straight narratives, the Festival
(now in its 19th year) has in the past
been a springboard for
professionals and a valuable outlet
for hopeful amateurs. Here are
some highlights from Wednesday's
and Thursday's showings.
Wedn esday
Wednesday night's showing was
highlighted by Richard Barber's Com-
plicated Fun, which begins with an un-
promising collage of cliched anti-war,
anti-military newsreel clips. Suddenly
the film shifts metaphoric gears, of-
fering us as a central character an
American Everyman skidding his way
like a modern-day Harold Lloyd
through the lsurrealistic pitfalls of
college, then of the post-grad work for-
ce. Our hero eventually chucks the rat
race to the looney tune and lyrics of the
"Uncomplicated Fyn". theme song.
Barber's irreverence contrasts Linda
Nathanson's A-T-E-Z, a heavy-
handed, end-of-the-world absurdist
piece whose intermittent flair for scary
apocalypse is undermined by the
banality of many of its individual
Accounts from the Life of George
Wilkins is a merciless study of a black
derelict in Boston's Roxbury district.
Directors Steven Ascher and Claude
Chelli employ the no-narrative, non-
judgmental style of Frederick
Wiseman, letting their subjects speak
for themselves. We watch George as he
reels from one living quarter to the
text, his life an endless series of raging,
acrimonious confrontations intersper-
sed with moments of anomolous, wren-
ching tenderness . The underbelly of
society is alive and flourishing, and this
film is about as close to the inside
looking out as any of us privileged types
are likely to experience.

Th ursday

Every time I go to the Ann Arbor
16mm Film Festival, I enter the theatre
with the hope that I'm about to see the
rwildly inventive films that the wildly
inventive titles promise.And I've never
" been totally disappointed, although at
times I might have been a bit
dismayed. Even though some of
the films fail,the ones thatsucceed
recoup all losses.
With Return of the Zo-oids!, 12-year-
old Aaron Bass makes his triumphant
return to the festival. Produced by 20th
Century Lizard, this simply drawn car-
toon moves quickly, every second
features something eatiig, shooting, or
grabbing something else. It ends with
the promise "comeing (sic) soon, Zo-
oids ."
Love is the Drug visualizes the Roxy
Music song through the movement of
many rectangular forms. Sexual
imagery is handledrin right angles in
this film. Lotsa fun, with wit, looking
like a good, slick, professional promo
Moon Redefined was a circle (the
moon, I assume) spinning around un-
derneath video distortions. I enjoyed it
except I kept feeling like reaching for
the vertical hold.
Bottle Up and Go is a good look at an
old, black couple of the South going
through daily routines - hoeing gar-
dens, catching fish, canning fruit,
visiting town, watching TV, and so on.
The man plays the harmonica, a wire
attached to their wooden house, and an
empty bottle - which gives the movie
its title. However, the narration by the
two subjects is almost impossible to
The dreaded event of the night, a 60-
minute movie entitled Word, Sound and
Power was, surprisingly, the best thing
shown all night. It's a documentary
about reggae in Jamaica, its essence
conveyed through the words and music
of the Soul Syndicate band. Many topics
are discussed - ska, Haille Selassie,
the Nyabangi beat, humanity's future
and, of course, marijuana. What's
more, the film is chockful of great
reggae tunes. All is handled clearly and
intelligently, with helpful subtitles.
A short, Street Scenes, delivered the

evening's best laugh. This piece
ingeniously converts stock footage of
people walking in the street near a
building which will soop be blown up in-
to hilarity when an unseen director
shouts commandsaand threats to his
alleged cast and crew and eventually
has the building destroyed (sup-
posedly) on his whim. This movie
comes from Zoetrope Studios, and I
hope to see more from them.
Washing Walls with Mrs. G has a
white-haired grandmother talking to
her grandson while he washes the kit-
chen walls. She's a sweet Italian lady
whose speech, due to her accent, is in-
terpreted in subtitles. A humorous,
thoroughly enjoyable slice of life.
The most popular film of the night,
due to the fact that it was made around
here by local people - many of whom
must have been in the theatre - was
Nuclear Beach Party. A soldier sear-
ches for survivors of nuclear holocaust,
finding a group of very young adults
living a constant beach party in a
shelter-basement. They dance to beach
music, hang ten surfing, listen to beat-
-nik poetry, and can't understand why
they should follow a soldier to safety.
A Film About My Home has the film
maker showing us around his neigh-
borhood and home. It starts with
whimsy and ends with pathos when he
tells about his mother's death. The
switch is slightly jarring.
Altogether it was an interesting, if a
bit overly long, evening. I can't guaran-
tee that the viewer will like every film,
but one is bound to find something to
one's liking. There's nothing quite like
the festival; I recommend it to
Join The
Daily Arts Staff

meat sauce or wnite clam sauce anu
pthe ann arbor
. garlic bread until you say "Enough Already!"
DRESSED__ __ _ _
7:00, 8:45 & 10:30kANNARBOR
MLB 3 3600 Plymouth Rd." 769-9400
Admission: $2

^A CBS Theatrical Films Presentation


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