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March 20, 1981 - Image 7

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-03-20

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Folk father

The Michigan Daily-Friday, March 20, 1981-Page 7

.Seeger
music,
By JENNIFER GAMSON
It is extremely difficult to present an
artist the stature of Pete Seeger, giving
him all the respect that is his due,
without gushing like an over-excited
master of ceremonies doing the honors
at a "Musician of the Year" banquet.
The fact is, though, that Pete Seeger
is. a veritable American "folk father,"
and his eminence is not to be glossed
over inconsequentially. His in-
volvement for more than 25 years in
social, political, and musical arenas
has made him both a source of in-
spiration and an object of criticism.
BUT SEEGER is neither an outdated.
no"talgia act, nor a leftover activist
from past eras. He has consistently
been a model of protest and persisten-
ce.. "An artist, any artist, is also a
citizen and has a citizen's respon-
sibilities," Seeger has said in the past.
To-a man like this, music and politics
are inseparable.
Seeger's musical career began in
1938, after two years of studying
sociology at Harvard University. "I
couldn't get a job as a newspaperman,
and I ended up singing songs - which I
had always done for the fun of it
anyway - and I've been doing it ever
since."
In 1940, along with Woody Guthrie,
Lee Hays, and Millard Lampell, Seeger
organized the Almanac singers,
coilaborating on labor and 'anti-fascist
songs. The group disbanded during
World War II. Seeger went into the ar-
my and Guthrie became a merchant
marine. Continuing in labor related
politics after the war, he became in-
volved with People's Songs, Inc., the
forerunner of Sing Out! magazine.
Sporting the slogan: 'Songs of Labor and
the American People,' the publication's
aim was to get a singing labor
movement, according to Seeger. "We
got kicked out of the labor movement.
When the cold war came along, they

blends
politics
didn't want radicals like us, and there
was no worse name you could call a
person than a Communist.. ." Seeger
has been quoted as saying.
IN 1950 SEEGER became a target for
McCarthyism, when the Weavers (for-
med along with Ronnie Gilbert, Lee
Hays, and Fred Hellerman) were of-
fered a network television show spon-
sored by Van Camps Pork and Beans.
"We signed the contract, but the com-
pany hadn't.. . that very week, out
came an attack by a professional
blacklisting organization ... the con-
tract was torn up, and we never got the
job. For seventeen years I didn't get on
network television." His legal en-
tanglements with the government
climaxed in 1955, when he was called
before the House Un-American Ac-
tivities Committee. It was not until
May, 1962, that he was cleared of nearly
a dozen counts of contempt.
Despite the controversy surrounding
Seeger's career, his contributions to
folk music are indisputable. He is a
quiet, thoughtful man - modest about
his abilities as a composer and
musician. His own compositions, in-
cluding "If I Hada Hammer" (written
jointly with Lee Hays), "Where Have
All the Flowers Gone?," and (the music
to) "Turn, Turn, Turn," have become
folk classics. His 5-string banjo style,
with Appalachian roots, paved the way
for later revivalist musicians. Finally,
his performances are filled with an
energy and sincerity that usually has
the audience involved and singing
exuberantly. And when this man does
his songs well, no one is a spectator.
It is this active style and political con-
tent that has remained with Seeger
through the eighties. In the mid-sixties,
his concern for ,pollution led to the
building of the sloop Clearwater,
dedicated to restoration and preser-
vation of the Hudson River. Today he is
a motivating force in environmental

Join
Arts Staff

MANN THEATRES
VILLAGE 4
375 N MAPLE
769-1300
Daily Discount Matinees
TUESDAY BUCK DAY

1 41

7 rtc AG

o rea coming
Jazz musician Chick Corea will be coming to Hill Auditorium tomorrow
night at 8 p.m. The tickets for the performance, which is sponsored by Eclp-
se Jazz, are available at the Michigan Union box office and all CTC ticket
outlets.

causes.
IT'S BEEN 17 years since Seeger's
last Ann Arbor concert. So what's the
occasion? The Ark, which Seeger says
he feels is an important- institution.
A non-profit folk club, the Ark has
gained recognition as a forum for well-
known traditional and contemporary
folk artists. What makes it unique,
however, is that the Ark's co-
managers, David and Linda Siglin,
have developed a national reputation
while still enabling less-known perfor-
mers to gain exposure. Although the
Ark is a project of four Ann Arbor chur-
ches, it must raise money from other
sources to cover its expenses. The
relatively poor gains of the benefit Folk
Festival in February have reportedly
put the Ark in an extremely critical
situation. "Pete gets thousands of
requests each year for various political
benefits ..." said owner David Siglin,

"... so it's a great honor that he's
doing one for us."
I wouldn't doubt it for a moment.
Seventeen years is a long time to wait.
the onn arbor
Fim cooperative

TONIGHT

TONIGHT

presents

ANDY WARHOL'S
FRANKENSTEIN
7:00&10:30 MLB4

I

TRASH
8:40 MLB4a
$2 SINGLE FEATURE_
$3 DOUBLE FEATURE

4 very spacey
:.comedy.
Burl Ives
Earth
bou d
ff51

1:30
3:30
5:20
7:15
9:15

I I m

Now

'Eyewitness'

characters shine'

but plot loses steam quickly

(continued from Page 6)
limax equal to their prelude. When a
5upense film's characters come to
ominate the plot itself, you know
something has gone critically wrong;
and once it becomes apparent Eyewit-
iss isn't going to pay off, interest sags
drastically.
AS THE FILM dwindles down, Yates
and Tesich seem to lose even their
structural control: Their previously
immaculate visual patience is replaced
by a relentless, frenetic cross-cutting
which seems a panicked effort to con-
ceal the fact that there's much less
happening on the screen than there ap-
pears to be.
For all that, Eyewitness's shor-
tcomings are very nearly neutralized
.by the radiance of its performers. Hurt,
a screen newcomer of apparently
limitless talent, gets a much better
chance to display his virtuosity than he
did in the frenzied patter-songs of
Altered States. Though his Daryll
remains something of a mystery man
'(was he always laid back, or did Viet-
-nam change him?), Hurt invests his
protagonist with such genial charm
that he renders Daryll's simple world
not only tolerable but enviable. Weaver
is bright and believable as Tony, a rich
kid attempting to make it on her own;
ler love for Daryll grows so honestly
that you can accept its possibility even
in the face of the trenchant class
barriers dividing them..
AS ALDO, James Woods expertly
plays what is becoming his standard
psychotic schtick, while the enor-
mously gifted Pamela Reed does won-
1:The School of Music presents
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
* DANCE
COMPANY
:p.
e

ders with her small role of Daryll's
reluctant fiance, Linda: These two
recalcitrant lovers ultimately confess
their lack of love for each other in a
scene of joyous exorcism worthy of the
anti-romantic diabolics of Preston
Sturges.
Such inspired bits combine to make
Eyewitness an entertaining, often

ingenious failure. If Yates and Tesich
fall miles short of creating a unified
suspense masterwork, at least they've
populated their tale with people you
remember days afterward. And in a
movie age glutted by plasticized
phonies like The Jazz Singer and A
Change of Seasons, that is no miniscule
feat.

9 I -I
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5* Ae o,' .be,* 76 9700
DISNEY
GOESTO THE DEVIL!
T ih
ia
l~in (PG)
FRI-7:10, 9:00
SAT, SUN-1:20, 3:20, 5:20, 7:10, 9;00
STARTS APRIL 3
"LA CAGE AUX FOLLIES R1"
-BARGAIN MATINEES-
WED. SAT. SUN $2.00 til 600
3rd & FINAL WEEK

3
ACADEMY AWARD
NOMINATIONS

Melvin.
(and Howard)
FR-7:40, 9;30
SAT, SUN-2:00, 3:50.,5:50, 7:40, 930
-FREE-
'HU*@ THE HIPPO"
March 28 & 29
Watch for details
ANN ARBOR THEATER
CHEAP FLICKS!
every fri and sat.
ALL SEATS $2.00
EMMANUELE

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