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October 28, 1980 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-10-28

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The Michigan Daily Tuesday, October 28, 1980 Page 7

TRANSPORTATION is based on an interdisciplinary,
intermodal approach to transportation. The program is
accessible to students with a wide range of undergraduate
degrees including, engineering, the social sciences, architecture,
management, planning and operations research. Students also
participate as research assistants in a large variety of research
projects focusing on the role of transportation in solving some
of society's basic problems such as equity, energy, the
environment, and economic development.
For more information on the program,
please write to:
ROOM 1-123
or call:
(617) 253-5320

B-52 s:
This past Saturday night's B-52's
show was vinyl-perfect. Everything
sounded just like it was supposed to,
just like it does at home. All of the songs
are comfortably, vaguely familiar,
even as you hear them for the first
time. This is true "essence d'mass ap-
peal" pop music.
But don't sell these guys and gals
sh6rt. Beyong the surface sheen of dan-
cedhappy songs like "52 Girls" or "Par-
ty Out Of Bounds", there's a shrewdly
revisionist sensibility reworking those
pop images and icons to bring the dark
truth to the surface.
LIKE BRUCE Springsteen (to men-
tion just one pop icon), the B-52's are a
pop-crit's dream. Both Bruce and the
"B's" rummage the rock- and pop
(cultural) landscape for sounds and
images to transform, but where Bruce
is so darn serious and dogged in his por-
trayal of petit-bourgeois despair, The
B-52's are ironic and playful, in the
manner of upper middle class college
students who have not yet had to buckle
down to the yoke of career and respon-
sibility. It's no accident that Petula.
Clark's ode to a non-existent (for the
great majority of people) "Swinging;
London", "Downtown", (the only non-
original performed) exists side-by-side
with "Strobe Light" a capsule
trivialization of the "Oh Wow" pseudo-
profundity of LSD induced cosmic con-
From 1960 to 1980, what a long
strange trip it's been. Lots of things are
different, sure, but nothing's really
changed, niot for the better anyway.
Then: Kennedy vs. Nixon
debating on TV.
Now: Carter vs. Reagan
debating on TV.

Then: Straight, preppie-looking
pop stars like The Four Preps
and the Kingston Trio.
Now: Post-acid, preppie-looking
pop stars like the 52-boys
and the Talking Heads males.
Like David Byrne, vocalist Fred
Schneider looks safe and normal.
Lurking just beneath the facade is,
however, a frugging fool. Unlike Byr-
ne's excitable boy persona, Fred is the
ultimate in modern cool. While very lit-
tle bothers Fred, very little moves him.
That's the existential dilemma of post-
modern man!
THE POLITICAL idealization of the
60's, equal rights, mind expansion, hip-
pies, vegetarian lifestyles, love, peace
and understanding is each in its way
important but no more real (or impor-
tant) than reruns of Leave It to Beaver
or Twilight Zone, thanks to television.
Thanks to TV, we see Madge (another
of the 52-girls) helping other women to
keep their hands creamy-soft while
they get their dishes squeaky-clean.
This is slyly juxtaposed with images of
bleeding refugees from Indo-China,
fostering import for the former while
simultaneously trivializing the latter.
The B-52's make soundtracks for the
B-movies of your mind. They're ver-
satile. There's Sci-Fi: 53 Miles West of
Venus, "Planet Claire" and "There's a
Moon in the Sky (called the Moon);
melodrama: "Give Me Back My Man",
great tear-stained vocal here, and
"Quiche Lorraine"; and, of course,
parties: "Rock Lobster", "52-Girl's",
"Party Out of Bounds", "Dance This
Mess Around", "Strobe Light", etc.,
-etc. This is truly music to watch a
silent TV by.
B-52 music consists of, essentially,
dredging up riffs and catch phrases
that evoke or recreate feelings and

out of bounds.

memories from the swinging 60's all the
way to the once, and future, present.
"Private Idaho", from the second LP,
is a formula-perfect B-52 dance hit, in-
stantly catchy like the "Lobster" riffs
from which it is spawned. The formula
consists of a catchy, surf-guitar intro, a
repeated phrase, which will, ideally,
operate on more than one level, fun-
ctioning either as a pun or susceptible
to multiple interpretations, as in,
"You're living in your own Private
Idaho." This repeated until its stuck
in your brain and you run down to the
record store and buy the album in order
to reduce the cranial pressure. Also
from this song: "Get out of the state
you're in." Got it? Of course. It's easy
and fun and welcome to the ever-
enlarging B-52's fan club. The formula
also involves cleverly rearranged licks
from the pool of universal trash-
memory, in this instance the quote is
the keyboard lick from the theme music
from the TV show, Outer Limits,
(blatant) which receives an enormous
response by the crowd and a lyric lift
from Johnny Rivers' theme song for the
(sing it please) Secret Agent (Man)
show, (subtle) recognizable only after
more than a few close listens.
ALTHOUGH IT'S formulaic-that
means you can repeat this process for
lots of their songs-that doesn't mean
the songs aren't bright and witty.
Therein lies the B-52's' charm. They
can be appreciated as, simply, a good-
time dance band or pop-obsessives like
me can revel in their exhuming of semi-
forgotten musical quotes and stuff like
that. "Devil in My Car" is built around
the bass riff from Dobie Gray's "In
Crowd", a perfect song, from a
sociological point of view, for the 52's to
rework. "I'm in with the "in-crowd,
etc." Brian Ferry covered it five or so

years ago, completely trashipg the
macho-BMOC attitude of the original.
By building another song (satisfying on
its own) around this motif, the 52's suc-
ceed in producing something for almost
"Party Out of Bounds", from the new
LP, asks in a mock serious tone,
"Who's to blame when a party goes out
of bounds? Who's to blame when a par-
ty's poorly planned?" The 52's will
surely track the culprits down and
sneer at them for this breach, for this
terminal tackiness. How uncool! The
humiliation of "houseatosis", the hear-
tbreak of psoriasis.
Although the 52's are retro in their
music and their concerns, you can view
the band as, actually, quite subversive.
Insinuating themselves into our hearts
and onto our radios, all the while
regurgitating the mindless, morass of
mediocre messages that are inflicted
on us by the mass media, the B-52's hold
these pathetic images up to the strobe
light for post-facto dissection. The truth
shall, perhaps, make us freer. At the
same time, their fresh, pop sound is in-
stantly shaming and outmoding almost
See DANCE, Page 9



Come in and build your own from our
Mon.-Thurs. Spm-close

4 I

Hamnburger $1.75
French Fries 25t
Peanuts 10t
Great discounts on beer
and liquor

Mon.-Thurs. 11:30am-midnight
Fri.-Sat. 11:30am-1:00am
Sun. 4:00pm-9:00pm

1301 S. University, corner of Forest



f riday, november 7 8p~m
rackham aulditorium

A clear voice from down under

Some of Priscilla Herdman's lyrics
* iay be Australian-flavored, but let's
get one thing straight: She herself is
'not, nor will she ever be, Australian.
She is from Eastchester, New York;
far, far away from kangaroos,
aborigines, and Evonne Goolagong.
The reason for this confusion undoub-
tedly stems from the fact that Herdman
has set the words of 19th century poet
Henry Lawson-an Australian bush-
iian-to her own melodies.
But Herdnran's repertoire is not
li*ited to just these compositions. Her
folk songs range from moving ballads
to rhythmfic spirtiuals to guitar adapted
selections from musicals. There are
relatively few currently successful
females in the folk artist tradition, but
Priscilla Herdman has been compared
in talent to the few we have heard of. As
is often the case with Joan Baez, Judy
Collins and the early Joni Mitchell, her
sole accompaniment is her guitar. She
has both a controlled, low vibrato and
an exacting, far-reaching, soprano
range. Her voice is so precise and clear
that she easily captivates listeners.
HER SINGING this Friday night in-

deed had the Ark's audience
spellbound, but Priscilla's apologetic
and slightly rambling manner was a bit
tedious. We got, in addition to the
music, five minutes of trite, pseudo-
poignant profundity prefacing every
song. Her spontaneity was close to
zero; each song was seemingly grouped
into one of a few categories: Maudlin
Sentiment, Cutesy Amusement,
Political, and Audience Particpatory
(although some people had an immense
amount of trouble stifling the tem-
ptation to sing along with her
throughout the show). She moved
deliberately from section to section
with comments such as "And now,
to get away from The Hopeless . ..,"
breaking into her guitar-adapted
version of "Somewhere Over the Rain-
bow." For a self-described "perfor-
mer," Priscilla was attempting to be
more of an "entertainer" than is within
her capabilities.
Many of her songs are written by
relatively obscure authors, who
Priscilla always carefully and humbly
accredited. Notable in the Friday night
performance were David Mallin's
songs, including "Inch By Inch."

(which has now been sung by Kermit
the Frog), Sylvia Tyson's touching
"Ellen and Ragene," and "Buddy, Can
You Spare a Dime?" (Yip Harberg) in
both Depression Era and Recession
Era ("Buddy, Can You Spare a
Buck?") forms. Also included were
several of her Australian songs from
her Waterlily album and the new,
"Forgotten Dreams."
Priscilla flerdman has a versatile
vocal style and interestingly varied
repertoire, but her entertaining
abilities are mundane. Her voice,
however, is so phenomenal that it had
the mesmerizing effect of making all
else tolerable.

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pal UDJ p,, s~4.13m~yj1A4 (1S1uI3yJ
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Tickets $7.50 reserved

_ Tickets on sale now at The
a. ff3Michigan Union Box Office,
_ au Al aMSchoolkids'
-aq1 ell 13 and at all CTC out-
uaa ml ,a3SS1l lets. For more information
- nsu ,p:I -P 1 V, call 763-2071.
-at pase> ost Car ed I
ut, W do oU3as L si " .Slta
I(~Su spa aOJ JOq Jnq-s~(3 Oas uo totouw a,, o saaJds aq
alqu uoaa uT A lush. mesmeric b/end ofclassical elements and electronic sound
r The structure's the thing, says Philip Glass
SS1J/9 d gJ SIvs 'u dqia s anpn.ls a



Director Center for Political Studies,
institute for Social Research
Lunch: $1.00 For Information Call: 662-5529
Co-sponsored by the Ecumenical Campus Center

- In
the music of
Rodgers and Hammerstein
OCT. 31, NOV.A and 2
Fri., Sat. 8 p.m.-Sun. 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Tickets on Sale Now PTP Ticket
Office-Michigan League Mon.-Fri.
10-1, 2-5. 764-0450

The American Red Cross and Alpha Phi Omega will be conducting a STUDENT
BLOD DRIVE from Monday, Oct. 27, until Monday, Nov. 3, 1980, at the
locations and times listed below. Students, faculty and staff members, and
willing members of the community are encouraged to come on one of the
six days to donate blood. No appointments are necessary.
Due to the recent closing of the Ypsilanti automotive plant, this area is suf-
fering a great loss of volunteer blood donors. In order to maintain the
necessary amount of whole blood in the local hospitals, it is vital that we
collect over 1500 pints of blood in this six day period. Again, we encour-
age everyone to donate at the Blood Drive.


Sit down and
get into,
perfect shape.
At Command Performance we
know the secret of a well-shaped
haircut: adapt the hairstyle you
ask for to the hair you come
in with.
That's also vhy our haircut will
get you all the looks you're
looking for.

', V


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