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December 03, 1980 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-12-03

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Wednesday, December 3, 1980

Page 5

Third World stirs it up,
Jimmy Cliffperseveres
By MICHAEL KREMEN
Third World gave a very strong and entertaining performance as the
opening act for Jimmy Cliff, this past Saturday night at The Royal Oak
Theater. Truth to speak, Cliff's worthwhile set seemed anti-climactic in the
wake of Third World's well paced and superbly staged act.
They began their show with "Setta Messagana", a hymnlike tale of
spiritual longing for the promised land. The song opened a capella, allowing
the pure, high harmonies to be clearly heard and giving added power to the
music when the instruments did kick in.
"IRIE ITER", a paean to good feelings, followed. Simple uplifting lyrics
rode on a solid instrumental groove which was further embellished by power-
ful, poly-rhythmic conga playing.
The rest of the show continued in a musically and lyrically uptempo
fashion. The emphasis was on "positive" images so that there was no place
for a provocative group-original, "96" In the Shade", a realistic account of a
19th century slavery auction.
What was performed was uniformly well done. "African Woman", a
romantic, mid-tempo homage, showcased the thrilling baritone of Rugs,
whose power and style evokes Dennis Brown and wouldn't be out of place
with such groups as Earth, Wind and Fire or The O'Jays. The vocal is aided
and abetted by engaging rhythms, tasteful, albeit Santana-derived lead
guitar by Cat and varied and generally inspired keyboard work from Ibo.
Other strong numbers included "Street Fighting", "Third World Man" and
the band's one American hit, the highly danceable "Now That We've Found
Love", a Gamble-Huff composition that was originally recorded by The
O'Jays.
"UPTOWN REBEL", from the latest studiorecording, "Arise in Har-
mony", is a successful attempt at a more "roots" attack. The playing is
properly funky and the groups vocals are suitably tough. All of the band
members (dressed compatibly and mostly in white), not tied down to a drum
set, do a unison dance that equals any moves that The Tower of Power Horns
have come up with. For these rebels (like most of us), the rebellion is mostly
psychological and transpires uptown, and not in the ghetto.
This is at the heart of why Third World is not very well liked by "roots,
reggae" aficionados. Third World doesn't fulfill our notion of what a reggae
band should look and sound like. Unlike most other Jamaican bands (that
have come to international attention), Third World draws heavily from con-
temporary Black American popular music. Third World has more in com-
mon with Stevie Wonder and Sly Stone than The Clash or Lee Dorsey.'
Third World are attempting a Soul-reggae fusion rather than the rock-
reggae combination with which (white) Americans are more comfortable.
Just as American rhythm and blues, soul and funk bands have traditionally
helped to communicate ethnic and roots music like blues and jazz to a wider
audience, Third World should be perceived as fulfilling a similar function for
"roots" reggae. Viewed in this way, Third World's recent recordings make
more sense and the band's substantial creative contributions can be more
accurately assessed.
JIMMY CLIFF'S SET was substantially stronger than the audience's
lukewarm response indicated. Cliff's show this tour is heavily ballad-laden
and these songs just didn't gain the audience's attention after Third World's
energetic work out.
Cliff was in fine vocal fettle. His distinctive tone was clear and ie demon-
strated excellent control on "Many Rivers to Cross" from The Harder They
Come movie soundtrack and "Bongo Man" and "She Is a Woman" from the
very good and generally ignored 1978 recording, Give Thankx. "She Is a
Woman" does, unfortunately, sound disturbingly close to "No Women, No
Cry", a song identified with Bob Marley that Cliff himself has recorded.
Two never up-tempo songs with political messages helped to musically
punctuate the too-somnolent set. "Let's Turn the Tables" from Cliff's new
American release, I Am the Living and "Stand Up and Fight Back", from
the aforementioned Give Thankx, allowed the musicians a rare opportunity'
to jam. Given the opportunity, the group proceeded to cook. The emphasis
on song format didn't allow Cliff to make full use of the instrumental talents
of his backing group. The great Earl "Chinna" Smith, one of the strongest
electric guitar players in all of pop music, was on hand, but, alas, had very
little to do.
The musicians seemed unchallenged and consequently bored, especially
in contrast to the spirit displayed by the players of the self-contained Third
World band.
The songs performed ,rom the 1973 movie, The Harder They Come, in
which-Cliff starred, received very good response but the sudience was not
otherwise engaged. Cliff, dressed in military garb, has not been able to
establish an individual identity (in the U.S.) separate from Ivan, the charac-
ter he plays in that seminal movie. Based on Saturday's performance, I'm
afraid that Jimmy Cliff will continue to find a clear identity an elusive goal.
Sl ence, please
MONTREAL (AP)-Pianist Keith said Jarrett, who is reputed to im-

Jarrett, unnerved by a spate of provise partly according to how his
coughing in the audience, interrupted a audience behaves. "It's very hard to
solo performance at Place des Arts. use a cough for anyone but a percussion
"Okay, everybody cough," he said af- player."
ter bounding to his feet from the piano The concert went well after that ex-
bench early in the 2 -hour concert planation and the near capacity crowd
Conday night. brought Jarrett back for two encores.
And cough people did, in an
exaggerated fashion.
"I used to think coughing was a
national disease but it's happening all
over the world," said the 35-year-old
American composer and musician,1
known for his creative meshing of jazz
and classical music. "People don't Never
hear, they don't feel, they don't see. Remains
People are bored."
Jarrett returned to the piano, but Silent
stopped again 15 minutes later. "You 764-8638
see, whatever I get back I have to use,"

'SIDE EFFECTS'
More of Woody's paranoia

By ELISA ISAACSON
For an artist whose filmmaking ef-
forts in the last few years have traver-
sed the spectrum from slapstick to
sterile seriousness to trendy
autobiographical romance, Woody
Allen's literary career has remained
strangely static. The individual sket-
ches 'in each of his three collections
could easily be interchanged without
any visible inconsistencies in "style" or
"period;" the themes, formats, jokes,
personalities are constant. The notable
difference, however, between Allen's
first two books and his latest, Side Ef-
fects, is that the stories, in the retelling,
are no longer funny.
The paranoid-New York-Jewish-
underdog humor is Allen's trademark.
He didn't originate the genre when he
began writing in the 1950s-it had been
done before and it's been done sin-
ce-but he certainly has established
'himself as a master. Who else could
make his protagonist grow up under a
roller coaster at Coney Island and not
cause his audience to question its
feasibility? The problem is, Allen him-
self is so intrigued by his own gags and
cultural insights that he's used them to
the point of overkill.
In "The Lunatic's Tale," for instan-
ce, one of the new stories virtually
laced with second-hand gags, Allen
describes a figure well-known in New
York lore: the urban street bum. "And
while I roam through Central Park
wearing moth-eaten clothes and a
surgical mask, screaming
revolutionary slogans and laughing
hysterically.. ." Sound at all familiar?
Annie Hall buffs will recognize this as a
mirror image of the type of woman
Allen, at a California party, teases bud-
dy Tony Roberts about dating.
THE LIST OF stock Allen-images
and one-liners continues. A mindless
photographer's model who looks like a
Playboy centerfold asks the protagonist
in the same "Lunatic's Tale" with a
voice resembling that of a mouse in the
animated cartoons, 'What sign are
you?" Similarly, if you recall, Allen
tells his 17-year-old lover in the film
Manhattan that she has a voice like the
mouse in the Tom and Jerry cartoons.
At the end of "The Lunatic's Tale,"
Allen tries to relieve his inability to,
decide between his intellectual live-in
and his airhead sex partner by perfor-
ming the classic mad scientist ex-
periment. He straps the women to
operating tables and by use of electric
currents transfers the brain of one into'
the body of the other, thus enjoying the
best of both worlds. This image is
visualized explicitly in Allen's latest
film, Stardust Memories and is thus no
longer any fun. In fact, it's em-
barrassing; it's like standing by and
listening to the host at a party tell the
same joke to each guest who arrives.
But the most disturbing element of all
this is not the discomfiture of sitting,
through the artist's obvious delight in
his own hilarity, but the implication of
the message behind these jokes. Allen's

values have emerged with increasing
clarity during the last few years of his
artistic development; though he might
appear to be branching out with, say,
the uncharacteristically "serious" film
Interiors, his fascination with the in-
tellectual, the urbane, the precious
remains pervasive. Allen's plots still
revolve around people who have in-
teresting and artsy jobs, who eat ex-
pensive deli food, who attend gallery
openings and listen to the right kind of
music. Both his films and stories-from
the most serious to the most slap-
stick-are overrun with that same
Allenobilia he immortalized when, at

beautiful people. In "The Lunatic's
Tale" he describes a "highly successful
doctor" as "living on the upper East
Side, gadding about town in a brown
Mercedes, and bedecked dashingly in a
varied array of Ralph Lauren tweeds."
Allen himself resides in the upper East
Side, wears custom-made Lauren suit-
s, and is driven by his chauffeur in
-though not a Mercedes-a Rolls
Royce.
By identifying with the hero-or anti-
hero, as the case may be-in an Allen
tale, we are identifying with the artist
himself. Arid the cushy penthouse ur-
ban existence is infectiously appealing.
The reason for the influx of groupies at
such Allen hang-outs as Elaine's up-
town or John's Pizza in the Village is
not simply because people want to cat-
ch a glimpse of the star; it's because
they want to be a part of that Allen
culture, part of the sophisticated set
who make the news in rumpled Lauren
tweeds. The humor has stopped being
funny because it's been heard many
times before by any die-hard fan; its
new appeal now seems to be that of a
cult-worship nature.
In spite of all this, Allen is still a deft
story-teller. Two of the tales in Side Ef-.
fects are fresh enough that they are
well worth reading. "Fabrizio's
Criticism and Response" is a hilarious
parody of artistic criticism, which
focuses on the merits and failures of an
Italian restaurant rather than on the
usual recent novel. The reviewer
analyzes the pasta in both political and
philosophical terms, and the respon-
ding letter-writers address him on
Connecticut based manufac-
turer wishes to hire student
for on campus sales. Flexible
hours, high commission rate.
Product is a newly developed heat-
ed windshield wiper.
Call collect (203) 481-6207

social history, algebraic logic, and
Soviet domination. The plot of "The
Kugelmass Episode", in which a
humanities professor is magically
transferred into the land of literature
and has an extra-marital affair with
madame Bovary right on the pages of
the book, is engaging enough that it is
not bogged down by any of the stock
Allen one-liners.
THETI
DRUM
(R)
"An artistic
masterpiece"
TUES-7:00, 9:25
WED-2:00, 4:25, 7:00, 9 25
S INDIVIDUAL THEATRES
sh A.e at iberty 761-9700
M Y
BRI LLIANT
CAREERv
(G)
"No wonder the
audience cheered"
-VILLAGE VOICE
TUES-7:10, 9:00
WED-1:30, 3:20, 5:20,
7:10, 9:00
M.D. 12/4/80
* With this entire ad -
* one admission $1.50 any film *
* Good Mon. thru Thurs.
* This coupon valid thru
' " m '"" - - m " m - ,

the end of Manhattan, he recited into a
tape recorder a list of things he believes
make life worth living. That roster in-
cluded Cezanne's still-life fruit, Louis
Armstrong, and his girlfriend's face.
When writing a new story, Allen
merely plucks from his list a few choice
items and plugs them into a given
framework. He can produce in bulk
now, because he writes according to
such a formula. Read enough Woody
Allen and you could write your own rib-
tickler in a matter of minutes. All you
have to do is follow the rules.
* Mention odd foods and animals in
otherwise serious situations.
" Use a liberal dose of yiddish
phrases, and give some of the charac-
ters heavily Jewish-sounding names, as
if their grandparents had forgotten to
change them at Ellis Island.
" Come up with various ways of ex-
plaining that you're lusting in your
heart after every attractive woman in
the story.
d Throw in occasional references to
sodomy and profound. philosophers..
Combine ingredients in any order you
want to, add water, shake well-and
presto! An instant Allen story.
Woody Allen writes about the things
he thinks are important-which would
be okay except for the fact that he
makes it clear that those who don't
realize their significance 'just aren't
cool. For instance, he has taken to
dismissing any character who does not
appreciate the Marx Brothers. Again,
in "The Lunatic's Tale," the author
says about his first wife, "Of the Marx
Brothers, she was convinced the
amusing one was Zeppo." This obser-
vation, though obviously absurd, never-
theless makes the readers feel the only
way they can appreciate the finer
things in life is to agree with Woody
Allen.
Now by comparing what Allen says
on paper and on. film to his actual
lifestyle could be considered a bit
presumptuous. Yet the facts have been
documented to show that Allen's
writing very much reflects his own
values and experience. Allen in his
work celebrates good taste and the

Double Indemnity
Directed by Billy Wilder. With BARBARA STANWYCK, FRED MACMURRAY, ED-
WARD G. ROBINSON. Screenplay by Wilder and Raymond Chandler. A wom-
an and her insurance agent cut corners to collect on her husband's life in-
surance policy. All goes well except the cold feeling in inspector Robinson's
gut that won't go away. He won't give up until he finds the truth and his in-
digestion clears up. Tight-paced and tense, it flares like a match.
7:00 & 9:00 at LORCH, near the elevator.
CINEMA GUILD THE XENON LIGHT OF THE WORLD

Guitarist
wins OBE
LONDON (AP)-Australian-born
classical guitarist John Williams
received an Officer Order of the British
Empire medal from Queen Elizabeth II
at Buckingham Palace Tuesday.
After the investiture, the 39-year-old
guitarist left quickly to return to Scar-
borough, where he is "updating" his
style by playing mainstream pop music
with the group Sky.
"I am going straight back to join the
lads," Williams told reporters. "The
best way to celebrate is by doing a con-
cert."

MAJOR EVENTS
are pleased to

incooperation with
announce in concert

CIN.EMA II
Presents
EXPERIMENTAL ANIMATION
BY HARRY SMITH
A selection of the magic of Harry Smith, long renowned
medicine man/magician of experimental animation. As Smith
himself puts it: "I like my films because I didn't make them;
God made them." Included in his show are: Early Abstrac-
tions, Heaven and Earth Magic Show, Late Super Impositions,
and Mirror Animation. 7:00 and 9:00.
TONIGHT, MLB 3 $2.00
kNVW VfDV M FW VinD ,

Band

sl:

.

I

with special guests
TULC A II I A WC

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