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April 11, 1982 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 1982-04-11
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The Michigan Daily-Sd

Page 8-Sunday, April 11, 1982-=The Michigan Daily
Melting into a Kibbutz

By John Adam

a

In the mornings, the alarm clock
would ring and it would be dark outside.
You'd slide into your ill-fitting clothes,
splash some water on your face, and
shuffle over to the dining room for
breakfast. The day had begun.
After putting down some porridge
eggs, the volunteers and kibbutzniks
would begin work - maybe in the
bannana plantation, the pardes of
citrus, or the factory. The first of my
seven months on the kibbutI worked in
the cotton fields, driving a tractor and
setting pipes.
A kibbutz is a sort of collective set-
tlement in Israel made up on many kib-
butzniks who live there permanently
and transient volunteers who come to
work, to have fun, and maybe even to
study. It's a perfect way to spend a
summer (especially if the kibbutz is on
the Mediterranean.)
ISRAEL, A compact country about
the size of Vermont, has about as much
variety in peoples and geography as the
expansive United States. The kibbutz
can serve as a good base to exDlore the
country, and even its neighboring Arab
state, Egypt.
In addition, if you have no relatives or
friends overseas, the kibbutz is a per-
fect "melting pot" to meet foreigners.
Because of the many volunteers from
Europe an overseas trip beginning on a
kibbutz often ends with a tour of Europe
- to see friends you met on the kibbutz
in their natural habitat.
A large number of kibbutz volunteers
comes from Sweden, Denmark,
England and France. It is a diverse
group with many different languages,
customs and ideas. On my kibbutz,

Sdot-Yam which is on the
Mediterranean near the old Roman for-
tress Caesaria, there were about 60
volunteers including an Oxford scholar,
a Canadian Marxist, and an English
lawyer. Most of the volunteers though,
are.'"everyday types" from aout 19 to
25.
LIFE ON THE kibbutz is not the
romantic paradise people often
Israel, a compact coun-
try about the size of
Vermont, has about as
much variety in peoples
and geography as the
expansive United States.
The kibbutz can serve
as a good base to ex-
plore the country, and
even its neighboring
Arab state, Egypt.
imagine. The work is usually menial
and you occasionally feel like a slvae or
at least a migrant worker. Example:
After breakfast, the volunteers go out-
side and huddle in a group frm which
the kibbutzniks select workers. Most of
this business is conducted in Hebrew so
the volunteers don't know what is going
on until one of the kibbutzniks might
say in English, "Okay, you work with
Amir in the bananas today." Then the
volunteers would hop in the back of the

wagon and be carted off with some
others to the banana plantation.
But after a few weeks on the same
job, a volunteer can usually develop a
good relationship with the kibbutzniks
at the job. They reward you with more
respect and responsibility and yu)ou
soon don't feel like a slave at all, but a
co-worker. It's difficult to describe but I
really enjoyed most of that manual-
labor. It was good, clean, and hard. (Of
course working in the tile factory was
another thing).4
After work you might head down to
the beach, join in a volleyball game,
look for Roman coins, or just socialize.
At night, there was a pub, coffeehouse,
and movies once a week for entertain-
ment. In addition, each month the Kib-
butz sponsors a special excursion for
the volunteers to show them the coun-
tryside in Israel.
SERVING AS A landbridge to three
diverse continents, Israel is a unique
countryic both culturally and
geographically. You can ski on Mt.
Hermon and then sun bathe the same
weekend in Eilat on the Red Sea. You
can converse with Palestinians, rich
German tourists, zealous Hassidic
Jews, and even ask a Bedouin for a
camel ride. In sum, you won't get bored
in Israel.
A country perhaps even more in-
triguiing to Westerners is Egypt, where
I spent a month touring the cuntryside
with four other volunteers from the
kibbutz. Aside from the omniscient
Coca-Cola, there are no traces of
Western civilization in Egypt outside of
the major cities.
To a budget conscious traveller
Egypt is even more appealing.
Because of the small per capita income,
you can live luxuriously on a pittance.
If you trade American money on the

black market in Alexandria you can get
about 30 percent more than the official
exchange rate and live even more like a
king. (Though it should be recognized
when you change money on the black
market it does no good to the host coun-
try.) .
WE STAYED in hotels for a dollar a
night. Meals could be had for 20 cents
on most nights. One night we splurged
and each paid' two Egyptian pounds
(about $3) for a four course dinner that
included salad, pita bread, and a half
kilo of meat-including a roast split
dove complete with head!
The train rides are interesting. For a
few dollars you can ride hundreds of
miles third class, which is often the best
way to get off the tourist route and meet
the "real people." Westerners are such
a novelty to many of them, that they
A country especially in-
triguing to Westerners is
Egypt. Aside from the
omniscient Coca-Cola,
there are no traces of
Western civilization in
Egypt outside of the
major cities.
will cluster about you for hours prac-
ticing their English, sharing their
bread and cheese, and joking. Oc-
casionally a conversation will end with
an invitation for dinner at an Egyptians
house. These should definitely not be
passed up.
Riding south along the Nile on the
See KIBBUTZ, Page 18

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By Andrew Chapman
When I first came to Los. Angeles, I
had no idea what a "Sleepless Night"
was. ILcame to the movie industry's
famed capital to do what else - work
on a movie crew. I had been informed
by my summer employer that the
movie had something to do with four
helpless, half-dressed teenaged girls
spending the weekend alone in a house
with a murderous psychopath. Beyond
that I was ignorant.
My Hollywood experience started in
early July. I was an electrician - I
helped plug in movie lights for a "D"
grade, Hollywooddriller-killer-thriller
called "Sleepless Night." In reality, I
was little more than a manual laborer,
but the title "electrician" made the
whole job sound a bit more prestigious.
MY LIVING arrangements in Los
Angeles were also a bit strange: I
babysat the house we were shooting in,
so no one would break in and steal the
expensive movie equipment. The idea
of sleeping in a house where four young
girls, three boys, three grown-ups, and
a pizza delivery man were to be fic-
tionally drilled to death did not appeal
to me. Nonetheless, the rent . was
reasonable (nothing) and the drive to
work in the morning was nonexistent.
The movie crew was tiny - there
were under 30 altogether, as compared
to the hundreds employed by major
motion picture companies - and the
pay was atrociously bad.
Our first day went smoothly enough. I
met my two co-workers on the elec-
trical crew - and we spent the after-
noon shooting a scene of two girls in
nightgowns (and scanty ones at that)
talking in a kitchen. The dialogue was
mostly teenage romance and sexual
humor jokes - with an occasional
foreshadowing remark on how scary
the atmosphere was that night.
THE CREW members were typical
California movie-people. Most of them
were professional Hollywood film-
makers of one sort or another. Each of
them had his or her own ideosyncrasy:
Rico was fond of large, fast,, purple
Hondas, Dave enjoyed 6:00 a.m. stoned
surfing on Hamhattan Beach, Aaron
spewed movie trivia night and day, and
Sandy gobbled down pills to the point of
incoherency.
Day two spattered some (therewere
20 days of shooting in all, at a total cost
of. just under $250,000), mostly because
of stunt problems. One scene called for
a minor stunt involving an actress
falling out of a refrigerator. The ac-
tress, Debra, had just been drilled
through the chest by the psycho-killer,
Michael, and had then been convenien-
tly stored in the bottom shelf of a
frigidaire. Debra kept bumping her
head as she slumped from the
refrigerator onto the floor, and her an-
ticipatory grimace just about destroyed
the scene: "It'll all be fixed in the
editing room," the producer would say,
and the crew would sigh and set up for
the next shot.
By the irtl daa f shootiug evetyone
had b7come "good buddies" and the

gory make-up effects had become
commonplace. No one seemed to notice
when the actor playing the pizza-boy
walked around the set with his eyes
drilled out. Nor was much attention
paid to Michael, the psycho-killer, when
he ate his ham sandwiches with blood
dripping off his face and hands. A few
heads did turn, however, when one ac-
tress wandered around the local deli
with a knife protruding from her
stomach.
WORKING GOT hairier as conditions
deteriorated. Work days strtetched to
16 hours - overtime was unheard of -
and the southern California summer
heat began to take its toll. Minor in-
cidents broke out, tempers flared, and
production was help up as one impor-
tant person after anotherbrooded in a
corner.
Despite these obstacles, .the movie
was getting made. Teenage girls were
getting driller-killed at the rate of one-
a day, and the special effects people
were having a blast. Every time we
needed a special effect - a "device,"
in movie lingo-the special effects crew
would huddle iithe back room and work
out some form of rigging for a knife in
the throat or a drill bit in the back. Half
the time the devices didn't work, and we
were left staring at a knife wound with
no blood, or no wound and a virtual
waterfall of red syrup. On film, though,
the effects all looked good, with the
gore coming, fast and furious.
The filming got tough when "night
shoots" came upon the schedule. When
the dark of night couldn't be simulated
in a studio, the location moved outside,
and production shifted into an entirely
different mode. The work day started at
5:30 in the evening and ended at 8:00 in
the morning. Lunch was usually at
about 1:00 in the morning, though on
occasion we ran late and the san-
dwiches came at 2:30 a.m.
AT FIRST, I thought night shooting
would be a breeze. Work all night, play
a little tennis in the morning, and then
doze off for the rest of the day. I had no
idea what I was getting into.
After out first night shoot we all wat-
ched the sun come up and then unwound
at a local bar. The next night it took
forever for the sun to creep up from
behind the L.A. smog, and we stam-
peded to the same bar for alcoholic
sedatives. By the third night, conver-
sation had descended to the level of
grunting, and all contact with other
humans was to be avoided.
The late hours also drove some crew
members to bizarre behavior. Two
electricians lit a spotlight and scanned
the neighborhood, surprising late-night
drivers and turning off the photo-
electric streetlights which though the
light meant moning. One grip sat and
meditated on the wet grass, while the
actors dozed, uncaringly, along the
sidewalk.
When the shooting was over, we held
a party en the steps of our last location
and marveled that a movie could be
made in 20 days. We also marveled, and
then chuckled a bit later, when we
found out the movie had been
renamed.. .to "Slumber Party
Massacre."

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