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October 01, 1982 - Image 19

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The Michigan Daily, 1982-10-01
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1 ufIc



By Michael Huget

Joe Jackson
Hill Auditorium
8 p.m., Friday, October 1
Tickets: $8.50, $9.50, $10.50

JOE JACKSON, scheduled toappear Jackson/David Kershabaum (Look
at Hill Auditorium tonight, sure Sharp, I'm The Man) production with a
seems happy to have rid himself of the salsa-flavored beat, he explores human
old wave's conventions; his recently emotions, reactions, and insecurities.
released Night and Day, while a "Breaking Us in Two" probes into
marked departure from all four of his adult relationships and the inherent
previous efforts, is also his best. problems when a high level of indepen-
Back in 1979, when the "wave" was dence is desired: You and I could
beginning to pass its peak, Jackson never live alone/But don't you feel
formed the Joe Jackson Band, toured like breaking out just one day on
the States, and subsequently put his your own?
debut LP, Look Sharp, in the top twen- "Real Men," undoubtedly the best
ty. Much of the same occurred with his song on this side, is a male's reaction to
next album, I'm The Man, and Jackson the women's liberation movement:
had established himself. Time to get scared-time to change
Jackson, unfortunately, seemed plan/don't know how to treat a:
more like an opportunist than anything lady/don't know how to be a man.
else. His sound was neither terribly new While Jackson readily acknowledges
nor daring, rather a creative imitation. and advocates feminist gains, he, like
And while Beat Crazy, album number many other feminist. supporters,
three, differed from nos. one and two, questions the man's role, his reactions Joe Jackson: Looking sharp
The Specials and Madness already had and place in the proposed, yet not
revived the ska/reggae beats. Once clearly defined, scheme. It's a com- band slithers and steams through the casionally suffers from a rhythn
again, pure and belated imitation. pelling song, especially for those con- piano-powered melodies. These are inexactness which produces a slightly
It became apparent that Jackson was cerned with the all-too-pervasive songs strangers would hear from some disconcerting feeling. Fortunately,
a man without a style. Because of his sexism and the effects of change. unreachable dance club oh a hot sum- Jackson's touring band will include tw'
strong new wave identification, it was Jackson cuts loose on the "night" mer night as they explored a new city's additional keyboardists to assist him.
important for him to "say something." side, making music more for the body surroundings. Despite problems, with his earlier
His attempts were futile, though, as he than the mind. This side teems with The album's only real flaw is material, some of which he will undoub-
seemed more comfortable with lyrical and musical nightlife imagery: Jackson's piano playing. This is the fir- tedly perform and hopefully purge of its
boy/girl, relationships, life's little There was no light/I was going in all st album on which he has handled both frivolity, the Joe Jackson concert
banalities, and "looking sharp." But the wrong places/suddenly I saw a vocals and instruments (also some should be memorable. After all, he
Jackson's raw energy and powerful thousand faces" he sings while the keyboards and saxophone), and he oc- really does look sharp.

John Ford rides high among directors
of the Golden 40, as do Hawks, Capra,
Cukor, and especially Hitchcock. Yet
even through the works of the favored
runs a maddening selectivity. Ford's
Stagecoach is a perpetual Ann Arbor
visitor; yet his Drums Along the
Mohawk, made the same year (1939)
and in every way a better film, never
shows its face.
Hawks' Bringing Up Baby seems to
get screened practically every month;
yet his equally hilarious 20th Century
hasn't been shown here in years. Orson.
Welles' Citizen Kane receives regular
and justified retrospectives; but his
Magnificent Ambersons, which some
critics contend is an even greater film,
has faded completely from sight. Are
today's younger movie buffs even
aware of what's available to them?
It's hard to exaggerate Ann Arbor's
unique position as artistic keeper of the
movie flame. You can find similar fare
in New York, but you have to shell out
megabucks to see it; Berkley venerates
the oldies, but lacks the requisite num-
ber of film groups; Madison has even.
more societies than Ann Arbor has, but
most are composed of fly-by-night
hucksters who'd rather show The Blue
Lagoon for the 30th time than risk even
one screening of Citizen Kane. Late-
night TV's no help anymore-they'd
rather do Love Boat re-runs.
Which leaves Ann Arbor, almost
alone, to keep our motion picture past
alive-as proud a trust as that
bequeathed to the richest art museum.
What a shame if it all slipped away, not
through economics or intellectual
Sdisdain,but from ignorance of all those
treasures-lying forgotten in film
vaults, slowly gathering dust.
May I suggest a few lately buried
chestnuts, tasty enough to make you
forget a dozen Harold and Maudes?
The Male Animal (1940). James
Thurber's hilarious, thinly-disguised
dissection of ahna mater Ohio State is
more than a savage satire on college
and the battle of the sexes; it also
speaks volumes about academic

possible to make a meaningful picture
about sports? Just this once, yes-
this portrait of baseball iron man Lou
Gehrig, played by Gary Cooper, had
audiences first laughing, then weeping.
So will you.
I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang
(1932). The ultimate "social realism"
drama, and brutal, brutal, brutal all the
way. A WW I vet (Paul Muni) is falsely
convicted of a robbery, then sentenced
to an Arkansas chain gang. He escapes,
begins life anew in Chicago, becomes a
prominent and wealthy citizen before
he's betrayed by his blackmailing wife.
Returning voluntarily to Arkansas on
promise of a pardon, he's thrown back
on the same chain gang with no hope of
Mervyn LeRoy's film is spare,
pessimistic, mercilessly unsentimental
and emotionally devastating. You may
not exactly enjoy it, but afterwards
you'll feel like taking to the streets for
prison reform.
Northwest Passage (1939). A film
which turned out to have nothing to do
with its title-midway through filming,
cast, crew and director King Vidor
were summarily summoned home by
MGM for going over budget.
The half-completed film was, in-
credibly, edited into one of the most ex-
citing adventure movies ever made.
You'll sit dazzled as pre-colonial
rangers (led by Spencer Tracy) battle
Indians, nature and grim starvation en
route to that elusive northern passage
the studio never gave them a chance to
The Postman Always Rings Twice
(1946). Proof positive that movies
aren 't better than ever. Denied the
sexual explicitness larded into the 1981
remake, this twisted tale of unmarried
lovers (John Garfield and Lana Tur-
ner) who commit murder exudes 10
times the steaminess of its pinched suc-
cessor. Director Tay Garnett adapts
James M. Cain's 1930s novel into an
equally gripping '40s portrait of the
poor, the young, and the desperate.

from page 3
se, but I want to reach people with a
message. We're creating an outlet for
serious theater in the area-for our-
selves and for audiences."
"In essence, we're answerable only
to ourselves,'' said Geoff Johnson, the
multi-purpose person for the group who
also studied and performed in Grand
He sees the members of W5 as
representatives of a generation caught
between "the peaceniks of the sixties
and the more conservative atmosphere
today. We were torn; we thought we
had no place to go. Now we've made a
decision to try and get people moving
again, thinking about their own
humanity again."
Since the group is not affiliated with
any institution, university or otherwise,
they believe they can take more risks,
both artistic and ideological. "You
don't see many performances of Bertolt
Brecht works around here," said Stoll,
even though she believes there is a
ready audience.
The members of W5 Productions are
adamant, as well, when it comes to
financial considerations. Part of their

philosophy is to keep their productions
"economically feasible," said Case.
That means holding the ceiling for
suggested ticket prices at five or six
They'll have little problem with
prices when they perform their first
production, Martin Sherman's Bent, at
Canterbury Loft where a donation of
three dollars is requested at the door.
The production also signals an inten-
sified focus at the Loft on spiritually
and ethically oriented material, said
Set in Nazi Germany of the mid-1930s,
the two-act play centers around the
persecution of three homosexual mem-
bers of the military police, thousands of
whom were slaughtered in concen-
tration camps during the early days of
Hitler's regime.
Although gay rights might appear to
be the major issue, Stoll said the play's
real theme is a universal one. "From a
political standpoint, it examines
fascism," she said, "But even more
central than that is the theme, concer-
ning an individual's struggle to survive
within a highly structured system."
When dealing with any structure, she
said, ranging from the phone company
to oppressive governments, the in-
dividual must make compromises, give
up parts of his or her personal integrity.
For many in Nazi Germany, it became
a matter of numbing themselves

emotionally and intellectually until the
final point of decision: surrender com-
pletely or take drastic action, she said.
The play is especially significant
today, Case noted, because of what he
called the growing conservatism, or in-
creasing structure, in contemporary
society, as well as a tendency to "use.
minorities as scapegoats."
There are other parallels, as well,
said Stoll. The German Wondervogel
youth movement of the early 1930s, for
example, was a "back to nature"
movement similar to those in America
in the 1960s.
"Historically, in both countries there
was a release of excited, liberated
energy," she explained, "followed by a
kind of tightening of the screws when
rigid structures took over again. Then
came a period of confusion, introspec-
tion-like the 1980s. Although the 1970s
were certainly less severe than pre-war
Nazi Germany, the similarities still
In line with W5's desire to stimulate
thought in the community, the group.
has banded together with the Loft to-
sponsor a series of discussions after
each performance of Bent. In addition,
four Wednesday afternoon lectures will
be presented at the University.
Canterbury Loft plans to continue
coupling performances with discus-
sion/lecture series in the future. Equus,
in November and December, will have

a similar program built around it, this
time focusing on psychological and
religious issues.
And, of course, W5 Productions in-
tends to be around for awhile. Future
performances include Edward Albee's
American Dream, -Lanford Wilson's
TherMadness of Lady Bright, and
several one-act plays. The group also
plans to produce original works by local
"Maybe the main message we're
. trying to get across is that the world is
not a separatist movement !" said Case.
"No one can be totally independent
because each part needs the next in or-
der to function. We're all in this
together-we need each other."
Bent premieres October 1 at Canter-
bury Loft, 332 S. State, and will run
through October 17 on Friday, Saturday
and Sunday nights. All performances
are at 8:00 p.m., followed by
discussions with the actors and with
representatives of community
The Bent lecture series will be
presented in Auditorium A at 4 p.m., (5
p.m. October 27): Philosophy Prof.
Frithjof Bergmann, October 6; History
Prof. Arthur Mendel, October 13;
Humanities Prof. Forrest Hartman of
the Engineering College, October 20;
and Political Science Prof. Alfred
Meyer, October 27.

'It's hard to exaggerate Ann
Arbor's unique position as artistic
keeper of the movie flame. You
can find similar fare in New
York, but you have to shell out the
megabucks to see it.'

Film groups: Working overtime
finds true romance with debonair Paul
Henried; swoon as~ they blow smoke
rings in the moonlight! Dig that Max
Steiner score! -Hollywood, you were
Cabin in the Sky (1942). The best
mu vie musical ever made now lies
almost forgotten, charged with racism
when its only intent was universal
delight. Vincente Minnelli's droll fan-
tasy is almost a biblical microcosm,
depicting the forces of Heaven and Hell
warring for the bodies and souls of the
inhabitants of a negro shantytown.
All the elements in Cabin mesh
joyously: a plot both funny and scary
(you'll dive under your seat at the end-
of-the-world tornado which strikes near
the film's climax). Plus there are great
songs and dances performed by a
magnificent all-black cast-including
Ethel Waters, Eddie "Rochester" An-
derson, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne,
Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington (they
all play dramatic characters in the

freedom and its detractors, about over-
emphasis on athletics, about anti-in-
tellectualism in general. How timely
can you get?
Pride of the Yankees (1943).
Speaking of athletics, is it really

Now Voyager (1942). Can soap opera
be exhilairating? Hell, yes, and pass the
handkerchief! Watchyand weep as
lonely Bette Davis gets liberated from
premature spinsterhood by wise
psychiatrist Claude Rains; thrill as she

here, just
Queen 4
and Gari
throne to
(John Gill
a duel.
departs or
With th
beyond n
expands I
into the tr
of the el
one's deef
and obli
retire with
Which s
the greate
There car
Queen Cl
away, ne
slowly me
ding at t
Closer a
face fills tl
human los
all, you r
can't see,
anyway. E
durance yi
knows wh
along with
longer, th
guardian i
creator. L<
just don't s

12, Weekend/October 1 1982


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