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November 05, 1982 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-11-05
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5 9





By Tom McDonald
Holly Near
Michigan Theatre
8 p.m., November 6
S INGER AND songwriter Holly Near
is not far from reaching the
musical status and recognition that she
persistently worked for years to attain.
The charismatic Near is recognized as
one of the few artists able to suc-
cessfully blend politics and music,
doing so with a potent, yet not en-
venomed delivery.,
Holly is on the verge of breaking
through the seemingly unpenetrable
barrier separating alternative and
mainstream musical styles. The time is
ripe for Holly to shed her label of an ac-
tive lesbian feminist, a stereotype

which has plagued her exposure and
prevented her music from being heard
on FM stations.
Holly's limited exposure, however,
marks her as one of the West Coast's
best kept secrets-she has been selling
out concert halls since the advent of her
career. The secret will be told Saturday
night as Holly brings her widely
publicized act to the Michigan Theatre
in what promises to be one of the most
attractive and moving shows of the
Holly's latest album, Speed of Light,
released on her own Redwood label,
represents a consummation of her past
musical exploits with its uninhibited in-
sight and urgent sense of immediacy to
such national and global concerns as
nuclear disarmament, the prevention
of war, the tragedy of Vietnam, and
national involvement in Central
America. Some pretty hot issues, but
the 32-year-old redhead tackles them
with determined fervor.
Holly's unyielding sense of confiden-
ce provides her the necessary sagacity
to assume such a frank position with
her songwriting. Holly's well-trained
voice serves as a most adequate tool to
implement her passions. Her vocal
style has often been compared to the
assuredness of Bonnie Raitt, the raw

excitement of Linda Ronstadt, and the
dimensional latitutes of Joni Mitchell.
With qualities like these, she can't
miss-her popularity is now escalating,
a fact attested to by brisk sales of her
six albums which already have sold
almost 400,000 copies-no small ac-
complishment for an alternative,
Near began her performing arts
career at the young age of seven when
she entertained at various gatherings in
town. Her social conscience (now con-
sidered her trademark) was nurtured
by her parents who were involved in
both' labor disputes and nuclear
protests. At 18, Holly sought to broaden
her talents by studying drama at
UCLA, and acquired skills good enough
to land several roles in both movies and
television, including such programs as
"All in the Family" and "Mod Squad"
and such films as Slaughter-House Five
and The Killing of Skipper Todd.
Shortly later, during the heat of the
Vietnam war, Holly was honored with
an invitation to accompany political ac-
tivists Jane Fonda and Donald
Sutherland on the "Free the Army"
show which provided entertainment for
American soldiers in the Far East.
The experience of traveling overseas
and observing the human suffering in

the world
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1960s: Protesting authority
from 1
participation, governed by two central
aims: that the individual share in those
social decisions determining the quality
and direction of his life; that society be
organized to encourage independence
in men and provide the media for their
common participation."
Today, these words may not sound
like anything special. We've heard
similar ideas since the Port Huro
Statement was written. But in 1962, it
represented a new way of looking at'
society. Things like that just hadn't '
been said-at least. not within the
authors' lifetimes. The 1950s had
floated by with hardly a trace of
political dissension. Radical ideas were
squashed and often the people who ex-
pressed themselves went down with
their belief.
"In those days, to be a dissenter was
something new," says Hildegard
Cummings, associate campus minister
at the Guild House, where she has been
since 1963. "To be a social critic or an
activist, to point your finger at
something wrong or false was new.
Especially after the nothing '50s. It was
romantic; it was exciting."
The freshness of ideas and the new
light they shined on events caught
many students by surprise, and
dragged them into the movement. "It
was a strange combination of
solidarity, anger, excitement-and a lot
of energy," she says.
Students across the country would
read the Port Huron Statement, protest
against what they saw as injustice, and
rally for what they believed were their
shared notions of "rights." The war in
Vietnam was unjust and horrific;
blacks were second-class citizens;
campus life was stale and regulated;

and the political system seemed in-
finitely corrupt. From small beginnings
like the Port Huron Statement, the
American student movement would
rush forward, and a generation of
political activism would be born.
The changes brought by that
movement-an end to the war, a
foothold toward equality gained by
blacks-are an extraordinary rarity in
the scope of American history. When
was the last time American citizens,
working outside the electoral system,
influenced the government's foreign or
domestic policy?
Even on the University level there
were major changes. Before the '60s,

student? Idealism has, in many circles,
become a bad word. For one thing, lofty
feelings Qf equality and justice are har-
der to come by during these tight
economic times than they were in the
boom period two decades ago. For
another, it is hard to stomach the
rhetoric of those times when so many
of the leaders have, in s sense, sold out.
Jerry Rubin did a stilt on Wall Street.
Abbie Hoffmarris on the lecture circuit
with Timothy Leary. Eldridge Cleaver
tours the country backing President
Reagan and the Unification Church.
When the one-time heroes of a culture
flaunt their insincerity, it's hard to take
that culture seriously.

'The difference between the '60s and now
has not very much to do with sex and drugs.
The difference was that there was a per-
vasive sense that action is possible, that
change is possible.'
-Frithjof Bergmann,
professor of philosophy

was very important."
That idealism, that fiery desire for
"right," is too often scoffed at today,
says Bernstein, who went into school to
become a "nondescript mathematician"
and came out running an alternative
theater group downtown. With that
scoffing comes a loss of the power of
popular action, he says, the power, so to
speak, of the people. "You were a part
of, a very large power-you felt you
could bring about positive change."
The people that filled the streets of Ann
Arbor again and again were a unified
community. There was an oceanic
quality to the movement, he says. And
if enough people cared, change was
"The difference between the '60s and
now has not very much to do with sex
and drugs," says philosophy Prof.
Frithjof Bergmann, who led faculty
protest in the anti-war movement.
"The difference was that there was a
pervasive sense that action is possible,
that change is possible." But change is
monstrously difficult, especially in a
nation so used to "the way things are."
Everything the '60s movement tried to
accomplish was difficult, Bergmann
says, and that's part of the reason for
its eventual collapse. Bergmann,
waiting for the time when ideas can on-
ce again be translated into a
meaningful movement, says he is doing
the "intellectual legwork" for the new
agenda that will be needed.
N MARCH of 1965, a group of Uni-
versity professors-none of whom
considered themselves particularly
radical-wanted to hold a strike to
protest American military presence in
Indochina. Sentiment against the war
was strong, although not as strong as it
would be in a few years, and some
educators felt a responsibility toward
stopping what they- considered an un-
necessary slaughter. The possibility of
a strike, however, brought up serious
problems. What right did teachers have
to strike, especially when the object of

By Mare Hodges
Crisler Arena
Friday, November 5
C HICAGO IS back and what a fan-
tastic comeback it has been. Their
latest LP XVI already has two top-40
hits, "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" and
"Love Me Tomorrow", proving that
their disciplined, jazzy, rock sound is
still as hot as ever.
Chicago has become a legend in their
own time. With well over a decade of
performance in the rock scene and such
hits as "If You Leave Me Now" and
"Saturday in the Park" behind them,
the band is now entering its mid-teens
with a whole new aura of excitement for
the 80's. What inspired this comeback?
Band members claim that it's the in-
fluence of their new producer, the
multi-talented David Foster.
Foster, who has written for and/or
produced such artists as Boz Scaggs,
Hall and Oates, and Earth, Wind and
Fire, claims to have been a Chicago fan
since the group's debut. "We were a
natural team," he says. "I was even
more familiar with some of their
albums, songs, and riffs than they
Because of Foster's devoted interest
in the group, he has been able to take in-
to account Chicago's past achievemen-
ts and incorporate their talents in order
to determine their abilities in the
future. And what a future he has helped
them produce! Foster seems to have
revitalized the band, whose sporadic hit
singles have given way to their new
success. XVI, and has reestablished the
enthusiasm that marked Chicago's
earlier carer. "He made us stretch to
creative heights, made us grab for that
musical brass ring" says Chicago
saxophonist Walter Parazaidler.
Along with his own talents, Foster in-

the administration considered itself the
guardian of students, a doctrine
somewhere along the lines of "in loco
parentis." There were no co-ed
residence halls, and doors had to be
open when a male entertained a female,
or vice versa. Students had absolutely
no say in administrative decision-
mking-although whether they do now
is an open question-and very little con-
trol over the course of their own
education. -
So why is it that so many people talk
about long hair, tie-dyed jeans, drugs,
rock 'n' roll, and inane, political ideas
when describing the typical '60s

But individual shortcomings aside,
and even forgetting for a moment the
obvious accomplishments of the era,
most people today just aren't aware of
its legacy of open thinking, now so
much a part of everyday life.
"I sense that during the '70s and into
the '80s, there has been a period when
people take for granted some of the
changes in values that the '60s helped
promote," says David Bernstein, who
was a member of the SDS movement in
the late '60s. "The questions (of the
'60s) were very seriously asked, and in
fact, they consumed us. They were the
only questions. What we were doing

Chicago: They're not getting older
troduced to the recording, songwriting,
and arranging sessions of Chicago's
latest LP the talents of Toto guitarist-
songwriter Steve Lukather and
songwriter-keyboardman David Pait-
ch. Veteran guitarist Chris Pinnick,
who has appeared on previous albums
and has toured with the group, also con-
tributes his talents to the album. Foster
himself contributed to the writing of
eight of the album's eleven songs.
Foster describes this new album,
which took a year to write, arrange,
and record, as "somewhat back to the
dynamic, early Chicago style but with a

1982 refurbishing."
Aside from being a type of "rebirth"
for Chicago, XVI is a first for keyboar-
dist-guitarist-songwriter Bill Cham-
plin. Champlin has filled the spot of the
late Terry Kath, who suffered a bizarre
death (he shot himself while toying with
a pistol). This incident forced the group
to add session guitarist-vocalist Donnie
Dacus, who appeared on the album Hot
Streets, including the hit single "Alive
Again" but not until Champlin has the
group experienced the special qualities
that were lost with Kath.
Because of the strong influence of

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