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December 10, 1982 - Image 22

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-12-10
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At 4

Iluf c

Xmas
fiestaq
Dave Brubeck Quartet,
Hilt Auditorium
8 p.m., Tuesday, December 14 4
By Jerry Brabenec

A look
at books
THIS LIST of best-ofs may not be
the most precise in the world of
literary criticism, but if you need help
with the Christmas shopping, it's a
good place to start.
Best novel-Mickelsson's Ghosts by
John Gardner (Alfred A. Knopf)
John Gardner's swan song, it's a
depressing, gloomy, fun and finally
encouraging novel.
Biography-The Man Who Was
Vogue: the Life and Times of Conde
Nast by Caroline Seebohm (Viking)
Here's the story of the man who
defined class. There are famous
names and famous places, and it's
great reading for a nostalgic mood.
Non-Fiction-Indecent Exposure by
David McClintick (Morrow)
An expose/analysis of the shady

workings of the movie industry. Find
out what you'd do if you made
$100,000+ every year.
Poetry-A Glass Face in the Rain by
WilliamStafford (Harper & Row)
Gentle poems from a wise and gen-
tle poet.
Art-Rockwell Kent- An Anthology of
His Works Fridolf Johnson, ed.
(Alfred A. Knopf)
A biography, a collection of Kent's
own writings, and above all a
beautiful compendium of Kent's best
paintings and illustrations, this book
is a piece of American history as
much as a piece of a single man.
Mystery-The Midnight Man by
Loren D. Estleman (Houghton Mif-
flin)
The midnight men ride again, and if
you're living in Detroit, they just may
be after you. Read and enjoy,
although you may start talking like a
detective for the next few weeks after.
Mystery Reprint-The Solar Pons
Omnibus by August Derleth (Arkham
House)
In a boxed set of two volumes, you
get all the Solar Pons stories and

books ever published. He's sort of a
Sherlock Holmes, so just try to figure
out the endings before you're through.
Science Fiction-2010: Odyssey Two
by Arthur C. Clarke (Ballantine
Books)
Clarke is back and in his best form,
so settle back for science fiction as
real as the space shuttles, and adven-
ture on a cosmic scale. You might
even find out what the hell those big
black monoliths really are.
Fantasy-Fevre Dream by George
R.R. Martin (Poseidon Press)
A gross and horrific vampire story
to keep you awake at night and more
than a little scared even in the
daylight.
Fantasy reprint-The Last Incan-
tation by Clark Ashton Smith
(Timescape Books)
First editions of Clark Ashton
Smith's books are considered some of
the most valuable collector's items in
the genre. The material in this new
edition hasn't been available for forty
years, so many people don't know how
good it is. -Steve Miller

A

E CLIPSE'S presentation of Dave
Brubeck's Christmas oratario La
Fiesta de la Posada on December 14th
offers Ann Arbor music lovers of all
persuasions a unique celebration of the
Christmas season. An ensemble of 141
members, including the Abbot Elemen-
tary School Choir, the Ann Arbor
Chamber Orchestra, the Ann Arbor
Cantata Singers, and Brubeck's quintet
will join forces to perform this musical
interpretation of a traditional Latin-
American Christmas pageant.
The posadas is a communal pageant
re-enacted yearly throughout Latin
America and the American Southwest,
depicting Joseph and Mary's search for
lodging in Bethlehem on the eve of the
birth of Christ. Brubeck has written a
very flexible score that can be perfor-
med by groups as small as a church
choir with percussion or as large as a
full symphony orchestra and chorus,
with optional sections of jazz im-
provisation. Brubeck has said, "it is the
sense of sharing in an event which I
have tried to capture in this simple
retelling of the Christmas story." Hun-
dreds of performances over the last five
Swan
song
Swans and Sonic Youth
Joe's Star Lounge
9:30 p.m., Sunday, December 12

Cinemat'ic
spotlight
THE YEAR IN MOVIES. Well, not quite the year-the
major distributors always manage to release some of
their better products during the Christmas season. But
even the pull of such stars as Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie,
Dudley Moore in Six Weeks, and Eddie Murphy in 48HRS is
not likely to make a dent in the box office of E.T.
In no particuar order, here's a glimpse at some of the
best cinema and worst pictures that hit the silver screen
this year.
" E.T.-Spielberg's vision of a boy and his ex-
traterrestrial won practically unanimous acclaim from
critics, kids, and parents pocket books: Even though the
film makes almost no sense, and comes dangerously close

to falling into the black
works.

hole of Disney-cuteness, E.T.

" Poltergeist-Spielberg's double summer whammy
continued with a special effects extravaganza concerning
a haunted suburban home. Happily, human feelings
weren't left out of the film. We're left with a roller-coaster
ride of thrills and spills, plenty of entertainment for the
whole family.
" The World According to Garp - Robin Williams
scores points for coming close to the mark as T. S. Garp,
John Irving's fictional alter-ego.
" Diner - It just goes to show you what you can do with
a low budget. Lots of talk and just enough humor to keep
this nostalgic ode to staying up late and eating at the local
diner warm and inviting.
" Diva - One of the flashiest, stylish, films ever. Also
one of the more brilliant debut motion pictures ever. Also
French.
F Annie, Megaforce, Grease 2, Inchon, Six Pack,
Amityville 2-Among these are the worst films, the most
expensive films, and the most insipid films of the year.
You sort them out. Richard Campbell

By R ob Weisberg

years, including this second annual Ann
Arbor performance, attest to Brubeck's
success.
La Fiesta demonstrates one more
facet of one of jazz's most durable and
creative talents. A student of composer
Darius Milhaud, Brubeck's style incor-
porates unorthodox time signatures,
polytonality, and freely improvised
enough to give the band the first release
on their Neutral label-Sonic Youth
guitarists Lee Ranaldo and Thurston
Moore's work with Branca's guitar ar-
my not hurting the cause.
The result was an EP somewhat
reminiscent of Branca's material,
although there was a lot more to it than
that: As the band likes to call it,
"Crashing mashing intensified dense
rhythms juxtaposed with filmic mood
pieces, evoking an atmosphere that
could only be described as expressive
fucked-up modernism. And so forth."
As Ranaldo and Moore have gotten
more used to playing without Branca,
who now rarely assembles a band, and
with Sonic Youth, the crashing and
mashing has begun to win out-which is
just as well, because some of the moody
stuff didn't quite evoke enough of a
mood. "The music is more raucous
now," says bassist Kim Gordon.
"There are more chunks of percussion
rather than the wall of guitar sound. I
guess that comes from performing."
Gordon hopes that raucousness com-
bined with originality and diversity will
keep audiences on their toes. "Our goal
is to break through the complacency or
expectations that an audience might
have," she says. By "playing off spon-
taneous things that happen rather than
reproducing the same set from night to
night," as she says, or merely by "sur-
passing expectations" (easier said than
done), the band manages to please
audiences despite its unconven-
tionality.
Swans are even more unconven-

counterpoint. His celebrated quartet
with the late saxophonist Paul
Desmond pioneered the college jazz
circuit, was the first jazz group to play
at the White House, produced jazz' first
million-selling album, and toured in-
ternationally to great acclaim. In
recent years Brubeck has written
numerous classical works for piano, or-
tional, but, at least according to
vocalist-bassist Michael Gira, the
crowds have taken to them as well.
Their music can only be described as
painful-both musically and lyrically-
yet danceable. Like Sonic Youth, they
rely heavily on varied percussive effec-
ts, but produce a more pounding bot-
tom-heavy sound via two basses, sharp
rhythmic guitar, manually-operated
tapes, and insistently tormented
vocals. And since their debut EP, which
managed to turn such innocent subjects
as laughter and speech into episodic
nightmares, Gira says their sound has
become even more extreme-"More
brutal" and "more violent."
Gira's morbid side-which he
casually credits to his "daily experien-
ce"-isn't all there is to the band,
however. Guitarist Sue Hanel, on the
other hand, says "I just want to make

chestra, and choir, and toured with his
sons as "Two Generations of Brubeck."
La Fiesta will open next Tuesday's
concert, and Brubeck will return with
his current quintet, featuring sons
Danny and Chris, Ann Arbor's own
Madcat Ruth, and saxophonist Bobby
Militello, to cap the evening with a set
of jazz.
people feel as good as I used to feel
when I'd see the Stooges and bands like
that when I was a kid." And with in-
fluences as diverse as SPK, Jimi Hen-
drix and Howling Wolf (drummer
Jonathan Kane has played with a blues
band), the Swans are sure to keep
everyone off balance. Perverse fun,
rock and roll style.
Like Sonic Youth, Swans see them-
selves emerging from a scene Gordon
and Gira suggested has become
dominated by very non-rock and roll
bands. Mutual sympathy thus has
arisen, and thanks too to friendships
and shared rehearsal space the bands
decided to sacrifice a few bucks and
tour together. Having completed a
fairly successful southeastern swing,
they'll soon be on our doorstep, trying
once again to prove that rock and roll
and ingenuity do mix.

R EMEMBER No New York? Lydia
Lunch, James Chance, bands
called DNA and Contortions and lots of
noise? Well, that late-'70s agglomerate
of warped art-rockers isn't coming
back to haunt us, but there's a whole
slew of new do-it-yourselfers downtown
trying to figure out the best ways to
metamorphosize rock and roll. And a
couple of the hottest representatives of-
New York's new breed, Swans and
Sonic Youth, have decided to pay us a
visit this Sunday night at Joe's Star
Lounge.
Sonic Youth, the older of the two ban-
ds, first appeared on the scene in the
summer of '81, making their mark at
the New York Noise Festival and at
various club gigs .around town. Glenn
Branca, creator of the wall of guitars
(check out his LP The Ascension) and
Josh Baer, director of the art gallery
that housed the festival, liked them

Best on
the tube-
THE GOLDEN Age of Tube this
isn't, but there are still a few
winners and quasi-winners playing
the waves. Here's some picks for the
year's more digestible network fare:
" Hill St. Blues: Once again this
exercise in intelligent, insightful, and
entertaining programming outshines
all the rest. We gave it a chance, and
it finally made it to the top of the
Neilsens.
" Fame: Introduced less than a
year ago, this musical
comedy/drama consistently offers
finely balanced scripts and wonder-
ful, toe-tapping pop tunes.
" Taxi: And who says NBC is the
worst network? Thank goodness for
"bad" networks like this-they just
happened to salvage one of the ab-
solutely best comedies to come along
in years after ABC dropped it.
" Cheers:,The makers of Taxi tran-
splanted their skills from a cab com-
pany to a neighborhood bar. Hilarious
characters and situations make for a
wonderful half-hour.
* Leave It to Beaver: All right, so
this show is 20 years old, so what? The
Cleavers are still the funniest sitcom
family ever to hit the airwaves. And
Eddie Haskell is still obnoxious.
-Susan Makuch

ABC: Love s(
pic
T HIS LIST
that I li
Some of them
the summer. Z
ignored here.
unassailable.
west, east, no
inside, outsid
dmaster Flash
beginning to
Youth. Pass t
hide inside it.
Kevin Rowlan(
Runners: 'Too
I believe in t
and the coal m
Aswad- Not
Reggae fi de
bust balls beau
Various arti
Rhythm' (WEd
It's a big blt
oh shit, look at
Big Black-- '
Records)
Bongo Bla
classical guita
mystique.
The Associates
Billy says t
me. But what a
Trip the boogi
head and screw
ABC-'The Le
Martin, oh Ms
your jacket, pl
with Sheffield t
Junior Walker-
Mr. Giscom
mother he love
The Art Ensei
ban Bushman
If you didn't
appearance,
jerk and I don
Bill Nelson-
(Merc)
Start fore
Desire" and
"October Man
Roxy Music-
Music to
meaningful
relationship t
touch someone

i

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