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February 13, 1983 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-02-13

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The Michigan Daily

Sunday, February 13, 1983


Eubie Blake dies at 100

8mm festival returns


NEW YORK AP - Eubie Blake, the
ragtime pianist and hit composer who
opened Broadway to black songwriters,
died Saturday, five days after he
celebrated his 100th birthday.
Blake composed such 1920s Broad-
way hits as "I'm Just Wild About
Harry" and "Memories of You" and
made a hugely successful comeback
when he was in his 80s.
Blake died at his Brooklyn home
shortly after noon, apparently of old
age and complications from a bout of
pneumonia he had in the last week, said
his attorney, Elliot Hoffman.
"Until the last moment of his life, he
remained alert and appreciative of the
affection and recognition he received
from his friends and collegues," Hof-
fman said.
Ragtime and Blake were reborn
together in the late 1960s, and from the
start of his new career, the onetime
Baltimore bordello pianist was a star of
the concert stage, jazz festivals and
television. A smash Broadway revue,
Eubie, an evening of his music, was a
hit of the 1979 season, spiced on several
evenings by surprise appearances at
the piano by the 96-year-old composer.
"Sometimes I think the people are
kidding me. I can't play that good," he
told a 1973 interviewer after critics
praised his performances at jazz
festivals from Carnegie Hall to Norway

and with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston
Pops Orchestra.
In his later years Blake was still ap-
pearing, at $2,500 and up a performan-
ce, and drawing a substantial income in
royalties from his 315 com-
position -rags, waltzes, and standar-

ds like "I'm Just Wild About Harry,'"
which Harry Truman used as his
presidential campaign song in 1948.
"I'll keep performing," Blake once
said, "until one day while I'm on stage,
the man upstairs says 9, 10-you're

By Richard Campbell
8 MM FILMMAKING isn't just for
vacation movies anymore. Tonight
the Ann Arbor Film Co-op's 13th annual
8mm film Film Festival ends with
screenings of festival highlights and
The film's are pretty much a grab
bag of film techniques ranging in
quality from incredibly dull to very en-
tertaining. Often those movies with the
best technique have silly plots, while,
the films that contain interesting ideas
look like they're made by grade-
Tim Artist, one of the three judges
and a former director of the festival,
says that "You can't use theatrical
films as a basis (for judging)." With
filmmakers dipping into their own
pockets to make their films most of the
entries are between four and 10 minutes
in length-. and have only a small in-
terest in plotlines and characters.
Although the quality of the film's is
generally high, certain technical
problems have to be accepted such )as
the occasional out-of-focus, dimly-
lighted, or unsteady shot. Sound
quality is also fairly shakey due to the
limitations of the medium. "You've got
to look past (such problems) to find the
idea behind the film," says Artist.
A third of Thursday's films involved
some sort of stop-motion photography,
where clay figures, sand, or pictures

appear to move. A Nice Place to Visit
But... by Bill Weber had extraordinary
sets and special effects in a story set on
a planet inhabited by small clay balls.
Santa Claus Parade, by John Porter,
was simply that-a city's Thanksgiving
Day Parade compressed into four
minutes of film.
Dennis Duggan's Afternoon in the
Sun concerned a young girl and her
aunt, both victims of a car accident.
Good acting and direction helped to
overcome problems in the film's com-
plex exposition and sountrack.
November Ritual, by Lori Tooker, was
a plea against hunting. Shot in black
and white, a lone hunter shoots a deer,
which, like David Letterman's "My
Dog Bob" series, has only been
suggested through camera movements.
Though too stated and a little preten-
tious, the film demonstrated the power
that 8mm can have.
Leonardo Crescenti and Carlos Porto
submitted Sea Hearts, a very abstract
and impressionistic film about a
doomed relationship between a woman
and a frustrated musician. Slow
camera movement and good use of
minimalist settings gave the film a
very unique perspective on its love
This is a Musical, by Demetrios Est-
delacropolis, was certainly the
strangest film in the festival. Presen-
ted by "The Committee to Elect Ronald
Reagan Lamb of God'' and "The Or-
dinary People's Republic of China," it's

the kind of film you'd expect to find if
anyone ever gives C.E. Krell a camera.
Shots of grandmothers singing songs in
different languages, a certain fetish for
bananas, grandmothers dancing with
birdcages and lamps, and more coin-
prised this lengthy condemnation. (I
think) of musicals, TV, and most of t1e
rest of western civilization.
The Ann Arbor festival is one of 'be
oldest and largest of 8mm film festivAls
and is dedicated to the growth and
developement of the 8mm format. This
year the festival has moved ,to
Auditorium A and, through a donation by
Elmo Corporation, the films are projec-
ted by a state-of-the-art xenon arc lamp
projector. 8mm, usually appearing dilnd
on the big screen, never looked better;
Besides screening movies, this year's
festival had presentations by two fil'n-
makers interested in 8mm. Huey
Coleman led a workshop yesterday"af-
ternoon in which he detailed his unique
approach to teaching filmmaking to
young people. Also, Sue Berkey
demonstrated her sculptural films,
movies projected onto objects such as a
picket fence or a toaster. ,
Tonights screening of winners and
highlights will be at 7 and 9 p.m. in
Auditorium A. Remember, Steven
Spielberg started in 8mm.

Ragtime pianist Eubie Blake, composer of such songs as "I'm Just Wild
About Harry," is pictured here in a 1975 photo. He died Saturday at age 104.

Ernest Hemingway live: the old man and the scene



By Jeffrey W. Manning
-duction of Hem: An Interview, a
candid monologue by Ernest
Hemingway, opened last night. Now,
anyone who knows anything about
Hemingway is aware Ernest never
wrote a play. It's important to under-
stand that Hem is written and perfor-
med by Robert Beaupre and is one
man's individual interpretation of what
an interview with Ernest Hemingway
would be like.
Though Hem is well written, factually
accurate, and entertaining, it simply

isn't convincing. The script, which
draws a good deal from Hemingway's
works, is coherent and well structured,
but the fault of Hem lies in Beaupre's
inability to capture the char'acter of
Hemingway on stage. This is not a bad
play, mind you, it simply doesn't live up
to its potential.
The show is performed in one act and
subdivided into four categories, each
representing one of Hemingway's ob-
sessions: women, war, writing, and
water. Set in Havanna, Cuba, in 1960,
Hemingway casually tells the audience
his opinions on the "four Ws," and
relates a few anecdotes from his past.
Starting with women ("You begin

with that which you know least about"),
he accounts for some of his romantic
escapades, including one with Gertrude
Stein, which is particularly interesting
because Stein was a lesbian.
The play then focuses on war, where
"In Another Country" is quoted exten-
sively. The show slips into a discussion
of water, when, inevitably, The Old
Man and the Sea surfaces, and it con-
cludes with Hemingway commenting
on his work as a writer ("All it takes to
be a writer is a lousy childhood and a
literary awareness.").
Interspersed throughout these four
sections are comments by Hemingway
about his friends and acquaintences.
The play reveals many tfhis influences
and favorite authors, as well as his
views on the mistakes of the writers he
dislikes. These remarks are the most
interesting aspect of Hem.
The script is funny, enlightening,
and, at times, melancholy. For a one-

man play, Be%,pre has done a com-
mendable job of writing a drama which
maintains the audience's interest.
The staging of the show also plays a
vital role in arresting the audience's at-
tention. Beaupre moves about the set
throughout Hem, using the entire stage,
but never so bis movements seem ob-
vious or unnatural.
The acting, however, is not as im-
pressive. Though the script has ac-
curately adapted Hemingeway's man-
ner of speaking, Beaupre's physical
characterization of Hemingway is not
right. He portrays Hemingway with
more sensitivity and emotion than is
evident in his writings. Hemingway
was a sober, madho guy who wouldn't be
drawn to the verge of tears during an
Beaupre's gestures used to convey
this emotionalism seem contrived and
overplayed. During some of the scenes
where Hemingway is angry, Beaupre

spits out words too fast for comprehen-
sion. Beaupre could have kept
Hemingway's emotions more subtle,
relying on vocal inflections and facial
expressions rather than melodramatic
If you're not familiar with
Hemingway, however, you might be
taken in by this play. It has loads of
backround informatin and it is enter-
taining. Bur, if you know HemingwayE
well and have a preconceived notion of
his character, you might be disappoip-
In Friday's preview of the show, at
was mentioned that Hem might extend
another weekend. Hem will, in fact,
play riee more shows next weekend'
Thursday and Saturday at 7 PM, aid
Sunday at 2 PM, Tickets are five
dollars in advance (available at t'he
Michigan Theatre Box Office, and Tl e
Performance Network), or six dollarsE
at the door.

West Side
Book Shop
Used & rare books,
bought. sold
Large selection of
quality used paperbacks
at / cover price.
25th Anniversary
"On the Road"
Limited Supply
113 W. Liberty
E z
S *MemberAntiquarian Booksellers' }
0 Association of America _


_ l t




Sat. Sun $2.00 Shows Before 6:00 PM
FRI MON --6:25,8:10, 9:55
12:50, 2:40, 4:30, 6:25, 8:10,.9:55
FRI MON - 6:45, 9:30
SAT SUN - 1:00, 3:50, 6:45, 9:30

George Harrison-Gone
Troppo' (Geffen)
Poor George. This new album of his
sat around the Daily office for weeks
before I took it under my arm, soothed
its pain and washed away its tears (bad
for the vinyl), and took it home to play
on my turntable. It's not nice to be un-
wanted, and I feel like a better person
for my samaritanish deed.
Unfortunately, Gone Troppo should
have stayed in the office.
"Troppo" means, in musical terms,
"too fast." Now whatever fast has to do,
with this album-or George Harrison
alone-is beyond me. Listening to G. H.
albums is like drinking honey in a sen-
sory deprivation tank filled with the
odor of incense and tulips; the world
becomes slow and lugubrious and
(sometimes) pleasantly non-hectic.
George Harrison is the perennial "laid
back" fellow, limboing syrupily into


our ears; and, worse yet, he's nice.
Now there's nothing wrong with nice.
It's just that your grandmother would
probably tap her toes to this stuff! Like
that strangely-similar-sounding group
the Beatles, Harrison is the next
evolutionary step from elevator muzak,
and thusly a threat to music that speaks
rather than whispers.
Well, I'm getting off on all sorts of
tangents here . . . Gene Troppo is
pleasant ear-candy, nothing more. The
title song sounds oddly like Simon and
Garfunkle's "59th St. Bridge Song
(Feelin' Groovy)," and is such a rip-off
of said-tune that it brings back
memories of a similar incident between
George's "My Sweet Lord" and "He's
So Fine" by the Chiffons a few years
back. C'mon: "Borrowing" is no big
deal, but to be so obvious about
it ...(or maybe it's oblivious).
"Unknown Delight" is Beatles-city,
take your pick and compare-I kept

listening for John and Paul on toe
chorus, but, nope, that's Willy Greece,
Bobby King, and Pico Pena instead
(The Fab Three?). "Greece," a wo4-
thless instrumental, is nice hoejrg
music for the green-thumbers ou1t
there, and "Dream Away," the theime
from the movie Time Bandits (which
George produced), tries to act as somne
selling point for this melange of meah-
derings, but goes vastly unnoticed.
Poor George. He works with son e
great folks here, like bassist Herbie
Flowers, drummer Jim Keltner, ayd
percussionist (from the old Elton John
band) Ray Cooper, but he can't cut it.
I'll play Gone Troppo every once in:a
blue moon to keep its spirits up, but as
the first (and best) song goes: Here4I
go again / Hear that knockin' won't
let me in / Only want the same old
thing... Wake up my love.
Zzzzzzzzzzz .
-By Larry Dean


FEBRUARY 15, 8pm
Tickets available
at PTP Ticket Office




WE f ff. g 'Tas

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