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March 05, 1983 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-05

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ARTS
the Michigan Daily Saturday, March 5, 1983

Page 5

'Aroma of 'Blossoms'
graces the Michigan

Hammond: Fun with pain

By Mark Gindin
EDNESDAY night's multi-
faceted presentation of a film by
one of the silent era's classic directors
proved once again that there are ways
of presenting motion pictures that
Dolby stereo cannot hope to replace.
Not only was D. W. Griffith's Broken
Blossoms shown to the accompaniment
of a live orchestra, but it was preceded
by a stage show and organ recital that
harkened back to the era when movies
were more than a two-dimensional ex-
perience. The planners of the night's
extravaganza would have been hard-
pressed to prove the point better. The
grandiose Michigan Theatre provided a
perfect setting.
The Ann Arbor Chamber Orchestra,
under the direction of Carl Daehler,
began the two-hour presentation with
the overture to the 1922 film version of
Robin Hood. The curtain then opened to
reveal a near-accurate representation
of a Chinese tea. garden complete with a
perfumed mist as the strains of "In a
Chinese Temple Garden" echoed from
the orchestra pit. This, however, was
only the first part of the prologue that
introduced the Oriental theme the film
would use in its plot.
Julia Broxholm appeared from the
side garbed in Chinese costume and
make-up and sang a couple of early tor-
ch songs, "In the Garden of My Heart"
and "I'll Get By." Accompanied by the
Michigan Theatre's organ at the hands
r of Dennis James, the numbers in the
garden were a good try, but the rather
obvious non-Oriental look of Miss
Broxholm and the strange musical
selections detracted somewhat from
the intended effect.
Dennis James then exhibited why he
is a widely respected theatre organist
by playing various selections written
for organs such as the massive one
housed in the Theater. He obviously en-
joyed playing and took great delight in
rpleasing the audience with impressive
finger movements and occasional
organ-produced bird calls.
After Broxholm's rendition of the
song, "Broken Blossoms," the organist
;and the orchestra geared up for non-
stop accompaniment to the featured at-
traction.
Although he is best known for his con-
troversial Birth of a Nation, Griffith

molded the 1919 Broken Blossoms into
one of his greatest achievements. He
involved the audience in a mariner only
the best of recent films have been able
to do. The characters came alive, and
although appear as stereotyped today.
Lillian Gish in this film shows why
her acting talents are now legendary.
She portrays Lucy, a pitiful, broken,
and unhappy creature of the London
slums. And sort of sympathy seems
wasted on such a hopeless case. The
girl is so abused and depressed that her
facial muscles have atrophied to the ex-
tent that to get a smile, she must force
the corners of her mouth up with her
fingers. Her attempts to force a smile
are a source of sad amusement.
The man she calls "Daddy," por-
trayed by Donald Crisp, is a dispicable,
repugnant, and cruel fighter who
derives happiness only from pounding
another person, which he often does to
Lucy. With a cauliflower ear and a rot-
ten snear, he appears a perfect creation
of Charles Dickens.
Griffith uses tinted scenes of various
colors to add that extra bit of visual
stimulation to what is already an
emotion-packed film. He follows the
battered Lucy to her new friendship
with a kindly Chinaman ("Chink" in
the subtitles) who nurses her back to
health and dubs her White Blossom.
Their scenes together are ones of pure
innocence.
When Battling Burrows, an upstan-
ding Englander, finds out that his adop-
ted daughter is with a foreigner, in-
stead of back at the shack, we are
treated to one of the most tragic en-
dings on film. The London of Charles
Dickens lives in Broken Blossoms.
With both the theatre's organ and the
orchestra's accomplishment, the story
comes alive and the word silent no
longer applies. The music is often more
expressive than any simple words
might have been.
When Broken Blossoms was first
exhibited in 1919, the presentation also
included overtures, orchestra accom-
paniment, dramatic prologues, and a
decorated theater. The attempt by the
Michigan Theatre to recreate the event
Wednesday belied the fact that the
labor had been donated and the pro-
ceeds went to the Chamber orchestra.
With luck, this will not be the end of
what could become a fine tradition in
Ann Arbor.

By Julie Hinds
SOMETIME DURING the middle of
his second show at the Blind Pig
Thursday night, blues artist
John Hammond paused from leisurely
tuning his guitar and said to the audien-
ce, "I'm just gonna take my time if
that's alright."
He didn't have to ask. The fifty or so
people crammed into the Pig's
basement were in mutual agreement
that almost anything Hammond did
was alright by them. They were too
busy discovering the reason why the
blues have survived and thrived:
hearing songs about getting your heart
torn out and stompedon a few times can
be good, clean fun.
Well, not exactly clean. Most of
Hammond's authentic blues songs con-
cerned infidelity and desertion. "Gonna
Be Too Late," "It Hurts Me, Too," and
"No Way to Be Satisfied" all were

variations on that time-worn, seamy
theme of a woman who done gone and
left me for my best friend/another
man/the open road.
Hammond turned his sheer misery
into pure joy for the audience with his
superb suffering. His singing ranged
from a despondent croon to an agonized
howl. He fine-tuned the vocals with
piercing wails on the blues harp and an
almost vicious strumming on the
guitar.
All this agony didn't put a damper on
the evening, though. Instead of
provoking listeners to hang their heads
and cry, Hammond drove them to clap
hands, slap thighs, anything but sit still.
The crowd caught on quickly to the
secret of Hammond's style-even if
true love never runs smooth, good
music can compensate for all the
trouble.
Hammond finished up with two
rollicking songs of suffering, "Who Do
You Love" (dedicated to Stan Rogers,

who appeared that night at the Ark),
and Chuck Berry's "Nadine," possibly
the most upbeat song about being
cheated on around.
Local pianist Larry Manderville did a
fine job opening the show, and an
amazing job accompanying himself by
imitating a trumpet on the mi-
crophone. Pianist Mark Braun, other-
wise known as Mr. B., became the im-
promptu co-star of the show when both
Manderville and Hammond invited him
to lend his honky-tonk hammering to
some fast-paced duets.
Along with the performers, the
Blind Pig deserves credit for the suc-
cess of the show. Even the smallest of
formal halls would have hindered
Hammond's intimate vocals (his enun-
ciation didn't profit very much from his
strength of feeling).
But in a gloomy basement, Hammond
was able to do just what he should've
with his pain. Share it with someone.

Hammond
... blues master

Historic Armenian treasure

By George Shepherd
" A N ARMENIAN ┬░Treasury in
iMichigan," the new exhibit at the
University Museum of Art running until
April 10, is not as spectacular as the
Egyptian Tutankhamon show which
toured the country several years ago.
Yet the compact collection, part of a
two-month festival of Armenian arts
and humanities, for the first time of-
fers a glimpse of an attractive and
unique creative tradition.
Though now part of the Soviet Union,
Armenia, in medieval times, was the
eastern bastion of European culture.
The world's first nation to adopt
Christianity, Armenia flowered
through the late .middle ages before
being devastated by invading Turks,
Mongols, and Ottomans. After enjoying
a period of renewed political stability
and of artistic renaissance during the
16th through the 19th centuries,
domestic turmoil led to the dispersion
of a large part of the Armenian
population.
The endowed University professor-
ship for Armenian studies as well as the
planned Armenian Studies major
demonstrate the strength of the local
Armenian community. Furthermore,
according to Martha Mehta, the
festival's organizer, "In southeast
Michigan there are a number of very
important collections of the best of Ar-
menian art." The pieces included in the
exhibit, drawn entirely from Michigan
collections, have never before been
displayed together.
Though medieval Armenian art
rivalled that of any other country, little
of it survived. Thus the pieces in this
exhibit, which include metalwork,
woodwork, ceramics, and weaving,
were all created during the second
major Armenian artistic period in the
16th through the 19th centuries.
The intricate silver and gold objects
are the most striking and reveal the
many foreign influences of this much-

invaded land. The stunningly-detailed
silver and gilt tracery on the com-
munion vessel from 1733 recalls the
horror vacui of European manuscript
illumination. The crozier head from
1603, crafted of ebony covered with gilt
and shining jewels, suggests the Byzan-
tine, eastern-orthodox style.
The cigarette case and the lady's
belt, both from the 19th century,
demonstrate how older metalworking
techniques used in religious art were
adapted for new secular uses. "Ar-
menia offers household arts that move
beyond everyday use to a special
place," says Mehta.
Less gaudy than the metal pieces, the
ceramic objects express a more simple
and satisfying beauty. A delicate and
harmonious flower design in bright blue
pastels decorates a ceramic dish from
1540. This piece, with its Chinese style,
is the most beautiful in the collection.
The ceramic jug, with its jarringly-.
bright geometric style recalling the
mosaics of Constantinople, is an
arresting contrast.
The festival includes, among ap-
proximately 30 other events, an exhibit
of spectacular religious manuscripts in
the rare book room of the graduate
library. In addition, a number of films
will be shown, including Nran Guiun, a
modern film from Soviet Armenia, to
be shown in Auditorium A, Angell Hall
at 7 p.m. on March 6. Because the con-
troversial film was condemned to
destruction after its first showing, only
a handful of of prints could be smuggled
out of the Soviet Union. "The film is so
rare," says Mehta, "that the owner
won't send it to us in the mail and is ac-
companying it on the airplane."
The exhibit in the Museum of Art,

Just one example of the many Armenian treasures at the Museum of Art.

which took over two-and-a-half years to
organize, officially opened last night
with a lecture by Vladimir Goss. A
reception following was "a smashing
party," according to Mehta, "with lots
of terrific food and thousands of pieces
of pastry baked by Armenian women."

Jam aaladeen turns

nIs Vass up
By C. E. Krell
YX OU EVER think about Zinc?
Y Probably not. You may think
about gold (wearing it around your
neck) or silver (wearing it from your
ears) or even iron (one of those one-a-
day things). Nobody ever thinks about
zinc. Poor Zinc.
You ever think about the bass?
Probably not. Why think about it? When
you think about it, the bass is not very
intellectual. Guitars, trumpets, flutes
,and stuff, they're all pretty thoughtful
type doodads, in a way. Keyboards,
wow, there is a thinking man's in-
strument. Sequencers, envelope
:generators, programmers, syn-
thesizers, wave, pitch, bend blah blah
yuccckkkk!!!
Let's talk about the bass. So maybe
you don't think about it much. But I bet
you feel it all through your guttiwutts.
Feels kinds nice in there. Like the
beans inside the burri to.
You ever think about Jamaaladeen
Tacuma? Probably not. No, he's not a
famous burrito. He may not even like
burrittos. Jamaaladeen thinks about
the bass. Jamaaladeen used to think
about the bass with a guy named Ornet-
te Coleman. Ornette thinks about music
and leads a very talented group. Only,
Ornette just doesn't think quite like you
do about music. Here's the logic: Or-
nete's fascinating EEG waves rub off
on Jamaaladeen. But, Jamaaladeem
ain't Ornette. What does all this crap
mean? Get to the point, Oblio.
What it means is that Saturday night
at the University Club, Double Ex-
change will thrill and amaze you.
Jamaaladeen will play a bass a little
like nothing you have ever heard, but a
little like something you have always
imagined, steeped in chorusing beeps.
Also involved in the fair Exchange will
be expert drummer Cornell Rochester,
and special guest trumpet player Olu
Dara, whose valves will click with the
sound of his thick eclectic. Dara the
- -. .

Suup
trumpet will quick mix a steeped in
roots trilling toots.
Opening the show, at around 9 p.m.
will be local avant fun band the Inserts.
The Inserts are best described as being
a bitch to describe: highly thought-
provoking manual (tape) looped
stoking.
Eveir think about these things? Well
groove yerr grey blob in your head-
cheese. Whoopee, it's Saturday at the
U-Club.

ANN A RBOR
2 INDIVIDUAL THEATRES
$2.00 SAT SUN SHOWS
BEFORE 6:00 PM
"A HIT!"
TIME
"JUST WONDERFUL!"
CBS-TV
"WITTY"
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STAR OF "TEN"
AND "ARTHUR"

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F.. d.Iy )Ot.o .oi Ad u I t% S 270 wc *LK; I
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III

Lem

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