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September 17, 1983 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-09-17

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The Michigan Daily

Saturday, September 17, 1983

Page 5

'Lianna' defies Holywood .

By Andrew Baron
I HAVE SEEN two John Sayles movies
to date, The Return of the
Seacaucaus Seven and Lianna. I
recommend both of, them highly.
eacaucaus Seven is an older film and
omes around via the campus film
groups fairly often. Lianna opened this
summer, and my guess is that it will
follow in the footsteps of its impressive
I like Lianna for a lot of reasons.
Among other things, it spends time
documenting a slice of life in a very
comprehensive way. Sayles dedicates
two hours to the exploration of a brief
episode in the life of Lianna Massey, a
ctional character who, from the start,
ins our hearts and attention. For this
reason I would group Sayles with many
of the other humanistic filmmakers,
such as Francois Truffaut, Ingmar
Bergman, and Woody Allen.
Not surprisingly, the plot of Lianna is
rather unexciting compared to what
Hollywood has trained us to expect.
Roughly, a woman, Lianna, who is in
the midst of an unhappy marriage, has
an affair with another woman while her
busband is away from home. Upon his
return, the situation is confronted
openly, the result being Liann's depar-

ture. She is then without a place to live,
separated from her two children, and
without a job. On top of that her newly-
found lover is uncertain as to her
feelings concerning any long-term
If this sounds depressing, then the
viewer is in for a surprise, because
there is a lot of hope in this film. It is a
success because writer/director/actor
Sayles creates in Lianna situations and
characterizations that are utterly true
in relation to the way life really is.
In fact, most viewers will probably be
caught off guard when they first see it.
Hollywood has trained us to look for-
ward to movies that are action-packed
escape routes. in terms of characters,
plots, and even settings. Compared to
this Lianna comes off almost as a
documentary in its realism and its goal
to accurately depict the human con-
The aspect of homosexuality will
probably provide more than a few
patrons with some mild discomfort.
The average moviegoer is quite naive
on the subject of homosexuality,
especially lesbianism. The area has
been treated comically in some very
superficial films like La Cage Aux
Folles and Victor/Victoria. But serious,
inquisitive productions are few and far
between. The only recent ones that
come to mind are Personal Best and

Making Love.
Lianna, conversely, wastes no time
daudling. It jumps right in and deals
directly with the lesbian aspect. It of-
fers the best understanding of gay
relationships that has been presented in
a long time. Sayles handles the
lovemaking scenes with taste and
finesse, which offers a healthy, positive
attitude about homosexuality.
Sayles' forte is without a doubt his
ability to portray a situation that does
not necessarily have a conflict and a
resolution. There are no good guys or
bad guys. He merely creates something
that reflects the way that life is - the
good points and the bad points.
I might say simply that Lianna is
simply good drama, but that doesn't
account for Sayles' outstanding sin-
cerity and the fact his characters are
entirely three-dimensional. We cannot
help but rally around Lianna, for she
represents the individual striving to be
Lianna is an upbeat film, that will
probably receive more and more atten-
tion. People can learn a lot from it, both
moviegoers and filmmakers. What
John Sayles taught us in The Return of
the Seacaucaus Seven and continues to
teach us in this picture is that quality
has nothing to do with quantity. That is,
a small, low budget film can put
Hollywood to shame.

Jane Hallaren (Ruth) and Linda Griffiths (Lianna) star in John Sayles' new film 'Lianna' now showing at the State

Moeser brings organ tunes to life


By Knute Rife

O RGAN MUSIC. The words strike
terror into the hearts of many.
Thoughts of the elementary music
teacher playing "Pomp and Circum-
stance" ad nauseum at one's high
school graduation, of Aunt Tilly playing
some piece of schmaltz at a score of
family weddings, of being dragged off
to church in the middle of "Rocky and
Bullwinkle," all this comes to mind, ac-
companied by the incessant drone of
some abyssmal, electric, organ-shaped
Take heart. The University of
Michigan has real pipe organs, 18 to be
exact, and people who can play them.
This Monday evening, 19 September, at
8:30 in Hill Auditorium, James Moeser
will kick off this season's organ
A glance at the published schedules
reveals that Wolfgang Oehms, organist
at the cathedral in Trier, West Ger-
many, was supposed to perform. Oeh-
ms was forced to cancel because he
could not put together an American
tour. Most organs in the United States
tend to be clustered in a few places,
such as here, while most places have
none. This makes touring difficult and
causes such cancellations.

Moeser is less affected by such con-
siderations as he has strong ties to
Michigan. A native of Texas, he
graduated from the University of Texas
and came to Michigan to work on his
Doctor of Music Arts degree. He was a
student of Marilyn Mason, chairman of
the organ department, and earned his
degree in 1974. He also studied as a
Fulbright scholar in Paris and Berlin.
Currently, Moeser is professor of
organ and dean of the School of Fine Ar-
ts at the University of Kansas. He also
serves as organist and choirmaster of
Plymouth Congregational Church in
Lawrence, Kansas. His touring has led
him to be hailed as a virtuoso both here
and in Europe.
Moeser has selected a program that
will put the Frieze Memorial Organ in
Hill through its paces. He will perform
Liszt's Fantasy and Fuge on Bach
Sokola's Fantasy on Bach, and Widor's

Symphony #5, featuring the famous
"Toccata." The organ, -an Aeolian-
Skinner with 160 ranks and four
manuals, tends to be up to any
The concert is free and open to the
public. It is presented by the University
of Michigan School of Music in co-
operation with the Detroit, Ann Arbor,
and Flint chapters of The American
Guild of Organists.

Join the
Arts Staff


Daily Photo by RENEE FREIER

Queen Ida and.the Bons Temps Zydeco band kept their audience singing and dancing Thursday night at the
Union Ballroom.
Dancin' wi royal

5th Aye of Lbey 761-9700

By Joe Hoppe
Q UEEN IDA is a real petite Cajun
queen with a glitzy red squeeze box
that she wears on her chest. She's pum-
ping that accordion; it wails and mixes
with her low growly sweet sexy voice
inging in Cajun (Louisiana French
dialect) or English, you can't tell at the
moment because there's trouble at the
soundboard in Thursday night's
Michigan Ballroom.
But it doesn't matter what her
highness is saying, it still sounds good.
The accordion is more fun than you've
ever heard in your friendly neigh-
borhood polka band, and the Bon Tem-
ps Zydeco Band is filling in all the
usical space around her majesty to
make a big bluesiana good time boogie
"Scritchy scritch scritchy scritch
scritchy scritchy scritchy scritch,"
says the bulletproof washboard vest
hanging from Willie the Washboard
Man's shoulders. The drums-of-the-
moment are playing rock-conga, but
other times are doing country two-
steps, waltzes, and blues. The bass goes
through its blue bayou line, the guitar
nters from jazzland, and a screaming
electric violin mimics and swirls about
with the noises from the accordion. The
crowd gets up out of the seats strangely
placed on the dance floor in the first
(and totally unneccessary) place to
It's Zydeco. A fun word, fun to look at,
fun to say, and fun music to listen to.
Always reminded me of art deco, both
using many bright colors, but the words
do nnt rhvme. 7vden is nrnnnond zv.

step. It's literal translation is sup-
posedly "snappy."
It does snap. Fingers snap. Feet try
to snap on the floor in a tap dance kind
of thing, but acoustics being what they
are, it comes out as a clog. Clogging is a
traditional Cajun-type dance, feet
clogging on the floor to the beat and
then some, the rest of the body pretty
much upright. Willie of the bulletproof
washboard and the violinist clogged a
bit onstage. Showed us how it was done.
Some of the audience caught on, even
it they weren't University students. In
fact, less than a fifth of the full
ballroom were students. The rest were
older, "real people" on the order of the
kind of person you think of when
thinking of the Ark coffeehouse (which
co-sponsored the show with Major
Events) and then some dentists and
their wives and other respectable
types. Still, they all danced. They got
together in a huge conga line, of a
magnitude not scene since junior high
school dances, and danced.
In the first set they danced to Jam-
balaya, a version that would have
buried it's beat deep in old Hank
Williams' posterior. They danced to
what was deciphered, after careful
scrutiny as Bruce Springsteen's

"Fire," zydecoed up and sung in Fren-
ch. They waltzed, everyone that knew
how, to the Cajun National Anthem,
"Jolie Blon" and moved frenziedly
when the Queen and her court moved it
into a quick swamp beast towering over
primordial rhythms.
We could understand the words by the
second set. The sound was all better
and we'd gotten used to Queen Ida's
style. Some of the words turned out to
be incredibly like Emerson Lake and
Palmer's old "C'est La Vie." In Zydeco
it doesn't drag like it used to. Other
words were the same as the ones to
"Just Because," recorded by the
Collins Kids and others. The music was
always a lot more. There were even
originals, "Disco Zydeco," and Queen
Ida's original recipe down in the
Mississippi delta mud "Zydeco Taco."
By the end of the night only seven
people remained in their seats. The rest
were waltzing, clogging, discoing,
boogieing, skanking, zoboing, fun.
Queen Ida's band was called the Bon
Temps band. Bon Temps means good
times in French, but the translation
doesn't really do it justice. Fun with
Queen Ida and. her band is untran-


FRI., MON.-7:10, 9:10
SAT., SUN.-1:00, 3:10, 5:10, 7:10, 9:


New York Times


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