Saturday, October 29, 198:
The Michigan Daily
Kasdan warms up
By Susan Makuch
t ARRY KASDAN is a lucky guy. Not only did this
University alumnus know exactly what he wanted to do
with his life, he became very successful at his chosen
profession. "I was lucky that I know what I wanted to do.
The question was just finding where to learn it," he says.
was just finding out where to learn it," he says.
Kasdan, author of~ the screenplays for such enormously
popular films as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the
Jedi, visited campus this past week as a guest of Prof. Knot
and the English Department.
His official duty as writer-in-residence called for him to
conduct three screenwriting workshops through the English
Department. But, as he revealed in a recent interview, "They
asked rme to talk to all these English and film classes. I guess
the idea being that when you have someone (of stature) come
in, you should expose them to as many students as possible."
"When I saw the schedule set up form me I was in shock,"
said Kasdan about his visit. Besides the workshops, Kasdan's
week consisted of non-stop question-and-answer periods from
students all over campus.
All this after he had just finished a strong publicity push for
his latest film, The Big Chill. Needless to say, Kasdan had
already been asked every question imaginable by the press
just weeks before his visit here.
Returnng to Ann Arbor, thfe scene of his college days, was a
moving experience for Kasdan. "I love it (coming back). It
brings back enormously strong feelings. Every place has
strong associations. I spoke to the Vietnam and Film class in
East Quad today. In my freshman year I lived in Tyler house,
and 1 haven't been back there since. I've been back to Ann
Arbor a few times, but never back in East Quad, and that
(feeling) was'really strong. Freshman year is so intense, you
Kasdan stayed on in Ann Arbor long after his freshman
year, leaving the University in 1972 with a Masters degree in
When Kasdan talks about those days, his soft-spoken, even
demure voice finally sounds passionate as he describes what
1 Ann Arbor was really like. "It's been 11 years since I've
really been here and it's changed a lot. (Ann Arbor) was
volatile, it was alive, there were a lot of protests and demon-
strations back then," he remembers. "The whole town was
buzzing - the whole country was vibrating - this town was
really alive," he remembers.
Kasdan's early days here were filled with the enthusiasm
and excitement of an era, but by the end of his stay the city
had changed immensely.
"Right before I left - about '71 or so - the town got kind of
ugly . . . a lot of drug trade," he says. "The streets, which
were always so vital, became scuzzy. It's a lot better today.
(Ann Arbor) looks like a nice place to walk around,"Kasdan
Just like many other writing students here at the Univer-
sity, Kasdan tried to do as much writing as possible. In ad-
dition to plays and short stories (which netted him four Hop-
wood Awards), Kasdan attempted to write for the Daily.
"I did a profile once of Andy Warhol and the Velet Un-
derground - they were at Hill Auditorium. It was the only
thing I ever had printed in the Daily. I worked for the Daily
selling ad space for awhile - but that didn't last too long. I
was one of those who went to the orientation meetings about
three different times, but I never stuck with it. It's just like
everything else, I guess."
During those college years Kasdan met his wife, Meg. "We
were fixed up," he admits, lending credibility to the blind
date tradition here at the University. "Actually, it was a
semi-blind date. . . someone pointed her out to me and then
we went out."
Kasdan hasn't experienced the difficulty of maintaining a
happy family life while making a movie, like so many film
makers have. When he made The Big Chill Meg had a small role
(she also helped choose the music) and their boys had
cameos in the film. "The Big Chill was her (Meg's) first real
involvement with a film. She's always been kind of a involved
- a personal editor of my writing," he says.
Obviously Kasdan and his wife work well together - The
Big Chill is doing marvelous business -in Ann Arbor, as well
as in the rest of the country.
"We're doing great business," he says. "It opened strong
and has remained unbelievably strong. It's everything I'd
hoped for. Because it was such a struggle to get it made, the
studios were convinced it couldn't make money, it's very
Daily Photo by DEBORAH LEWIS
Alumnus-turned-screenwriter-turned director-turned teacher Lawrence Kasdan pauses for a brief moment during his
recent visit to the University.
gratifying to be validated by it making money."
Just why The Big Chill beat the odds and became a suc
cessful picture is somewhat of a mystery to Kasdan himself
"I'm shocked. I sort of thought it was possible, but I wasn
sure. The issues it deals with are so personal to me, in a wa
I'm surprised that such a wide audience is going to it a
across the country."
He knew it would do well here, "but I'm surprised by th
small cities in Indiana and Iowa, where it's doing well also
It's exciting, too, when a picture is well-received across th
boards," he says. The Big Chill, a film about eight radica
University students of the '60s, was thought to be too narrow
a subject for the general movie public, but Kasdan found tha
there was a universal message in the film - one to whic
every viewer could relate. "I thought that no one would b
able to understand it if they didn't live through that era .
but because everybody deals with the issues of growing up -
- those are the same things, the same limitations, the same
f. immortality, the fact of living with some compromises -
't these are very universal topics."
y Kasdan's topics during the past week were a little less
lI serious than those in The Big Chill. That seems to disturb him
little, though. "There's a little more concentration of career
to and how do I do it' kind of things than I would like," he says
- about what students ask when they get the chance to talk with
e him. "You have to have some.skill first," he says. "It seems
W that they (students) want to sort of jump over that. Either
w they assume they have it (talent) or they just don't want to
t deal with that. I mean it's so hard to learn how to do this stuff.
h That's what I'd like to talk about a little bit. But they want to
e talk about George Lucas."
Are You A
tunes fill Joe's
By Joseph Kraus
IT WAS A rain-chilled day in Washington
D.C. last summer as two bedraggled
Midwestern college students stood
rereading the promotional posters for
an honest to goodness folk singer."
Sadly, neither of the starry-eyed young
men had enough money with him to buy
That folk singer was Fred Small, and
at least one of those college students is
as last going to get to see him here in
Cast in the mold of Woody Guthrie,
Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and even Tom
Lehrer, Small is dedicated to singing
about the ironies and injustices of life.
He is equally at ease singing out against
Reagan's economic policies with his
"Walk on the Supply Side" as he is with
singing a good story about a lonesome
Small knows what he's talking about.
He was an undergraduate at Yale and
he earned a law degree and a masters
in natural resources here in Ann Arbor.
He gave up a promising legal career for
a life of smoke-filled coffeehouses and
Small has already acheived some
successes in his young career. From his
first album, Love's Gonna Carry Us, his
"Three Mile Island" received airplay
on several different radio stations. Big
names like Pete Seeger and Charlie
King have performed his songs and he
has appeared with Seeger, Holly Near,
Bonnie Raitt and Peter Yarrow to name
only a few.
He recently released his second
album, The Heart of the Appaloosa,
which features in addition to "Larry the
Polar Bear" an Ochs inspired "ain't
marchin' anymore"song called "No
More Vietnams" and a post nuclear
holocaust primer called "Dig a Hole in
the Ground or How to Prosper During
the Coming Nuclear War."
In a snow sponsored by PIRGIM,
Small will appear Sunday only at Joe's
Star Lounge. Tickets are $4.50 in ad-
vance and $5 at the door.
If so, Ann Arbor Civic
Theater has designs on you!
We are looking for talented, experienced
directors; producers, and designers of costume, stage
sets, and choreography, as well as set and costume
builders and props persons.
Come join us in helping to create exciting, rewarding
community theater this season. Send your resume to Ann
Arbor Civic Theater, 338 S Main St.. Ann Arbor, Mich.
48104 or call 662-7282 between 1:00 and 4:00.
Fred Small, still soaking in the success of his latest album "The Heart of the
Apaloosa,' performs at Joe's Sunday night.
Michael Franks -
He's created his own style of music -
a jazz and pop fusion that's light enough
for the casual listener and intricate
enough to inspire admiration. After a
solid run of seven studio LP's, Passion-
fruit, the latest, may very well be
Michael Franks' best.
The music on Passionfruit is crafted
with infinite care, arranged with a deft
precision and polished to near perfec-
tion. The musicians know their stuff
and they perform like professionals;
among the the names contributing are
guitarists Jeff Mirnov and Hiram
Bullock, bassist Will Lee and drummer
Steve Gadd. Sharing the drum slot
with Gadd is ChristopherParker, who
makes an impressive contribution, and
keyboardist Rob Mounsey injects a
touch of spice with his performances.
The delicacy of Franks' compositions
often demands restraint from the
group, and they comply most satisfac-
torily. Given the chance to show their
muscle, the band kicks in with infec-
tious exhuberance while showing the
tunes all the respect they deserve.
Lyrically, Franks has rarely been in
finer form. His double-entendre sub-
tleties permeate "Now That Your
Joystick's Broke" with upbeat inanity,
romping freely with the quirkiest sound
effects arrangement this side of your
favorite video arcade.
With his attention turned to romance,
Franks conjures up familiar images
with "Alone At Night," and then shows
love's sunniest side on "Sunday Mor-
ning Here With You." His voice is the
perfect vehicle to convey these images
- sedate, inherently romantic and
- Michael Baadke
THE 24 th ANNUAL
THE PEOPLES OF rilt
Presentations of music and Dance
*Introductions of the Nations
rInternational Expressions of Hope
for Peace and Understanding
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 1983
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