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February 10, 1984 - Image 18

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-02-10
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Days,
ht* e S
these
John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Heart Play-Unfinished Dialogue
Milk & Honey
Polydor
By Don Pappas
B ACK IN DECEMBER, Polydor
records released Heart Play-
Unfinished Dialogue, which consists of
42 minutes of conversation with John
and Yoko, taken from their 1980
Playboy interview. Whose idea it was
to release the album is unknown, but
the entire project smells suspiciously
like a cash-in.
Heart Play hit the record stores
within days of the third anniversary of
Lennon's death and was marketed as a
record of great historical significance.
Subjectively, Lennon is funny and
fairly interesting, but nothing is
discussed here that cannot be found in
any of his other published interviews.'
Objectively, the whole thing is a preten-
tious piece of crap.
Heart Play was also supposed to ser-
ve as a sort of prelude to the long-
awaited follow-up to 1980's Double Fan-
tasy. Happily, Milk and Honey needs
no such introduction. The album con-
sists of six tracks by Yoko and six tunes
by John which were recorded during
1980 and which represent his last recor-
ded material.
I'm Stepping Out" starts off the
album. This here's the story about a
househusband who just has to get
out of the house. He's been looking
after the kid for days and.days, he's
been washing the dishes and
screwing around and watching
"Sesame Street" till he just goes

crazy," Lennon raps at the beginning of
the song, fulfilling everyone's suspicion
that life in the Dakota wasn't always
paradise.
Most likely, Lennon never intended to
release this particular take of the song,
so the singing is very relaxed, and John
is unafraid to jive, revealing the sense
of humor that seemingly disappear'ed
somewhere in the '70s.
The next cut, Yoko's "Sleepless
Night," makes "Kiss Kiss Kiss" from
Double Fantasy look tame. Seems it's
late at night and Yoko is suffering from
overactive hormones; all she wants is
three-minute love she verbalizes in
between moans. Yet, alas there is none
to be found, so Yoko resorts to an alter-
native: This brush must sell like
crazy she drools, There are a lot of
lonely people out there, you know,
"Sleepless Night" is a fun tune
though; perhaps the first time we laugh
with Yoko, not at her.
"I Don't Wanna Face It" marks Len-
non's harshest attack since "How Do
You Sleep?" The target this time is
Lennon and his own hypocrisy: You're
looking for oblivion with one eye on
the Hall of Fame, . .. You wanna
save humanity but it's people that
you just can't stand, ... The time
has come to see yourself, you always
look the other way.
"Don't be Scared" follows and
without a doubt represents Yoko Ono's
finest musical effort. The vocals are
not only acceptable, but fabulous; the
chorus is wonderfully melodic; and the
rhythms and subtle texture make it the
most convincing non-Jamaican reggae
tune I've ever heard. What a nice surp-
rise.
"Nobody Told Me" and "O' Sanity,"
the A and B sides of Milk and Honey's
first single, close side one of the album
The former bemoans the state of the
world, social paralysis and- com-
munication breakdowns, without being
preachy or even saying much of
anything. The latter is a throwaway, a.
64-second bad joke.
Side two opens with John's
"Borrowed Time," certainly the most
optimistic song on Milk and Honey. The
song sums up a lot of what Lennon had

John and Yoko: Nobody
ever told them
to say in his 1980 interviews-basically,
that when he was younger things were
simple but not so clear and that now
things are much better, a new begin-,
ning is at hand. Lennon assures us that
it is good to be older, that the future is
brighter. Quite a turn from "Nobody
Told Me."
Yoko's "Your Hands" is an ex-
tremely powerful and beautiful song,
yet unfortunately it is not altogether
accessible, as the lyrics are sung in
Japanese then spoken in English.
"(Forgive Me) My Little Flower
Princess," which follows, is really the
only blatantly unfinished song by John.
The music is very funky, very sexy, and
there is a tasty little jazz guitar solo at
the end; but Lennon had yet to com-
plete the lyrics and hence hums and
mumbles quite a bit.
"Let Me Count The Ways" and
"Grow Old With Me" were, contrarily,
finished songs which never came to life
in the studio. The versions on Milk and
Honey are the ones which John and
Yoko made at home at the piano. As the
story goes, the two songs were to be
"the backbone" of Double Fantasy, but
because of a deadline, the songs got left
out.
Yoko's "Let Me Count The Way" is a

simple little love song--not bad, but not
impressive either. But John's "Grow
Old With Me" is a charmer, instantly
recognizable, instantly classic. As
Lennon once said of George Harrison's
"Within You Without You," "You can
hear his mind is clear and his music is
clear."
The album closes with "You're the
One," a song full of love, pain and fear.
it is the only song on the album where
Yoko looks back and tries to sum up
their relationship, and it is not tacky,
not overdone. Her voice quivers and
shakes, reminiscent of the John Len-
non/Plastic Ono Band album, How do
I tell you you're the one?"
Milk and Honey has a few week spots,
but also some fantastic ones. The
musicianship is flawless throughout
and even Yoko Ono's songs are sur-
prisingly strong. And of course the real
treats are Lennon's songs.
The saddest part of it all is Lennon's
Milk and Honey compositions are much
stronger than those on Double Fantasy.
The best was yet to be.
764-0558

Mumbo
jumbo
Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth
Department of Theater and Drama
New Trueblood Arena Theater
Monday, February 13-Saturday.
February 18, 8 p.m.
By David Kopel
N66EGE e gra a.e
J~NGAGE congratulate
moreover state abysmal fairground.
Begat peramambulate this areodrom
chocolate found. Maureen again
dedum-de-da ultimately cried egg.
Dinosaur rely indoors if satisfied egg."
No my typewriter hasn't been eating
mushrooms. The above lines are just
the famous Bing Crosby-Sid Vicious hit
"My Way" translated into a lanuage
called "Dogg." What's "Dogg?" It's a
special language that Tom Stoppard
created for his one-act play Dogg's
Hamlet.
Dogg's Hamlet is about some
schoolboys who, like everyone else in
their country, speak "Dogg." Most of
the play takes place in Dogg, except for
a schoolboy production of Hamlet,
which the boys put on as part of their
foreign language study of English.
What results is not only hilarious, but
also a commentary on language, and on
how we often think we're com-
municating when we're not.
Appearing along with Dogg's Hamlet
is another Tom Stoppard one-act,
Cahoot's Macbeth. Stoppard based
Cahoot's on the experience of
Czechoslovakian actor Pavel Kohout.
After Russian tanks rolled into
Czechoslovakia in 1968 to crush the
short-lived "Prague Spring" of
freedom, the Communist dictatorship
forbade Kohout and other dissident ac-
tors to perform in public. Like most ac-
tors, Kohout, "could live without the

theater," and he, along with other ban-
ned Czech actors, resorted to putting on
plays in their friends' living rooms.
Cahoot's Macbeth is a story of a
production of Macbeth in a living room,
coupled with a visit from the secret
police.
Putting on Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's
Macbeth are graduate students in the
Theater Department's M.F.A.
program. The students can be expected
to put on a strong ensemble performan-
ce, having worked together since
joining the program a year and a half
ago.
Philip Kerr, currently a director at
the Cleveland Playhouse,- will - direct.
Kerr has acted both on and off Broad-
way, and at the nation's best regional
theaters.
I asked Philip Kerr if he chose the
plays partly because of Cahoot's
political content. He said he had, and
that human rights was a crucial issue,
especially for artists.
"Suppression is something we should
be aware of; we're fortunate that it
doesn't happen in our society, at least in
such a complete and overt way," Kerr
said.
While many people feel that there is a
conflict between artistic quality and
commercial success, Kerr disagrees,
because "The object is to reach as
many people as possible."
Kerr does see commercial con-
sideratons, though, as limiting the
variety of theater that appears on
Broadway: "It costs a lot to mount a
production, and it costs a lot to go see a
production . . . You can't really make
money on a shot til it has run for about a
year . . . Mostly what producers are
willing to bank on is musicals, which

Dogg's & Cahoot's: Silly Shakespeare
are good entertainment, and plays that
have proved themselves in London. A
producer doesn't want to sink $800,000
into a play that's going to close after a
week."
Fortunately,many regional theaters
are accepting the challenge of presen-
ting untested or experimental
American pieces. While the initial
1960s boom of regional theaters is over,
Kerr explained, many small theaters
are taking economic risks, and
devoting their spaces to important new
American work.
While Kerr has a high regard for
Michigan's M.F.A. program, he does
not feel that getting a graduate degree
is an essential step for a theater career.

After al
into th
Some
a Ph.D
New Y(
wait on
see wha
As for
beth,
backgr
terest h
audienc
the play
tainmer
In cor
"Dogg'
would
domino

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"6 Weekend / February 10, 1984 l~

ll W

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