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February 16, 1984 - Image 6

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Page 6

BJy J

Looking back

on Dylan

Thursday, February 16, 1984

ARTS

The Michigan Daily

I
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foseph Kraus

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T WAS Satchel Paige the baseball
pitcher who lasted for 30 years or so,
that said, "Don't look back, something
may be gaining on you."
But Satch sure wasn't the only one
who subscribed to the maxim.
Among others of the kind, certainly
excluding Lot's wife, are A.J. Foyt,
Steve Cauthen and Bob Dylan.
"Bob Dylan?" ask the top-40ites,
"isn't he that old guy with the new
album out that everybody is talking
about but nobody is playing?"
"Yes, children," says the gentle
critic, "but he used to be so much more
There was a time when Dylan was the
"new guy with the new album that
everyone was talking about and
everyone was playing:" There was a
time when, "all the kids that used to
listen to the Beatles, now listened to
Dylan." And fortunately, even though
Dylan himself didn't look back at it,
filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker did.
Pennebaker's film, not surprisingly
called Don't Look Back, was first
released in 1966 but was then removed
from public circulation, until now.
To make the film, Pennebaker
followed Dylan's 1965 tour of England
more closely than seems humanly
possible. He even has footage from in-
side Dylan's car as he leaves concerts.
The backstage, personal footage of
Dylan and entourage are certainly the
strong parts of the movie. There is
really very little actual concert footage,
and what there is seems more to serve
as a foil for the more hectic and

pressured backstage scenes.
On stage Dylan is shown as a con-
fident, almost brave performer. He
stands by himself on stage in front of
thousands of faceless worshipping fans.
Back stage, however, he simply does
what he wants to. In seemingly random
order, he signs autographs for devoted
fans, pecks madly away at a typewriter
and slices apart interviewers trying to
pigeonhole his work.
Pennebaker's camera is an objective
one. He draws no conclusions about the
man, he simply shows him to the
audience. The picture he shows us,
though, is by necessity distorted. Ob-
viously, you'd act differently too if
somebody were following you around
with a movie camera.
"It may not be so much about Dylan
because Dylan is sort of acting
throughout the film. And that's his
right. He needs some protection in a
sense against that process. But I think
what you do find out a little bit is the ex-
traordinary pressure of having to go out
and be absolutely perfect on call. That
is, he had to fill a house. It wasn't just
enough to have every seat booked, he
had to have standees. He had to be ex-
traordinary where most of us settle for
just being adequate," Pennebaker said.
The movie is fascinating in that it
presents a Dylan who has yet to realize
the limits of his talents. Dylan seems
always to be trying something new and
he looks as if he is amusing himself, but
all the while he seems to be educating
himself, internalizing everything
around him, and growing. Just what he
was growing into the movie cannot
show, only what he was.

Pennebaker is aware of this. He said,
"I was never interested in educating
people about Dylan. First of all, I don't
know enough about him. Who does?
Besides, that's Dylans business. If he
wanted to educate people, I'm sure he
knows how to do it. What I wanted to do
was just be present when Dylan enac-
ted his whole life and show you what he
deals with and what interests him."
Another interesting aspect of the film
were the portraits of the people around
Dylan. Joan Baez comes across as
almost nothing more than a hanger-on.
Albeit she is a hanger-on with a
beautiful voice, but she seems to be
trying to impress a man who is so unin-
terested in her that her prefers typing
to listeneing to her singin.
Alan Price, founder and keyboardist
for the Animals, comes across as a star
trying to deny the fact that his greatest
feats are behind him. At the time of the
tour, Price had been replaced in the
band, originally known as the Alan
Price Combo and for whom he had
arranged the classic hit "House of the
Rising Sun." In the film, Price is never,
seen without a bottle, and he comes
across in general as an embittered
man.
Donovan is an enigmatic "Entity"
throughout the film.'He appears for
only a few minutes and performs one of
his songs backstage, but his new-found
success is thrown jokingly at Dylan.
himself from the moment he arrives in
England.
Dylan's manager, Albert Grossman,
comes across as a frightfully cunning
and able man - a business match for
the Dylan who rules the stage. In a

10b) IJUlan
... he's come a long way
unique scene where he actually
negotiates a television deal for Dylan
with the BBC, Grossman calmly moves
higher and higher while quietly
reiterating his demands with the same
cold certainty that Darth Vader did in
Star Wars.
Throughout it all, though, Dylan
comes across as the undeniable center
- the axis around which everyone else
revolved. No matter what he is today,
the Dylan of 20 years ago was a fireball,
a young artist in a world that didn't
want artists so much as stars. Pen-
nebaker's acheivement has been to
record for us the ways in which Dylan
handled the pressure and praise that
was heaped upon him.
If you know Dylan only through his
latest album, or even only through his
most famous works such as, "Like a
Rolling Stone," you owe it to yourself to
do something that Dylan himself never
did - Look Back!

Television preferred m

By Joshua Bilmes
O VER THE YEARS, many Americans
TV movies have been released in
foreign countries. Battlestar Galactica
and The Day After are two examples
which come to mind. Experience
Preferred But Not Essential is Britains
way of turning the tables; the film was
originally a British TV film called First
Love.
The first love which the English TV
title refers to is Annie, a young woman.
who works as a waitress at the Grand
Hotel, a resort in Scotland, during the
summer of 1962. The title given to the
movie in America probably refers to
the contents of the classified ad to
which Annie replied.
Like most such jobs, the room and
board is part of the pay, and Annie gets

an attic room which leaks whenever it
rains. Once she gets settled in, she
meets the rest of the hotel staff - the
waitresses, the cooks, some of the
managerial staff. One of the cooks
takes a liking to Annie, and as film's
90 minutes run by, their relation-
ship, and the relationships of most of
the hotel staff develops.
All of this is supposed to be a comedy
seen through Annie's eyes. There are a
few good laughs, most of them concer-
ning love and sex. The scenes which
stick out the most are those of a male
worker who takes a nightly sleep walk
in the nude.
Rather, it is watching Annie, played
by Elizabeth Edmonds, adjust and ma-
ture to the situation at the hotel. When
she leaves the hotel, we can tell she is a
changed person, and that is a'rarity in a
day when films seem to have more
simplistic characterizations. As op-
posed to some movies which provide all
the change in one momentous tran-
sitional scene, the more gentle tran-
sformation here is a pleasant surprise.
It really is difficult to pinpoint the
change. Does it happen due to the daily
routine of getting up at 5:45 a.m. (the
man who houses the waitresses wishes
that, just once, someone would say good
morning) to serve breakfast? Is it the
presence of a lover? Is it the peer
pressure to dress in nicer clothes? Or is
it, as it is in real life, a combination of
all the above?
Experience is a gem to its
portrayal of people an. their daily
routine of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and
an evening with a date. It has notable
scenes, but nothing really fabulous.
When it comes on TV, the recominen-
dation will be quite definite. But as a
movie, it might be just a little too sweet.

Daily Photo by SCOTT ZOLTON
Laurie Penpraze (left) and Cynthia Phelps are just two of the graduate
competition winners that make the music school proud.
Concerto winners
show -why they won

a
I

By Pamela Starrett

ATTENTION!!!

ALL CALIFORNIA STUDENTS

Ir

T HE WINNERS OF the 1984 Perfor-
mance Competition of the Music
School performed two nights of sen-
sational concerts in Hill Auditorium on
Monday and Tuesday.
Pianist Cynthia Szabo began the
series of soloists with an electrifying
performance of Rachmaninoff's
Variations on a Theme by Paganini.
Her technically flawless playing was
supported by the spotless accom-
paniment of the University Symphony
Orchestra and conductor Gustav Meier.
Szabo played with power and conviction
sometimes demanding a forte im-
possible to produce on her instrumeht.
STEPHEN Radcliffe, making his or-
chestral debut, conducted the world
premiere of R. Lubetskys Momentum:

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"THE TRAGEDY OF LEBANON"
speaker:
DR. SANKIS ELMASSIAN OF LEBANON
Thursday, February 16, 1984
8:00 p.m.
at the
Ecumenical Campus Center
921 CHURCH (between Hill and Oakland)

The audience was then treated to a
fascinating performance by organist
Martin Jean.
P. Paul Burnett conducted Samuel
Barber's Toccata Festival while Jean
played the pedal solos with great vir-
tuosity.
Christopher Pulgram, violinist,
began the second half of the program
with Tschaikovsky's Violin Concerto
conducted by Yakov Kreisberg. A true
soloist, Pulgram performed difficult
passages almost effortlessly. His
cadenza was extremely strong and
well-polished.
RACHMANINOFF'S Variations on a
Theme by Paganini:concluded the con-
cert, this time performed by. Stephanie
Leon and conducted by Zuohuang Chen.
Her elegant stage presence and
musicality created an exceptional per-
formance, evoking a sense of in-
spiration and pride that a soloist of such
fine caliber received her musical
education here at the University.
Tuesdays concert began with the first
movement of the Beethoven Concerto in
G major for piano played by Tania
Fleischer. The expressivity between
Fleischer and conductor Carl St. Clair
and the Philharmonia Orchestra had an
early 19th century European flavor,
enhanced by the facility of Fleischer's
refined technique.
Trombonist Scott McElroy then per-
formed Larsson's Concertino, op. 45,
No. 7. His warm, full-bodied tone came
through beautifully. It seemed as
though his instrument was an extension
of his body while he powerfully played
this well-written composition.
Tibor Serly's Concerto for Viola was
impeccably performed by Eric John-
son. The difficult cadenza exhibited
Johnson's perfected technique.
See CONCERTO, Page 7

independent undergraduates and graduate students.

This program is made avail-
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Student Loan Authority.
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