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April 07, 1984 - Image 7

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-04-07

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ARTS
Saturday, April 7, 1984

(

The Michigan Daily

Page 7

Super

Newman returns

By Joshua Bilmes
AVID NEWMAN is the kind of
alumnus which Vice President of
Development Jon Cosovich must love.
He might be a famous screenwriter,
most recently for Superman III (also
written with wife Leslie, another alum-
nus), but when he returned to the
University this past week, he seemed to
be full of affectionate memories.
His opening statement at Lorch Hall,
where he came to answer questions
-.about screenwriting from some 65
students, was "One man's Lorch Hall is
another man's shrine." And when he
returned to the Student Publications
Building for a short interview, he swore
that he could tell where he was by the
smell alone, which hadn't changed in
the 25 years since he worked in the
building as a student.
That was in the late 1950s. Among the
things he worked on back then was a
;"literary magazine entitled Generation.
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He then decided that money could be
made working the Gargoyle, and he put
in a term editing that for four or five
issues. One of Newman's issues was a
parody of the Ensian,which led to his
being called before a University review
board.
Less humorous were the Hopwoods
he won. In 1957 he won in the minor fic-
tion division for one novella and five
short stories, one of which was "preten-
tious but deftly written," and for
another about a kid going to the beach
in New York.
1958 provided a major drama Hop-
wood. The second, with its $1000 prize,
was "a big deal" and a "validation" of
his life. It came for a long TV play and
two one-act plays. One of the short
works was "way ahead of its time"
being theater of the absurd before it
existed.
In his writing, Newman likes a "first-
person-stupid" narrative similar to
that found in some Hemingway and
Lardner, where the audience knows a
lot more than the narrator. In screen
writing, however, he wants just the op-
posite. He wants the audience to be
very much in the black, as in Superman
II when hours were spent figuring out
where to cut from each of the three
story lines - Lois discovering Clark's
real identity, the supervillains coming
to Earth, and Gene Hackman looking
for the Fortress of Solitude - in such a
way as to best conceal any connection.
The Newmans also liked Superman II

because they had a chance to "make it
better" with two years hindsight when
a director different from that of the fir-
st movie was hired. The entire Eiffel
Tower sequence was added during the
rewrite, and Newman considers it ten
times better than the original idea,
which was to have the missile Super-
man sends into space in I explode and
free the Kryptonian supervillains.
Newman had only praise for Super-
man II and III director Richard Lester,
though he seemed a bit upset over
Lester's getting all the credit for the
slapstick sequence at the start of
Superman III. According to Newman,
he and his wife were thinking about
"What are we going to do to kick this
movie off and make it big and dif-
ferent" - so people know they are at a
Superman movie. They then decided on
a slapstick sequence, knowing Lester
was directing and would be able to do a
good job of it. While a few more gags
were added by Lester and the film's
storyboarders, the sequence was
mostly the Newman's.
Newman also talked about the art of
doing a screenplay. "What I am doing
is describing on paper a movie that is
playing right here (his head)." He
always does so with an actor in mind, at
times dead ones. Lois Lane in Super-
man I was done with Rosalind Russell
of His Girl Friday in mind. The Gus
Gorman role in Supermann III was
written especially for Richard Pryor,
and Newman surprised some people

with the information that Pryor acts by
the script, and did not change a line.
He also has advice for aspiring
screenwriters, including the confiden-
ce-builder that "The writer has a great
advantage over anyone else (because)
he can provide an instant sample of his
work" which can provide instant
credibility as to whether or not it's any
good.
Not all the news is good, though. Ac-
cording to Newman, studio executives
are never looking at a script in terms of
its artistic qualities. The modern-day
idea of the director as auteur is one
which "embitters screenwriters."
And sometimes, production personel
can make some rather foolish deman-
ds. For the Santa Claus screenplay he
is working on now, someone wanted to
know why there couldn't be six rein-
deer, which would cut down on the
budget. Newman pointed out the
similarity to doing Snow White and the
Five Dwarfs, but did think up a way to
cut two reindeer out for the climax,
which should also make it more
dramatic.
Newman's visit was a very good one
for those interested in film as either a
spectator or participant. It's also in-
spiring to think that the University has
turned both the Newmans and Lawren-
ce Kasdan loose into the.world of film.
It would even be more inspiring if they
worked on a film together sometime
(It would do good box office in Ann
Arbor at least).

Daily Photo by TOD WOOLF
David Newman returns to the University with inspiring advice about
breaking into the screenwriting business.

..*. ~ ~ ~ . .. .*..~. ~. *.~ ~ .
...........................................................................

Long ryde
from L.A.
BY Joe Hoppe

IT'S A LONG RYDE from L.A. to Joe's Star Lounge.
Or, as the Long Ryders might have seen it Thur-
sday night, it's a long ryde from L.A. to Ann Arbor,
home of the MC5 and the Stooges.
Sid Griffin, Long Ryder lead singer and guitarist,
made a lot of Stooges, MC5 and even Destroy All
Monsters (who were there, in part) comments during
his band's two sets at Joe's. Maybe he was trying to
get the audience all excited with mention of native
legends. And there would be a slight glimmer of
recognition from the apathetic crowd.
Figuring that in the heartland of Michigan Rock
and Roll one plays Rockin' Michigan Rock and Roll,
The Long Ryders did as the natives do. And they did
it well. Lots of noise, done quickly and fairly
energetically.
Now this is all an attempt to explain away Thur-
sday night's lack of cowboyishness, paisely-ravings,
and far-out-of-the ordinary music that all the p.r. and

press (including your humble narrator, here at The
Michigan Daily) led you to believe was at the heart of
the Long Ryders. The paisely-rock rave-ups were
there sometimes, but off paper and in person, they
were more just fun-rock jammings.
Still, ,the music was good, not twisted country as
expected or preferred, but The Long Ryders were fine:
Oh, the problems of great expectation. By the second
set they even brought out a steel guitar and autohar p
for wind-in-the-wires zinging stringing high notes.
There never were any banjos or mandolins, though.
The first set didn't really get going until the third
song; it took the Bo-Didley beat to get the medium-
sized crowd moving. From there things stayed pretty
interesting, with "Dusty," a song about a boy in love
with his horse and "You Don't Know What's Right,
You Don't Know What's Wrong" from 10-5-60 (PCV).
Hooray, we thought, getting into that sweet country
music at last. But it wasn't so. The Ryders got into
some rockin' Dylanish stuff; "Wild Son," and closed

set number one with the kinghell energy of "10-5-60."
After a long time, The Long Ryders came back for
the second set. And they played a lot of the same
songs. Maybe it's to show that they're more of a bar
band than one that gives "concerts" in places like
Joe's. That two-set, lots of the same songs stuff is
pretty rock and roll proletarian.
Well the Long Ryders were a lot better the second
time around. And so was the crowd. "Come Joing
My Gang," they said. The song gets better each time
you hear it. I was ready to sign up. People danced,
the steel guitar got played off Steve McCarthy's lap,
and I realized that this is what the Long Ryders are
like. And what they were doing was fine.
They should be back at Joe's sometime in early
summer. Go see them if you're still here. They'll
probably be different, probably a lot better if they
had a bigger audience. But they sure weren't bad
Thursday night.

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TRAVEL

AVID Grisman ranks as one of the
premier mandolinists of his
generation. His imaginative music can
- be heard on dozens of albums with such
performers as Jerry Garcia, James
Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, and Vassar
Clements.
Billboard magazine likens Grisman's
style to "fire-breathing acoustic string
music that fuses the emotional
freedom of rock to the tight precision of
bluegrass to create something new and
unique in contemporary instrumental
groups." Add to this a taste of jazz and
sprinkels of classical music, and we are
approaching a definition of "Dawg"
music (named after Grisman's
nickname). Be forewarned, however,
the David Grisman Quartet defies
categorization, their music lacks boun-
dries.
>.r
David Grisman's . background
provides clues to the success of Dawg
music. He was born in 1945, and was
caught up in the folk boom of the 1960s.
He played on his first album in 1965 as
part of the Even Dozen Jug Band with
future great John Sebastian. Grisman,
who never took musical lessons, pur-
chased a 16-dollar mandolin in New
York City and hitchhiked his way

After recording with over 40 artists of
the jazz, bluegrass and rock genres, in-
cluding Steve Modell who played in the
infamous "Dueling Banjos" scene in
the movie Deliverance, Grisman for-
med his own band which incorporated
elements from all these styles of music.
The debut of the David Grisman Quin-
tet was in 1976 with the magnificently
successful The David Grisman Quintet.
In addition to, playing music,
Grisman has produced albums, written
film scores for several movies in-
cluding King of the Gypsies, and edited
his own magazine, Mandolin World
News.
Despite their various projects,
Grisman's 1976 band has endured --
with various personnel changes. Ap-
pearing with Grisman at the Michigan
Union Ballroom this evening will be
Tony Rice on guitar, Daryl Langer on
violin, and Rob Wasserman on bass.
There will be two show, at 8 and 10:30
p.m. Do not miss this opportunity to
watch David Grisman perform his
mandoling magic.

Student Newspaper at The University of Michigan
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