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October 12, 1984 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-10-12
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If the summer of 1984 is remem-
bered for any one controversy, it
may well be the one surrounding
Wired, Bob Woodward's biography
of the late actor/comedian John Belushi.
Woodward says he reported the fac-
ts as he saw them, but Belushi's
widow, Judith Jacklin, says the book
only captures one side of her
husband. Jacklin, 33, is working on her
own memoirs, but currently is
touring the country to discuss her
new book-Titters 101. In a recent
interview in Detroit with Daily Arts
editor Fannie Weinstein, Jacklin
discussed her new book, her life
with John, and how his death has
changed her life.
Daily: Where did the idea for Titters
101 come from?
Jacklin: Anne Beatts, Deanne
Stillman, and myself did a first Titters
book in 1976. Titters was the first
collection of humor by women, and the
idea for that came from Anne and
Deanne who were both writing humor
in New York City and finding it difficult
as women to get an outlet. Anne was
the only woman editor at Lampoon and
she had trouble getting her stuff out and
Deanne was doing freelance things
mainly. They decided upon the idea of
doing a book and asked me if I would be
the art director/designer. During that
association, the three of us began
writing together. We always wanted to
get back to doing another book but you
don't make a lot of money in books, and
we all had to support ourselves in one
way or the other. By that point I was
traveling a lot with John, Anne was
producing her own television show,
"Square Pegs," and Deanne was
writing for Anne's show. Someone ap-
proached us about bringing out the old
Titters, but they needed a new push-if
we could do another Titters maybe they
could bring out the old one. So we came
up with the format of a college tex-
tbook. We thought it would enable each
of us to write some of the pieces on our

own and then get together and work. So
Titters is sort of a concept, a lifestyle.
It's what we like to do and we just look
for different formats to express it.
D: Was Titters 101 written with a col-
lege audience in mind?
J: Logically, it would seem to be for a
college audience, but we didn't have
that in mind so much. When we work we
just do what we do. We're not thinking,
"Oh, this would be good for a college
audience." There are a lot of things
going on in this book. There is the
literary sense of the things we
parodied, but we also were very media-
We have references that come
from television and pop culture as well.
It seems to be ideal for a college
audience-college kids are the ones
who have to struggle through this stuff
now and hopefully would have a certain
sense of humor about it. But in-
terestingly, we are finding that an odd
group has become our fans recently:
fathers. People are saying, "I took this
book home and my father loved it." I
don't know why yet. I'm working on a
theory on that one.
D: Do you see it as a feminist book at
J: I don't see us as feminists in terms
of the people who call themselves
feminists and the things they believe
and work for. But I think when women
go out and do what they can do and
make steps that haven't been made
before, then that has a place in feminist
history. For instance, with the first Tit-
ters we used only women and we
provided a lot of work for women. It's
the same with this book-we employed
three women who needed work
(laughs). We're now doing a Titters
cable television show for Showtime.
It's going to be a one-hour comedy
special with a troupe of five women.
We'll use some male celebrities
because the scenes, of course, have to
incorporate men-it's part of our
life-but we will use a woman director,
a woman art director, and any women
that we can, down to the printing lab
which we have no control over. Giving
people the opportunity to work is one
way to make advances.
D: Didn't you originally study art?
J: In school (University of Illinois) I
was in the fine arts. I moved to New
York at the end of '72 and worked in the
art department at National Lampoon
for a year, and then switched to the
Radio Hour. From there I continued
doing any or all of those combined

0 *
The Danse Society--Heaven is Waiting
Morose synth popscapes. The Danse
Soceity, already old news in the U.K.,
are making a predictably late debut in
the U.S. with Heaven is Waiting, less a
new LP than a domestic introduction
for those who haven't been haunting the
import stacks of late. Armed with some
of Bauhaus' menace, Echo and the
Bunnymen's spaceiness, and the Sim-
ple Minds' production sweep, the Danse
Society has yet to attain the depth of
any of those bands. Depressive-gloomy
but smooth, they hint at an impressive
weightiness, but nothing distinctive
ever quite emerges. The thumping
bass line of "Somewhere" comes close
to a Joy Division sort of compulsive in-
terest, and "Angel" has a certain .ner-
vous early-New-Romantic dance/synth
tension, but... the cover of one vintage
Stones psychedelic piece-"It's so very
lonely/You're 2000 light years from
home"-unfortunately puts into con-
venient words just how far form
emotional involvement this band lands.
Chilly, polite, intelligent, and so what.
The Vels-Velocity (Mer-
Highly forgettable debut by Philly
trio doing the same old basic synth-pop,
beat-heavy but not well-enough written
to seem likely for dancefloor success.
Adequate girly vocals, just-adequate

white-funk tunes (advisory note to
band: listen to new Comateens LP,
which ranges exactly the same turf
with much more punch), passable
arrangements, OK production-i.e.,
one big neutral. Big no deal. The Vels
have the polish down, but no per-
sonality to back it up. D.H.,
Wham!, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-
Go" (Columbia 45)
If you thought Culture Club was
homogenized, dig these guys. Last
year's pubescent sex-pop-idols in
Britain, Wham! consists of two skinny
boys scampering about in gym shorts
and sneakers, making millions when
they ought to do the decent thing and sit
around collecting dole checks. They
had some legal tussles to keep them out
of circulation for awhile after their
initial U.K. hits, but unfortunately
that's over and they're now attempting
to break into the U.S. market. This
currently-clumbing single is ob-
noxiously cheerful glossy pseudo-soul,
with lyrics that invite self-mutilation:
"You take the grey skies out of my
way/You make the sun shine brighter
than Doris Day." It sounds candied
enough to be a big hit. Give me Andy
Gibb any day over these sods. D.H.
Comateens-Deal With It (Polygram)
The Comateens finally broke through
after a middling 1st album with last
year's mostly excellent Pictures on a
String. Working in the unfashionable
(for American bands, at least) territory
of synth-oriented dance pop, the NYC
trio beat the usual curses of white funk
by writing excellent songs ("Cinam-
mon," etc.) with strong grooves and a
fine pure-pop-structure sensibility that
occasionally went beyond funk to ec-
static wave-rock ("Comateens"). The

followup Deal With It is even better,
with several tunes that can hold their
own in any dancefloor context-"Love
Will Follow You," "Resist Her, " "Deal
With It" and "Nightmare" all have 12-
inch potential, and the rest are more
than palatable. Not particularly high
on lyrical content, this is just for
fun-and with grooves this happy,
much fun is had, without a trace of the
overproduced/underwritten qualities
that render so many watered wave-
funk groups interchangeable. Highly
recommended for those not hellbent on
listening strictly to the coolest genre of
the moment. D. H.
The Del Fuegos-The Longest Day
The Boston-based Del Fuegos do r' n'
r with such an uncluttered directness
and lack of conscious derivation that
it's easier to spell out what they aren't
than what they are. They aren't really
revivalists, nor kick-out-dah-jams
idiots. They are a real all-American-
boy band (fronted by brothers Dan and
Warren Zane), singing with ornery
plainness about the trouble with girls,
etc., with a catchy basic-four-piece (no
keyboards, man, just BIG GUITARS)
sound that owes something to
rockabilly but isn't particularly
nostalgic. The excellent "Missing
You," with its Buddy Holly melody
meets Everly Bros. vocals plus '80-
garage playing, is representative of the
Del Fuegos' uncalculated roots-rock
feel. Along with the Gun Club's Las
Vegas Story, this is the year's highlight
for those who want post-punk energy in
a more traditional context. D.H.
U 2.-The Unforgettable Fire (Island)
It seemed like a daring and exciting
move to have Brian Eno produce the
followup to the wonderful Under a
Blood Red Sky. Unfortunately it
remains as just plain daring. Eno's

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things. I like to work with both sound
and video - anything I can work with I will.
D: Did you ever think you would get
into this type of humor writing?
J: When I was a kid, I think my first
feeling about what I wanted to do was to
be an artist. It was just a romantic
notion. To me, it sort of meant wearing
baggy corduroys, having a beret, and
tramping around in the fields of France
somewhere. My brother was an artist
and he had a great influence on me. I
used to copy his drawings and things,
but because he was a man, my parents
pretty much directed him away from
being an artist. It's really not a good
way to try to support a family. And I
picked up on that, even though they
didn't give that to me. For me, it was
sort of its-okay-to-do-what-you-want-
anyways - what-does-it-matter (laughs).
The next goal I had was to be the first
woman president and I sort of went on
for awhile with that in mind. When I
went into college, I actually went into
political science but then felt I had a
different calling and switched. It was
real hard for me to make the switch to
fine arts, but I did and I'm happy I did.
I consider myself an American artist
and a humorist, and I believe the media
can be the medium. You can use the
technology and the images. All those
things can be put together to make
some kind of statement and that's what
I try to do. By nature I prefer to let my.
. . I'd rather my statements leave
people laughing, although I hope
there's something that leaves them
thinking, too.
D: Who would you say have been
your greatest comic influences?
J: I think the main comic influences
for me are the people around me, but
before I was involved with those people
the first person I remember really en-
joying and feeling an affinity towards
was Carol Burnett when shehwas on
"The Gary Moore Show." That was
when I was nine and I would wait for that

show. To me, it was really not worth
watching if she wasn't on it. She was
really young then and one of the troupe
members. I thought she was funny.
She was always being knocked over a
couch or out the window or something,
and I kind of liked that. When I was in
college, Woody Allen was someone who
I thought had a real sense of things;
What's Up Tiger Lily is still the funniest
movie I've ever seen. It's always funny
because it's just so unexpected and
light and just not what you're thinking.
Then I guess I move into the people I
was able to be associated with when I
first lived with John and he was going to
Second City. At that point, these people
weren't famous but they were a big in-
fluence on me. I was able to watch
people like Harold Ramis, who then
wrote Animal House and is in Ghost-
busters, and Brian Doyle Murray, who
is Billy's brother and who did various
things on "Saturday Night," and Joe
Flaherty who is with Second City
Television. I could watch them night
after night after night at Second City
and even though I never took a class
there or performed with Second City, I
consider it my real foundation for lear-
ning about scenes, how timingworks,
how you can make a, joke work
night after night after night, and how
you might bring some freshness to
something you do night after night and
all those kinds of things.
D: Did John's brand of humor in-
fluence you a lot also?
J: Well. . yeah. I was absolutely in-
fluenced by him and learned a lot from
him. I was fifteen when I met John so
we were together for a long time in a
growing stage. He was out there doing
it first and dared to be different and ex-
plosive and all the things that I, perhaps
partly because I am a woman, was
much more timid about. But where we
grew together and where it was simple
influence is hard to divide.
D: What was it like being around
''Saturday Night Live'' when the show

D. St.-MV
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