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November 20, 1984 - Image 6

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-11-20

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4

ARTS

Page 6

The Michigan Daily

Tuesday, November 20, 1984

'Oh God' brings out devil in Burns

4

By Joshua Bilmes
My first thought when I saw a coming
attraction for Oh God! You Devil was
Why in God's name did they decide to
make another "Oh God" movie?
A look at the credits made me think it
had some promise, though. Paul
Bogart, the director, had done four
seasons work on "All in the Family."
The writer, Andrew Bergman, also had
been responsible for The In-Laws. The
cast included Ted Wass and Eugene
Roche, both of whom I had enjoyed
immensely in "Soap." And, of course,
George Burns was on hand again, and
not just as God. He was also playing the
devil. A lot of talented people.
The result of this collaboration is
summed up by the music which plays
before the opening titles. A concerned
father sings the opening song from
Guys and Dolls, the one that goes "I got
a horse right here...," to his young son,
suffering from scarlet fever. That is a

nice song, like most of the songs in Guys
and Dolls. I find myself humming it
every so often. Sad to say, this sign of a
pleasant movie is quickly abandoned.
As the camera lifts out of the bedroom,
the music changes to one of David
Shire's new pieces, which is an awful-
sounding imitation of a John Williams
score.
That is essentially what the movie is
like. It starts off with a few nice
touches, and the first half-hour is
mildly amusing on a consistent basis.
No real belly laughs, but no dry spells,
either. Ted Wass plays a musician who
is seeing what little career he has
vanish. He mutters that he would sell
his soul to the devil to just get a chance.
Familiar sounding line, huh?
George Burns, in the devil half of his
role, hears. Just as an aside, the two
can be told apart by the reddish tint
given to the devil's eyeglasses. He tem-
pts musician Bobby Shelton into signing
a contract by lying, and saying the deal

is just for a trial period.aBobby Shelton
becomes Billy Wayne, a very popular
singer, and Wayne becomes Shelton.
You see, Wayne had had a contract with
the devil which expired, and when it
did, Wayne has to lose all memory of
ever being Wayne.
Much to my surprise, Shelton starts
to become dissatisfied with his contract
with the devil, and decides he wants
out. He goes searching for God, and
boy, is he lucky. God has been keeping
an eye on Bobby since Bobby's father
had prayed to God to help his son get
over the scarlet fever.
The prime impetus for Bobby's
decision (remember, Bobby is now
Billy, so Bobby's decision is Billy's
decision) is when Bobby goes to his and
his wife's favorite restaurant on what
would have been their anniversary. I
could have guessed what happened
next. Bobby, now Billy, meets his wife
and Billy, now Bobby, celebrating their
anniversary. The script did go one bet-
ter, though. The wife was carrying a
baby which was Bobby's now Billy's.
It was during that scene that I started
to wonder how much longer I was going
to have to watch this. The plot was fast
becoming a bit old-hat, and there was
nothing in the movie to keep me in-
terested.
The script was not all that funny, so
Wass and Roche had material far in-
ferior to what they had in "Soap."
George Burns was George Burns, but
he seemed to lack the sparkle he had in
the first movie. As far as the double role
is concerned, the press-kit brags about
a new Introvision camera which makes
the situation more convincing than

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George Burns plays both God and the devil in the latest 'Oh God' movie

ever. It was hard to tell, though. The
two of them were on screen together for
only a short while.
That happened toward the end. After
much searching, God tells Bobby, now

Billy, to contact him in the desert, so
the singer sets up a gig at Caesar's
Palace. While he gets ready to go on
stage, God and the devil play poker
with Bobby, now Billy, at stake. I will

not tell you who wins, but I will say this:
The scenes after the poker game, like
God, seem to go on forever. The ending
is sickening, kind of like saccharine
from heaven.

Bambaataa mixes styles at.Joe's

I

WI QB presents
An Evening with

RiCkie Lee
laJones
ITHIS FRIDAY NIGHT!
2 shows: 7:30 & 10:00 pm
A'I CASH BAR WITH I.D.

By John Bogie
Ann Arbor got a bite of the Big Apple
Thursday night at Joe's Star Lounge,
and that bite was fffressssh! Afrika
Bambaataa and rapper/scratcher
Ikey-C brought a taste of the New York
club scene to the club that wouldn't die.
This was not a big Hip-hop, Breakdance
event. It was an event fer people who
like to dance.
It is hard to imagine a better DJ than
Bam. He has an immense library of
records from which to choose, and
clearly enjoys bringing seemingly in-
congruous artists together, joining
them with a seamless mix, so perfect
that songs seem almost to be one. Ar-
tists range from Cyndi Lauper to
Soulsonic Force, from The Time to
Talking Heads. Bam can make you
dance to music you thought that you
didn't like.
Rapper Ikey-C provided a short
presentation of the art of rap. Ikey-C is
fast, loose, and clever, but tended to
rely a little to heavily on the call-and-
answer style of rap. While this style is a
crowd-pleaser, it prevented Ikey-C
from launching into a more extended
rap. Bam backed him with an over-
whelming instrumental groove.
While Bam has been billed as a Hip-

hop and Scratch act, there wasn't a
whole lot of scratching Thrusday night.
One gets the sense that Bam refrains
from muddying other musicians' work
out of a sense of respect for their
product. When Bam does scratch it is
supportive, rather than destructive.
The music always remains the first
priority.
Bam uses deejaying as a means of
exposing people to music they might
not otherwise hear. In keeping with this
he gave Thursday's audience a sneak
preview of his band Time Zone's yet-to-
be released collaberation with ex-Sex
Pistol, and (*-rent P.I.L. leader John-
ny (Rotten) Lydon. This is the post-
election gripe rap for the terminally
disaffected. Lydon's sneering, ranting
vocals are among his best, and they are
coupled with Afrika's latest in a series
of irresistable hooks. The chorus
features Lydon shouting, "KA-BOOM,
KA-BOOM, KA-BOOM!" Inspired.
Perhaps the most impressive thing
about Bam's deejaying is the sixties-ish
feel of the gathering. While Bam's
music is light years ahead of that from
the 1960s, the message remains one of
peace, unity, and having fun. You
might be surprised at how good it feels
to hear these words again. They seem
somehow appropriate. They're not at
all hackneyed. They're ffresshh!

I

WJZZ welcomes
23-year-old Trumpet Wizard
WYnton
Marsalis
THURSDAY, NOV. 29
CASH BAR WITH I.D.*

...And raps about
his life and his music

Rap man Afrika Bambaataa (Center, with glasses) says he believes there

Afrika Bambaataa is one of
the founders of the hip-hop
and breakdown music. He
deejayed in Ann Arbor Thur-
sday and Friday nights, and in
both his deejaying and in the
first part of his interview with
Daily arts staffer John Logie,
Bam demonstrated a desire to
use his music as a unifying
force for peace.

Daily: How did you get started?
Bambaataa: Well, basically it was in
1970. I was in a lot of street gangs at the
time, and music was a way of calming
things down. Two of my friends got into
deejaying, Kool DJ D, and another guy
by the name of Kool DJ Here, who was
one of the founders of hip-hop. After
those two guys got into the deejay
business, I decided to follow behind
them. Basically from then on I just kept
going. Taking it easy.
D: You're consistently listed in critics'
polls with acts like Prince, The Preten-
ders, Michael Jackson, and The Police,

is life on other planets.
all of whom are drawing immense
ticket prices. You're in Ann Arbor at
five dollars a head, does that bother you
at all?
B: Oh, no. It doesn't bother me because
I play for a lot of different things. I'm
deejay Afrika Bambaataa, I'm Afrika
Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force,
Shango, Time Zone. I'm Afrika Bam-
baataa with the breakdancing groups
like Rock Steady Crew and New York
City Breakers. I have a lot of different
functions, do a lot of different things. A
lot of people are trying to pinpoint what
I do. I'm basically into everything. I
can come and tour with grafitti artists

Winner of 2 Grammy Awards, 1984
"Musician of the Year, 1983"'
- Los Angeles Times

and dan-ers, or with my rap and/or
singing groups. I love to deejay,
because deejaying is positive. You can
use all types of people's music instead
of your own, and see people getting off
and dancing to other music, all influen-
ces and nationalities, and I like to go
around deejaying. I can deejay for five
dollars, or do concerts for ten, fifteen,
whatever, but I'm not so much into the
money thing. I'm more into just going
around, partying, and keeping people
happy.
D: Could you expand on the theme of
unity that runs through your music?
B: Music is the message throughout the
whole world. If it weren't for music, I
feel there would be no changes. In the
'60's, there were a lot of problems... the
Vietnam War... negroes becoming
black... young people didn't want to go
to war for what the older people were
doing.. It took music to change all that.
It took people like James Brown to tell
all the negroes to be black and proud;
Joan Baez, Country Joe and the Fish,
Woodstock, to tell people, "We ain't
going to war," and all that. It took a lot
of people that got together and gave big
concerts, and let the system know that
they weren't going for it, that young

_

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"UNITED STATES - ISRAEL
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?"
WOLF BLITZER is Washington Correspondent for The
Jerusalem Post and is a contributor to several international pub-
lications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times
and The New Republic. He will speak on the above topic and the
significance of the recent elections in Israel and the United States
to the relationship between both countires.
AMPLE QUESTION AND ANSWER PERIOD WILL FOLLOW.

See BAMBAATAA, Page 7

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