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January 23, 1986 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-01-23

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Thursday, January 23, 1986

Page 7

The Michigan Daily

Filmmakers bust trend

By John Shea
Q UICK - NAME two major
female directors in motion pic-
tures today. Can't think of any?
Weither can I. Hollywood has never
been receptive to having women
direct feature films and there is no in-
dication that this trend is going to
change in the near future. Someone is
going to have to pave the way.
Kimberly Conely and Michele
Poulik, two Wayne State graduates,
are doing just that. With the premiere
of their 16 mm film, Singing Birds, at
the Detroit Institute of Art last week,
,they are breaking the trend. Conely
end Poulik co-wrote the script, while
Lonely directed and Poulik was the
production designer. Singing Birds is
the story of two bootlegging
Lithuanian families during
Prohibition who are in competition
with one another. Both of the families
understand capitalism; the three
brothers who own one bar realize that
they have to get rid of the competition
which is ruining them. Although the

film is only twenty-five minutes long,
it manages to be both light and breezy
as well as off-beat and bizarre.
What is so remarkable about what
Conely and Poulik have done here is
that they produced a film with a
budget of only $25,000 (many movies
today, with a ten million dollar
budget, aren't as good as Singing Bir-
But in order for Conely and Poulik
to completely recreate the look and
feel of the 20s, they needed outside
help. The cast and crew donated their
services, along with U of M junior
David Saltzman, who worked on the
film during the summer. "It was a
real interesting thing to go in there
and see two women make a movie-..
When you go to the movies, they seem
real distant, but when you're on the
set and see the lights and all, it's just
incredible." Saltzman, who held the
title of "Production Coordinator",
was responsible for getting many
props including the Model Ts that are
seen in the film.
Conely's direction is crisp and
sharp. She keeps the pace moving

right along and while there is no time
for character development, she
creates the tone and the mood of the
story well. Her use of soft red and
yellow light for Mama's family, while
using darker tones for the bar, leaves
the viewer without a doubt who is
wearing the black hat and white hat.
Poulik so masterfully recreates the
20s feel that I forgot it was the 80s.
The film itself is shot in Detroit
around the Riverside area, which
makes watching it that much more in-
teresting. The characters are strictly
stock, but they're fun to watch,
Singing Birds will be entered in
several 16mm film festivals around
the country. Menawhile, Conely and
Poulik are moving onward. They are
currently working on a screenplay
tentatively called Millenium Dreams.
scheduled to start shooting this sum-
mer. They continue to break the
Singing birds will be at U of M for
one night only, this Thursday at 7pm
at Angell Hall (Auditorium "A").

.: i
Kimberly Conley and Michele Poulik are paving the way for female directors with their 16mm
film, Singing Birds, which premiers tonight a 7:00 p.m. in Angell Hall Auditorium "A". Ad-
mission is free and Ms. Conley and Ms. Poulik will be available for discussion immediately after
the movie.
There are English subtitles. Ad- the filmmakers will be present for a refreshing change of pace and well
mission is free and after the showing, discussion. Singing Birds is a worth the hour spent.

'Less Than Zero
afraid to merge


and the stagnation of hopes, dreams,
Less Than Zero ideals, and personalities.
Bret Easton Ellis None of the characters grow. Par-
by Bties, drug dealings, and sexual in-
ONew York: Simon and terludes of various kinds detail the
Schuster: 1985 characters' attempts to evade
208 sr $195 responsibility for intimacy and self-
2 p., awareness. One can easily guess why
the protagonist's name is Clay. He
reacts with the hollow echo of tapped
ByMeredith McGhan glass when touched; with the cold
silence of once-pliable earth frozen
and fused into unnatural form. At the
book' end he wverslike a
b RET EASTON ELLIS, a twenty- precarious sculpture on the verge of a
one-year-old junior at Ben- shattering fall. Whether he topples or
ington College, writes of his own not, we do not discover. None of the
generation with laconic nihilism in his rest of the characters show growth
novel Less Than Zero. If the book por- either; if anything they change for the
trays contemporary college students worst. The resolution of all conflict in
less than accurately, it still gives an Less Than Zero is that a resolution
indication of the basic mentality of does not exist.
many in our age group (one hopes not It is rule-of-thumb that conflict in
too many). Some of the incidents are a the novel must be resolved, but if
bit farfetched: " 'Teenage Enema anyone can break this rule and get
Nurses in Bondage' by a group called away with it, Bret Easton Ellis can.
Killer Pussy comes on the radio.." The characters don't develop, but it
for example, but for the most part works. Plot in Less Than Zero is
Ellis has done an admirable job of secondary to style, setting, and
defining the generic numbness of the characterizationy however, the
hyped-up, fast-paced, drug-hip weaker plot works as a literary device
Eighties: "People are afraid to for Ellis' purpose - demonstrating
merge." the plotlessness of life itself for Clay
Ellis has drawn an artful, though and his contemporaries.
perhaps, overly cynical, portrait of Ellis' style has a consistent
today's alienated youth, using as his brutality; a sharpedged flatness that
sources arcades and LA beaches and is rarely clumsy. Yet the voice of the
expensive prep schools. I say overly novel is authentically youthful. Bret
cynical because, taken together, the Easton Ellis writes with a skillful ear
.string of incidents that comprise the for dialogue and the ability to catch
protagonist's winter break constitute and hold the reader's interest. It will
exaggeration on a grand scale. Hard be interesting to see what happens
drugs, casual sex, gang-rape, when he hones his style and is able to
homosexual prostitution, plus the project a subtler message through a
typical angst of adolescence, all in one more true-to-life portrayal of sequen
Angeles, but still! If Ellis is trying to tial events. I recommend Less Than
agele, bt sll! If .is is i Zero to the college audience. Bret
satirize, it falls flat. If his purpose is Easton Ellis speaks from, for, and to
ethical/social commentary, it comes us, and though his message may be
off heavy-handed. Nonetheless, Less ireeant to .smesstil in-
Than Zero is riveting. The dialogue is irrelevant to some, it is still in-
aTh c, a e onge iaoge ise teresting to read a novel by someone
*ealistic, and one can imagine the who's barely old enough to buy liquor
characters as real human beings, un- without a fake ID. He's one of the first
fortunately. The point of the book of our generation to hit big on the
comes across forcefully -the rich, literary scene. I encourage incipient
shallow lifestyles of LA teenagers authors and others to check him out.
leads to a callous disregard for others

Viv Akauldron - Old Bags
and Party Rags (Akashic
Since their live appearances have
been relatively few, Viv Akauldron
may be an unfamiliar name to some
local music enthusiasts. With the
release of this, their debut LP, such
anonimity should become quite extin-
ct, as it offers strong evidence of the
wholesome goodness generated by
this ever-so-swank Detroit trio.
The sounds contained within said
vinyl are extremely diverse and very
hard to describe. Featuring material
from their live repetoire, side one
shows the band at its best. Carefully
crafted yet immediate and exciting,
Viv Akauldron's songs go heavy on
the texture -and dynamics without
sounding the least bit stuffy or
restrained. Their strong middle
eastern influence, so integral to the
band's approach, sounds perfectly
natural in its fusion with spacy but
hard edged semi-psychidelic rock and
roll. Keir McDonald's keyboards are
particularly fine, ranging from the
rich and seductive swirling-type stuff
of "Life Expectancy" to the vicious
power blasting of what is perhaps the
album's strongest cut, "As You
Wish." In fact, all of the songs on side
one are tightly constructured and
thoroughly complete, each displaying
a different face of the band's original
musical vision.
On the second side of Old Bags and
Party Rags, however, Viv Akauldron
takes a totally different approach, of-
fering three longer, more experimen-
tal tracks. While they do have their
moments, these cuts generally lack
the focus of the side one material,
limiting their impact and effec-
tiveness. But the strength of the first

side (and it's not likeside two is at all
bad) delivers Old Bags to a plane of
quality as high as that of most
anything else you're going to find in
the new release bin, and that's hardly
a mean accomplishment.
But wait, there's still more. Not
only can you have Viv Akauldron
product for your living room
listening pleasure, but you can also
dig the whole thing live this Friday
at Ann Arbor's own Halfway Inn.
And if you can believe it, the same
three dollars will give you three
more fine and exciting local acts.
In addition to a solo performance
by East Quad homeboy Dan-nee
will be the Ann Arbor debut of the
fun-loving jam-peddling Tom
Gemp, a big band of the truly
greatest variety. Topping things
off will be the second Halfway ap-
pearance of some of Ann Arbor's
fiercist sons (and daughter), Circle
Confusion. Festivities begin at
9:30 p.m. and, at least in spirit,
won't end for at least a fortnight,
so c'mon down.... .
-Rob Michaels
The Residents - Part Four
of the Mole Trilogy - The
Big Bubble
(Ralph Records/Black Shroud)
Truly a band of which it can be said,
"If you've never heard the Residents,
you've never heard them." Squirrel
speak from another planet? Curious
darkly political chanting from
cultures H.G. Wells never imagined?

A bizarre music with rhythms of
machines and splutteringytongues
splitting syllables? It's all here and
then some folks.
Put on your oxygen masks and
buckle up your space suits. Bring
along recreational medictions at your
own discretion. This is the world after
the apocalypse. Two warring cultures
emerge. A local band who come to be
known as The Big Bubble come
together for some druidic political
tinkering and end up "shaking the
nation." The album then shows the
Residents in the guise of the Big Bub-

ble. Confusing? You bet! The Big
Bubble even have their own record
company, Black Shroud.
This one comes without any
decoding devices such as inner sleev-
es or lyric sheets, folks, so you're on
your own. Good luck. Oh, One thing.
There is a photograph of the band
members. They look relatively homo
sapien. I had formerly imagined them
to look something like a painting by
Magritte. Big fun for the adventurous
- Marc S. Taras


Going Baroque

T IS THE end of January, and
the heartwarming holiday of
Valentine's Day is speedily ap-
proaching. Soon the exploitative
advertisers will be tactlessly
manipulating the affections of all
in hopes of selling their various
"symbols of love." On January 25,
before the season commences in
full swing, the local ensemble
Oriana will present an ancient
view of the occasion, as it was in its
pre-commercial existence.
Oriana will perform three
Amorous Cantatas based on love
poetry of the late Baroque period
(1700-1750). The cantatas will be
performed in the original romance
languages and translations will

appear in each program.
Five members of the Oriana will
be performing on the authentic in-
struments of the Baroque era;
recorder, harpsicord, baroque
violin, viola de gamba, with a
soprano. Two instrumental pieces
by J.S. Bach will also be perfor-
med, these being the Chaconne for
unaccompanied violin, and a
sonata for viola de gamba and
Tickets will be available at the
door, St. Andrews Episcopal Chur-
ch on N. Division, and cost $3 for
students, $5 for everyone else. The
concert begins at 8 p.m.
- Katie Gentile

Technical managers from TI's Semiconductor
Group will soon be on campus to interview
graduating electrical engineers and computer
scientists with hardware backgrounds.
Current openings are for positions within
TI's Semiconductor Technical Sales and Mar-
keting organization. Perfect for grads who
can't stand being confined, either personally
or professionally.
Your challenge A v n

nology into our customers' next-generation
So bring all the technical skills you can
muster. Because clients will be looking to you
for systems solutions that will advance their
products - and your career.
Excellent "people skills" are required, as
well. Since the way you deal with customers
today will affect their
attitudes about TI

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Protect your unb, rn baby with good
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and our reputation for innovation in this field appointment by contacting your Place-
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