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January 08, 1987 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-01-08

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ARTS
Thursday, January 8, 1987

The Michigan Daily

Pate:7

__ _

Alumnus

Judy Lopatin courts success

By Lisa Magnino

University of Michigan graduate
f Judy Lopatin's first attempt at
publishing her writing occurred
when she was ten and sent a
manuscript to Viking Press. She
remembers, "I received a rejection
letter, but it was encouraging, the
kind you would send to a ten-year
old." From this early start, she
continued writing and has published
short stories in literary magazines
such as The Mississippi Review,
Benzene, Zone, and Diana's Alma -
nac. Lopatin recently released her
first collection of short stories
entitled Modern Romances. It has.
garnered consistently good reviews,
and Lopatin has been recognized as
a young writer of extremely strong
promise.
Lopatin was born in Detroit and
came to the University of Michigan
to study English. She was espe -
cially interested in creative writing
and took several courses but admits,
"I never did win a Hopwood."
However, she did publish stories in
Generations, a student magazine,
and wrote film reviews for The
Michigan Daily. Lopatin was an
excellent student, graduating in
1976 with a cumulative grade point

average of 3.96, but she was also a
regular at the Village Bell, a now-
defunct bar.
Ten days after graduation, Lopa -
tin moved to New York City where
she worked for a year before
attending Columbia to earn her
M.F.A. Lopatin believes Colum -
bia strengthened her writing because
"the other students wrote tradi -
tionally, while I was very untra -
ditional. I worked to show off this
difference, my individuality." Out -
side of school, her time spent at
CBGB'S, then the main source for
punk music and culture, influenced
her writing. In 1980, she lived in
France for several months, where
she gathered more ideas.
These background sources and
influences culminated in Modern
Romances, a collection of seven -
teen short works. Lopatin offers
her idea of modern romance in the
first sketch. "That is the fun of
modern romance, nothing can ever
be a terrible mistake, so over and
over again you can look over your
shoulder and see the arms of your
past, see them encircle your waist
with comfort so cold you don't feel
a thing."
Obviously, Lopatin's conception
of romance includes more than the

conventional love story. As Lopa -
tin stated, "I wanted to give a much
broader interpretation of romance
involving the supernatural and
adventure, generally thought of as
the medieval form, but in a modern
context." "Krystal Goes Mystical,"
in which Lopatin uses the super -
natural element of romance,
explores this broader meaning.
Krystal, an ordinary young woman,
shares a traditional relationship
with her fiancee, Nathan. However,
she tells him, "I have the feeling
we're both facing something dark
and mysterious, some force beyond
our control." Even within a com-
mon love story lies another, more
eerie dimension.
Lopatin hopes this alteration of
traditional romance causes readers
"to play on their expectations, to
lead them to question what is
normal and what is not normal and
to ask what epitomizes normality."
To bring this question to the
forefront, Lopatin places these stor -
ies in a modern context. Involving
cult figures such as Jean Cocteau,
the filmmaker, Viviane Romance, a
French film star of the 1940's,
Weegee, the famous photojour -
nalist, and Joe Dassin, another
University of Michigan graduate

who became a famous singer in.
France, Lopatin provides a basis in
the twentieth century.
To further involve modern
culture, she describes brutal forms
of relationships. In the first sketch,
"Modern Romances," Lopatin por -
trays Lucie, a new wave singer and""
guitarist and her string of sado-
masochistic love affairs. Another
similar sketch is "Dominica," the
main character of which, as Lopatin
explains, "beats men for a living,'
Lopatin hopes that, through her use
of this modern context, "The reader
will look for romance where he
doesn't think there would be any."w
Overall, Lopatin has success-
fully combined conventional
romantic elements with modern
characters and relationships to create
an interesting if somewhat cynical
study of modern society. This
slightly askew view is what Lo
patin hoped to achieve. She
explains, "If it makes people think.
and wonder about preconceived
notions, that's good." There is
little doubt that Modern Romances
does just that.
Modern Romances, published by
Fiction Collective, is available in-
area bookstores for $7.95,
paperback

Author Lopatin: "The reader will look for romance where he doesn't
think there will be any."

Kll

Records
Bob James
Obsession
Warner Bros.
Bob James, one of many fine
musicians found by Quincy Jones,
has been on the jazz scene since
1962. He's made thirteen albums,
Obsession his latest, and worked in
collaboration with such artists as
Ron Carter, Grover Washington,
Jr., Paul Simon, David Sanborn,
and many other highly talented
musicians and writers. In addition,
he was named, "Jazz Producer of the
Decade" for the seventies and
"Number One Jazz Artist of the
Year" by Cashbox . Unfortunately
though, he's probably known to
most as the composer of the music
for the now defunct television series
Taxi.

:4

song on that side, and the only one
on the album with any lead vocals,
sung by Lisa Fischer. Like, the five
songs that follow, it has an easy
feel to it. It's very smooth. It also
features a crisp guitar solo by Steve
Khan.
Perhaps the best song of all is
the one immediately following
"Hollywood," entitled "3 A.M."
James's keyboards are polished and
his backup, including the Brecker
brothers, Michael on sax and Randy
on trumpet, sparkles..
The second side is more con-
sistent than the first, with nothing
as splendid as "3 A.M." but
nothing as bad as the near-travesty
"Hollywood." From "Rousseau" to
"Feel the Fire," the four songs
seem to blend into each other. Ob-
ession is not Bob James's best
album, but it's a fine accom-
plishment on its own, and rec-
comended for everybody.
-Akim D. Reinhardt
Fetchin Bones
Bad Pumpkin
Capitol
The recipe for a good emerging
young pop band:
1) Take five talented, original
players from North Carolina (they
can be from anywhere, but the
South is in these days, right?).
2) Let 'em record their debut LP
on a small but fairly respectable
independent label (DB)..
3) Watch the record earn good
marks on the college radio charts.
4) Impress a major record label
(Capitol), and release second album
on major label, continuing to record
good music which can benefit from
a bigger recording budget.
If you heard Cabin Flounder,
that debut album in question, then
you've heard the Fetchin Bones
trademark: quirky guitar-laden sync-
opation marched by the equally
unique punctuation of lead vocalist
(wailer) Hope Nicholls. Flounder
was a fresh blast from some bright
newcomers whose songwriting
offered thickly outlined pictures as

seen through their small, selective
windows of life. Bad Pumkin, the
band's new record, is a little warmer
and "bigger" than that debut, and it
takes all of their high-strung energy
and channels it into a slightly more
refined groove.
Fetchin Bones's humor con-
tinues to shine through, as on the
country romp of "Bed of Seems,"
and they kick up a storm on
"Greensburg." But while the band's
wonderful spontaneity is preserved,
as on "Leaning on the Horn"-
which wraps a fuzzy guitar line and

Nicholls' shriek over a businesslike
acoustic guitar - they've gotten
less raw as a whole, experimenting
with their new recording studio
freedom. "Little Red Lines" lets the
band take a slightly psychedelic
turn, with spacey guitar lines and
guitarists Gary White and Aaron
Pitkin singing along in back like
dreamy addicts. And the band does
their version of rap on the sparse
but fueled "Wine." All in all, this
disc is as colorful as the band's
clothes, which resemble something
found in an old "Partridge Family"

wardrobe unit.
5) Hope this new record sells.
- Beth Fertig
The Grapes of
Wrath
September Bowl of Green
Capitol
This Canadian trio writes some
very pretty, acoustic guitar-based
melodies which are at times rem-
iniscent of the Cure or a dehydrated
Echo. They get indulgent with their
fine instrumental breaks, which of-

fer a nice counterbalance to Kevin.
Kane's often whiney lead vocals.
The Grapes's song writing isZ
kind of fragmented, but pleasantly:
so. The effect places them in that:
huge conglomerate of "pseudo-
intellectual-pretty-sounding-guitar- k
pop-bands for thecollege audience"'
(aka R.E.M. spinoffs) - but we're'
all suckers for it when it's wellt
done. September Bowl of Green is
a quiet album; its main flaw is its^
lack of excitement. But from thee,
stealthy strut of "Breaks My Heart'!
to the gorgeous strumming of*
See RECORDS, Page 8

mmmm§W-

Look

0- IIMIML- . I

into the
- --
rested in writing about film, theat
music, books or dance?
JOIN THE DAILY'S
ARTS STAFF

James's latest--a mixed success
Obsession -is a mostly instru-
mental venture, combining vintage
James keyboard compositions and
high-tech wizardry. The net result is
six solid jazz tunes and one watered-
down song of the pop/jazz variety.
As a matter of fact, that, the only
blemish on the album is the very
first track and the title song. It
R sags, is repetitious, and almost
sounds like it belongs on some
Madonna-infested pop station, not
any self-respecting jazz station.
But thanks to its placement you
don't need a C.D. player to skip
over it without getting up from
your lay-z-boy. Simply start with
"Gone Hollywood," the second

Inte

zter,

The University of Michigan Career Planning & Placement

1

ON-CAMPUS
RECRUITMENT
PROGRAM

AN INTERNSHIP IN LONDON
- in the Spring, Summer or Fall Quarter
could help your career prospects
1987 dates:- Spring - April 13-June 21
Summer - June 1-Aug 9
Fall - Sept 7-Dec 13

MASS MEETINGS

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