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March 19, 1987 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-03-19

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ARTS

The Michigan Doily

Thursday,I

March 19, 1987

Page 5

'American Empire' falls

By Geoffrey Ricklin
If a movie consists entirely of
conversation, the conversation had
better be quite good. The Decline of
the American Empire fails boringly
because its script never manages to
stir up much interest.
The film features six or seven
people discussing and harking back
to their sexual experiences. Writer-
director Denys Arcand apparently
intends their revelations to be
shocking, or at least discomforting,
but these days something has to go
pretty far to acquire that dubious
distinction. All the episodes dis -
cussed, and they are many, fall well
within the range of the quasi-
normal, and they never lead to any
interesting conclusions about the
behavior involved, so it's all quite
pointless. All the dalliances amount
only to promiscuity on parade. If
Arcand were able to fit it all into
some sort of thoughtful observation
or conclusion there might be some -
thing worth contemplating. As it
is, there is nothing.
One of the film's mysteries is

what Arcand means by his title.
Unless one wishes to journey into
feminist or fundamentalist fantasy
land, there are political consid -
erations in but one scene. All the
film's characters are academics, and
the opening sequence shows one of
them engaged in an interview dis -
cussing her book that attempts to
prove that America is collapsing
from moral decay. She presents the
evidence of the sexual activities of
women, who nowadays fool around
as much as men. This, she alleges,
causes downfall. The problem with
this dubious thesis is that the film
does not explore whether or not it
is credible. We see only actors and
actresses peregrinating from one bed
to the next. Arcand tries to be pro-
found, but he has his characters say
things like: "If I am in love, I am.
hard. If I'm not hard, I'm not in
love." Seeing people sleep around
is commonplace both in film and in
television; as far as explicit sex talk
is concerned, Dr. Ruth is more in -
teresting because it's real rather
than imagined.
The apparent point of the story,
that promiscuity is self-detructive,

is ever so slightly less than orig -
inal, and Arcand has nothing to say
about its consequences for society.
And what's this about the "Amer -
ican Empire?" The film is French-
Canadian. Does Arcand regard Que -
bec as some sort of American ap -
pendage? He never lets on.
The acting seems functional
enough, but Arcand's character -
izations make everyone inter -
changeable. His homosexual man-
in-residence is a total cliche.
Arcand's humor managed to
prompt a few members of the and -
ience to giggle, this in spite of the
fact that there is precious little rea -
son to do so, and during the
naughty talk some patrons gasped
delightedly at the directness of the
speech. This last group would
blush to death if it saw, a porno
flick. Lastly, there is a marriage
breakup bit at the end. Such scenes
are a dime a dozen, and this one's
worth less than a cent.
Monsieur Arcand is pretentious
and unoriginal. Spare us, oh gods,
from further suffering.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band
continues New Orleans tradition

Sluggish:
Canada's Doug and the Slugs, along with their "categorization-defying" sound will be appearing
tonight at Rick's American Cafe. Their latest album, 'Doug and the Slugs,' was released last week.

'Records

Wednesday Week
What °WeHd °
Enigma
It seems like a long time ago
now, though it was only 1983, but
a really raw pop girl group out of
L.A. put out an EP back then called
Retsy's House. Their name was
Wednesday Week, and they sounded
strikingly like another raw pop girl
group out of L.A., the Bangs, and
their EP "Getting Out of Hand."
:The Bangs became the Bangles, and
we all know about them. But
-Wednesday Week is still Wednesday
Week, albeit older and wiser.
There are a lot of similarities.
Both from L.A., both with two
sisters and some friends. Both play
pop. But that's where the com -
parisons end. WW has a rough raw
guitar sound, especially with the
new additional guitarist David Nol -
te. While the Bangles have con -
centrated on Beatlesque pop, WW is
closer to the edge. A lot closer.
This first album of theirs sounds
pretty good too. In the mean time,
they've learned how to play their
instruments. Don Dixon is respon -
sible for the clear and ringingly

tough guitar sound.
There are a couple of great cuts
herd, and nodogs at all. "Circle" is
just incredible, a biting, and shim -
mering, and sweet midtempo thang
swirling around with an incredible
hook, and ringing and tearing
guitars. Kristi Callan's voice,
straightforward and capable, lurks
right on top, punctuated by Kelly
Callan's drums and Heidi Rode -
wald's piano. "Forever" is so won -
---- MAC IN THE MORNING

derfully urgent, and "Why" so won -
derfully plainitive, and "Mission -
ary" just so wonderful:
These folks are no Mission of
Burma, and I'm certain that's not
their aim anyways... but they sure
as hell kick up the image of poppy
girl groups.
What a pleasant surprise!
-VJ. Beauchamp
NNW

By Marc S. Taras
Even though you may have been
hundreds of miles from new Orleans
and missed out on the Mardi Gras
festivities, you needn't feel blue.
You can get yourself an adult
portion of Mardi Gras music at the
Power Center Sunday night when
Eclipse Jazz plays host to one of
the great New Orleans traditions;
the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is
coming to town..
Sad to say, there has been a re-
cent death in the family. But the
Preservation continues. On March
9th of this year, Allan Jaffe, the
owner and manager of the Preser-
vation Hall, died of cancer in New
Orleans. Jaffe was hailed for his
role in revitalizing traditional music
in New Orleans, and for offering
employment to numerous deserving

musicians. Jaffe himself was the
tuba player in the PHJB. He will be
mourned in celebrating the enduring
sounds that he loved so well.
Celebrating may be what the
Preservation Hall Jazz Band does
best. Their recordings are rich in
sound and riotous in energy..They
combine standards by the like of W.
C. Handy with original material and
serve it up in the finest traditional
fashion. That is, spicy hot and
swinging.
The heart of the PHJB is the
Humphrey brothers. At 82, trum-
peter Percy Humphrey has lived a
life of jazz. Half a lifetime ago he
worked with the legendary George
Lewis. His brother is clarinetist
Willie Humphrey, who actually
worked with King Oliver and re-
mains one of music's hottest lic-
orice stickers.
Rounding out the current PHJB

lineup are pianist James Miller,
trombonist Frank Demond, drum-
mer Frank Parker, and the won-
derful Narvih Kimball on banjo.
When these guys start to kick up,
even the tiredest old saints will
commence to march on in - and in
style!
The gumbo will be served
Sunday night at the Power Center
beginning at 7:30. Tickets are
$12.50 at the door and are available
at the Michigan Union Ticket
Office, PJ's Used Records,
Schoolkids', and at all Ticket World
Outlets.
LAZERGRAPHICS' COPYNGU PRINTING U BINDING FORMS
alphagraphioo
Printshops Of The Future
COPIES
Open 7 Days
GRAND OPENING SPECIAL
663-6816
715 N. UNIVERSITY
(2nd Floor)
Located at:
S. STATE & N. UNIVERSITY

p.

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TUESDAY LUNCH LECTURES
12 NOON
at the
INTERNATIONAL CENTER - 603 E. Madison
CLASSIFIED RESEARCH: MARCH SERIES
March 24: VICE PRESIDENT LINDA WILSON,
UM Vice President for Research.
"The Complex Nature of Classified Research Policy"
Sponsored by.
THE ECUMENICAL CAMPUS CANTER & THE INTERNATIONAL CENTER

I

MAC IN THE EVENING
MAC AROUND THE CLOCK
kinkors

OPEN

24 HOURS

540 EAST LIBERTY STREET
ANN ARBOR
CORNER OF LIBERTY AND MAYNARD
761-4539

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