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November 02, 1987 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-11-02

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ARTS
Monday, November 2, 1987

The Michigan Daily

Page 7

Happy Campers

aim to rock and

By Brian Jarvinen
About roughly a year ago,
A.E.M. came to Detroit's Fox
Theatre with another one of their
highly anticipated opening acts,
Camper Van Beethoven. T h e
Campers came out and jammed for
In all too short 45 minute set,
earning them many new fans,
including this writer. Tonight the
mellow Californians return to
Michigan to play at Rick's
American Cafe.
Camper Van Beethoven first
captured an unsuspecting public's
attention in 1985 after the release of
their debut record, Telephone Free
Landslide Victory. The album
featured their most famous song,
"Take The Skinheads Bowling,"
Which nearly everyone has heard at a
party somewhere by now. The
album featured several lighthearted
swipes at skinhead culture, including'
a hippie version of Black Flag's

"Wasted." The record illustrated the
classical Camper's unique view of
the world in such lines as
"everything is up in the air at this
time," and the classic honesty of
"there's not a line that goes here/that
rhymes with anything."
Camper Van Beethoven is Victor
Krummenacher on b a s s ,
keyboard/violin player Jonathan
Segel, a new drummer, Chris
Pedersen, vocalist/guitarist David
Lowery, and guitar players Chris
Molla and Greg Lisher, who
according to the liner notes of one of
the singles is the "leader of a
worldwide conspiracy to do
something vague." Aside from the
Charlie Daniels Band, Camper Van
Beethoven is probably the most
popular band today that includes a
violin player. But this does not put
them into the realm of country
music; in fact Camper Van are off in
their own little musical world. The
band plays simple, three-chord,
meandering songs that could easily

sound like any garage band's first
attempts at originality. However
Segel's violin and organ ramblings
give CVB its own style, preventing
any simple labels.
After the success of Telephone
the band released II and III, its
second album, which unfortunately
alienated fans of the first record, as it
had a bit less humor. The Camper's
bounced back earlier this year with
their third full length LP, the simply
titled Camper Van Beethoven. The
band's philosophy shined on "Good
Guys and Bad Guys," which became
an excellent video on MTV this
summer, if one didn't blink the few
times it was shown.
The band displayed some of its
true inspiration on a cover of the

romp
Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd nugget
"Interstellar Overdrive." Camper Van
Beethoven seem to show off a bit
more social consciousness, but one
shouldn't worry about the scraggly
artistes becoming the next U2.
Currently the band has a new EP
Vampire Can Mating Oven, which
features a hilarious send-up of
"rarities" compilations in the liner
notes.
The small stage of Rick's will be
pretty crowded when all six
Camper's attempt to play their
happy tunes tonight.
Tickets are $7.50, and are only
available at Rick's. Doors open at 9
p.m.

Camper Van Beethoven at their March, 1986 show at the Blind Pig. They'll
return to Ann Arbor tonight to play Rick's American Cafe.

First Annual
GRADUATE
SCHOOL DAY

'Wish

beats usual

teen dramas

C
i

By Scott Collins
Count me as a casualty in the
Bore Wars of the recent British
cinema (I died yawning during A
Room with a View of Masterpiece
Theatre ), but even I must admit that
some of the new English "youth
films" make me wish John Hughes
had never bought his bus ticket to
Hollywood. A good example is
David Leland's Wish You Were
Here, a funny and fresh nostalgia
piece set in seaside r e s o r t
Mbmmunity in the early 1950s.
Leland's heroine, Linda (Emily
Lloyd), is a lively teenaged smart ass
who can hardly bear living with her
dullard sister and insensitive father,
so she explores her own sexuality to
relieve the boredom. She begins by
flirting at her uncle's bus company,
soon graduating into the bed of a
vain young driver, and then suc-
cumbing to the advances of her
father's sinister gambling buddy.
When Linda's humorless old man
discovers the latter affair, he gives
up his long struggle to make his
daughter conform. "Your mother
wouldn't approve," he quietly
iemonstrates. "Too bad she's not
here to say for herself," Linda says.
c The mother, who died when Linda
was still a child, is the "you" of the
film's ironic title. Linda really does
Wish she had her mother back -

although we see a bit too little of
her, she seemed a quiet, sympathetic
woman who balanced her husband's
harshness - but there's not much in
Linda's adolescent world that easily
bears such a postcard-like greeting.
Her first "boyfriend" uses her for a
one-night stand, her father "will be
glad to get rid of her" and her foul
mouth, and her sister, a member of
the flag corps, marches around in a
uniform all day.
But we like Linda so much
because she remains indomitable in
the face of adversity, right until the
very end. When her father's creepy
friend molests her in the family's
den, Linda leaves him with a hearty
"hope your finger stinks!" Later,
after the same man fails to use a
"plunker" (condom) and gets Linda
pregnant, he questions his paternity.
"If it walks with a limp and thinks
with its prick, it's yours!" she
hollers.
No one else in the cast compares
with Lloyd, who is so astonishingly
natural I suspect she's just playing
herself. Her passionate performance
is no mean feat, although she's aided
by Ian Scott's marvelous cinema-
tography (the amber hues, always in
danger of seeming hackneyed and
artificial, compare favorably with
Woody Allen's autumnal tone in
Radio Days ) and some brilliant
writing. Especially memorable is
Linda's office visit with an obtuse

psychiatrist (in the movies, just
about all psychiatrists are obtuse)
who insists on playing a swear-word
association game that he's bound to
lose.
Some viewers have complained
about what they consider Leland's
grim moral vision: if a woman plays
around long enough, sooner or later
she'll get stuck with a kid. But I
don't think that Leland is so moral
as to suggest that bad consequences
inevitably follow from loose
actions, or so didactic as to preach

anything as banal as "respon-
sibility." What really comes across
is Linda's independence - she
always ends up doing what she
wants to do, even when pitted
against fatuous, manipulative men.
So catch Linda before she rides by
on her bicycle. She's an unlikely
feminist heroine.

F

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