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April 20, 1988 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-04-20

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ARTS
Wednesday, April 20, 1988

The Michigan Daily

Page 10;

David
blues

Bromberg:

A

true

musician

in

By Timothy Huet
If you have ever seen David Bromberg, your
f~i reaction was probably "This guy plays the
bp~s?" Bromberg looks as out of place as Paul
Simon playing with Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Bromberg is a tall, lanky, bespectacled, thin-
bearded, awkward-looking white guy. This guy
screams "white." But ne can also scream the
blues.
Before long, Bromberg will make you forget
your stereotypical image of blues singers. Well,
almost. Before you are completely convinced, he
will use his appearance for humorous effect. One
of Bromberg's most popular numbers is "Demon
in Disguise," in which he attempts to convince
you of his dark powers while admonishing "don't
befooled by the glasses."
rfood-spirited humor suffuses Bromberg's

work in such songs as "Loaded and Laid" and
lines like "you just take your tongue out of my
mouth because I'm kissing you good-bye." And
do not be too surprised if Bromberg and his band
go into a bluegrass salute to Ethel Merman's
immortal hits.
But lest you let the glasses and humor fool
you, Bromberg is a serious musician. He was
trained as a musicologist at Columbia University
before deciding to make a go as a performer. His
decision was soon rewarded. He has played as an
accompanist on over 75 albums and, more lately,
put out several solo releases. He has worked with
such people as Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, John
Hurt, the Reverend Gary Davis, Bonnie Raitt,
Tom Paxton, Emmylou Harris, and Chubby
Checker.
As this list implies, Bromberg plays a lot
more than just blues. The word critics most often
apply to Bromberg's style is "eclectic." He plays

disguise
jazz, folk, rock, blues, bluegrass, and an occa-
sional samba. Bromberg's playing reflects the
technical brilliance of his academic training as
well as the spontaneity of his wit. He is a musi-
cian's musician who can command the respect of
a band of virtuosos. Jeff Wisor on fiddle, Gene
Johnson on mandolin, and Butch Amiot on elec-
tric bass back up Bromberg with enough talent
for three solo acts. But when Bromberg joins in
on guitar and violin there is no doubt that this
band is a unitary whole.
It is indicative of Bromberg's interest in every
aspect of his craft that he spent four years at a
violin-making school. Bromberg's fine-picking
and fiddling is best experienced live with the in-
timate environs of the Ark providing the proper
stage for his devilish antics.
DAVID BROMBERG will be performing at
the Ark this Saturday. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m.
and 10 p.m. Tickets are $10.50.

David Bromberg flavors his blues with good spirit in songs like
'Demon in Disguise,' his most well-known number.

Violent

'Colors' fails

to

fly

Veteran actor Robert Duvall
By Mark Shaiman (Tender Mercies ) portrays the older
police officer who has been dealing
Colors is the first film that at- with the gang scene for five years.
tempts to confront the problem of He knows how to work the streets,
gang wars in Los Angeles. In differ- by making friends out of the gang
ent hands this may have meant members rather than enemies. Even
something, but director Dennis so, Duvall's character has become
Hopper (Easy Rider) just used L.A. almost totally apathetic to the L.A.
gang life as a background for the situation, which extends to his on-
story. He seems to have forgotten duty performance and thus to the
that he was dealing with a social audience's reaction to his character.
problem. Instead he turned it into a
personal playground for violence. On the other hand, young Penn
One of the biggest problems of wants to throw half the city behind
the film is that Sean Penn (Bad Boys bars. With different job ethics, these
) is cast as his image portrayed on two could have made an interesting
supermarket tabloids. "I'm a pair. But Penn's insistence on hit-
guardian of masculinity," he says as ting every convict a few extra times
soon as we meet him. Already is met with disapproval only once
known for his temper and for throw- from his partner, who makes a threat
ing a quick punch, he is just right and then ignores the successive out-
for the role. But this background bursts. What we are left with is the
adds little to an already one-dimen- cliched set up of the old, wizened
sional character. cop and his brash, new partner. Too

much of Colors is concerned with
this pair and not enough deals with
the real problem of the gang wars.
. I haven't mentioned the plot, but
that is because there basically isn't
one. In the beginning there is a gang
hit - two guys in a van drive by a
group of people on the street and
blow one of them away. And as with
every other violent scene - and
there are many - we get to see the
gory details.
Logically, the rest of the film
would revolve around the two cops
trying to find the murderer. Instead,
they cruise around and do the normal
daily stuff, such as frisking anyone
they see, and letting Penn give new
meaning to the term "police brutal-
ity."
It just so happens that one of the
people who is arrested for drug in-
volvement leaks some info regarding
the hit. It's not the fanciest piece of
detective work, but it fits the film.

This also suits Duvall's lack of ini-
tiative, but maybe that is the point.
In any case, after sitting through all
that violence, I was pretty apathetic
too.
Still, Colors does make a few
interesting points, if you are willing
to dig through all the bodies to find
them. While not much of gang life
is depicted, there is enough to show
that being a member is an attempt at
acceptance into this culture - the
fact remains that it is the acceptance
that is desired, not the violence. In
this life, though, the two go hand-
in-hand and for this reason the
Guardian Angels, a protective anti-
gang organization, are picketing the
film.
Some of the social and economic
factors involved with gangs are
touched on here, but it is not enough
to make Colors a viable statement
about gang life. Every chance that

Sean Penn is portrayed as a violent young cop in the new release
Colors.' Instead of making a redeeming social statement, the film
uses L.A. gang wars as a backdrop of violence.

See Colors, Page 13

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To: University Union, Pendleton Room

ON: April 25

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