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March 03, 1988 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-03

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Thursday, March 3, 1988 Page 7
It's not 'A Night' to remember
ful, and committed? My answer other women, none of whom will
By Lisa Pollak who knows? lend him money, before finally get-
Maybe it was a bad dream, but I ting the cash from a totally unrelated
It was A Night in the Life of thought the plot went something character in a totally irrelevant scene!
Jimmy Reardon. like this instead: Meanwhile, Lisa blows him off and
It was a night I want to forget. Jimmy is a relatively poor (plot he ends up stuck at home anyway!
It was a night introduced, omi- rationale: he needs a reason to bor- What a nightmare!
nously enough, by 18-year-old row money) Evanston teenager, But oh, you object rather weakly,
Jimmy Reardon's (River Phoenix) who, according to one of his wealthy what about River Phoenix and
introspectively trite voice-over; "It's friends, "lets his goddam pecker lead Meredith Salenger - those two up-
funny when you think about it, 1 him around like a mule leading a 'n-coming young thespians? Well,
but..." carriage." And it does. (Plot ratio- the River seems to have run dry.
Yeah, it's funny when you think $ nale: to keep the audience interested.) Here he presents a unconcerned, ati-
about it, but the plot of William In addition, Jimmy's "girlfriend" ficial performance that makes his
Richert's movie was so haphazard, '4 Lisa (Meredith Salenger) soon will touching sincerity in Stand by Me
incredulous, and inane that trying to be leaving to go to college in seem almost unbelievable. And
reconcile the differences between the a Hawaii (Hawaii?) Of course, Jimmy Salenger, though she has certainly
film's preview, poster, and plot was wants to follow Lisa (plot rationale: grown up since The Journey of
more of a nightmare than anything he needs a reason to need money.) Natty Gann, is no more enjoyable.
else Thus, this Night in the Life of She delivers all her lines in one of
First there was A Night in the Jimmy Reardon is Jimmy's quest to three vocal inflections: squeal,
Life of Jimmy Reardon: The pre. get this money by seducing other screech, and whine - and you'd need
view. "Jimmy has 24 hours to con- women, right? more than A Night to tell the
vince the girl he loves that he's Of course not, because Richert difference between them.
honest, faithful, and committed," the put the gel in his characters' hair Most ironically, A Night .in the
announcer says. Cut to Jimmy - Jimmy Reardon (River Phoenix) and his father (Pauul Koslo) relate touchingly in the only decent scene of A Night when he should have used it to hold Life of Jimmy Reardon has a clever
in the Life of Jimmy Reardon.
hair spiked up - chasing a woman together the story. You see, ending, a somewhat affecting ending,
through a forest to the beat of a the movie, where Jimmy - hair couldn't figure out when, why, or that era, because - with the excep- Jimmy's girlfriend is the only one in an adequately acted ending - adjec-
pseudo-Motown 1960s hit. spiked up, down, and to the side - with whom it was happening. tion of the tv and milk bottles - this whole film (including his tives that can't beused for rest of the
Then there was the poster. And spends 36 hours (a long night) pa- Oh, you object, but the screen the whole nightmare as easily could mother's friend) who won't sleep movies beginning or middle. But it
there was Jimmy - hair spiked up thetically walking through a story said it was 1962! Yes, but they said have happened yesterday. with him, let alone commit herself, really doesn't make a difference. By
- surrounded by three smiling that contains more hair gel than di- River Phoenix could act, too. Oh, you object, but what happens Why would he want to follow her the time you get to the ending you'll
women dressed in 1980s clothing. rection. It might have been a night Someone in wardrobe must have had when Jimmy tries to convince the anyway? She isn't even nice to him! be doing what most people are doing
Last and ... well, least, there was in the life of Jimmy Reardon, but I an overstock of evening gowns for girl he loves that he's honest, faith- So he finds a hormonal outlet in at night's end. Sleeping.

Guitarists display

stunning technical virtuosity

By Michael Fischer
I observed two eager guitar afi-
cionados among the Michigan The-
atre crowd exchanging predictions of
how they were going to be blown
away by the renowned technical vir-
tuosity of Michael Hedges and Leo
Kottke. These concert-goers had
witnessed shows of some of the top
guitar-masters, from Steve Howe to
Stevie Ray Vaughan. Still, a shock
would inevitably be dealt this
evening to an audience interspersed
with avid six-stringers - the stun-
ning performances Tuesday night
humbled the playing ability of some
and exploded the boundaries of all

conventional conceptions of playing
solo acoustic guitar.
As a number of standing ovations
from a packed house attested, Kottke
and Hedges provided as much enter-
tainment as expertise. One thing we
hadn't expected was the dryly as-
sured, hilariously deadpan wit with
which Kottke spontaneously drew
laughs throughout breaks in his 50-
minute set. "This is the heart of
polyester," quipped the conserva-
tively-clad guitarist/singer after a
change in lighting brought an odd
burgundy glow to his black trousers
two songs into the set. Later he kept
the audience laughing for 10 minutes
with funny stories of his father's
"talent for sleeping" while introduc-

ing a tribute, "The Late Zone," a
lazily-swinging pleaser.
. Kottke had earned his rest, having
demonstrated the complex marvels of
his nimble-fingered rhythm/melody
picking in earlier numbers such as
"Taxco Steps," a blaze of spritely
Latin textures. Later numbers dazzled
the crowd with swift, wide-ranging
chord changes and lovely melodies.
Kottke also assayed an old favorite
in his smooth midwestern voice be-
fore simultaneously pulling out a
slide and twelve-string to rustle up
some tasty wild-western twangs in
his encore.
"I can never beat Leo's rap,"
lamented Michael Hedges, referring
to Kottke's hand at the ad-lib, after

stumbling for a time-killing joke
while tuning his guitar halfway
through his set. And although
Hedges' humor was only slightly
less riotous than his counterpart's, if
anyone could have outdone Kottke in
terms of breathtaking technical abil-
ity it was this man. Taking the stage
in a silky, embroidered black jacket,
dark tights and cowboy boots, he
burst into a furious version of The
Who's "Pinball Wizard," a stark rock
'n' roll contrast to Kottke's placid
folk father-figure.
At one point, Hedges told the au-
dience that he could only categorize
his music as "heavy mental "- and

appropriately, like some kind of
guitar-rock legend onstage, Hedges
tore passionately through his seem-
ingly impossible solos, his teeth
bared and body flailing away .in
spastic fits of obsession. It must
take this much psyching-out to at-
tempt such a staggering catalogue
of tricks.
Hedges ranged from surging,
propulsive strumming ("Ritual
Dance"), to rapidly tapping out per-
cussive rhythms on his wooden gui-
tar body in between plucks and
strums ("The Woman of the
World"), to playing a strange two-
necked harp-guitar, with one hand

plucking thick, unfretted bass strings
while the other hammered melodies
on the treble strings ("Because It's
There"). And if his performance of
the manic "Silent Anticipations" is
his technical. tour de force, then the
powerful vocals and musical drama
of "I Believe in You" prove an
evocative songwriting talent just as
impressive.
Ending his set with an audience-
participation "Come Together,"
Hedges returned with a classically-
inspired encore, and next with Kot-
tke for two pretty, lilting guitar
duets. The duo encored with a ver-
See GUITARISTS, Page 8

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