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October 07, 1988 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-10-07
This is a tabloid page

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Continued from Page 9
gone to the last few
nights, telling me that they could
not offer me a bid at that time, but
I was welcome .to come by the
house anytime and to attend all of
their parties. What a consolation.
What have I learned from all of
this? Fraternities were far less of-

fensive, as a whole, than I previ-
ously thou'ght. I met very few of
the stereotypical, egotistical,
pretty-boy womanizers I had ex-
pected to when I started out. Just
about everyone I talked to said their
fraternity served as a way to make
the University smaller for them -
a core of friends in a sea of 20,000
undergraduates. Many disassociated
themselves from the Greek System
as a whole, explaining that it was a
lot of crap and that they just liked

to relax with their friends in their
respective houses and have a good
Now I see a fraternity as simply
another way for someone to be ac-
cepted. When you join, you.make
at least 50 automatic friends and
will be included in a variety of ac-
tivities during your college years -
"the best years of your. life."
Everybody likes to be liked.
But as an old, obese friend, Fat
Al, used to say, "Fuck frat, get fat."
I tend to agree.

Continued from Page 11
people have more value, that some
have less, that some people belong,
some people don't, that some peo-
ple get opportunities, some people
don't. These are the messages
which underlie all of our class-
rooms in our institutions no matter
what we teach in those classrooms.
W: Do your students generally
have difficulty identifying the
causal connectedness of America's
ghettos and suburbs, its militarism,
white male domination, its unem-
ployed people of color and blue
collar whites, and, of course, its
literate and illiterate citizens. Do
they recognize the system for what
it is?
A: It's hard to generalize about all
of my students... I've sometimes
asked students to keep a diary about
what it means to be an American,
about what parts of America they
didn't know about and so on. I got
a number of answers, and these
were primarily sophomores and ju-
niors, which kept saying that this
was a wonderful country and that
you could do anything you want to.
I think the connection between the
great fortune that most of them
have, and their upbringing and their
opportunities, and the fact that
other people are unfortunate had
never occurred to them. These were
parts of America which they had
never seen, or which they were
taught not to see, or didn't want to
see, or whatever it is. I grew up in
the same background as they did and
had to go through all of it myself.
It's very difficult for them to see
connections. Some of them are very
ready to see connections and are
open to teaching. Others are very
resistant to it. So I can't generalize
about every student. It's really what
your ready for.

W: Why are the issues of race,
sex, and class pertinent in an En-
glish literature class?
A: So far as our authors deal with
those issues in the first place.
they're pertinent. So far as the texts.
themselves represent .class posi-
.tions, as some of them do, we
should deal with them. So long as
the authors themselves are passion-
ate about these issues, for us sim-
ply to discuss characterization, and
plot, and suspense, and metaphor,
and symbol, and not deal with the
things the authors themselves are
passionate about would not be fair.
W: What is your position on the
proposed installation of a class on
racism which would be required-for
all incoming students in the same
way English Composition and
many other distribution courses are
required? If you' approve of it,
would you teach it in a similar
A: I am in favor of such a course.
I am one of the people who are
proposing such a course this week
'to the- Curriculum Committee and
LSA faculty. However, I don't
think it would be a course which
would be limited to something like
English 472. It's going to take
much more historical and sociolog-
ical expertise than I bring to such a
course. So I wouldn't teach it in the
same way. So far, as my class is
concerned, it is open to a tremen-
dous amount of discussion, and en-
ergy, and challenge coming from
the students themselves. If I were to
teach such a course, that would be
part of the way it would work.
W: What is your opinion of the
statement recently seen on the front
of Angell Hall, "Abandon American
Culture"? Is it merely an anarchic
comment without constructive
content, or does it speak to a deeper
A: That one's too hard.

By Mark Shaiman
Composer Philip Glass returns to
Ann Arbor Saturday night, this time
bringing some friends with him. His
new project is a collaboration be-
tween playwright David Henry
Hwang, visual technician Jerome
Sirlin, and Glass himself. Just as
interesting as the combination of
these three talents is the title of the
project: 1000-Airplanes on the Roof.
- When Glass decided work on
something with a science fiction
theme, he called on Hwang to write
it. Hwang, winner of the 1988 Best
Play Tony Award for M Butterfly,
was the perfect choice to write the
script for this show because the
overall theme of Hwang's other
works is otherness and isolation, the
same as Glass intended for Air-
The basic story line concerns a
single character, named M. On alter-
nate nights the role is performed by
either Jodi Long or Patrick
O'Connell, because M is an Ev-
eryperson. This may sound like a
creation of Franz Kafka's, but M's
name and character play off a theme
Kafka often used - isolation. M
claims to have been kidnapped by
aliens and then returned to earth with
instructions to forget his experience.
Thus he is trapped in a world within
himself. "To m.e, all the really
interesting human dilemmas are ba-
sically internal searches, and that
seems to be the root of any good
drama," Hwang said.
The next step in this multi-pro-
cess production was to bring in
Jerome Sirlin to create the stage and
scene designs for Airplanes. His

Films and Performances ME

Talents collaborate on multi-media, sci-l

is proud to present a

Music, science fiction, and drama combine in 1,000 Airplanes for a unique production.

previous credits attest to his
versatility; he has developed innova-
tive sets for Wagner's operas and
was the production designer for
Madonna's 1987 world tour. For his
latest endeavor he has utilized nu-
merous projectors and hundreds of
slides to create a unique theatrical

experience. With the use of a new
projection system, the on-stage
character is able to move in and out
of dissolving and overlapping scenes
with magical ease.
Once .the script and the visuals
were near completion, it became
time for Glass to compose the score.

Best known for his musical accom-
paniment to the film K o y -
aanisquatsi, Glass has been involved
in more projects than can be be-
lieved, but he always manages to
achieve a level of incredible quality.
This year alone a chamber opera, a
grand opera, and two film scores


Students: take advantage of rush tickets and
enliven your cultural season. Add class to
your semester by adding classical to your
" Half off the lowest published price to all
regular series concerts in Hill Auditorium,
Rackham Auditorium and Power Center.
* Ticket prices range from S2.50 to S10!
* Limit of two tickets per person.

" Tickets must be purchased in person at
our Burton Memorial Tower ticket office on
the day of the concert or on Saturday for
weekend concerts.
" There is 110seating choice. Seating is at
the discretion of box office personnel.
0 A limit of 200 tickets are available.

'Punchline' hits hard on comedy, soft oi


Student tickets will be available for the Vienna/Bernstein Gala on
October 10 for $10. Valid Student I.D. must be presented.
The University Musical Society presents over 45 international performances a season,
including: symphonies, dance, opera, chamber music, ethnic performances and recitals.
Burton Memorial Tower on the U of M Campus
764-2538 Box office hours: Monday-Friday 9-4:30 and Saturday 9-noon.
Free color brochure upon request.

Continued from Page 5
amount of acting talent himself,
there is no reason that the plot
should be so shallow. If the story
line had been developed more, they
would have been able *-to handle it.
Instead, more importance was placed
on their roles as stand-up comedians.
For this reasons, Punch Line in-
vites comparison to Good Morning,
Vietnam. Both films are not much
on substance but are definitely top-
notch in the humor category.
Still, Punch Line does let you see
that there is more to a stand-up's life
than just the performance. As
Hanks' character says, "Nothing is a
joke to me. That's why I'm a come-
dian." The film does have a small
theme to it, and it is refreshing to
find that it isn't forced upon the au-
dience. Lilah finally gets laughs
when she makes jokes about her
own and other people's everyday
lives, having realized that everything

has humor to it if you know where
to look.
A couple of cameo roles also.
make the film. For a change we get
to see people who are usually behind
the camera in front of it. Paul
Mazursky, the director of Down and
Out in Beverly Hills, has a small
part as a joke salesrep.. And Mark
Rydell, who was nominated for Best
Director for On Golden Pond, has a
fair sized role as the manager of the
comedy club. Other roles were
played by numerous as yet unknown
stand-up comedians who may be-
come better known due to their parts
in Punch Line.
Sometimes comedies get bogged
down with seriousness, but don't
expect that here. And sometimes
they get too involved with plot, but
don't expect that either. So if you
decide to go see this film, don't ex-
pect much. Except to laugh a lot.
Punchline starts today at the State

and much of the screen time is filled
with them and other comics
performing their routines, providing
countless opportunities for laughs.
When not on-stage, Steve is a med
school drop out and a general loser
in the game of life. Lilah is a
housewife with three kids and a
lousy track recordas acomedian.
While Steven may be the
funniest stand-up at the comedy
club, he is fighting to keep his head
aboveswater. While Lilah respects
him, she would like to help him
drown himself because he is
unnecessarily rude to her. But she
has her own problems trying to keep
her family life and her comedian life
both intact and separate.
The two join together because
Steven hopes to sell her some jokes.
When he finds she doesn't have the
cash he needs, he decides to "teach"
her about being funny and inflate his
ego at the same time by having her
follow him around. But soon he tries
to help her in earnest and eventually

falls in love with her.
This leads to complications usu-.
ally found on a TV sitcom. But then
there is the climax to the film: the
winner of a network TV sponsored
contest at the club gets a spot on the
Carson show. It is clear what the


12" MEl
with Peppers
Voted Best Pi
"The Michigan Daily"

Hanks and Field as stand-up comics.

By Mark Shaiman
Writer/Director David Seltzer
spent many hours hanging around
comedy clubs doing research for his
new film Punch Line. It must have
been difficult work, but it paid off

because this film is simply hysteri-
cal. But, the comedy is also one of
the problems with the film as a
whole because the film maker forgot
to concentrate on a plot.
Steven (Tom Hanks) and Lilah
(Sally Field) are stand-up comedians

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