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November 16, 1988 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-11-16

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ARTS
Wednesday, November 16, 1988

The Michigan Daily
BY GREG BAISE
Bongo, Binky's one-eared illegit-
imate son, kneels over a broken plate
in the middle of a spotless kitchen as
the domineering shadow of Binky
looks on. Bongo exclaims, "I swear
to GodI didn't do it!"
Welcome, friends. Welcome to a
world where you and your friends are
always in that domineering shadow, a
world where, in the end, you lose.
Welcome to Life in Hell.
Life in Hell, a cynical cartoon
look at love, at people, at authority,
Binky is Everyman. When
we laugh at him, we laugh
at ourselves. When Binky
feels pain, we also feel the
pain. Sometimes we feel
the pain while laughing at
them, because there's a
certain autobiographical
element in the cartoon that
we can relate to.
at - well, at life, exists courtesy of
the talents of Matt Groening, a 34-
year old from Portland, Oregon. His
father was a cartoonist, insuring that
the young Matt would have an acute
awareness of the powers of imagina-
tion.
Groening's talents did indeed be-
gin to prosper at a young age. At the
age of eight, he won a short story
contest for Jack and Jill Magazine,
which published the story. Then
came fourth grade, where Groening's
love for drawing, especially drawing
strange monsters, came to fruition in

Page 5

Matt Groening has been there, and so
have the rest of us. That's Life.
C+IWAoo 1$ HELL
A CAtOO. 96001C &y
M~lt 6pwoE,3)&

Binky is Everyman. When we
laugh at him, welaugh at ourselves.
When Binky feels pain, we also feel
the pain. Sometimes we feel the pain
while laughing at them, because
there's a certain autobiographical el-
ement in the cartoon that we can re-
late to. When Groening presents the
"16 Types of College Professors,"
you can be sure that, during your
collegiate years, you will suffer
through courses with at least 15.
The comic strip is usually a list,
dealing with a continuing theme,
such as work, love, school, and
childhood. In fact, Groening is pro-
moting Childhood Is Hell , his latest
book. The book starts with "Chapter
One: Is Childhood Hell?" What. fol-
lows are 24 more chapters, with ti-
tles ranging from "The 16 Types of
Brothers" to "The 16 Types of
Mothers," from "How toeBe a Wily
1-Year Old" to "How to Be a Teenage
12-Year-Old." Finally, after Chapter
25 ("What Have We Learned?") we
are treated to 23 more cartoons that
appear, according to Groening, "at
practically no apparent added cost."
Like his previous three books,
Love Is Hell , Work Is Hell ,and
School Is Hell , this new book is a
collection of the cartoons, which ap-
pear weekly in over 70 publications.
Bongo, Binky's one-eared illegit-
imate son, kneels over a broken plate
in the middle of a spotless kitchen as
the domineering shadow of Binky
looks on. Bongo exclaims, "Don't
say anything. I'm having the weird-
est sense of dijd vu."
MATT GROENING will autograph
copies of Childhood is Hell at both
Community Newscenters this after-
noon; from noon-1:30 p.m. at 330
E. Liberty, and from 3- 4:30 p.m. at
1301 S. University.

Exhibit marked
with conviction
BY EMILY REISBAUM
ROBERT Carris, an LSA senior, spent some time in South America, in-
cluding five days in an El Salvadoran refugee camp in Colomancagua
Honduras. He returned with not only a great compassion for the refugees,
but also a moving collection of his own photographs, and drawings done by
refugee children.
Displaced from the country by the El Salvadoran government, the 8,000
refugees -60 percent of which are children under ten years of age - suffer
from injuries, hunger and poverty. The photographs, both black and white
and color, capture the feelings of pain and suffering in each person - saa-
ness even permeates the crooked smiles of the El Salvadoran children.
Carris successfully combines photography with a collection of drawings
and emotional statements to express the incredible wrongs that these people
are unable to avoid. A photograph of an older man with a serious, tired, and
angry expression is captioned by his quote: "They tell us that we are not
under arrest, and yet we are prisoners."
The exhibit also contains a plea to Ronald Reagan, written by a refugee
woman, to stop aiding the El Salvadoran government, and a song by a six
year old boy, wounded in fighting between government troops and rebels,
which reveals the horrors of the refugees' oppression. A drawing done by an
11 year old is titled "Past, Present, and the Future" - a triptych which
represents the past with the bombings of a village, the present with frozep
figures looking at homes transformed into ramshackle huts, and the future
with a rebuilt community, a restored life, and a church directly in the center,
Rather than viewing the refugees as merely interesting studies or photp
subjects, Carris is genuinely concerned with the injustices forced upon them
by the El Salvadoran government. With this multi-media exhibit, Carris
has brought back more than a powerful conviction; he has brought, a
powerful means to move others to action in their defense.
The exhibit is located in Room 1209 of the Michigan Union, and runrs
through Friday from 2 p.m.-8 p.m.
Auditions and Opportunities
---Wednesday, November 16, 10 p.m., Tyler Room 28,
East Quad
Audition for a short scene for a video. 5 men needed. Experience is good
but not required, and there is not a big time commitment involved. Call
668-0159 for more information.
-.Thursday, November 17, 8 p.m., UAC back room
Just Kidding Production Company, a professional touring comedy,
troupe, is holding open auditions for women. Call for information and
appointment times: Kevin 996-2979; Rob 996-8179; Jason 663-1460.
Auditions and Opportunities is a weekly feature of the Daily Arts Page,
and is seeking contributions. Call Theatre Editor Cherie Curry 763-1
0379 with information.

his involvement in the Creature
Club, whose motto was, "I'm Pecu-
liar.:
Groening's Life in Hell characters
first appeared in The Cooper Point
Journal, the campus newspaper at
Evergreen State College in Olympia,
Washington. After graduating in
1977, he moved to Los Angeles,
where Life in Hell became an actual

comic book for six issues.
"Don't let the boss catch you
reading this," says a clever Binky,
plugging an ad for Work is Hell as
his angrier-than-Hell boss looks on.
Binky, everybody's favorite fellow
American rabbit who's down in the
dumps with his girlfriend, son, and
job, is the main subject of Life In
Hell.

D0000

Spoons
Vertigo Tango
Polygram Records
At first glance, this fourth album
from Toronto pop band the Spoons
seems an effective although unre-
markable synth-pop outing in the
style of Bryan Ferry-influenced com-
bos Duran Duran or Icehouse. But
while the smooth-yet-zippy synthe-
sizer sounds and airy vocal melodies
of "Sooner or Later" or any of the
other A-side tracks work their way
into your system as craftily as any
slick TV commercial, the whole of
Vertigo Tango reveals the kind of

stylistic verve and sharp talent that
does - at times - lift the Spoons
onto a level one step up from most
of their keyboard-sequencing
contemporaries.
Although the group made its only
commercial splash in America so far
with a minor new-wave hit from
1982 called "Nova Heart," the
Spoons did move on afterward to put
out a follow-up LP that lifted them
to stardom in their native Canada -
indeed, they are often featured in big-
name product endorsements up
North. But then the band nucleus of
singer/guitarist Gordon Deppe and

bassist Sandy Horne took a three year
hiatus - returning in 1986 with the
harder-edged Bridges over Borders LP.
But whereas Bridges brought Deppe's
effective six-string flourishes deeper
into the mix to flesh out the band's
precise keyboard sound and Deppe's
tepid vocals,Vertigo Tango reverts
somewhat to a wimpier-sounding
formula more likely to break our top-
40, but a style that limits the band's
proven ability to make sublime mu-
sical gestures.
When Deppe plugs into the box,
though - on songs like "Bed of
Nails" - the effects combine with
John Punter's crisp and punchy pro-
duction to approximate the expansive
glory of Robert Plant's Now and Zen

or Simple Minds' Once Upon a
Time. And although Deppe's lyrics
don't add the challenging dimension
found in these artists or perhaps
Tears for Fears, the refined attention
devoted here to tasteful details -
such as Steve Kendry's intricate Peter
Gabriel-like rhythms -- does prove
that the Spoons are as able to engage
the mind as they are the feet. As the
killer bass line to "The Opening
Curtain" cascades down into an en-
veloping atmospheric groove, one
sees quite clearly how soon this band
could put aside its professionalism
and put out an exceptional pop
record.
-Michael Paul Fischer

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