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March 13, 1989 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-03-13

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*1

ARTS

The Michigan Daily
Feminist humor
finds fanzine forum
BY ANDREA GACKI
IN this enlightened age when She-Ra can spring forth from He-Man's
+ibcage, now there's a humor magazine for girls!
Wrong. Girlie Mag: A Femzine for the Broad Minded is a local,
quarterly-published humor magazine by women about women's issues
an antidote to male-dominated humor magazines and fanzines both
keal and national. Although females have been contributors to such
lnagazines, Girlie Mag is a humor magazine comprised solely of
omen and written with an exclusively feminist edge - definitely a
,novel idea in the Midwest if not everywhere else as well. Girlie Mag
staff members Sarah Somers, a first-year law student, and Erika Herzog,
an LSA senior, agreed that feminists are often portrayed as "frustrated or
humorless," a notion which just isn't true. Case in point: themselves.
By creating Girlie Mag, Somers said they were merely "writing down
all the witty things we'd been saying for years."
Their first issue features an interview with Barbie, that female rite of
passage brought to you by Mattel. When Girlie Mag "quizzed" Barbie
-bout her sex life with Ken (you will recall Ken's little, um, anatomi-
cal problem), the interviewers were met with silence. The female who
perpetuates the stereotype of dependency and submission, like a "Barbie
doll," will find no friend in Girlie Mag.
Magazines that intimidate women with a physical ideal of slimness
also come under fire. Herzog explained that the idea for an article
tdepicting the female fear of fatness stemmed from a joke on the staff:
whenever someone said something, anything self-deprecating, everyone
would reply, "You're not fat!" - even if it had had nothing to do with
.blubber+
4 Okay, so there is a fake letter to the editor in Girlie Mag in which
,the staff is denounced as a bunch of "dick-shrinking, penis-wilting
-:itches." Are they getting such response? Actually, no. Hate mail is
welcome and generally wished-for, but Herzog and Somers stressed that
the response is "basically positive. Lots of people want to write for the
!magazine, both men and women." Men? "Men can be feminists," said
.erzog. "There's definitely going to be some men involved in the next
Magazine," due out next June.
The goal of the staff is national distribution, and they've been
"drawing upon the community of women's magazines for support," said
Somers, having sent copies of their magazine to publications ranging
from Ms. to Bitch, a heavy metal women's fanzine. But Girlie Mag
will remain a critique on the misogynist attitudes of society laced with
some "grungy humor," all with the intention of entertaining. Herzog
summed-up the purpose of Girlie Mag thus: "We want to have a voice,
and we want to have fun."
.GIRLIE MAG is available at Dave's Comics, Community Newscenter,
Village Corner, Collected Works, Borders, and Cat's Meow. Cost is $1.
The University of Michigan
* SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Monday Composers Forum-
March 13 New music by student composers.
Recital Hall, 8 p.m.
FREE
Tuesday Faculty Recital-
March 14 Stephen Rush, piano;
Lowell Greer, horn; Stephen Hurley,
guest baritone
Paul Schoenfield, Six Hasidic Folk Tunes
Stephen Rush, Horn Rhapsody and
Family Album
John Hilliard, Sonata for the Sun
Alban Berg, Sonata
Recital Hall, 8 p.m.
FREE
For up-to-date information on School of Music Events, call the
24-Hour Music Hotline: 763-4726
E CLASSIFIED ADSI Call 764-0557

The 8th Warner-Lambert Lecture

Monday, March 13, 1989

Page 8

BY MARC MAZER

W OR RIED about paying offt
those student loans after graduation?.
I've got a sure-fire moneymaker for
you: open the Kleenex concession
at Hillel for performances of A
Shayna Maidel by the Ann Arbor
Repertory Theatre. You'll make a
mint.
There is a definite demand
among spectators of this play - a
tear-jerker if ever there was one. I
heard the whole second act through
a chorus of sniffles from the audi-
ence. Set in 1946 Brooklyn, the
play is the story of a concentration
camp survivor's reunion with what
little family the Holocaust has left
her. It focuses on the relationships
in the family, especially that be-
tween Lusia, the survivor, and her
Americanized sister Rose.
The production team did a fine
job putting the play on in a room
not really designed as a theater. The
stage area is quite small, but de-
signer Gary Decker managed to
build a very functional set that Carol Lempert (left) as Lusia and Robert Grossman as Mordechai prompted a flood of tears from the Hille
didn't seem cluttered. Every inch of audience in A Shayna Maidel, a story of a family's attempt to cope with the aftermath of the Holocaust.

available space is used, however.
The audience finds itself sitting no
more than a few feet from the ac-
tion, which is at floor level.
It is that enforced intimacy that
gives the production much of its
punch. While allowing close obser-
vation of the details of the charac-
ters' relationships, the proximity
also permits no escape from the
more heartrending aspects of the
play. One scene that was particu-
larly excruciating was when Lusia
and her father, Mordechai, compare
lists of family members, and she
announces their grisly fates at the
hands of the Nazis. At this point we
know the characters well, and hear-
ing the list makes the Holocaust
seem very real and immediate. It
ceases to be an abstract historical
event, and becomes readily gras-
pable in personal terms, which
brings home the true, human horror
of the tragedy.
With material this intense. cou-
pled with the intimate atmosphere,
the quality of the acting can make
or break the show. It- can either

Kleenex

coup

A Shayna Maidel: Don't see it without a hankie

seem overdone and melodramatic, or
flat and dull. This cast avoided both
pitfalls, giving a committed and de-
tailed ensemble performance. There
is little room for error with the au-
dience so close, but none of the
characters appeared over- or under-
drawn.
Carol Lempert stands out as Lu-
sia, managing to reveal her endear-
ing human qualities while never
letting us lose sight of the effects of
her ordeal lying just beneath her
surface. Robert Grossman gives us
a gruff-but-lovable Mordechai, as he
walks the razor's edge between cari-
cature and believable human behav-
ior. As the young Rose, Nicole
Hakim overcomes a curiously weak
first ten minutes, recovering for a
strong and affecting finish. The text
and cast flourished under the sensi-
tive direction of Yolanda Fleischer,

as she captured the nuances of the
family relationships without letting
the emotion inherent in the subject
get out of hand.
The text, by Barbara Lebow,
made her job easy. It keeps the fo-
cus on the family rather than the
Holocaust. The main flaws appear
at the end, where a few significant
events rush by a little too fast. Es-
pecially rushed is the discovery of a
hidden guilt on the father's part, as
we find he did not do all he could to
get his wife and daughter to Amer-
ica before they were taken by the
Nazis. A significant revelation that
had been built up to throughout the
play, it received short shrift in the
last part, inconsistent with its
emotional magnitude. Also disap-
pointing was the posthumous letter

from the murdered mother of Lusia
and Rose which did not live up to
the weight given it before and after
its reading. But the meat of the play
is well-crafted, and is a touching
portrait of a family trying to re-
group after a tragedy.
The whole production radiates
Realism, even down to the old mir-
ror-on-the-fourth-wall trick. It can
be difficult to maintain a realistic
style like this under close scrutiny,
but the cast and crew of Ann Arbor
Repertory Theatre manage to pull it
off. The show is intensely affecting,
and the intimate setting delivers the
emotion in the text to the audience
with full force. Given that, I would
only recommend that the company
make Kleenex available during in-
termission; most people are going
to need it.

i

0

The Replacements: Color us impressed

BY JIM PONIEWOZIK
AND MARK SWARTZ
THE Replacements, once a beer-and-Cheez-Wiz
band, are now a beer-and-caviar band. Tommy
Stinson's got a nifty red bow tie and nobody
threw up Friday night. But under their waxed-up
hair and their painted shoes, they're, as Paul
Westerberg announced, "still a little rusty."
Thank God.
"This is a song from our new - ahem ~
mature album," Westerberg said, almost choking
on that dreaded adjective, when introducing
"Anywhere's Better Than Here," and then let out
with a hyperactive child's yowl. Like a lot of the
songs from the just-released bid for superstardom,
Don't Tell A Soul, "Anywhere's Better" benefit-
ted from the live setting. Liberated from the wall-
of-silence production of the LP, its mean-busi-
ness guitar riff was proof that someone might be
comparing the Stones to them someday.
But though they showcased almost every song
on the new LP, the nearly two-hour set didn't
skimp on their past - their spirited opener,

"Color Me Impressed," from 1983's Hootenanny,
allayed any fears of that. "Answering Machine"
awd "I Will Dare," from their final Twin-Tone
release, Let It Be, brought the strongest response
In the Replacements' ever-para-
doxical style, they turned their
limitations into highlights... if they
have a distinctive gift, it's their
ability to fail as entertainingly as
they succeed.
from the sold-out Michigan Theater crowd, which
was comprised largely of longstanding fans.
The concert was their first in over a year, and
sometimes it showed. Tommy played the bass
intro to "I Won't" for over a minute before the
band decided to give the song another, and
sloppy, try ("It took us a fucking year to come

up with that?" Westerberg joked). Westerberg
also forgot his share of lyrics, and his throaty
delivery showed a definite Heineken-and-cigarettes
ceiling in the upper register.
But in the Replacements' ever-paradoxical'
style, they turned their limitations into high-,
lights. Seeing them blurt improvised lines into-
"I Won't" and watching Stinson drop a bass line
to pound on Chris Mars' cymbals wasn't a study
in perfection - but it was fun. If the Replace-
ments have a distinctive gift, it's their ability to
fail as entertainingly as they succeed.
Maybe the opening act, Canada's The Pursuit
of.Happiness, could learn a little of the same ad-t
venturism, or at least modulation. Singer Moe
Berg won over some of the crowd with pre-song
banter (including a rant against video producers
who suggested they "make more rock faces" dur-
ing their lip-synchs) and a few songs, including"
the bittersweet "Hard To Laugh" and the jaded
anthem "I'm An Adult Now," stood out, but
most of their opening set suffered from same-
ness.

0

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