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November 17, 1989 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-11-17

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Page 8 -The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 17, 1989


Glass enter 'Vortex'

"GREGARIOUS and congenial,"
says Allen Ginsberg of the poet
apotheosis of the Beat Generation,
namely, himself.
Of Philip Glass, one of the most
acclaimed contemporary composers
and always an innovator, Ginsberg
comments, "He's quite an amazing
energy man. A vegetarian."
Tonight, Allen Ginsberg and
Philip Glass will present an evening
of poetry And music at the Michigan
Theater, climaxing with their joint
performance of "Wichita Vortex Su-
tra." The show is a benefit for Jewel
Heart, a Tibetan Buddhist center lo-
cated in Ann Arbor.
Ginsberg wrote "Wichita Vortex
Sutra" during the Vietnam War.
About a year and half ago, a vet-
eran's group approached Glass about
a collaboration with Ginsberg deal-
ing with the subject of Vietnam. By
chance, the two ran into each other
ih a New York City bookstore, and
Glass told Ginsberg about the idea,
and Ginsberg knew which poem they
were talking about. "I showed him
that in the bookstore and then he
wrote the music and then we re-
hearsed it and performed it at the
Lincoln Center."
Both were so satisfied with the
piece that they decided to work to-
gether some more. Ginsberg and
Glass are currently preparing Hydro-
gen Jukebox, which will consist of
poems from Ginsberg's Planet
News read by Ginsberg with musical
accompaniment by Glass.
Neither of the two performers are
strangers to collaboration. Glass and
Robert Wilson worked together to
create Einstein on the Beach, the
seminal music-theater work, and has

also worked with David Byrne, Lau-
rie Anderson, and Godfrey Reggio,
the director of Koyaanisqatsi.
As for Ginsberg, "I've always
collaborated. I collaborated with
Kerouac and Burroughs way back."
Since then, Ginsberg has worked
with other writers, as well as musi-
cians, including Bob Dylan, Don
Cherry, the Fugs, and the Clash.
Just this past week, Island records re-
leased The Lion For Real, in which
a group of "literate composers," ac-
cording to Ginsberg, creates music
for his poetry, which he peforms on
the album. "Poetry and music have
always been aligned," explained
Besides the presentation of
"Wichita Vortex Sutra," Ginsberg
will read some of his other poetry,
and Glass will perform works from
his latest recording, Solo Piano
Ginsberg will select poetry from
throughout his career. Explaining
his plan for the evening's agenda,
Ginsberg said, "Most of the younger
generation only know what is in an-
thologies. So what I'm going to try
to do is connect with readers that
way and then bring it forward in
time and show what I've been doing
recently, because the work I've been
doing recently really interests me."
Glass will perform "Metamor-
phosis," his five compositions based
on Franz Kafka's short story. Two
of these compositions were actually
used in a stage version of
"Metamorphosis," and two others are
based on themes Glass developed
while scoring Errol Morris's film
The Thin Blue Line. Previous years
have seen Philip Glass play the
Michigan Theater with his Ensem-
ble, but this time he's traveling
light. In the liner notes to Solo Pi-

Big names grow
Steel Magnolias
"Men are supposed to be made of steel," mutters Sally Field's
character M'Lynn, with just a touch of sarcasm, in Steel Magnolias, the
new film based on the hit off-Broadway play by Robert Harling. Harling,
who also wrote the film's screenplay, refuses to abide by that other old
piece of wisdom as well, the one which tells us that women are supposed
to be more like flowers, with beauty sort of getting balanced out by
fragility. Harling's very real characters transcend any traditional gender
lines, not because the playwright has any special insight on what it
means to be a woman, but because he is able to overlook their sex and
treat them as human beings.
Field tops an excellent cast in this simple story of the friendship that
is shared and the strength that is achieved by six women in a small town
in Louisiana. In the same vein as Terms of Endearment (lots of Puffs are
recommended), Steel Magnolias at times gets a bit too carried away with
hugging and holding hands and crying, but for the most part it is funny,
touching, and easy to relate to.
The plot centers around a power struggle between mother and
daughter; Field's M'Lynn still wants to make decisions for her baby,
Shelby, played by Julia Roberts (Mystic Pizza). The film begins on
Shelby's wedding day, with Shelby insisting on blush and bashful, two
shades of pink, as the colors for the wedding ceremony, despite her
mother's desperate pleas in the name of good taste. The two eventually
cross on much more important issues, such as Shelby's decision to have
a child despite her doctor's warning.
Much of the film's action takes place in the local beauty parlor, the
only set in the original play, which serves as a meeting point for the
women. Dolly Parton is suprisingly likable as Truvy, the shop's owner,
always perky and Dolly-like on the exterior, but secretly envious of the
close family life of M'Lynn.
Easily stealing the show, however, is Shirlcy MacLaine in her
hilarious role as Ouiser, M'Lynn's cantankerous, terminally grouchy
neighbor. Although it could be argued that she was typecast, MacLaine's
performance is definitely Oscar nomination material, the only complaint
being that she is used as the butt of too many jokes, some of which get
very cheap (sorry, but a bird shitting on her head just isn't funny).
Only Tom Skerritt sporting a lime-green fishing hat as M'Lynn's
obnoxiously good-natured husband is able to compete with MacLaine at
scene stealing. Also putting in a typically strong performance is
Olympia Dukakis as Clairee, the late mayor's well-to-do widow trying to
recapture her past. Daryl Hannah, barely discernible under horn-rimmed
glasses, rounds out the cast as Annelle, the mysterious new girl in town
who gets a job at Truvy's.
Award-winning director Herbert Ross strategically leaves us with a
standard there's-always-hope ending (the final scene features the town's
children on an Easter Egg hunt), but the film's main appeal is its
simplicity, taking the audience on a casual drive through life's many
cycles. Birth, death, marriage, togetherness, cakes baked in the shape of
armadillos, all of these are events which most of us have or will someday
experience, and Steel Magnolias is one of the few films able to capture
them all.
STEEL MAGNOLIAS is playing at Briarwood and Showcase Cinemas

Poet Allen Ginsberg, the quintessential Beat icon, hopes to make younger
fans aware of his more obscure works. This photo was taken by Robert
Frank, the director of the classic hipster opus "Pull My Daisy."

ano, Glass says, "Touring by myself
is very easy. With the Ensemble,
there is about two tons of equipment
to transport as well as eleven people.
But when I travel by myself, there is
no tour manager and I carry no mu-
sic - it's all in my head."

GINSBERG will perform tonight at
the Michigan Theater at 7:30 p.m.
Student rush tickets are $8. Gins-
berg will show up at Shaman Drum
from 3 to 5 p.m., while Glass will be
at Schoolkids from 3 to 4 p.m.

- 25
- 25

Copies on Resu
Matching Blank




- 25 Matching


Fun fact #26: Former Michigan Daily Arts writer
RJ Smith is now gainfully employed at the
Village Voice. In his happy days here, he wrote
about Jazz.You can too. Don't miss this remark-
able career opportunity. You'll get free tickets
and records too.
Call 763-0379
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Daryl Hannah, fresh from her cameo in Crimes and Misdemeanors,
plays the new woman in town in Steel Magnolias. Dolly Parton and
countless other impressive people co-star in this song of the South.


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