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April 02, 1990 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-04-02

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Monday, April 2, 1990

The Michigan Daily

Page 9

Animation festival




XXII International
Tournee of Animation
various directors
by Mike Kuniavsky
By my rough estimate there are 144,000
individual pictures in the XXII International
Tournee of Animation. At least some of
these will be interesting to everyone.
The Tournee, once again blown up to 35
millimeter, printed and distributed by Ex-
panded Entertainment (the same people who
blow up, print and distribute all of the ani-
mation "festivals" that come around every
couple months or so) is a collection of re-
cent award-winning and innovative anima-
tion. Though technically around since the
late '60s, the Tournee has only been avail-
able to the general public since 1986 and has
only very recently received the wide distribu-

tion it deserves.
Traditionally, the Tournee has not only
been a forum for the display of technical in-
novation, but a place for animators who or-
dinarily could not show their work to a wide
audience because of its "provocative" or
"controversial" nature. Regrettably, with this
year's installment, the festival's tendency to
show anything and everything seems to be
fading. In past years there was an over-
whelming trend toward sex, black humor and
sometimes morbid animation that criticized
various social tendencies; this year, there is
much less of this and much more PG-type
humor (the fact that the moronic, derivative
"Arnold" claymation character appears for the
second time in as many years and that last
year Expanded packaged all of their
"questionable" animation in a show called
Outrageous Animation testifies to this).
To put it bluntly, the Tournie has sold
out to the Great Satan, MTV. Though there
really isn't anything wrong with MTV, it is

a sign that the Tournie unfortunately seems
to be succumbing to pressure from those to
whose tastes it must cater - maybe they're
trying to reach cartoondom's loyal pre-teen
Standard "oh no, they've sold out just
like Bowie!" regrets aside, this is one of the
most impressive collections in a while, in a
line of very impressive collections. The
show begins and is occasionally punctuated
by a series of Far Side-esque visual one-lin-
ers by Bill Plympton (25 Ways to Quit
Smoking, Your Face), called, appropriately,
Plymptoons (and commissioned by MTV).
Though not as perversely funny as his other
recent work, these serve as a good context
for the other, deeper stuff.
One of the best pieces is Nathaniel Horn-
blow6r's and Chris Casady's (Pencil Dance)
video for the Beastie Boys' "Shadrach,"
which not only matches, but surpasses the
hyper, incessant, fetishistic song with its
own spinning, colorsplattered visuals.

What's even more impressive is that the
whole thing is done in oil paint. I can't
imagine how this would look on a small
screen, but it sure is an intense experience
on a big one.
Another excellent piece of work is Ned-
jelko Dragic's surreal, psychedelic, autobio-
graphical Pictures from Memory, which
traces the animator's private life from his
birth in Yugoslavia, through World War II
and into the '60s. There's a lot of commen-
tary in the complicated images, each one of
which could stand alone as a work of art.
Balance, by Christoph and Wolfgang
Lauenstein, is a minimal parable (with lots
of political overtones) about six humans on
a balanced plateau in space. It's very well
One of the last pieces in the showing is
Joanna Priestly's (Voices, the video for
Cyndi Lauper's "She Bop") All My Rela-
tions, which drips so much sarcasm that you

almost drown in your chair and end up want-
ing to slink into a corner.
Other than these, there are also 16 other
pieces which range from academic, Disney-
style animation (A Touch of Deceit, Cat and
Rat) to animation with humans (Gisele
Kerozene). Some of these are very entertain-
ing, some are cute, some are just plain
stupid (Juke-Bar, for one, is a 10-minute
piece that culminates with a single, dumb
joke), but for the most part this is one two-
hour show that has more to offer than all the
Transformers and Smurf cartoons put to-
gether. Ultimately, if nothing else, this is ,4n
opportunity to see the inner workings of
artists' minds, something that no camera, no
film, can ever capture as well.
OF ANIMATION plays through April 11 .at
the Michigan Theater.

Thelonious Monk
Straight, No Chaser
Warner Brothers
Thelonious Sphere Monk was an
pddball jazz pianist who had a
strange taste in hats, and unfortu-
nately during the early stages of his
career, he garnered more attention for
-his personality than for his music.
As a matter of fact, many if not
.most of the critics in the 1940s and
early 1950s saw both him and his
-musical creations as jokes. Unlike
'other be-boppers such as Charlie
"Bird" Parker and Bud Powell, Monk
did not play long, undulating and
blisteringly fast improvisational
melodies. He preferred to sit down at
the piano and lay out sparse and dis-
sonant right-hand lines supported by
unique rhythmic attacks from his
harmonically daring left hand. Many
people thought the guy certainly
could not be serious - the ridicu-
lous musical jokes would soon dis-
appear along with their creator.
They were wrong, of course.
"Monk's music," to borrow from
one of his early album titles, was
sometimes humorous, sometimes
serious, often beautiful and almost
always brilliant. And by the late
'50s folks began to listen to the
"Sphere" sans smirks. By the time of
the release of his 1962 album
Monk's Dream, the pianist was be-
ing heralded as a major jazz com-
poser, perhaps the most important
one since Duke Ellington. Through-
out the '60s Monk recorded several
more albums in solo, trio, quartet
and big band settings. After the early
'70s a chronic liver ailment forced
him into retirement.
The recently released documentary.
film, Thelonious Monk: Straight,
No Chaser, is a beautiful, heart-
warming and ultimately heartbreak-
ing portrait of the man and his mu-
sic. The soundtrack album contains
several performances that have never

been released before and will surely
be of interest to any Monk fan.
There is really nothing to criticize in
this record as far as the performances
are concerned. (In fact, I know of no
recording on which Monk has not
played in a thoughtful manner.)
Worthy of special recognition is the
octet version of "Evidence." This is
the only full take ever recorded with
the group and it is a fine one. A few
of the musicians sound as if they are
just blowing over chord changes, but
Monk's longtime tenor saxophonist
Charlie Rouse makes good motivitic
use of the (for lack of a better term)
melody. Rouse's comments on
Monk are included in the snippets of
dialog from the movie heard on the
The album begins with a short
biographical sketch of Monk, nar-
rated by Samuel Wright. In the
background Monk's quartet can be
heard performing his composition
"Straight No Chaser." It would have
been nice if a full performance of
this piece had been included, it being
the namesake of the album after all,
but the music is cut shortly after the
narration is completed.
At the end of the album Thelo-
nious Monk, Jr. makes some clos-
ing remarks concerning his father's
death. Once again the piece played in
the background, Monk's gorgeous
and celebrated ballad "'Round Mid-
night," is cut off before its comple-
tion. In between these two frustrat-
ing moments, though, is some ex-
cellent music. From the quartet ver-
sion of the pretty waltz "Ugly
Beauty" to several solo piano per-
formances, Monk is always in fine
form. Excellent liner notes are pro-
vided by Orrin Keepnews, who pro-
duced many of Monk's albums dur-
ing the early part of the pianist's ca-
Once, when speaking of the ini-
tial resistance with which his music

met, Monk said "I say play your
own way. Don't play what the pub-
lic wants - you play what you
want and let the public pick up on
what you are doing." Sorry it took
us so long, Thelonious.
-Phillip Washington
Queen Latifah
Come Into my House (12")
Jungle Brothers
What U Waitin' 4? (12")
Tommy Boy
"What U Waitin' 4?" is an over-
whelmingly seductive track for the
dance floor. The beat comes in, sim-
ple and smooth, followed by an or-
gan humming in with all the
intangible presence of incense.
"Ahhhhh, yeah," a JB says.
"I like the way this is goin'
down," another one replies. Like on
their wonder track "I'll House You,"
their voices serve as instruments for
the groove to back up. Their
strength is not derived from delivery,
for the most part. Their semantic ef-
fectiveness, always satisfying, gives
the message a literary power that
many rappers lack. On this track, the
three bros employ the use of mas-
sive suggestion to push up
wallflowers, with every other line
somewhere along the lines of "you
don't know if there'll be anymore,
so YO, what u waitin' for?"
The Queen of Royal Badness,
with DJ Mark, reworks "Come Into
My House" with more of a universal
spirit, adding to the sparse instru-
mentation of the original LP version
with many more clever references,
such as "one nation under a groove"
and Latifah giving her voice a lot
more room to breathe. Her crowning
glory is, in fact, the gorgeous
melodic delivery that she only some-
times lets loose. This ability does a
great deal to breach the rift between
the fixed abstraction of hip hop and

other, more "academic" strains of
music. Also reworked is "Latifah's
Law," now more of a legitimate
funk workout and a far cry from the

insane bass fest it was.
"With the Native Tongues releas-
ing more dance music than anything
else, a lot of it good dance music,

the options for rap's future continue
to widen.
-Forrest Green III


International Automotive Industry Conference
Public Forum
April 3, 1990
1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
-- Free to U-M students, faculty & staff --
Allan Gilmour
President, Ford Automotive Group
Fujio Cho
President, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, U.S.A.
Jean-Yves Helmer
Executive Director, Automotive Division, Peugeot
James Hook
Group President, MASCO Industries
Bob King
Was VL__IFTA11T T' * 'I1A

The Ann Arbor News
The Detroit News
T S 3YdbTau 1ai6g


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The Detroit News Eitr ndPu -he
tFaurdd Aug. 23, 1873 Thomas J. Bray
rA Gannett Newspaper Editorial Page Edori
t Christine Bradford
t Managing Eddtor
t ~James L Gatti
PabiniedOait. it.,ra sn anearDeputy Managing Editor'News
615 Ligayoe nie aro Seine Mvii aam 6Susan Wyland
5 Deputy Managing Editorfeatures
£ Aitoodresday January 10. t9D .
Ann Arbor's Reefer Madness ...
t 'How many marijuana'related deaths were there reputation, it doesn't appear to shiow many signs of
'in Ann Arbor last year' Fur that matter, how many it. As for 'gateway drugs." one could just as
wrre there nationwide? The answer is we don't plausibly argue that alco~hol is mare of a threat
tknow. The government than pot.
doesn't provide any Msti~ research
figures. Presumably,_ shows few people have
that in because there r t used marijuana who
-weren't any. Why then " didn't also use alcohol.
is the Ann Arbor City- first. Is that an argu-
Council moving tn _ mens far banning alcs-
toughen the city's anti-_ hol iagain)?
'marijuana law, which Mark Thompson.
treats poisession as an editor of the California
ordinanee violation '., ~ Lawyer, reported Mon-
punishahle by a $5 fine.~ day in the Ntall Street
rather than as a sate -~ Journal that despite a
'misdemeanor? w,. massive and enpensive
I The answer seems federal, state and localt
to be little more than i J effort riser the last see-
the politics of symbol-.Jehciitears. the state has
1 im. Almost no one I utterlY failed to eradi-'
seems to believe that '[ rate marijuana cultiva-
passage of the referen-in. The campaign
dum raising the fine toi has merely caused the
$25 would have the growers iii become ever
slightest effect on mar- more ingenious. e.g.,
juana use in Ann Arbor. Indeed, as some have camouflaging their fields. growing the plants in-
suggested, the increase would merely adjust the doors. etc. The lesson seems toithe that as lung as
1974 law- for inflation, millions of Americans a-ant marijuana- it's here to
The nine to two vote by the Republican-con- stay.
troled City Council to schedule the referendum for Ideslly, no one should use drugs. But a realisticI
this spring comes asan odd time. The Universityof drug policy balances the vary'ing decrees of risk
Michigan's own research shows that marijuana uise aso baewt atclrdug n hscac
by teen-agers is on the decline. No one seems to sfbning them.
dispte hatalcholis farmor seiou helth The people of Ann Arbor have twice voted furr
dputbemthAn Alco hi ar mreseioun helth their current marijuana law. Once, in 1974, to
probem i An Arbr thn mrijunainstitute the law and again in 19&3 to prevent it
-Mayor Jerry Jernigan has heen quoted assaying from heing repealed. Raising the fine to $25
that the pot law gives the city a bad reputation probably won't have much effect oine way tic
nationwide, that Ann Arbor is having an increas- another. But we're sure that Ann Arbor's City.
ing prohlem wiih crack and that marijuana is a Council could have foiunda nmorr priductive use for
'gateway' drug. If Ann Arbor suffers from a bad its time.

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