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April 16, 1990 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-04-16

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, April 16, 1990 - Page 9





of TV

by Jen Bilik
People magazine awarded it an
A+, The New York Times put it on
the front page of their arts section
and the Village Voice devoted a
cover story to "Rad TV." There
hasn't been this much hoopla since
J.R. was shot, but this time people
are actually hailing Twin Peaks as
quality TV. Is this an oxymoron, or
have filmmaker David Lynch and
partner Mark Frost actually suc-
ceeded in breaking the boundaries of
Last Sunday, the two-hour Twin
Peaks pilot aired after a year of clan-
destine bargains, near-cancellation
and insider speculation. Although
Twin Peaks went into production in
early 1989, ABC's equivocation re-
garding its actual debut produced al-
most as much mystery as the show
itself. The very fact that Lynch,

known for his independent produc-
tions and less-than-savory eye for the
bizarre, had agreed to do TV was
enough to start people talking. It
seemed an incongruous marriage, to
combine the vision of Eraserhead
and Blue Velvet with the medium
that weekly offers trendsetters like
Alf and Geraldo.
But it works. Not only the pub-
licity, but the show itself. Lynch,
who claims to watch very little TV
himself (except for a brief period
from 1966-1969 when he was
hooked on the daytime soaps), has
combined the standard whodunnit
drama with the implausible passion
of Another World, and maintains a
surprising integrity with his own
style. Lynch also confesses to hav-
ing watched Perry Mason as a kid,
so it's easy to speculate on the roots
for his venture into television.
Twin Peaks (for those of you in

the dark) starts off, as normal mys-
teries do, with a murder. Laura
Palmer, homecoming queen and soc
extraordinaire, is found dead on a
beach in the quiet little town of
Twin Peaks. As in Blue Velvet,
Lynch has placed this story in a
small Northwestern American town
that seems frightfully uneventful un-
til one scratches the surface. Lynch
maintains his artistic assertion that
normalcy itself is suspect, and be-
neath the surface of every warm
community lies the vice of the big
city. Lynch would go to a family
party and film Aunt Trudy and
Cousin Joe locked in embrace behind
the back shed. He belies his obses-
sion with the mundane with his evil
glee in seeking the worst from the
simplest of folk.
After finding Laura dead, the in-
vestigation is underway and the
small town of 51,201 has fallen out

Masters of the


Writers Rubin and Pike work with plot, humor

by Jay Pinka
A little laughter is your one-way ticket out of the an-
nals of misery that have been a trend in literature of
the 19th and 20th centuries - that is, according to
writers Gay Rubin and Larry Pike.
Rubin, who is completing a degree in the M.F.A
writing program at the University, will read from her
work-in-progress, Cornucopia, tonight. Rubin
snapped up the idea for this short novel, "a love story
about a really terrific guy," from "a vegetable man
who told me how he met his wife."
"I extrapolate a lot from my experience," says Ru-
bin. "My work is about the relationships people have
with children, parents... about illusion and disillu-
sion... society's expectations and rewards as opposed
to the individual's inner rewards."
Even though the vegetable man hailed her narrative
curiousity from her very own kitchen, Rubin is any-
thing but the sterotypical introverted "closet writer."
The writer is a dynamic member of the literary com-
munity. For many years she published Michigan Hot
Apples, an anthology of both famous and unknown
Michigan writers. Rubin's work has appeared in the
Wayne State University feminist journal, Moving
Out. A member and past president of Detroit Women
Writers, she developed the Cranbrook Writer's Confer-
ence, and recently taught creative writing at the Uni-
versity. She milks her variety of experiences into a
progression of events that make readers appreciate the
resurrection of plot, the foundation of narrative.
Rubin's writing has changed, of course, although
she has "always gravitated toward fiction... for a while

I wrote stories that were almost poems... now I'm re-
ally concentrating on storyline,"
Larry Pike, professor at Macomb County Commu-
nity College and ex-writer for the Gargoyle, will
show us some tricks with which he weaves the color
of humor into narrative when he reads from The Knit-
ting Room this evening.
Pike who graduated with a B.A in English from the
University in 1954, went on to be the second student
to graduate with an M.F.A in poetry from Wayne
State. His appearances in the Michigan Poetry An-
thology and this year's Passages North only hint at
his success at communication. But like Rubin,
although he can't say why, Pike is presently finding
solace in fiction writing.
Pike, who wrote Now That Good Jack Arm-
strong's Gone (1981), and Hideout Matinees (1982),
will soon be the proud father of a third, Pierced By
Sound. Sound like a spiritual revelation? If laughter
heals the soul, then to swim through the storylines of
Pike might be a cure-all for the miasma of intellectu-
alism. A fan of E. B. White, Nathaniel West and
William Faulkner, Pike finds that "their comic senses
have reinforced my own."
Pike delivers two kinds of pizza: "The humor that
makes you choke on your laughter, and the humor that
makes you feel rich as you smile.... I like to be able
to do both."
"I think there's a comic spirit in writing that we're
going to see more of in America," says Pike, "There's
going to be more of the second variety."
GAY RUBIN and LARRY PIKE will be reading tonight
at 8:30 p.m. at Guild House.802 Monroe.

of its Eden. Sheriff Harry S. Truman
(Michael Ontkean) starts the investi-
gation, but after a second girl creeps,
bloodied and bludgeoned, across the
state line, the FBI is called in the
form of Special Agent Dale Cooper
(Kyle MacLachlan, a Lynch veteran
of Blue Velvet and Dune). Agent
Cooper seems like a dog in a danc-
ing school with his tendency to di-
gress from matters at hand, but he
sees minutiae that others miss, and
his instincts are ludicrously on-tar-
get. As a character, Agent Cooper is
probably the most likely evolution
of the Lynch legacy, with his non
sequiturs and anal-retentive quirks.
He talks constantly into a mini-tape
recorder to a mysterious "Diane," and
it's anybody's guess whether or not
she actually exists. He informs her
not only of new evidence, but also
of the fabulous cherry pie at the lo-
cal diner.
Lynch plays with the standard
mystery/soap opera archetypes, en-
grossing one scene in sappy music
and tears and the next in red herring
clues and cliffhangers. He brings
slow pacing into television with a
tendency to linger on characters a
few beats beyond normal length,
making the viewer feel like a
voyeur. The music itself is a mix of
somber theme melody and jazzy snap
beats with a walking bass, indicating
the mood of each scene. Lynch plays
with our viewing habits here, too,
by occasionally mismatching upbeat
music with a scene of grieving, as if
to challenge the viewer's ingrained
tendency to be manipulated by mu-
As a mystery, the plotdefinitely
holds up to scrutiny. By the end of
the pilot, we are no closer to learn-
ing who dunnit than we were at the
start. Instead, the plot has thickened
to indicate a slavery/pornography
ring, cocaine - and possibly super-
natural phenomena. Unlike Agatha
Christie, Lynch drops countless
clues and systematically contradicts
their relevancy. He is able to include
as many as 15 significant characters
without watering down their ability
to engage us. And it's in its charac-
ters that Twin Peaks distinguishes
itself from other television and cin-
ema in the soap/mystery world.
Lynch and Frost present a script
replete with odd characters who break
the spell of suspense with their pe-
culiar quirks. In the pilot, a woman
who always carries around a log is
introduced simply as the Log Lady.

The scenes with Sheriff Truman's
secretary are perhaps the most comic
of both episodes; she seems to come
from the Carol Kane school of com-
edy with her blend of ditz and id-
iosyncracy. When the Sheriff re-
ceives a phone call, she tells him
she's transferring the call to another
line: "The phone in the other room,
by the chair, the black phone. You
know, the phone by the lamp. The
lamp we moved from the other room
yesterday. Not the old lamp, but the
new one." There's only one phone.
She arranges donuts like a sumptu-
ous spread, piled according to kind
and arranged in a rainbow across a
huge table. The Sheriff's photogra-
pher cries at every crime scene, and
in the hallway of the high school a
kid smurfs across the background
with no explanation.
As the mystery continues to un-
fold in the first regular episode, di-
rected by editor Duwayne Dunham,
it's partially evident that Lynch was
not at the helm. The scenes are
shorter, more like typical TV with
its rapid cutting. The camera doesn't
have nearly the same tendency to
fetishize objects into enigmas, and
conversations are snappier. Yet the
script is just as good, and the quick-
ened pace could be partly due to time

constraints. By the end of the first
episode, we actually have a couple of
suspects. Everybody, even the good
guys, is having clandestine, adulter-
ous affairs with everybody else. All
the characters are still unrealisticAlly
beautiful (thank God for TV), and
the town still seems mired sonie-
where between the '50s. and rhi-
crowave ovens.
Seven episodes have already been
made, and ABC will show them all,
regardless of ratings (which have
been at the top of the charts). ABC
will then decide whether or not'to
pick it up as a standard, weekly
series. Even mostly minus the
Lynch directing touch, if the next
six shows are as good as the first
two, this is something to watch. I
can't see what they'd do after the
mystery's been solved as far as a
long-term series... commit more
murders in Twin Peaks? Even
Lynch's evil conception of the small
town can't realistically go very far
beyond this one incident. But for the
meantime, Twin Peaks is a refresh-
ing addition to the world of the
couch potato.
TWIN PEAKS will be shown 'on
Channel 7 at 9 p.m. Thursdays for
the next six weeks.

Continued from page 8
campus. As the number of students
in the department grew, the format
changed to include only student
works. In th%, beginning, public dis-
cussion of the pieces took place after
each Forum, but with further expan-
sion of the program this too was
Graduates of the University of
Michigan composition program
often go on to become part of the
mainstream of contemporary Ameri-
can music. Many alumns who were
represented in these forums have
won some of the most prestigious
awards in music composition, in-
cluding three Pulitzer Prizes (Leslie
Bassett, George Crumb and Roger
Reynolds), numerous Guggenheim
and American Academy in Rome
Fellowships, Charles Ives Fellow-
ships, as well as commissions by
the major orchestras and chamber
ensembles in the United States and
The concert offers music for
nearly every taste, from works for
traditional ensembles (Roy Swan-

son's String Quartet; Stacy Garrop's
Babelon: Trio for Strings) to com-
positions for percussion with other
instruments (Glenn Palmer's Kik
But and Deniz Ince's Violentella)to
pieces with dance and narration
(Black Art by William (Bill) C.
Banfield). Also to be heard tonight
are Matthew Iskra's Stalin's Last
Symphony, Jacques Desjardins's En
Noir en Blanc, Phosphenes by Erik
Santos, Winter Songs by John Vis-
concelos Costa, Sanctus by John
Strang, Five Miniatures by Clint
Bajakian, Eric Witt's Being and
Mark Kilstofte's Missa L'Homme
on the Range, with members of the
OK Chorale.
be held in the School of Music
Recital Hall tonight at 8 p.m. Ad-
mission is free.
You want it all.
We've got Hylights
Daily Sports

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