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November 07, 1990 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-11-07

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Page 8 -The Michigan Daily -Wednesday, November 7, 1990

EGG
Continued from page 7
dance, are mesmerizing in them-
selves, especially when combined
with haunting Japanese music.
When they dance, Sankai Juku's
members sometimes look like
'suspended embryos [who]... become
cadavers' in the words of George
Jackson of the Washington Post."
"Wow. Sounds intense, where do
I sign up?"
"Well, to tell you the truth, the
art of Butoh, as you'll see, is such a
complex combination of emotional
and physical pain and beauty, that it
can only be mastered with years of
training and dedication. Amagatsu
and his dancers often do exercises
such as denying themselves sleep to
recreate the primordial atmosphere,
necessary to get to the kinds of deli-
cate, intense, natural movements'
that characterize the dance. Besides,
the popular group's tour schedule is
just grueling. But you may like to
witness them in their spellbinding
mixture of convulsive egg worship-
and docile meditation in a pond. If
so, this graceful, deeply intuitive ex-
amination of humanity and its pri-
mal relationship with nature can be
viewed for just twenty dollars. Be-
lieve me, it will be something like
you've never seen before."

Paley speaks of
past and future

A member of Sankai Jutu triumphantly displays Unetsu's centerpiece;

"Woh, sounds better than a
seance on acid. So, what does Un-
etsu mean anyway?"

"It means, 'The egg stands out of SANKAI JUKU will perform
Curiosity'." Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m.
"Of course it does!" at the Michigan Theater.

Prince s n
Graffiti Bridge
dir. Prince
by Michael Paul Fischer
"-A aaugh," shouted one person'
Friday out of an uncomfortably vo-
cal crowd watching Prince's Graffiti
;bridge, "this looks like a Pepsi'
commercial!"
Who would have ever believed it?
The man who wrote "Darling Nikki"
- which inspired no less than the
formation of the censorship-minded
PMRC - has given us a movie
which, for all intents and purposes,
may as well have been rated "G."
Graffiti Bridge, the screen sequel
to 1984's sexy blockbuster Purple
Rdin, is a Christian allegory of lofty
intentions: but that in itself is not
lame.In the face of rampant ni-
hilism, it actually turns out to be a
much more challenging gesture than
any recent censor-provoking one-up-
smanship. But unlike tough-message
b movies such as 1987's Wall Street
- or even his own Sign O' The
Times album of that same year -
Graffiti Bridge romantically skirts
anyconnection to the rough realities
of its audience. The kids out there
listening to 2 Live Crew and
NJ.W.A. (presumably the ones Prince
hopes to reach with this story of
spirituality defeating materialism)
want to watch Prince get nasty - ,
not see the hero/anti-hero coming off
as an idealistic sissy in a '50s-stylea
Twin Cities West Side Story.,
Since 1988's Lovesexy album,
which finally alleviated his spiritual
confusion by developing a world-

ew Graffij
view where the sex act becomes a
metaphor for communion in God,
Prince's focus has shrunk to story-
book battles between good and evil.
Apparently God had persuaded him
to release Lovesexy instead of the
obscene, infamous "Black Album";
afterward, a soundtrack involvement
marked Prince's sympathy with the
theme of Tim Burton's 1989 epic
Batman. But in the videos for Bat-
man, we still saw Prince playing
both sides - his face painted half as
Batman and half the evil Joker.

fi: hardly
in a nightclub called The Glam
Slam, the greedy Day battles The
Kid for its control, which for some
unexplained reason also determines
the fate of nearby "Seven Corners"
clubs like "Clinton's House" and
"Melody Cool." Newcomer Ingrid
Chavez is improbably, sighingly
beautiful as the guiding angel Aura,
the first Prince "chick" who doesn't
look like a Frederick's of Hollywood
model. After winning her affection
from Day (but not even getting
laid), Prince mistakenly battles Day
with symbolic violence, finally us-
ing "love" to prevail in a disas-
trously quick conclusion.
Purple Rain worked because it
was a movie about a rock star, but
Graffiti Bridge is a simplistic "rock
opera"; and it plays very short for a
90-minute film.
The effect is visually reinforced
by a slick, stylized soundstage look
reminiscent of the thematic snippets
in his 1987 "concert" movie Sign O'
the Times, where characters took
sides in one-word exchanges
("Love"; "no, money"). That had
sounded just outrageously profound,
and some thought Sign O' the Times
was really great; but Graffiti Bridge
is so unforgivably obvious, it starts
to elicit unintentioned laughter -
not unlike the 1986 debacle Under
the Cherry Moon.
"Seven Corners, two must fight/
One wants money, one wants love/
Without peace and love nothing is
going to turn out alright," muses
Aura's poetry. In one scene, she
paints a heart on Prince's blouse
(black, not purple!) and silently
points upward; Prince flexes his jaw
to bite an apple but recoils teasingly
about three or four times; "Do you
believe in the hereafter?" asks Aura
of the Mercedes-driving Day in a
whimsical seduction scene.
Basically, Prince's idea of subtle

)rofane
"clues" amounts to three crane shots,
spaced out throughout the movie, of
the message "It's just around the
corner" scrolling over a Times
Square-style electronic marquee.
But the precious, almost reverent
importance Prince bestows on his
own scenes is at least offset by some
welcome comic relief in the form of
Day's irresistible character. From
the opening scene - where Day
measures up his business mates by
forcing them to eat hot chili peppers
raw - to the flames that ring his
stage during The Time's performance
of "Shake! ", Day is cloaked in
riotous devil imagery. In Graffiti
Bridge's slyly funniest passage, Day
and his foppish lackey Jerome Ben.
ton put up their dukes in a nervous
showdown - instead of pulling out
fists, though, each contests
supremacy by placing all his cash on
the table, to the sound of Eric
Weissberg's "Duelin' Banjos."
More campy silliness like this could
have made Graffiti Bridge's sym-
bolic movie nostalgia (the title
song, particularly, sounds like an
outtake from Grease) a bit easier to
stomach.
Realizing a signature visual style
of pinks, blues, and fuchsia, Grafti
looks great (even though Spike
Lee's latest nightclub flick looked
mo better). And in a weird way,
Graffiti Bridge brings a welcome
sense of innocence to the rock movie
format. Best of all is the music,
which as a whole constitutes
Prince's strongest track-for-track al-
bum since Sign O' the Times, and
maybe Purple Rain itself: in brief
moments where haunting, timeless
cuts like "The Question of U" or
"Thieves in the Temple" hit the
screen, everything seems to magi-
cally levitate.
Ultimately, though, the music's
kaleidoscopic variety of styles really

by Kim Yaged
Short story author Grace Paley
chomped carrots in my ear as we
spoke on the phone, but my tape
recorder beeped in hers, so it
evened out. Regardless of her nu-
merous accolades (she was hon-
ored by the National Institute of
Arts and Letters) and published
books (Little Disturbances of
Man being my favorite), she is
extremely approachable. The
subtle authority in her voice in-
formed me that school was in
session, but I was a zealous stu-
dent enrolling in the final avail-
able space in the best course on
campus.
K.Y.: Which of your charac-
ters can you relate to most?
G.P.: A lot of the women
characters are really as though
they were friends of mine. Al-
though they're not really real they
could be people I know well, very
close in some respects. I guess
this person, Faith, people think
is me, except she leads a totally
different life than I've led. I don't
think of her as me. What she is is
someone who could be a really
close friend of mine. She's some-
one I might know right from this
very neighborhood.
K.Y.: What of your accom-
plishments so far has felt the
best?
G.P.: I've done a lot of politi-
cal work and that's meant a lot to
me too. For instance, in 1969
during the Vietnam War I went
to Vietnam. I was in the north,
and I travelled back and forth. And
I think that was probably one of
the most astonishing experiences
of my life, although I've had oth-
ers. We're so shielded from war.
So to go there and see the war
that we made and see the people
was extraordinary.
K.Y.: Do you see the situa-
tion in Central America, nowa-
days, in the same way?
G.P.: I see it in the same way,
but what I'm worried about now,
although you can't stop worrying
about Central America, I mean to
leap from one thing to another,
which we do as Americans, and
even as American political people
[who say] 'Oh yeah, well now
we're finished with Central Amer-
ica; we're now up into the Middle

East.' Well, you can't, you hav 41
to keep thinking about it all thy
time, the whole thing...
K.Y.: Religion, anti-war and
women's issues recur frequently
in your writing, are they part of
your everyday life?
G.P.: Yeah. For instance, I'm;
in New York now and I live
mostly in Vermont. But yesterday;
morning about ten women did -a:
walk right in this neighborhood,
not a big organized demonstra4
tion, in which we said war is tho
enemy. We beat this drum, and;
we solemnly walked through tlie;
streets.
K.Y.: How do you feel about:
the women's movement?
G.P.: I think the women's:
movement has been wonderful
It's had a lot of conflicts -:
women have really knocked each
other's brains out, but in general:
things are really quite different
from when I was young. A lot Of:
things are still terrible, but that
means there's just more work td;
do, that's all.
What's scary, and what yo4
young women have to see i
don't let this government and this "
Supreme Court take away your;
rights from you, because let mq
tell you it was terrible. I'm nod
just talking about abortion. I'n
talking about just going to a doc-
tor. I'm talking about contracep;
tion. And the fact that the Church;
and the State really tried to pre"
vent contraception from being
sold or talked about. And that's
not so long ago cause I'm not
ninety years old, I'm sixty1
K.Y.: What advice do you
have for the beginning writer?
G.P.: The main thing is have
a low overhead. Write - read ani
write. And live in the world
There's so many things that you
have to do that are just natural. If
you love literature and you love
writing and you live naturally in
your own way, you'll be truthful,
and that's really what it's about.
K.Y.: Who is Grace Paley?
G.P.: (laughs) Nobody knows
themselves. It's other people..
We illuminate each other.

Il

0,

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I

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His Royal Badness
In Graffiti Bridge, the semi-
autobiographical character called The
Kid - which Prince portrayed with
remarkably self-critical frankness in
Purple Rain - turns one-
dimensional. Maybe its direc-
tor/writer/composer, as he recently
confessed in a rare magazine inter-
view, is actually a much nicer per-
son now. Regardless, all of the good
lines end up going to his evil coun-
terpart Morris Day - who again
stars as himself, but this time with
an even more attractive/repulsive
charisma.
Bequeathed an equal partnership

GRACE PALEY will speak at
Hillel, 1429 Hill St., tonight at
7:30 pm. Tickets are $8. Student
tickets are $S with i.d.

____ __ _

just brings a superficial complexity
to an unexpectedly banal story. Why
is it that Prince - whose music
albums bring forth so many
compelling questions - comes off
as simply idiotic on the movie
screen? It might be because music is
a more mysterious medium, while
films are more like real life - and
Prince is simply out of touch with
reality. It figures that the only really
clever reference in Graffiti Bridge is
a musical one: "There's a riot goin'
on," someone exclaims before Prince
physically "battles" Day with the
pyrotechnic funk of "Tick, Tick,
Bang" - recalling the title of Sly
and the Family Stone's 1970 record
about racial strife. But lost in the

thin script, even the presence urban
and gospel-music heroes George
Clinton and Mavis Staples bring no
sense of historical context to this
fantasy.
Prince has finally put his heart in
the right place. But Graffiti Bridge,
unfortunately, makes too much
sense. Like Milton and countles
others before him, Prince made: t
crucial mistake: Graffiti Bridge
gives us a Satan who ultimately
comes off as the cooler guy to hang
out with.
GRAFFITI BRIDGE is playing at
Showcase.

r i

__ __ 1 - - - - - --

DAILY ARTS NEEDS WRITERS
with some background in these areas:
Folk Jazz Classical Music
Dance Books Art
Te(ephone 763-0379 for more information

BROTHER MALCOLM

F
R
k
N

is coming.

. .

Be prepared,

November 30,

1990 4

Order your college ring NOW
JOSTENS.
A M E R I C A S C O L L E G E R I"N G T"

I

"Roosevelt's

paralegal
program

Litigation " Real Estate
Corporations" General Practice
Estates, Trusts & Willss
Employee Benefits Plan
" >aie A.B.A.-approved program in~a
" Effective employment assistance
* Four-month day and eight-month
evening classes
* Loop, Arlington Heights, Oak Brook and
Olympia Fields locations
* Student loans for qualified applicants

Stop by and see a Jostens representative,
November 7-9
11 am tnnm_

was my
stepping-

{

14

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