The Michigan Daily
Monday, December 10, 1990
Yeah, another reunion
by Peter Shapiro
N ever before has The Specials'
immortal line from their classic,
1981 single, "Ghost Town," sounded
o prophetic. "This town is coming
i~ce a ghost town" indeed. No,
there's no warring on the dance floor
at the Nec or the U Club, nor has
the racist ideology that spurred the
Bixton riots found its way to the
Hill or Briarwood, but damn, the
music scene in this town has re-
gressed to a level heretofore un-
known in the "cultural capital of the
Since Barrence and his Savages
hit the Blind Pig in September, the
only band that understands the value
of a driving beat that has graced A-
squared's various dives and prosceni-
ums was X-Clan a few weeks ago.
But, of course, anyone can spin a
couple of Parliament discs and
groove harder than any one of those
brutally monotonous Sub Pop/ Am-
,hetamine Reptile/ Twin Tone/
axx Traxx "musicians."
How many times do we really
need to see a bunch of long-flowing-
cretins who can't get enough booty,
so they have to bicker about it to
their paying throng of adoring cult-
niks who'll stick around only long
enough to reap the rewards of bur-
eoning fame. Nasty sex for nasty
sex's sake is as completely devoid of
human emotion as any conglomera-
tion of Hammond B-3's or 808's
digitally-producing dance beats by
processing binary code.
If, like Lady Miss Kier, you "just
wanna hear a good beat," you don't
have to resort to reconstituted and re-
contextualized James Brown, P-
Funk, Sly and Chic records/ grooves
*in Tree Town, U.S.A. for the first
time in recent memory. With the
worldbeat craze snowballing, it's
suddenly hip to dig ska once again..
As a result, a supergroup along the
lines of Asia or Emerson. Lake and
The only thing worse than old hippies are old new wavers. At least Rankin' Roger and his geriatric pals in the
Special Beat probably can't afford to set up a 1-900 number.
Palmer has formed from the ashes of
The Specials and The (English) Beat,
The Special Beat.
Name aside, The Special Beat
kick out some of the most clever and
insinuating grooves to be heard in
any club. Before the Brits got hip to
synths through the pioneering work
of Gary Numan, A Flock of Seag-
ulls, The Human League, Howard
Jones and Kajagoogoo, the ska re-
vival of the early '80s had dance
floor hegemony because of its com-
bination of lilting Caribbean
melodies and rhythms with the tem-
pos of The Buzzcocks and X Ray
The twist and crawl, the bassline
that is ska's foundation, is as snaky
and ass-shaking as its name implies.
Unlike its western cousins, funk and
disco. ska aims at producing a
groove that makes subtlety and an
almost unconscious "whine and
grine" its message instead of the
earth-shattering whomp of Bootsy
and Bernard Thompson. Horace Pan-
ter, the man responsible for the un-
bearably infectious slithering
grooves of The Specials' "Message
to You Rudy" and "Too Much Too
Young," will be producing The Spe-
cial Beat's rhythmic undulations
along with another ex-Special, John
Bradbury on the skins.
The furious punk-infused kinetics
that was the setting for both bands'
frenetic explorations of social and
sexual politics has been maintained,
but the feverish message has given
way to an emphasis on the classics
like Toots and the Maytals'
"Monkey Man." Leading the
"Ranking Full Stop" will be Rank-
ing Roger himself, hopefully having
forgot the pop disaster of General
Public, and ex-Specials toaster
Neville Staples, who will provide a
much grittier foil for Roger's accent
than Dave Wakeling's glossy croon-
ing did with The Beat.
Sure, The Special Beat may be
the equivalent of The Allman Broth-
ers re-forming without Duane or The
Doobies getting back together at all,
but the potential power of hearing
"Stand Down Margaret" as fulfilled
prophesy is as hard to gainsay as the
Velvets getting back together.
THE SPECIAL BEAT plays the
Nectarine tonight with THE
TOASTERS opening. Doors open at
9 p.m. Tickets are $13, available at
TicketMaster (of course, there will
be an evil service charge).
The Gilbert and Sullivan Soci-
ety's production last weekend of
Princess Ida was in no way idle.
Displaying much energy and talent,
the society unfolded a musical com-
edy full of laughter.
Castle Adament, an all-women's
university, is the setting of Gilbert
and Sullivan's Princess Ida and a
curious place to to the men of the
King Hildebrand's kingdom. Hilde-
brand's son, Hilarion, determined to
find his promised bride, enters the
castle with two friends, and they
humorously get themselves caught
up in games and battles with the col-
Colorful yet simple, the staging
effectively displayed a festive mood.
Lively flags and a floor composed of
colored geometric shapes established
a playful background for the show.
The strips of pastel- colored drapes
which covered the stage in the first
scene gave a soft and sweet feel to
the bethrothal of the one-year-old
princess and the two-year-old prince.
The brightly-costumed chorus who
actively sat on stage not only framed
the action but added to the cheerful
quality of the show as well. Much
merriment was exhibited in the lun-
cheon scene at the women's univer-
sity with sounding lunch bells, royal
goblets and plump grapes.
The three sons of King Gama
(Mark Brenner, Reuben Guerra and
Erich Jungwirth) evoked much
laughter with their clumsy and vul-
gar slapstick. But even more of a
scream was King Gama himself.
Played by the talented Charles
Sutherland, the hunchbacked King
accurately described himself in the
song "If You Give Me Your Atten-
tion": "I have an irritating chuckle/
and 4 celebrated sneer/I live between
a snicker/ and a fascinating leer."
Another comical scene oc-
cured when Prince Hilarion (Mitch
Gillett) and his friends Cyril (Jeffrey
S. Smith) and Florian (Curtis
Peters) scaled the walls of Castle
Adamant and entered the women's
university. Dressing themselves in
"classic shades" like the women stu-
dents, the three men then shimmied,
shaked and wiggled their hips declar-
ing, "Willy nilly, we are maidens
Sullivan's music delightfully
accompanied the funny plot and
added to the rustic feel. The foot-
stomping throughout the show, al-
most music in itself, emphasized the
warlike subplots while adding a
complementary rhythm. Addition-
ally, Princess Ida (Saa MacBride)
demonstrated an enchanting voice in
her solo "I Built Upon a Rock."
Early in the play, one of the
prince's friends asks curiously about
the all-women's university which re-
jects everything masculine. "Ah,
then they have male poultry?" "No,"
Princess Ida's father answers, "The
crowing is done by an accomplished
hen." Witty and decorative, clearly
the Gilbert and Sullivan Society was
not chicken to present an entertain-
More fun at
The University of Michigan
Children's Theater, a newly formed
student organization, debuted with a
flourish. Their production of Joseph
Robinette's work, The Fabulous
Fable Factory, was an exercise in
energy, rapid movement and creative
imagination. Like chickens with
their heads cut off, nine actors ran
around the Arena Theater stage last
Thursday and Friday nights in an
out-of-control frenzy. Donkeys
brayed, pigs snorted, and tortoises...
tortoises talked. Disorder was order.
Kids laughed. Adults guffawed.
All this started when a little girl
named Millicent (Elizabeth Keiser)
was looking for something to do and
happened into the bizarre world of
Aesop's fables, only this time
cranked out by a machine. Her
struggle: should she go home and do
her chores, or should she stay and
help make up stories for the rest of
"There's a lot more room for ex-
perimenting," attested director Illana
Trachtman in an interview previous
to the performance. "Actors get to
play a lot of different parts, includ-
ing two or three animals."
Out of a cast of nine, the only ac-
tors who remained "people" as we
know them throughout the entire
play were Millicent and Aesop (Troy
Hollar). The others constantly
changed roles. Combined with a load
of exaggerated physical action, this
continual switching served to create
comic scenes that were funny to the
80-year-old as well as the eight-year-
old. These seven actors, each dressed
in a single solid color, made up Ae-
sop's fable machine. Their dress em-
phasized that they were all parts of a
mythical invention, a fantastic story
generator. At a simple flip of an
imaginary switch, these actors were
called to play contemporary rendi-
tions of classic fables like "The City
Mouse and The Country Mouse"
and "The Ant and The Grasshopper."
The nondescript dress made the shifts
of character plausible.
Hollar played Aesop well, por;
traying the weird old man with a
quavering, high-pitched voice that
pleased the children in the audience
See WEEKEND, Page 7
@2 Nasty 4 Radio
Great concept/cash in by the rap
label: put Ice-T's extremely topical
"Freedom of Speech" on an album
and throw together as many offen-
sive raps as you can. How spiffing
that misogyny can hide behind noble
free speech values. All the men on
this album exhibit a deep-seated fear
*of women. After hearing these songs
you'd think vaginas had teeth, and
you start to believe all that Freudian
guff about castration complexes.
These guys must feel really insecure
about the miserable oily tubes be-
tween their legs.
Some of the beats on this album
are down, especially Eric B's
scrunchy thud on Kool G Rap & DJ
Polo's "Talk Like Sex." Kool G
*spits out relatively harmless stuff,
though he confesses with some
pride, "I think with my dick/ So
come on, baby, brainwash me."
Kool G's greatest moment of lyrical
invention comes with the line,
"Chicks are on my dick like human
Ice-T, man of subtle LP sleeves,
exclaims "Girls L.G.B.N.A.F." My
my, why so reserved, Monsieur
Iceberg? The initials stand for "Let's
get butt naked and fuck" so why not
be frank and open in the first place.
After all, you're such a radical mofo
coz you recorded with Jello Biafra,
Male Phuck fantasies on this al-
bum sound like letters in Penthouse
Forum with a smattering of violence
to make things more titillating for
our phallus-obsessed rappers. The
slothful, lumbering Grand Daddy
I.U. demands some serious fellatio
from his "bitch" (nice, eh?), but then
slaps her around because she hasn't
brushed her teeth. The Diabolical Biz
Markie who has a mean bassline be-
hind him relates the tale of "A Thing
Called Kim." Biz falls mistakenly
for a transvestite and tells us about
his narrow escape. Why any
transvestite should want to even
glance at the likes of an ugly obese
bastard like Biz escapes me.
Most hysterical are the sound
effects on The Genius' (sic)
"Superfreak," which features a
woman in an unrealistically constant
state of arousal while being sprayed
by buckets and buckets of said
Big Daddy Kane's brain is located
in one of the thick veins in his
throbbing member. His "Pimpin'
Ain't Easy" points out oh so gra-
ciously "Extra Extra/ Here is a bach-
elor comin' straight at ya/ I see trim
and bag it/ Take it home and rag it/
The Big Daddy law is anti-faggot/
That means no homosexuality." Big
"homophobic wanker" Daddy proves
as unconvincing when he extols the
virtues of exploiting prostitutes.
Ditto the irritatingly nasal M.C.
Shan with "I Ran The Game."
As one social worker said of sex-
ist rappers, "You have to understand
these guys. I've studied them, I've
worked with them, have developed a
rapport with them, and there is really
only one thing for it: Chop them
off, chop those things off, whip
them off! Off with those 'nads!"
Thankfully, Roxanne Shant6
wipes the floor with the boy idiots,
dissing them to death and exposing
all their harassing habits with the
magnificent "Brothers Ain't Shit."
These ones sure ain't.
See RECORDS, Page 7
1olhe~ad dr natural1
/l bestcappuccino - reaj
_____ (7fl/ ____
III In ,
you from other
U of M senio
Do you and your friends have any
unusual habits or traditions that you
would want to share with
your fellow students?
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