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September 12, 1991 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-12

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 12, 1991 - Pag9

IMPROMPTU
Continued from page 8
prissy, sickly musical genius, one of
the greatest pianists and composers
in Europe.
Well, OK, Julia and Keifer they
wasn't. And, yeah, Entertainment
Tonight hadn't been launched yet in
the mid-19th century. But, fortu-
nately for us, novice film director
James Lapine and screenwriter Sarah
Kernochan (9 1/2 Weeks) have cre-
ated Impromptu, a semi-fictional ac-
count of this exceedingly strange
courtship. If the film sounds sort of
like Shirley Eder hosting Master-
piece Theatre or, worse yet, a PBS
version of Grease (he's anemic,
she's a nymphomaniac - watch the
sparks fly!), don't worry. Im -
promptu is a wildly entertaining
romantic comedy, one of the best
"light" films of the year.
Judy Davis (A Passage To India,
Barton Fink) stars as Sand, an inspi-
rational, outrageously likable fe-
DYLANS
Continued from page 5
thirteen when I got into the Beach
Boys. I was a bit bothered because I
was right into that stuff when
people were into punk, you know,
and all that. And I just didn't like
punk. I could care less about it. I
just used to put Beach Boys on and
get laughed out of town, but I
didn't care."
These events affected him enough
,so that after unfulfilling stints in
other bands, Gregory brought
together the Dylans. "(The Dylans
started) about like a year and a half
ago, now, that is," he said. "I'd
finished with the other band that I
was in and when I was in another
band, they never played how I
wanted them to play. And I always
had these ideas, so I hooked up with
two mates that used to come to the
gigs of the other band that I was in,
and we just started doing stuff like
that. Just started doing, not demos,
but recording, right? Well, you
know, as best. as we. could on the
.crap stuff we had.
"We got about eight songs and
we just sent it to a local DJ and he
played it loads until everybody
knew about it. And the next thing
we knew, we had a deal. We got peo-
ple phoning us up, like big record
companies, and we're going wha?
wha? wha? And within two months
we had a deal. And we didn't play
live. We said we're not playing live
for anybody, because we didn't have
a band, you see. It was just the three
of us pissing about... Beggar's
'Banquet said, 'Oh, it doesn't matter,
we'll sign you anyway.'
"So when we did 'Godlike,' it
didn't sound anything like that
and... see, I've always loved Ham-
mond organ, always, you know?
And this guy Quentin (Jennings),
the keyboard player, just arrived on
his bike outside the rehearsal room
the day before we recorded the
:single and said, I think you should
let me play with ya.' So I said all
right, I'll give you a ring... I went
and fetched him from his house, and
he brought his organ up, plugged it
in and went, 'Nnyyeeaaa,' and I said,
'Yes, yes.' So he came down the day
after and recorded it."
Despite the congenial manner in
which Jennings joined the band, the

history of the Dylans is replete
x* with personnel changes. "Just me
and Jim (Rodger, guitarist) have
been there all the time," Gregory
said. Until the afternoon that
Gregory and I spoke, Garry Jones
played the drums. "We're sacking
him this afternoon," he said. "Yeah,
because, I mean, he's not right for us
at all, he's not the album at all."
Jones is being replaced by Andy
Cook. But Jones was not one of the
original three that Gregory men-
tioned before. "That was another
guy called Andross," he said. "We
sacked him. We sacked the old man-
ager as well. It's a nightmare when
you have to sack people. You don't
want to, but they tend to be real
weird."
And indeed, Andross was quite
weird. "He'd stop practicing and go
'Woh woh woh woh woh woh woh
woh woh woh, it's not right, it's
not right, what're you playing,
what're you playing?"' Gregory
said. "Somebody would be playing a
seventh chord, and he'd say, 'None of
that jazz chord shit, none of that
jazz chord shit.' He said, 'Listen,
I've got perfect timing, I've got
perfect timing. Listen to this: one,
two, three, four."'
The songs that the Dylans create
have nothing to do with being fired.

male character who does exactly
what she wants to do, including
dressing in men's clothes, scorning
her (many) former lovers and
doggedly pursuing "the Polish
Corpse," Chopin, played by British
actor Hugh Grant (Ken Russell's
The Lair of the White Worm).
Shocked and morally offended by
her bold advances, as well as a bit
too frail for the whole sex thing,
Grant's Chopin is both infuriating
and hilarious.
Also featured in the excellent
cast are Mandy Patinkin as the bit-
ter Alfred de Musset, poet, play-
wright, obnoxious drunkard and one
of Sand's former lovers; Julian
Sands as composer Franz Liszt;
Bernadette Peters as Liszt's schem-
ing mistress, Marie D'Agoult; and
Emma Thompson (Dead Again) as
the moronically shallow Duchess
D'Anton, who invites the artists to
her impressionistically pastoral
country estate, in the hope of soak-

ing up some culture and notoriety.
Lapine, the Pulitzer prize-win-
ning theater director of Stephen
Sondheim's Sunday in the Park With
George and Into the Woods, was the
perfect choice for this film, which
evokes a spirit similar to 1988's
Dangerous Liaisons (minus the out
of place tragic ending). Impromptu
even has the feel of a musical or a
ballet, with the work of Liszt or
Chopin serving as an omnipresent
soundtrack.
But the most satisfying aspect of
the film is the demystification of
great artists such as Chopin, Liszt,
Sand and Eugene Delacroix (played
by Ralph Brown), through their of-
ten outlandish sexual and creative
antics. Viewers easily become lost
within the subtly drawn lines be-
tween history and fairy tale.
IMPROMPTU plays Saturday and
Sunday at the Michigan Theater .

everything like good weather...
catching right good rays and
vibrations off people 'round and
swallowing it all."
Real drugs, however, played a
role. "Well I used to do it all the
time when I was a kid, you know,"
Gregory explained. "So I obviously
got loads off that. But just doing
acid helped me look at-that in that
kind of way. You don't have to take
that to do it, but it enlightened me.
"When I was young, I used to
not know that a lot of weird people
used to exist. It just. seemed like

they were on the telly... Then you
leave home, and you move and you
rent a flat, and you get loads of
weirdos pulling 'round. You think,
'Oh, that's where they got the ideas
from. These people really exist."'
Tomorrow, read about Ned's
Atomic Dustbin. Colin Gregory
says, "I think just playing power
pop, post-punk stuff is really retro-
gressive, and that's. what I think
Ned's Atomic Dustbin do. It's not
my cup of tea."

Frederic Chopin (Hugh Grant) is shocked when Marie d'Agoult (Bernadette Peters, remember, Steve Martin's,
love interest in The Jerk?) whispers to him, "Fred baby, you can tickle my ivories anytime you want!"

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