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September 23, 1991 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-23

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ARTS
Monday, September 23, 1991

' The Michigan Daily,

Page 5

Frozen entree melts the heart

Late for Dinner
dir. W.D. R ichter
by Gabriel Feldberg
Seeing Late for Dinner is like watching a good TV
mini-series: about 20 minutes into it, you realize
you're sitting through some serious mediocrity,
which is why it's surprising that the movie is so
enjoyable. The film starts off in Santa Fe, 1962,
where a fellow named Willy (Brian Wimmer, a less
attractive Kevin Costner type) and his brother-in-
law Frank (Peter Berg) get framed for a kidnapping
they didn't commit. During their escape to Ca-
lifornia, Willy is shot. When they reach their
destination, they are taken in by a kindly doctor
specializing in, of all things, cryogenic medicine.
While Willy's laid out, Frank agrees to let the
doctor freeze them on the promise that everything
will be okay when they wake up. But they end up
staying on ice for nearly three decades. Through a
chain of intricate accidents, Willy and Frank are
miraculously thawed out. Meanwhile, after a 29 year
absence, Willy's wife, Joy (Marcia Gay Harden, of
Miller's Crossing), has become what is known as
estranged. Determined to win her back, Willy takes
Frank on a drive back to New Mexico and spends the
rest of the movie trying to convince her that their
love can still work.
This plot line might sound a little hokey, even
for a love story, but screenwriter Mark Andrus
throws in just about every endearing contrivance he
can to make you feel guilty if you don't like it. First,
there's the idyllic marriage between Willy and Joy,
which drips with Ghost-style passion. To make us
really get behind his lead, Andrus includes a scene

that showcases what a sensitive father Willy is.
Finally, as if all this weren't mushy enough, Andrus
throws in Frank. Frank didn't receive enough oxygen
during his birth, and as a result he says the kind of
sweetly naive things Benny does on L.A. Law.
Trying to dislike his character is like trying to hate
Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man.
A movie with this many excessively precious ele-
ments is maddeningly manipulative. All the conven-
tions in this film work, however. Knowing that he's
working from a formula, director W.D. Richter
never spoils things by being pretentious or in-
appropriately artful. The actors all deliver their
lines with as little melodrama as the script will
allow. The script itself is at times cutely poetic:
when Willy is shot he says that he's been "brutally
grazed," and when he returns after three decades, he
finds out that his Aunt Harriet has "moved out of
her body." But most of the disingenuous lines wash
by pretty easily despite themselves.
The best adjective to describe Late for Dinner is
probably "competent." It doesn't aspire to be a good
movie, just a movie that's good for what it is. If the
sniffles I heard coming out of the back row are any
measure, it definitely does its job. Late for Dinner is
very sweet, but then again, so is St. Joseph's baby as-
pirin. The kind of person who can watch one of those
maudlin McDonald's commercials and feel nothing'
but anger for what they've done to the environment
should probably find out what's playing at the
Michigan Theater. Those who are willing to go to
Late for Dinner, (who are in the mood for innocuous
PG fun) will probably be glad to have gone.
LATE FOR DINNER is playing at Briarwood and
Showcase.

ANTHONY M. CROLL/Daily
Sandra Bernhard showed off her muscular physique at the Power Center on Friday night. Unfortunately, our
photographer ran out of film right before she showed off more than that.
*Sandra strips; 3rd Bass
as,,scores; Jesus adored

Sandra Bernhard
The Power Center
September 20, 1991
At the risk of having my ass
kicked by the lovely, the talented
SAHN-dra Bernhard, I will call at-
tention to her satirical, lyrical
beauty, her bared breasts, and those
wonderful, awkward moments with
the microphone cord (wouldn't you
like to know!) Comedian, musician,
and the hippest Jew in America,
Bernhard "schlepped" her work-in-
progress to Ann Arbor for an
evening of song and whimsy. The
crowd loved Bernhard, and she loved
us - it was a beautiful moment.
But it was a tough love. From
the moment Bernhard stumbled
onto the stage, working a copper
beehive, rainbow-sequined briefs,
and a delicately beaded, oh-so-re-
vealing halter piece, she was ready
to talk some trash.
"I've been out-ed. Now it's your
turn," Bernhard shrieked, asking for
a show of hands from "kicky,
frivolous" bisexuals, and ostraciz-
ing the one cardigan-clad woman in
the second row who admitted to
complete heterosexuality, placing
her in the "third, and least in-
teresting category."
"No matter how confused you
are by my sexuality, remember this
- you're not as confused as me!"
Bernhard declared, softening the
blow of sexual antagonism and set-
tling the audience into a two-and-a-
half hour cabaret, punctuated only
with a short break and a tribute to
her new band, the Strap-Ons.
"I've been a lot of places this
past year," Bernhard reminisced fre-
quently. Her references to the
Parisian world of haute couture
reminded audiences of her in-
domitable hipness, but the most en-
dearing elements of the show were
the recollections of her roots. A
dyed-in-the-wool nice Jewish girl
from Flint, Bernhard told and sang
the tragic tale of her best friend
Stacy, who disappeared on one the
most important nights of Sandra's
young life (the night of Cat
Stevens' last concert before convert-
ing to Islam). Likewise, the por-
trayal of a Capri-smoking, straw-
berry Margarita-sipping single in a
disco is bitingly accurate.

Reverent references to Madonna
(Bernhard's alleged ex-lover) fu-
eled the comic's controversial edge.
Halfway through the show (which
didn't have an intermission),
Bernhard sighed, "Hm, I feel like
freshening up." Then she matter-of-
factly stripped down to her white
cotton briefs to change into a lime
go-go dress.
This self-deprecating/aggrandiz-
ing attitude toward her awkward
childhood andsher spindly body
created an instant bond between
audience and performer. And, while
her singing voice was often quite
strong and moving, Bernhard never
lost the edge that reminded viewers
that she's really too cool to take her
art that seriously.
The show reveled in the requisite
snarls that instantly became private
jokes. When Bernhard proclaimed
Michael Moore's assessment of
Flint as "bullshit," and pointed out
Kevin Costner's eternal surfer-punk
hair-do, the audience jeered apprecia-
tively. Queen Latifah was mocked
for her rapping self-references
(though they may be compared to
Bernhard's own style) and Bernhard
admitted dryly, "Now that Gyne-
Lotrimin is sold over-the-counter, I
almost want a yeast infection."
Bernhard's ambiguity between
straight art and sarcastic put-downs
kept the audience alert and apprecia-
tive. Her affectionate references to
her nerdy parents, "Oh my Gahd,
Shandra, if Shtacey doesn't show up,
I'll take you to the Cat Shtevens
conshert," evoked initimacy from
the larger than life performer.
The only time that this style
didn't accomplish its goal was dur-
ing an incense-tinged Hare Krishna
number in which Bernhard changed
the words of "Stardust" to apply to
the Persian Gulf war. Touching on
such. a sensitive subject amidst the
lighthearted, albeit introspective,
performance was a bit confusing.
As expected, Bernhard mixed
raunch with reflection, verve with
vulnerability, to create a musical
show that was as satisfying as a
late-night pizza. It probably wasn't
good for us, but it was a lot of fun.
- Elizabeth Lenhard

Ned's Atomic Dustbin/
Jesus Jones
Hill Auditorium
September 21, 1991
I was warned that Ned's Atomic
Dustbin was the finest live band in
Britain. And now, I have truly seen
the light.
Ned's gave a charismatic yet
sharp performance, thoroughly up-
holding their astronomical reputa-
tion. Covering most of the tunes on
their LP God Fodder and preview-
ing some new material (including
the potent recent UK single
"Trust"), Ned's gave all to a sur-
prisingly appreciative young crowd.
The band's 45-minute set dis-
played their tightness as a guitar-
based unit, and also highlighted
While Ned's
appeared to be
honest in their
presentation,
Jesus posed and
preened
their individual personalities. The
lack of pretentious attitude (and
musical abilities) also shone
through. Lead singer Jon, in particu-
lar, let loose effectively with his
swooping leg exercises and clear,
strong voice. The dueling bassists,
Alex and Mat, and the guitarist,
Rat, accented beats with roaming
bursts of spontaneous leaping.
What was so impressive was the
group's lack of self-consciousness,
and the ability to make their already
gripping songs of young adult life
("Grey Cell Green," "Kill Your
Television" and "Happy" espe-
cially) move into a higher state of
virility and meaning.
Headliners Jesus Jones also gave
a similarly vibrant performance,
simply using twice the amount of
time. But while Ned's appeared to
be honest in their presentation, Jesus
posed and preened, playing to back-

ing tapes - they reflected Brit pop
stars to a tee. The band's set covered
material from both of their albums,
and was well executed and enjoy-
able. Their arrogance and cockiness,
however, seen most notably in vo-
calist/guitarist Mike Edwards, de-
tracted from a potentially over-
whelming performance.
The show was saved in part by
Amusing Keyboardist Gen, who
prowled the stage, danced in circles,
and attacked his synth as if it was a
guitar, tossing it over his head and
from side to side. I was waiting for
him to set it on fire. The stage-wide
practical jokes, including a sipper
bottle squirting contest between
Gen and bassist Al, were rampant.
But no one explained why a
grown man in a diaper and bottle
was hanging out with the roadies
and techs, placing a cardboard baby
in front of the drum kit and making
the band laugh. I wondered for a
moment, but then I realized Jesus
Jones only cares about feeding their
own egos and being Entertainers.
The audience played along faith-
fully and worshipfully, hanging
upon every word and note, eating it
all up. And maybe Jesus Jones
deserved this adulation for their
outstandingly catchy yet sub-
stantive music, but Ned's ulti-
mately was more real, real, real.
- Annette Petruso
3rd Bass
Royal Oak Music Theater
September 21, 1991
Rap group 3rd Bass drew a crowd
of less than 200 to the Royal Oak
Music Theater Saturday night, but
still made this small crowd sound
like thousands.
The stage was converted into a
street scene with park benches,
phonebooths and a huge brick wall.
Two male dancers were disguised as
drunk homeless people. Soon there-
after, two female dancers dressed as
street women appeared on the stage.
Then the music began.
The phonebooth revolved to
reveal a throne where Pete Nice sat,
equipped with a cigar and walking
stick. Suddenly, lead rapper MC
Serch exploded onto the stage and
began rapping "The Product of the
Environment." As Serch rapped, the

dancers did impressive dance rou-
tines, including backflips, hand-
stands and complicated contemp-
orary dance steps.
The highlight of the show was
DJ KMD's mixing and scratching.
He displayed incredible tech-nique
and impossible acrobatic stunts,
managing to scratch a record, take
his shirt off, spin in a circle and
scratch the record again.
3rd Bass only performed five
songs, all from their latest record,
Derelicts of Dialect. The sound
system distorted the beat of the
songs so much that, at times, I
couldn't understand a word the
rappers were saying. It was even
harder to tell the songs aDart. The

louder the volume was turned up,
the more distorted the music be-
came. But the songs did manage to
flow very well.
Live, the music sounded similar
to tl'at on record, with the negative
addition of profanity. And even
though the sound was distorted and
the use of profanity was a turnoff,
the show was by far better than
listening to the album. 3rd Bass
really knew how to get the crowd
dancing and screaming. The group's
encore, the hit "Pop Goes the
Weasel," exploded from the
speakers. Despite the sound dis-
tortion, this song, the one that we
were all waiting for, was easily
identified. C. - .

Mike Edwards of Jesus Jones strikes a heavenly pose at Hill Auditorium
Saturday night. But the only divine intervention of the evening occurred
when our friendly campus rent-a-cops showed up to police the t-shirt
line. Luckily, the boys didn't have to liquidize any dangerous line-jumpers.

I _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _

i"

MSA NEEDS YOU!
MSA is presently taking applications for
University faculty/student committees.
Interested students should pick up an
application in the MSA chambers,
Irf1iflnr of 4l ea ir a in T Tniwn

1992 BSN
STUDENTS.
Enter the Air Force
immediately after gradua-
tion - without waiting for the
results of your State Boards. You
can earn great benefits as an Air
Force nurse officer. And if selected
during your senior year, you may
qualify for a five-month internship

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