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October 08, 1991 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-10-08

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ARTS
Tuesday, October 8, 1991

The-Michigan Daily
' io~es From
Onderqround
Arts vs.
Politics... Is
# there an
Underground?
"Stand! There's a midget stand-
ing tall... and a giant beside him,
about to fall..."
- Sly Stone, "Stand"
Let me begin by stating that a
Black man has.a column on the Daily
Arts pages now.
.Now that that's out of the way,
let's get into that concept, the Un-
derground. It's certainly an ab-
straction, but I think it works. So if
Sly had any success with that tune I
just quoted, we may be in business.
Within the' confines of what we
call political correctness, easily d-
stroying most of our possibilities
for free thought, Ann Arbor is a dis-
tinctly fertile ground .for protest.
The Underground concerns how le-
gitimized our every avenue for ob-
jection has become. I consider my-
self conservative, since universal va-
lues such as human rights and the
environment mean a lot to me. Yet
I've just trapped myself. The seman-.
* tics involved will suffocate all of
the meaning that .went into that
statement: So kickin' knowledge
from the lowest, simplest level, .be-
ing Black, it's obvious to me that
this country has never had "tra-
ditional American values."
So-called conservatives have the
audacity to diss me, an English
major, for studying non-white cul-
tures.. Yet, the only facets of Amer-
- ican culture that remain distinctly
white today are those stagnant
trains of thought that are forced
upon us, notably the canons of
traditional English literature and
his-story. The quest for conser-
vatism seems to lend itself to any-
one relatively callous and ignorant
enough to applaud cultural subjuga-
tion and deprivation.
By the way, it is of considerable
importance to mention that the new
columnist is Black. If you aren't
familiar with my writing, this
slight detail might slip by you. It's
an easy mistake. That's how a mono-
lith works in the minds of those
dealing. with it, forcing everyone.
into 'categories of us vs. them.
Which brings me to another side of
the issue.
I just realized that' student ac-
tivism at the University has become
more a popularity contest than an'
actual struggle, at least on the Black
side. More time is wasted in rever-
ing figureheads than struggling for
answers. -That is, too many of us
seem to be looking -at people as
walking solutions when we possi-
bly should be looking for new ones
ourselves. Recognition of a leader,
pulling that person out of the
Underground of relative obscurity,
could only do a movement more

harm than good. The scope of leader-
ship within -the community is
marginalized to a select few.
..Unfortunately, my own- picks
for the true leaders of the Black
community may never receive ac-
knowledgement, because they aren't
accepted on a mass level. They ha-
ven't stepped out. of the Under-.
ground, where they truly belong.
So here we have a group that has
consolidated its thoughts so that
there is no room for new ones from
down below, and another one that is
striving to be the same way.
It is my. personal philosophy
that the most relevant change comes
from the'bottom; that is, in any sys-
tem, the truly radical thoughts ris-
ing to the -top will overturn every-
thing in their way. All the median
levels of knowledge, the safer, read-
ily-accepted ones, will be.absorbed
or legitimized.
Is there an Underground?
In the following months, we'll
be looking for answers to that ques-
tion and revealing how it extends
See NOTES, Page 7

Page 5

I

Poet Kenyon proves
Constance is a virtue

by A. J. Hogg Let Evening Come. "I might read'

"I love to make my poems acces-
sible 'to people. I love to give them
to people." This simple statement
would apparently explain why Jane
Kenyon, born and educated here in
Ann Arbor, spends so much of her
time giving readings around the
country at universities, hospitals,-
nursing homes and small-town li-
braries. "It's such a solitary business
to be a writer, so utterly solitary,"
she says. "The reading is a way of
knowing instantly that your work
really touches people. I see people
cry. at my readings. I see people get
very. quiet and thoughtful, and this
really rewards me."'
In 1969, as a junior here at the
University, Kenyon won the Avery
Hopwood Award for poetry.
."Galvanizing" is her word for the
award's effect upon her. "X. J.
Kennedy was one of the judges," she
says, "and he really loved my po-
ems. It really meant a great deal to
me." 3ut even before winning the
award, Kenyon knew that she was
going to become a writer. "It was
just something I did," she explains.
"And as time has gone on, it seems
to me that it's the only thing I'm fit
for, so here I am, still at it."
This afternoon she will be read-
ing selections from her' latest two
books, The Boat of Quiet Hours and

one (poem from her first book,
From Room to Room), if prevailed
upon," Kenyon says. "I generally
don't. I suppose maybe someday I'll
feel friendlier toward that first.book.
There are a couple of poems in it
that I still like. It's funny. I do
many a reading without reading any-
thing from that book." She will also

"We are temperamentally very
close," she says, "and I learned a
great deal from her. What I learned
from her is the absolute truth that
the image is totally adequate to carry
meaning and feeling, that the image
is absolutely to be trusted to be the
carrier of feeling."
Judging from her work, however,
Kenyon has known this truth all
along. From a short poem about a
man standing at the fresh grave of
his infant daughter to a longer piece
about chopping down a tree in her
yard, the powerful effect of the im-
age is what grabs Kenyon's readers.
And while her images range from
such locales as Barbados to O'Hare
Airport, the strongest are those set
in the natural and rustic settings of
what can only be New Hampshire,
her current home.
An excerpt from her poem
"Bright Sun after Heavy Snow" is
characteristic, with simple language,
a strong central image and a pleasant
rhythm. "Again I recall a neighbor's
/ small affront - it rises in my
mind / like the huge banks of snow
along the road: / the plow, passing
up and down all day, / pushes them
higher and higher ...."
JANE KENYON will be reading at 4
p.m. today in the Rackham Amphi-
theatre. Admission is free.

Moody John Mellencamp does the matador look. The dangerous plague
of artsy-fartsy is ever-a-prayin on Mellencamp's pure rock 'n' roll soul,
but beyond his fashion sense, this painter/musician remains unscathed.

Kenyon
be including some new poems drawn
from a work .in progress, entitled
Constance.
If time allows, Kenyon may also*
read some of her translations of
Anna Akhmatova, whose style is
remarkably similar to Kenyon's.

John Mellencamp
Whenever We Wanted
Mercury

Incredibly (stupid) H ulk acts
Hogan-mania spreads from the back cover of the
Fall time schedules to a wacky big screen comedy

Suburban
Commando
dir. Burt Kennedy
by Gabriel Feldberg

outer space looking to terminate
Shep. It would ruin the suspense to
say that Shep wins, but since the
fight here is as predictible as one of
Hogan's matches, there's hardly any
suspense to ruin.

Last year a review by Bill Apter of Suburban Commando is one of
Pro Wrestling Illustrated stated that those rare movies that makes you
Hulk Hogan was so bad in the movie appreciate Three's Company's in-
No Holds Barred that even telligence. The.story is as stupid as
Sylvester Stillone could give him the belief that Hulk Hogan could
acting pointers. That means that a possibly be French. Hogan has said
guy who gets paid to believe in Ho- . that the film was meant to be a kind
gan's wrestling theatrics thought of send-up of the action sub-genre
It would be wrong to say that Suburban
Commando has no virtues whatsoever. It is,
after all, only 85 minutes in length, and Hulk

some, like, really radical moves on a
skateboard is pretty awesome, but
most of them probably aren't tall
enough to ride the bumper cars at
Cedar Point.
Shelley Duvall has a fairly mi-
nor part in Suburban Commando, so
maybe her role will be forgotten.
and she'll bounce back from this
disaster. Then again, since her
Popeyc debacle, she'll be lucky to
be able to land a spot on Hollywood
Squares. You have to feel bad for
Christopher Lloyd, too. The poor
man squirms through the picture
with an expression of pain and em-
barrassment, and he puts absolutely
no energy into his performance.
Lloyd can't be blamed, though: he
probably spent everything hehad
trying to say, "You see, Shep's an
alien warrior who foiled this man's
plan to rule the universe," with a
straight face.
It would be wrong to say that
Suburban Commando has no virtues
whatsoever. It is, after all, only 85
minutes in length, and Hulk Hogan
does punch out a mime. If you want
to see Hogan but can't spare any
time in the next few weeks, don't
worry - you may get another
chance. There's already talk of a
Suburban Commando sequel, and
it's rumored that Robert DeNiro
may put on 11 inches and play the ti-
tle character in Raging Fanning
Salon Lunatic: The Hulk Hogan
Story. Can't wait for that one.
SUBURBAN COMMANDO is play-
ing at Briarwood and Showcase.

A few years ago, Springsteen,
U2, Sting and Mellencamp (when
Cougar was his middle name)
were promoting new records at
the same time, and coincidentally,
all of them took their sweet time
following up. During their down
time, the bands kept fans aware of
their existences with charity per-
formances, but refrained from
recording for their own reasons.
Bruce "settled down" (again),
U2 and Sting coasted for a while,
but Mellencamp needed to cool
off. In a magazine interview
following his release, Big Daddy,
he was extremely cynical about
the government for not helping
the farmers, (even though they are
paid not to farm) and toward us
for not buying his record (even
though it did not come close to
the superb Lonesome Jubilee).
Mellencamp didn't even want to
go out on the road; all he wanted
to. do was paint.
Then the word came that
Mellencamp was back in the
(recording) studio, and when I

least expected it, Whenever We
Wanted was finished and on its
way to stores. In terms of produc-
tion, quality of songwriting ind
musicianship, this record is easily
one of the year's best releases, but
I hope Mellencamp realizes he has
put together a collection of fine,
yet unpopular pop songs. While
all the tracks on the album can
put anyone who thinks he/she is
playing raw rock 'n' roll to
shame, there is no "Lonely 01'
Night" or "Small Town" quality
single to catapult sales to those
that are expected of Mellencamp.
Nevertheless, the album is far
from disappointing.
If any tune could be a hit, it's
"Now More Than Ever." With
the guitar hook at the introduc-
tion, the listener expects one of
John's typical 3:30 rockers. Once
the verse arrives, however, it once
again becomes apparent how tal-
ented Mellencamp is. His skilled
arrangement is showcased es-
pecially well when he sings over
a bass-line and Kenny Aronof's
cowbell and rim clicks. The sud-
den change of instrumentation
makes the song that much more
See RECORDS, Page 7

Hogan does punch out

a mime

i A
Daily Arts wants you, the undiscovered. banid""
who cannot get a gig in the tight: Ann Arbor
club scene, to send us your tape aind information
we might writs about you, and mnybe you can
GET THAT SIG BREAK.
Send 'em to 420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor 48109
or Just drop them. off.

that the ex-champ's cinematic acting
was laughably unconvincing. Kinda
scary, isn't it?
Perhaps Hogan is only as good as
his scripts. Most critics admired his
work in that Right Guard commer-
cial, but sadly, his most recent film
isn't blessed with such a witty
premise. In Suburban Commando,
Hogan plays Shep Ramsey, an inter-'
galactic crusader hiding out on earth
until- his spaceship recharges its bat-
teries. While he's waiting, Shep
rents a room from Jenny (Shelly.
Duvall) and Charlie Wilcox (Chris-
topher Lloyd). They think he's from
France. Bounty hunters roll in from

created by the likes of Stallone and
Schwarzenegger. It's hard to make a
parody work, however, if the only
humorous things in a movie were
meant to be serious.
The script just isn't funny.
Screenwriter Frank Cappeillo
should send a note of apology to ev-
eryone who pays even matinee prices
to sit through "I've fallen and I
can't get up" jokes. There's nothing
entertaining about watching Hulk
Hogan try to stab a mailman - ex-
cept, of course, that no studio execu-
tives thought twice about filming
him doing it. Some people might
think watching the Hulkster do

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

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