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November 12, 1991 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-11-12

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Tuesday, November 12, 1991

Page 5

A

s

qw

Danish proves fine wine
and chloroform do mix

b Scott Sterling
The crowd at New York's hip-hop
haven, the Building, is psyched. This
special CMJ (College Music
Journal) showcase features, among
other rap acts, the first hometown
performance by the Beastie Boys in
years. The pit is huge, filled with
moshing, sweaty bodies and pump-
ing fists. However, there's one last
band scheduled to play before the
Beasties hit the stage. That band is
one of LA's finest, Mary's Danish.
"When we got there, it was like
'Oh, shit,' because it was a seriously
rap crowd," relates Gretchen Seager,
one of Mary's Danish's two vocal-
ists. "I was thinking that we were
going to get booed off the stage, be-
cause it was rap bands all night
long, except for Mary's Danish. We
Shad a twenty-minute set, so we
played six songs as fast and as furi-
ously as we could. There were all
these heavyweight rap people, like
Ice-T, standing at the side of the
stage during our set."
Seager, talking to me on the
phone from the club Graffitti in
Pittsburgh, laughs as she recalls the
scene. "I'm thinking, these guys are
gonna laugh so hard, like, 'Who's
this white chick?"' she says. "So, af-
ter the show, I walk by and every
single one of them gave me a high-

five and they're going, 'Sister! Right
On!' I was so stoked on the whole
scene."
This is a perfect example of how
Mary's Danish has turned poten-
tially disastrous situations into
positive experiences. The band has
weathered the sorts of events that
would have ended many other bands.
Instead, Mary's Danish survived,
and emerged with a brilliant collec-
tion of eclectic and catchy songs,
Circa.
The album contains a veritable
melange of different influences.
The songs range from X-influenced
punk rave-ups like "Venus Loves
Leonard" to funky, groove-laden
jams such as "These Are The Shapes
Nevada Could Have Been." Seager
credits the band members' ex-
tremely divergent musical tastes as
the catalyst for their unique sound.
"As people, we all get along great,
but musically, for the most part, we
couldn't be more further apart," she
explains. "It sometimes can get
drastic. I mean, David loves
Crowded House, while I love Sonic
Youth." Seager pauses, perhaps con-
sidering these differences philo-
sophically. "I think that it makes
you stronger as a person, and it
makes you a lot more tolerant," she
continues. "You're not soe gotisti-
cal... We'll go through many dif-

ferent versions of a song, until we
come out with the final one, which I
feel is usually the best one."
These songs are powerful compo-
sitions, which reflect the decidedly
feminine and personal points of
view of Seager and Ritter, who pen
the majority of the band's lyrics.
The songs convey a sense of
strength, and of overcoming the
many obstacles that women face in
life. The song "Cover Your Face"
gets my 1991 Ian Curtis award for
the saddest song of the year ("Cover
your face girl/ Shoot some pool/ So
what you had it coming/ You hoped
for so much more/ You fail in every
way/ Ask the ones you love").
"Julie wrote 'Cover Your Face', and
I know for her it came at a low
point in her life. We write about
what goes on around us, and for us
to write happy songs would be
rather presumptuous, seeing as
that's not how life always is,"
Seager says.
The song "Yellow Creep
Around" also features a brilliant
lyric, opening with the line, "Fine
wine and chloroform." "It came
from a book called The Yellow
Wallpaper, and it's from one of the
first feminist texts, by Charlotte
Perkins Gillman," Seager says. "It's
about a woman who likes to write
poetry, but her husband keeps her up

Mary's Danish is: top row, I-r, David King, Chris "Wag" Wagner and Louis Gutierrez; front row, 1-r, James
Bradley Jr., Julie Ritter and Gretchen Seager.

in this little children's bedroom,
because he thinks she's sick, that she
shouldn't be writing.
"Back then, women weren't en-
couraged to write or express them-
selves, and any form of expression,
it was considered sick or manic de-
pressive or something. The room had
this hideous yellow wallpaper, and
she slowly but surely went mad.
The husband would steal her tabla-

tures of writings and pads of poems,
and tell her that all she needed was
fine wines and rare meats.
"In the story, the main character
would wonder why she was being
treated like this. In Charlotte
Perkins Gillman's real life, she
ended up committing suicide with
chloroform."
But among the 17 insightful and
poetic songs on the record, it's

"Axl Rose Is Love" that has given
Mary's Danish the most attentidn.
This scathing reaction to Guns N'
Roses' racist/sexist/everything-ist
"One In A Million" even landed
the band a spot on the MTV News.
In the song, Seager s voice csId
peel paint as she growls, "Thqr,'s
not enough room for this kind of ha-
tred/ White against black/ Black
See DANISH, Page 8

who what where when)

Dern is, like, totally gnarly in steamy Rose

Folk music icon Bob Dylan is
performing tonight at Detroit's
Fox Theater. No true Ann Arborite
4 should miss seeing a man who af-
fected the anti-establishment
movement of the '60s like Dylan
did. So join him tonight on a cruise
down Highway 61. Tickets are
$27.75 at TicketMaster (p.e.s.c.).
The Walkabouts are on Sub Pop,
but the band sure as hell isn't your
typical Sub Pop group. Although
most of the 'bouts songs do have a
driving electric guitar, they also
have a lot of acoustic guitar and
keyboards, as well as some more un-
usual instruments. Also, the band
has a female vocalist who sounds
kinda like Natalie Merchant from
10,000 Maniacs (who, incidentally,
makes a guest appearance on
Scavenger, the Walkabouts' new
album). In fact, Scavenger sounds a
lot like a supercharged version of
10,000 Maniacs, only cooler. So
what we're saying is, the band is cer-
tainly much mellower than
Mudhoney or Tad. Catch the
Walkabouts tonight at the Blind
Pig for a mere $5 at the door. Doors
open at 9:30 p.m.
You all remember the heavily-
accented grunts from Rocky IV. And
no, we're not referring to James
Brown, but Dolph "I Must Break
You" Lundgren, whose latest bone-
snappin', spit-flyin' action-adven-
ture movie is called Showdown in
Little Tokyo. Lundgren and co-star
Brandon Lee, son of The Bruce, play
a pair of cops on the trail of the evil,
ornately tattooed Yazuka gang, and,
well, to quote the press release:
"One's a warrior. One's a wise-ass.
But together they've got what it

takes to remove some tattoos from
Little Tokyo." After an hour and a
half of Dolph, you might wanna
have a Mark Lester video marathon,
who, besides Showdown, directed
the splat classics C o m ma n do
("Let's pahhty") and Class of 1984
(which featured a nerdy Michael J.
Fox being terrorized by a gang of
punks). Showdown in Little Tokyo is
a Fox Village exclusive.

R ambling R ose
dir. Martha Coolidge
by Jen Bilik
Rambling Rose opens in Glennville, Georgia, 1971, as an older Buddy
(John Heard) drives wistfully home to visit his widower father in the
Southern manor of his youth. Heard's narration, in soulful past tense, pre-
pares us to regress to the summer of his 13th year, to meet, as he says, "the
first person I ever loved outside my family" - the eponymous Rose
(Laura Dern).
The flashback nostalgia, the coming-of-puberty story set in summer, the
coltish young woman with unleashed sexuality who teaches the younger
boy about the facts of life while finding herself: we've seen it all before.
But director Martha Coolidge, best known for her wonderful sleeper hit
Valley Girl, invests her art in character. She creates a people film of endear-
ing, vital and idiosyncratic characters who come in where originality of'
situation leaves off.
Rose, comes to the Hillier family as a charity case. She arrives from
Birmingham where she'd almost succumbed to the "bad men," a risk that
obsesses the young Buddy (Lukas Haas of Witness) to no end.
The story, save for its mini-plots involving Rose's romantic exploits,
consists entirely of family interaction. They embrace Rose not as a house-
hold servant, a position which Mrs. Hillier (Diane Ladd) thinks to be irre-
deemably evil, but as a member of the family. When Rose's spontaneity and
spirit wreak sexual havoc, the Hilliers must determine whether Rose may
stay on in their home.
With its southern charm and undying benefit of the doubt, Rambling
Rose never migrates to the malicious side of human nature; Rose has had a
terrible childhood, but the movie deals largely with the love she will re-
ceive from the Hilliers, a cure-all for the world's ills. Rambling Rose
stands out as the only movie in recent memory that could unequivocally be
called "kind," in which characters have strong, humanistic moral codes and

live by them in order to benefit others.
There are really two stories occurring simultaneously here: Buddy's
initiation into sexuality and loss of innocence through his first love,,and
Rose's attempts to find love and family with the Hilliers and sex. Rose is
both original and clich6d, a woman fully in control of her sexual appetites
and a naive woman who uses her coltish sex-appeal because it's the gnly
thing she has. She is, in some respects, the whore with a heart of goldtut
her similarities to Julia Roberts are salvaged by Dern's inspiring perfcr-
mance, her relationship to the Hilliers, and her depiction through Buddy's
eyes. We almost never see Rose unless Buddy is watching her, which often
puts us in the perspective of a Peeping Tom (Buddy stands outside the adult
affairs and Cavesdrops through keyholes).
The Hilliers have enough idiosyncrasy to make them interesting but
their relationships are genuinely strong and stand them apart from their
cinematic counterparts. Particularly loving is the relationship between
Mr. Hillier (Robert Duvall) and his wife.
Played to perfection, Mr. Hillier is a charming southern gentleman
whose commitment to family belongs to pre-Sensitive New Age Guy dpys.
He speaks in epithets and hyperbole with his elegant Georgia drawl, imme-
diately bringing Rose into the family with a nickname. "Rosebud," ho ex-
claims, "you are as graceful as the capital letter S."
Mrs. Hillier, physically alienated by a hearing problem, is sweet-and
quirky. Her typical maternal instincts are mediated by an anachronisticex-
pertise in "positive energy" and genteel feminism that she'd never describe
as such. She stands up for Rose at all costs, justifying Rose's sexuality to
her husband with an understanding that belies her cosmic spaciness.
The elder Hilliers' compensate for each other's inadequacies in a true
parmership of marriage, always behaving with love and respect. Flaws and
all, they want the best for Rose and their family, so their dilemmas about
Rose are deeply tinged with regret and concern.
Even the two younger children, Dolly (Lisa Jakub) and Wilkie (Evan
Lockwood), are fully fleshed characters, though their participation is rin-
imal. They hold their own next to Buddy, whom Haas plays with heartfelt
See ROSE, Page 8

Lundgren

_______________________________________________________ J.
U Er

6TH AVE.AT LIERTY 761-4700
$ D~llY SHOWS BEFORE 6 P
$3 0 DIALLAY TUESDAY*P-.x.. ta
BILLY BATHGATE Ii
MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO IR,
COUPON COMBO!
Present this coupon when
purchasing a large popcorn and
receive one free large drink

Ross University Will Be Conducting
MEDICAL AND VETERINARY SCHOOL
INTERVIEWS FOR WINTER SEMESTER
Ms. Weiner, Assistant Admissions Director at
Ross University will be meeting with students
at the Graduate and Professional School Conference
on Wednesday, November 13th in the
Michigan Union Ballroom from 1 la.m.-4p.m. Stop by our
booth and see our video. For further info., call 559 - 2123

L xpireS 11,2~191,1__________________________________

THE~.. DIINT S.C.HOO
is:::": I ho d n general ::::.::.:.::: :::::::::::::sessions
(2~ ~~a ktn ~~to~ ~trsertp~rrsiudn
'Mstr f h~~g~1Stdis itd ae fDvny
D~d ~gse opic~is ~d ~ossr t~iulopp~tlmti"

Wednesday, November 13, 1991
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Michigan Union
Graduate School
and MBA Day
Meet with recruiters to investigate advanced degree options
Compare costs and content of programs across the country

Conference Highlights
Graduate School: The Forms, The Funds, The Focus

-, I' .

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