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December 11, 1991 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-12-11

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ARTS

*

The Michigan Daily Wednesday, December 11, 1991 Page 8
Ramone hangs in A2
Bassist Dee Dee will play with Monster Bait u

by Skot Beal
The last place where you might
expect Dee Dee Ramone, ex-bassist
for the band that single-handedly
began the genre of punk rock, to
hang out is Ann Arbor. But that's
exactly where he is these days, doing
work with one of the most impor-
tant bands on the local scene, Mon-
ster Bait. They'll be playing five
songs together at a pro-choice bene-
fit at St. Andrews this Sunday, De-
cember 15. But what would bring
Dee Dee Ramone to Ann Arbor in
the first place?
"Coming to Ann Arbor seems to
be a good thing to do now," he says.
"New York is going through one of
its best periods. The city's great. It
looks better, the people are calmer,
there's hardly any crime any more,
the drug problem's pretty much
solved, but still, it's like a rat race.
"And to do what I wanna do - I
mean, I wanna learn, I wanna learn
my guitar. I like playing guitar now,
just for me to play with people and
not be in that insane competitive
thing in New York. It's like the
music is done almost like a script.
It's like a play, like an acting thing.
Then you've got to cater to an A&R
man's fantasy. That ain't Dee Dee
Ramone, you know. Why should I
do it?"
Ramone seems to be fairly en-
thusiastic about his work with
Monster Bait. It's a different style
of music than the Ramones' - less
structured and less predictable, but
still maintaining a lot of energy and
intensity.
"With Monster Bait, I didn't
know that much about them," he
says. "I was coming here, and I met
them and heard their tape and it.
sounded really good, and now we're
playing, and it just sounds like - I
just thought of this, I didn't even
CHANNEL Z
Fred Savage of The Wonder
Years (8:30 p.m., CBS) is going
through puberty, folks. It's sad but
true. And his TV family's annual
Christmas bash has changed too. Ah,
growing up is a strange and won-
drous thing.
Also from the Christmas grab-
bag is A Carnegie Hall Christmas (8
p.m., Channel 56). Andre Prvin
conducts Christmas tunes (You
know, "Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel
.. "oh, never mind) performed by
Kathleen Battle, Wynton Marsalis,
Frederica von Stade and others.
AV N NR 761
AVE. AT UNERTY 61,4T

realize this - even though I'm
playing in a band, and it's not my
own band, it's their band, I still
think I have more of a chance to ex-
press myself than I did in the Ra-
mones. It's more valid to me when
I'm playing with them."
Actually, Dee Dee has a lot of
complaints about the Ramones -he
hasn't been with the band in three
years. The Ramones toured without
him last summer, and he's really not
sure what the group is doing right
now.

may sound funny, but when Joey's
dead drunk, and nobody can take any
more and this guy's doing that and
everybody's peeking and looking ...
And then, they start all coming over
and asking for autographs and no-
body even knows what band you're
in. It's just 'cause they're so bored
and they're at the airport. I said,
'What the hell am I doing this
for?'
Dee Dee seems to be happier now
that he's out of the Ramones. He's
doing a lot of reading and writing,
in addition to his work with Mon-
ster Bait. He says that he has a lot to
look forward to, even though he
doesn't have entirely bad memories
of his former band.
"I still feel like I'm very inter-
ested in life, and I'm happy," Dee
Dee says. "I just take things day to
day. Try to enjoy my freedom a lit-
tle. That Ramones thing was really
good for me. I just wish we could've
taken a little vacation. Maybe I
would've still been there. I feel bad
for them. They are my friends, but
I'm not gonna back 'em up on their
bullshit anymore."
Anyway, Monster Bait and Dee
Dee Ramone are excited about work-
ing with each other on the upcoming
show. However, plans for the future
are fuzzy. There has been specula-
tion about other shows and about
recording together, but nothing def-
inite has been decided. The five songs
they are playing together at the ben-
efit include three Monster Bait
tunes and two written by Ramone
himself - "Chinese Rocks" and a
new one that you've never heard;
DEE DEE RAMONE performs with
MONSTER BAIT this Sunday at St.
Andrew's fall, along with seven
other bands, including Gangster
Fun and Shaft. A $7 donation is re-
quested. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
and the show starts at 8:30 p.m.

k

Miranda (Isabelle Pasco) and Ferdinand (Mark Rylance) engage in a friendly game of chess before one of Peter
Greenaway's erotic human sculptures.
Eye candy for the mid -
the vanity of Greenaway's arta

Prospero's Books
dir. Peter Greenaway

Ramone
He talks a lot about how the
band got caught up in the excesses of
show business and keeping the
money rolling in, instead of concen-
trating on playing honest music.
"I'm embarrassed, right. I can't
relate," Dee Dee says. "What am I
singing about being a pinhead for at
thirty-eight? ... And all they would
say was, 'Write us another "Worm
Man,"' or, 'Write us another "Mer-
maid Man."' Or Mark would make
noises all day, go, 'Chick-a-bee-poy'
and 'Gooslips,' and I said, 'What is
this? I feel like I'm two years old
already!'
"He would stand in front of the
ticket counter and pull his pants
down and do the twist. And that

by Mike Kuniavsky

Prospero's Books is inaccessible.
That doesn't mean the film is not
good - it is, in fact, brilliant. It
just means that unlike The Cook,
The core of the film,
like the core of many
of Greenaway's films,
is the idea that our
universe is solely our
knowledge, and that
the encyclopedias we
create are us
the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover,
Peter Greenaway's previous film,
Books is difficult to follow.
Spoken almost exclusively by
John Gielgud, the text of the film is
Shakespeare's The Tempest, the
Bard's last, weirdest and most self-
referential play. The basic plot of
The Tempest is that Prospero
(played by Gielgud in Books), a
Duke of Milan, is set adrift in a
dinghy with his three-year-old
daughter Miranda (Isabelle Pasco)
by his brother and the King of
Naples, because he is more inter-
ested in reading and studying than in
diplomacy.
Fortunately for Prospero, his
counselor, Gonzago (played by Er-
land Josephson, one of Bergman's
old actors), manages to equip the
boat with foodstuffs and, most im-
portantly, 24 of Prospero's favorite
books. Prospero and Miranda man-
age to make it to an island.
Twelve years later, Prospero is a
powerful magician, having thor-
oughly studied his magical books,

which contain most of the knowl-
edge of all humanity. He is con-
stantly surrounded by spirits, one of
which, Ariel(played by four actors
- Orpheo, Paul Russell, James
Thierree and Emil Wolk), is his per-
sonal servant. One day, Prospero de-
cides to conjure up a mighty storm
to bring his enemies ano friends to
him. To do this, he decides to write a
play called, not surprisingly, The
Tempest. As he writes, events un-
fold and characters appear.
The core of the film, like the core
of many of Greenaway's films, is
the idea that our universe is solely
our knowledge, and that the ency-
clopedias we create are us. This con-
cept is a difficult one to get across,
especially when you shackle your-
self to an existing text. Therefore,
both this idea and all of its relative
ideas must be communicated purely
visually.
To Greenaway, a painter by train-
ing, this task comes easily. Unfor-
tunately, his technique also con-
demns the visuals to an incredible
density, with things happening and
important references in almost ev-
ery inch of every frame. Thus, the
film is beautiful to look at, but dif-
ficult, especially since Greenaway
wants to communicate the self-ref-
erentialness of it all by superimpos-
ing one image inside another, so that
scenes become frames for scenes
which, in turn, have frames and
other scenes inside them. (A side
note: it was done, believe it or not,
with an HDTV paintbox, then
transferred back to real film.)
Ultimately, and quite intention-
ally, the little universe that Green-
away builds conflates Prospero,
Shakespeare, Gielgud and Green-
away, and in the process, confuses us.
The constant barrage of visuals and
unfamiliar text is tiring and some-
what frustrating.

Of course, this is all forgivable.
The film is supposed to be a Work
of Art, not a work of entertainment.
The film is supposed to be a puzzmt ar i
that's meant to be taken apart, ex-
amined closely and then put back
together. The film is supposed to be
confusing, complicated and self-ref-
erential. In other words, the film is'
designed for active participation;
and as such, the film is almost
unique.
Regrettably, then, the film is not
for The General Public. Yet it will
undoubtedly be one of those films',
that are analyzed, deconstructed and
.' ,' . ~ .'g

Gielgud
criticized by art critics, theater crit-
ics, film critics and literary critics
for years to come - it may even b,
one of those things that isn't.*
"discovered" until many years la
ter, at which time flurries of books
and honors theses will rain down.
What Prospero's Books isn't, how-
ever, is Fun to Watch.
PROSPERO'S BOOKS opens Mon-
day, December 16 at the Michigan
Theater.

r

*3. BARAIN TUJES. M0R0NS IN JANUARY)

Black Robe
An Angel At My Table tRI
Combo Coupon!
Present this coupon when
purchasing a large popcorn
and receive one

You want that coffee to go?
Two lovers, Costa (Leo McNamara) and Vasso (Nancy Heutsel), read
coffee grounds for their fortunes in Pearl Ahnen's The Amber Beads.
The story, which captures a slice of Greek culture, centers around
Vasso and her search for a strand of amber worry beads, which her
deceased son Petro left to his wife. Through the conflict with her
daughter-in-law over Petro and his beads, Vasso finally comes to
terms with her son's death.The Amber Beads is part of a continual
fund-raising effort to establish an endowment for a Modern Greek
Studies chair at the University; Ahnen and the cast hope the play will
raise more interest in the project. It's all in the seasonal spirit. The
Amber Beads will be at the Trueblood Theater in the Frieze Building,
tomorrow through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are
$12, $8 for students, and are available at the League Ticket Office. Call
764-0450 for more info.

Theater review

Lysistmta is raunchy,

Lysistrata
The Residential College Theater
December 7, 1991
Kate Mendeloff, co-director of
the Residential College's moduc-

tion of Aristophanes' Lysistrata,
said, "The emphasis shifted toward
making people live rather than mak-
ing people die."
The comedy affirmed life, with
its extreme emphasis on sex, and

racy play
also recognized the humor in having
women in charge. Mendeloff said
these gender reversals were in "the
realm of fantasy, and to the men,
that's horrific."
SeeRC,Page 10 ,

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