The Michigan Daily -Weekend etc. -January 23, 1992- Page 5
dir. Jon Avnet
by Elizabeth Lenhard
I'll bet Pat Conroy thought he
summed up the Southern woman in
his novel The Prince of Tides, via
the character of Lila Wingo: "There
was not a woman alive whom my
mother did not consider a rival..."
Call it the Scarlett syndrome. Hap-
pily, Fried Green Tomatoes is one
old-fashioned yarn that proves Mr.,
While each of the four women in
Tomatoes may make a statement
about the South, one thing they have
in (un)common is their loyalty and
There you are, sifting through the endless racks of CDs at yourlocal music
supermarket. You're all set to do some damage to Dad's Visa card, but
there's nothing to buy. From Guns 'N Roses over-blown Use Your Illusion
I-XI, to the latest pseudo-dance Manchester trash, it's all just plain bad. But
have no fear, the independents are here!
Instead of blowing your parent's money on some MTV-hyped corporate
"product," use it to support one of the many great local records that are now
Big Chief's amazing new disc, Face, (Repulsion) is one such album.
Forget Seattle - these local homeboys can out-tourque those kids any day.
Incendiary tracks like "500 Reasons" and "Drive It Off 'stomp like Godzilla
with a hot foot. The production on Face is stellar; there isn't a rock album
out this bass heavy. Matt O'Brian and Mike Danner lay down a bottom that
throbs like a metal Public Enemy.
Big Chief also display more diversity on this release, adding some dusty
blues and acoustic guitars to their killer brew. For now, this one is only
available onnimport, but it's more than worth the time to track it down. These
guys are Soundgarden's favorite band, and they should be yours too.
Ann Arbor's own Southgoing ZAK, with the release of their latest
album, Thump Strum & Stumble, show just why it is that this band rocks the
hell out of other live performers. Live tracks taped at the Blind Pig such as
"Bitter End" and "3000," while somewhat muddy in the mix, at least start
to capture what this group is capable of doing.
The studio songs are equally appealing and energetic. Julie Sparling's
husky and sensuous vocals, and Jon Youtt's amazing drumming are
obvious standouts on the record. From the first belted lines of "Bottom
Dwellers" to the brilliant thrash and soul mix of "Grandma Thrash,"
Southgoing ZAK display a wide range of styles and influences.
So instead of supporting all of those lesser musical scenes (Seattle,
Boston, the whole country of England, etc.), find out why all great music
eventually leads back to Ann Arbor.
- Nima Hodaei and Scott Sterling
Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson) returns from a day of freedom and nature to find an annoying male presence in
her beloved home town, Whistle Stop, Alabama.
love for the women in their lives.
And men don't have a thing to do
Tomatoes (adapted from Fannie
Flagg's 1987 novel, Fried Green
Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe)
jumps from Whistle Stop, Alabama
in the 1930s to a present-day Birm-
ingham nursing home. The heroes of
the dominant storyline are Ruth
(Mary-Louise Parker), a demure,
quietly strong woman, and Idgie
Threadgoode (Mary Stuart Master-
son), who is wild, unapologetically
unconventional and fiercely protec-
tive of the few people she loves.
The characters who "tell" the
story are Ninny Threadgoode
(Jessica Tandy) and Evelyn Couch
(Kathy Bates). The two meet in a
nursing home where Ninny is stay-
Evelyn hides candy bars all over
her house, dreams of seducing her
neglectful husband with a cello-
phanedress and attends support
groups to raise the self-esteems of
Southern women. She's in need of a
friend and a route out of her midlife
depression. Ninny's tales about
Idgie and Ruth's adventures, and,
more importantly, their friendship,
bring Evelyn out of her mousy
clothes and attitude, to the point
where she impulsively knocks out a
wall of her house and trashes the car
of some insulting younger women.
And as the stories continue, Eve-
lyn's and Ninny's own friendship
develops. Ninny's zest for life (she
dyes her hair lavender and gobbles
up the sweets Evelyn brings her)
surpasses Evelyn's, who is decades
younger than her. Soon Evelyn
learns the value that can be found in
a tiny train-stop town or a plate of
fried green tomatoes. '
The plots are secondary to the
film's relationships. Ruth leaves
her cruel husband to open the Whis-
tle Stop Cafe with Idgie, Idgie is
suspected for murder and the pair
are victimized for their equal
treatment of Blacks. These sus-
penseful elements are told well; but
they're never separated from the
context of the characters.
The scenes from the cafe reflect
the sights and smells of the South,
and a bullet hole in the restaurant's
window reminds audiences of the
violence which liesabeneath the
character and the warmth of the
deep South. But what makes the
movie breathlessly engaging is the
Tandy is a biddy in the best sense
of the word. She grins and crosses
her high-topped ankles with the
class of an 82-year-old widow who
isn't afraid of death. At times, how-
ever, her portrayal of spunky South-
ern wit becomes tiresome, and you
wonder if director John Avnet was
trying to add a new twist to the
profitable Miss Daisy.
Bates takes a necessary part and
turns it into something sincere and
moving. It's hard to take any charac-
ter seriously who cries into her
Krispy Kremes or wails, "I can't
even look at my own vagina!" But
Bates takes Evelyn's midlife trans-
formation - baby trampoline, sushi
and all - and makes it a bit digni-
Masterson carries the film, de-
livering a performance of incredible
weight. Her character's foundations
were expertly laid in scenes from
her early childhood (Flagg and
Avnet collaborated on the tightly
constructed screenplay), and the ac-
tor fleshes out her story admirably.
She drinks and gambles, but shows
innocence behind cunning.
Idgie jumps a box car, dragging
Ruth along with a hostile challenge,
and then throws food to the poor
people they pass. In her equal treat-
ment of the town's Blacks and her
guileless dip into a honey tree
swarming with bees, Idgie acts upon
instinct, teaching Evelyn and her au-
diences the qualities of life that our
contemporaries have forgotten.
Tandy and Bates got Golden
Globe nominations for their per-
formances in Tomatoes, but Master-
son created the depth in this picture.
The Southern woman cannot be
summed up, but Masterson's Idgie
Threadgoode creates a literary type
that might redefine the Scarlett
FRIED GREEN TOMATOES opens
tomorrow at Showcase.
Evelyn (Kathy Bates) is gleefully liberated from her straight-laced
role of Southern matron through her friendship with Ninny.
Musicians Yamashita, Petri do Rackham
'by Roger Hsia
S ome people only appreciate the
musical literature for "The Big
Three" - violin, piano and cello.
The return of two stellar talents to
Rackham Auditorium, however,
should offer a fine chance to sample
the music of instruments less rec-
ognized at concerts.
The young virtuosos, Michala
Petri, a recorder soloist from Den-
mark, and .Kazuhito Yamashita, a
Japanese guitarist, will appear in a
joint chamber recital. The character-
istically whimsical and natural
sound of Petri's recorder will warm
and reward those willing to brave
Music critics and audiences on
four continents have attested to her
technique and her fine grasp of dy-
Since her debut at the Tivoli
Concert Hall in 1969, Petri has
toured the United States, Canada,
Europe, Israel and Japan at presti-
gious music festivals, including the
Mostly Mozart Festival in New
York. Her discography, covering
numerous renderings of the solo
recorder repertoire, includes six
concerto albums with the Academy
of St. Martin-in-the-Fields.
A Picture of Oscar Wilde -
Entertainment for the Not So Mild by Peter D. Sieruta
The Performance Network January 23-29th
Starring Glenn Allen Pruett
Directed by Thomas D. Mahard
"Better to be irreverent than irrelevant," laughs Glenn Allen Pruett as
he vamps about the stage as the ever witty Oscar Wilde. Peter D. Sieruta's
funny, endearing portrait of this colorful character focuses on Wilde's
favorite topic ... himself.
Sieruta's script works not only because of its constant stream of
Wilde's best quips - for instance, he says of a boring society matron, "If
God had wanted her to speak, he would have given her something to
say"- but also because of Glenn Allen Pruett' s fanciful portrayal of (and
strong resemblance to) Wilde.
A Picture Of Oscar Wilde visited the Performance Network last
September, and returns this week due to its strong reception all over the
Detroit area. The Network's black-box, off-off Broadway atmosphere
lends itself perfectly to this simple one-man show that relies, not on an
intricate set, but on the intricacies of Wilde's wit and creative use of
language. Sieruta introduces us to the author at home, in his humble
Petri's primary accompanist
will be Yamashita, a guitarist
known the world over not only for
his playing but particularly for his
transcriptions of Mussorgsky's Pic-
tures at an Exhibition and Stravin-
sky's Firebird. His virtuosity de-
veloped under the tutelage of two
masters - Narcisco Yepes and An-
dres Segovia, culminating at a first
place award at the Nineteenth In-
ternational Guitar Competition in
Kazuhito has also toured exten-
sively around the globe. His U.S.
debut with flutist James Galway
proved to be an enormous triumph
and led to two sold out tours of a
dozen major cities.
Saturday's program will kick off
with Handel's Sonata in A Minor
for treble recorder and guitar. Beth
Gilford, who formerly taught
recorder at the University School of
Music, says, "the Handel Sonatas
for recorder are standards in the
Baroque repertoire. Handel, as well
as Telemann possessed an intimate
understanding of the instrument. In
this piece, the recorder sounds the
melody while the guitar in the con-
tinuo provides the bass line for the
piece, filling in the harmonic
Also on the slate are some works
with which audiences may not be as
familiar. The performance's center-
pieces are a descant recorder piece by
Heberle,Sonata in C major, and The
Blackbird for treble recorder by
Thommessen. The program will in-
clude the Sonata in D major by
and wit that have become his
trademarks on the lively Preludium,
Fugue and Allegro for solo guitar
by J.S. Bach. In addition, he will
perform Cancion and Danza by A.
Ruia-Pipo, giving the audience
ample time to appreciate the
command of color and tone with
which Yamashita is blessed.
KAZUHITO YAMASHITA AND
MICHALA PETRI performs at
Rackham Auditorium Saturday at 8
p.m. Tickets range from $16-24, but
rush tickets will be available for $7
on Saturday from 10 a.m.-I p.m. at
Burton Tower. For more info, call
explains. "These kids don't really
know what else to do."
At first glance, an obvious com-
parison might be made with last
summer's Boyz N the Hood, but
Kain calls Hood "more of a drama"
and Juice "more of a story."
"Juice isn't a lot of monologues
and explaining how to feel," Kain
says, describing his film as "action
- people are brought into that en-
vironment, and you decide how you
Also making a debut of sorts
with Juice is Spike Lee's acclaimed
cinematographer Ernest Dickerson,
who sits in the director's chair for
the first time.
Kain, who fondly refers to
Dickerson as "the Man," says that
the director acted as a soothing force
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Khalil Kain makes his feature film debut in Juice, the new film from Spike
Lee's cinematographer, Ernest Dickerson. And according to Kain, "Spike
Lee uses a lot of the techniques that Ernest Dickerson does."
Actor gets juicy role
by Mark Binelli on the mostly novice, and often
'WYhether you're Black or you're When asked if he believes that
white, if you're good, you'll work," Dickerson uses many of Lee's tech-
says Khalil Kain, the young actor niques, Kain responds, "I think that
who makes his feature film debut in Spike Lee uses a lot of the tech-
Juice, a story about four Black niques that Ernest Dickerson does."
teenagers growing up in Harlem. He notes that Dickerson is responsi-
Kain - who shies away from ble for the trademark look of Lee's
talk of "Black films," insisting films, and also adds that "whenever
that skin color should not be em- Spike Lee acts, Ernest is behind the
phasized as much as it currently is camera directing, and Spike Lee acts
- can fully empathize with the in all of his films."
characters in his film. He grew up Before landing his role in Juice,
on Manhattan's lower east side, in Kain was involved in the theater. He
the same neighborhood as A also made "plenty of commercials,"
Different World's Kadeem Hardison and even worked as a profegsional
and New Jack City's Allen "Gee roller skater. Kain is also writing a
Money" Payne. play.
"To get more 'juice' on the street "There are so many storied to be
- to get more respect - the charac- told," he says, "and I have quite a
ters decide to commit a crime," he few."
S. L L
O R D E R + C A R D
Please charge my copy of the 1992 Michiganensian to my
student account. I understand that it will be available for
pick-up in mid-April and that no refunds will be given. The