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January 24, 1992 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-01-24

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Friday, January 24,1992 Page 8

0

Find comfort
with Strangers

Strangers in Good
Company
dir. Cynthia Scott
by Austin Ratner
The set-up sounds like a bad joke:
seven old women are taking a bus
trip. Their bus breaks down in the
Canadian woods and, along with
their young bus driver, they're
stranded.
But there is no punchline in
Strangers in Good Company. In fact,
there's not much more to the story
than the situation - the exchanges,
reminiscences and minor excursions
that take place as the eight women
settle themselves in an abandoned
house and look for food to sustain
them until they can reach help.
Action-packed it's not - after
all, the cast is well over 70 years
old on the average. But Strangers
imparts a soothing perspective on
life, death and love in a majestic, in-
sightful and inspiring (if quiet) pic-
ture of humanity in old age.
Director Cynthia Scott, who
won an Oscar in 1984 for her docu-
mentary Flamenco at 5:15, lends a
near-documentary feel to Strangers.
'the performances are genuine and
the orchestration of events over the
few days the women spend in the
woods is realistically casual.
The characters' names are those
of the actors who play them, and the
Records
Various Artists
Never Mind the Mainstream
... The Best of MTV's 120
Minutes, Vols. I & II
Rhino
"But what does the word
'alternative' mean? ... It's a break
from the Top 40 world where ev-
erything is slick, ordered and per-
fect. Music isn't just another prod-

script is drawn from actual infor-
mation about their lives. Through
its fidelity to the real, the film
manages to capture a full panorama
of human feeling - perhaps what
Tolstoy might have come up with if
he'd made movies about old
Canadian women on bus rides.
Uniquely, Strangers relays this
array of emotion through a diverse
set of women who have lived long
and seen much. The conglomeration
of so much life, lived over so much
time and in so many places, brings
with it wisdom, especially from a
group like this; they are integrated
personalities who have for the most
part resolved who they are and are
satisfied with their respective ap-
proaches to living.
Fantastic shots of the Canadian
woods form an appropriately tran-
quil and meditative backdrop for
this story about human adaptation
to the (often painfully) changing
universe.
Although they don't confront
outright perils, the women must
find food and devise a plan to get
help, and in confronting this adver-
sity, each actor's character comes
through. In their remembrances of
past experiences and in their imme-
diate dispositions, they offer a com-
forting sense of how one goes on de-
spite pain, and how one derives plea-
sure from simple things even in the
near face of death.
As one of the women, Alice

A view into the soul
of Asian Americans
by Amy Meng
Eyes to the Soul, the second part of the University of Michigan Asian
American Students Coalition annual art exhibition, presents insightful
artwork in various media by eleven Asian-American students. Paintings
done in acrylic on canvas welcome viewers to the Art Lounge in the
Michigan Union. They are surrounded by works in other media, such as ce-
ramics, photographs and lithographs, which are included in the collection.
The artwork, often autobiographical, reflects the creative ideas and
thoughts of artists whose cultural ties cause their perspectives of individu-
als, objects and events to have a slightly different twist. This is a result of
both being Asian and American, and living in the United States.
The exhibition allows viewers to sense how an Asian-American might
perceive his/her own existence. Through these pieces, one might see that the
Asian-American existence is like possessing a dual identity, or taking in as-
pects of one's surroundings with two pairs of eyes and adjusting one's fo-
cus with each new encounter.
Henry Kar-Hang Fung and Catherine Seto have created self-portraits
which embody the theme of introspection and different personal character-
istics. Fung uses a unique canvas-folding technique for his Self-portrait.
One side of the canvas is painted in dark earth tones, and contrasts with the
other side, a facial silhouette painted in black with dark red smeared over
the surface as if trailed with blood. The face then takes on landscape forms,
such as cavernous mountains with surrounding water.
James Lin's City Scape is an oil on canvas painting - geometric shapes
in dark green, yellow, black, blue, and white blur the lines of the landscape,
and some of the color contrast is confusing. Patrick Ting's ceramic archi-
tectural pieces, however, cleanly use geometry with a futuristic structural
and aesthetic quality. His pieces look like bridges or roads suspended and
supported by a series of arches, successfully blending form and function.
Orwell's Head, Jason Fong's ceramic piece, shows expressive faces with
eyes closed and mouths opened, as if in slumber or peaceful singing. He is
also exhibiting a lithograph with bird images in the top half and a man's
torso bursting through from the background on the bottom, as if seeing
things from both a bird's-eye view and a human view. One of Melissa
Ferrer's lithographs showed black vertical lines overlapped by circular
whirls. At first glance, the piece looks conflicting, but there is harmony
between the two different line shapes.
Photography is a large portion of the exhibition. Wilson Eng displays
color images from Hong Kong and China. Scenes of the Chinese daily life
are captured - the market, conversations between two elderly gentlemen,
the Great Wall of China and Chinese acrobats are all included in Eng's se-'
ries. Mark Ferrer's Ektacolor prints portray Asian faces ripped apart and
rejoined in one picture, creating depth where the white edges are pasted to-
gether.
Srividhya Shanker displays black-and-white photographs with accompa-
nying didactic material, where she shows women of color as beautiful and
pure human beings, hoping to break the stereotypes of African women de-
picted in jungle scenes or Asian women among silks and spices.
Each piece in the collection shows off how these students, as artists and
as an individuals, use the art medium to expand upon themselves and their
environment.
EYES TO THE SOUL: PART II is on display in the Art Lounge at the
Michigan Union until January 31st. There will be an opening reception in
the Art Lounge today from 4 to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

01

Canadian director Cynthia Scott has made a soothing, inspiring first fea-
ture film about life and death with Strangers in Good Company.

Diabo, says, "What can we do?"
Later, the same woman suggests,
"Hope for the best."

STRANGERS IN GOOD COM-
PANY starts Saturday at the
Michigan Theater.

uct to be bought, sold ano consumeo.
Music is more than that ..."
-liner notes, Never Mind the
Mainstream compilation
"Order your 120 Minutes-Man
T-shirt NOW!!! The 120 Minutes-
Man T-shirt is a white, 100% cotton
T-shirt featuring a 120 Minutes-
Man character on the front left
breast with a 120 Minutes-Man in a

crowd of mainstream music fan
(sic). MTV logo on the back. The
120 Minutes-Man T-shirt is avail-
able for only $9.95. Please add $3.00
per shirt for shipping and handling.
Quantities are limited so order
NOW. Send your check or money
order to ..."
-advertisement, Never Mind
the Mainstream compilation
Between this two-volume set,
the 89X bumper sticker, and
Nirvana's Nevermind sitting com-
fortably next to Michael Jackson
and Garth Brooks, are we finally
witnessing the much-heralded
"death of the underground"? Nah.
You can't kill something that never
existed to begin with.
Underground? If you've heard
the fucking song, how underground
can it be? G.G. Allin can talk to
SPIN reporters all he wants about
committing suicide on stage next
Halloween; that's not underground.
Is underground something so ahead
of its time that no one else is cool
enough to like it except you? Or do
you just have bad taste? Is "Losing
My Religion" lame because it was
in heavy-rotation? If the lead singer
of the Happy Mondays died and was
replaced by Marky Mark, would the
band still be underground? And,
perhaps most importantly, is using
the title of the Sex Pistols' Never
Mind the Bollocks ... to sell moody
white suburban kids Rebellion Inna
Box the ultimate blasphemy?
Who cares. Mainstream is a cool
singles collection, nothing more,
nothing less. "I Melt With You,"
"Stigmata," "Love Will Tear Us

Apart," "Dear God," "Everyday Is
Like Sunday" - the gang's all here.
So stop whining, dig out your fa-
vorite black mock-turtleneck, pop in
the damn CD, light up a cigarette,
shut up and dance. Sid would've
wanted it this way.
-Mark Binelli
Warren Zevon
Mr. Bad Example
Giant Records
In the first line of his new al-
bum, Mr. Bad Example, Warren
Zevon sings, "I'm getting tired of
you/ You're getting tired of me."
The line refers to the breakup of a
relationship in the song "Finishing
Touches," but it's also an apt de-
scription of Zevon's lackluster ap-
proach to most of the album.
Musically, the record is plain
and repetitive, with one countryish
guitar-rock song after another. And
Zevon's lyrics, usually a mix of wit
and cynicism, degenerate into dull,
tired whining. A few songs hearken
back to the twisted, delightful past
of Zevon, but they're not enough to
save this album from becoming one
of his weakest to date.
Because lyric writing has always
been his strong point, Zevon's best
songs have been a mix of simple
melodies coupled with powerful
lyrics, such as his first big hit,
"Werewolves in London," or many
of the songs on his last release,
Transverse City.
But when the lyrics become
weak, his songs are simplistic and
boring. This often happens on Mr.
Bad Example. Three-chord duds like
See RECORDS, Page 9

They'll soon be Dead

S

by Kenny Bell

When Assembly Required got
together back in October of 1989,
they knew the band wasn't going
to last forever. Whatever was in
their future, the band members
always knew the time would
come when they'd have to call it
quits.
Mark Scialdone, Assembly Re-
quired's lead vocalist and guitar
player, has been with the band
from the start. He says that the
group formed naturally.
"The whole thing behind the
band from the beginning was to
go out and have some fun," says
Scialdone.
"I mean, we were all dead-
heads, and deadheads like to party
and listen to music, so we just
figured, 'Shit, let's get a band to-
gether and make this thing hap-
pen.' The scene's already there, it's
just a matter of putting it all to-
gether. And that's how Assembly
Required came out of nowhere."
Scialdone says that playing the

Grateful Dead's music for the
past two years has kind of turned
Assembly Required into the Dead.
"We have some people that
follow us from Ann Arbor to
East Lansing, and go to all of our
shows. We're kind of like the
Dead in that we never play the
same set twice," says Scialdone.
He adds that he's going to miss
playing with Assembly Required.
"People come up to us all the
time and tell {us how much they
love listening to us. It's such a
gratifying position to be in when
you're kind of like the mediator. I
mean, it's not our music, we
didn't write it. But that's the
whole magic about Dead music,"
says Scialdone. "We feel great
that we can provide an environ-
ment for people to have such a
good time.
ASSEMBLY REQUIRED per-
forms their final Ann Arbor show
tomorrow at the Blind Pig along
with the Snapdragons.

Dave Kendall with you on 120 Minutes! Coming up next, a hip alternative
hit that's anything but mainstream: Modern English's "! Melt with You"!
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