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January 27, 1992 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-01-27

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ARTS

'The Michigan Daily

Monday, January 27, 1992

Page 5

Congrats Hopwood Winners!
Jason Baluyut, Hopwood fiction category, $300
Larry Bublick, Hopwood poetry category, $350
Jerry Czarnecki, Hopwood essay category, $300
Rudy Fischmann, Hopwood fiction category, $200
Susan Jane Gilman, Roy W. Cowden Memorial Fellowship, $750
Jeremy Green, Hopwood fiction category, $200
John Hanley, Michael R. Gutterman Award in Poetry, $150
Jonathan Harrison, Hopwood essay category, $300
Joshua Henkin, Roy W. Cowden Memorial Fellowship, $500
Anna Hoare, Bain-Swigget Poetry Prize, $150
Stephanie E. Ivanoff, Roy W. Cowden Memorial Fellowship, $500
Amy K. Jarvis, Hopwood essay category, $200
William Kanapaux, Roy W. Cowden Memorial Fellowship, $500
Michael Kania, Hopwood poetry category, $250
Mark McClelland, Hopwood poetry category, $200
Carol Munn, Academy of American Poets Prize, $100
John Parker, Roy W. Cowden Memorial Fellowship, $500
David Pava, Hopwood essay category, $300
Aliyah Ariana Silverstein, Hopwood fiction category, $350
Roy W. Cowden Memorial Fellowship, $500
Roger M. Valade III, Roy W. Cowden Memorial Fellowship, $500
Michael Warren, Michael R. Gutterman Award in Poetry, $100
Eric Williams, Hopwood poetry category, $250
A Better new m uSICal

No satisfaction
An engaging Mick Jagger gets
wasted in techno-trashflick

Freejack
dir. Geoff Murphy
by Marie Jacobson

It is the year 2009, and the Earth
has been reduced to a festering rat
hole.
The middle-class has been com-
pletely obliterated. Mega-corpora-
tions dominate the world economy
and crime is an integral part of life.
Technology, however, has taken
great strides. It is now possible for
minds to be electronically trans-
planted from one body to another,
granting those who can afford the
process a chance at virtual immor-
tality. But there are no bidders for
the dirty, diseased bodies here.
Healthy bodies must be snatched -
"freejacked" - from the past.
This is the landscape that greets
Alex Furlong (Emilio Estevez). As
his girlfriend, Julie (Rene Russo)
watches, he crashes his Formula At-
lantic racecar. At that instant, we
are carried to a point 18 years in the
future.
Julie is now a top-flight execu-
tive. Unbeknownst to her, her mori-
bund boss (Anthony Hopkins) has
commissioned a ruthless bounty
hunter, Vacendak (Mick Jagger), to
freejack Alex's body. When he es-
capes, the chase is on.
Welcome to the futuristic world

of Freejack, an unsettling backdrop
for a frantic game of cat and mouse.
Directed by Geoff Murphy from a
screenplay written by the creator of
Alien and Total Recall, the film
employs dramatic special effects, an
imaginative plot and a motley cast
to transport its audience into the
quagmire of ultramodern society.
Great pains were taken on the set
to combine familiar aspects of con-
temporary life with Freejack's vi-
sion of 2009, and as a result, the au-
dience is better able to make a will-
ing suspension of disbelief. The spe-
cial effects are particularly riveting
at the beginning and end of the film,
and while not as mesmerizing as
those created in last summer's Ter-
minator 2, they seem less contrived
as a whole.
As engrossing as they may be,
however, the futuristic backdrop
and laser battles can't support the
lightweight drama that plagues
Free-jack. Although the initial con-
ception of a world where immortal-
ity is just a switchboard away is
clever and inventive, Freejack loses
itself in the chase and becomes just
another reckless action-adventure.
There is no contemplation, for
example, of spirituality. For mem-
bers of the audience who hold to the
tenets of religious faith, this omis-
sion is immediately evident. In a
world graced by nuns with guns, no
sanctuary can be found under the

As Alex Furlong, Emilio Estevez (Men at Work, Young Guns) takes an-
other shot at his own career. If only they'd make Repo Man 2...

Better All The Time, dir. David
Kirshenbaum and Elizabeth Rossi
Trueblood Theater
January 24, 1992
One of the first things that writ-
ers are instructed to do is to write
what they know. Constructing a
musical within the setting of a large
Midwestern school is a good place
for Better All The Time, considering
that author/ composer David Kir-
shenbaum is a student at the Uni-
versity.
The story follows first-year
neophyte Amanda (Susan Owen) as
she adjusts to her collegiate life;
most of the audience could relate,
picking out themselves in the song,
"These Are My Friends" - from
the theater major who "bitched and
chattered" to the English students
who "don't really matter."
Upon meeting the slick woman-
izer Dylan (Hunter Foster) and his
posse of Party Animals, Amanda is
more secure in her environment,
4 even befriending her smarmy
roommate, Meg (Miriam Shor).
Midway through the action, the cast
members decide to escape from their
daily lives and search for "Happy
Horizons."
It is on this emotional journey
that each character becomes trans-
formed through a self-analysis. Pe-
ter (Eddie Sugarman) comes to
terms with the institutionalization
of his mother, Dylan is hiding be-
hind his macho exterior and Amanda
has been shielding herself from the

death of her parents.
Told almost entirely with song,
Better All The Time runs the, musi-
cal gamut. Meg's ragtimey blues
song, "Not Much Room For You"
showcased Shor's sexy contralto
voice; in contrast, Owen's sweet so-
prano defined her wistful solo,
"Something Feels Right."
The number "Feather In My
Cap," a song about Dylan's sexual
prowess, demonstrated the bouncy
relationship that Dylan and Peter
shared; both Foster and Sugarman
acted expressively through the song.
Musical theater like that of
Stephen Sondheim, Cy Coleman and
William Finn often tells a story
against the backdrop of a simple pi-
ano score. While linear, it contains a
subtext and dips into the fantastic.
Kirshenbaum falls back on this
form of a narrative, and it works
perfectly.
Certain parts of the performance
dragged, due to the stacking of sev-
eral torchsong solos - "Someone
Meant for Me," sung by Lacey
(Mary Ann Lombardi), and the
more captivating "One More Turn,"
performed by Crystal (Tracy
Plester). That the resolution did not
come about as a traditional, eighties,
Andrew-Lloyd-Weberish ending
was mature, felt natural, and satis-
fied the audience without catering
to a false need for a happily-ever-af-
ter.
-Diane Frieden

auspices of personal faith. Instead,
the audience is expected to embrace
Freejack' s notion of the preeminent
individual. Emilio Estevez hardly
fits the bill.
In fact, Estevez's Alex is too
cocky and self-absorbed to become
the people's champion Freejack
needs to be successful. And model-
turned-actress Russo does little to
disentangle herself from the two-
dimensional character her script dic-
tates.
Nor does Hopkins, who tanta-
lized audiences as Dr. Hannibal "the
Cannibal" Lecter in The Silence of
the Lambs. Perhaps the only plausi-
ble explanation for a performance
so lackluster is that Hopkins needed

Dickerson does the trite thin

a little extra Christmas money.
Jagger's contribution, however,
is simply delightful. Although his
lines seem snatched straight from a
Schwarzenegger script, Jagger de-
livers them with a panache belying
years of drug-induced anesthesia.
His engaging performance deserves a
better film than Freejack..
If you're in the market for a
mindless, above-mediocre, shoot-
'em-up adventure, see Freejack.
Even though Mick Jagger can't im-
mortalize a film this fatuous, he
does a great job trying.
FREEJACK is playing at Showcase
and Briarwood.
Johnny's
still cool
John Mellencamp
Palace of Auburn Hills
January 24, 1992
John Mellencamp's vision of
Midwestern America translates
easily into rock on disc, and per-
fectly into live music. Mellen-
camp finished a two-night stand
in the often less-than-intimate
Palace. His performance was the
epitome of what a rock 'n' roll
show (albeit an aging, old-fash-
ioned one) can be.
Mellencamp's staging of the
concert drew the audience toward
him in a number of ways. The car-
nival-like atmosphere was created
by a strings of lights strung
throughout the arena.
The stage was set up like a side
show, putting Mellencamp's per-
sona as a performer in place.
Jugglers opened the show.
Mellencamp's artistry as a
painter was also on display in
three large canvases. The paint-
ings, reminiscent of Max Beck-
man (check out his piece "Begin
the Beguine" in the University
Art Museum), served as the
stage's backdrop.
Beyond the ambience, Mellen-
camp's true brilliance came from
his great songwriting. The two-
Concert r~e
and-half hour set covered his en-
tire career, and included hits like
"Paper in Fire" and more obscure
favorites like Uh-Huh's "Play
Guitar."
While Mellencamp took up
his acoustic guitar for, a couple
numbers, mostly he just per-
formed. His enthusiastic back-up
(including a fiddler and an accor-
dion player) deserved his trust.
Mellencamp's confident rebel-
with-a-cause-and-a-clue stance
added depth to the joyous music.
He used the stage to parlay about
Farm Aid V and the plight of the
American farmer. During the
magnificent "Pop Singer, he
ripped into rock musicians who
sell out to Madison Avenue. (Of
course, the show's tickets and T-
shirts were $25, but who cares?)
Mellencamp hasn't really
sold out, and unlike most rockers,
had the music to back up his ide-
als. There were so many highs in
tha n. ta.itnil. h .ne

Fogel and Delanghe
bring Picasso to life

Tupac Shakur stars in Ernest Dickerson's Gritty Urban Drama, Juice. Ground-breaking stuff, indeed.

An Evening with Picasso
and His Friends
University Museum of Art
January 25, 1992
The work of Pablo Picasso was
brought to life Saturday night at the
University Museum of Art in A n
Evening with Pablo and his Friends.
Dance, music, art and theater came
together in a well-prepared program
which celebrated the arrival of the
Picasso and Gris paintings now on
Performance review
exhibit in the 20th Century Gallery.
Dramaturgist Leslie Stainton
compiled a well-chosen selection of
text from the writings of Gertrude
Stein, Jean Cocteau, Igor Stravinsky
and Guillame Apollinaire. The text
was read with smart eloquence by
Leigh Woods of the Theatre and
Drama department.
Woods took something as banal
as personal letters, and, with almost
comic timing, turned the exchange
into a lively dialogue. Projected
photos, sketches and paintings ac-
companied the readings, giving fur-
ther insight into Picasso's relation-
ships with these artists as well as
with his family.
Three interludes of colorful
dance broujzht excitinz dimension to

using it as body parts. Apples
became eyes; grapefruits became
breasts. In her final pose, Delanghe
literally reclined onto a scrap of
canvas, taking the angular shape of
Picasso's figure.
Jessica Fogel, also a Dance pro-
fessor, began her dramatic portrayal
of Francoise Gilot (1949) draped in
black chiffon. She emerged from
this haunting image, creating a
strong gestural journey as Gilot, Pi-
casso's mistress.
With painted face and bright yel-
low dress, Fogel presented Gilot as
mother, painter and lover. At one
point, Fogel desperately grasped at a
tree branch, signifying the effort of
holding on to a brittle relationship.
She then rushed forward, breaking
the branch which was symbolic of
the fractured love between Gilot
and Picasso.
The final piece was a lighter,
more humorous duet based on Two
Girls Reading (1934) and danced by
Delanghe and Fogel. Use of colorful
masks and costumes transformed
the two into abstract figures with
blue-green skin and red and yellow
torsos.
Stephen Rush accompanied the
dances on piano. He also provided a
solo interlude with an enchanting

Juice
dir. Ernest Dickerson
by Gabriel Feldberg
Politically correct movie critics'
current trend is to call movies like
Juice "gritty portrayals of violence
In that the film has a
job for seemingly
everybody who
wouldn't be acting
otherwise, Juice is
the hip-hop Love Boat.
This movie has a ton
of cameos by current
rap personalities, and
some by people
almost old enough to
have worn Lottos on
their last album
cover.
in the inner city." Don't believe
them.
For those of you who missed the
morals of such "gritty" stories as
Straight Out of Brooklyn and New
Jack City, crime still doesn't pay.
Surprisingly, first-time director
Ernest Dickerson (cinematographer
for all five of Spike Lee's films) has

very well and wants to be a DJ. But
Bishop (if only because someone in
these pictures always does) wants
to take the short cut to respect and
wealth.
Q reluctantly walks out of a big-
time DJ contest to help his friends
hold up the corner store. The plan is
flawless, only something goes
wrong. Very wrong. Overcome with
paranoia and fear, The Crew is left
to repair - or break - its old
friendships.
Despite pretensions of being an
emotional and edifying drama, Juice
is no more affecting than any of the
other morality plays it clones.
Dickerson, to his credit, is not
preachy, and he avoids the declama-
tive monologues his erstwhile boss
seems to love. It is hard, however, to
believe that Dickerson could so
egregiously do the trite thing.
The friendships in this film are
generic enough that, if you trimmed
their flattops and took off their
Reebok Pumps, The Crew could be
army buddies. The film never deals
with the pain the members of the
dissolving Crew feel as friends, and
so it's difficult to care when things
start to fall apart.
The movie does pick up (before it
fizzles again) around the time of the
hold-up. Dickerson very elegantly
captures Raheem's and Bishops' con-
spiratorial glances while Q cuts at
the contest. He also constructs ter-

know enough to separate allegedly
serious art from Beat Street-style
talent showcases.
Unfortunately, the contest isn't
the film's only vehicle for includ-
ing extraneous musical personali-
ties. In that the film has a job for
seemingly everybody who wouldn't
be acting otherwise, Juice is the hip-
hop Love Boat. This movie has a ton
of cameos by current rap personali-
ties, and some by people almost old
enough to have worn Lottos on their
last album cover.
It is not surprising that Dicker-
son would reach back to the days to
cast his movie; building a stage for
conspicuously irrelevant perfor-
mances, he has regressed nearly to
the Wild Style years.
If the point of movies like this
is to Stop the Violence, then you
have to wonder why Juice ends up
all guns and chase scenes. Dickerson
is certainly entitled to make action
movies if he wants, but if that is the
case, he should drop his auspices of
concern.
If the point of movies
like this is to Stop the
Violence, then you
have to wonder why
Juice ends up all guns
and chase scenes.

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