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January 09, 1992 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-01-09

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Thursday, January 9, 1992 Page 5

Lurch
am 'tf just
a dumb_
waiter
by Mark Binelli
DETROIT - The posh Rattle-
snake Club. Empty. Except for us.
And a guy from Orbit. And Carel
Struycken. That's "Lurch" from
The Addams Family movie. Wear-
ing a bolo tie and talking about
virtual reality.
All the scene lacked was An-
gelo Badalamenti theme music and
a dancing dwarf speaking back-
wards.
The seven-foot Struycken, in
town doing press for his hit holi-
day film, is no stranger to the sur-
real. He was the dream giant on
Twin Peaks, and he's also braved
numerous Star Trek conventions,
thanks to a recurring role as "yet
another butler," on The Next
Generation. And his very first
role as an actor was in the classic
'70s Bee Gees/Peter Frampton
film version of Sergeant Pepper's
Lonely Hearts Club Band.
"I was the sidekick to Mr.
Mustard," Struycken laughs.
The multi-talented Holland
native has managed to retain a
down-to-earth attitude and sense
of humor about his work. Inter-
estingly enough, Struycken began
as a director, graduating from
Amsterdam's film school and
moving to Los Angeles in the
mid-'70s, where he collaborated
on several projects with his friend
Rene Daalder, the writer/director
responsible for the infamous
Massacre at Central High.
"I did a lot of production
work," says Struycken. "I was an
associate producer on one movie, I
was an editor on another, I was
special effects on another movie. I
never took the acting that seri-
ously, just because it had never
been an ambition, but actually, it
has been the only thing that I have
been able to make a living on."
One of Struycken's favorite
projects has been Twin Peaks. He
was a "big fan" when he was cast,
and he calls his work with direc-
tor David Lynch "very different."
"The best way to describe him
is as somebody with the vocabu-
lary of a five-year old, with the
sophistication and perverse inten-
tions of a fifty-year old," Struy-
eken says. "He comes across as
kind of a kinky boy scout."
By comparison, the heavily-
hyped Addams Family, with its
huge budget and star-studded cast,
seems like.it would be a daunting
project. But not so, according to
Struycken.
"On movies like The Witches
of Eastwick (in which Struycken
played - you guessed it! - the
butler), there was a rather strong
dividing line between the super-
stars and us mortals," he says.

Murray takes aim

with Shots

Struycken
"Not necessarily because of them,
but just because of (the way) the
whole production was put to-
gether.
"In (the case of The Addams
Family), we were just thrown to-
gether a lot more: We were pretty
much on just two or three main
locations, so we kind of hung out a
lot. I started to grow vegetables a
half-year before we started shoot-
ing the movie, so I would be kind
of the green grocer to the stars,
and bring Chinese cabbages
wrapped in paper like flowers to
Anjelica (Huston, who plays
Morticia in the film), and Anjel-
ica would sit there with her crim-
son red lips and devour this cab-
bage on the spot."
The film, directed by the Coen
Brothers' cinematographer Barry
Sonnenfeld, plays almost like a
two-hour MTV video, with a non-
stop barrage of visual acrobatics,
weird camera angles and impres-
sive special effects.
"The main reason why the
movie took so long to shoot - it
took five months - was because
of the special effects," Struycken
says. "Usually when you do spe-
cial effects, it's part of an action
sequence, so a lot of things are
moving, so you don't pay that
much attention to detail, so you
can get away with a lot, while
here, you always had very static
scenes, and then you had some-
thing like Thing walking through,
so you could see everything. Doing
those special effects was ten times
as difficult as it normally is."
And speaking of Thing, rumor
has it that the original Lurch also
supplied Gomez's right-hand
hand. Struycken was not so lucky.
Struycken's Lurch was also
short-changed on speaking parts,
with no "You rang"'s, or even any
moaning.
"I grew up in the Curacao Is-
lands. We had a lot of American
TV shows, but no Addams Family.
I do remember the illustrations,
but I only saw the TV series after.
See LURCH, Page 8

by Annette Petruso
"W hen I started writing about
popular music, nobody was inter-
ested in it except people who loved
it," Charles Shaar Murray, author
of the Shots From the Hip explains.
"When I started, I started writing
as a fan for fans on a subject which
was really only of interest to its
fans ... (Pop has) passed out of the
stage of being a youth phenomenon
and had become a mass culture phe-
nomenon."
Perceptive bullets can be found
in Shots From the Hip, a collection
of articles covering Murray's career
as a music journalist beginning in
the British underground press to
current freelance work featured in
such prestigious newspapers and
magazines as Vogue and Britain's
The Daily Telegraph. But Murray
had only minimal input as to which
essays went into the book.
"I didn't choose them because I
don't feel I have the objective dis-
tance from my own work to do the
job properly," he says.
"I mean, I could put together a
dynamite anthology of someone
else. I'd love it if Greil Marcus let
me choose his anthologies or my old
friend Nick Kent or anybody else in
the field who's work I respect and
am familiar with. That's why I
went to Neil Spencer who's "a friend
whom I've known for about twenty
years and who is himself a former
editor of the New MusicalExpress
and asked him to do it," he says.
His self-described "hands-on"
approach is why Shots from the Hip
has a much more spontaneous, of-
the-moment air than something like
Marcus' Dead Elvis.
While Shots is mostly made up
of profiles of musicians originally
published in periodicals, Dead Elvis
ponders, in long form, the American
co-option of Elvis. Many of the es-
says in Shots have this lively factor,
which could come in part from
where they were written.
"I used to be able to write whole

features on a battered typewriter in
the middle of an office with three
different records playing in three'
different rooms and people scream-
ing and fighting and having drug
overdoses on the floor," he says. "I
can't work like that now. I need to
sit at home, be very quiet with my
computer."
Murray is now more than just a
music writer.
"I like writing on different sub-
jects. I have a small and not particu-
larly lucrative sub-career as a re-

spectable literary critic in Britain ...
I write about computers in the
British edition of Mac User.
"I'm still interested in science
fiction," he says. "I still review it
occasionally, science fiction books
and so on and so forth. There was a
fascinating burst of new comics in
the '80s which seemed to have sub-
sided a bit now ... "
One of the most memorable non-
music pieces in Shots is an interview
with Bruce Wayne, the real Batman.
"That piece was a total hoax

Shots from the Hip
Charles Shaar Murray
Penguin Paperback
One myth about popular music I accepted until I
read Charles Shaar Murray's book Shots From the Hip
was that in the late '70s and early '80s, music lacked
enigmas or stars, talent, innovation, and sales, until
Michael Jackson released Thriller. I assumed that be-
cause we could look to no single artist as music's shin-
ing star, the rest was unimportant and music was dead.
Shots is a collection of his perceptive and funny pro-
files and other writings spanning Murray's career as a
music journalist, which began around 1970. The book
reminds readers that truly important musicians like
the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, Patti Smith, the Jam, Ian
Dury and the Blockheads, to name a few, existed in
popular consciousness alongside Styx and disco.
In fact, Murray's work, especially the pieces writ-
ten while he was on the staff of British rock weekly
New Musical Express, is particularly impressive be-
cause it was written at the time the events were hap-
pening. Murray ragged on Blondie and the Clash, for
example, before most people had ever heard of them.
And Murray's work has life and substance, espe-
cially when compared to the writing that appears in
Popular American Music Magazines (Rolling Stone,
Spin, Musician, even Option and Reflex) which is, quite
often, a painful bore because no individuality appears
on their pages. Quite unlike his American counterparts,
Murray's writing thrives on Wit, Insight, Sarcasm, and
Humor (WISH, if you will).
Check out, for example, Murray's excellent piece
chiding Paul (and Linda) McCartney, the dreamy
Venus and Mars couple.
"Up until the arrival of 'Band on the Run' in the
latter months of 1973," Murray writes, "the prevail-
ing assessment ofMonsieur, McCartney was that he.

was was the possessor of a 'basically bourgeois talent',
... wrote songs that begged for Andy Williams to
cover them, wimped around all over the place with a
wife who seemed to have even less musical credibility
that her fiendish Oriental opposite number ..." Yoq.
get the idea. But brilliant cutdowns aside, this article,
wears thin because of its length.
It's not that every piece should be short, but Shots
from the Hip seems long because there is no linear flow.
The book isn't like Murray's magnum opus, a critical
biography of Jimi Hendrix, Crosstown Traffic, nor does
it claim to be. But Crosstown Traffic, because of its fo-
cus on Hendrix, is talking about one story. Shots From,
the Hip has so many foci, so many stories of the '70s,
that the pieces that span more than a couple pages seem
too long.
And the articles from the '80s - the post-NME
stories especially - just don't have as much WISH as
the works from the previous decade. There seems less
danger on Murray's part - fewer chances, fewer stabs.
In part, one can blame the publications Murray be-
gan writing for - less "radical" or "irreverent" pub-
lications like Q and The Daily Telegraph.
The subjects Murray covers for these periodicals are
also nowhere near the cutting edge of music. He seems
old (or much less up to date), and more mainstream,
when, in the course of about seven years, he goes from
writing mostly about bands like the Mekons and the
Jam, to writing mostly about '60s "superstars" lik&
Diana Ross and Tina Turner.
But if you read Shots From the Hip in small (five to
ten essays per night) doses, right before bedtime, the
problems of the collection should not be as obvious,
and you'll dream vividly about musicians like a Mur-
ray favorite, the brudders Ramone.
- Annette Petruso

from start to finish. I made the
whole thing up. It fooled so many
people, it was ridiculous, you know.
"That piece originally ran in The.
Observer ... And this was the time
that the Batman movie was about to
come out and they wanted a Batman
piece and and they were like, 'Can
you think of a way that we can do
Batman that isn't like all the stuff
that's going?' which was either
celebrity pieces ... or sort of aca-
demic histories of the Batman comi;
See MURRAY, Page 9.

who what where when

The Serpent's Tooth Theatre
Company, in cooperation with the
Performance Network, presents The
Gingham Dog by Lanford Wilson
January 9-12, 15-19. The shows start
at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays through
Saturdays, 2 p.m. on Sundays at the
Performance Network. Wilson's
play probes the problems faced
within an interracial marriage dur-
ing the late sixties, a crucial time in
the Civil Rights era. A post-show
symposium, Black & White To-
gether: Has Anything Changed?,
will follow the January 12 perfor-
mance, in which the actors, director
Michael L. Geiger, sociologists and
couples in mixed marriages will
discuss the topic of interracial mar-
riage. For more in-formation call
437-3264 or 663-9681.
When you turn 25, maybe you
too can have Gail Hirschenfang
sing for your birthday. This
Saturday night Ms. Hirschenfang,

one of the first invested female
cantors in the United States, will
use her golden pipes at Hillel in
honor of Temple Beth Emeth's
silver anniversary. The well-tra-
veled cantor has performed as far
away as South Africa and what was
the Soviet Union. When she is not
participating in services at Temple
Beth El in Birmingham, Hirschen-
fang can be seen singing with the
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Ti-
ckets for the 8 p.m. show are $10, $5
for students. Call 769-0500 for
more information.
VIOLIN
LESSONS
Beginning through
Advanced.
Doctorate from U of M.
20 Years Experience.
Near Central Campus.
For More Info.
663-8392

SPRING

BREAK '92
DAYTONA INNS
2 Oceanfront Motels
" BROADWAY-2 blocks
to Bandshell & Boardwalk.
" SEABREEZE-1 block to
SEABREEZE entertainment area
POOLDECK PARTIES & LOUNGES

.(, e
~u

N

Channel Z
Boy, you folks that have cable are
soooo lucky. Instead of watching
some messy Big Ten basketball
game on ESPN, try this lineup on
for your evening entertainment:
start off with reruns of Late Night
with David Letterman (7 p.m., A &
E), when Dave was in his prime. You
might even catch Chris Elliot if
you're lucky.
Or, if you're in an even kookier
mood, try the Man of the Year's
network. There's some Addams
Family episodes (7:05 p.m., TBS) to
remind you that the original, unlike
the movie, was actually funny. And
pay homage to the late, great Fred
Sanford with Sanford and Son re-
runs (7:35 p.m., TBS).
DAILY ARTS SEZ:
Support Campus Cinema

I_ _2

Performers
Musicians
Technicians
Berenstain Bears
Coming Soon
To A Location Near You
Ann Arbor, Michigan:
Tuesday, January 14
University of Michigan
Michigan Union-Anderson Room
Registration: 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Kalamazoo, Michigan:
Wednesday, January 15
Western Michigan University
Dalton Center, School of Music
(Park at Miller Auditorium)
Registration: 3:00-5:00 p.m.
East Lansing, Michigan:
Thursday, January 16
Michigan State University
Union Ballroom
Registration: 2:30-4:30 p.m.

DRINK, DANCE, AND MAKE NEW FRIENDS
1-800 -874-1822

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