Page 8-The Michigan Daily- Monday, February 3, 1992
Harry Shapiro and
St. Martin's Press
At 723 pages, Jimi Hendrix
Electric Gypsy is the encyclopedic
version of a Jimi Hendrix biography.
The winding text itself is only 507
pages long, but it is the extensive
appendices which complete, and, at
points, repeat the text. Surprisingly,
Electric Gypsy does not get bogged
down in its attempt to fully docu-
ment every aspect of Hendrix. It
only seems unnecessarily long when
Harry Shapiro and Caesar Glebbeek
do a song-by-song analysis of each
of Hendrix's releases and some of
his major performances.
The excessive length is com-
pounded by the kind of analysis the
authors use. Shapiro and Glebbeck
build on that concept when they in-
terpret almost every song as some-
thing relating to his childhood. The
beginning of the book describes
Hendrix's traumatic family life -
the unreliability of his mother, the
strictness of his father, and
Hendrix's own spaciness.
The pop psychology is unnec-
essary and wears thin. It's when they
use quotes from Hendrix himself
that their speculations have cre-
dence, and it seems like they could
have found a quote for nearly every
circumstance since most aspects of
his life are well-documented.
This problem also pops up
occasionally in the narrative. The
authors have obviously researched
Electric Gypsy quite thoroughly
because the appendix alone features
the serial numbers of each of
Hendrix's guitars, a discography of
every song he ever appeared in
including what instruments were
used, who was playing what, and a
day-to-day chronology of Hendrix's
entire life. But when they have no
sources from Hlendrix or his family,
the authors second-guess what
For example, it is well known
that. Hendrix was a Bob Dylan fan,
but the authors had no quotes to use.
They instead resort to the schlocky
technique used in an earlier (and
much poorer) Hendrix bio, 'Scuse
Me While I Kiss the Sky: "When
Dylan sang of loneliness and a life
without direction in 'Like a Rolling
Stone,' one can imagine Jimmy's
(sic) eyes shining and him thinking,
'Yeah, man, I know what you're
saying', and then perhaps letting out
a characteristic giggle at the line
'scroungin' your next meal."'
At their worst, Shapiro and
Glebbeek try to make Hendrix into
something he wasn't. When talking
about Hendrix's politics, the authors
cannot just let Hendrix say, without
their condescension, that war is bad
but war in Vietnam was necessary.
Instead, they launch into a discus-
sion of how drugs did not make
Hendrix all peace and love.
"One might have imagined that
several subsequent months of fairly
regular use of LSD would have
changed Jimi's attitude, making him
more at one with the world as his
ego dissolved into the melting pot of
the global psychedelic unity
promised by Timothy Leary."
But it didn't do so. "If nothing
else, it showed that although Jimi
was disturbed by some of his LSD
visions, taking the drug had a limited
impact in changing the way he
thought about life."
But these moments are few.
For the most part, Electric Gypsy
does give the background necessary
At their worst, Shapiro
and Glebbeek try to
make Hendrix into
something he wasn't.
to understand the events as Shapiro
and Glebbeek write them. For ex-
ample, they give a short history of
the Black Panthers which explains
the dynamic each time the group
crossed Hendrix's path. The exten-
sive use of quotations from Hendrix
and others around him keeps the nar-
rative lively and finnly rooted in re-
Though obviously worshipping
Hendrix, the authors claim that "the
aim was to produce the most detailed
account of Jimi's life and work yet
published," and they do indeed do
this. But to get the critical
perspective lacking here, and a more
complete picture of the music tradi-
tions that Hendrix comes out of,
Charles Shaar Murray's Crosstown
Traffic is the necessary companion
The Western farce Sneaky contains what is possibly the funniest violence since The Wild Bunch.
High noon for Snea.,.ky
The Death and Life lifestyle, when he discovers from The narrator, who has thec
of Sneaky Fitch the town doctor that he really tenance of Santa Claus, has af
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre didn't die at all; it's a tragedy - ant singing voice and is delight
January 31, 1991 you figure out the rest. funny as our friendly guide th
Farcical western tragedy isn't
the most common genre in theater,
but both William Shakespeare and
the Lone Ranger are quoted in the
program of the Ann Arbor Civic
Theatre's production of The Death
and Life of Sneaky Fitch - a more
than satiifying example of this
unique theater type.
The Death and Life of Sneaky
Fitch. revolves around the title char-
acter, who is the drunk, the coward,
and the all-around scourge of the
Old West town of Gopher Glutch.
All the townspeople anxiously
await Sneaky's death - he's bad for
tourism - but whenever someone
challenges him to draw, he merely
shrugs and says, "No Thanks." Fi-
nally, Sneaky appears to fall ill and
die, but he comes back to life during
his own funeral.
Since Sneaky seemingly can't be
killed, his fear of death vanishes, and
he instead becomes the town bully,
shooting people without any real
provocation. Eventually, however,
he becomes lonely in his new role.
No one will come near him because
everyone is afraid of him.
Sneaky begins to miss his old
Sneaky is a pleasant surprise all
around. This isn't, by any stretch of
the imagination, a big production,
but it is extremely enjoyable. The
theater seats only a handful of peo-
Gopher Gulch. The undertaker,
though not a huge role, was my per-
sonal favorite. Underwood's exag-
gerated expressions and gestures
make him memorable and very
The theater seats only a handful of people,
and the props and scenery are quite simple.
All these elements, however, work positively
toward the charm of the production - they
are, in fact, an integral part of it.
ple, and the props and scenery are
quite simple. All these elements,
however, work positively toward
the charm of the production - they
are , in fact, an integral part of it.
The actors bounce everything off of
these hokey surroundings, making
the play that much funnier.
The performances also add to the
play's charm. The cast seems com-
pletely natural in their exaggerated,
clich6d Western roles. More impor-
tantly, they seem to be having as
good a time playing off each other as
we have watching them interact.
Particularly enjoyable perfor-
mances are given by the singer/nar-
rator (Marshall Forstot) and the
undertaker, Mervyn Vale (Tom
amusing. The doctor (Bob Wilcox)
and Sneaky Fitch (Larry Rusinsky)
also have some fine moments.
One needn't be a fan of the West-
ern genre to enjoy this play. All you
need is the desire to laugh. It's not
too far from campus, and you'll be
talking with a way cool accent for a
while after it's over. Sure, there are
some groan-inspiring puns and some
jokes are driven into the ground, but
how could a show that has horse
droppings as a prop go wrong?
The Death and Life of Sneaky
Fitch will be' performed Thursday
through Saturday at 8 p.m. through
February 15th at the Ann Arbor
Simplicity can make its mark
Paul Kiec's bold lines. and expressive gestures
make his small UMMA exhibit a realfind
by Aaron Hamburger
S ometimes less is more. This ax-
iom certainly holds true for German
Expressionist artist Paul Klee,
whose mid-twentieth century gra-
phic drawings and small paintings
are on display at the University Art
In his work, Klee uses basic but
personal lines that have a stiff qual-
ity, like those in the drawings of a
child. Unlike a child, however, Klec
_J _ .. ..
Continued from page 5
months, 601 men, women, and chil-
dren have been murdered in D.C ...
More than 550 were Black." This
track ends with a hysterical skit
where two men argue over the solu-
tion to these problems, and one ends
up shooting the other.
Basehead has presented yet an-
other new, vital voice to the hip-hop
nation - a voice that's well worth
Neil Young &
Neil Young was never known
for his guitar technique - just lis-
ten to his one-note solo on "Down
by the River." He is, however, a
master of guitar noise.
The licks he plays opening up
songs like "Ohio" or "Country
Home" sound like they have been
through a process that only he un-
After years of experimenting
with nearly all pop music genres, he
came back to his true distorted self
with his last few studio albums and
tours. Now, in the time of Sonic
Youth and grunge metal, Weld por-
trays Neil Young as the great guru
of distortion rather than an over-
Concentrating mostly on mate-
rial from Ragged Glory a n d
Freedom, with a few classics
thrown in to spark the interest of
those who are only exposed to him
on classic rock radio, Weld is fun to
listen to. "Cortez the Killer" is
lengthy as ever, but Young's exper-
imnents in feedback and vibrato keep
it compelling throughout.
Just when you think that new,
new ground couldn't be achieved on
"Cinnamon Girl," the band success-
fully updates the arrangement for
the 1990s. Even the fourth recording
in three years of "Rockin' in the
Free World" (one of them was the
pointless cover by the wretched
Alarm) sounds fresh.
What makes this recording even
more amazing is that it is all done
live on stage with no overdubs.
Mudhoney and Nirvana may be
considered the "new thing," but
Neil's been doing it for years. Weld
provides proof of his mastery.
- Andrew . Cahn
Can you read & write?
You can review books and
preview visiting writers for
Daily Arts!! Call Alan, Mike,
or Elizabeth at 763-0379.
maximizes the descriptive potential
of-his lines to create unusual repre-
sentations of famniliar subjects such
In Julia, for example, the artist
draws a portrait using severalbroad,
simple lines of colored paste to
delineate facial features. Then, using
two small curves and several large
dots, Klee suggests a hat bedecked'
with flowers. The image, one of his
most powerful, strongly conveys a
sense of the stylish beauty of his
Less of a bold quality is apparent
in A Walk with the Child. Klee
twists and intertwines thin black
lines to portray a child walking
with its mother, who waves at the
viewer. The absence of detail pulls
your eye to the less cluttered areas,
such as the mother's gesture and the
child's face, and adds emphasis to
key compositional elements.
The artist aptly combines color
with line. In the watercolor, Danger
of Lightening, Klee contrasts the
soft washes of pink, yellow and
blue with a harder pattern of inter-
secting angles at the bottom of the
picture. The interpretation provided
in the accompanying didactic mate-
rial suggests that this pattern of
crossed black lines represents the
Nazi SS insignia, and the image is a
warning of the impending dangers
Alternately, the watercolor
could be thought of as an immediate
landscape painting. What makes the
picture effective is its contrasts; the
subtext behind the painting, true or
not, is inconsequential.
Besides being a talented- abstract
artist, Klee shows considerable
range with more representational
art. His whimsical comic book-like
watercolor could be
thought of as an
painting. What makes
the picture effective
is its contrasts.
creations, such as The Witch Within
the Comb, Monarchist, and Charm,
take a realistic human body, but dis-
tort it satirically.
The ironically-titled Charm cre-
ates a particularly grotesque figure
whose attempts at seduction seem
more repulsive than charming. Se-
duced by the small exhibition, one
wants to see more of Klee's work.
Sometimes, however, less is more.
PAUL KLEE will be on display at
the University of Michigan Mu-
seum of Art through March 15.
Your Student Centers!
Michigan Union Board of Representatives is looking for students
to sit on its Advisory Board.
e Leadership experience
*A direct working relationship with faculty, staff, and alumni
"Practical experience in policy setting, public relations, and
long range planning
*An opportunity to develop an understanding of and rapport
with a wide variety of individuals and groups
Applications are available Jan. 31 at the Campus Information Center in the
Union and at the North Campus Information Center in the North Campus
Continued from page 5
But now he is, as his press release
trumpets, 'New Age Vaudeville at
Its Worst.' But what does that
mean? "Basically, I tour," Ander-
son explains. "I was nominated top
college entertainer for Canada and
the U.S. You know, nominated. I
didn't get it."
How should potential audience
members prepare? "Make a few
stops at Perry Drugs."
He pauses for a moment to let
any humor sink in. It doesn't. "Just
come open to all expectations and
make sure their wallet is someplace
safe. I've just completed a tour of
all the rest stops on I-94."
O. J. ANDERSON will be at the Per-
formance Network Thursday
through Saturday at 8 p.m., with a
kid's matinee at 2_p.m. on Saturday.
Tickets are $9, $7 for students and
seniors, $6 for the matinee. Call
SUMMER PROGRAM 1992
Intersession: May 25 - June 12
Summer Session: June 15 - July 24
A More than 50 regular offerings from the
University's liberal arts curriculum.
A A three-week French language immersion
program; featuring cultural walking tours and
A A short course on the new Germany
culminating in a five-day study trip to Berlin.
A Weekend excursions: Normandy,
Champagne, Loire Valley chAteaux, and
A Seminar tours with the University of
Texas & the University of New