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February 14, 1992 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-02-14

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*The Michigan Daily Friday, February 14, 1992 Page 10
Conspiracies, paranoia,
Madonna's pap smear 7. K

dir. Richard Linklater
by Michael John Wilson

T wenty-nine year-old Richard
Linklater has done something re-
markable. His film Slacker repre-
sents a triumph of substance over
style. Unlike so-called cutting-edge
directors like the Coen brothers,
whose self-conscious craftings over-
whelm any hints of an idea, Link-
later is pure concept with a $23,000
budget. (Yes, that's 4,000 times less
than Terminator 2 cost.)
Linklater's simple idea is to film
about 30 different characters on a
single day in Austin, Texas. The
camera follows one person for a
while, then switches its focus to an-
other who walks by, not unlike the
recent City of Hope or those K-mart
ads. His subject is the deadpan mus-
ings of a bunch of inactive slackers
in a college town.
There's a potential for serious
boredom here, but Linklater's di-
verse variety of weirdos, Espresso
Royale types and society's dropouts
- each of whom we only see for a
few minutes - are engrossing and
appealing. We can't just say "get a
job" to these people, partly because
they're so familiar to us in this col-
lege town, and partly because we
too would like to join in their non-
conformity for awhile.

Linklater's film gives us just
this chance. His wandering, stream-
of-consciousness narrative style,
which follows one character until
another grabs his attention, resem-
bles the thought processes of a day-
dream. Watching the movie itself
becomes a form of slacking, as the
audience sits around and does noth-
ing, just thinking about whatever
comes to mind (or whomever ap-
pears on the screen). It's a break
from reality that we like.
Many of the slackers, most of
whom are played by Linklater's
"Withdrawal by
disgust does not equal
apathy" ... could be
the slacker credo.
nonprofessional friends, are just
plain hilarious. Linklater himself
appears as the film's first character,
who delivers a philosophical tirade
on alternative reality to a cab driver.
One guy theorizes on the signifi-
cance of the Smurfs, postulating
that their blue color prepares chil-
dren for the coming of Krishna,
who's also blue. As a high-strung
hustler selling a gynecological Ma-
donna souvenir, Teresa Taylor pro-
vides an especially energetic jolt to
some of the more mundane chatter-

"Withdrawal by disgust does
not equal apathy," as one character
states, could be the slacker credo.
They're far from brainless failures;
even seedy bartenders make refer-
ences to Dostoevsky or Antonioni.
In a kind of intellectual revolt, they
simply choose inaction.
Yet there's also plenty of truly
insane people in Austin, people who
cross the line from passive to active
revolt against the society they de-
spise. Leon Czolgosz (who killed
President McKinley) and Charles
Whitman (who opened fire on a
crowd in Austin) are revered by
some as heroes, slackers who took a
How are we to react to these
whackos, or to the slackers as a
whole? We don't want to brush
them off as bums, but then again,
you can't really take seriously a guy
who suggests that Elvis is alive and
working as an Elvis impersonator.
It's in this respect that Lin-
klater's vision is incomplete. We
gain no genuine insight into the
cause of the slackers' paralysis. Per-
haps their intelligence and learning
is what caused them to choose inac-
tion, but we can't be sure. In the end,
we feel as empty as slackers - but
then again, who cares? The mere fact
that this film was released testifies
to its unique triumph of idea.
SLACKER opens today at the Ann
Arbor 1 & 2.


David Blair (left) and Bill O'Connor are just two of the local songwriters to appear in "New Voices" Sunday.
A gathering of local folks
See the best ofA2's street musicians & songwiters

by Andrew J Cahn
F or everyone who flocked to the
15th Folk Festival last month, the
Ann Arbor Council for Traditional
Music and Dance (AACTMAD)
will present "New Voices: the Best
of Ann Arbor's New Singer-
Songwriters" Sunday night to
benefit the local cultural society.
The organizer of the event, and
one of the performers, Bill
O'Connor, has been involved with
AACTMAD for quite some time,
and says that the purpose of the or-
ganization is to "keep the dance and

music community going." Some of
their activities include monthly
square and contra dances, house con-
certs featuring local performers,
and an annual St. Patrick's Day Irish
music festival. New Voices, how-
ever, is their first large-scale show-
case for new artists.
Although he has recorded his
tunes on Tea on a Rainy Day,
O'Connor predominantly plays in a
band which performs at AACT-
MAD's dances. "We mostly play
instrumental, fiddle-tunes, and I re-
ally haven't had a chance to perform
my own material," he says, and feels
the other artists have had the same
Another performer at Sunday's
benefit, David Blair, was known lo-
cally as the singer for a funk band,
Black Planet, but he recently left
the group, realizing how much more
he enjoyed playing on his own. The
23 year-old's musical career began a
few years ago when he was living in
New York City.

"I had been singing for a while
before I learned how to play gui
tar," Blair says, "Once I started'
writing songs and playing in sub-
way stations, I realized I was mak;
ing more money than I was at bot4
of my jobs combined."
His experiences playing at past
Art Fairs encouraged him to move
out here last September, and he is a
fixture of Ann Arbor's street music
scene. Blair hasn't formally re-
corded any of his soulful, political
folk :tunes, but he has. recorded
himself singing in his room.
"I made about ten of them, and I
sold them all one day for ten
dollars each," he says. "Now I've
got to find a way to mass produce
them." But any musicians who have
tried to make tapes on their owa
know that high-speed dubbing cah
only take you so far.
In addition to his originals,
Blair's repertoire also includes
material as diverse as Phil Ochs'
See FOLKS, Page 12


who what where when

So, Valentine's Day is today,
meaning you either have a weekend-
long date with your special someone
or you plan on spending the weekend
alone and depressed as hell. Who-
ever you'll be with, check this guide
to the best music-type events this

weekend in the Ann Arbor/ Detroit
Tonight: Everyone's favorite lo-
cal band (not!) Frank Allison and
the Odd Sox charms the Blind Pig,
but if you wanna do a ya-mon! kind
of thing, the reggae-like First Light

will jam at Rick's. If you want
more serious musical entertainment,
Maura O'Connell, Ireland's most
beautiful voice, sings at the Ark for
two shows at 7:30 and 10 p.m.
Tickets are $12.50 at TicketMaster
(p.e.s.c.). Going out earlier, like 5:01
p.m., means you can see Straight
Ahead for no admission at the
Michigan Theater's 5:01 Jazz Series.
If you do have some sick desire to
drive to Detroit, your pop culture
prospects brighten. The most annoy-
ing thing on MTV, Pauly Shore,
does something that's probably
somewhat amusing at the Ritz in
Roseville. It's only $7 at Ticket-
Master. Even better, the long for-
gotten (and probably better left
that way) .38 Special rises from the
dead to play at Harpo's. It'll proba-
bly be kind of like that Flock of
Seagulls tour a couple of years ago.
But if the Detroit music scene
isn't quite what you've got a han-
kerin' for, and you can't bring your-
self to leave that shining mid-west
Mecca, you could drop in at Alvin's
Finer Bar & Deli (5756 Cass
Avenue). Yup, the 5th Annual
Erotic Poetry Fest has come and
it's still breathing those raunchy
sweet nothings in your ear. It's the
perfect complement to Weekend
etc. 's Sex and Lust (Health and
Fitness) issue, especially tailored
for those of you still quivering in

unfufilled anticipation. And any-
way, how often do you get a chance
to watch over 25 poets, entertainerst
and performance artists convertI
your perverted and kinky inner
thoughts into good deeds - moneyI
for the Cass Corridor soup kit-1
chens? Doors open at 7:30 p.m. All
these lusty poets ask for is a $5 do-
nation at the door. Call 832-2355
and talk dirty to them.
When your date and/or depres-
sion hangs over into Saturday, check
out some local grunge at the newly
re-opened Heidelberg. Roland B._
and Raindance perform. Get info
at 663-7758. A more rockish band,
the Hannibals, performs at Rick's.
To those involved in the Ann Ar-
bor community, the University, or
college radio the important event
this Saturday is at the Blind Pig.
P.J.'s Used Records is having a big
fundraising bash for WCBN fea-
turing such local artists as B i g
Dave and the Ultrasonics, South-
going Zak, Tracey Science and
Arwulf Arwulf & the Modified
Starch Orchestra. It all starts at 6
p.m. and cover is $7 for those 18 and
over. Go., It's worth it to see all
these excellent bands.
If you missed John Gorka at the
Folk Festival in January, catch him
at the Ark for $10. 75 in advance at
TicketMaster (p.e.s.c.).
And on Sunday, hear the last in-
stallment in Eclipse Jazz's Java and
Jazz series. Vocalist Janet Tenaj
appears with jazz pianist Sven
Anderson and drummer Bob Pinter,
and bassist Rich Kowalski. Hey, it's
free jazz and free gourmet coffee,
what more do you want? It happens
in the Tap Room of the Michigan
Union from 4 to 7 p.m. Call 763-
0046 for more information.
See, Valentine's Day doesn't have
to be all that bad.


Dance to The Beat
to rid Dis Content



by Adrienne Burhans
Our parents remember a time when a white hand never touched a Blac
hand. Whites walked on one side of the street, Blacks on the other. Today
we all walk down the same street, white hands intertwined with Black
hands. We seem to be the rainbow children of Martin Luther King Jr.'s
But has Dr. King's dream really been realized? Sirad Balducci, an LSA
senior and president and founder of Visual Arts Media & Performance
company (V.A.M.P.), argues in the multi-media production The Beat of Dis
Content, that African Americans have yet to achieve equality in society.
The Beat of Dis Content traces the history of racism from slavery to the
1990s. Besides a film documentary depicting a history of political move-
ments fighting racism, there will also be modern dance, performance of
original music, and soundtracks of personal interviews, stories and poems.
"There is a great need for a more concise approach to the subject df
racism that is an underlying oppression in our society," says Balducci.
"There are elements of this kind of bigotry in our education programs, goV-
ernment, media and careers. Because the racial tensions on this campus, atld
around the country, are high and on the rise, we hope to reach out and make
people think about the consequences for the future."
Balducci wants people to recognize their racist attitudes. "So many of
us can call ourselves liberal and believe that we aren't racist, yet some issue
will come up; we react and don't even realize we are being racist. We've got
to realize that someone is affected by our reactions.
"The Beat of Dis Content is told from the African-American perspec-
tive. We want white America and Black America to see this production. We
want the white American to see the affect his racist attitude has on the
African American, and recognize what African Americans see as racist."
The Beat of Dis Content attacks both individual racist ideas and institu-
tionalized racism. Balducci comments, "People think the situation is get-
ting better for African Americans. We're trying to show that the situation
is reversing. Things are getting worse for African Americans.
"Many people believe that because we live in an integrated society and
have been through a Civil Rights movement, racism no longer exists in
America. That just isn't true. Listen to the news, read the paper, usually the
back pages, and you'll find some racist incident. Right here at the Univer-
sity - the University is willing to spend thousands of dollars to recruit
good athletes. They spend a thousand dollars on interviews and plane tick-
ets. But the University isn't willing to drive thirty miles to Detroit to re-
cruit inner city black students. Many of the athletes happen to be African
American. This enforces a negative stereotype." According to Balducci, the
See BEAT, Page 12

Big Dave and the Ultrasonics, faces for radio it we ever saw em, cnip in
and try and get some fresh dough for WCBN at the fundraiser Saturday.


Winter Clearance Sale

jca Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
Second Stage Productions
the death and life of
A farcical
directed by Thom Johnson
Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 p.m.
January 30-February 15, 1992
Tickets $7-Thursdays two-for-one
The Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
1935 South Main Street
Call 662-7282 for tickets4



- I


I 1 regular
t FREE!!
Ivalue $1.00
(limit 1 per coupon)
10% off

Training Session for the NEW
For the Macintosh Version 2.0.
PBS, Inc. invites you to attend on Tues-
dcav Fehruary 25th. From 9 to 4. (with

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