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February 21, 1992 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-02-21

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Friday, February 21, 1992 Page8

This is what the MC5 looked like on the inside cover of their incendiary debut album, the live and banned-at Hudson's
Fred Sonic Smith, Michael Davis, the late Rob Tyner, Wayne Kramer, and Dennis Thompson.

Tyner jams on in city's

by Greg Baise
Think of a world where ART is the
only motivation ...
-Rob Tyner, in the inside cover
of the MCS's High Time
No matter which way you slice up
the Panther, whether you use the
prescriptions of purity and accuracy
or the perhaps more accurate disillu-
sionment, you can't deny that the
MC5 was getting down in the late
'60s, flag-waving for a group of
Detroit/Ann Arbor political rabble-
rousers and a teenage nation of
freeks at the '68 Democratic Con-
vention and beyond. ,
Rob Tyner died last fall. His
strong, soulful vocals kicked out the
incendiary White Panther poetry
slams for legendary Detroit rockers
the MC5. When coupled with the
ferocious punk R&B of the other
four (duh!) members of the Five,
Tyner's voice let everyone in this
tri-county area and beyond feel the
flames of a Motor City burning with
unrest and discontent and a youth
culture quite ready to actively search
for solutions and party at the same
time.
Then, when the Five saw how
they-were getting ripped off by pro-
moters and other lazy people, they
staged their own Lockian revolution.
They persevered, continuing to kick
out the jams through two studio al-
bums that are quite free of Panther
manure, and filled with ferocious,
souped-up rock and R&B. The MC5

fired some of the most real live bul-
lets this area's ever seen.
In Tyner's spirit and memory, a
group of local people involved with
the music industry have organized
themselves under the moniker "The
Friends of Robin Tyner." They're
executing a series of concerts and
other cultural activities to commem-
orate Tyner's contributions to music.
But instead of money flowing
into the loose pockets of someone
like, say, Uncle Russ Gibb (the
Grande Ballroom's monetary major-
domo), the proceeds from the series
of benefits and cultural happenings
go to Detroit's Center for Creative
Studies, as well as to the Tyner
Scholarship Fund, which will aid
Tyner's children with their future
education.
The event most worthy of
bearing the name of the Five's
signature tune occurs this Saturday
night. Entitled "Kick Out the Jams:
A Tribute to Rob Tyner," the
evening's program includes
performances by all sorts of Motor
City luminaries, past and, ahem,
present, including the sharp red
leather-encrusted Romantics, the
almost year-old Rationals Reunion
Experience, the deploy-all-Ashetons
antics of Dark Carnival, as well as
appearances by Tyner's bandmates
from the MC5.
For the whetting of younger
folks' auditory appetites, next big-
label-things like Loudhouse and
Goober and the Peas will plant their

memorial saplings as well. Current
Ann Arbor resident Dee Dee
Ramone should make the rounds.
And New York's When People
Were Shorter and Lived Near the
Water, whose Kim Rancourt hails
from Royal Oak, will perform as
well. Hopefully, they'll select some
grade-A '60s Detroit punk nuggets
from their upcoming Bill Kennedy
Presents... tribute album.
(O)ur culture itself represented a
political threat to the established or-
der, and that any action which has a
political consequence is finally a po-
litical action...
- John Sinclair, Guitar Army
Ain't it the truth? Ain't it what
rock and roll has always been about,
besides filling the platinum-en-
crusted coffers of LA and New York
manufacturing moguls? Well, al-
though they would later concentrate
on the good 01 jams, the Five were
prone to making political statements
- like Tyner shouting "mother-
fucker" in a crowded theater, while
the tapes were rolling no less, on
that Zenta New Year (Oct. 31) in
'68.
They also put the American flag
through some less-than-VFW-ap-
proved anti-military exercises. Now
normally, they would've just been
hassled by the police and the local
PTA or whatever preserver of com-
munity standards happened to have
kids in the audience.
But in the fall-out of the release

memory
of Kick Out the Jams, local busi-
nesses decided to get in on washing
the filthy Five's mouths out with
corporate boycott soap as well.
Soon, Elektra Records stationary
was seen hanging on the walls, em-
blazoned with the words "Fuck Hud-
son's." People in business suits
everywhere were not amused.
Besides presaging punk rock, the
MC5 often encountered situations
similar to modern dilemmas of com-
merce and government interfering
with art. With such a legacy, it is on-
ly fitting that this tribute serves two
purposes: to commemorate Rob Ty-
ner and to present a public display of
arts appreciation. Had Tyner not
passed away, and these events were
solely for the promotion of the arts,
he surely would have taken to the
stage to help out. His memory
should inspire the gathered to kick
out the jams, loudly and for a good
cause.
When introducing the MC5's single
"Tonight," Rob Tyner enticingly
proclaimed, "All right, kids! Let's
get together and have a BALL!"
There will be plenty of opportunities
to live up to Tyner's words this
weekend: besides Saturday Night's
KICK OUT THE JAMS event at the
State Theater, on Friday night the
ROB TYNER ROCK AND ROLL
REVIVAL will be held at the Miami
in Detroit and REMEMBERING
ROB TYNER will be held Sunday
evening at Alvin's in Detroit.

Justice assassinated
Let Him Have It
dir. Peter Medak
by Michael John Wilson
Oliver Stone's not the only one trying to right some old wrongs on film
these days. Let Him Have It seeks to reveal the truth about a famous murder4
case in England - the Craig/Bentley affair of 1952. Bypassing Stone's
stylistic assault approach, director Peter Medak (The Krays) quietly and
powerfully convinces the audience of one man's innocence.
In 1952, 19-year-old Derek Bentley (Chris Eccleston) was convicted of
beingtan accessory to the murder of a police officer. The guy who actually
dunnit was Chris Craig (Paul Reynolds), a wild kid who wanted to be an
American gangster. Despite the jury's plea for mercy, and despite the fact
that Bentley was an epileptic with the mental age of 11, he was executed.
Since then, public protest over Bentley's execution contributed to the abo-
lition of the death penalty in England, and the case has reached nearly leg- 4
endary status.
Plenty of conspiracy theories about the murder have arisen in years
since, but Medak and screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade aren't in-
terested. Instead, they methodically, at times ploddingly, focus on
Bentley's character, showing us (often fictional) details.
Bentley's previous dealings with the nearly psychotic Craig, for exam-
ple, prove that he wouldn't have encouraged Craig to kill a cop. Once we're
inside Bentley's head, we're convinced of his innocence -- he couldn't be
guilty because in a sense, he is an uncorrupted child. No third gunman on the
roof, no grassy knoll theory is necessary to exonerate Bentley in the audi-
ence's mind.
The filmmakers' rely on character to convince - a shrewd move, and
one that requires good performances. Medak gets them from the entire cast,
especially from newcomers Eccleston and Reynolds. Reynolds plays Craig
like a young Joe Pesci-type from Goodfellas, scarily teetering between psy-
chotic rage and immature sobbing.
As Bentley's parents, veteran actors Tom Courtenay (The Loneliness of
the Long Distance Runner) and Eileen Atkins steal the show in their fight
to free their son. The raw, unsentimental scenes of their final days with
Bentley are painfully real. Personal, family scenes - not the courtroom
drama or staging of the crime - are the most memorable.
Unlike The Thin Blue Line or JFK, Let Him Have It doesn't present an
agenda of What Must Change in Our World. Instead, we're left with the
memory of a single injustice - and the unbearable agony of one family.

LET HIM HAVE IT starts Saturday at the Michigan. Buy your tickets in ad-,
vance at Shaman Drum or PJ's Records to benefit Amnesty International.

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Peter Medak (left) directs Chris Eccleston as Bentley in Let Him Have It

KODO
pounds
passionate
KODO
Power Center
February 19, 1992
Phenomenal is one word to de-
scribe the KODO Japanese drum-
mers whose "One Earth Tour" re-
sounded at the Power Center
Wednesday. In nine pieces and one
encore, the 11 members of KODO
shared their dream by singing, dan-
cing and playing the heck out of va-
rious drums.
Although their roots are tradi-
tional, KODO's influences come
from many sources. For example, in
Yamauta, four of the drummers
Perforance review
played the taiko (traditional Japanese
druns). They began as a group using
a stiucture similar to jazz music; one
by one they stepped forward to play
a solo improv. Climactically, two of
the drummers lowered themselves to
their knees slowly while clubbing
their taikos at breakneck speed, re-
miniscent of a rock concert stunt.
By contrast, Miyake began with a
cappella singing. A haunting soloist
was echoed by six men in strong
harniony. Miyake then used drums
positioned close to the ground that
the KODO members lunged toward,
attahking them with martial arts-like

Donner's dreamlike abuse turns

Radio Flyer into a lead weight

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Radio Flyer
dir. Richard Donner
by Aaron Hamburger
Beneath the sunlit hills, cute kids and fuzzy animals of
Radio Flyer, lies a sinister movie. The filmmakers have
decided to tackle the serious subject of child abuse, yet
they end up coating it with a fairy tale wash that only
ends up intensifying the impact of the violence. Radio
Flyer has the distinction of being the first movie ever to
wax nostalgic about getting beaten up.
You know you're in trouble from the outset. Radio
Flyer opens with a visit to a crying buffalo by a family
on their way to California (in the movies, all of life's
problems are solved by moving to California).
It seems Daddy's abandoned the family and Mommy
(Lorraine Bracco, in her second appearance in a dismal
flop this year; the first was Medicine Man) is setting up
shop with a new guy, known as The King. Bracco's
kids Mike (Elijah Wood) and Bobby (Joseph Mazzello)
suspect something's up when The King slaps Bobby
around for snapping the string on his fishing pole.
Things start getting really serious when The King
starts beating up Bobby on a regular basis. Don't worry
though, the crying buffalo visits the movie in the most
ridiculous dream sequence this side of Grand Canyon to
assure the audience that Bobby is actually a visionary
prophet, a la Bugsy Siegel. Bobby's dream is to turn the
tykes' Radio Flyer red wagon into a flying machine so
that he can fly away, back to the crying buffalo.
For what audience is the film intended? The ads,

which compare it to E. T.., are aimed at little kids, but
there are several reasons why this film is completely
inappropriate for children. First, no kid is dumb enough
to swallow the movie's inane plot. Second, the film's
world is a dark and brutal one, where kids either get
beaten up by other kids or by step-parents.
Mothers can't be trusted, according to this movie.
Money's more important to them than the welfare of
their kids. And policemen? They're too old to be of any
use. Seven-year-old Christ figures like Bobby are the
only people you can really count on any more.
Director Richard Donner (Superman and Lethal
Weapon) isn't exactly known for subtlety, and doesn't.,
show any here. For example, to indicate to the audience
the faceless evil which is The King, Donner never fully
reveals The King's face. Nice touch. Also, to point out
The King's alcoholism, Donner indulges in countless
repeated closeups of The King opening beer after beer,
not realizing that after the fifteenth time, the audience
gets the point.
Radio Flyer is a beautifully made film with a swel-
ling musical score and lyrical shots of rolling hills and
sundrenched California suburbs. But the tone of whim-
sy and nostalgia just doesn't jibe with the serious sub-
ject of child abuse. The movie is an insult to anyone
who has ever suffered from child abuse and to human
sensitivity.
This spring break, if you want to take that little sib-
ling or cousin that you've missed all year long to a
movie, do them and yourself a favor: skip Radio Flyer.
RADIO FLYER opens today at Showcase and Briar-
wood.

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Ex-Gong Show gongmeisters KODO hit the Power Center Wednesday.

movements.
In the energetic O-daiko, the men
stripped down to G-strings and the
drumming became more powerful.
The o-daiko, an 800 pound drum
carved from a single tree, was majes-
tically wheeled out on a high plat-
form lit by lanterns. Two of the men

played the drum simultaneously, ex-
hibiting the strength required to beat
the o-daiko. Not only could the
drumming be seen and heard, it
could be felt through the instrumen-
t's deep tone as well as the drum-
mers' bodies.
In ancient Japan, village limits
were determined by the furthest dis-
tance from which the taiko drum-
ming could by heard. KODO's hope
is to let the drumming be heard by
all in the large village of the world.
-Maureen Janson

who what where when

0

wAnn Arbor Civic Theatre Present
N~.s
. -te

Hey, are you stuck working your
butt off in Ann Arbor over Spring
Break? Take some time out to expe-
rience Culture. The renowned Mark
Braun, a blues and boogie-woogie
pianist who has played all over
Europe, Canada, USA, and Mexico
but comes from Detroit, plays at the

Kerrytown Concert House tonight
and tomorrow at 8 p.m. Tickets are
$10, $15 for as-signed seats. For
more info, call 769-2999.
For those of you that missed
Lenny Kravitz' brilliant and life-
changing show last year, there is still
hope. The gorgeous dreadlocked
wonder is opening for the Cult this
Saturdayand Sunday night at the
Fox Theatre. This is sure to be quite

musicians will perform in a benefit
for the arts in Michigan. Emceed by
Arwulf Arwulf, this event features a
poetry-slam type event with an open
mike, poet Wolf Knight, writer
Karen Malofy, People Dancing's
Whitley Setrakian, songwriter
Suvonne Baker and rock band
Luna Park. It benefits the Granite
Line Writers and the Washtenaw
Council for the Arts. Cover is $4.
For more info, call 665-3063.

SPRING BREAK '92

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