Wednesday, March 4, 1992
The Michigan Daily
by Christine Sio
D oes Melanie Rae Thou realize
that some people may be offended or
threatened by her honesty and trou-
bling themes? She laughs quietly
and responds simply, "Yes." Ap-
parently, that's all right with her.
As an undergraduate at the
University, Thon won a Hopwood
award for fiction. One of the judges,
Tilly Olsen, praised the honesty in
her writing as a particular strength.
"It made me understand what I
wanted to do," Thon explains. "I
decided what course my writing
So one shouldn't avoid Thon's
work because it may sound embar-
rassing, painful or "dirty" - it's too
substantial for that, too full of real
human experience. Many would
prefer to ignore such difficult topics
as teenage sexuality, the existence of
sado-masochistic personalities, and
the fears of childhood as other peo-
Thon realizes that there are peo-
ple who will close their eyes and
minds to her stories, but hopes she is
"not just preaching to the converted.
I hope that my work is healing." The
potential is there, in the frank, but
sensitive manner in which she deals
with experiences and emotions that
many people struggle with.
"We never know who our audi-
ence is going to be. There's no way
to force somebody to see what they
can't or don't want to see in their
v you wan
lives," Thon says. "There are sur-
prising people who respond. You
have to be grateful for those."
On Thursday, Thou will probably
read from her latest collection, Girls
in the Grass. The book uses many
different voices, crossing gender,
race and generational lines. In one
So how does Thon relate such
unique characters and stories so dif-
ferent from herself? She feels child-
hood experiences are often similar
among people, and that "if men and
women can find any bonds, they are
from childhood." She sometimes
channels the more difficult charac-
ters through the presence of more
Of "Punishment" (one story in
Girls in the Grass), Thon says, "I
move into material intuitively. For
some reason I'm drawn into a story
or character ... the leap to the Black
character may seem like a huge leap
for me to make ... but I found my-
self identifying very much with what
the white girl felt in the situation and
she was understanding what the
slave felt through her own experi-
ence with her father (the slave
"With all my work," Thon adds,
"my goal is to understand an experi-
ence." In Girls inthe Grass she ex-
plores many realities. You can try to
understand them with her, or you
can go just to see if she blushes or
stammers when she reads lines like,
"She stood against the wall with her
back toward him, touching herself,
frenzied, almost clawing. She told
him to slap her thighs, inside, up and
down, faster, harder, again. He
shoved his belt between her teeth..."
MELANIE RAE THON will be read-
ing at the Rackham Amphitheatre
Thursday at S p.m. Admission is
Dean and Gene (or is it Gene and Dean) Ween, Scotchguard abusers and great guys, both of 'em, contemplate life.
Smells ieke Scotchguard!
Ween shimis through homemade loser-psych rock
story you have Iona Moon, a young
woman who lives in the country and
loves cows, among other things.
Regardless, she is a surprisingly
modern woman, saying during one
heated moment, "You know you
want it Willy. Everybody wants it."
In another story the narrator is a
young Black boy sitting in church
with his mother thinking, "he didn't
want to be saved. He didn't want
Jesus to die for him ..."
Stop!. Or Stallone
will ma ke Oscar II
by Greg Baise
Your archetypal Ween fan probably makes even your
pathetic life look like one string after another of
excelsior coffee achievements. The Ween fan is that kid
you don't want to remember that went to your high
school - random gender, brown corduroy, greasy hair,
unstylish glasses -- who bypassed cough syrup in favor
of over-the-hardware-store-counter inhalants.
Scotchguard appears to have been the abused drug of
choice during the recording of The Pod, Ween's third
album (the first is ultra-rare, and the second, God-Ween-
Satan, is kind of difficult to find since the bellying-up
of Rough Trade). The liner notes revealed, "In the time
that this album was completed, we filled up thirty-six
hundred hours of- tape, and inhaled five cans of
The cover also features erstwhile Ween bassist Mean
Ween "doin' up some Scotchguard-powered bongs."
Mean Ween is actually Kramer, the Shimmy-Disc mag-
num operator who played bass for Ween on their recent
tour of Europe. Domestic tastes of live Ween consist of
the two original Ween Brothers plus a DAT machine.
Over the phone, Dean Ween (whose grandparents
know him as Mickey Melchionado) explained, "Scotch-
guard makes you see everything in grids, and then it
makes you throw up. Then you realize that it's kind of
like locking yourself in the garage with the car running
in order to get high."
Dean Ween is one-half of Ween, the other half being
Gene Ween. They grow psilocybin soundtracks on their
faithful Tascam four-track home recorder. Sometimes
it's noisy, like a less-maximal Butthole Surfer hardcore
audience. Dean admits that his Ween-lover archetype
isn't that far removed from what he and Gene were like
in high school.
He explained that when they're editing down their
reams of tapes in order to consolidate them into a al-
bum-length (or double-album-length) release, they'll
put in many a whacked-out Ween tune along with more
conventional fare. "It's like, 'This onfers. Sometimes
it's loud and glammy. It's almost always perverse, and
The lyrics are more like parodies of lyrics, but these
boys aren't on a mission of satire. Instead, Ween thrives
on a sort of love/hate relationship with thee's for the
kids,' the mutants," he explained from his isolated
house in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
It was there, near the shores of the Delaware River,
that Dean Ween met his mutant soul brother, Gene
Ween, in a junior high typing class s a little less than a
decade ago. Dean complained, "People always think of
us as a really young band, just because of our ages.
They don't realize that we've been around for a while."
Kramer became interested in Ween after seeing them
live and released The Pod on his label. The cover of the
album has the face of the Scotchguard-inhaling Kramer
superimposed over the same portrait of Leonard Cohen
that was on the cover of that artist's best of collection.
"We wanted to have a cover that was tasteful," Dean
WEEN plays Thursday at the Blind Pig. Tickets are $5
in advance, and doors open at 9:30. Call 763-TKTS.
Stop! Or My Mom
dir. Roger Spottiswoode
by Chris Lepley
Sit a chimp in front of a type-
writer and in a few centuries he'll
come up with Hamlet. Sit a com-
mon garden slug in front of a word
processor and in 20 minutes it'll
come up with every joke in Stop!
Or My Mom Will Shoot. It's not
that the film isn't funny. It's just
that anyone with a mother can be
just as funny. For free.
Sylvester Stallone, who should
hire better writers if he wants to
continue doing comedy, plays Joe
Bomowski, a Los Angeles cop and
transplanted New Yorker. His
mother, Tutti (Estelle Getty),
comes to visit and ... unfortunately
for the film, you can guess the rest.
There are giggles in Stop! but
few genuine belly laughs. The
film's predictability is its only real
problem. Both Sly and Getty give
fine performances, and the sup-
porting players are familiar and
funny. Tutti Bomowski is the
quintessential Everymother, scrub-
bing Joe's house and stuffing him
full of food because "breakfast is
the most important meal of the
day." But while Tutti vacuuming
the rug seems realistic, her scrub-
bing Joe's gun with Mr. Clean
sticks out like a sore plot device.
Stop! does do the viewer a favor
by combining two requisite com-
edy roles, the girlfriend and the
boss, into one. JoBeth Williams
plays Joe's ex and his superior of-
ficer. Williams gets to really
stretch as an actor in this film. She
has to cry, scream, look at authen-
tic Stallone baby pictures and even
slap him right in the kisser. But un-
fortunately for her, only Tutti (and
the audience) gets to see Sly's butt.
If I could find some way to
blame this film on director Roger
Spottiswoode, I would. Any direc-
tor who's shoveled Air America
onto the unsuspecting public needs
to be ripped apart. However, try as
I might, I couldn't hold Spottis-
woode responsible for every prob-
lem this film has.
The person on whose head this
tragic waste of celluloid will rest is
none other than the king of bad
comedy, Ivan Reitman, who co-
produced Stop! I feel completely
justified in crucifying Reitman for
this film for one reason: Before the
film began, I saw a preview for an
upcoming film entitled Beethoven.
I watched Charles Grodin cavort
on screen with a large Saint
Bernard and I saw the producer's
name and lo! it was Reitman.
After that trailer, Stop! seemed
like Oscar material, and I knew
that my brain had been warped by
the string of Reitman hits that in-
cludes Twins and Kindergarten
Cop. I can only hope that the pub-
lic has been warned in time.
STOP! OR MY MOM WILL
SHOOT is playing at Showcase
who what where when
The Cramps are everything that
is crude, sick and perverted in rock-
abilly. The Cramps are Jerry Lee Le-
wis fucking his 13-year-old first
cousin. The Cramps are Elvis drop-
ping dead of a heart attack while
straining to take a shit. The Cramps
sing songs like "Goo Goo Muck,"
"Bikini Girls With Machine Guns,"
and "Eyeball In My Martini." The
Cramps make bad music for bad
people, so you should definitely
check them out live, tonight at the
State Theatre, along with the most
Reverend Horton Heat. Doors open
at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $15.50
(p.e.s.c.) at TicketMaster.
With songs like "She Drives Me
Crazy" in his repertoire, Michael
Hedges is one of the few artists who
does better covers than his own mu-
sic. Check this guy out at the Power
Center tonight, even if he is on that
fogey label Windham Hill. Tickets
are $16.50 at TicketMaster (p.e.s.c.)
and the show starts at 8 p.m.
Mahlathini and the Mahotella
Queens also return to A2 for their
third concert in recent years. They
have dominated South African pop
charts for years and, like Hedges, are
must-see concert experience. They
play two shows tomorrow at the
Ark, 7 and 9:30 p.m., and tickets are
$15 at TicketMaster (p.e.s.c.).
George Lucas claims Young
Indiana Jones (8 p.m., ABC) is the
best thing he's ever done. It's proba-
bly not as good as those cool
Lucasfilm video games, but it's
surely better than that Ewok adven-
ture thing. Tonight in the 2- hour pi-
lot, see young Indy meet up with
Pancho Villa and Lawrence of
Arabia. So much fun you'll only be
slightly pissed that it's educational.
bTH AVE. AT LIBERTY 781.9700
$3 DAILY SHOWS BEFORE 6PM
v1+ ALL DAY TUESDAY__
STUDENT WITH I.D. .60
Present this ad when
purchasing a large
. "_popcorn and receive one
FREE LARGE DRINK
Sideburns & More.
MARCH 10, 17,24*
" Confronting stereotypes, racism, and anti-semitism
" Building bridges to achieve a better understanding of each other
" How can we affect our future relations?
Place : Meet in SOUTH QUAD East Lobby
Time : 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Refreshments will be provided.