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November 25, 1992 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-11-25

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Wednesday, November 25, 1992 Page 5

1

- Improv
stands up
to the test
by Jason Carroll
Everyone likes a good laugh.
Personally, I get bored with stand-up
comedy. Since the material is
scripted and the comedian performs
it night after night, the jokes seem
stale and they lack the vitality that
one gets with improvisational com-
edy. Highly Improvable, consisting
of five University seniors, has
enough energy and originality to
keep even the utmost connoisseur of
comedy happy.
Highly Improvable's show is
completely new and original each
week because they devise it right on
the spot, with suggestions from the
crowd. Although there is a rough
outline, the comedians ask for places
or personality traits from the audi-
ence, and then they act them out
without any scenery or props.
For the first part of the show they
* asked the crowd for a theme and
someone shouted out "monopoly."
The comedy team, working in pairs,
acted out different scenes. Wendy
Shanker, acted as the banker and
kept accusing the others of stealing
money and hiding it under the board.
The next part of the show was
extremely fast-paced. Two members
of the cast were given six different
locations and then they acted out
scenes in short time spans starting
with a 60-second scene, and ending
with a one-second scene. The crowd
selected New Jersey as the location
for one of the one-second scenes,
Highly Improvable
U-Club
November 19, 1992
which the pair on stage reacted to
with a blood-curdling scream.
In the "gripe orchestra," the cast
asked for four different gripes and
one was assigned to each member,
while the fifth was left to conduct.
On cue, the actors complained about
never having' clean underwear,
people who ash cigarettes on dishes,
liberals, and conservatives.
Now it was time for their
"commercial break" in which a place
and object were called out from the
audience, and then two cast
members would have to devise a
commercial. The place was "Land of
the Lost" and the object was a salad
shooter. Two members of the troupe
used their salad shooter to attack a
dinosaur. For the second commer-
cial, they were trapped in shallow
water with an armadillo. They ended
with this catchy rhyme, "when
you're drowning in a lake, use an
armadillo for God's sake!"
The best part of the show was the
party scene. One of the actors,
Wendy Shanker, left the room while
the others took on personality quirks
that the audience had assigned to
them. Then, Shanker had to guess
their problems before they would
leave her party. Many audience
members shouted out weird person-
ality traits. One cast member acted
like an idolatrous - one who shows
excessive devotion - and it took
Shanker about ten minutes to guess.

Improvisational comedy is very
hard, but these five actors made it
seem easy. Highly Improvable's 90-
minute show goes so fast that when
it's over you want more. The cool
thing is you can go again next week,
and it will be totally different.
HIGHLY IMPROVABLE performs at
10 p.m. every Thursday at the U-
Club in the Michigan Union. Tickets
are $2. Call 996-5979 for info.

A perma-grin of Arabian adventures

by Camilo Fontecilla
Welcome to Agrabah. This myth-
ical oasis, located in the midst of an
arid desert, becomes the setting for
Disney's latest animation extrava-
ganza, "Aladdin." Although based
on a tale of the same name in the
"Thousand and One Arabian
Nights," the animators have (as
usual) made many changes, borrow-
ing from a few of Scheherazade' s
other tales in a successful attempt to
make the film adaptation more dy-
namic.
Stretching their creative powers
to the limit, the folks at Disney have
come up with their most visually
exciting production yet. In the fairy
tale spirit of "The Little Mermaid"
and "Beauty and the Beast," our
story trails the mishaps of two young
lovers forcibly separated, framed by
the beautiful music of composer
Alan Menken. While it is Aladdin's
love for Princess Jasmine that guides
the plot, adventure and humor pre-
vail throughout most of the movie.
The magic of a lamp and the Ge-
nie it contains are the key elements
of this story. It is craved by Jafar,
Agrabah's Grand Vizier and main
counselor to the plump and easily
manipulated Sultan. Instead, Aladdin
gains control of it, and befriends the
Genie that inhabits within. While in
the lamp's cave, he also contracts
the services of a very timid but
friendly flying carpet. Using the
Genie's powers to get closer to
beautiful Princess Jasmine, Aladdin
discovers that Jafar will do anything
to wrench the lamp away from him.
Fortunately not trying to match
the attributes of their previous re-
lease, "Beauty and the Beast," Dis-
ney has been able to give "Aladdin"
a very distinctive style that sets it
completely apart from its predeces-
sors. Of course magic, the trademark
of Disney's greatest achievements,
is always present, and here it is
taken to fascinating extremes. Using
the powers of computer animation to
improve speed and fluidity, the ac-
tion sequences in "Aladdin" become

for

A masterful twist on the old riding-into-the-sunset motif - but would John Wayne have done it on a flying carpet? The mind, as they say, reels.

an exhilarating roller-coaster ride of
images and colors.
Controversially, the weight of the
film's character relies on the Genie,
who utters the words of none other
than Robin Williams. Williams was
let loose to improv on his dialogue,
and he is funny. Exceedingly funny.
Probably funnier than anything
you've heard this year, or your
whole life. He pokes fun at every
icon of our popular culture, from
Tupperware to Jack Nicholson, from
"Jeopardy" to Joan London, and the
list could unroll forever. But that
brings up a question: will his jokes
be able to endure the test of time?
And will future audiences enjoy "Al-
addin" as much? Only time will tell,

but in the meantime its hilariousness
is top-notch.
Adopting a mixture of Arabian
harmonies and '30s big bafid flavor,
Aladdin
Directed by John Musker & Ron
Clements; music by Alan Menken;
lyrics by Howard Ashman & Tim Rice
Menken's music complements How-
ard Ashman and Tim Rice's lyrics to
perfection. From the exotic "Arabian
Nights" to the duet "A Whole New
World," the music is enthralling, but
unfortunately doesn't quite seem to
equal the standards set by "The

Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and
the Beast." Nevertheless, the sound-
track keeps its own ground and is far
from mediocre. I wouldn't be sur-
prised if it became a multiple Oscar
nominee again this year.
The success of "Beauty and the
Beast" put the pressure on Disney
for an even more impressive follow-
up. And did they achieve it? Yes and
no. While "Aladdin" kicks off to a
great start, toward the end the energy
seems to drain out, with a final con-
frontation that could have been spec-
tacular but that turns out to be rather
contrived and unconvincing. Maybe
the groundbreaking animation and
the unsurpassable humor can cover

this up for you, but it couldn't
me.

This blunder aside, "Aladdin" is
a work of art and introduces some of
the most eccentric and amiable char-
acters seen yet in a Disney film. If
you try to forget that Aladdin's face
was based on Tom Cruise's, you
will be thrown into a fantasy from
which you will emerge with- a
perma-grin smacked on your face.
Now get down on your knees and
praise Allah for granting us with
such a beautiful tale of Arabian en-
chantment.

ALADDIN is playing at Showcase.

Ministry:
by Kim Yaged

Under the guidance of Craz
new management firm), post-L
from their first ever stint in Eu
rently touring the States in sup
"Psalm 69: The Way To Succ
Suck Eggs." "Psalm 69" is the a
the cryptic grouping of symbols
ing. Core band member Paul Ba
elusive in confirming the transla
track record, it's difficult to beli
the thought that they're once a
over on us.
However, Barker did readil)
the music industry in the mann
self to be manipulated. "Who
most? ... People who are into th
recognize that they are in comply
and changes and the nature of liv
larly evasive tone, Barker asser
gensen, the other core band mer
ing themselves on the album, bi
facet."
Perhaps one could infer fro
"facets" of Barker and Jourgens
side projects, such as the Revol
plained how they make the distir
"We feel that we want Minis
focus of a particular style of mt
an ideal, and if the music doesu
belong there. We recognize that
are as people and what we have
don't feel like playing Ministry

psahuists or egg suckers?
Obviously, it's a very large chunk of our reality, but it's
ed Management (their not the only thing. Nobody's that one-dimensional.
ollapalooza, and fresh That's why there's all this latent (stuff), like priests
grope, Ministry is cur- fucking boys and girls. They're not that one-dimen-
port of their latest LP, sional. They're not that pure, as much as they wanna be,
eed And The Way To as much as they try to be."
lleged meaning behind In the spectrum of their work, "Psalm 69" was per-
that lines the CD bind- haps the most problematic endeavor on Ministry's part
irker bordered on semi- to date. With recurring delayed release dates and a
ation. Considering their general sentiment of dissatisfaction, it seemed as though
eve anything other than the album would never come out. "It took a heavy toll
gain trying to put one on us, physically and emotionally," Barker said. "We
avowed never to work like that again." But do they like
y affirm that he works the results? "Does the end justify the means? Who can
er in which it allows it- say? You can't divorce one from the other. I guess, su-
do we wanna piss off perficially, yes, but like I said, we don't want to work
e status quo and do not that way anymore."
ete control of their lives Described as "bombastic" and "cataclysmic," sport-
ving," he said. In a simi- ing samplings of George Bush on "N.W.O." and arriv-
ts that he and Al Jour- ing in the aftermath of the Gulf War, "Psalm 69," an
mber, are definitely be- audio incarnation of Armageddon, seems to wear its in-
ut he said "it's just one fluences on its sleeve. "Yeah," Barker said, "(The Gulf
War) had an influence on us ... Our government was
m this that alternative telling the people ... one thing when in fact it was
en are revealed in their clearly something else - trying to fool all the people
ting Cocks. Barker ex- all the time kind of thing ... We don't want to tell peo-
action. ple what to do. We don't have solutions. We want peo-
;try to be a very narrow ple to act and realize that everybody has equal oppor-
usic," Barker said. "It's tunity to shoot the President."

Watchyour Mouth
Mouth is big. Really really big. Like a pissed off King Kong, Mouth
stomps the crap out of the current glut of Northwestern grunge
wannabes with a decidedly Motor City attitude.
What emanates from this huge Mouth is one bottom heavy, gonzo
guitar-driven, skull-crushing, four on the floor metallic TKO. This LA-
based band sounds like they've broken bricks with Big Chief and
climbed to the mountaintop with Soundgarden, but still managed to
forge their own identity. And they're not even on Sub Pop. Dig that.
"Insomnia," the first track their EP, "Foreword," is a gloryhalastoopid
motorbooty affair, while "Die" is a slower-than-low grinder.
They speed it back up on the neck snappin' butt-shaker "Wheel," and
then manage to throw a curve ball on the lasttrack, "Strange." This one
opens with a blissful, moody guitar thang that revs up hellaciously
without losing that melodic edge. Open wide, kids.
Mouth plays with Big Chief and Rollinghead at the State Theater in
Detroit tonight. Tickets are $5.50 (p.e.s.c.) and all ages are welcome.
- Scott Sterling

n't fit it, then it doesn't
it's all a part of who we
to say as artists ... We
music 365 days a year.

MINISTRY bare their brass with HELMET and
SEPULTURA at the State Fair Coliseum Saturdqy.
Showtime is 7:30 p.m. For ticket info call 645-6666.

A Special Supplement to The Michigan Daily A A
featuring
1992-1993 U-M Faculty-Staff
Sal ry List
Swill be on sale

AFRICAN-AMERICANS
CAN'T
FFERENCFE
R
YOU?

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