Page 8- The Michigan Daily - Monday ,February 8, 1993
Mixed bag found
in Basement Arts
by Jody Frank
Imagine being able to start over each time your conversation takes a wrong
turn. "Sure Thing" was a comic sketch of a pick-up in a cafe with Clinton Bond,
Jr. as Bill and Angela Peterson as Betty, where the characters did just that. With
a simple set of a table and two chairs, Betty sat reading "The Sound and the Fury"
until Bill came up and asked if the other seat was taken. Here the banter began.
Through a series of "takes" the characters repeated the scene, correcting their
comments until they connected and their opinions agreed.
When Bill first asked if the scat was
PERFRMANE REIEWtaken, Betty answered: No, but some-
Sure Thing / one would be joining her shortly. At this
The Big Bang point a bell rang and Bill started again,
Basement Arts asking a variation of the same question,
February 6, 1993 this time getting a slightly different and
more colorful answer. This continued
with the bell ringing at each point where
the communication faltered. By the end of the performance they had covered
everything from Faulkner to past relationships to Woody Allen. They resigned
themselves to the fact that relationships depend on timing - saying the right
words at the right time. Bond Jr. and Peterson played off each other very well,
displaying the success of a relationship if people are given the chance to start again.
Their characters were convincing and funny.
In the second piece, "The Big Bang," Donald McManus gave a clown-like
silent interpretation. Beginning under apile of garbage, he slowly pushed the trash
away from him as the music languidly began. Dressed as a bum, with his shirt
hanging out over unzipped pants, he wore a ripped jacket and a hat he found in the
trash surrounding him.
The dim lighting and piles of garbage gave a feeling of desolation. Meaningful
interpretations concerning issues such as the environment, homelessness, or even,
from the title, an abstract interpretation of the creation of the universe seemed
inevitable. Yet, throughout the piece his purpose was simply to gather items from
the pile of trash to form a drum set, which he did creatively using different sized
boxes, tins and one tap shoe.
This wordless performance intended to "tie movement in with music," but the
music lacked variation and emphasis, making it difficult to understand its
importance to the piece. Also, some ofMcManus' movements were cliched, if one
could consider clown-like movements cliched. For example, his pants fell down,
and as he bent to lift them up his hat fell off, so he let go of his pants to pick up the
hat and the pants fell down again, and again, and again. Boring. I thought that both
pieces were well-done, but the first one was more engaging.
Gutierrez graces the key s
Kiefer Sutherland demands an answer from Nancy Travis: "What are we doing in this awful movie?" We only wish we knew.
Plot style vanishes without trace
by Michael John Wilson
The dreadful new thriller "The Van-
ishing" is interesting only as a case
study of how Hollywood thinks. Based
on a truly chilling 1990Dutch thriller of
the same name, the filmmakers have
followed a simple formula for the re-
make: throw in some stars, remove any
subtlety, make sure there's some vio-
lence and (yes, I am revealing the end)
tack on a happy ending.
Directed by George Sluizer; written by
Todd Graff; with Jeff Bridges, Kiefer
Sutherland and Nancy Travis.
The film seems merely mediocre for
a while due to the strength of the story.
When Diane (Sandra Bullock) mysteri-
ously disappears at a gas station, her
boyfriend Jeff (Kiefer Sutherland) be-
comes obsessed with finding her, an
obsession that leads him on an insane
three-year search which consumes his
life. His counterpart is the equally de-
ranged Barney (Jeff Bridges), a seem-
ingly normal high school teacher with
an unhealthy fascination with the con-
cept of evil.
Following the original film closely
for the first 90 minutes, the interplay
between these obsessed men keeps the
film moving. Toward the end, however,
the scriptby Todd Graff ("Used People")
tries so hard to build to a violent payoff
that it loses all credibility. Even the most
undiscerning moviegoers will groan at
the back-from-the dead-just-in-time cli-
max and the cheap sitcom epilogue.
Especially unbelievable is the char-
acter of Rita (Nancy Travis), whose
selfless devotion to the monomaniacal
Jeff is ridiculous. Fora moment, there's
an intriguing suggestion of a triple ob-
session, with Rita now obsessed with
Jeff, but it's a notion soon forgotten.
Rita degenerates into a plot device to
insure a happy ending.
What made the original "Vanish-
ing" so unsettling was Bernard-Pierre
Donnadieu's subtle performance as the
Barney character. Donnadieu made the
character a regular guy, even when he
acts insanely. He's a good father in a
happy family who happens to make evil
With Bridges, everything Barney
says announces he's a psycho. His
Barney is just a Jekyll-and- lyde mon-
ster, a daddy from hell type as bad as the
nanny from hell ("The Hand that Rocks
the Cradle") or the secretary from hell
("The Temp"). He even speaks with a
slight European accent, a sure sign of
What's most disturbing about the
new "Vanishing" is Hollywood's per-
ception that American audiences are
too dumb to like a good movie. Simply
refilming the original (also directed by
George Slu izer, who clearly has soldhis
soul in directing the remake) with En-
glish dialogue would have been enough
to make it a mainstream success. It
brought to mind the best of Hitchcock:
the haunting, subtle, violence-less psy-
chological thriller that doesn't let the
audience off easily.
The remake assumes audiences want
movies that are brutally violent, not too
disturbing and not particularly deep -
people don't want to think when they go
to the movies, you know. With this film,
however, the plan has backfired: it's
such a stretch to fit "The Vanishing"
into Hollywood formula that it fails
even on the level of mindless entertain-
THE VANISHING is playing at
A walk through '39 Steps'
Hip Hop Hooray!
Hip hop junkies will most defi-
nitely want to be at St. Andrews Hall
(431 E. Congress) in Detroit tonight,
as "3 Floors OfMadness" takes charge.
The Motor City's hest DJ's will be
hooking up beats of all kinds - Get hit
with deep house in the basement; hip
hop & dancehall will dominate the
mainstage and open mic freestyle will
be going on upstairs (with a live band,
no less). Their last gig was killer, so
this one's guaranteed. $5.00 before 11
p.m. (Ladies free before 11!), doors at
9:00. Call 961-MELT for more info.
Be sure and catch gloom-and-doom
master Ingmar Bergman's mystical
parable, "The Magician." This 1958
film, jam-packed with Bergman regu-
lars like Max von Sydow, Bibi
Andersson, and IngridThulin, tells the
story of a 19th-century Swedish illu-
sionist who travels to a small town
with his troupe of magic-minded co-
horts. This is early Bergman at his
most enchanting. Don't miss all the
parallels between the art of the magi-
cian and the art of the filmmaker (re:
Bergmanhimself). Perennial Bergman
alter-ego Max von Sydow is at his
moody, involving best in this film-
today at4:15 at the Michigan Theater.
Call 668-8397 for more information.
Tip for the day
We know "The Crying Game" is
playing at the Michigan Theater all
month but you better go see it before
somebody ruins it for you.
by Charlotte Garry
Tom Bartlett, the live-in curator of the Matrix Gallery,
described the establishment at 212 Miller as an "evolving
venue for contemporary art." Although the small, unassum-
ing, blue-brick house seems like just another Ann Arbor
home, as one steps through the door Bartlett's description
rings true. Presently, this relatively new and emerging gallery
houses the photographs of local artist, Bern Pedit's, "39
"Shooting and showing are different," claimed Pedit in a
phone interview. "39 Steps," an exhibition of both traditional
and digital photography, is an attempt to bridge this differ-
ence. Within Pedit's show are provocative images of nature
from both the Columbia River Gorge in the Pacific North
West and the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii. These prints
portray an energy from the natural world that, until now,
appears to have been untapped.
One such image is "Mondrian." "Mondrian" takes the
viewer to the eruption of a Hawaiian volcano. Electric blue,
hot orange, ashy black, stark white and faded green paint the
photograph with an alive, pulsing tone. The viewer is almost
intimidated by the vibrant natural show of power within the
Within Pedit's show are provocative
images of nature from both the
Columbia River Gorge in the Pacific
North West and the Kilauea Volcano
in Hawaii. These prints portray an
energy from the natural world that,
until now, appears to have been
image. This intimidation culminates in the landscape sur-
rounding the volcano, which is totally barren except for the
slightest hint of vegetation in the corner of the print. This
vegetation provokes some in-depth questioning. Why does
Pedit include such contrasting green bushes and trees in a
photograph that seems to be highlighting the fire and heat of
Pedit maintained that his photography is about "transition
and transformations." Just as a volcano's lava transforms
from liquid to solid, Pedit's photographs embody conver-
sions. Therefore,"Mondrian" embodies atransition from the
fire and destruction of the volcano, to the lush blossoming of
the green vegetation. As a photographer, Pedit asserts that he
goes through a similar type of transformation, or rebirth,
when he meets with the over-whelming power of the natural
Yet he also asserted that he is "never showing what's
really there; the struggle is always how you show experi-
ence." The viewer may be able to feel the electricity and force
of Pedit's photographs, and he or she may even be able to feel
the "renewal of spirit" that Pedit felt shooting the picture, but
the experience is always different. While this disparity will
always exist, Pedit's commitment to a revolutionary digital
printing technique, using the Apple Macintosh computer, has
lessened the gap. As Pedit explained, "Digital enables me to
go into the negative and rearrange the information, and get
closer to the experience."
Besides the inclusion of five digital images in "39 Steps,"
Pedit has introduced anew green pallet in his exhibition. The
golds, reds and blacks of his fiery portraits have, therefore,
been diluted with several photographs which add a pro-
nounced green. One such print is "Pertinacious." "Pertina-
cious" portrays a lush forest of moss covered trees. The
image is almost entirely green. The viewer becomes envel-
oped in the vibrant trees, and is denied any escape into blue
sky or white cloud. Perhaps this persistent hold on the viewer
is the inspiration for Pedit's title.
Pedit's titles are ahnost as provocative as the prints. He
was heavily influenced by Richard Wilt, an artist who, Pedit
said, possessed a "sense of play about his work." Pedit said
that with the title there is always a "visual pun going on; there
is always a double meaning."
Double meaning or not, Pedit's titles have become well
known not only in Ann Arbor, but nationally. A University
graduate, he has had exhibitions in Pennsylvania, California,
Ohio and Hawaii. In addition, his work has been in several
Hawaiian magazines, and the "Best of Photography An-
nual." The appeal of his work seems to be limitless. While the
viewer cannot fathom the artist's own experience in shooting
the exhibit, "39 Steps" provides a unique experience in its
energized, electric portraits of nature.
39 STEPS will be on display at the Matrix Gallery, 212
Miller, through February 21. Call 663-7775.
by Kirk Wetters
The pianist Horacio Gutierrez looks
a little like the infamous radio-show
host, Rush Limbaugh, but thankfully
Gutierrez sounds nothing like him.
Gutierrez's finely textured interpreta-
tions and refined lyricism carried his
outstanding Saturday night recital.
February 6, 1993
The short Piano Sonata No. 50 by
Haydn started the concert on the right
foot. In comparison to his late sympho-
nies, most of Haydn's works are not
well known, but their consistent quality
and craftsmanship prove him to be an
underappreciated genius. Gutierrez
made the most of Haydn's lightly-sprung
rhythms and piquant harmonies.
The other outstanding piece on the
program, Liszt's Sonata in B Minor,
was also in good hands. Gutierrez
stormed and sighed, but never lost the
sense of progress and forward momen-
tum. Liszt's complex, challenging piece
unfolded with ease and naturalness, and
it lived up to its reputation as one of the
absolute high points of romantic piano
Schumann's "Fantasie" was less
successful, but the fault was probably
more Schumann's than Gutierrez's. The
"Fantasie" is a moody, long-winded
piece which is frequently embarrassing
in its sentimentality. Fortunately,
Gutierrez made the mostof Schumann's
colors and textures without wallowing
in the piece's adolescent emotions.
Horacio Gutierrez was a hit with his classical guitar performance Saturday.
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A N N A R B O
proudly welcomes the wildly
Paul K for an in-store
Tuesday, Feb. 9th at 4 pm.
Due to high demand, our supply of 1992-1993
Student Directories ran out a few weeks ago.
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