The Michigan DaIy Wednesday, February 1199 P'
Love Labors Lost on 'Playground'
by Jon Altshul
Trapped in a chaotic maze of jungle gyms, spell-
ing books and cooties, Eddie Sugarman and Bruce
Kiesling's original musical "King of the Playground"
springs to life. "It is a story of love labors lost and
found in the fifth grade," Kiesling explained.
The two School of Music undergraduates have
composed an upbeat musical which charts the day in
the life of nine ten-year olds from morning until
night. Sugarman, who is also directing, elaborated,
"[the play] is really a love triangle- each character
is desperately trying to discover the love they feel for
Sugarman andKiesling began tossing around the
idea of writing a script this past summer when
Sugarman set some poetry to Kiesling's music.
From this experiment, the song "Check This Box"
originated- the number around which the entire
musical is based. The book and score were com-
pleted by early fall, with rehearsals beginning the
first week of January.
Neneh Cherry the forties.
The show begins with all nine characters waking
up and eventually arriving at school. Yet their class-
room is already stigmatized by sexual politics: Wil-
liam (Jeffrey Shubart) likes Jennifer (Colleen
O'Shaughnessey), Jennifer hates William, Yvonne
(Miriam Shor) likes William, but William, in keep-
ing with the triangle motif, hates Yvonne. As Shubart
explained, "[the story] is about the learning process
involved in becoming adults," and added that the
initial failures of their tumultuous romances "fore-
shadow a future of [sexual] misunderstandings."
A complication to this triangle, however, is pre-
sented with the introduction of Richard (Marc
Kessler), the amicable new kid, who immediately
befriends the entire lot. Yet he is not without his own
ambiguities, and the cast's coming-to-grips with his
nuances establishes the show's ultimate climax.
"[In this regard] it is like a Greek tragedy,"
Sugarman conceded, "Richard's fall makes possible
The ensemble is rounded out by Terri (Ally
Steinberg), the omniscient whiz-kid, who acts-
much like a Shakespearean clown- as a subtle foil
for the impassioned crushes thatabound. John Halmi,
Ashley Leadbetter, Ronit Mitzner and Eric Millegan
comprise the chorus, an integral and oft-used facet to
the production, which, according toLeadbetter, "pro-
vides a framework which adds to the [show's] real-
Mitzneradded, "It'sbeen really fascinating watch-
ing two people put together an original show. [The
experience] has greatly broadened my own under-
standing of what it means to stage a 'production'."
Millegan summarized the project by stating,
"Once every ten years a truly spectacular show
comes along. This is that show."
"KING OF THE PLAYGROUND" is playing
February 12, 13 and 14 at 8p.m. and at 2 p.m. on
the 13th only in the Arena Theater (basement of
the Frieze Building). Admission is free but
reservations are highly recommended. For more
information call 764-2864.
Emilio Estevez, Paula Abdul's husband, asserts his manhood.
Tis 'Weaon isfires
by Sarah Weidman
National Lampoon is not known for serious dramas, but it usually manages
to be comical. The latest parody from Lampoon is "Loaded Weapon I," starring
EmilioEstevez. The writers compromise wit for standard slapstick, and the film
elicits more eye-rolling than laughter.
The plot (hazy, if any) is this: somehow, Wilderness Cookie Girls have
found a way to turn cocaine into cookies. This formula ends up in the wrong
hands, leading to a few deaths. As the title indicates, the mystery turns in to
"Lethal Weapon" mimicry involving two cops, Jack Colt (Estevez) and Wes
Luger (Samuel L. Jackson), and ending in a big shoot-out.
The plot isn't relevant here, because the writers (Don Holly and Gene
Quintano) overload this piece with more puns and cliches than story. They
intend to be clever, but just fail.
Their script is merely a parade for
National Lampoon's celebAties who shamelessly spew
Loaded Weapon I outlines. Included in this list are
Loade W(~4on ICharlie Sheen (a valet in his
Directed by Gene Quintano; written by brother's movie -any hidden
Don Holly and Gene Quintano; with
Samuel L. Jackson and Emilio Estevez. meaning there, Emilio?), Denis
Leary, F. Murray Abraham, Bruce
Willis, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Allyce Beasley, Corey Feldman, Phil Hartman and
Ken you-haven't-had-a-job Ober. Whoopi Goldberg has a big role as Billie
York, the woman who receives the microfilm, but she was smart and agreed to
a contract that would prevent her name from being included in credits or even
mentioned in relation with the movie. Shameless or not, two highlights to the
cast were those virile CHiPsboys -ErikEstradaandLarry Wilcox, in uniform
"Loaded Weapon" is a spoof, and it spoofs more than "Lethal." Other
movies receiving honors are "Wayne's World," "Basic Instinct" and "The
Silence of the Lambs," but you've seen that in the commercials. The "The
Silence of the Lambs" scene is one of the few humorous ones in the movie.
Hannibal Leacher, from behind prison bars, says, "Quid Pro Quo." Colt
responds, "What's that mean?" Leacher retorts, "It means I'm pretentious."
And of course the "gratuitous beaver shot" with Kathy Ireland is publicized to
draw audiences (and it does).
One plus in favor of "Loaded" is its ability for self-mockery. Jon Lovitz as
Becker is a psychotic federal informant laundering (in a laundry machine -
this is the alleged humor) money for the bad guy, General Mortars (William
Shatner). Becker pops onto the screen at various points throughout the movie,
but one amusing moment stands out in my mind. Becker leans into Colt's ear
and says, "Did you see 'Hot Shots'? Not that I'm trying to draw any parallels
or anything, but there was 'Hot Shots' and now you're doin' this." I wonder
what Martin thinks about his sons' successes in really stupid movies.
If you liked the Griswald family vacation stories or any of the "Naked Gun"
type movies, then don't see "Loaded Weapon." There is hardly any subtle
humor and it's entirely in-your-face jokes that don't work most of the time and
just embarrass the actors. Granted, most everyone will find parts of this movie
humorous, but on the whole, it's just dumb.
Neneh Cherry has often said that she
isn't much of a singer or rapper. Some
may disagree with heron this, butthere's
no denying that the way she blends her
melodic voice with her hard-edged rap
style has produced two of the best al-
bums of recent years: first "Raw Like
Sushi," and now "Homebrew."
That's not to say that these two works
are carbon copies of each other. Where
"Raw Like Sushi" has more of an ener-
getic dance beat, "Homebrew" has a
slower, more dolorous tone. The narra-
tor of "Homebrew" seems like a hard-
ened young unwed mother trying to
overcome the difficulties of urban life.
But Cherry isn't asking for gratuitous
pity. In songs like, "Ain't Gone Under
Yet," Cherry sings, "the choice is mine
/ with my ordinary joy and pain inside/
I try to get by / and I ain't gone under
Another difference between the two
albums is that in "Raw Like Sushi," the
play between Cherry's rapping and sing-
ing seemed to be a juxtaposition. In
"Homebrew," Cherry blends the two
together bewitchingly, especially in
songs like "Money Love."
Much attention, and radio play, has
been accorded to "Trout," Cherry's duet
with Michael Stipe, but the other duet
on "Homebrew," "Sassy," with Guru
from Gangstarr, is equally engaging
(and way less preachy). The song, with
the banter between the two singers, is
similar to the verbal sparring between
Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in
those great old screwball comedies in
Little Charlie & The
Like it or not, Little Charlie & the
Nightcats have, in asense, broughtblues
into the 90s. Their blues is the blues of
the white, middle-class suburbs. The
music is clean and rehearsed rehashed
Chicago Blues, with expertly executed
B.B. and Freddy King guitar licks and
Little Walter-inspired harmonica. Rick
Estrin perfectly enunciates every word
he sings in his tales of dealing with
alimony, boozing a bit too much, one-
night stands with cute little girls, and a
host of other suburban troubles. Estrin
writes entirely in specifics, making it
difficult for a listener to relate to unless
he is also a white, suburban, forty-ish
male. Still, "Night Visions" sounds like
a rollicking good time. Just like a beer
- Tom Erlewine
"YOU WANTED THE BESTAND
YOU'VE GOT THE... UTAH
SAINTS!!!" Ok, that's not exactly how
the song goes, but it's a lot more accu-
rate. The Utah Saints, best known for
their brilliant club hit, "Something
Good," which workedadance-club beat
around a sample from Kate-Bush's
"Cloudbusting,"have released theirfirst
full length album, something that, to be
bluntdance club oriented groups should
not do. The best cuts are the already-
released songs "Something good," and
Do For Me?" The rest of the album
consists of a few more dance-oriented
numbers, and some ambient (andquickly
forgettable) songs. Their newest sam-
pling collaboration endeavor is from the
Simple Minds song, "New Gold
Dream," which, apart from the change
in samples, is almost identical to "What
Can You Do For Me?" The only other
dance-oriented song of note is "Kinetic
Synthetic," which sounds promising,
but sounds remarkably similar to Meat
BeatManifesto's "HelterSkelter." Even
the more interesting-sounding ambient
songs such as "Soulution" suffer from
hyperactive but annoying samples that
just sound like a bunch of squeaks. This
album's best new cut is "I Want You,"
which rumbles along with some Slayer-
sampled heavy metal guitar, and makes
for a trippy-rockin' five minutes. Of
course, this song will be the new single.
So buy the sinigles and leave this album
on the shelf.
Attention Poetry Fans
If gripping real life calamities trans-
formed into eloquent figurative poetry
turns you on, don't miss Andrew
Hudgins reading from his poetry,
at Rackham. Hudgins is the author of
"The Never-Ending," "After the Lost
War"and "Saints and Strangers." If his
poetic readings are anything like his
vividly dramatic poems, then fans of
poetry will most definitely want to
La, La, Lira Singers
A rare (and free) treat Friday night:
the Lira Singers, America's foremost
ensemble specializing in Polish folk
music, will perform at Rackham. The
singers will perform all your favorite
dances, such as the polonaisewhich
later inspired classical masters like
Chopin. Artistic director Lucyna
Migala will provide commentary. The
concert begins at 8p.m. and admission
is, again, free; call 747-2237.
.. __ .
- MULTI COLOR SPECIALISTS
. ARTIST ON STAFF
" RUSH ORDERS
- NEAR U OF M CAMPUS
. 1217 PROSPECT, ANN ARBOR 665-17
- - in7
OFF with this ad.
NATIONAL LAMPOON'S LOADED WEAPON I is playing at Showcase.
_ _ .. i
L- 3 _ 1
_ ___ .
24# stock, 8.5x11
A WIL.D CHIL.D PRESENTS
Feb. 12 Film From 1 : and tr; s,
American Pictures is a professional audio/video slide show depicting
racism and poverty in America. This show is presented by Jacob Holdt,
who travelled across the country on only $40, living with many
poverty-stricken families. The result of his experiences was a
multi-media presentation and a call for all people to accept responsibility
for "the other half" of American society. Following the program, Mr.
Holdt will conduct an in-depth discussion of the themes of his work.