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February 11, 1993 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-02-11

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The Michigan Daily-Weekend etc. - February 11, 1993-Page 3

Hash Bash rights

How many fairies can you get to
dance on the head of apin? That was the
central issue ofacase my father tried for
the American Civil Liberties Union
when he was fresh out ofMichigan Law
School and still did that sort of thing. A
group of Quakers opposed to the Viet-
nam War were protesting in Lafayette
Park, across from the White House. The

"Objets D'Amour" plays at the Kerrytown Concert House. A perfect date for you opera lovers.
Not your everyday Valentine opera

by Melissa Rose Bernardo
As if there isn't already enough hype about
Valentine's Day, this weekend the Papagena Opera
Company presents anotherholiday charmer, "Objets
D'Amour." But before you run away screaming
("opera"and"Valentine'sDay" in the same sentence
sometimes has that effect), this is Papagena's effort
to make opera and the whole Hallmark holiday a
little more palpable.
Papagena Opera Company is entering its ninth
season thanks to its director, Rochelle Warren. War-
ren was turned on to the idea of an opera company
when she was doing social psychology research in
Europe. A trip to the opera in Vienna had a great
emotional impact on her. To be around music and to
bring its beauty to everyone became hergoal "People
think of opera as big, cumbersome and boring," she
explained. "I wanted it to be young, fresh, intimate,
and approachable."
The name "Papagena" has special significance.
Warren referred to the quest for love in Mozart's
"The Magic Flute." Papageno, the charmingly
simple-minded bird catcher, only desires to find his
soul mate - his "Papagena." He then finds her
.disguised as a raggedy old woman. "The spirit of

Papagena represents the spirit of love fulfilled and
dreams," Warren said.
As a continuation of their traditional Valentine's
D'Amour," or, "Objects of Love," a collection of
music saluting the trials and tribulations of - what
else? - love.
Warren described the program as "opera and
operetta, with a splash of musical theater" from
America and Europe. A highlight is Bernstein and
Sondheim's "West Side Story," probably the most
well-known trial of love in the theater. Other selec-
tions include the champagne chbrus from "Die
Fledermaus," a few selections from Bizet's
"Carmen," andapeekatComden, Green and Styne's
gleeful musical "Bells are Ringing." Warren's favor-
ite is a duet from Delibes' "Lakme," which many
may recognize from the British Airways commer-
cial, or from the movie "I've Heard the Mermaid's
Singing." Warren felt sure that audiences would
recognize pieces even if they are not familiar with
All of the works are staged, and are performed by
a cast of only four. The four singers (a soprano,
mezzo-soprano, tenor and baritone) represent such

professional companies as the Ohio Light Opera, the
Michigan Opera Theater and the San Francisco
Opera Company. A single piano provides accompa-
Warren and her cast had many goals in selecting
the music. "We wanted American (music) repre-
sented ... to get people to stop thinking of opera as
European," she said. The subject matter was a given
- and what better place is there to find love songs
than in opera?
As a special treat, Warren has dubbed Friday
evening's performance as "singles night." Singles
are encouraged to attend, with no "single supple-
ment required," Warren explained. After the perfor-
mance, the company invites the audience to the
Gandy Dancer, where the mezzanine will be re-
served for a "single mingle." Who knows? Maybe
you will meet your "Papagena."
OBJETSD'AMOUR will be performed at 8p.m.
February 11-13 and 4 p.m February 14 at the
Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. Fourth.
General admission tickets are $10 on February
11, $15for all other days; assigned seats (first five
rows) are available for $20, and students get a $5
discount on all tickets. Call 769-SING.

U.S. government, which was still trying
to sell the war to the American public,
wanted them out. But the White House
and the D.C. government wouldn't be
so foolish as to forcibly ban such gentle
folk fromprotesting.Instead, theymain-
tained that crowds of 200 ormore people
would pose a fire hazard, and barred the
Quakers on a technicality - for their
own good, of course.
This month, the University handed
down adraconian (and Frankensteinian)
new Diag policy which parallels the
strategy the government used against
the Quakers. Only this time, the victim
- the National Organization for the
Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)
- is not quite as endearing. In recent
years, the administration has become
obsessed with the group's annual Hash
Bash, andhas made itaperennial task to
do whatever it takes (like breaking the
law) to keep NORML off the Diag. So
this year, the administration is building
its case ahead of time by implementing
aslew of so-called time, place and man-
ner restrictions that make Hash Bash
against the rules.
To do so, administrators have tight-
ened up Diag permit regulations, down-
sized the area allowed for protests, man-
dated acumbersome seven-day waiting
period for all protests, and even out-
lawed sidewalk chalking. Unfortunately,
such cynical posturing will have severe
consequences for all students, especially
those concerned with free expression
and open debate.
Last year, then-Vice President for
Student Services Mary Ann Swain was
crucified in the press when she sent a
computer message to the director of the
Student Organizations Development
Center - who is charged with regulat-
ing Diag use - ordering her to deny
NORML its rightful permit by any
means necessary.
"You are not to schedule NORML
for the Diag anywhere around the Hash
Bash time," she wrote. "Please tell them
we invite them to participate in an alter-
native indoors forum on the issues they
wish to address."
While Swain's suggestion of hold-
ing the Hash Bash indoors in, say, the
Union has interesting possibilities, it
would probably put a damper on the
pot-smoking extravaganza. What's
more, Swain's action reeked of First
Amendmentviolations. WhenNORMIL
filed suit, the University lost in court (as
the University's general counsel surely
knew it would - but what's a few
dollars in legal fees when students are
footing the bill?).
But history shows that administra-
tors don't mind getting a black-eye in
court, so long as they can demonstrate

to the community that they have made a
good-faith effort to keep those unruly
pot-heads off the Diag. Unfortunately,
the administration has gutted students'
rights and the First Amendment in the
So this year, the administration is
building its inevitable court case well in
advance. And this year, if those hemp-
loving patriots want to toke up in public,
they will have to come up with a $9,000
deposit for clean-up costs.
Never mind that the Diag has a long
history as a hotbed of political debate.
Never mind that some groups - like
the homeless, for example - probably
couldn't come up with nine grand if
they had to. Just consider the absurdity
of an administration so obsessed with
Hash Bash, so panicked, that it would
write a whole book of rules denying
basic free-speech rights to an entire
student bodyjusttokeepabunchofpot-
heads sporting tri-cornered hats from
having their day.
There are hints of a compromise,
and the administration may give in on a
few of the policy's most foolish restric-
tions, like the chalk ban and the provi-
sion restricting all Diag protests to a
small cement area in front of the Gradu-
ate Library. But the most harmful provi-
sions, like the one that allows the Uni-
versity to slap NORML - or any stu-
dent group - with a $9,000 bond, will
almost certainly remain. That leaves
students with only a thread of control
over their Diag and their rights.
But there is hope. When my father
tried the Quaker case, he lined up expert
testimony stating that at least 200,000
people could fit into Lafayette Park, and
he won the case on a compromise rul-
ing. It seems quite a few fairies can
dance on the head of a pin, unless the
king is such a coward that he takes the
pin away.
-read them DadyJ

Superficial urbanized men are unprepared

by Camilo Fontecilla
"Withnail& I,"avirtually unknown
early effort of "Jennifer 8" director
Bruce Robinson, deserves to be pulled
out of the back closet of film. A dark
comedy inessence, itnevertheless tack-

nant, consoled only by use of alcohol
and drugs.
Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and
Marwood (Paul McGann) are two as-
piring actors, living in an apartment
that, like their lives, imperiously needs
to be cleaned up and reorganized. De-
ciding that a breath of fresh country air
might do them no end of good (and
realizing that they have run out of booze),
they wheedle Withnail's uncle Monty
(Richard Griffiths) into lending them
his house in the midst of the English
prairie. Packing up for the weekend,
they drive offin the pouring rain, only to
arrive soaked, cold and tired at a house
devoid of firewood and electric lights.
When appealing to the kindness of
theirneighbors forfood and wood, they
discover how stigmatized city folks are
out in the "wilderness." Once back
home, a creaking in the house makes
them fearthe worst. Butit's only Monty,
who arrived to claim sexual favors from
Marwood, guaranteed him by Withnail

if they were to be allowed to use the
Marwood lives on another plane
from Withnail. Although he's stuck in
the same place as his friend, he ob-
serves life with a much wider scope.
Withnail is so paranoid and insecure
that he can never get anything right,
and yet he patronizes his friend (and
everyone else) as if he were always in
complete control. Grant carries this
almostgrotesque character beautifully.
And Griffiths' Monty is an impressive
supporting role.
Robinson pours irony into his char-
acterization of these two urban degen-
erates, placed in the idyllic but un-

yielding context of the British country-
side. They are so obscenely unprepared
to deal with their new and temporary
form of life that one would think they
had never gone out the door of their
apartmentbefore. The contrast between
their hyperactive mannerisms and the
calm of the villagers (and village) is
humorous and depressing. Watching two
guys trying to stuff a chicken in a teapot
to cook is funny, but it's also a statement
on the hurried superficiality of the ex-
ceedingly urbanized man. But don't
think about it until you've stopped laugh-

off on selected
items of
803 N. Main 9 Ann Arbor
Mon. - Sat. 10-6

WITHNAIL & I is available at Liberty
Street Video.

les the problems of human hopeless-
ness and alienation with a very rooted
sobriety. The scene is London, 1969,
the end of "the most important decade
in history," as Withnail declares in the
film. Through the story, Robinson ex-
amines the remnants of this decade, a
young generation that has used up all
of its energy and now become stag-



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