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March 15, 1993 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-03-15

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Page 8 -The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 15, 1993

Speakman speaks out on Hollywood

by John R. Rybock
While teaching in a West Los Angeles dojo, Jeff
Speakman, star of "Perfect Weapon" and "Street
Knight," was told that he should try to be in motion
pictures. "I resisted for a while," said Speakman in
recent interview. "Finally I went, and then I realized
that this is what I should be doing."
But when Jeff Speakman was entering college,
acting did not appear to be in his future. An accom-
plished gymnast and springboard diver, Speakman's
first interest in the martial arts came with the televi-
sion show, "Kung Fu."
"They had these scenes in the temple, and I
remember there were these men in the back, moving
around in space, almost a dance-like series. And
because I was so involved in motion, I thought 'God,
is that what martial arts is like?' I really wanted to
find out."
Fortunately for Jeff Speakman, fate was on his
side. In college at Missouri Southern State College,
Speakman met tenth degree blackbelt Lou Angel,
who was retired from martial arts and working as a
police officer. "I pursued him, and I started taking
karate from him in the old, deserted basement jail
cell of the precinct."
Speakmanopened adojo with Angel, andcontin-
ued to study. "Mr. Angel said if you really want to
make martial arts your life, you really should move
to California and study Kenpo from Ed Parker,
because he's the best in the world," Speakman
recalled.
Ed Parker was a Grand Master of Kenpo, teacher
of Bruce Lee, and an old friend of Lou Angel. "So he

gave me a letter, and I sold my car to pay for my U-
Haul, and I was there. He sent me to his West LA
school, and that's how I got started."
After many years of study, Speakman broke
down and decided to try his hand at acting. "But I
didn't want to just do karate movies. Then I would be
another bone-headed martial artist trying to act,"
Speakman said. So Speakman spent six years study-
ing acting and getting small roles on IV shows such
as "Hunter." The actor's big break came when Glen
Bruce, writer for the movie "Kickboxer," took
Speakman to meet the producer of "Kickboxer,"
Mark DeSalle.
"I didn't get the job on 'Kickboxer' because I am
nota kickboxerand it wasn'tright forme," Speakman
explained. But Bruce kept pursuing DeSalle on
Speakman's behalf, telling him, "You've got to see
this Kenpo stuff Speakman is doing." DeSalle fi-
nally visited the dojo and, Speakman reflected, "that
was really the break. The whole thing clicked into
place."
Now, with a second starring role under his belt,
Speakman sees definite differences between himself
and the Steven Seagals of the movies. "The genuine
nature of where I came from and what I am and how
I'm approaching the genre I think is important,"
Spekamman said. "Second, I took the years to study
acting to try to elevate the genre in that sense. And
then, quite simply, it is the nature of Kenpo, because
the only guy who's everdone anything similar to this
was Bruce Lee."
Kenpo, Speakman says, is a combination of
Chinese styles which were brought together in the

Hawaiian islands and brought to the mainland United
States by Ed Parker. "Kenpo is very different in the
sense that we teach logic, physics, motion, and
cause-and-effect relationships," Speakman ex-
plained. "Most styles, if not all, are tradition based,
and we are the opposite of that. You should only keep
those parts of the tradition that are functional and
that's why [Parker] and Bruce were considered
rebels back then."
With his new found stardom, Speakman honors
the late Parker."I made a commitment to him to take
his art to the world, and also to unite the Kenpo
family." Traveling the country, Speakman gives
seminars to dojos filled with kids. "I hope that they
take home some of the subliminal teachings that I
use, and that is how you can achieve whatever you
dream, and that the only limitations that you have in
your life are the ones that you put there." Speakman
also added, "The adults need to learned the same
lessons that the kids do."
JeffSpeakman' snew film, "Street Knight," opens
today. The actor feels it is a better film than his debut,
"Perfect Weapon." "Director Albert Magnoli was
able to really help me come through much stronger
as an actor, which is something that's very, very
important to me, especially because this movie has
much more of a story to it than 'Perfect Weapon'
did,"said Speakman. "'Perfect Weapon' was kind of
like, 'Let's give him a simple story and see if he can
act."' Hopefully for him, with continued future
success in movies, Jeff Speakman will continue to
grow and bring Ed Parker's message to increasing

01

Jeff Speakman stars in "Perfect Weapon" and the current "Street Knight."

'Slaughterhouse
by Kim Gaines
You've heard the story of the overprotective mother, I'm
sure. The onewho won' tletherkid goout, talk to the opposite
sex, have fun or basically have any kind of life whatsoever.
Well, last weekend the Residential College Players acted out
that same old scenario with a few (slight understatement)
added twists.
The Slaughterhouse
Residential College Auditorium
March 13, 1993
The Polish play "The Slaughterhouse," written by
Slawomir Mrozek and recently translated by Rob Sulewski
(who coincidentally also directed the RC's production) was
a bit too long and a bit too philosophical, but worth seeing.
With only six actors on stage, the curtain call was simple
enough, although nothing else about the play was. The four-
act comedy/drama/philosophy course focused on the life of
the Violinist, although it also focused on the meaning of art,
culture and civilization (it covered a lot of ground in two and
ahalfhours). "The Slaughterhouse" commented on all of the
human race, and the actors' generic names like Violinist,
Flutist and Mother emphasized this generality.

enlightens
Although it sounds like a real downer, "The Slaughter-
house" was actually incredibly funny at times. Anthony
Bedwell, in particular, as the renowned violinist Paganini
brought laughs with his outrageous sneezes when he was
transformed from a statue to life.
Another noticeable performer was Nancy Skinner-
Oclander as the Mother. Purposely over-acting (and we're
talking serious over-kill here), the Mother was hysterical
with her melodramatic dialogues. Mary Hannah as the Flutist
was perfectly charming, yet conniving and manipulative of
the Violinist at the same time.
James Ingagiola as the Violinist, however commanded
the stage at all times. Constantly changing his outer beliefs
and convictions, the same insecure and searching boy always
showed through in his character.
The setting was simple and in the small auditorium,
everyone felt like they had great seats. The actors were all
convincing, however, a few slips of the tongue and stumbles
over unsure lines were evident, and this lack of profession-
alism disrupted from the flow of the play.
Overall, "The Slaughterhouse" was entertaining, if not
realistic. One man's view of truth, of humankind's civilized
(or not) nature, and the importance (or not) of art was
enlightening, if not convincing "The Slaughterhouse," to
sum it up, was art.

RECORDS
Continued from page 5
are undercut by sophomoric lyrics (Greg
Brown's "Who Woulda Thunk It") or
the music doesn't support the lyrics
(Heidi Beny's "Gloria"). Still, there is
no denying there's some fun in separat-
ing the chaff from the wheat. Who
knows? Perhaps a major talent is lurk-
ing somewhere on "Legacy." Then
again, perhaps not.
-Tom Erlewine
Jimmy Noone
New Orleans
Milan/BMG
Although Jimmy Noone grew up in
Cut Off, La., in the sleepy outskirts of
New Orleans, his clarinet hungrily
sucked up N.O.'s regional flavor. Mov-
ing north to Chicago's prohibition era
speak-easy, the Apex Club, Noone
quickly became a principle importer of

N.O. jazz.
While Noone and his

amount of
Apex Club

Orchestra often indulged in the "get hot
or go home" approach to jazz, Noone
could just as easily halt the hot with the
fine texture and clarity of his horn, as
these recordings show. Here in his first
recordings as a leader, both the sweet
and the sweaty numbers highlight
Noone'scomfortable agility and relaxed
fluidity. The melancholic sympathy
between Noone's clarinet and Doc
Potson's alto sax on "Sweet You Just
You" is counterbalanced by the bright-
ness of Earl I-lines piano tinkling and
the solid backbeat of Bud Scott's banjo
and Johnny Wells's skins. Noone's
clarinet moves from coy flutters to rapid-
fire arpeggios, from barging into the
conversation with trill squeals to subtly
tapering off with softly vibrating cries.
Yet, the musicianship of the scanty
other members of Noone's "orchestra"
is an indispensable part of the effect.
Still green in his career, Hines caries the
middle breaks in "I Know the You

people.
Know" and "Apex Blues" with an
assurity that beguiles his experience.
With only the drum kit for support,
Hines creates an orchestra from two
hands. Scott's rather unconventional
guitar solo in "King Joe" totally changes
the for a few bars. In "My Daddy Rocks
Me", Noone also brings in the cabaret-
schooled, tell-it-like-it-is vocals of the
Queen of the Splits, Mae Alix, a favorite
ofLouis Armstrong. Speaking of which,
the final number goes back to Noone's
early days in King Oliver's Creole Jazz
Band. The stellar cast fires up a wacky
frolic complete with trombone slides.
Yet, the whole historic batch is ru-
ined by corporate numskullness. The
energy of these recordings is dampened
and made opaque from production
enameling. Trying to hide the age of
these recordings for the casual con-
sumer, the canned reverb only muddies
the ensemble and obscures their deli-
cate raucous. Besides, a little acetate
hiss never hurt anyone's ears.
-Chris Wyrod

0

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Tiio WHOLE
4VOO PM, MARL

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