The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, April 13, 1993 - Page 9
Willard shows that
magic is only relative
by Jody Frank
"Magic is only relative to people's experiences," Nancy Willard said after I
pointed out that other people speak of a kind of magic that happens in her books.
"I never thought of it as magic, just events." Willard is an essayist, novelist, poet
and writer of children's stories, she also teaches English at Vassar College. While
attending the University of Michigan for her undergraduate degree, she won six
Hopwood Awards. At her reading this afternoon, she will read from one book of
poetry, "A Nancy Willard Reader," and two novels that take place in Ann Arbor.
The firstnovel "Things Invisible To See," is setin Ann Arbor during World War
II. Willard said, "Toresearch that book, I read straight through theAnnArborNews
on microfilm from just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the following
summer, that's the time frame."
Seeing magic in this book, Anne TIler quoted the first line, "In Paradise, on the
banks of the River of Time, the Lord of the universe is playing ball with his
archangels,"and said, "... it sets the tone perfectly.'The pointof this luminous first
novel is that the miraculous and the everyday often co-exist, or overlap, or even
that they're one and the same. Heaven and Time and God and baseball, all in a
single sentence." Still, Willard said, "They [Willard's books] never seem super-
natural to me."
Her second novel, "Sister Water" will be coming out in May. "In the opening
a man discovers that the map he owns of Ann Arbor is magic. Under the network
of streets show all the underground rivers thatyou can'tsee thatlead into the Great
Lakes." There are two forces in the book, one is the life of a family, the other, the
secret life of water animals and creatures of the river. "I've spent a lot of time
canoeing on that river (the Huron)," she said.w
"The river people are really the descendants of the people who lived here
before the Europeans arrived," Willard said, speaking of the river tribe of
Pawquacha Indians, whose name means "water is their occupation." Willard said,
"What got me interested in the Native Americans of Ann Arbor were the street1
names. There are so many of them." She also spent a lot of time at the Museum
ofNatural History, where she gotmuchofherinformation on both the animals and
the Indians who lived here.
Willard has been writing since she was a child. "I used to spend summers in
a very small town called Stony Lake where there were no newspapers so my
mother told my sister and Ito make one. I'd go up and down the streets knocking
on doors and say 'Is anything happening in this house?"'j
The people who lived in this area were a lower working class with very little
education, but Willard said "They were great storytellers. We would take their
stories and print them on this old printing press and hand them out for free. I got
used to hearing stories and writing them down." Willard feels that "There is a
strong connection between listening to stories and writing them."
Many people, when commenting on her books, speak of the way she mixes the
mundane and the magical, however Willard doesn't see it as magic.To clear the
quandary, come to the reading and decide for yourself.
NANCY WILLARD will readfrom her work today at Rackham Amphitheatre
Renowned trumpet performer and
professor Armando Ghitalla will give
his final concert before his retirement
tonight with the University Faculty
Brass Quintet. Ghitalla held the posi-
tion of first trumpet for 28 years with
the Boston Symphony, and has been
on the University faculty since 1979.
The program includes works by Bach,
Boehm and Robert Sanders, a piece
for which Ghitalla made the first re-
cording. The concert takes place at at
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 306
N. Division., at 8 p.m. Admission,
astoundingly, is free. Call 763-4726.
Catches the Worm
If you'd rather catch the bus to
North Campus, catch the Early Music
Ensemble in the Blanche Anderson
Moore Hall at the School of Music.
Edward Parmentier will conduct the
ensemble in motets of Krebs, Schiutz
and Browne, as well as some Italian
secular works by Gabrieli and the great
Gesualdo. Kickoff is 8 p.m. and ad-
mission is, what a surprise, free. Call
Woody Allen's Greatest Film
What's the Woodster's greatest work? Ask this question and you're liable to get a variety of answers. "Annie
Hall," "Manhattan," "Love and Death" and "Hannah and Her Sisters" are the ones most often mentioned. Wrong,
wrong, wrong and wrong ag ain. Allen's best film is also his most recent, "Husbands and Wives." And now it's
available on video, so if you missed it in the theaters, check this one out (if you've already seen it, watch it again;
it holds up). Allen explores the one of our most sacred cows: permanent relationships (e.g. marriage). Allen's
bleak conclusion? Forget it, it's all a sham.
The film follows two unsuccessful marriages, between Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, and Sydney Pollack and
scene-stealer Judy Davis (who was robbed at the Oscars). Allen is drawn to college student Juliette Lewis and
Farrow is attracted to Perfect Man Liam Neeson (whom she tries to set up with Judy Davis). The plot
complications perfectly mirror real life.
What's remarkable about this film, in comparison with Allen's other movies, is the unusual depth with which Allen
probes his characters. Just when you think you know all there is to know about a character, Allen surprises you.
The fine performances from the entire cast (including the usually weak Mia Farrow) complement Allen's script.
The film is done as a faux documentary with interviews with the actors and a daring opening scene featuring a
shaky handheld camera (dramatizing the unsteadiness of all relationships). The technique is a bit showy, but it
works well and is hilariously entertaining.
Safe sex lessons from Brenda
Everything you ever wanted to know about taking the Pill
by Chris Lepley
Birth control is a very serious mat-
ter. Statistics say that over one million
teenage girls will become pregnant this
year, even though three-fourths of sexu-
ally-active teenagers say they use some
form of birth control. How is that pos-
sible, you ask? Don't you know any.
teenagers? Obviously, they're screw-
ing it up.
The Way it Works,
Women & The Pill
With Shannen Doherty and Mary Lake
Enter "The Way itWorks, Women &
* The Pill," a new self-help video from
the Searle corporation (which happens
to make birth control pills, by the way.
So they have only the purest of motives
in presenting this video, right?) which
teaches teenage girls how touse the Pill,
ormore accurately, how notto screw up
using the Pill.
Teenagers are definitely the target
audience of this video. Hip MTV-style
graphicsareomni-present and the whole
thing resembles nothing more clinical
than the "Rump Shaker" video. There is
a plot of sorts. Three teenage girls have
nothing to do on a Saturday night (why
aren't they out getting pregnant?) so
they watch a TV special on the Pill.
These three "everywomen"react to what
they see on the screen with truly instruc-
tive and helpful comments like "Oh my
God, like, the Pill is so cool. It's 97%
effective, did you guys know that?" and
"I thought you couldn't get pregnant if
you didn't have an orgasm?"
Leftto their own devices, these three
teens might -only further confuse the
hapless video watcher in search of seri-
ous advice about the Pill. Luckily, the
videopullsinthebig demographic guns:
its host is Shannen Doherty, the actress
who plays Brenda Walsh on Fox TV's
"Beverly Hills 90210." Shannen gets to
run around on the street with a little
phallicmicrophone (We know she's not
a reporter. Who is she trying to fool?)
and ask innocent bystanders insipid
questions about sex.
Luckily, these bystanders don't act
any smarter than Brenda did when she
cheated on Dylan in France, soShannen
gets to demonstrate her intellect by
mocking them. "I heard that the Pill
makes your breasts bigger," one re-
spondent says, rolling her eyes. "Well, I
heard you can't get pregnant if it's the
guy's first time," her friend chimes in (I
guess those inexperienced sperm just
can't get the hang of swimming their
Of course, the big question here is,
what is a staunch Republican right-
wing cigarette-smoking bar-fighter do-
ing hosting a video about birth control?
The Pill isn't abortion, but birth-con-
trol, especiallybirth-control made avail-
able to teenage women, isn't exactly a
major plank on the Republican plat-
form which Shannen Doherty claims to
fervently support.'This video is geared
towards young, high-school age girls,
the same girls who are repeatedly de-
nied access to viable birth-control in-
formation in their schools because of
bureaucratic pressure from right-wing
activists. Shannen Doherty looks as out-
of-place hosting this video as Senator
Jesse Helms would ataRu Paulconcert.
Why couldn'tSearlehave justasked
Tori Spelling to host it? I know they
wanted their spokesperson to look intel-
ligent, but she's an actress, right? She
could act intelligent ifshereally wanted
to. And according to most accounts (the
usual sources, Teen Machine, Teen
Dream, Bop, Sassy, etc.) Tori, unlike
Shannen, doesn't smoke, and smoking
is a huge no-no to users of the Pill (you
could, like, get cancer. What a major
bummer, I'm sure).
The biggest problem with Searle's
video is its lack of usefulness. Accord-
ing to the press release which accompa-
nied the tape, this video is available free
through your doctor (obstetricians and
gynecologists only, sorry guys), but
despite its claim to dispel many of the
myths surrounding the Pill, what the
video mostly does is say "Ask your
doctor" about everything. Even Mary
Lake Polan, the doctor from Stanford
who gives most of the "expert advice"
in the video, says "justask your doctor"
after every answer. Checking with your
Continued from page 5
barren acoustic paintings of Neil Young
as the wide-eyed visions of Sonic Youth.
The trio even goes as far as to lift whole
the riff of David Bowie's "Moonage
Daydream" for their own "Jupiter and
For the most part, Buffalo sticks to
the standard three-person arrangement
of guitars, bass and drums, but pianos
lie sprinkled throughout the album like
wrecked carsstill burning off theirgaso-
line. It's a potent mix, and the band
refrains from dissolving into cliched
rock rave-ups,prefering toletthe subtle
gravitational pull of "Wish You Well"
and "The Hook" work its wonder on its,
own. This is not to say that the album
lacks energy, however. "Dixie Drug
Store," a rambling account of a muggy
July night in New Orleans works up a
decentamount of steam andprovides an
easy segue into the dullroarof"America
Snoring," a seething indictment of the
country of Daryl Gates' LAPD.
"fuzzy" has already received much
praise from both "Spin" and "Rolling
Stone" and Grant Lee Buffalo seems
poised to break, if not amongst the
general populace, at least amongst the
critics. Grab the record now and feel
cool forowning itbeforeanyone else on
Though the Fastbacks have been
around in some form or another for
close to a decade and a half, their latest
album, "Zucker", may be what it takes
to propel them from Seattle legend to
greater popularity. The noisy girl punk-
pop of this album is very catchy and
reminiscent of the Pixies' or Breeders'
best, with its loud, grungy guitars and
big, thumping drums. The vocals, all
soprano harmonies, call to mind Kim
Deal and JulianaHatfield.Though simi-
lar to these acts, the Fastbacks posses a
hyper-manic energy all their own. They
strike as quickly and powerfully as a
sugar rush, taking the listener to the
moon and back in two minutes or under.
The lyrics to the songs are fresh and
spontaneous, almost conversational: "I
think I'll think next time" from 'That
Was" is a good example. Clever, in-
sightful, but not obvious or overbear-
ing. And while most of the songs are
driving, frenetic rockers that send drum-
mer Rusty Willoughby into overdrive
(such as "Believe Me Never," and "Bill
Challenger"), the band is capable of
slowing its tempo down enough tomake
insightful, moving songs about rela-
tionships, like "When I'm Old," and
"That Was." Heck, there's even a
BeeGees cover "Please Read Me,"
which is pure pop perfection.
The Fastbacks are part of a new
onto the Sub Pop label. If "Zucker" is
any indication of the general quality of
these bands, then they should be looked
forward to with great anticipation.
Though their songs sometimes travel
faster than sound itself, the Fastbacks
instill a need for speed.
- Heather Phares
"I seemed to be the only one i
in the license renewal line
who wasn't getting hostile.
Theguy behind me
waseudssing iw cowboy
boots when I realized
my Birkenstoeks were
It must be the way they
cradle your feet because
I really didn't mind waiting for
my new driver's license.
I even smiled for the photo."
The original comfort shoe.-
Open Monday thru Saturday 10-6 .
- repair service
G 1993 Birkenstock is a registered trademark.
doctorisessential when you starttaking
any kind of medication, but if you ask
your doctor all these questions, what's
this stupid video for?
Andin the end, that's what the video
is. Stupid. The information it gives is
available on pamphlets in every,
gynecologist's office in the US., and it's
asafebetno 15 year-old'smom and dad
are going to see this video on the self-
help shelf at Blockbuster and get it for
their little baby to watch. Besides, if
there are women out there who still
think that they can't get pregnant if
they're "on top" because "sperm can't
swim up-hill," they needalotmorehelp
than this video can give them.
THE WAY IT WORKS, WOMEN
AND THE PILL is available from
INTRAMURAL SPORTS PROGRAM
CROSS COUNTRY RUN
Entry Deadline: Friday 4/16