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January 15, 1993 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-01-15

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ARTS

Kramer works magic with her 'Rattlesnake

Young at Heart
In this mess of snow, slush and
winter blues, take a trip back to your
childhood with the enchanting Hans
Christian Anderson fairy tale, "The
Snow Queen." The Young People's
Theater of Ann Arbor has adapted
this charming story of two young
girls and their blossoming friend-
ship into a production for the stage.
Performances are tomorrow at 7:30
pm, Sunday at3 and 7 pm, 17at3 pm
at the Performance Network of Ann
Arbor. Tickets are $5 for young
people, and $7 for "older young
people." (Who knows where we each
fall?) Arrive early for an "unusual
beginning." Call 663-0681.
Dox by Women
The Film/Video Studies Program
is beginning its "Women in Film"
series tomorrow with the showing of
two documentaries, "La Ofrenda:
The Days of the Dead" (1988) and
"Las Madres: The Mothers of Plaza
de Mayo" (1986). Both films are the
work of Lourdes Portillo, a Mexi-
can-born filmmaker who will be
speaking on campus Saturday. "La
Ofrenda" documents the Mexican
celebration for the dead, while the
Academy Award-nominated "Las
Madres" chronicles the struggle of
Argentine women searching for their
missing family members. "La
Ofrenda" and "Las Madres" will be
shown tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in
Angell Hall Aud A, followed by a
discussion with the filmmaker. Ad-
mission is free. Portillo will be speak-
ing and showing her film "Colum-
bus" at 12 noon in Angell Hall Aud
A. Portillo will address the subjectof
"Latinas on Film and Behind the
Camera." Call 764-0147.
Better than Beethoven
Many people believe the string
quartets of the Hungarian composer,
Bela Bartok, are surpassed only by
the quartets of Beethoven. Tonight
the Tokyo String Quartet will per-
form three of Bartok's six quartets.
The concert is tonight at 8 p.m. at
Rackham Auditorium. Tickets are
available for $20 to $29; rush tickets
are available today at the Union Tick-
ets Office. Call 764-2538.
MLK with UBW
Employing a capella vocaliza-
tions based on traditional chants, as
well as live music and movement,
the Urban Bush Women celebrate
African culture like few others. The
program includes works entitled
"Working forFree"and "If You Keep
On Dancing You'll Never Grow
Old." Performances are Saturday at
8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the
Power Center; tickets are $14 to $26,
with $8 rush tickets available tomor-
row morning at the Union Ticket
Office. The company will also give
free workshops tonight at 7 p.m. in
the League Hussey Room and Mon-
day at 3 p.m. in the League
Vandenburg Room. Call 764-2538.

by Joshua Keidan
"Rattlesnake Farming," Kathryn
Kramer's second novel, concerns itself
with the subject of history, and its ef-
fects upon people. Yet things are not as
simple as this makes them sound. Four
Rattlesnake Farming
Kathryn Kramer
Knopf
types ofhistory-religious, geographic,
familialand personal-intersectwithin
thenovel, and within the complex psyche
of Zoe Carver, the central character.

Zo8 exists within a dual landscape.
Her personal and familial past tie her to
New England while the novel's present
finds her in the American Southwest.
Each of these locales signifies a type of
religious practice, to Zoe and the other
characters. The Northeast becomes the
site of intellectual atheism bolstered by
a spirit of Puritanism, the Southwest a
place where Christianity remains vital
through a constant re-enactment of vir-
gin birth and crucifixion.
Against this religious backdrop, the
novel plays out a story of generations.
Zoe, child of a troubled marriage, born
into a family with a history of self-

destruction, feels a righteous anger at all
parents. Zoe is not alone in her anger.
Her teenage boyfriend Rob causes his
father's death, and no one is certain
whether he did it intentionally or not.
When the novel opens, these events
are ten years past. Rob has been in a
mental hospital during those years, and
Zoe has been mute. Zoe and her mother
arrive in Cascabel Flats to spend Christ-
mas with Zoe's brother Nick. Nick stud-
ies rattlesnakes, looking in the snake's
venom for a cure to mental illness.
Upon the family's arrival in Casca-
bel Flats, Rob is released from the hos-
pital, andZoe's father disappears. These

events, along with Zo8's desire to have
a child, send her on a quest into the past,
scarching for some way to resolve the
tumultuous eeits (A her iL.
Unfortunately, the novel's climactic
moment, an instance of quite self-con-
scious "magical realism," seems too
pat, too convenient. Every dilemma
within the novel is resolved virtually
instantaneously, and theambiguous feel-
ing, while intentional, leaves the ending
slightly too up-in-the-air.
Kramer writes compellingly, and the
strength of her writing helps propel the
novel past its weaker moments. Still, at
times the reader wonders whether the

Farming' *
novel needs to be this long (545 pages).
However, overall, the familial and per-
sonal histor. Im!ch more
present, carries the novel, creating snsi
pense and pushing the narrative onr
ward.
Despite its flaws, "Rattlesnake FanM'
ing," buoyed by its fine writing, hold;
the reader with an entertaining and
thought provoking look at the nature 6f
parent-child relationships. While length
and inconclusiveness prevent this from
being a great novel, still it impresses;
and its exceptional moments stay with"
the reader long after one has set. it down'
Ragewlar
-Makes a T

I

powerful
beonnin

I

In the seventies, Al Pacino appeared in groundbreaking films and "Dog Day Afternoon." But since his "comeback" he's gone mainstream.
Scent is too sweet, but Pacino 's perfect

by Scott Sterling _
"So-called facts are frauds / They
want us to allege and pledge / and bow"
down to their God / Lost the culture;
the culture lost / Spun our minds and"'
through time / Ignorance has taken'
over / We gotta take the power back"
Public Enemy admonished us to-'
fight the power; Rage Against The"
Machine takes that sentiment a step 0
further, encouraging those fed up with'
socialized oppression to "Take The
Power Back." This bombtrack, along..
with the rest of their explosive, self-"
titled debut, is an incendiary call tar
arms. This monsterous four-piece
kicks out earth-shaking, riff-heavy
crunch-funk stomp for the Diaspora.
"Bullet In The Head," "Know Your,;
Enemy," "Wake Up-" The Ragesters
have got much on their minds, andq
you best listen up. Narrated by lead
throat Zack De La Rocha (who axman~
Tom Morello describes as "intelli-
gent, angry, overwhelming, awesome!"
and real.") Rage's disc reads like an :
everyman's manifesto for the '90s. a1~
Grinding out grooves heavier than'
'72 Sabbath (butahell ofa lot smarter),
Rage's cathartic primal roar is laden'
with the furrowed-brow determina- 0
tion of Fugazi and the tension-filled
dynamics of Jane's Addiction (whose
ex-drummer, Stephen Perkins, makes,,
an appearance on their album). These
rainbow kids sound like they were
raised on ahearty diet of Chuck D an4d.
Joe Strummer.
Notorious for their ferocious live -
shows (word has it they even made,.
Pearl Jam nervous after a particularly 0
hot opening gig), Rage Against The
Machine will storm St. Andrews Halm"
in Detroit (961-MELT) tomorrow"
night. Tickets are only $5 (p.e.s.c.) t$
and doors open at 9:00 p.m. They f
changed Dave G.'s life (which is say-
ing alot), so check 'emoutand see thy,
lightfor yourself. Detroit's own funky -
grunge gods Ugly Stikopen the show.,

by Alison Levy
One of the latest and more promising entries in
the winter bonanza of films is "Scent of a Woman."
Chris O'Donnell ("School Ties") redoes the prep-
school thing, this time stretching his abilities a little
Scent of a Woman
Directed by Martin Brest; written by Bo Goldman;
with Al Pacino and Chris O'Donnell
farther as a student on financial scholarship.
Right before Thanksgiving weekend, the school's
elite attack the headmaster's shiny new Jaguar and
Charlie witnesses it all on the way home from one of
his many part-time jobs. Torn between spilling his
guts for a recommendation to Harvard or keeping
quiet, Charlie has the weekend to think about it. So,
in the meantime he takes a job as caretaker to the
blind and acidic Colonel Frank Slade (Al Pacino).
The mismatched pair heads for New York City and
a weekend of hijinks.

While the plot may sound like "Adventures in
Babysitting 2: Lost in New York," Bo Goldman's
script captures the audience's attention with plot
twists and witty, but realistic dialogue. Goldman is
known for his tightly structured, weighty screen-
plays for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and
"Shootthe Moon," buthe does quitewell incorporat-
ing that neorealistic style with the lighter material of
"Scent of a Woman." The story is filled with original
sequences-one of the bestinvolves the blind Frank
recklessly driving a Ferrari through the streets of
New York.
The biggest thrill of the film is the acting. Unlike
recent performances by Hollywood heavies such as
Nicholson's overdone Jimmy Hoffa turn, Pacino's
flamboyantportrayal of the embittered Colonel Slade
is outstanding and will have people saying "hoo-
hah" for weeks. Pacino manages a careful balance
between the darker, nihilistic side of his character
and Slade's essential vitality. His wise-cracking,
powerful showing should have him set for an Oscar
nomination. This performance, coupled with his
smooth interpretation of David Mamet's wily sales

dynamoin "Glengarry Glen Ross," ensures Pacino's
status as one of Hollywood's most powerful actors,
if it were possible to doubt.
Surprisingly, the young O'Donnell holds his
own with Pacino. His Charlie is likable and a little
nerdy, butO'Donnell's delivery is never too sappy or
unbelievable. Critics are always praising the natural-
istic acting of Keanu Reeves or Winona Ryder, but
the best naturalistic performances, like O'Donnell's
in this film, don't call attention to themselves, but
effectively weave themselves into the greater fabric
of the film.
However, there are a few problems. Most of
these are a result of the film's excessive length.
Apparently, the filmmakers needed to cap every-
thing off with a cheap imitation of Frank Capra
ending that notonly wraps up Charlie's dilemma, but
even finds a girlfriend for Frank Slade (!).Why don't
they solve the Middle East peace process while
they're at it? Compared to the rest of the film, this
sugary aftertaste is pretty disappointing.
SCENT OF A WOMAN is playing at Briarwood
and Showcase.

Redman
Whut? Thee Album
RAUColumbia
In Whut's opening track "Psycho
Ward," producer Reggie Noble intro-
duces Redman as an unintelligible lu-
natic doing time for serial murders in six
different states. The next piece, a
dancehall jaunt entitled "Time 4 Sum
Axsion," establishes Red as a fresh ex-
ponent of the wild, "psychotic" rapping
style embodied in Grandmaster Flash
and the Furious Five's "The Message"
and Ice-T's "6 in the Morning," up to
and including NWA's "Gangsta
Gangsta"WithErick Sennon's arrange-
ments of gut-churning bass lines, wail-
ing voices and funky beats backing
Redman, he's hardly an original; it's
Red's wild stream-of-consciousness
spin on the funk-rap axis that makes
him the most flavorful lyricist this side
of George Clinton's toilet.
Far from being uninfluenced,
Redman's Hit Squad partners Das EFX
present dense collages of subterranean

tures Red and Sermon dropping a gritty
duet of blunted poetry over a horny-
horned "Atomic Dog" grind; "Blow
Your Mind," wherein Redman renews
the flow of the Sugarhill Gang and raps
in Korean; and the aptly-titled
"Hardcore," which ends the "Inhale
Side" with an exhausting verse of funk
and unadulterated rhyme.
The "Exhale Side" finds Redman
attacking the rap "ballad'and fricaseeing
it in "A Day Of Sooperman Lover."
This lush blend of strings, horns and
comic-book romance drops into a vul-
gar resurrection of the B-Boy's fear of
sex when Redman grabs a honey, and
feels "a bozack as big as mine." The
album's "Encore" drops layers of mas-
terfully-mixed FONK in your face with
adisturbing ease. ThisFunkadelicbrotha
dissects and reconstructs our fevered
brains, leaving us wanting for more. To
paraphraseRakim from "The Punisher":
Redman cuts so deep, you'llbebleedin'
burgundy.
-Forrest Green III

the maturation of a band whose past
efforts have caused them to grow both
lyrically and musically.
The album's title can be found in
"Eden," the third track on the album, in
which Natalie Merchant, the lead lyri-
cist and vocalist sings, "All in time, but
the clock is a demon that devours our
time in Eden." This song's inspiring
message about the delicacy of life
sharply contrasts with songs such as
"Jezebel," which harshly confronts the
religious and social traumas felt by
people dealing with divorce. The vari-
ety of the lyrics gives the album a di-
verse range of moods and tones which
are all underscored by the religious,
peaceful quality of the albumasawhole.
The musical quality of "Our Time In
Eden" differs from 10,000 Maniacs'
previous albums due to an increase in
instruments and outside musicians. The
album's folk / reggae / rock sound is a
result of an innovating blend of instru-
ments such as keyboards and guitars
with electric sitars and banjos.

Sweet Honey in the Rock
In This Land
For the uninformed, Sweet Honey
in the Rock is a five-woman a capella
group that crosses genres as easily as
they switch leads. Although their gos-
pel/blues sound inevitably invites
comparisions to their high-profile male
counterpart, Take 6, it differs tremen-
dously in weight and style. In contrast to
Take 6's slick, high gloss latex finish,
Sweet Honey in the Rock's molasses
melt-in-your mouth blues stylings
swarm and envelop the listener. The
highlight of the album, "When I Die,"
sung by Ysaye Maria Barnwell, trans-
forms the spiritual into a truly spiritual
experience. The melancholic strains of
her voice will get your speakers to tear.
The album itself does a good job of
highlighting the ensemble's versatility.
From their bread-and-butter blues stan-
dards and sprirtuals, the group takes
you through a new-age, ethereal trip
through a dense pastoral landscape in
"Fulani Chant." Their feminist bent

Redman: funky like George Clinton; stream of consciousness like Faulkner

Get the Fist Movement
Get the Fist (single)
Da Bomb/Mercury
This recorrdingof some of the West

innovative production with dazzling
results. Samples of the Ohio Players"
"Pride and Vanity" and The Stylistics'"
"People Make the World Go Round'{

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