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September 15, 1993 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-09-15

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8- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 15, 1993
L;9 z Crunchy, tasty tfins premiere

By JOHN R. RYBOCK
Since it is a month with a vowel in it,
you can bet there is an animation festi-
val going on in Ann Arbor. And sure
enough, Spike & Mike and their Sick &
Twisted gang are back. But before they
arrive, there is going tobe rarity forAnn
Arbor - a short film festival. Your
doubts are understandable, since out-
side of the Ann Arbor Film Festival,
short films are virtually unheard of, but
there really is one coming to town.
Yes, the short film. To most people,
they are an Oscar category that they
have to sit through in order to watch
Master Thespian Marisa Tomei win.
Ever look at the nominees and wonder
"What the heck is this 'Childeater'
thing?" Well, here it is, in the aptly
named "Festival of Short Films."
Besides being notably shorter than
full length features (hence 'short' film),
there are other differences between the
two. Short films do not need plots that
canbemaintainedforanhourandahalf.
Plus, character development and evolu-
tion are not needed. They can be little

tales that can amuse or teach or both.
And in a good collection of ten, which
this is, there is something for everyone.
What you get here is a Kellogg's
Variety-Pak. Like those boxes of cereal,
not every one will suit each audience
member's tastes. Some of the features
are like Honey Smacks, sweet and en-
joyable, and you hate to see the bottom
of an empty box. "The Lounge Bar," the
opening short, is one such piece. A tale
of fate with three people, it seamlessly
weaves distant times together.
Other shorts, however, are Raisin
Bran - there isjust no room in the little
space available to put enough of the
raisins in. "Stealing Altitude" is one
such case. A documentary on BASE
(Building, Antenna, Spans,Earth)jump-
ing, the ten minute time frame used by
the filmmakers is too short a period to
really get into the heads of people who
voluntarily jump off skyscrapers.
"An Urban Tragedy," to continue
the metaphor, is Lucky Charms. Its
strange shapes and colors set it off from
the corn flakes that big studio Holly-

woodmakes. Then there is the nostalgia,
of Fmuity Pebbles which can be found in
"Safari Holiday," the. longest of the *
films, and the one anyone who went
through an awkward adolescence can
easily and painfully identify with, though
I mean that in a good way.
And of course, after all that healthy,
sugar-poweredcereal, you need to wash
it down with a cold brew. "Tom Goes to
the Bar" is a witty piece in which Tom,
who is "hanging out" at the bar, tries to
make sense of his life. All the while, as
in the real world, life continues going on
around him.
In the end, it is a sugar high. You'll
probably have to have eaten some box
that you loathe, that doesn't seem to end
soon enough. But the compilers of this
festival, like the folks at Kellogg's, have
intelligently put together a wide vary-
ing assortment. And while you may
have to bear a couple of Grape Nuts, the
rest is all Honey Nut Cheerios.

Lisa Marja Alach and Michael J. Cox star in "Rushes," a movie premiering at the "1st International Festival of Short Films."

INTERNAiONAL FESTIVAL OF
SHORT FILMS is playing Sept 17-23
at the State Theater.

Ir .1

Take your odd roommate to see 'The Nerd'

Pint Night
Wednesdays
$1.00off Pints of the
"Best draft beer selection"
in town 9:00pm-Close
338 S. Stae
996-9191
$2.99 Cheeseburger. & Fries
1/3 lb of lean ground chuck, charbroiled and served on
our homemade French Bread. 11:30am-3:00pm

r

By KIMBERLY GAINES
Remember freshman year? Remem-
ber dorm food, going to all your classes,
R.A.'s and rooming blind? If your expe-
rience with your roommate was not
most favorable, then you will easily
relate to Larry Shue's comedy, "The
Nerd" about the roommate from hell.
Directed by Charles Jackson, "The
Nerd" opens the Ann Arbor Civic
Theatre's 1993/94 Main Stage season
Wednesday, September 15.
It is the story of a young architect,
Willum Cubbert (Larry Rusinsky) who
is not really happy with either his social
or his professional life. His life takes a
drastic change, however, when he gets
a surprise visit from the man who saved
his life in Vietnam but whom he never
met, and the man is quite different than
how Willum imagined. His savior, Rick
Steadman (Tom Underwood) turns out
to be a hopeless "nerd."
"This is lighthearted, it's situational,
it's a predicament we all find ourselves

in at times where we have a roommate
or house guest from hell and you can't
get rid of him, but you don't want to say
'Get out!,"' Jackson said.
Through a series of events Rick
destroys Willums's life, but Willum is
reluctant to do anything because he
feels a sense of obligation to this man
who saved his life. Jackson commented,
"This is about dealing with relation-
ships - these are real people - it's
hilarious, but they're human beings that
find themselves in situations. It's not a
play where we go for laughs, it's not a
Neil Simon full of jokes kind of a play."
Some of the interchanges in the
show even remind Jackson of that SNL
duo we know so well, Wayne and Garth.
"'The Nerd' would appeal to college
students because they would under-
stand the humor, it's not just slapstick
humor, there's some intellectual quality
there," said Jackson.
Jackson is an assistant professor in
theater and drama at the University. He

has done quite a bit of directing includ-
ing "Long Tune Since Yesterday" by
PJ. Gibson and last yearhe did OyamO's
"The Resurrection of Lady Lester." .
Later this fall Jackson willbe direct-
ing a big University production, "The
Lion and the Jewel" by Wole Soyinka
which features music, dance, mime and
literary elements of prose and poetry.
"This is the most complex and compli-
cated and elaborate production that I
have been associated with since I've
been at this University," Jackson said.
He will be holding open auditions for all
students and community members the
week of September 20, 1993.
"The Lion and the Jewel" is an Afri-
can play set in Nigeria, and although
Jackson has directed quite a few
Afrocentric plays he doesn't want to be
limited to this area, which is one reason
he likes the universal appeal of "The
Nerd." Jackson commented "I don't
want to be pigeonholed into doing only
the Afrocentric stories, but I don't want
to deprive the African-American stu-
dents on this campus to have something,
some vehicle to express and examine

their culture and their heritage."
Jackson's background is in classical
theater and with all of his directing
experience he saidhe believes that com-
edies can often be more difficult than
dramas. "'The Nerd' is lighthearted, a
sort of living room comedy, and simple
in that respect but still complicated in
the sense of timing, comedic timing,"
said Jackson.
From one surprising event to the
next in "The Nerd", the normally mun-
dane Willum findshimselfplotting dras-
tic action to get rid of Rick. Jackson
commented, "This play is like when
you watch a sit-com on TV that makes
you laugh and it's funny and it seems so
easy, the people in the show seem so
right for the part, seem so natural, and
you say, 'This is Trivial Pursuit! Their
lives are sotrivial and the things they're
involved with are so simple!"'
THE ERD L wi be perf ored
Wednesday through Saturday at 8
p.m. and also at 2 p.m. on Saturday
at the Mendelssohn Theatre. Tickets
are $12 -$16. Call 763-1085 for
reservations and information.

I

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"If you have built castles in the air,
your work need not be lost.
That is where they should be.
Now put the foundations under them."
-Henry Oavid Thoreau
1...
Learn Your Way Around The World
" Study abroad in London, England or Seville, Spain,
for a summer, for a semester or for a full academic year
" Courses in liberal arts and international business
" .Fluency in a foreign language nI required
" Home-stays with meals
" Field trips
" Financial aid applies (except for summer session)
Program Costs:
f For tuition, room, board and field trips per semester
" In London, England
$4,225 for Wisconsin residents/$4,475 for non-residents
" In Seville, Spain
$4,725 for Wisconsin residents/S4,925 for non-residents
Application deadlines:
" April I for summer session
" April 30 for fall semester
" October 20 for spring semester
For a program description and an application, call toll free:
1-800-342-1725

Los Lobos
Just Another Band from East
IA -A Collection
Slash/Warner
Rarely has there been a group so rich
in its diversity as Los Lobos. Born in
raised in the barrios of Los Angeles, the
members of Los Lobos began playing
traditional Mexican songs at weddings
and neighborhood parties, playing rock
& roll at night. In almost no time, all of
the members developed an amazing in-
strumental proficiency and were able to
play both rock & roll and Mexican
music with equal skill.
Los Lobos' music is roots music in
the best sense - they are comfortable
with all the music they perform and are
able to not only perform within the
specific genres of folk, country, rock
and Mexican, they are able to combine
all of them into a singular, powerful
style. Sure, their hit version of "La
Bamba" was great, but it doesn't have
the distinctforce of originals like "Don't
Worry Baby," "One Tune One Night"
and "Angels With Dirty Faces."
With only five proper albums to
their credit, it might seem a bit too early
to compile a double-disc retrospective
yet "Just Another Band from East LA"
works against that conventional wis-
dom, providing a splendid portrait of
the band. As the compilation progresses,
it becomes clear that David Hidalgo is
one ofhis generation's best songwriters;

60 -a,

his folky, lyrical style is often matched
by bandmate Cesar Rosas' gritty rock &
roll. Rare tracks from their 1978 inde-
pendentdebutand the out-of-print"And
a Time to Dance" EP, live tracks;
soundtrack work and album tracks rep-
resent both aspects of the group equally
well; in many ways it is a model comp4
lation, portraying all of the group's>
strengths with no filler. Simply pub
there is no better introduction to one of
America's most original and best bands
- this is some of the most timeless
music of the past decade.
- Tom Erlewine
Unrest
Perfect Teeth
4 AD
"Perfect Teeth" is super-indie band
Unrest's debut on the hyper-cool art
label 4 AD. This trio, a fixture of the
Washington, DC scene, recently per-
formed on the second stage at
Lollapalooza, and none other than Duran
Duran god Simon LeBon produced this*
album. All the evidence indicates this
album is a hopelessly arty, pretentious
effort; yet Unrest manages to rise above
it all and create one of the finest, most
subversive pop albums of the year. The
best thing about "Perfect Teeth" is that
it works, even though it shouldn't.
Unrest's jangly, unique pop sound
takes equally from Sonic Youth's artsy
punk, Peter, Paul, and Mary's gentle
folk and the torchy jazz vocals of such
greats as Julie London. The best cuts
showcase theirdiverse influences:"Cath
Carroll," a tune about a heroine of Brit-
ish indieculture, is aloud, driving rocker
that's perfect to pogo to; "Light Com-
mand" is a fast, bouncy ode toovercom-
ing a breakup; "Make-Out Club" is a
tribute to "the very first one;" and
"Breather x.o.x.o." sounds like a choir
of heartbroken altarboys. On the whole,
"Perfect Teeth" is an improvement on
last year's "Imperial f.f.f.r." It's
smoother, more consistent, and bassist
Bridget has two tracks to adom with her
satiny voice and wry lyrics.
Though this is a highly creative and
individual work, it ironically opens and
closes with the two weakest songs of the
album, "Angel I'll Walk You Home,"
and "StylizedAmpersand."These tracks
.2_:__ w _ -3 L-. __

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