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September 20, 1993 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-09-20

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's

Dullard's truth in writing remains refreshing

0

'Pig Out' with Frank
FrankAllisonhas become an Ann
Arbor legend with his consistent
string of good-time rock & roll
songs. What his goofy stage pres-
ence often masks are his genuine
songwriting skills. While his new
live album, "Pig Out," does suffer
some problems that are common to
concerts - the fidelity is poor and
the excitement of the performance
doesn't fully translate to disc - but
it does prove one important point:
Allison is a gifted songwriter. Hear-
ing all of his best songs on one disc
proves that his talents are continu-
ing to develop, growing more me-
lodic, fun and gaining a greater sense
of humor and depth. For fans, the
album is a necessity; for the curi-
ous, it is the best way to become
acquainted with Allison's unique
rock & roll. Hopefully, Allison will
break into the big leagues with "Pig
Out"-- he deserves it.
Check out Frank 's performance
on "Studio Live" tonight on WCBN,
88.3 FM at 11:30.
Mr. Miller Goes to
Ann Arbor
Dennis Miller, the comedian
who hosted "Weekend Update" for
nearly six years, is coming to Hill
Auditorium on October 21st. Those
only familiar with his work on "Sat-
urday Night Live" are missing the
entire stand-up comic side of his
personality. Pick up "Mr. Miller
Goes to Washington" or "Dennis
Miller: Black & White" (both avail-
able on video) for a hilarious sneak
preview of what to expect. Tickets
go on sale this Friday and they're
only a meager $10 with a student
i.d. Don't miss it...
'Pride' Exhibit
Three featured photographers -
Keary Campbell from the Univer-
sity Dental School, Colleen
Fitzgerald from the Ann Arbor News
and Linda Wan a freelance photog-
rapher-will be displaying "Pride,
Awareness and Commitment: Com-
ing Out, Together" at the Michigan
Union Art Lounge beginning this
Wednesday and running through
October 1st. The exhibit centers
around community relationships
within the lesbian, gay male and
bisexual community. A reception
for the exhibit will take place this
Friday between 4:30p.m.-6:00p.m.
in the Lounge.
Plain 'Folks'
The University Folk Dancing
Club, emphasising Eastern Euro-
pean and Middle Eastern line and
circle dances, will be meeting at
Leonardo's in the North Campus
Commons this Tuesday between
7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Onlook-
ers and beginners are more than
WVelcome to attend.

By WILL MATTHEWS
In this age of relativity, when any
idea regarding a situation can be dis-
credited as one interpretation out of
.many, it is reassuring to acknowl-
edge the presence of a writer whose
observations of the world have a feel-
ing of rightness that leave the reader
with a sensation of peace, calm and
revealed truth.
Annie Dillard, who will be visit-
ing Ann Arbor on Tuesday, is such a
writer. The truth in her writing is
indelibly her own. In "Living Like
Weasels," the first essay in her col-
lection of essays "Teaching a Stone
to Talk," she watches a small group
of deer standing in a swamp and
notes that "from the distant shore
they look like miracle itself, com-
plete with miracle's nonchalance."
Her observations of her world and
the meaning she gives them explode
gently with the sensation that they
are right and absolute. Dillard offers
her individual perceptions of truth
and meaning with a deft and subtle
hand of suggestion that lets readers
form their own conclusions.

Her works include "Living by Fic-
tion," a book of "unprofessional" lit-
erary criticism that explores the roles
of fiction and writing as both tools
for disclosing new perceptions of the
world, as well as giving meaning and
order to it by what she calls "[read-
ing] fiction to think about the world."
In her book, "The Writing Life," she
discusses the nature of writing and
the difficulties and joys of the craft.
Her other works include a collec-
tion of poems, a nonfiction narrative
entitled "Holy the Firm" and "The
Living," a novel about pioneer men
on Puget Sound in the 19th century.
Another one of her best known
works is "An American Childhood,"
a memoir. She said in a recent inter-
view that this work is successful be-
cause it is a "concrete narrative" that
takes place "completely in the world."
Much of it is devoted to the impres-
sions of childhood and the percep-
tions that make childhood an intense
learning experience. "Its subject is
consciousness and the growth of con-
sciousness," she explains.
Dillard is best known, however,
for her nonfiction narrative "Pilgrim

at Tinker Creek." First published in
1974 and awarded the Pulitzer Prize
in non-fiction, it became a guide-
book of meaning for a confused and
meaningless age. This work sug-
gested a new way of living based on
a perception of self through the lenses
Her observations of her
world and the meaning
she gives them explode
gently with the
sensation that they are
right and absolute.
Dillard offers her
Individual perceptions of
truth and meaning with a
deft and subtle hand of
suggestion that lets
readers form their own
conclusions.
of its relationship with nature.
The role of the self in nature forms
the basis for a collection of essays

that deal specifically with these is-
sues. In "Teaching a Stone to Talk,"
she exerts her unique power of turn-
ing seemingly trivial or mundane
events into something meaningful and
philosophical.
In the title essay, Dillard discusses
the voice of nature. "Nature's silence
is its one remark," she writes. This
idea becomes her premise, and she
suggests that nature's voice is one
that should be listened to. "We are
here to witness," she writes of the
trees and the birds and the sea lions.
"We can only witness them - who-
ever they are ... If we were not here,
the material events like the passage
of seasons would lack even the mea-
ger meanings we are able to muster
up to give them. The show would
play to an empty house ... That is
why I take walks: to keep an eye on
things."
The human role in nature, as well
as human nature itself, is best ex-
pressed in "Living Like Weasels." "I
would like to learn, or remember,
how to live," she writes. "We can
live any way we want ... The thing is
to stalk your calling in a certain skilled

and stipple way, to locate the ,-ost
tender and live spot and plug nto
that pulse. This is yielding, not fight-
ing. A weasel doesn't 'attack' any-
thing; a weasel lives as he's meant
to, yielding at every moment to the
perfect freedom of single necessity."
In a telephone interview, she de-
scrnoes this essay as symbolic to
what she called "a life of dedica-
tion." "The artist's life is like a life
of dedication, the highest form of
which is a life dedicated to God."
And while definitions of God are
complex and personal, she added,
"It is a life of dedication to some-
thing larger than self."
Annie Dillard, in her smooth,
honest and meaningful writing, does
not offer her truths as absolute truth,
but as her truths. It was once said
that the life of a poet is an experi-
ment in living. Annie Dillard's ex-
periment in living is one that should
be listened to and learned from.
Annie Dillard will be reading
from her work Tuesday,
September 21st at 4:00 p.m. at
Rackham Amphitheater.
Admission is free.

,I

Innocence' wise beyond years

By MICHAEL THOMPSON
It's sort of hard to imagine a Scorsese movie without
guns or crazy guys. In the '70s,'80s and '90s Scorsese re-
defined the anti-hero movie. Now, however, he has de-
cided to move on. And what a glorious decision he has
made.
"The Age of Innocence," based on Edith Wharton's
novel, tells the story of Newland Archer, a lawyer about to
The Age of Innocence
directed by Martin Scorsese; written by Martin Scorsese
and Jay Cocks, adapted from Edith Wharton's novel; with
Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder
be married when he realizes that perhaps he loves another
woman. Constantly being bogged down in a quagmire of
etiquette and fine clothes, he struggles to find a way to
have what he truly desires.
The story is nothing new, but neither is Wharton's
novel. With another director at the helm this film could
easily have been just another story of forbidden love, but
Scorsese's vision is strong enough to create a feeling of
originality. Everything on the screen seems fresh and new.
Over the past few years Scorsese's name has become
synonymous with words like great, wonderful genius and,
in some not so small circles, God. But with a filmmaker of
this caliber it's easy to see why. His grasp of technique and
image is truly staggering. Scorsese comes across as more
of a painter than a filmmaker. The canvas may still be New
York, but this time he's painting with a pen rather than a
gun.
Scorsese has taken a dramatic U-turn from his typi-
cally violent film themes to bring us a beautiful story. His
images of fine dining, theater and even a boat crossing the
sea float across the screen with tremendous confidence.
Nothing seems out of place. Even Scorsese's cameo is just
right. This is a great director at work.
The film does lack whathas become the typical Scorsese
cast. DeNiro and Keitel are gone, but fortunately not

missed. Daniel Day-Lewis is wonderful as a lawyer who
is strangled by the rules of the world he lives in.
Michelle Pfeiffer proves that Catwoman was not going
to be her greatest role. Her portrayal of Countess Ellen is
right on key. She is seductive in such a covert way that the
audience is in love along with Archer.
Winona Ryder comes across perfectly as a seemingly
empty-headed girl filled with joy and nothing at the same
time.
Scorsese's decision to divorce himself from his usual
actors was good. This is new ground for him and for that
he needs fresh people. His choices are right on the money,
as always.
The film also never forgets its foundation. Joanne
Woodward narrates excerpts from the Wharton's novel.
Much like "A River Runs Through It," we can feel the
beauty and the power of the literature mesh with the
With another director at the helm this
film could easily have been just
another story of forbidden love, but
Scorsese's vision is strong enough to
create a feeling of originality.
cinematic images.
Rumor has it that Scorsese was given a year to edit the
film exactly the way he wanted to. Finally a studio wakes
up to the request of talent. Perhaps if some had given
Coppola more time with "Dracula" they would have
realized it never should have been released. Regardless,
Scorsese has fine tuned this machine and the result is
glorious.
In the 1980's Scorsese gave us "Raging Bull," which
is held by many critics as the best film of the decade. It is
hard to imagine that "The Age of Innocence" will have
much competition for the 90's top spot, but Scorsese is
working on other films.
"THE AGE OF INNOCENCE" is playing at the Maple,
and will open at Showcase this Friday.

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Too bad Daniel Day-Lewis isn't as studly in this movie as he was in "... Mohicans."
Mass meeting
TONIGHT at
8 p.m. at 420
Maynard
Come upstairs and find out
about writing for the Daily.

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