The Michgan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, October 14, 1993 - 5
Alexa Lee's atypical gallery
By ANDREW SCHAFER
The new Alexa Lee Gallery in the Nickels Arcade may
at first appear to be your average, everyday art gallery.
With its track lighting, painted purple hardwood floor and
"modem" art, it is what one might expect to find walking
into a swank Fifth Avenue gallery, with trendy people
sipping espresso and trilling their R's.
However, Aexa Lee is not your everyday art dealer.
While her gallery focuses on contemporary art and is far
from the feel of amuseum, Lee herself is intent on staying
away from the image that art galleries typically have.
"There's something for everyone here," Lee said,
"ibere are name artists for colectors, as well as a variety
for people who just want to look and learn about it."
After years working in various contexts in the visual
arts, including working for a fabric-printing company in
Seattle and functioning as gallery/artistic director for the
Ann Arbor Art Associatin, Lee is seeing a long dream of
hers come to fruition. "I always wanted to have my own
art business - I looked into doing my own thing."
quality framing facilities as well. "It's very difficult to
have a gallery that just survives on art sales. We want to
sell art, and support the artists, but we also have to look
into other things to survive."
The choice to house the gallery in the Nickels Arcade
was due somewhat to necessity. After looking into the
area, Lee found that "none of the landlords or building
owners were cooperasive at all. Nobody seemed inter-
ested in an art gallery. I was really having ahard time and
was getting very discouraged." Fate intervened, though,
and dropped Lee into the Arcade, in the space above the
post office that, during the '60s and '70s, housed the
famous Forsyth gallery. At 1600 square feet, it is the
largest space in the Arcade.
Lee is committed to carrying a variety of art, encom-
passing media, primarily from the Midwest. "It's getting
more and more important to support your local art com-
munity," she said."It's interesting what happens in the
big urban areas like New York and LA, butin a lot of ways
it's hard to relate to because it's such a different environ-
ment. There are so many talented people in the Midwest."
Her current exhibit includes work by a sculptor from
Chicago, printmakers from Michigan and Minnesota and
apainter from Detroit. "The first show will be rather dark
and expressionistic and somewhat political." However,
she quickly adds, "There will be a lot of pretty pictures,
Among her future shows, she plans to concentrate on
Collage and Mixed Media, Kinetic Sculpture (a particu-
lar fancy of hers), Performance Art and Art and Technol-
ogy. She is wary of being stuck in any pigeonhole, and is
committed to encompassing a broad range of artistic
expression. "I'm looking for quality work in all media
from professiml artists with experience," Lee said.
"To me it's a myth that the gallery has to be a place
where you only come to buy something. Here is more a
place where you can learn more about contemporary art
and interact with it like you can't in a museum."
Gallery owner Alexa Lee believes that a gallery should not just be a place for shopping, but for learning as well.
The irand Opening Reception oftheAxa L7
Gallery will be Friday from 6-8 p.m.
r r r
Au cinema, American action comes up short against French passion
By MICHAEL BARNES
The gulf between American and
*French culture can be measured by
the disparity between the flashy plas-
tic neon decor of a fast food joint
versus the smoky touch ofaToulouse-
Lautrec poster in a Paris caft. It is the
difference between effervescent,
newly transparent sodaversus ablood
red Sauvignon. If film monitors the
pulse of a nation, and it does, there is
a new litmus test seeped in the test-
osterone that separates Big Mac from
'croissant culteur. The French leading
male is a man of passion possessed
with keen verbal dexterity while his
American counterpart broods off to
the side - strong, silent, violent.
"Jules et Jim" directed byFrangois
Truffaut, is a ripe study of a
Frenchman's exquisite passion. The
film is an exploration of a tangled
romance between two best friends,
Jules and Jim, and a Parisian woman
named Catherine. What makes the
film interesting is not the plot, which
is long and boring, but rather its por-
trait of two passionate men skilled in
the art of verbal gymnastics. The dia-
logue is lyrical and poetic as the two
men discuss the "scornful lips" and
"tranquil smile" of Catherine. Jules,
in one of the more poignant scenes in
which he and Jim sit around and dis-
cuss the various outrageous slings
and arrows of love's misfortune, de-
cides oxymoronically that the "the
yearnings of two hearts create such
heavenly pain." Hum? It's clear to the
audience that these women are blessed
with a kind of verbal finesse. Meta-
physics, impotent nymphomaniacs,
Shakespeare as well as Buddhist lust
are other topics for conversation.
For an American male, "Jules et
Jim" is a foreign experience, some-
thing akin to a passionate Pearl Har-
bor - there are love bombs sinking
ships everywhere. The male ingredi-
ent in the American movie diet is
some kind of variation on muted
brawn. Our film history is replete
with meat and potatoes men, real ass-
kickers that don't talk much. John
Wayne is a classic example. Carey
Grant was suave and classy but more
adept with a cigarette than his tongue.
Marlon Brando in "On the Water-
front" and Jimmy Dean in "Rebel
withoutaCause"proved that the lead-
ing man is still tough with a smoke
and menacing with a glare. With the
advent of DeNiro, the anti-hero as
lent and verbally fractured. Today's
movie icon isthe violentmutestrapped
with abell ofagun. Schwarenegger,
Stallone and Eastwood have reduced
verbal capacity to primal grunts and
Thus Franco-American morpho-
logical and physical abilities are in-
versely related. Physical splendorhas
diminished at the expense of verbal
finesse for the French leading man.
Jules and Jim are scrawny little pukes
that could never hold their own in a
bar brawl. For Americans, it is the
opposite. Physiques rule over pho-
netics. Woody Allen is a notable ex-
ception, but with his big glasses and
excessive whinings he is way too neu-
rotic to be cool. Any guy that says the
word "love" (let alone soliloquizes
about it) is a big loser in Hollywood.
Of course, there are starry-eyed
American romantics that watch these
French movies and drool over the
passionate verbal symphony of angst
andlust. The Beatles might have been
referring to American cinema when
they said happiness is awarm gun but
what about those guys that like Alan
Alda movies and are sick of being
strong and silent? Whatabout women
whose idea of romance isn't Beavis
and Butt-Head, and the impassioned
souls that read "Hamlet" but whose
only big screen option is Bruce Willis
speeding around in a boat? What is
the fate of the American romantic?
At one point during "Jules et Jim."
Jimmakesanallusion toDon Quixote
and SanchoPanza, two literary giants
that represent the American
romantic's doomed fate. Quixote and
his pudgy scribe Pancho were lonely
fools looking forheroics ina scourged
Spanish wasteland. Their modern day
American counterparts are similarly
isolated at the local mall, surrounded
by arcades and window displays,
searching for love in plastic manne-
quins that don't talk back.
" "Where Angels Fear to Tread" soars with little notice
By JOHANNA FLIES
Take an E.M. Forsternovel.Throw
in sweeping vistas of the Italian coun-
tryside, a beautiful soundtrack rich
with violins and arias, authentic scen-
ery ofsupbaked villages aad st ge.
villas and some of the most over-
looked, under-praised actors outside
'f the United States. What do you
get? Surprisingly enough, it is not an
offering from the highly-touted Mer-
chant-Ivory team whose films
"Howards End," "A Room With a
View" and "Maurice" gave them a
monopoly on Forster material. In-
stead, "Where Angels Fear to Tread"
from director Charles Sturridge is a
challenge to this monopoly in the
nost effective and impressive way.
At the end of the 19th century, the
recently widowed, middle-aged Lilia
Herriton (Helen Mirren) is shipped
off to Italy by her husband's family
for a three month vacation. When she
unexpectedly marries a 21-year-old
dentist's son, (Giovanni Guidelli) the
family is properly shocked. When she
gives birth to the Italian's son and
inconveniently dies, the shock is even
*reater and the family is reluctantly
dragged into a plot to get the "beastly
baby" and bring it back to England.
In another strong role, Rupert
Graves ("A Room With a View") is
Philip Herriton, Lilia's brother-in-law
and the arhetype well-off-but-bored-
English man. He affects a stiff upper-
crustiness that is well suited to his
droll, arrogant pronouncements.
When he arrives in Italy to get the
baby, however, Philip is transformed.
Surrounded by the charmof this coun-
try, Philip understands the hypocrisy
and repressive tendencies of English
society and embraces the vitality of a
peoplebe comes to love. Graves' sin-
cerity and wit make him sympathetic
as he captures both the excitement of
a man eager to explore a new culture
and the vulnerability of one who real-
izes that he's been stifled by his own.
Helena BonhamCarter, alsoavet-
eran to Forster adaptations, is the se-
rene Caroline Abbot, Lilia's travel
companion. As much effected by Italy
as Philip, Caroline is nonetheless
trapped by the rules of propriety in-
grained in her as an English woman.
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Bonham Carter humanizes Caroline
and is masterful in revealing the tor-
turous conflict between her desires
Even when dealing with the
weighty subjects of women'soppres-
sion in the family, sexual repression
and the hypocrisy of England's high
society, this film manages to main-
tain a very humorous tone thanks
largely to Judy Davis' portrayal of
Harriett Herriton, Philip's sister. Her
snide sarcasm and contemptfornearly
everyone and everything speaks
mountains in explaining Philip's at-
traction to the freedom and sensuality
learn and line
october 18 - 24, 1993
supported by the City of Ann Arbor &
The University of Michigan
of Italy. Harriett is snooty, pushy,
over-sensitive and overbearing, and
Davis steals every scene she is in.
ing his actors in performances that
could have become soap opera cari-
catures. Unfortunately overshadowed
by therelease of "HowardsEnd,"this
film missed out on much deserved
praise, while audiencesmissed outon
not only a visually stunning drama
but a visually stunning Italian named
Gino, as well.
TREAD is available at Liberty
birthdays/weddings or just
mom's home cooking.
Call us for special USA fares.
Great intemational fares
are also available.
1220 S. University Ave., Ste. 208
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
figh om-o teoidays.
NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt display
Michigan Room, Michigan League
*Opening event will be Oct. 20, 6pm
Portraits of the Quilt (photography exhibit)
Michigan League Buffet
Red Cross African Proverbs poster display
Leonardo's, North Campus Commons
The Individual's Response to AIDS: Materials
from the Labadie Collection of radical social protest
Hatcher Graduate Library, Special Collections, 7th Floor
"AIDS Friendship Tree", Tree Planting Ceremony
UM Hospital Courtyard (between Mott & main hospital)
"QUILT, A Musical Celebration"
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
"QUILT, A Musical Celebration"
Final Dress Rehearsal Benefit Performance
(benefitting localAIDS service organizations)
Talk to Us (anxieties concerning HIV testing)
Sep. 28-Oct. 24
Oct. 22, 1pm
Oct. 21-23, 8pm, Oct. 24, 2pm
$14 & $10; students $6 w/ID
Oct. 20, 7pm
$10 minimum donation
Oct. 26 Bursley Hall, (N. Campus)
LAST TWO DAYS
THURSDAY & FRIDAY
THE SWEATER SALE
Ecuadorean wool sweaters
i/i cruI OMEL MSM- 551TONS
Living with AIDS
East Conference Room, Rackham Hall
Democracy Under Siege:
The Dismantling of Civil Rights
Suzanne Pharr, speaker
HIV/AIDS Education Session
Bursley Hall, North Campus
Oct. 21, 7:30pm
Oct. 24, 7pm