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November 05, 1993 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-11-05

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Keillor talks about guys

Garrison Keillor is a man from
Minnesota. Bor-in 1942 in Anoka,
he has lived in the state most of his
life. "I have a complicated history
with Minnesota, of course, as every-
one does with their home," he ex-
plained in a recent interview. "I love
Minnesota, I love it too much, so its
painful for me to see that it's a lot
more like other places than I'd want
to admit. I believe in Minnesota as a
paradise of good, decent, if heavy-set
people. A place where people are
mannerly and diligent and industri-
ous and possessed of great ethics and
are secretly cultivated and cultured
although they don't show it. And then
you get back there, the first time some-
body honks at you on the highway
you just feel disappointed somehow."
It is perhaps due to this love of the
past, of old Minnesota and its history
on the great plains, that Keillor's ra-
dio show, "A Prairie Home Compan-
ion," has the qualities of a down-
home and folky 1940s radio variety
show, complete with live musicians,
actors, comedy sketches and a sound-
effect man.
Broadcast nationwide Saturday

evenings on public radio, "A Prairie
Home Companion" has the largest
audience of any current radio pro-
gram. It is famous for its weekly mono-
logue "The News from Lake
Keillor's visit tonight to Ann Ar-
bor is but one stop on a national tour
to promote his new book, "The Book
of Guys," as well as to perform. "This
is a collection of stories about guys,
told in a guy's tone of voice," he
explained. In it, cowboys, husbands,
politicians, deities and other guys have
experiences which are both human
and male. In "The Mid-life Crisis of
Dionysus," the god of wine, after be-
ing an immortal for eons, suddenly
and inexplicably turns 50 years old.
Everything changes in his life at the
insistence of others.
"I've decided to make a change,"
Zeus says to him. "Latromis is going
to become the god of wine, and you're
going to be the chairman of wine.
He'll do the revels and orgies and lie
around with nubile young women and
you can form a wine board, organize
wine programs, formulate wine goals,
that sort of thing."
His wife confronts him about his

drinking."I'm the god of wine,
okay?" he protests. "I'm not the god
of iced-tea."' Everyone has an idea of
who and what he should be.
"The men [in the stories] are liv-
ing boldly in a world in which the
gender has slipped," he explained.
"One thing that we're doing is losing
our sense of humor. The incidents of
earnest, humorless, well-meaning
men in the world just went up by a
hundred-fold, and men who dare to be
funny and say what they think and be
funny, it seems to me, are in danger ...
Men are learning how to agree to all
sorts of ideology that they don't re-
ally believe in, and worse than that
men are learning how to be earnest for
the benefit of women ... I believe in
that world of guys, and I don't think
anybody has stood up for it for a long
time, and I'm glad to."
"It is time for women to take over
the world so that men can be them-
selves," he continued. "We're not
meant to be the people that are in
power everywhere. It's done us no
good. We are humorists and we are
poets and we're romantics, and ro-
mantics and poets don't do well in
power, necessarily."

Garrison Keillor, the narrator of "A Prairie Home Companion," will be reading at Hill Auditorium tonight.
Comedy sheds a humorous light other guys and tell stories about them- humorous face, and in doing that I
on our lives, helping us to laugh at our selves and to tell jokes. Guys really think we give each other sustenance
bad grades, our mid-life crises and need this. We can't talk to each other and comfort. Guys can be guys, it
ultimately, ourselves. Keillor knows as women think we ought to talk to really is alright."
this fact well, both in his profession each other and confess or analyze GAISO2 WKEILELRTwillbe
and his life. ourselves. Men don't do that very performing tonight at 8p.m.,at Hill
"Guys need to get together with well. But we can show each other a Auditorium

Parkening masters the guitar again

Everyone in the lobby hears the bells ringing
and they know immediately what they are an-
nouncing. The concert is beginning. Before long
the auditorium is close to full. A few seats are
vacant but they will soon be occupied. On the

Christopher Parkening
Rackham Auditorium
November 3, 1993

stage is a lone bench and a music stand. The
audience eagerly awaits the entrance of the solo-
ist. As he walks through the stage doors the
applause slowly grows louder and louder. He
bows, sits down and begins tuning his instrument
silently as the applause fades to complete silence.
Soon he begins playing a piece and the audience
is mesmerized. For the next two hours they are
held captive by one of the most recognized and
respected guitar virtuosos in the world today.
Wednesday night, Christopher Parkening made
his fifth UMS appearance at Rackham Audito-
rium. For those who had seen him before this was
a chance to hear the maestro perform more of his

musical interpretations. For those who had never
seen him, this was an opportunity to finally be
introduced to the man most often hailed as the
successor to the legendary legacy of the late
Andres Segovia.
The program began with a performance of
Michael Praetorius' "Suite in D Major." The piece
was a wonderful prelude to the rest of the pro-
gram. It served as a showcase for Parkening's
astounding ability to utilize the entire tonal palette
of the guitar. Everything, from the mellowest,
lush chords to the most brilliant single notes
punching a melody over the complex base lines,
flowed from his guitar almost effortlessly.
The solo program consisted of several stan-
dard pieces commonly found on any given classi-
cal guitar anthology. He gave a tender and flaw-
less performance of Bach's Prelude from "The
Well-Tempered Clavier," and he performed the
almost mandatory "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring."
His right-hand technique was displayed best on
the piano Piece "Leyenda," transcribed by Segovia.
Parkening was joined by David Brandon on
several duets throughout the program. Brandon is
not nearly as well known as Parkening, but the
very fact that he has frequently performed with

The "See the Light" Tour will include a special performance by Orbital.
Orbital mixes it up
Tonight, the "See The Light" audio/visual extravaganza invades the
Industry club in Pontiac. Featuring Orbital, Aphex Twin, Moby and Vapour
Space, it is one of the only events highlighting the sensory-overload experi-
ence of techno music to appear in the United States. From hypnotic trance-
techno to harsh, experimental, other-worldly rhythms, these bands manage to
cover nearly the entire spectrum of dance music that has become known as
While shows such as this are somewhat commonplace in England, Ameri-
can techno fans very rarely get a chance to see their favorite groups perform
in a live setting, and instead have to settle for hearing their tracks being spun
by DJ's in dance clubs. Orbital, along with Meat Beat Manifesto and Ultrama-
rine, took part in last year's "Communion" tour, a package that spanned many
styles of dance music but failed to do justice to the live techno experience for
American fans. The "See The Light" tour, on the other hand will allow this
unique experience to become a reality for artists and fans alike. As Orbital's
Paul Hartnoll explained, "We thought it was time to do a tour more akin to what
we're doing. We wanted to go out with Aphex Twin, who we had just done a
tour with, and the American agent wanted Moby to come along, so the tour just
sort of sprung up from there!"
Some critics of electronic dance music laugh at the idea of it being played
in a live situation, pointing out that pre-recorded sequences make up much of
the music, therefore making the term "live techno" an oxymoron. However,
-like any true innovators, these outfits have discovered ways around this, and
each has come up with their own methods for making their live performances
unique and memorable. Orbital's members, for example, use equipment that
~allows them to re-edit and re-mix their songs while they are being played. "Our
-songs end up restructured because we tend to 'jam' when we play live,"
-Hartnoll said. "We have our sequences up and running, but we make up the
arrangement as we go, so tracks can be two minutes or 10 minutes long
depending on what we fancy on the night."
Orbital's methods also allow them to respond to the audience on an
interactive level, something which Hartnoll clearly enjoys. "We just sort of
feed off the audience ... I don't like to leave a venue and then turn up just in
.time to do the gig, I like to be there amongst the audience to get a feel for the
:atmosphere, and work from that," he explained. "For example, if people are
,enjoying harder music, the set will come out harsher, and if it's quite laid back,
'it will be more listening oriented."
Hartnoll also said that he had noticed subtle differences between their
audiences in America and those of England, his home country. "I find
-American gigs more laid back in a way ... not inactive, there's just more of an
overall laid-backness to it all," he said. In addition, techno music's larger
audience in England has caused it to be thought of as part of a full blown sub-
i'zlt,,rjnAc I-Trtnn-d vrl prlned"[fechnol is the heanninp o f the electronic

Student films on display at t

him in concert and on several recordings is in
itself a testament to his incredible talent. The first
duet was his anonymous "Four Renaissance
Pieces." These were performed brilliantly, but the
most striking collaboration of the two guitarists4
was on the well known "Danza del Molinero,"
from "The Three Cornered Hat." The two guitar-
ists performed as one entity, their sounds meshing
and contrasting virtually flawlessly. The lively
piece ended in a flurry of picking and strumming
that held on tightly to the audience's attention
then released them into a fit of exuberant and
vigorous applause.
It is not at all surprising that Christopher
Parkening has become one of the leading ambas-
sadors of the classical guitar. It was Andres Segovia
who called him "one of the most brilliant guitar-
ists in the world," and it was the pleasure of
everyone in the audience to experience, firsthand,
just why he is so deserving of such praise.
Parkening's crystalline performance was a stun-
ning display of his mastery of the guitar. He
played with incredible pathos and sparkling tech-
nique. Wednesday night, Christopher Parkening
once again demonstrated just why he has been the
object of so much unattainable emulation.
he Michigan
e way the emies," the Michigan will also be
the ideas showing the 32-minute MSU student
hese four film "Seduction Story" by James
e but that Bonner and Brian Hamrick. The film
side lives tells the tale of a TA trying to figure
und prob- out who is the genius in his class*
at home. while not sacrificing his morality.
is fresh "Seduction Story" is a clever idea
Dom is a that is marred by length and overkill.
cided not The good TA is so charismatic he
asons that makes Robin William's "Dead Poets
:ed. Nicky Society" character look catatonic. The
erk and a diabolical TA is supposed to be so
someone witty and cleverly evil that he comes
his life as across as an overzealous actor who
really thought this was a great role to
this film play. Too bad he was ineffective.
rifices the After the films, "Friends and En-
iends and emies" director Andrew Frank will be
the same answering questions. So check it out.
s. Charac- Just don't ask him fora job.
e, not the FRIENDS AND ENEMIES and
SEDUCTION STORY is playing at
and En- the Michigan Theater.

A few years back, a terrific new
filmmaker emerged from Michigan.
He didn't look like much, still doesn't.

Friends and Enemies'
Written and directed by Andrew
Frank; with Roger Rignack and
Steven Christopher Young.
And his movie was no "Reservoir
Dogs," but "Evil Dead" was quite
great and allowed Sam Raimi to go
onto bigger and better things.
Well now there's a new guy on the
block. His name is Andrew Frank and
he's directed a little movie called
"Friends and Enemies." And, guess
what, he's a University grad, so there's
hope for all of us. Now the film may
be low budget, but it packs some
pretty heavy themes - murder, be-

trayal and flushing all of your morals
down the toilet with the evidence?
Yep, "Friends and Enemies" is good
aggravating fun.
Director Frank adds a lot of hom-
ages to other films here. We have the
"Mean Streets" Super 8 film footage
opening along with the camera-over-
the ceiling fan shot from "Blood
Simple." None of these homages take
away from the film because the writ-
ing is very similar to both "Blood
Simple" and "Mean Streets." There is
a murder which complicates relation-
ships. The friends ban together to
save somebody who isn't worth it and
finally, at the end, are totally at odds
with one another.
The story of "Friends and En-
emies" is hardly anything new. At
first it almost feels like a Columbo
episode without Peter Falk (although
Dean Stockwell is quite amusing as a
real estate salesman). What saves the

film in terms of writing is th
script continues to return to
of growing up and family. T
friends are in a lot of troubl
doesn't mean that their out
stop. If anything, their newfo
lems only intensify thingsa
The cast of characters
enough to sustain the script.
local baseball hero who de
to go to the Majors for rea
become a lot more complicat
is somewhere between a j
retard. Paul comes across as
who is totally in control of1
far as he's concerned.
Andrew Frank directs
with a style that never sacr
substance of the script. "Fr
Enemies" succeeds in much
way "One False Move" does
ters keep the situation aliv
somewhat banal storyline.
In addition to "Friends

Epic Soundtracks enjoys performing solo


Epic Soundtracks' resume is impressive, to
say the least. As a founding member of the Swell
Maps (at the ripe old age of 12) as well as Crime
and the City Solution and These Immortal Souls,
amongst others, Soundtracks has pounded the
skins for more than one influential band during his
almost 20 years in the music business. For his first
solo album, "Rise Above," however, Soundtracks
has turned away from the art-meets-noise sounds
of the Swell Maps and the glam-meets-dirt stylings
of Crime and the City Solution and set sail for the
land of the singer/songwriter. The 14 songs on

Soundtracks still manages to play the majority of
the instruments himself, including piano, organ,
bass, guitar and drums. In fact, one of the record's
most moving moments comes in "I Feel Good"
which Soundtracks performs alone at the piano.
The lettering of the album cover pays homage
to the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" and Soundtracks
counts Alex Chilton, Todd Rundgren, John Lennon
and Marc Bolan as influences, too. Indeed, the
specter of all of these folks is present on "Rise
Above" as the songs are alternately catchy and as
desolate and filled with raw emotion as anything
on Big Star's "Sister Lovers." At times, the solo

"Farmer's Daughter" is as sweet a piece of wistful
teenage romance as could be wished for and yet it
easily escapes any "sappy" labels.
On his current tour, Soundtracks is presenting
his songs in a purely unadulterated fashion: sim-
ply accompanying himself on piano or guitar. At
some point, he would like to tour with a band, but
is content with the solo gigs he has been playing.4
"The new band would be my band," he said.
"Anybody can form a band - and that's okay. But
not anybody can form a good one.
"I just do what I want. I'm not going to go out
of my way to do what others want. I'm not going

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