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November 29, 1993 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-11-29

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Is

Worthy 'World'

By SCOTT PLAGENHOEF
* "A Perfect World.'" It's a high-
speed thriller. No, it's a witty, cat-
and-mouse game. Wrong again, it's a
tender, coming-of-age road movie.
Yes, it is a tender, coming-of-age
road movie, but the real "Perfect
World" doesn't stand up until the film
is at least half-over. In the meantime,
A Perfect World
Directed by Clint Eastwood; written
by John Lee Maxwell; with Kevin
Costner and Clint Eastwood.
the uneven script mires itself in trivi-
ality and star power before discover-
ing its true identity. Fortunately, once
the film does settle on a direction, it
-blossoms into an entertaining and
touching final hour of cinema.
0 "A Perfect World" stars Kevin
Costner as escaped convict Butch
Haynes who, to ensure his freedom,
kidnaps an eight-year old boy, Phillip
(T.J. Lowther). Butch, a lifetime
criminal raised in a New Orleans
whorehouse and consumed by the
abandonment of his felonious father,
fosters a warped, surrogate paternal
.relationship with the fatherless and
because of his Jehovah's Witness
upbringing - much constrained
Phillip. Texas Ranger Red Garnett
(Clint Eastwood) and criminologist
Sally Gerber(LauraDern) lead a group
of state officials in the manhunt for
Haynes.
The film begins epphasizing the
manhunt. The expectation for a rural

"Fugitive" is created and some may
be disappointed that this route is aban-
doned. Yet suddenly Eastwood and
Dern disappear, and as the real story
develops -that of the unlikely friend-
ship between Butch and Phillip -
you are left to wonder why they were
even there in the first place. The an-
swers are most likely the irresistible
marketing power of the Eastwood-
Costner combination and the pres-
ence of a token female.
Other than an unamusing series of
gender banter ala Eastwood and Rene
Russo in Clint's "In the Line of Fire,"
the Eastwood and Dern characters are
utterly inconsequential to the film.
Red does have a law enforcement
history with both Butch and his father
and comments on the rehabilitation
system, yet each of these could be
examined by either a de-emphasis on
Red or other means altogether. Sally
has a tight skirt.
Instead, the allure of casting
Eastwood and Dern hinders the film.
The screen presence of these two top-
tier actors distracts both the audience
and the screenwriters from what
should be the film's focus.
Once the film finds its niche, the
surprising Costner and Eastwood's
off-screen work highlight a bitter-
sweet film about two individuals who
assist in giving each other a renewed
freedom.
Costner is both repellent and at-
tractive as Haynes. Haynes is a crimi-
nal first and foremost, who is sadly
beyond rehabilitation or sympathy.
However, his ability to relate with the

The star power of Kevin Costner and Clint Eastwood meet in Eastwood's latest directorial effort, "A Perfect World."

fatherless child reveals a misguided
wisdom and slight elements of anti-
heroism. In the end, however, the
duality of the character cannot exist
together and the repulsiveness of
Butch is truly exposed.
Eastwood's heroics are limited to
the reigning Best Director's off-screen
work. As in his Oscar-winning
"Unforgiven," the open space of the

frontier, the Texarkana interpretation
of Americana and the celebration of
the commonfolk reinforce Eastwood
as a rustic auteur. Quick cuts and the
panning in on reaction shots create an
urgency, a claustrophobia and a genu-
ine emotion which extends beyond
cheap, artificial melodrama.
Those who can disregard the con-
tradictions in tone and style will ap-

preciate the tender story which evolves
from the film's mucky start. In a per-
feet world good sense would veto star
power. In "A Perfect World" they
only meet head on and compromise.
Fortunately, good sense was awarded
enough of the film to make it stirring
and worthwhile.
A PEREC WORLD is playing at
the State Theater and Showcase.

Women's studies takes a creative twist

Mystics,
Qwwali
music and
Kahn
By KEREN SCHWEITZER
Western European music lovers
can be deeply affected when they
hear a particularly heartfelt interpre-
tation of their favorite piece. A great
performance can often move a lis-
tener to tears or move him to yell the
first bravo after its conclusion. But
this heightened emotional state can-
not compare to the audiences under
the spell of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
These audiences are transported
into a state of ecstasy that can last up
to 10 hours. Tonight in Rackham Au-
ditorium, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and
his ensemble will perform Qwwali
music with the sole intent of moving
the entire audience into a trance like
state.
Qwwali music comes from North
India and Pakistan and is performed
by Sufi mystics, belonging to a sect of
Islam. It is part of the religiousstradi-
tion of Sama, which is the institution-
alized relationship of the trance like
state and the art of listening to music.
The singers of Qwwali music are in-
herited positions, and the music they
perform are expressions of devotion
to their saints. The Sufi musicians'
main goal is to move their audience
into a state of spirituality, although
the musicians themselves do not fall
into a trance.
Khan has become a major inter-
national attraction and has performed
all over the world. He has made four
recordings under the Realworld la-
bel. Nonetheless, Khan prefers toper-
form in Pakistan for religious audi-
ences.
In a recent interview with "The
New York Times," Khan said, "I'm
just singing for God. You see, music
is a thing that can make arapport from
God and people special. You can't
gain that sort of rapport from prayers."
He continued, "If a listener can't un-
derstand the words, just participating
in the music will light a flame in the
soul."
The audiences' participation is
an integral part of the Sufi perfor-
mance. The audience members
shower the musicians with money,
and join in the performance by danc-
ing, shouting and singing. The music
itself contains several call and re-
sponses, complex improvisational
sections and varying degrees of rep-
etition. All of these elements aid in
raising the audience to a state of pure
religious ecstasy.
Khan comes from a long line of
Sufi mystics. He decided to become a
Qwwal after he had recurring dreams
of himself singing inside a famous
Indian shrine. Performing this music
requires years of training and hard
work as well as complete coordina-
tion with the members of the en-
semble. Kahn is known as "Shahen-
Shah-e-Qwwali" or "The Brightest
Star in Qwwali."

Read the
Daily I

By ROBIN BARRY
How many times have you had a class or an
assignment that you looked at and thought to
yourself, "Now, when am I ever going to use
this?"
Well, here's a class where the students were
encouraged to ask this question and required to
*find an answer. In this innovative Women's Stud-
ies course the students read a great deal of poetry
by contemporary woman poets and had to come
up with a "creative response." They also read
essays by feminist writers to get a better feel for
the issues dealt with in the poetry.
Alice Fulton, an English professor and poet at
the University, taught the class. "It was a lot of
fun, the students were terrifically creative and
fearless, they were really open to the challenge the
:lass created."
The challenge was to come up with an
intertextual work in response to the poetry. In
other words, they had to incorporate the poetry
into their final project, and try to communicate
what they took away from the poems through a
medium of their own choosing.
The outcome is, "Mixing our Metaforce," a
group of visual, literary and performing artists,
who will present an evening of their original,
intertextual works. The program includes exposi-
*tions of various art forms, some of these include,
singing, dancing, photography, acting, poetry and

metaphorical garments.
The students all agree that the class was cer-
tainly a challenge and expressed a sense of pride
in their accomplishments.
Emily Gould, a senior in the Women's Studies
program, and a member of the R.C. players, will
be performing three poems. "The experience re-
ally expanded my perspective of what it means to
be a performer. The hardest part of my project was
creating three different characters from the po-
ems." Emily obviously enjoyed the class. "I think
I learned a lot about the creative process as a
cumulative effort. The class was really support-
ive. You don't get so much interaction in other
classes, but it was a lot harder than I expected."
There will also be dancing. Jill Gringer, an
undergraduate in Women's Studies and Anthro-
pology, is performing three dances in response to
four different poems. "This is my first experience
choreographing, I think it's really helped me de-
velop skills and enhance my self-confidence."
This performance will also feature Eric Breedon
reading some of his own poetry. "It was definitely
a challenging experience combining my poems
with the works of other poets, but I think I've
gained a better sense of what it means to be a
feminist poet, all the risks and strength involved."
Of course, there is more to this evening of art
than just the performances. Preeti Garg is a
Women's Studies and Psych major. Her response

utilized photography. "I wanted to portray the
experience of immigrant Indian women and their
first generation Indian-American daughters. The
class really provided a space for a student to
explore their own medium of art in relation to
poetry. I was also given the chance to explore a
personal subject."
Another interesting and very unexpected art
form utilized to respond to the poetry is fabrics.
Jen Rosen, a senior in the Art School, created
"metaphorical garments" as her final project. "I
used the central themes of some of the poets to
create garments that engaged the senses the way
the imagery of the poetry does." For example, Jill
has made a coat that communicates the theme of
nature. The velvet reminds the wearer of the starry
night, and you can smell the hay sown into the
lining. As you move you can hear the rustle of the
hay. These garments aren't just for show, Jen says
it's important that members of the audience try the
coats on.
There are 14 students involved in this class.
Their projects promise to involve an audience in
many ways. All of the five senses will be engaged
to portray the students' responses to the poetry.
MIXING TUR METAFORE willperform
November 29th form 7 to 8:30 p.m.. in the
multipurpose room of the Ann Arbor Public
Library. Other visual works will remain on
display from November 29th to December 4th.

Thursday in the North Campus
Commons studentjazz combos will
perform at 8 p.m. Also performing
Thursday is the Creative Arts Or-
chestradirected by Ed Sarath. They
will perform at 8 p.m. at Rackham.
We know you can't hear both but.
take a break from writing all those
papers and hear one.
Poetry in Motion
Alice Fulton, 1991 recipient of
the MacArthur Fellowship for her
poetry and literary criticism, will
be reading her poetry at 5 p.m.
December 2 at Rackhan
Amphitheatre. Fulton, who is cur-
rently a University English profes-
sor, has had work published around
the country and has received sev-
eral awards for her work. Her latest
bookistitled "Powers of Congress."
Yippee, it's Rage
andHelmet!
What a better way to close out
your year than to see 89X super-
darlings, Rage Against the Machine
and Helmet on New Year's Eve at
the State Fairgrounds Coliseum.
Yeah, we know the venue sucks,
and yeah, that Rage song has really
been beaten to death on local radio,
but hey we just like posing with the
best of them. Tickets are on sale
even as you read this, so hurry out,
grab your siblings, throw on your
$5 Rage t-shirt and take part in the
ALTERNATIVE music (yuck!)
event of the year, kiddies.

Everyone needs a good fairy tale once in awhile

By ROBIN BARRY
Everyone can use a good fairy tale
from time to time.
Fairy tales areoneof those ancient
necessities, a return to an oral tradi-
tion of story-telling. They teach us
about ourselves, they give us a little
boost, and probably most importantly
they make us believe in some far
fetched fantasy, that we really want,
and need, to believe in. Somehow
fairy tales touch a vital part of
everyone's life.
These stories have survived long
periods of time, but they do not al-
ways remain untouched by it.
The Ann Arbor Civic Theater is
presenting "Sleeping Beauty", but it's
not the old-fashioned or even the glitzy
Disney version. Instead it is a con-
temporary retelling of the fairy tale
with quite a few modern quirks.
The play was written and directed
by Kerry Graves. Graves modernized
*the fairy tale in many ways but the one
that is most obvious is the role rever-

sal of the prince and the princess. "I
wanted to challenge the idea that a
woman always has to be saved by a
man, just once I thought it would be
nice to see it the other way around."
Much of the play deals with the
growing independence of this young
woman. "The princess' parents are
uncomfortable with their daughter's
behavior and send her to stay with a
cousin who is a proper princess, and
knows all about the importance of
looking ornamental and learning to
embroider, that's where all the action
starts," Graves explained.
This modern touch and all the edu-
cational implications that go along
with it, have to come second to the
entertainment, Graves said. "Enter-
tainment comes first, you have to get
their attention before you can teach
them something."
Indeed this production seems to
offer something to everyone. "The
play is very theatrical, it has a lot of
slapstick, and fun with language, it

should be fun for all ages."
Graves' version of "Sleeping
Beauty" was performed once before
by Junior Theater Company a few
years ago, "I really enjoyed working
with the kids but the adults, with their
acting experience, are bringing so
much more into it," Graves said.
Graves has written two other
pieces in collaboration with a friend,
but this is the first play she's written
on her own. Before coming here she
was an actress in Los Angeles. She
said she used to sing at Disneyland six
nights a week. She went back to school
and is now teaching.
"Sleeping Beauty" and all the
other fairy tale greats aren't just for
children, these stories transcend age.
Why do you think so many hopeless

romantics are addicted to love sto-
ries? And what do you think those
adventure movies are, real life? No
way. It's all the same thing. It's a
story. And they all share elements of
fairy tales. Children of all ages need
the reassurance and hope offered by
hearing that predictable but neces-
sary, "and they lived happily ever
after. The End."
SLEEPING BEAUTY will be
presented December 3-12 on
Fridays and Saturdays at 8p.m.,
and Sundays at 2 p.m. at Ann Arbor
Civic Theatre 's Theatre Arts
Complex, located at 2275 Platt
Road. Tickets are available at the
AACT box Office, and Generations
337 South Main for $8. For
information call 971-2228.

THE
BUTTERFINGE
HEROD THE a

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t' RL E
EFNTE
1 MAS STORY l
Ui: O1 1

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