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October 06, 1994 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-10-06

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4 -- The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. -- Thursday, October 6, 1994

Lucia Pamela is out of her mind and out of this world

MICHIGAN
Continued from page 1

By HEATHER PHARES
Lucia Pamela is one of America's
great eccentrics. She has been in the
hCond
Ziegfeld Follies, played piano with
Charles Kunkel, and has been hon-
ored in "Ripley's Believe It or Not"
formemorizing 10,000songs--more

than anyone else in the world. She
believes she is immortal, and that she
went to the moon long before
Armstrong made a great step for man-
kind.
But best of all, while she was on
the moon she recorded an album that,
forgive the pun, is truly stellar: "Into
Outer Space with Lucia Pamela,"
which was re-released in 1992 on
Arf! Arf! Records. Originally intended
as a children's album, "Into Outer
Space" is kind of a loose concept
album about going to the moon, the
sort of people and animals on the

moon, and generally all things lunar,
as well as her ruminations on love and
friendship both on Earth and on the
moon.
"Into Outer Space" uses some typi-
cally cheesy "outer space" sound ef-
fects, but (perhaps reflecting her
vaudeville background) Pamela
sounds most like a hallucinatory Ethel
Merman backed by a big band, re-
plete with clarinets, oboes, and
Pamela's trademark piano stylings
(she claims that her fingers melted
together when she was two, and the
doctor cut ten new fingers - no
thumbs - which made her a "better
piano player").
What really makes "Into Outer
Space with Lucia Pamela" a fantastic
journey is Pamela's guilelessly bi-
zarre mix of boogie-woogie music
and naive lyrics. On "Walking On the
Moon," Pamela intones, "As I was
walking on the moon / I saw a little
kitty-cat / And this is what she said to
me / "Meow meow meow meow-

wow-wow / Ba-da-da-bom-bom-
bom-bom-bom!" And on "Flip Flop
Fly" she yells, "No more taxes / No
more bills / Just doin' the Flip Flop
Fly / Whee!" And titles like
"Moontown" and "In the Year
2,000!!!" show that Lucia Pamela (a
former Miss St. Louis) is genuinely
nuts.
But nuts though she may be, she is
definitely genuine. Pamela isn't try-
ing to be crazy or uproariously funny,
though she is both of those things;
with "Into Outer Space" Pamela is
writing songs that come from her heart
and (what she believes to be) her
experiences. Songs like "I've Got a
Song" and "Hap-Hap-Happy Heart"
showcase Pamela's sweet intentions,
as do the spoken introductions to the
songs. "Let's get ready to go to the
moon! Fasten your seat belts! Here
we go!!" she exclaims at the begin-
ning of the album. "Ha ha ha ha! I'm
so full of ideas, and here's a good
one!" she chortles on "You And Your

Big Ideas" (That phrase, by the way,
is sampled on Stereolab's tribute to
Pamela, "International Colouring
Contest," on their new album "Mars
Audiac Quintet").
"Into Outer Space with Lucia
Pamela" is one of the weirdest, warm-
est and funniest albums you're likely
to hear. Like schlock film director Ed
Wood, Pamela's enthusiasm and sin-
cerity about what she does elevates
her work from the merely laughable
oddity to something moving and
noble, as well as charming and funny.
The dedication evident in the 13 songs
that make up "Into Outer Space"
makes it at once hilarious, uplifting
and very, very weird. As of '92, Lucia
Pamela was living in a Los Angeles
retirement community, still active and
alert well into her 80s. As the liner
notes from the original release of the
album, Pamela and "Into Outer Space"
are "a treat you will not forget, for she
is truly one of the greatest entertain-
ers that there ever was!"

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Beaver, of the University's Depart-
ment of Film and Video, "It's the one
theater in town to provide a truly
alternative cinema. It brings the kinds
of films that you'd see at the New
York Film Festival, films that often
aren't even available on video, and it
"presents them in a special place in the
way that film is meant to be seen."
Unlike in large film communities,
such as New York or Chicago or San
Francisco, the opportunity to see such
interesting, avante-garde films comes
few and far between.
But with cutbacks in government-
funded arts programs and a new gen-
eration of U students who appear t
be less interested in independent film,
the going is sometimes rough. The
Theater requires constant fund-rais-
ing, donations, the support of its mem-
bership and most importantly, the
support of the students who tend to
dominate the city.
"The students are the most impor-
tant audience," states Aldridge, "that's
why it was built where it was an
that's why it was called the Michiga .
It's very much a part of the Univer-
sity."
Thanks to the Michigan Theater and
the Department of Film and Video
for assistance. For additional
information about the Michigan
Theater, call 668-8397, 24 hours a
day. 7 days a week.

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