10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 9, 1994
Check out 'Clerks'
Lisa Germano: Get geeked for
the girl's great new disc and tour
By ALEXANDRA TWIN
It all started again with "Slacker."
The exhumed new wave of low-fi, no-
budget, existential opinion pieces, that
Written and directed
Aby Kevin Smith; with
n/ Brian O'Halloran
and Jeff Anderson.
is. While Hal Hartley, Nick Gomez
and Richard Linklater may be the
reigning kings of the movement within
the art house circuit, it is Kevin Smith,
the 23-year-old writer-director of the
extraordinarily ordinary, yet startlingly
original "Clerks" who may finally
bring it all into the spotlight.
Made for $27,575 ("Terminator
2" was made for $100 million), and
filmed in just three weeks ("Franken-
stein" took five months), "Clerks" is
aboutthemost solid argument for qual-
ity over quantity that you can possibly
hope to find.
It also happens to be one of the
hippest, funniest, and more iconoclas-
tic approaches - both stylistically and
structurally - to portraying the life of
Your Average American. Namely, the
convenience store clerk. You may not
think that such a life is particularly
interesting or worthwhile, but if you
haven't experienced a Quick Stop, you
haven'texperienced Life. Sodrive right
up and take a slice.
22-year-old Dante (Brian
O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Ander-
son) work in a Quick Stop in Leonardo,
N.J. New Jersey - which has had to
suffer all teenage wasteland jokes (not
to mention the embarrassment of hav-
ing spawned both Bon Jovi and Skid
Row) - could be anywhere. Any-
where that has stoners on the curb,
slackers at the register and dead old
men with porno rags in the bathroom.
Here's the deal: the boss is gone for
the day and he's called Dante in at 6
"Clerks" was made on a budget of $22,575. No, really?
Meet and Interview
a.m. to take care of the store. He's
pissed. He was supposed to spend the
day playing hockey and partying at
"the social event of the season" (a dead
high school classmate's funeral). His
girlfriend Veronica (Marilyn Ghigliotti)
is bugging him, Jeff disappears for
hours and is rude to customers when he
is there and Caitlin (Lisa Spoonauer),
his first love, is coming home from
Dante, chief register jockey, is a
realist: He takes pride in his work,
hopes you enjoy the Marlboros you
just bought, but doesn't particularly
care if they kill you. Randal, who runs
the adjoining video store, is more exis-
tential: He'll put up with his work, sell
Marlboros to anyone (like a three-year
old) but kinda hopes you'll die soon.
You annoy him; it's nothing personal.
"I hate people," he says. "But you like
gatherings," Dante retorts. "I know,"
says Jeff bemusedly, "isn't it ironic?"
This kind of dry, deadpan humor is
as indicative of the clever dialogue as
of the sharp-witted characters them-
selves. Director Smith even puts in a
comedic turn as "Silent Bob," a stoner
who says nothing until the end, when
he suddenly bursts forth in a torrent of
Yet, in the world of the store, all
customers exist to be served and then
made fun of as soon as they leave.
Everyone from the man in search ofthe
perfect egg to the woman who manu-
ally masturbates caged monkeys, be-
cause "life should have a purpose,"
gets their due.
Yet, customers, for all their comic
possibilities, are secondary. When it's
time to play hockey, it's time to play
hockey. Even if it's on the roof of the
store. Hey. They can still see the cus-
Sharp, direct and racier than the
likes of "Basic Instinct" could ever
hope to be (the "37 dicks" and "Self-
fellating" segments are already leg-
endary), the film was originally slapped
with a ludicrous and potentially com-
mercially damaging NC-17 rating.
Intentional or not, for a film that
features no car chase, no sex scene and
no graphic violence to have been rec-
ognized and feared as an incendiary
within a near-stagnant establishment
on the basis of conversation alone is
just about the highest form of flattery
that this establishment could have pos-
sibly heaped upon it. Hopefully, mov-
iegoers will pay attention. The revolu-
tion will not be televised but it may be
available for viewing purposes. It's
CLERKS is playing at the Michigan
By HEATHER PHARES
"I'm just really excited by the fact
that people are actually liking the al-
bum!" said a beaming Lisa Germano
aboutthe stellarreviews (A+in "Enter-
tainment Weekly", four stars in Roll-
ing Stone) her intimate and intelligent
new record, "Geek the Girl," has been
"Geek" is a quietly powerful story
of "a girl who is confused about how to
be sexual and cool in the world but find
out she isn't ... but still tries to believe
in something beautiful ... ha ha ha
what a geek!" according to "Geek'"s
It's also great, if painful, to hear
honest lyrics like "Uh oh, I'm not too
cool" and "As I act, I hate myself."
Germano said about the new album:
"Even though it was emotional stuff, I
loved working on it. I did it all by
myself at home, so I didn't have any-
body breathing down my neck. Like
when you're painting a picture and
someone tells you 'I think you should
put orange everywhere so that every-
body likes it."'
Germano explained about the title,
"I'm trying to say with this music that
if you're a geek, you don't get to know
yourself. You get into situations that
are bad, you almost know better, but
you keep on doing it. You can't express
yourself, soyoujust kind ofdie. To me,
that's being ageek-not taking care of
yourself and moving forward."
She added, "Then there's the other
side of being a geek: the weirdest,
stupidest things about you are also the
coolest. When you know you're fine,
then no one can bother you, and you
can't be manipulated."
Germano sees "Geek" as an oper-
etta; she explained, "It's a story about
the person to me. It keeps moving from
one bad incident to another. It climaxes
on 'Cancer of Everything,' where it's
like, 'Okay, now I've had it. But it's a
lot easier to just give up, because ev-
attempts to reveal his intimate thoughts.
While Helen epitomizes a roaring
woman of the '20s, Allen has effort-
lessly recreated every aspect of the era
required in order to plop his audience
in the middle of it all. Olive's outra-
geous dress makes her the ultimate
show girl, even off stage, while her
exaggerated Art Deco apartment seems
her ideal habitat. This makes it impos-
sible for us not to situate ourselves in a
different time period and way of life.
Olive is insincerely "charmed" with
everything she encounters, but "Bul-
lets Over Broadway" will truly leave
BULLETS OVER BROAD WAY is
playing at Ann Arbor 1 & 2 and
erybody likes me then,' but that's so
"Operas have these tragic situa-
tions that are just soooo tragic, they're
kind of funny. But that's the beauty of
operas: they can make you cry, but then
later you have to laugh, and say 'Jee4.
What worse could have happened?!'
Germano admitted that "Geek" is
autobiographical: "I have to feel it in
myself to feel like I know what I'm
talking about. 'Cry Wolf and 'Sexy
Little Girl Princess' Iwrote about other
situations, then I thought, 'God! I've
"if you're a geek, you
don't get to know'
yourself. You can't
express yourself, so
you just kind of die."
- Lisa Germano
Leo Burnett Company, Inc.
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Continued from page 9
Palminteri steals the show as the
initially despicable and eventually en-
dearing Cheech. He starts by offering
David a few resented suggestions,
gradually rewrites the entire play, giv-
ing it the realism it lacked, and finally
makes it clear that he'd kill for the sake
of his art. "Nobody is gonna ruin my
work. You hear? Nobody." Delivering
these lines, Palminteri has simulta-
neously perfected the mob toady and
the archetypal artist.
Although John Cusack's work as
David is good, it's not as good as
Palminteri's or Dianne Wiest's por-
trayal of Helen Sinclair. Wiest's char-
acter is a stereotypical Broadway leg-
end; she's brash, bragging and leaning
towards a has-been, but Wiest makes it
clear that Allen only intends to mock
Helen's stock tendencies. In some of
the film's funniest scenes, she shoves
her hand over David's mouth, saying,
"Don't speak. No, don't speak," as he
Wednesday, November 9
12:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Graduate & ,
Professional School Day
" Meet with representatives or simply pick up packets from
schools across the country.
" Graduate programs represented include: MBA, Liberal Arts,
Public Health, Social Work, International Affairs, Journalism,
Industrial Relations, Education, Public Policy & more!
* Explore admissions requirements, financial aid options,
application procedures & internships.
" Checkout program content, electives, & dual degree options.
" Watch for CP&P's Fall Program Brochure for additional
graduate school programs.
The V er.M idMk'ryn
Career Planning; Placement
done that!' 'Cry Wolf was originally
about Mike Tyson and his girlfriend,
was so amazed at the people who we
saying 'Well, what was she doing up
there?' and 'She wanted it!' It's just
"When I was younger I was pretty
stupid. I had sex with people a few
times when I felt really scared to leave.
Like if I said, 'Um, I really don't want
to do this,' they would get mad at me.
You should letthem getmadatyouand
get the fuck out of there, but I was to
Germano hopes that "Geek" will
deliver this message: "Figure yourself
out. It gives you so much strength
against being manipulated. When you
don't know yourself, you complain
about ajob you hate, and how you hate
your life and how you want this and
that. Really try to do what you want to
do," she said seriously.
Germano is a perfect example
doing what she wants to do. In 1993,
she switched record labels, going from
Capitol to 4AD, where she re-released
her album "Happiness." As for the
reasons behind the switch, Germano
said, "I'm not a major label artist. The
stuff I write is pretty individual, and
you kind of have to go through it to
understand it. A major label needs yo.
to sell records; you have to sell record*
It's not like they try to grow with you
and develop art.
"4AD doesn't accept everything
you do, but they understand the cre-
ative spirit and they try to develop that.
That's why it was hard being on Capi-
tol, but they let me have my album
back, so I have no hard feelings against
them," she explained.
With her imminent succesg
Germano is already being included in
the dreaded "Women in Rock" genre
with the likes of Polly Harvey and Liz
Phair. She said, "I don't really under-
stand that 'Women in Rock' thing. I
think men and women have basically
the same problems, with slightly-dif-
ferent things to look out for. I think it's
all about expression." However, she
doesn't mind being included withothe
female musicians, "but don't comparV
me to Mariah Carey," she laughed.
As for her plans after this tour (her
first ever stateside) Germano mused,
"If things go well, I'll tour again. But if
the album's dead, then I'll start work
on the new album; I've already got a
bunchof songs written." Whichis defi-
nitely something to get geeked about.
See LISA GERMANO with Pale
Saints and Asha Vida tonight as St. *
Andrew's Hall. Doors open at 8p.m.,
and tickets are $6.50 for those 18
and over. Call 961-MELT for details.
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