The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, February 2, 1995 - 6
Washington is worth
By Melanie Schuman
Daily Arts Writer
On Washington Street in Ann Ar-
bor one finds the most originally
named restaurant in town - Wash-
ington Street Station.
% As unique as the name may be, it
breeds ambiguity as to the type of
food it serves. I suppose it's Ameri-
can, continental perhaps, but don't
take my word for it.
Burgers and sandwiches, potato
skins and good old fashioned cheese-
cake fall into those parameters. But
starting with the large list of imported
beers and the wine list which is mostly
French, a cloud of doubt begins to
At first the menu appeared to
offer what I call "bar food." This
includes a plethora of fried appetiz-
ers, nachos and. a half dozen or so
burgers. Then there is a page of
entrees which are served with a small
salad and french bread. They are
what I believe is regional American
cuisine such as Creole shrimp and
baby back ribs. One can also order
pork loin, fresh fish or a variety of
Three pastas augment the selec-
tion, two of which include seafood
and two with cream sauces. I asked if
the chicken and wild mushroom pasta
could be prepared without cream.
After reluctantly agreeing that he
would check, our waiter completely
forgot, even when I mentioned I had
changed my mind.
Which brings me to my choices.
With a friend, I shared the barbecue
chicken pizza. Small enough for one
(they should serve it on a smaller
plate to deceive customers), it was, in
Stamos Family of Travel
fact, a unique blend of chicke
pers, mozzarella and feta che
much cheese, not enough tas
barbecue sauces rather than1
all on sourdough crust. I wou
enjoyed it more had our food -
and entrees -- not arrived m
I had thought about orderi
of three moderate-priced co
tion platters, but I thought it w
too much food. Besides, spicy
shrimp did not seems to blen
with chicken in a hoisin-ginge
So I opted for the latter by itse
Sausalito chicken, so its called
with a choice of rice pilaf o
mashed potatoes and fresh vege
The chicken was abo
tenderest and juiciest I have h
restaurant and was clearly fres
the oven. The sauce was not c
some, but a tad sweet. The p
were more than enough - in q
and butter. The garlic was a bi
(perhaps it should be roaste
but they were still good. The'
were quite crunchy, which is
negative when you consider th
squash and zucchini, two fairl
less veggies when under coo
raw. Overall, it was a large
portion which made me not reE
price of approximately $13.0
The burgers are also quite
ous, and the one with onio
mushrooms was yummy. So
this traditional favorite was1
pick up. It comes on an onion
nice break from the tradition
and also has lettuce, tomato,z
ion (raw) in case you like to pi
Served with french fries (not t
bit greasy), this was worth 1
Our waiter was cordial, s
ken and jovial. He did forget t
us water, but compensated byl
a carafe at the table. It was har
how he would be if the restaur
n, pep- crowded, but he seemed to struggle
ese (too with the four tables.
te) and We overheard someone else or-
tomato dering Washington Street's specialty
ld have - a triple chocolate cake and ordered
- salad that even though the cheesecakes
oments (blueberry and regular), carrot cake
and fruit cup looked appetizing. It
ing one was in fact, one of the better choco-
mbina- late overloads I've had. A flourless
ould be chocolate cake, topped with a layer of
Creole mousse, and then a layer of white
nd well chocolate mousse was sealed with a
rsauce. hardened fudge exterior and shav-
elf. The ings. It was sinful, but should have
d, came been served closer to room tempera-
r garlic ture. As our waiter acknowledged,
etables. "guarantee, it'll bring you back."
ut the The comfortable atmosphere of
had in a Washington Street was relaxing and
h out of tranquil. On a busier night it might get
umber- awfully loud because the charming
otatoes brick walls and flat ceiling might not
uantity absorb sound too well. Then again, it
t strong might be nice to hear others around
d first), you chatting instead of the basketball
veggies game in their accompanying bar. The
only a bar is serves food until 1 a.m. and has
ey were darts and TVs. Still, if you're going to
y taste- eat, sit at one of the many booths.
)ked or Smoking and nonsmoking are very
dinner separated. The giant bay window ac-
gret the cented by a draping teal curtain and
0. one of two beautiful flower arrange-
gener- ments adds a soft touch as does the
ns and brass light fixtures and fans.
juicy, It really depends on what you look
hard to for in a restaurant if you'll like this
n roll, a one and I can't promise you'll find it.
al bun, Still, it's definitely worth a shot.
Washington Street Station is well worth a try, the atmosphere will draw you in and keep you coming back.
le it up.
d to tell
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By Matt Carison
Daily Arts Writer
One of the greatest motion picture
directors of all time was never known
for his rapport with his actors, never
known for his brilliant camera frames
filled with exquisite detail, never
known for his method of direction -
mixing gritty realism with fantastical
tales. No, Russ Meyer was never
known for these things. What Russ
Meyer was known for was breasts,
breasts and more breasts. Large
breasts, small breasts,jiggling breasts,
firm breasts, white breasts, black
Meyer, director of dozens of the
most popular sexploitation films from
the '60s and '70s (including "Faster
Pussycat, Kill Kill!", "Mudhoney"
and "Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-
Vixens), created a 1970 opus that
defies description. "Beyond The Val-
ley of The Dolls" shocks the senses
with its three second camera shots
that predated MTV by a decade. But
Meyer had monumental help from an
unlikely source - Roger Ebert. Yes,
the Roger Ebert, of Siskel & Ebert
Ebert, already a known film critic,
was the Quentin Tarantino of 1970.
His over-the-top screenplay replete
with stunning dialogue and freakish
characters pushed Meyer's film style
to new highs, mutating "Beyond The
Valley of The Dolls" from a giant
breast to one of the best parodies ever
put to film.
The movie follows the travels of
The Kelly Affair, an all-woman rock
band on their quest for stardom that,
eventually lands them in Hollywood,
the classy and trashy town that never
sleeps thanks to hard-stompin' par-
ties, a reservoir of drugs and a den of
The Kelly Affair is a solid '60s
rave and roll outfit, a howlin' kick in
the butt glossed over by slick produc-
tion and L.A. glitz. Harris, the band's
manager and Kelly's lover, knows
the group is headed for stardom. But
the stardom is one of ultimate de-
struction, for the seething underbelly
of Hollywood takes more than it dishes
out from those who are unable to love
their own lives (or so the film would
have us believe). The maudlin moral-
izing at the end will convince you that
the film is one big joke, if the trans-
vestite Superwoman doesn't first.
All the film's characters are viv-
idly portrayed by actors that would
never work in Hollywood ever again
(other than Charles Napier who found
his way into a few low-budget flicks
including "Rambo"), a hysterical
irony considering that the movie is an
all-out attack on Hollywood excess.
There's Ronnie "Z-Man" Barzell, the
"Teen Tycoon of Rock," who guides
the renamed Carrie Nations to gold
records and superstardom and spews
forth dialogue in a Shakespearean rant.
There's Lance Rock, the male-prosti-
tute who shacks up with a naive Kelly
and who loses his head at one of Z-
Man's peyote drenched psychedelic
costume-orgies. There's Ashley St.
Ives, a voracious pornographic film
star who uses men for the pleasure
they can give her. There's Roxanne,
the man-hating lesbian who is forced
to give head to a loaded gun (c'mon,
you can see the metaphor) at Z-Man's
apocalyptic orgy. There's Randy "The
Man" Black, the heavyweight boxing
champion of the world, who walks
around shirtless for half the film. And
these are just the supporting charac-
ters. Along with assorted transves-
tites, sluts, studs, freaks and hippies,
every character dazzles the eyes and
mind with utter inanity.
"Beyond The Valley of The Dolls"
is more than mere trash, however.
The film attacks Hollywood's gar-
bage-in, garbage-out method of pro-
duction by giving the studios what
they ask for - trash, trash, trash. It
assaults the schlepps who have given
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o Keg Beer
us such sleaze as the "Police Acad-
emy" series, "Basic Instinct" and
"Towering Inferno" by cramming
every cliche plotline, irony and soap
opera formula in the book.
Harris, .edged out by Z-Man as.
manager and by Lance Rock as lover,,,
plunges himselfinto adrunken, stoned
jealous rage and an affair with porn.
star St. Ives. He finally attempts sui-
cide by plummeting off the rafters at
atelevision studio (listen for the sound
effect of a diving airplane as he maker
the leap). Of course, Harris isn'tdead;
he's only paralyzed for life. Or so we
think then, for Harris makes a miracu-
lous recovery and walks again. Halle-
Kelly, whose mother was shunned.
from the family, finds her long-lost
Aunt Susan and discovers that she is.
heir to a million dollar inheritance -
an inheritance that Susan's lawyer,,
Porter Hall, the stodgy square who,
believes every teenager is a freak,,
will never let Kelly have. Until Kelly.
seduces him at the urgings of Lance~
Rock. Hall jumps the gun in bed, so to
speak, and he has no choice but to let
Kelly get the money. But to get this
fortune, Kelly has had to change from
a strong, self-supporting woman to a
dependent, money-hungry whore who
uses sex for power. Tragedy!
Casey, the Carrie Nations' bass,
player, fucks Harris while both are on
a downer-whiskey binge. She's mad
as hell the next morning, thinking
Harris has raped her. She turns to,
Roxanne and both man-haters fall for
each other. But Casey is pregnant
with Harris' child and wants to keepn.
the baby for it may be the only child
that the paraplegic Harris will ever be
able to have. Roxanne convinces
Casey to have an abortion, for Harris,
nay all men, only use women for their
own purposes, not caring in the least's
for their emotions. Scum!
The film also speaks out on the
generation gap, adultery, homosexu-
ality, long-lost loves and the unreality
ofthe real world. There'seven acameo
appearance by the'60s rock band The
Strawberry Alarm Clock. Like I said,
it defies description.
"Beyond The Valley of The Dolls"
was originally intended to be a sequel;
to the trashy (but laughably serious)
"Valley of The Dolls." Unaware of
the havoc Meyer and Ebert were
wreaking, 20th Century Fox forced
the film makers to place a disclaimer
atthe beginning, distancing their work
from the "original." Yet another ex-
ample of Hollywood punishing true;
talent to keep its "angelic" ideals alive.
But for connoisseurs of fine film and
trashy sex, Meyer and Ebert's mam-
moth sensory overload will remain an
overlooked classic, deserving of much
more than its cult film status. Oh,
Roger Ebert, how you have wastedw
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