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April 22, 1996 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-04-22

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UiIJE Alicbigu ttIn

Award-winning poet gives out dough
Catch Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Gluck's lecture on the craft of
writing at this year's Hopwood Awards. The annual ceremony gives out
thousands of dollars in prize rmoney to the University's top creative
writers. The ceremony is at 3:30 this afternoon at Rackham Auditorium.

April 22, 1996 .1

Au old school 'Gagsta'reftrnswt
Fe W
Fred Wiliason goes back to the 'hood for hisW a new film ;:~

By Christopher Corbett
Daily Arts Writer
Is Fred Williamson crazy?
He enjoyed working with Quentin
Tarantino in "From Dusk Till Dawn"
because, as he said in a recent interview
with The Michigan Daily,""He's like
-1ee. He's crazy. For lack of a better
definition, he's crazy, because he dares
to be different, he dares to make
a different kind of film, against
the norm. It was fun working
with him because you knew
that's the kind of guy you were
working with."
A native of Gary, Ind.,
Williamson is trying
sonething crazy today:
jlrIe's trying to make a
'70s action-film-heroes
reunion with his up-
coming, slick-looking
"Original Gangstas."
Williamson, who
starred in many of the
"blaxploitation" films 20
.years ago, is returning to the
realm of action film with his
old friends.
Although Williamson, Pam
rier, Richard Roundtree,
Jim Brown and Ron O'Neal
don't like the buzz-word (be-
cause the "exploitation" part
The Temptations
for lovers only
otown Records
I love the many black music greats
who ruled the scene back two and three
decades ago when Motown was in De-
troit. You're a dunce if you haven't
heard of such groups as the Commo-
dores, the O'Jays or the Supremes, and
you're worthy ofcastigation ifyou don't
know of the Temptations.
Of course these groups' heyday has
*assed, and now they remain just an
etch in our fondest memories - or so
we'd hope. Unfortunately, Motown
Records thinks it can somehow spark a
resurgence in Temptations' popularity
by constantly adding and reshuffling
members at whim. The group pictured
on this album's front cover is not the
Temptations. They're five older men
some potbellied, some balding, all
trying to recreate the Temptations spirit.
'For lovers only" is far from a success-
ful attempt.
This group does do a nice job of
mimicking the Temptations' style. They

of the word is a marketing term, and it
stereotypes the actors themselves), their
"blaxploitation" films emphasized high-
octane action and violence; "Original
Gangstas" is a train running down the
same track. "I don't make message
movies. My movies are purely enter-
tainment- popcorn, candy and Coca-
Cola-just sit back and enjoy the film.
But ifthere's any message in the film,
it's that, in order to get rid of vio-
lence, people in the community
must work together. There has to
be a coming together."
The actor and producer
of the film concerns him-
self with unity among
people. You can hear
as much in his voice as
he talks of his friends,
who star alongside him
in"Original Gangstas."
"Unity stems from
unity. Pam, Jim,
Roundtree, we never
lost contact with each
other. ... That's what
the old generation
learned a long time ago,
and the younger genera-
tion hasn't really learned
In the new film,
Williamson plays up the

differences between the two genera-
tions. Williamson's character tries to
solve the gang problems of the com-
munity in the film. "Whenever you
see the kids - the new school - on
the screen, you hear a lot of rap mu-
sic; but when you see us on the screen,
you hear the old-school music - the
Dells, Chi-Lites, the Dramatics -
hopefully I'll gain a new, young audi-
ence, who maybe hasn't seen us be-
fore but has heard their parents talk-
ing about us."
Williamson, star of the cult classic
"Three the Hard Way," should be no
stranger to the over-40 group. He's just
hoping he can give them a good reason
to go the movies, because "Hollywood
gears most movies for the 25-and-un-
der crowd. I want to collect these couch-
potatoes who are over 40, get them out
of the house, and get them to come see
us again. I'm here to show that we are
still marketable, and people still want
to see us do our thing. We still look in-
shape; Pam Grier is still a fox; ain't
nobody bald-headed; ain't nobody fat.
The people who grew up with us have to
come see us, to see how good we look."
Williamson plays John Bookman
in the film, a man who left Gary to
coach a pro football team. When he
returns to the city, he finds his once-

These guys are old, but they can pack a punch.

something out of a nightmare. Drive-
by shootings by the "Rebels" have
forced Williamson's Bookman into
action: He created the Rebels 30 years
ago, when it was nothing more than a
protection gang; he now has to de-
stroy them.
"Gangstas" leads Williamson back
literally (he filmed it in Gary) and figu-
ratively (he is a former gang member).

He remembers the hardships that faced
Gary. "I prefaced the beginning of the
movie with pan shots of the dried up
steel mils and the closed businesses -
the Palace Theater, the Memorial Au-
ditorium - places where I used to go
when I was a kid are closed down, and
I show that in the opening sequence."
His upcoming film has that touch of
immediacy of a man who's been there

and seen it all happen.
Williamson, in a posh, downtown
Chicago hotel, spoke of recharging his
batteries in the city - he watched the
Bulls' historic 70th win on Tuesday
night. "Big 70. The pressure's off bf
them-get ready forthem to getknocked
out of the playoffs in the second round."
... And the dude was just beginning to
sound sane.

Friars put on their'Best Concert Evee

sing a great number of songs that rely
on harmonizing, and they utilize their
single deep-bass singer at times. Yet,
what they sing and how they sing it
doesn't have that feel, that unique Temp-
tations vibe. They sound fake and
forced. It's as if they're attempting ever
so desperately to swim in the quicksand
of their music, but they know they'll
eventually falter and drown.
These less-than-tempting Tempta-
tions remake many older Temptation
hits on this album. Listening to them,
one quickly sees that these guys are
nothing compared to the real Tempta-
tions, the Temptations from back in the
day when founding member Melvin
Franklin was alive. On the inside cover,
these "Temptations" write an excerpt to
Franklin saying: "What we started long
ago will outlive us all ... You are truly
missed and loved."
Ifthis dedication is a loving tribute to
this late;great singer, then this album is
a slap in his face. All things, however
great, must come to an end. After 35
years, the Temptations' time has come.
It is past time that we allow the group's
history to stand on its own without
defiling the Temptations name further.

Any more attempts at prolonging what
is a long-dead phenomenon will only
serve to further deteriorate the legend-
ary status of the once great Tempta-
- Eugene Bowen
Babylon Zoo
The Boy With the X-Ray Eyes
OK kids, are you ready for dance
music with a message? Well, even if
you are, steer clear of Babylon Zoo and
their annoying political/spiritual rants
set to music. Jas Mann, the Zoo's ring-
leader, has unleashed an album whose
single, "Spaceman," has topped almost
every chart in the world except the good
old U.S. ofA's. However, since Babylon
Zoo is British and almost every Brit
group of note except Oasis (and to a
lesser extent, Elastica) has failed to
make ripples across the pond, we'll
probably be spared Zoomania.
Unlike most of those other British
groups, though, Babylon Zoo is well
worth ignoring. "The Boy With the X-
Ray Eyes" is filled with "anthemic"
lyrics like "There's a fire between us /
So where is your god? / I can't get off
the carousel," lots of wibbling key-
boards, tired dance beats, grungy gui-
tars and alien/chipmunk voices, all of
which mix like lemon juice and milk on
While "Spaceman" isn't the only song
on "The Boy With The X-Ray Eyes," it's
one of the best ofa bad lot. It's hard to tell
which is worse about Babylon Zoo-the
turgid music or the dogmatic lyrics. You
see, Jas is an angry Mann. He's angry not
only about religion and erm, carousels,
but also the fashion industry ("Paris
Green"), the government ("Confused
Art"), drugs ("Caffeine") and the quiet
desperation of the modern existence ("Is
Your Soul For Sale?").
All of which are worthy targets, but
in the hands of Mann they're reduced to
almost amusing trivialities. "My poi-
son colors don't clash with my shiny
shiny shoes," goes Mann's biting in-
dictment of the fashion world, "Paris
Green.""Technology steals your soul,"
he intones ominously on "Zodiac Sign."
For once, he's right: Listening to his
watered-down, hi-tech remake ofZiggy
Stardust will steal at least $14.99 from
your pocket. Don't let the alien/chip-
munk voices fool you: "The Boy With
the X-Ray Eyes" is short-sighted.
- Heather Phares
See RECORDS, Page 11A

By Anitha Chalam
Daily Arts Writer
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's eight overdressed college guys!
That's right, it's everybody's favorite group of Friars - The
Friars! They're back and they're better
than ever in their "40th Annual Best
Concert Ever."
On Friday evening, hundreds and
hundreds of Friars fans filled the seats
of Rackham Auditorium in anticipation
of what promised to be a great show
(the best ever, actually). Excitement
was in the air and, at 8 p.m. sharp, the lights of Rackham
began to dim and the auditorium got dark. And it stayed dark.
And it continued to stay dark.
Just when people were beginning to wonder about this
darkness, in came The Friars, singing "Some Kind of Won-
derful," in a modified conga-line. The
piece was sung in true Friars form,
involving strange choreography and All antics
funny lines thrown in whenever pos-
sible. The song was well-sung and was th conce
rewarded by the applause and cheers of

well, until second tenor Paul Gloyer revealed to the audience
that his "woman of the world" was a beautiful, brown-haired
... doll. This drew laughter from the audience. He made up
for it later, though, in a solemn tribute to all his dead petsy by

The Friars
m Auditorium
April 19, 1996

flushing toy animals down a training
potty, in an otherwise up-beat song,
"Hasta Menana, Iguana."
Other antics performed by The Friars
that evening included a recitation of a
tongue-twister mid-song, "The Friars
Unplugged," the catapulting of cheese-

burger toys into the audience, cross-
dressing, singing "Happy Birthday" to an audience member
and a flawless rendition of the Macarena dance.
The evening also featured the concert debut of the
Wallaballa, a new version of the ball-in-cup kind of game.
For those readers unfamiliar with the Wallaballa (motto:

rt was

Strap it on!), you're probably better
off that way.
All antics aside, however, the con-
cert was really phenomenal. Indeed, it
certainly lived up to its name; it was
probably the best Friars performance

the entireaudience. fv reaiy nl that I had ever seen. The audience
An introduction followed, invol-i lcheered straight through from the first
ing lots of screaming from the audi- i tV piece to the last, and demanded not
ence and lots of free T-shirts from one, but two encore pieces.
The Friars (launched to the audience U $to it nam . The second of the encores, "The
via slingshot). The introduction was Lion Sleeps Tonight," was the only
quite amusing. The Friars were easy- piece that remained serious in its en-
spirited and charming, as always; they carried their amus- tirety. For this piece, all prior Friars, as well as the new Friars
ing antics into all of their songs, even the most serious for next year were welcomed onto thestage for an incredible
ones. rendition of the song made famous most recently by its
One such piece was "Woman of the World." Beautifully inclusion in the soundtrack of "The Lion King." The sotg
sung and harmonized, this was one of the best selections received a standing ovation from the crowd, summing up its
heard all night. It was also one of the most serious songs as satisfaction with a job well sung.


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The Temptations attempt to woo with their new soul sounds.

The University of Michigan Schol o
New Art and
Courses Design
During the Fall 1996 term, the School of
Art & Design is offering a series of new
courses aimed specifically at students
outside the School.These courses provide
basic hands-on experiences, principles, con-
cepts, tools and methods that can enrich
the creativity of all individuals no matter
their artistic skill level or area of study.
Emphasis is placed on how an individual
observes, analyzes, conceptualizes,
vizualizes, creates and makes critical eval-
uations aimed at advancing any intellectual
inquiry through visual means.


_ _

Ci~~ L~~q9jart

$12 -AdultsTw(tar
$10 - Adtults in


11 l .." A Jr j rel. 11

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