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January 26, 1996 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-01-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

J1RU Tempt your artistic palette ..
..with the fabulous Asian-American Art show. Photography, visual art,
performance art and music will all be represented (plus, free food). Stop
by Rackham from 740 p.m. and head on upto the 3rd floor Art Gallery.

Page 8
January 26, 1996

By Melissa Rose Bernardo
Daily Theater Editor
If you missed last November's pro-
duction of "Falsettoland" in the Arena
Theater, or if you've spent these in-
terim months pining for a more perma-
nent memory of the show, your prayers
have been answered. This University
production has cut its own CD.
Unusual? Yes. Worthwhile? Un-
doubtedly. Not only is this stellar pro-
duction - lovingly directed by Job
Christensen-preserved fora lifetime,
but this recording surpasses all expec-
tations as far as quality, performance
and professionalism are concerned. In
fact, it currently occupies a secure spot
in my collection, rubber-banded to
"March of the Falsettos" (its one-act
companion piece), sandwiched between
"Evita" and "The Fantasticks." It has
replaced the Michael Rupert-Stephen
Bogardus-Faith Prince version, cur-
rently the only mass-released version
University of Michigan Cast
Cost: $15 for a CD.
To purchase: Call 747-6888 or e-
mail gseven@umich.edu
of the show (on the DRG label).
This "Falsettoland," you see, con-
tains the lyrics heard in any licensed
production. Such lyrics - most no-
table in the opening title number -
were incorporated to align the piece to
"March," its usual predecessor. (The
shows were originally performed sepa-
rately, and combined first in 1991 at the
Hartford Stage and then in 1992 on
Broadway.) These changes - includ-
ing an adorable bit about the '80s, a jab
at Nancy Reagan, and a four-line re-
prise of "March of the Falsettos" -

Theiovers of "When Night is Falling."
Fai in l1Ve with unusual Night'

By Kristen Okosky
Daily Arts Writer
Well, no one can accuse this movie of
being ordinary and predictable.
"When'Night isFaling"isishe story
of Camille, a Protestant school teacher
engaged to a fellow professor (male).
By chance one day, she meets Petra, a
performer with a traveling circus (fe-
When Night
is Falling
Directed by Patricia
Rozema; with Pascale
Bussieres and Rachel
At the Michigan Theater
male). The two start an affair, and the
fibm becomes Camille's struggle to de-
ci4e which of her two separate lives
makes her most happy and fulfilled.
At one point, Camille is afraid of her
feelings for Petra and asks if they can
just be friends.
='Sounds like a buddy movie to me,"
Petra replies. Ironically, this film is
about as far from a conventional, Hol-
lyivood buddy picture as it can get.
The cinematography, costumes and
c r are absolutely beautiful and give

the film an unreal, fairy-tale quality.
Certainly, this circus doesn't look any-
thing like the Barnum and Bailey mom
and dad took you to as a kid.
There is also a'ldt of powerful and
haunting imagery like the opening
dream sequence in which Camille imag-
ines herself trapped underwater. The
meaning of this recurring scene is re-
vealed later in the film.
Despite its aesthetic beauty, the first
half of the film is rather cold and self-
conscious. The characters do not draw
us in; in fact, they seem rather odd and
The dialogue is often awkward and
melodramatic, like when Petra an-
nounces, "Camille, I'd love to see you
in the moonlight with your head thrown
back and your body on fire."
Also, themessages about homosexual-
ity seem mixed in the beginning. Al-
though Camille's debates with the church
offer some intelligent insight ("I think
there is room for multiplicity in God's
creation"), homosexuality's association
with the circus made me wonder if it was
being equated with some sort of aberrant
behavior. The second half clears this up.
Aturningpointinthefilm occurs when
Camille and Petra finally consummate
their relationship. Their lovemaking is
intercut with two trapeze artists practic-
ing a routine. It is beautiful in the sense
that the comingtogetherof two women is
related to a graceful, synchronous dance.

We also can't help but smile (yes, a sex
scene in which people actually are swing-
ing from the ceiling).
After this, the film suddenly becomes
worthwhile. The situation and t'he c'har-
acters become real and sympathetic. As
the women and the film come into their
own, things become much less self-
conscious and much more effective.
Both women havetrouble dealing with
This is as far from
a conventional,
Hollywood buddy
picture as it gets.
their new emotions. Petra worries that
Camille is only experimenting and will
desert her when the going gets tough.
Camille has to decide whether she is
willing to face exile from her old life.
Throughout the film, she must also deal
with many harsh realizations - espe-
cially when she becomes what the church
judgmentally labels "people like you."
We also see a bit of Martin's (the fiancee)
struggle to deal with the situation.
For example, in the beginning of the
film, Camille's dog dies and, unable to
let go, she keeps its body in the refrig-
erator. Nearthe end, Martin discovers it
and confronts her.
In a wonderful scene, the two discuss
their relationship over the dead dog's
body. Throughout the discussion, the
dog becomes a symbol for the hidden
side of Camille. To her, it represents all
that is unique and sacred about herself;
to Martin, however, it is only foolish
and problematic.
The ending of the film (I won't ruin
it) is excellent and keeps us guessing to
the last minute. And don't leave until
you watch the first minute of the cred-
its. It's probably the best part of the
By the end, "When Night is Fall-
ing" delivers a very positive message.
It becomes a universal love story to
which anyone can relate. More im-
portantly, it is an insightful, sympa-
thetic portrayal of two women strug-
gling with their own identities, as
they experience the sorrows and joys

The cast of "Falsettoland."
will be jarring for those unfamiliar
with "March" (you might feel as if
you're missing something), but they'll
grow on you.
Many of Jason's bits ("The Fight,"
"Another Miracle of Judaism") have
been changed; they're snappier and
wittier. "Everything Will Be All Right"
incorporates anotherbit from "March,"
giving this recording just a touch of
early '80s groove.
On top of the revisions - which
make this recording a must for any
collector or aficionado - the perfor-
mances are wonderfully fresh and vivid.
All of the sngers are as well - ifnot
better - as they did in performance.
One definite standout is Amy Eidelman
as Trina. After hearing Eidelman's
earth-shattering rendition of "Holding
To the Ground," you'll retire Faith
Prince's permanently. (Now if only
Eidelman would lay down a track of
"I'm Breaking Down" from "March,"
since it only exists on Alison Fraser's
solo album.)
Adam Hunter does an amazing job
with Marvin - hold on to your hats
when he lets loose in "What Would I
Do?" - managing to capture both
Marvin's sympathetic side and his neu-
rotic edge (a nuance Michael Rupert

translated into pitch problems). Also in
good voice is Glenn Seven Allen, whose
solidity is the perfect complement for
Hunter's passion in the angst-ridden
"What Would I Do?." Brian Mul*
(Mendel), Erika Shannon (Dr. Charlotte),
Margaret Chmiel (Cordelia) and Seth
Hitsky (Jason) round out this tight-knit
And let's not forget the biggest reason
this "Falsettoland" sounds as smooth and
well-supported as it does. Musical direc-
tor Sam Davis - heard on the piano -
makes quite a mark here. Listen closely to
Davis' orchestrations alongside the origi-
nal; you'llIhearnumerous noteworthy ao
inspired additions.
Local theatergoers know how rare it is
for a University-related production to
make it to record. That accomplishment
is even more astounding considering the
size of this production: Sponsored by
Basement Arts and Queer Unity Project,
the show played one weekend in the
Arena Theater- the smallest venue on
And if you need another reason to p*
chase this recording-conservatively but
attractively packaged with original graph-
ics and a cast/crew photo - it's not-for-
profit. All proceeds are donated to Broad,
way Cares: Equity Fights Aids.

Come sense a new kind of sound

I I I I I I I i It I i A I I 't I I

1 1 . T7


By Colin Bartos
For the Daily
Sometimes a band comes along and
just blows you away because they don't
sound like anybody else. Sense Field is
one of those bands. Rooted in Southern
California punk, but with a more me-
lodic, majestic rock appeal, Sense Field's
style is hard to classify. Their latest al-
bum, "Killed For Less," has songs rang-
ing from acoustic balladstoall-out power
Where: The Shelter,
When: Saturday
Tickets: $8
At the Union Ticketmaster
pop masterpieces. It's indie label Revela-
tion Records' biggest selling album to
date, and with good reason.
Made up of Jonathan Bunch, Rodney
Sellars, Slow Johnny, Chris Evenson,
and Scott McPherson, Sense Field's
members range in age from 25-28. They
all grew up in the Los Angeles area
listening to "Black Flag, and that," vo-
calist Bunch said. All the band mem-

ever," he said, starting when they were
14 or 15 years old.
After forming in 1991, the band re-
leased a five-song EP on their own
label and sold it out of their homes. In
1992, they released another album on
their own RunH20 label, and caught
the attention of Revelation. In early
1994, Sense Field released "Killed For
Less" and toured heavily.
The new year brought some changes
to the band. With their contract up at
Revelation last December, Sense Field
signed with conglomerate major label
Warner Bros. When asked about that
decision, Bunch, talking from apay phone
outside a Pizza Hut in the Appalachian
mountains said, "It felt like it was the
right time to move forward, to sell more
records, to be able to pay rent."
As far as the whole fiasco behind a lot
of punk-rooted, underground bands like
Bad Religion, Green Day and Sonic
Youth being called "sell-outs" when they
moved from indies to major labels, Bunch
disagreed with the "sell-out" label. He
said he's "never felt like we were the
type of band that claimed to be indie."
Bunch said the new album, sched-
uled to be released in April, is called
"Building," and it is "all done and
rn nrn_ 'I"A 111 -:nn fn " T :;VO : ;

two weeks. He said it is a mix of both t
first two albums and "Killed For Less.
"It's 35 minutes ofmusic with 13 songs,'
he said. "It's a little bit faster, a little bit
heavier, harder. I hear the old albums, and
there are things I wish I could go back and
change." He also said the albumhas "a lot
of energy" and it's the "first album (he's)
totally happy with."
Revelation is a label that is known un-
derground for its hardcore and punk acts,
like Quicksand and Gorilla Biscuits,ho
ever, this is a category which Sense Fie
never really fit into. When asked to de-
scribed their style, Bunch said: "We don't
claim to be, and we're not a punk band,.not
an indie band, not an anything."
When asked about the whole South-
ern California scene and the crossover
popularity and commercialism of the
"punk" sound, he said "It's pretty much
at its peak now. It's totally popular, with
all the Epitaph bands ... it seems to b
lot more acceptable. Not as scary a
violent as it used to be."
Sense Field's lyrics, especially on
"Killed For Less," are from life exper-.
ences. They very subtly hint at many,
Christian messages, as well as against
loss of control with drugs and alcohol.
r 4tc thel lnrc the hand is either
straight-edge (no drugs/alcohol)nor af-
filiated with any church. "Our only reli-
gion is music," Bunch said. "(People)
can believe in God without havin
classify it (because churches are) just
buildings people go to worship.',
"Drugs are not necessarily a good
thing ... they take away your creative'
energy," Bunch said. "Some people can
handle it, some people have problems.,
Sense Field's last visit to Detroit was
in April when they opened for Samia
Their intense stage show really capture
the urgency of their music. Theirpresen
tour, opening for Into Another, is
about three weeks long, and is.go
"really good," Bunch said, the only ex=
ception being a snow-in on trs
night. "Halfthe set is the new re rd bt
if people know the songs, then we'll
play the older songs."
As far as the future, Sense Field plans
to do at least a video for MTV and
release a single. So be cool and go check
'em out before they get big.

Meet the
Saturday, January 27th at I RM.
CD on Sale

The Ultimate Collector's Version-
At A Must-Gwn Price!
r alL 1-1111s 'n" lWith Bonus Scenes
Never Before Seen
In Theaters Or
On Previous
Video Release!
-Hosted By
Quentin Tarantino!

Various Artists
Step Right Up - The Songs of
Tom Waits
Indie rock visits the old and gnarled
version of slick. If you don't know who
Tom Waits is, you should.
He has had a movie career, appearing
in "Short Cuts" amongst other films. But
it is his gravely voiced and darkly twisted
music, almost but not entirely unlikejazz,
that is his finest point. And since he's
been making the music for over two de-
cades, there is fortunately quite a lot of it.
At the start, little of Waits's style

shows up on this cover album. The first
four songs have an especially distinct
sound, far different from their origins.
Pete Shelley's rendition of "Better
off Without a Wife" isn't bad, it just
doesn't sound right in relation to Waits.
The Violent Femmes come as close as
anyone to comparing in some meaningful
way to the originator of the song, with a
sufficiently weird version of "Step Right
Up." Sure, it sounds a little bit more like
Primus than Waits, but you wouldn't
expect them to be entirely slavish.
The album continues in a sufficiently
well-executed way, but falls short in
expressing the power of the original

Here stands the great man himself.
compositions. There are plenty of bands
here to buy this for - Tindersticks,
Archers of Loaf, Magnapop, Frente!
and 10,000 Maniacs'among them -
but if you're expecting a very Tom
Waits album, you're out of luck.
- Ted Watts



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