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February 26, 1996 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-26

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 26, 1996

Lackluster'Twirling'no showdown

By Eugene Bowen
Daily Arts Writer
When it comes to step shows, each
historically black fraternity has ele-
ments unique to that brotherhood. The
Alphas have their golden bricks; the
Q-Dogs have their barks and growls.
Yet, when it comes to step-show
props, perhaps none is more recogniz-
able than the red-and-white canes uti-
lized by members of Kappa Alpha Psi.
About half the size of a normal cane,
these brightly colored sticks give the
"Nupes" a chance to either prove their
untouchable agility or earn the humili-
ation of having dropped too many
Saturday, seven individual Nupes
and one Kappa duo competed against
one another before a crowd of some
200 in the first annual "Kane (sic)
Twirling Showdown."
Shawn Reynolds and an unidenti-
fied Kappa, both from Wayne State
University, were first. Unfortunately,
the first cane fell in the first minute.
The duo recovered well with their vari-

- Kane 'twirling
Michigan Union Ballroom
Feb. 24., 1996
ous cane switches, but the error of re-
peated cane drops was never completely
Iroc, from Grand Valley's Eta Tau
chapter, put on one of the best shows of
the night. Grooving to Kriss Kross'
"Tonight's the Night," he was a master
of cane spins, leg splits and body slides.
With only two misses, Iroc put himself
in a great position for victory. He did
get a little competition from Breed Love
(Gamma Beta chapter, Western Michi-
gan) whose cane twirlings weren't all
that but whose semi-strip show guaran-
teed him a few extra votes.
Omar Hall's (Gamma Sigma, Uni-
versity of Arkansas) silky movement
dominated his performance. He earned
great props for his over-and-back-thrice

neck control with the cane. Unfortu-
nately, an unexpected arrival cut his
show short.
University Sigma-chapter Kappa
Hillary had a highly relaxed feel in his
segment. Unfortunately, his routine was
filled with more twirls than throws, and
this lowered his chances for victory.
Nothing, however, could compare to
what happened when Shannon Rembert
(Eta Eta, GMI) competed. His cane-
twirling was among the best of the
night, but his throwing attempts were
hit - literally. He couldn't catch one
cane he threw in the air, and later the
cane slipped out of his grasp and
smashed into a woman in the crowd.
When Cedric Steele (Delta Nu, East-
ern Michigan) walked up blindfolded,
the crowd spread out considerably. But
Steele was no amateur, and he knew
how to handle his cane. He showed a
level of twirling speed and finesse that
his competitors couldn't touch. With
only two cane drops, Steele earned his
Which is more than can be said for
the "Kane Twirling Showdown" as a
whole. While it had its moments, the
event was a letdown. Though it was
supposed to start at midnight, it began
almost an hour late. And it lasted barely
30 minutes. At a cost of $3 - that's 10
cents perminute ofcompetition-those
who paid to watch were overcharged.
There are Kappas out there who can
put on a cane show out of this world.
Sadly, none of them competed Satur-
day night.
A few showed hints of ability, but the
result of their combined efforts was
subpar, even if given the kind of curves
physics 140 students receive on tests. It
was nice being among all the black
students seeking to squeeze whatever
enjoyment was to be found in the com-
petition, but in looking back, a night
alone with Letterman seemed like the
better choice.

"Why are you so mad? All I did was adobo the chicken."
'Mary Rely spnms an old stor new

By Kristen Okosky
Daily Arts Writer
Even if you've never read or seen a
version, the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde is enough a part of our popular
culture that you probably already know it.
"Mary Reilly" offers this familiar
tale with a twist.
At the start, Dr. Jekyll has completed
his greatest experiment - a cure for his
Mary Reilly
Directed by Stephen Frears
with John Malkovich and
Julia Roberts
At Briarwood and Showcase
sick, divided nature that turns him into
two separate people (representing the
duality of human nature) - the intelli-
gent, reserved doctor and his uncontrol-
lable, violent assistant, Mr. Hyde.
The story is presented through his maid,
Mary. As she gradually gets drawn in, she
uncovers his secret and is forced to share

in his frightening experience.
The film is interesting and unexpected.
It has little of the gore or dramatic special
effects that characterize horror remakes.
Instead, it has a quiet, introverted terror.
Filmmakers keep the familiar plot
interesting by interweaving it with
Mary's life and childhood memories of
her father's sexual abuse. The stories
provide nice parallels of the disturbing
capacities of the human personality.
Technique keeps the story visually en-
gaging. Dark passageways, dead animals
and disjointed body parts are symbols
that give an ominous, unsettling feel to
the film. I haven't read the novel by
Valerie Martin, so I don't know if it is an
adaptation of the literary symbolism, but
it's very cinematically effective.
The cinematography is moody with
dark lighting and washed-out blue and
brown tones. The film has a gritty dreari-
ness rather than a glamorous, polished
look that fits the sad, hopeless plot line.
John Malkovich plays both Jekyll
and Hyde. It's a little hard to buy that
none of the servants can tell Hyde is
really Jekyll with different hair. Pre-
sumably, they have worked for him for
years, while we, as viewers, can figure

out the secret in five minutes. Oh well,
suspension of disbelief and all that.
Yet, with Malkovich as incredible as
he is, it's a bonus to have him play m*
than one role. As far as I'm concerned, he
can play the whole cast, including Julia
Roberts (Does anybody mind if I just
refer to her as the lucky bitch who gets to
date Chandler?).
Actually, in all fairness, she is really
good, too. It's nice to see her with a part
that lets her capitalize on her acting
skills instead of just her looks.
Glenn Close also puts in an appearance
as Mrs. Farraday, madame of the loc t
brothel. I couldn'thelpwishingtheywouW
forget themselves and accidentally launch
into a scene from "Dangerous Liaisons,"
but, unfortunately, she and Malkovich
don't interact very much.
The film's only weakness is when it
becomes a love story. The victimized
servant girl drawn to the violent sexuality
ofher master is a little old and, personally,
doesn't do much for me.
Luckily, it's not overdone, .and
characters and the story have enou
layers to keep the viewer involved. This
new version of the old story definitely
has something to offer.

A competitor juggles canes at the Twirling Showdown WALKER VAN DYKE/Daily

Jonny Polonsky
Hi My Name Is Jonny
American Records
Jonny Polonsky is the 22-year-old
protege of weird-pop genius Frank
Black. Apparently, Polonsky inundated
his idol Black with his tapes until Black
listened to them. It worked: Black liked
the tapes enough not only to get
Polonsky a record deal with Black's
new label American, but enough to
also produce Polonsky's debut "Hi My
Name Is Jonny."
The result is a cute power-pop al-
bum that shows that Black has good
taste in fans.
Like a more straightforward ver-
sion of Black himself, or a grittier
They Might Be Giants, Jonny

Polonsky's sound is based on chug-
ging guitars, noodling keyboards and
power chords as well as power cho-
ruses. Silly as the songs can be (titles
like "Truly Ugly and Dead Too" indi-
cate that this album isn't exactly mu-
sical rocket science), Polonsky's love
songs "Love Lovely Love" and "In
My Mind" are genuinely affecting, as
much for their tight songwriting as
they are for Polonsky's youthful en-
Polonsky walks the thin line between
goofy fun and inanity with the greatest
of ease on his debut album. "Gone
Away" and "Half Mind" are instantly
catchy but not annoying, and "I Don't
Know What to Dream at Night" not
only has a wonderful title but a fun,
thrashy sound.
Fans of They Might Be Giants and
Frank Black's solo albums will almost

Hi his name is Jonny.

certainly find a lot of enjoyment in "Hi
My Name is Jonny," even if Polonsky
betrays too much of his influences. But
hey, albums this enjoyable don't come
along that often, even from the goof-
pop greats.
- Heather Phares

Continued from Page 5A
stops for about a second to get married
(Max Perlich), and the audience gasps
in horror. Astonishingly, the marriage
almost works out.
The singing career, however, doesn't,
and Sadie is forced to move into Georgia's
house. Georgia has found solace in her
fame. She's happily married, calm and
helpful - to the point of nausea, if we're
looking at her through Sadie's eyes.
Sadie's decadence at this point be-
comes peculiarly decontextualized. In full
riot-grrrl getup, framed by rural land-
scapesSadie is achingly alien to Georgia's
house, and that alienation, absurdly, ren-
ders her a romantic hero. Georgia, who's
always there to help when Sadie
DOESN'T need her, suddenly becomes
the villain-feeding off Sadie's instabil-
ity, as if having this lipsticked ball of
neuroses around the house is the ultimate
confirmation of her own success.

Halfway through the movie, we get to
an open confrontation between the Floods.
Fittingly. it occurs in the form of a song.
The sisters duet in a bar, trading lines back
and forth (Georgia is doing her little sister
a favor). It's another subtly twisted sight
-like Courtney Lovejamming with Joni
Mitchell. The film presents us with a
choice between Georgia's streamlined,
comfortable delivery or Sadie's howling
curse, and then makes sure that the latter
seems more respectable. We've stumbled
upon the paradox of rock'n'roll credibil-
ity: It has nothing to do with quality,
making sincerity a virtue by itself.
Leigh creates Sadie out of emptiness,
composing a unique endeavor, tone of
voice. When she sits in Georgia's house
singing a twisted lullaby to Georgia's
child (it takes a second to realize that it's
"Take a Walk On The Wild Side," with
Lou Reed's lascivious "baby" as a tender
call to an actual infant), it's the best one-
shot encapsulation of a character I've
seen in years. Sadie is the final product of
rock'n'roli. She's screwed up and pitiful,

and somewhere in there, she manages to
remain sexy: In rock culture, the ultimate
sexiness lies in artfully crumbling down.
Which brings us to Sadie's climactic
eight-minute performance of Van
Morrison's "Take Me Back." It's less a
performance than a nervous breakdoo
set to a beat; it's also an apotheosis ofour
culture's bent on self-expression. Al-
though her singing is awful, Sadie creates
an ultimate performance: She's unravel-
ing the song as she's being unraveled by
it, choking on a tunelessmantra"Takeme
way way way way way back," unknow-
ingly infecting it with meaning. The fact
that the song itself might not be worth it,
only adds ironic drama.
Speaking of irony, the recent screeni@
showed that "Georgia" can play as a
straight comedy for some audiences. Af-
ter the initial shock, however, I suddenly
came to the conclusion that it's exactly
the way it should be. In its pop-schizo-
phrenic way, "Georgia" is theequivalent
of a good rock song: It either breaks your
heart, or you can just dance to it.

Continued from Page 5A
multiple perspectives.
Winegardner acknowledged the diffi-
culties of this technique, citing one chap-
ter narrated by Maria Felix: "You can
imagine what it's like for a 32-year-old
white guy to try to project himselfinto the
body of a 70-something Mexican diva.
Nothing one does lightly. But it was also
the fun of the book, and the challenge."
It was also a technique he enjoyed as a
reader. "I just love those moments when
a character says, 'Everything you know is
wrong - here's what I think."'

He discussed the book's context in
1946 America: "There are all these so-
cial-upheavals in the book that take until
the '60s to explode. There were-morerace
riots in '46 than any year in American
history, more labor strikes."
The book sheds light on recent sports
history, discussing Danny Gardella, who
attempted to sue major-league owners.
"Ifhe would've pushed his lawsuit, there's
a fairly broad consensus that- he would
have won; we would have had free agency
in baseball in 1950. You can see the seeds.
of what's gone wrong in baseball."
Given a novel that encompasses so
much, readers will no doubt wonder how
much is truth and how much fiction.

"The frame ofthe story is all essentially
accurate," Winegardner said. " tried
whenever possible to make the story,4
curate - all the baseball stuff is very
close- but I was also nevergonna letthe
facts get in the way of a good story."
One such story is of Babe Ruth's last
at-bat, which seems too like fiction to be
true. He explained, "Nobody evertoldthe
same version ofthat story. So I had to say,
nobody's ever going to agree on this -
here's what should have happOned."
That, more than anything, sums upt
novel as it turns historical facts intcW
wholly absorbing work of fiction. As this
novel shows, the things that should have
happened always make the better story.

We're outta here
for a week due to
Spnng Break!
The Classifieds Department will
be closed March 4th through March 8th.
We will reopen on March 11th.


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