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March 14, 1996 - Image 17

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-03-14

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The Michigan Daily - /u4, t ee. - Thursday, March 14, 1996 - 5B

Brothers' celebrate life's little pleasures
Chicago-based duo's explicit lyrics spark controversy

By Eugene Bowen
Daily Arts Writer
Sex. Such a small word, but the
controversies, the concerns, the out-
rage its existence sparks are by no
means miniature. The stories of AIDS,
teen pregnancy and the like have
turned one of life's most enjoyable
little pleasures into something nearly
evil.
et everybody does it, and every-
y loves to hear about it. People
haye flocked to hear those like Dr.
Rut, Andrew Dice Clay and 2 Live
Cre extol in their own unique ways,
thijoys of sex in all its variances. But
over time, 2 Live Crew's popularity
ha declined, and Clay's isn't faring
much better. Although Dr. Ruth re-
tains her popularity, her following is
comprised of the mostly older crowd.
*g America doesn't want her
sexual advice. With few exceptions,
there's nobody out there making sex
"fui' anymore.
Tlis will be changing soon, at least
if Hula and Malik - better known as
the, Chicago-based duo the Outhere
Brgthers - have their way. Anyone
into the Chicago-area club scene has
probably heard "Pass the Toilet Pa-
per" by now. This hip-hop/techno
party song is a habitual favorite in the
\@idy City and in are~as throughout
the United States where such club
music is popular. Sexually explicit
lyrics are these two brothas' (though
not really brothers) forte.
"We are very sexual in our songs,"
Malik said. "The sexual side of us is
what everybody sees and what our
music portrays.'
Yet the two demand realism in their
Ssic. "All of our songs reflect things
t t we, or friends close to us, have
done, and things that have been done
to us," they insisted. A peek into
these close friends' lives shows that
what these guys rap about is far from
make-believe.
Hula, the quieter half of this for-
ever-smiling duo, grew up in Harvey,
a Chicago suburb, whereas Malik
came straight from Chicago's
Southside. Both now 27, the two didn't
it and become close friends until
about a decade ago.
It is Hula's story that strikes a chord
on just how prevalent sex is in
America, even with young children.
"I was 5," he began, snickering a bit.
"It was terrible, man. Actually the
girl was older than me (7), and she
was sleeping with my brother who
was 9 at the time. He told me if I did
i, 'd be cool."
Wula admits that his attention span
in school was never all that, and he
thinks he knows why. "Having sex at
a young age was really distracting,
'cause I remember even as early as
seventh and eighth grade Ijust wanted
to (have sex with) every girl in my
class. I constantly thought about it,
and that's probably why I couldn't
concentrate."
Both guys had already begun Djing
en they met through a mutual friend
k in '87. Listening to their first

"Go to a country
like Holland where
prostitution and
drugs are legal,
but it has one of
the lowest rape
percentages in the
world"
--Hula
of the Outhere Brothers, on
sexually explicit lyrics
"It's all about education," Hula said,
breaking his characteristic quietness.
"Go to a country like Holland where
prostitution and drugs are legal, but it
has one of the lowest rape percentages
in the world. The kids there use condoms
and stuff. I think it's only 'cause their
society makes them more aware, while
over here in America they try and shut
kids out. Everybody knows when you
do that to kids they'll just want it more.
Ifpeople would educate theirkids about
these things, I think they'll make better
life choices. Sex is nothing negative."
Malik continued,"That's why we have
all these parents saying they don't under-
stand it when their kids are getting preg-
nant and sneaking in and out of windows
at night. That's just it: They don't under-
stand. These kids are gonna find this stuff
out for themselves. So when they do find
out, theirparents' job is to not be afraid to
discuss it with them. Don't keep sweep-
ing it under the rug, because if you do,
you're gonna look up one day and find
your kids under that rug.-
"People need to quit blaming music. If
the music was not here, all the problems
of America would still be here."
"We respect 2 Live Crew a lot," Malik
said. "We respect Luther Campbell and
what he did. But we have more versatility.
It's notjustrap; it's not just dance. Wedo
slow, R&B songs, too. But we do more of
the sex-oriented stuffbecause that's what's
most successful for us now.
"But believe me, there's more to this
than just sex. People like Luther
Campbell don't make it by just sitting
around thinking about sex. You gotta
have some business sense, too."

FILM EST
Continued from Page 113
months of hard work. Unbeknownst
to us sun-washed audience members,
preparations for the 1996 Festival be-
gan long before our spring breaks
ended - in fact, preparations were
most likely underway even before this
time last year. How's that for a lengthy
project?
Honeyman and four other people
made up this year's selection com-
mittee. Starting in January, the five
dedicated workers had the lovely job
of sifting through more than 300 en-
tered films. Every night for six weeks,
they met at the Michigan Theater from
7 p.m. to midnight and watched every
single film. Only one week ago, they
voted on the films that would be in-
cluded in this year's program. Most
of us can't even bring ourselves back
to the theater after sitting through a
two-hour-crap flick such as "Down
Periscope." Can you just imagine
watching films and watching films
and watching films ... for six weeks
straight? It must be a talent - or
perhaps a love for the work.
Working closely alongside
Honeyman is her student assistant
Alison LaTendresse, who helped co-
ordinate the activities and responsi-
bilities of the other 90 volunteers who
helped with the Festival. For her,
watching the films has been the high-
light of her three years of experience.
"Watching experimental films totally
changed my life; it changed the way I
look at everything, think about every-
thing," LaTendresse said. "It is such
as intense burst of this really amazing
art that you don't really see all year
round. It's hard to describe the expe-
rience."
LaTendresse' s interest and love for
experimental film have given her the
opportunity to work closely with the
many aspects of the Festival. Most
importantly, she deals with the con-
stant phone calls from filmmakers.
According to LaTendresse, new film-
makers are arriving in Ann Arbor this
week from locations such as Toronto,
Chicago, New York and Iowa.
In our telephone interview,
LaTendresse told me that these film-
makers, dropping in and out of town
all week, are looking for "spare
couches and spare beds to sleep in."
Any takers? If so, give the Festival
Office a ringey-ding. It's your big
chance to attend the screenings, buy a
T-shirt and take home your very own
director! Now that's something you
don't hear often!
So, what can audiences expect from
this year's Festival?
Both Honeyman and LaTendresse
described some of this year's high-
lights.
On March 12, opening night, at 8
p.m., audiences caught a glimpse of

"Garden of Regrets." In it, Jeffrey
Noyes Scher uses collage and
rotoscoped animation, creating a
work that Honeyman believes will
start the ball rolling. "I like to open
with a bang, and his film will cer-
tainly catch the audience's atten-
tion," she said.
The opening night concluded with
Rachel Libert's and Barbara Parker's
"Undertaker," a "must-see" film about
Patricia Smith, aperformance artpoet,
sharing her poem about the death of
young black boys in this country.
Make no mistake, however: These
highlights are sprinkled throughout
the entire week. Others include Fri-
day evening's screening of "Tender
Fictions," created by Barbara Ham-
mer, a highly respected feminist les-
bian experimental filmmaker. The
hour-long piece is her autobiographi-
cal documentary. Audiences also
might want to check out Richard
Myers' - who has entered the Festi-
val since 1962 - "Monstershow" on
Saturday afternoon. His 90 minute
black and white work is a narrative
study about Dracula, Frankenstein and
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (how
strangely appropriate ... Mary Reilly,
Mary Reilly).
The Ann Arbor Film Festival of
1996 certainly has even more to offer
its audiences. But is there something
about this year's event that is differ-
ent from previous years in terms of
strength of the program?
Honeyman's response just seemed
to sum it all up: "The films are differ-
ent every year; the audience is differ-
ent every year; the images are differ-
ent every year ... but it's still the same
Festival."
1996's enthusiastic, hard-working
students and members of the commu-
nity, as well as the aspiring experi-
mental filmmakers from around the
world, will continue to make this
"same Festival" possible for many
years to come.

The Outhere Brothers: Generation X's answer to Dr. Ruth?

underground release, 1993's "Fuck
You in the Ass," which contained the
hit "Pass the Toilet Paper," you can
quickly tell what each musician's
characteristic flair is. Malik raps; Hula
mixes.
This distinction remains on the
duo's first major LP, the recently re-
leased "I Polish, 2 Biscuits and a Fish
Sandwich" (Aureus, **-A ). But why
this title, Malik? "Since the album
was about sex and all the things that
go into it, we thought, 'What can we
use to symbolize all of that shit?"' I
leave it to the reader to decode the
symbols.
According to Malik, the Outhere
Brothers strive in their music to "keep
that hard underground feel while still
keeping the music danceable. But the
music is also very African American,
very hip-hop and urban." Their music
also has a distinctive techno flair that
is very popular in gay clubs. "That's
what so fresh," Malik insisted. "The
gay clubs support us for one sound.
The pop culture supports us for an-
other."
Listening to their music and view-
ing their closeness and sexual frank-
ness with each other, many might be
quick to label Hula and Malik "gay,"
in accordance with the stereotyping
that runs - and ruins - America.
The icing on the cake probably comes
from the fact that they've seen each
others, er, "little brothers." (Interpre-
tation is again left to the reader.)
Both men deny ever having gay or
bisexual thoughts or experiences.
Malik does concede, however, "we
watched a movie with a transvestite
in it before. We don't worry about

people thinking we're gay or any-
thing. Just 'cause we hang out with
Dennis Rodman people get the wrong
idea." After a short laugh, Malik gets
serious. "We're far from homophobic.
You can't do dance music and be
homophobic. You're out of touch
then."
Hula said, "When you want to try
your dance tracks out you go to the
gay clubs first. Gay people are the ear
of dance music. They'll let you know
if your shit is phat or wack."
However, even with success ring-
ing from a few American pockets, the
Outhere Brothers phenomenon has
largely been unfelt in the United
States. But in the United Kingdom,
the story is completely flip. Singles
like "Boom Boom Boom" and "Don't
Stop (Wiggle Wiggle)" have both hit
No. I there. And of course, "Pass the
Toilet Paper" continues to be a hit in
the United Kingdom as well. The
shock of the Outhere Brothers' suc-
cess there has hit everybody.
As Malik puts it, "People were like,
'What the hell is goin' on?!' We were
hated by some. We were talked about
in Parliament; they banned our al-
bum. They called us gangsta rappers."
Sounds very much like the 2 Live
Crew controversy of not-so-many
years past. How sad such ignorance
exists worldwide.
But there is serious controversy re-
garding explicit lyrics. Even though
their music is marketed toward adults,
the Outhere Brothers know that kids
are listening, too. Both of them fa-
thers, Hula and Malik are sensitive to
charges hurled at them by angry par-
ents.

Emily Breer's "Superhero" will be
featured in this year's Festival.

--- -mm

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