Ulbe oIrhituu &zal,
The Frederico Fellini Film Festival rolls on at the Michigan Theater with
1954's "La Strata." The quirky and touching story centers around a
young woman forced into an odd, abusive relationship with a traveling
performer. Italian with subtitles. Showtime is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $6,
$5 for students.
March 27, 1996
Verve pipes its way into national scene
By Karl Jones
Daily Weekend Editor
If the Verve Pipe's old material was a huge,
purple sofa, their major label debut "Villains"
(RCA) would certainly be the black, leather couch
of releases. The former is a bit wider, woven from
a different hue, but the latter is sleek and under-
stated in the smartest way. Yesterday's release date
for "Villains" marked the offi- _
ial seat change for the East Lan-
sing based band - the official THE VER
transition from local to national Where: Schoolk
musicians. According to Doug When: Tonight
Corella (percussion, keyboard),
however, it doesn't much matter
where you're sitting as long as the audience can
hear what you're saying.
harmonies," Corella said. Although the resulting album
wraps itself much more comfortably around a common
theme, Corella admitted that they haven't completely
severed ties to the harmonies that have become a Verve
"I really miss (the harmonies). That's one of the strong
things about the band, in my opinion, and when we do it
live, I still feel we pull the harmonies out. But (producer)
tea. Jerry Hirrison (Live Crash Test
"I'm excited about (the release). Once that album
hits nationally, people will have a better understand-
ing of who we are," Corella stressed. "I'm really
*roud of it, and I think it rocks really hard."
"Villains" is actually much more rock oriented than
the band's first two albums "Pop Smear" and "I've
Suffered a Head Injury." Where previous material was
full of glossy harmonies and sweeping vocal arrange-
ments, the Verve Pipe-which consists ofBrain Vander
Ark (lead vocals, guitar), Brad Vander Ark (bass, back-
ground vocals), Donny Brown (drums, background vo-
cals), A.J. Dunning (guitar, background vocals) and
Corella - has streamlined its sound to bring the focus
back to the music on "Villains." This new musical
ntensity manifests itselfin guitar-drivenjams like "Rev-
'rend Girl," twisty keyboard solos in songs like "Penny
is Poison" and even the cerebral, story-like "Veneer."
"We just went through the approach of trying to strip
down the harmonies to make the musical portion of the
song more interesting. Now that we're adding keyboards
and things, I don't think there's as much focus on the
4V11J iJ~ill to~ll k - , V G. 1A
Dummks) wasjust into the ideaof
IPEstripping it down. And when I
s Records listen to the whole album, I really
6. Free. like it.
"I do think there are moments
when I would like those colors
and those harmonies in there," Corella continued.
"But I think we've found the common thread. Like if
you look at 'Pop Smear,' it's pretty diverse. I think
with this album, we have that common thread, and
that's the direction we were trying to head in."
Verve Pipe junkies will be happy to know that the
band has chosen to include a new version of the much-
requested, much-loved ballad "The Freshmen" on their
"The original version was a little too straight for
me," Corella said. "Our predicament was also this -
we wanted to put 'Freshmen' on (the album), but if we
did it like the original with just bass and guitar, it
wouldn't be conducive to anything else on the album.
That's why we came up with these subtle parts with
everyone in the band playing."
While it's still a little early to gauge the success of
"Villains," the band did manage to sell 500 tickets to
their April 13 Michigan Theater show in the first day of
ticket sales alone. This may have something to do with
the fact that "the boys from East Lansing" have their
largest fan base in their home state, but according to
Corella, the Verve Pipe has already begun attracting
"Matt Pinfield from '120 Minutes' is really into the
band. We just saw him at a couple shows, and he's so
crazy about the band that he practically salivates,"
Corella laughed. The band is hoping this connection
will draw their new video for "Photograph" into the
welcoming arms of the MTV buzz bin. But if the
video does get picked up, the band has no plans to
suddenly strike the jaded rock star pose and forget
about their small town roots.
"I don't think my ego's being inflated-- oh, sure, it
feels good playing to people that really dig you, and I'm
sure inside of me there's a part that feels really lucky to
be doing that. But at the same time, I'm just the kind of
guy that has always worked hard to move up, and I don't
let that get to my head," Corella said.
Corella also said that band members often take time
out to communicate with the fans that helped boost them
to the level of success they have already achieved. "I'm
just constantly on e-mail talking to people," he said. "I do
love getting letters from people, too, but e-mail is just
quicker for traveling purposes. We also answer every
single letter we get."
"I think it's great that Michigan is getting back on
the map," Corella continued, in reference to the in-
creasing number of local bands that have been signing
to major labels recently. "There's a lot of great stuff
going on right now in East Lansing, Kalamazoo, Ann
Arbor, all these college towns. It's not solely just a
Detroit thing - I think that's one thing this band is
really cautious about. A lot of people have labeled us
as 'from Detroit,' but we're from East Lansing. You
kind of have to give credit where credit is due."
With their small-town sensibility, it's no wonder that
the Verve Pipe's musical "Villains" have stolen the
corner on the local pop/rock market. And with a new,
stripped-down sound, the band may soon be stealing
hearts on a national level.
The Verve Pipe is just crazy about their fans. That's why they made a new album.
Just for you. Really, money had nothing to do with it. Check out The Verve Pipe's
web site at http://thevervepipe.com.
Problems are solved right 'Here'
By Mitchell Katz
For the Daily
Communication problems led Othello
to strangle his blushing bride Desdemona
and pushed the miserable divorce-bound
couple in "War of the Roses" to murder
each other. In this long tradition of com-
munication breakdowns comes Michael
Frayn's "Here," which revolves around a
couple that fights over where to move
items of furniture, among other things.
"Here" focuses on
and Phil at two stages
in their lives - as a Where: Arena Th
young couple mov- (basement of Fri
ing into their first Building)
apartment, and as an When: Thursday1
oldercouplemoving Saturday at 5 p.
into a bigger apart- Admission is fre
ment. The actors
who play the younger couple (Aric Knuth
and Jamie Saginor) and the actors who
play the older couple (Jon Berry and
Sophina Brown) are onstage together
during the show, but "of course they
never interact," said directorAllisonTkac,.
"Here" is a reference to the problems
that arise between the couple at both
stages - not only questions about
money and children, but trivial debates
about what goes here and there, about
where to place a chair in an apartment.
It is these communication problems
between couples that are the primary
themes of "Here." Tkac said, "I think
that cooperation, and love, how couples
decide things, how couples grow to-
gether or apart: Those types of basic
couples issues are the crux of the play.
They're just basic ideas of communi-
cating to someone you love that every-
one knows about and that everyone can
see a part of themselves in."
"Here" is darker than Frayn's best-
known comedies, such as the backstage
farce "Noises Off."
"These people live
nice lives, but
ter 'there's something
e very tragic about
rough cation.' They have
they really love
each other and it's
obvious that they were meant to love each
other," Thac continued.
Cath and Phil also have problems com-
municating on a sexual level. They keep
letting their neighbor, an older widow
played by Ellen Dobrin, interrupt their
foreplay. This, Tkac said, is a huge road
sign to their communication problems.
Besides the mental and sexual spar-
ring, there is some out-and-out brawling,
as love becomes a battlefield for the be-
leaguered couple. "These are some pretty
physical people," Tkac said. In one of the
show's several choreographed fight
scenes, the couple decides to fight it out ii
order to reach some trivial decision. "It"
an almost comic moment, because th
woman who is cast as the older Cathi
lot smaller than her counterpart and sh
throws him across the room. She whip
his ass,'. Tkac said.
The show's themes of communica
tion and love should greatly appeal t
college students, who, Tkac said;w il
see much of themselves in "theyver
likable and sympathetic" Cath.4,
Phil. "I don't think anyone has ha
the absolutely perfect relationship th
they can't understand what these cha;
acters are going through."
Tkac said she'd be really intereste
to see couples' reactions to the shoo.
and said that it could be a very health
therapeutic experience. "I think itcoul
encourage them to talk about a lot c
things. I really do see a lot of things tht
happen to these characters replayed i
relationships I've had, (as well as) i
other people's relationships."
Springtime will soon be upon us, an
April come she will. Couples wilt
cooing to each other on the Diag. Wh
knows - perhaps those particularl
happy-looking couples will have bee
the ones to have seen "Here," reversin
the downward spiral ofeommunicatic
breakdown to the point where they loc
as happy as the squirrels lolling aroun
underneath the Ann Arbor sky.
"We are here to race, and race we will."
#Race the Sun' rec yes good cheer
By Prashant Tamaskar
Daily Arts Writer
Many "teen-age motivation" movies are extremely similar
at heart: Every new film is a recycled story in a different
package. Yet, despite the lack of creativity involved in their
plots, these movies can be quite entertaining - if done
properly. Charles T. Kanganis' "Race
the Sun," a new film based on the real-
*ife experience of eight Hawaiian high 4
school students, is a prime example.
The plot of "Race the Sun" is divided Ra
into two parts. It begins with the arrival
of Sandra Beecher (Halle Berry), an
ambitious science teacher, at Kona Pali Directe
High School in a low-income, diverse Kanganis; w
section of Hawaii. In an attempt to an
generate interest in the subject, Sandra .n
asks the class to come up with propos- At Briarv
is for a science project. When several
f her students do not complete the assignment, she requires
them to attend the district science fair to help develop ideas.
At the science fair, the students come across a solar car, a
project from a prestigious private school. The car is going to
be raced at the island championships; afterward, the winning
team will travel to Australia to take part in the world compe-
tition. After a scuffle with the snobby designers of the car, the
Lolos (Hawaiian slang for losers) decide to create their own
solar vehicle, which they eventually race to victory over their
In the second part of the film, the students travel to
Australia to compete with others from around the world.
Accompanied by Mrs. Beecher and Frank Machi (James
Belushi), a skeptical shop teacher, the Lolos and their rag tag
automobile are ridiculed by their competitors, who are spon-
sored by renowned universities and corporations. Despite all
the hardships they face, the students are determined to finish
the grueling race and win the respect of
REVIEW Interestingly enough, the motivation
that fuels the Lolos is not supplied by
ce the Sun their teacher, but rather, by themselves.
* * Mrs. Beecher merely introduces them
to the world of science. From there,
i by Charles T- they are determined to build the solar
ith Halle Berry car on their own, only occasionally look-
James Belushi ing to their instructor for support.
It is refreshing to seethe underachiev-
vood and Showcase ing high schoolers in "Race the Sun"
treated with respect. Unlike "Danger-
ous Minds," where Michelle Pfieffer's character has to bribe
her students with candy bars to "reach them," Berry's Mrs.
Beecher allows them to independently discover how the
material they learn in school is going to affect them. Her role
is to generate a slight curiosity, and then let her students find
their own way.
Berry, in an understated, yet extremely effective perfor-
mance, brings the teacher to life. Her character is not an
expert in adolescent psychology, nor does she ever pretend
to be. However, she is wonderfully sincere and displays
See SUN, Page 9
.,". _ _ __