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April 09, 1996 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-04-09

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 9, 1996

", P T%

Mandy Barnett
Mandy Barnett
Asylum Records

Sergio Castellitto is "The Star Maker."
'StarMaer' shines, fades a n

However you feel about country
music, especially the low-risk, high-
gloss sort this Tennessee-born singer
presents on her debut, one thing's for
sure: Mandy Barnett's got a rare pair of
lungs and the attitude to match.
A professional singer since age 10 and
signed by Jimmy Bowen at 13, Barnett
got her first big break two years ago when
she landed the title role in the musical
"Always... Patsy Cline." Playing a coun-
try legendat the Ryman Auditorium didn't
rattle the 20-year-old singer, and she at-
tacks the 10 retro-flavored tunes on her
first record with similar bravado.
With her big, wonderfully rich voice,
Barnett powers her way through bal-
lads like "A Simple I Love You," wor-
thy standards like Willie Nelson's
"Three Days," the traditional "Wayfar-
ing Stranger" and big, swinging num-
bers like Jim Lauderdale's "Planet of
Love" with equal aplomb.
Barnett is a belter (and yes, her voice
does recall Cline's golden pipes), and
most of the time it works to her advan-
tage, as on the fine first single "Now
That's Alright With Me"(featuring Alison
Krauss' puresweet backup vocals). Such
a voice, however, can easily overwhelm
the songs, and Barnett does indeed go
overboard on the Kostas/Pamela Brown
Hayes tune "Rainy Days" and Kelly
Willis' "What's Good for You."
Understandably, Barnett plays it safe
on her debut, and she's picked a fine batch
of tunes from some of the most respected
songwriters in the business (Kostas,
Nelson, Rodney Crowell). But a voice
like Barnett's is capable of more than
retro country -here's hoping she breaks
some new ground on future efforts.
- Jennifer Buckley
Barenaked Ladies
Born On A Pirate Ship
Reprise Records

sound both glib and troubled on the
ballad "When I Fall," and does emo-
tional acrobatics on the chugging opener
"Stomach vs. Heart."
While a tad more conventional than
their previous releases, the music still
retains its eclectic and highly spirited
feel; this is no ordinary pop record.
Hints of soul and jazz skirt around the
pop structure of winners like "I Know"
and "This Is Where It Ends."
There are lots of memorable melo-
dies here, but nothing that shamelessly
cloys; the choruses stick with you and
ring true without getting old.
As an added bonus, a fantastic CD-
ROM track is included on the disc. The
Ladies deserve major credit for releas-
ing the "enhanced" disc right away,
instead of waiting a few months and
getting their fans to buy the disc a
second time. This is an excellent use of
technology as well; sound clips, videos,
home movies, a quiz and an extensive
discography are all included.
The overabundance of slow songs is
perhaps "Pirate Ship"'s greatest short-
coming. A few more rockers stuck in
strategic places could seriously help
out a record that tends to drag. Mind
you, this is a minor problem. "Pirate
Ship" is clearly one of the best discs so
far this year. Pop music doesn't get any
more eclectic or exciting than the
Barenaked Ladies.
- Dave Snyder

By Jon Potlinski
Daily Film Editor
In its first 90 minutes, Giuseppe
Tornatore's ("Cinema Paradiso") "The
Star Maker" shines bright. Nominated
for an Academy Award for Best For-
eign Language Film this past year, the
film examines the experience and jour-
ney of a big-shot talent scout as he
makes his way into
the lives of ordi-
nary people in
Italy.
In 1953, Joe
Morelli (Sergio
Castellitto) arrives
in Sicily. As his DirectE
beat-up truck
rumbles into the

Rc

town square, he with Seri
yells to the people andT
through his mega-
phone: "Citizens!
Universalia Films
in Rome invites you to participate in its
hunt for 'New Faces In The Movies!'"
The people flock to Joe, and, within
his first few minutes in town, he con-
vinces most of them to pay 1,500 lire
for a screen test (they must read a seg-
ment of"Gone with the Wind" for him).
He promises all of them - with insin-
cere winks and skeezy smiles-that he
has the power to make them all stars.
Within the first half-hour of the
movie, Joe's camerabegins to roll; timid
young men, policemen, children, war
heroes, mothers and thieves willingly
pay the money, hoping that this will
finally be their big chance to get out of
town and "make it big." Instead of act-
ing, however, the townspeople reveal
their souls to the camera: We see a
homosexual man's eyes brighten as he
dreams of getting away from the name-
calling in town; we see bandits tell the
stories of their heinous crimes; finally,
we meet the Beata (Tiziana Lodato),
the young woman for whom conniving
Joe eventually falls.
The film has much to offer- that is,

g
N2

before the Joe-and-Beata love-interest
kicks in. Townspeople's tales add both
tragic and comic segments to the film.
A young boy (probably no more that 5
years old) recites his lines from "Gone
with the Wind," and we are inclined to
laugh; thin kid has no idea what he's
talking about. A policeman flags Joe
down on the road-not forspeeding -
but instead so he
EEVIEW himselfcantryhis
hand at acting.
The Star The stories draw
Maker usin; for some, our
hearts ache; others
haveuslaughing so
by Giuseppe hard that we are
ready to pee in our
Tornatore pants. All the
io Castellitto while, High and
iana Lodato Mighty Joe stands
At Showcase over these ordinary
At___hw__ase folks, promising
fame and fortune
to them all. We want to spit in his face;
throughout the film, he dishes out false
hope, and each time we hate him more
and more.
But of course, the stories cannot go
on forever - and they don't. Joe takes
his business to other towns to pull the
same scam. Each time, Beata follows
him, convinced that he is her escape
from her awful life. Throughout the
entire rest of the film, we are led to
believe that Beata is nothing more than
a mere annoyance to Joe.
Near the end, however, Joe, letting
down his sleazeball guard, tells her that
she is the only one he's ever loved. As
an audience, we are shocked by his
words. Hold the show for a second -
Joe treats Beata as if she's the little girl
he's babysitting for. But he sleeps with
her and proclaims his love? Sorry ... we
just can't believe that one.
Sergio Castellitto is perfect as the
shifty Joe Morelli. With his cigarette
perpetually hanging out of his mouth,
and his air of confidence and sophisti-
cation, he undoubtedly stands out from

the crowds. Although we despise him at
first, we are supposed to change our
minds about him by the end. This, how-
ever, is a challenge; Joe's metamorpho-
sis from a slick jerk to sensitive lover
and worldly man is subtle (or quite
possibly not even there).
Tiziana Lodato as Beata makes it
even harder for us to accept Joe's change
in character. Throughout the entire film,
she annoys us as well as Joe. Lodato can
never seem to say her lines without
screaming. At the beginning, Joe sees
heras a whining baby, and in our minds,
he has absolutely every reason to. Ev-
ery time she came on the screen, I found
myselfwith yet another headache. While
Sergio left his audience believing his
"slick Rick" nature, Lodato left us with
nothing - except perhaps the need to
take two Excedrin.
Interestingly enough, it was prob-
ably even more worthwhile to watch
"The Star Maker" in another language.
From the start, I began to ignore the
subtitles and concentrate on the visuals
- and it didn't seem to matter at all.
What makes "The Star Maker" shine is
not the dialogue, but rather the faces
and eyes ofthe people whose stories are
told._

Black Power, NAACP, CORE and
SNCC. when blacks could be found
sitting in. standing up and fighting back
have been replaced by a wasteland of
selfishness and lost radicalism.
We need to go back - to remember
the times when an ex-drug dealer/pimp
could return from prison to give the
fight for equal rights its biggest push
towards radicalism, times when a quiet
unknown could shape the conscious of
a people. That's why "A Tribute to Mrs.
Rosa Parks" is such a welcome release.
Verity Records has assembled some of
today's most renowned gospel groups to
pay tribute to the "Mother of the Move-
ment," whose refusal to give her bus seat
to a white stranger decades ago paved the
way for a myriad of boycotts. "A Tribute
." features 12 songs by such legends as.
OletaAdams, Chosen and FredHammon
& Radical for Christ. It also include
some eight interjections where Mrs. Parks
herself speaks. With the soft-spoken
speech of a grandmother, frail, yet with
her wits still strongly intact about her,
Parks gives important (albeit at times
dull) messages.
Sounds of Blackness' spectacular
"Quiet Strength" opens with an outstand-
ing, bass-filled musical sound meant to
represent a small woman's giant convic
tion. "Rosa" (John P Kee & The New Life
Community Choir) features excellent
music and singing and a group ofelemen-
tary school-aged children detailing Mrs.
Parks' life. The 11-member Rosa Parks
Tribute Singers (featuring such names as
Yolanda Adams, Tramaine Hawkins,
Howard Hewitt and Bishop Paul Morton)
did a beautiful job with "Something In-
side So Strong."
"A Tribute ..." is not simply one to
Mrs. Parks; it is much bigger. It seeks to
take the very spirit of yesteryear's civil
rights fights and recreate it in hopes that
those who don't care will come to see
why they should. "A Tribute ..." offers
an opportunity for the older to remem-
ber and the younger to learn.
Rosa Parks wasn't rich or famous.
She didn't have powerful networks or
connections to fall back on. She was a
humble person who decided that sh
would no longer allow others to maker
mockery of her humanity. In our grow-
ing apathy we desecrate the memory of
Mrs. Parks and those like her who risked
their lives to give a generation of un-
born children historic new lives free of
segregation's barriers. As a people, as a
family, as a nation, we must clasp the
spirit that pushed the Civil Rights Move-
ment. We must constantly aggravate
and agitate. And above all, we must
never permit ourselves to forget. 4
-Eugene Bowen

Various Artists

A Tribute to Mrs. Rosa Parks
Verity Records
As a black man, looking just one year
back, I am filled with trepidation about
many things. I saw the trial of Susan
Smith, a woman who killed her two kids
and blamed her crime on a nonexistent
black man, and I lamented the racial
divide surrounding O.J. while many re-
fused to put nearly as much effort into
attacking Mark Fuhrman. I was appalled
by every word Newt Gingrich, and basi-
cally any other Republican, spoke, an-
gered by the media's attempt to under-
minethe beauty ofthe Million Man March
by demonizing its central organizer Louis
Farrakhan. I was generally saddened by
what appears to be a concerted effort to
undermine the very spirit ofcivil rights in
this country.
By far, the worst feeling I continue to
have is a morbid realization that many
of my race's members - especially
teens and young adults - are highly
apathetic to the drama unfolding before
them. The days of Black Panthers and

Maturity doesn't necessarily lead to
boring music. A prime example of this
old-but-still-rockin' maxim is "Born
On A Pirate Ship," the latest from Ca-
nadian sensations Barenaked Ladies.
The Ladies manage to shed their juve-
nile leanings without sacrificing qual-
ity or fun.
This band is absolutely huge north of
the border, racking up giant album sales
and countless hit singles, but remain
relatively anonymous in the United
States. With any luck, the perfect, quirky
pop tunes and gorgeous vocal harmo-
nies of"Pirate Ship" will change things.
There's nothing here with the novel
charm of previous Barenaked favorites
like "Be My Yoko Ono"and "Grade 9,"
but the album is better for it. In continu-
ing the maturation process that began
with their previous album, "Maybe You
Should Drive," "Pirate Ship" is stream-
lined and accessible, relentlessly edgy
and always original.
The beauty of the Barenaked sound is
the tension created by the alternately
silly and serious tone. Lead singer
Steven Page's voice is rich, soulful and
wonderfully enigmatic; he manages to

Tiziana Lodato in the house.

-- - -- - I I

These guys don't look that naked.

. Mwo

- h5..

:_ -"---

Evenings at the Rackham

presents
Welfare Reform and America's Future:
Scholarship, Social Policy and Civic Responsibility
7:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 9, 1996
Rackham Amphitheatre (4th floor)
Members of the community are invited to participate in an open and
timely discussion on the question of public responsibility for social programs
targeted to the poor and disenfranchised.
Keynote speaker:
University alumnus Roger Wilkins
Noted Scholar, Educator, Policy Maker and Civil Rights Activist
Panel of discussants:
Sheldon Danziger, Professor of Social Work and Social Policy

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