10 - The Michigan Daily -- Friday, November 22, 1996
Streisand flaunts her dii
By Ryan Pouty
For the Daily
Barbra Streisand once referred to herself as "can
actress who sings." Given her outstanding career as one
of the biggest actresses and singers in show business,
this comment may be the understatement of her life.
Unfortunately for her, it is exactly Streisand's superstar-
dom that has caused a backlash
against her by many people.
Her most recent concert tour, R E
for instance, in which she Th
charged exorbitant sums for Th4
nosebleed seats, lost Streisand
many of the fans who perhaps At B
were not in her core base of
upper-middle class devotees.
Her new film, "The Mirror Has Two Faces," continues
to focus on the elites of society, but it should do much
to lighten Streisand's image and plant her firmly in the
role of "a filmmaker who also acts and sings."
The film pairs Streisand with the highly likable Jeff
Bridges in the most unconventional of love stories -
up until the end, anyway. She is an English professor
at Columbia University; he is a math professor there.
She suffers from a major self-esteem problem, caused
by her lack of stunning beauty and a mother constant-
ly reminding her of it; he suffers from an inextin-
guishable libido and a desire for something more
intellectually stimulating out of a woman. Together
they form the most bizarre relationship - one that is
based, at least for him, on a complete lack of physical
Of course. we know that this changes by the end of
the film, but the W ay in which it does so marks a sig-
nificant - and problematic -- break from the attitude
of the rest of the film. We hope to see the film main-
tain the idea that Gregory (Bridges) could be physi-
cally attracted to Rose (Streisand) based on his emo-
tional and intellectual attraction
e Mirror Has
Briarwood and Showcase
that he is in love
to her and despite her (sup-
posed) physical flaws.
Instead, Rose undergoes a
physical transformation a la a
ridiculous "Rocky"-like train-
ing montage. Only after Rose
becomes more traditionally
beautiful does Gregory realize
with her. Fortunately, while the audi-
the perfect man except for his refusal to become phys.
ically intimate with Rose. H is performance is loud and
stanimering, which might annoy som people, but it is
also greatly endearing.
Outstan ding support is provided by a talented cast
relegated to minuscule roles. Lauren Bacall is
scathing as Rose's mother, an aging diva herself who
knew how it felt to be beautiful but never experienced
true love like her daughter. The pseudo-reconciliation
scene between Bacall and Streisand is one of the
film's highlights. Mimi Rogers and Pierce Brosnan, as
Rose's sister and brother-in-law / dream man, respec
tively, make the most of their flat characters, and
George Segal supplies the most laughs in his tiny rol
as Gregory's friend.
But the real star here is Streisand the director, who
shows an incredibly deft hand for comedy in addition to
her already proven filmmaking craftsmanship. As in
"The Prince of Tides," she uses all the elements of filn
- especially editing and composition - to invoke aw
emotional impact without seeming to show off or break
any conventions of Hollywood cinema. This places her
neatly in the Sydney Pollack school of filmmaking,
which is to say that Streisand can finally rest assured
that she has gained the respect as a director that she
deserved five years ago with "The Prince of Tides."
Despite any rumors of Streisand's dictatorial
approach to direction, "The Mirror Has Two Faces' is
an enjoyable, engaging and highly entertaining lool R
academic love through the eyes of "an actress who
ence may be rolling their eyes at this silly turn of
events, it is actually underplayed and soon forgotten in
light of the wonderful finale.
Despite being too long and overextended by turns
such as this, Streisand and screenwriter Richard
LaGravenese ("The Bridges of Madison County")
have fashioned an extremely enjoyable story about
love, beauty and all forms of attraction. Perhaps the
most surprising thing about the film is that it is, in
fact, a comedy - albeit a romantic one. It turns out
that Barbra is a terrific comedienne, handling physical
comedy like a pro and allowing her diva image to be
marred by the frumpy character of Rose. Bridges has
created a charmingly academic character, seemingly
Barbra Streisand takes another shot at directing in "The Mirror Has Two Faces."
Continued from Page 8
or sometimes just reading a book or
newspaper - something that touches
you personally. You know, we have our
experiences and our imagination, and in
the realm of all that comes an endless
play of songs. Still, my relationship to
my songs change as my life experiences
From her debut album, songs like
"Hole in the Bucket," which Curtis
wrote "because of the frustrations of
working in social. services" give her
feelings about the way society wrongly
treats its members et times. But her
music can also have personal leanings.
"Grandmother's Name," the tale of an
elderly woman dying with Alzheimer's
disease, exemplifies this.
"My grandmother died a couple of
years ago with Altzheimer's, but I wrote
this song before then," Curtis said. "I
thought I could get through the funeral
because I'd sung this song so many
times. But I was crying, and everyone
else was crying. It was awful."
Curtis, whose latest album, "Truth
from Lies" - is also her first release
under EMI records, looks forward to
how this new partnership will change
the way in which future songs are writ-
ten and performed.
"I think that in the next record we'll
step back from simplistic music and
allow other kinds of instrumental ization
to happen' she said. "But I think I can
still make my music intimate. My songs
will remain lyric oriented. I'm not
going to let my soul get buried in this
whole alternative thing, but I do feel
there is room for experimentation."
Curtis plans to perform songs from
both her prior albums, as well as new
music she's putting together for her next
by HUNTER S. THOMPSON
Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the
release with a unique dramatic adaptation that
defined a generation.
Soul Coughing exhales in Detroit'
By Anders Smith-LIndall
For the Daily
Since the release of its 1995 debut album, "Ruby Vroom,"
and continuing through and beyond last spring's release of the
follow-up "Irresistible Bliss," Soul Coughing has toured
relentlessly. Tonight, the band's almost non-stop barnstorm-
ing brings it to the Majestic in Detroit.
To attempt to explain Soul Coughing in a nutshell is an
unenviable task. The New York quartet's sound is nearly
impossible to encapsulate. In a recent
interview with The Michigan Daily,
drummer Yuval Gabay, when pressed toP
define his band, laughed, "I'll leave that
and let you struggle. It makes for a $
more interesting write-up" True: The
group splatters the influences of hip- o'clock at
hop, jazz, rock, pop, dance and spoken-
word across its songs like Jackson
Pollock did colors on a canvas.
Frontman M. Doughty's lyrics range from cinematic narra-
tive to beat poetry to alliterative nonsense. Gabay lays down
snappy, complex rhythms supplemented by Sebastian
Steinberg's pulsating upright bass (according to Gabay,
Steinberg's biggest influence is the New York City subway -
he wants to sound like a train). Sprinkled liberally within it all
are Mark De Gli Antoni's samples: Song snippets from jazz
to Tori Amos and sounds from seagulls to subways are likely
to pop up anywhere and everywhere.
Together, the four create a groove-laden, streetwise and
remarkably cohesive combo platter that is equal parts
impressionism, musical channel-surfing and organized
aural chaos. Moods range from the laid-back, ultracool
tones of "Lazybones" and "Sugar Free Jazz" to the frenetic
"Bus to Beelzebub" and "Super Bon Bon," and everywhere
in between. Sometimes different moods exist within the
same song, as in the jaw-dropping debut single from "Ruby
Vroom," "True Dreams of Wichita." Gabay likened the
band's sound to Lucky Charms cereal: "Because of the
sweetness and the variety of colors, not to mention the sugar
Critical acclaim and a hip national following have come
rather quickly to the group, which was formed more than four
years ago in a small New York club called the Knitting
Factory. Doughty worked as a doorman there and the others
played regularly with other bands. "Doughty was doing his
guitar, singy-songy thing at the time. He managed to book a
gig for, like, Tuesday at 3 in the morning," Gabay recalled.
Doughty, who had heard and met Steinberg and Gabay
when they played the club, asked the two to back him. He
also invited De Gli Antoni because he "knew he had a sam-
pIer," Gabay said. "I said, 'Hmm, why not?' Doesn't seem
like I had anything better to do on Tuesday at three in the
morning." And thus Soul Coughing came together for the
The group gigged sporadically for six months befor*
deciding to officially band together. It took its name "from' a
friend who used that term for throwing
up one day," Gabay said. "Doughty
VI EW actually wrote a poem about that that
nobody liked - except the title"
ui Coughing In those early days, the band began
h Failure. Tonight at 9 to develop a reputation as an energetic
he Majestic in Detroit. and adventurous live act, a trait that is
been the foundation of much of its cur-
rent popularity. "We played in a lot of
small venues in New York when we were starting out, and i
was more based on, you know, like having a party," Gaba
said. "I think we have tried to maintain that vibe as much as
we can. Even though we play in much, much bigger rooms
now, (we) still try to make that same kind of a fun, paty'
atmosphere. It just really makes everybody feel that they't-
on the inside; you know, audience and band. And that's
important for us to keep it that way.
"We're really working at the grassroots level," he contin-
ued. "We go to every town and we play, and we go to anoth-
er town and we play. And (we) come back to that (first) town
and we got a few more people. We're really building it fron
the bottom up."
Everywhere the band has travelled, it has found people
longing for something new and unique. Gabay explained that,
contrary to what radio programmers and other tastemakers
would have us believe, music fans "are open enough to take
anything. The general audience is so much more open and
ready for new stuff and in fact, more appreciative of new stufT
than any radio people or any fuckin' marketing people."
And that's fine with Gabay and his bandmates. Looking to
what appears to be a rosy future, the group plans to continue
to build its fan base through touring, then they hope to recor&
a new album next summer. Their collective goal, GabaW
laughed, is to "make the youngsters happy, as we are happy.
And smiley. And sad!"
So get out to the Majestic tonight and get happy. And per-,
haps you should take some of Gabay's advice beforehand,
"Eat Lucky Charms!"
HARRY DEAN STANTON
"We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of
mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid,
a salt shaker half-full of cocaine and a whole galaxy of
multicolored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers...
Also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of
Budweiser, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls.."
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