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November 20, 1996 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-11-20

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Without A Net's final performance
Iprovisational comedy troupe Without A Net is calling It quits, so be
sure to check out their grand finale performance tonight. The fun
begins at the U-Club in the Michigan Union at 9 p.m. Tickets for the
event are a mere $3, so why not indulge yourself. Go ahead ... it's
your last chance to catch this funny cast of hooligans.

,"4

Wednesday
November 20, 1996

Space scam

Bad acting, predictable story gum up gimmicky 'Space Jam'

By Bryan Lark
Daily MArs Writer
_What do you get when you place the biggest
athlete in the universe this side of Pele and the
biggest bunny on the universe this side of Easter
in a blender, and hit frappe?
That's easy - you get a
mediocre animated basket-
ball movie that is possibly2 R
the best 90-minute cross-
promotional commercial
in the history of advertis-
ing or cinema.
Starring the aforemen-
tioned sports star and rab-
bit, Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny, "Space
Jam;' by its own greedy publicity-stunt design,
has trouble getting past the overall commercial-
ism of its Nike-advertisement-meets-"Who

E

Framed Roger Rabbit?" concept and passing
into the realm of quality entertainment.
Fundamentally an advertisement itself,
"Space Jam," though fast-paced and enjoyable,
has little to sell other than minimal charm and a
mesmerizing how'd-they-do-that feast for the
eyes - but will absolutely
sell millions of tickets and
V I E W millions of related "Jam"
merchandise.
Space Jam "Space Jam," the Happy
Meal. "Space Jam," the
plush toys. "Space Jam,"
At Showcase the video game. "Space
Jam," the breakfast cereal.
"Space Jam," the lunchbox. "Space Jam" the
flamethrower. Frankly, these cross-promotions
are getting way out of hand.
Concentrating too heavily on what it can sell
to sports and Looney
Tunes fans of all
ages and ignoring
cinematic elements,
"Space Jam" primar-
ily neglects the ele-
ment of plot.
What little plot
there is, is an
omigod-we've-got-
to-save-the-world
storyline recycled
from either a Bond
movie or a B-grade
science fiction film.
Either way, here's a
quick breakdown.
asketball. Michael Jordan,

perhaps you've heard of him, has retired from
the Chicago Bulls, some lowly little team. Since
retiring, Jordan has ineffectually tried his hand at
baseball's minor leagues and has now retired to
the golf courses of the world.
Meanwhile, in the land of the Looney Tunes,
Bugs Bunny and his extensive, all-inclusive cir-
cle of friends (ducks and roosters and cats, oh
my!) are being threatened by the Nerdlucks - a
disarmingly cute race of little birdlike space
creatures who utter such faux-tough guy phrases
like "Don't move a muscle" in a falsetto remi-
niscent of early New Kids on the Block.
Cute as they are, the Nerdlucks have been sent
by their odious employer, Swackhammer
(voiced by Danny DeVito), to abduct and trans-
port the Looney Tunes crew to Moron Mountain,
a failing theme park on the Nerdlucks' dull
home planet.
Bugs, always the brains of the outfit, then
barters with the diminutive aliens to a winner-
takes-all basketball game, a space jam if you
will.
To make an already too-long story short, the
Nerdlucks' secret weapon is their ability to
instantly siphon new skills, and they promptly
absorb all the basketball talent from the likes of
Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley. After then
becoming the all-powerful Monstars, the
Looney Tunes then recruit Michael Jordan as
their secret weapon, who must then transform
the wild, misguided team into winners.
Surprisingly (note sarcasm), Jordan pulls off
this coach's nightmare, and the team goes on to
victory. Cue credits. Cue triumphant music. Cue
feel-good hugs and kisses. Unenthusiastic
yippee! Let's go home.

Bill Murray, Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan talk strategy on the court.

If the plot sounds like nothing to cheer about,
observe the acting for a good laugh.
Michael Jordan, not surprisingly, is not an
actor, nor will he ever be. Jordan is adept at play-
ing basketball and himself, but not much more.
Luckily, in "Space Jam," Jordan is playing
both basketball Jnd himself, so everything
works out nicely for his motion picture debut.
Still, there's a reason why Bugs Bunny gets top
billing.
Strangely, the best acting in "Space Jam"
comes from relative Looney Tunes newcomers,
including the always wonderful Theresa Randle
("Girl 6"), the always robust Wayne Knight
(Newman!) and the always fun new rabbit Lola
Bunny, a seductive tomboy who steals Bugs'
heart.
Getting past the plot and acting missteps, the
paramount detriment to "Space Jam" is its lack
of that special, magical something that underlies
the greatest animated spectacles, those produced

by Disney.
Even without that special something, "Siace
Jam" will thrive. After all, "Space Jam" is 100
percent a kids' movie, aside from some amusing
attempts at adulthood - including dry humor
courtesy of Bill Murray and Larry Bird, a
Hamlet impression, and even some cartoon
nudity. What do they think this is: "Spike &
Mike?"
Still, taking all of the detrimental eleme*
into account, "Space Jam" is the best basketball
movie since "White Men Can't Juinp"
(Remember "Eddie" or "Celtic Pride?"); the
best commercial since, well, the last time 'flogs
and Jordan teamed up; the best example of a
forthcoming franchise since Harrison Ford
cracked a whip.
Like another purely commercial franchise,
"Star Trek," "Space Jam" seems to live by a sim-
ple motto: "Live long and prosper from the sal
of our merchandise."

Michael Jordan and the Monstars play a game of ba

flluesy Shepherd to
open Dylan concert

Native American Silko
to read at Rackham

ByStephanie Jo Klein
Daily Arts Writer
Kenny Wayne Shepherd has known a
lot of legends in his time.
At 7 he sat on stage with famed
bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughn, he counts
the Godfather of Soul James Brown
among his family __
friends, and he has p
performed with
B.B. King on sev-
eral occasions.
Now on tour with Thursday at 7
Bob Dylan, the 19- with Bob Dyla
year-old blues gui-
tar phenom from Shreveport, La., is
proving himself to have the makings of
such a legend.
In a recent interview with The
Michigan Daily, the self-taught musi-
cian spoke of playing by ear as he gets
caught up in his music.
"Whenever I play somethin' that
sounds cool to me, I try to remember
it," Shepherd said, his Southern accent
audible. "Hopefully, the next time I
pick up the guitar I play it the same way.
"I forget a lot of the really cool stuff
that I come up with," he said with a
laugh.

Ke
:3c
3n, t

One would hope he won't forget his
distinctive style of playing, displayed
clearly on his debut release "Ledbetter
Heights." The album's staying power,
coming from rocking riffs on "What's
Goin' Down," twangy, wildly fluctuat-
ing scales on "Deja Voodoo" and sweet,
mournful picking
E V I E W on "While We
Cry," kept it at No.
nny Wayne I on the Billboard
Shepherd Blues chart for 20
0 p.m., Hill Auditorium weeks this year.
tickets $32.50 & $25 S h e p h e r d
learned how to
play early by mimicking the styles of
blues greats like Muddy Waters, John
Lee Hooker and Albert King. His initial
main inspiration came from seeing
Stevie Ray Vaughn play and until he
was given a guitar at 9 years old,
Shepherd satisfied his musical desires
by running around with a toy plastic
guitar made of fishing wire and string.
"He just made the guitar sound the
way I think it needs to sound," Shepherd
said of his idol. "Everything that he
played just sounded great to me. He just
had this-presence about him on stage. I
mean, if you were watching him you

Kenny Wayne Shepherd goes for a ride with his guitar.

couldn't take your eyes off of him.
That's a real, real gift, for somebody to
be able to grab people like that just by
playin' an instrument."
Shepherd tried out his gift in public
at 13, when New Orleans guitarist
Bryan Lee invited him to perform
along with him on stage. Since then,
Shepherd's been wowing audiences
with his style, traveling around sever-
al continents with his five-member
band. His plaintive notes come
through doubly clear on songs with
singer Corey Sterling's rough, raw
vocals, sending a distinct message
through lyrics and tone that he can
play the bluest blues.
But what could the thin, fresh-faced

blond possibly have to be blue about?
"I've had a few pretty messed up
experiences with women. They seem to
be the root of most of the problem,"
Shepherd said with a chuckle, at least
in the music. "I've had other problems
than that, but that's where a lot of my
song ideas come from."
Shepherd says he now hears from
some people he'd lost track of years
before, who seem to think they can
glom onto his newfound celebrity. "I
get a lot of girls callin' me up that I
haven't heard from in, like, three years,
saying, 'Hey Kenny, what's goin' on,
maybe we should go out sometime.
Like she would've called me otherwise?
See SHEPHERD, Page 9

By Mary Trombley
For the Daily
Leslie Marmon Silko is one of the
most respected Native American fic-
tion writers in the United States today.
As part of the Native American
Heritage Month and the Women of
Color in the Academy Project, she will
read at Rackham Auditorium tomorrow
night at 7:30.
Silko will be wel-
comed to Ann P
Arbor with a tra- Le
ditional drum Le
greeting by the
Treetown Singers, Ra(
a drum group
composed of
male Native American residents of Ann
Arbor. Shannon Miller, of the Ojibwa
tribe, will give a blessing.
Though Silko is best known for her
groundbreaking 1977 novel
"Ceremony," she is also an accom-
plished poet, essayist and short story
writer. Silko's major awards include a
1977 Pushcart Prize for Poetry and a
five-year "genius" fellowship from the
MacArthur Foundation. Her works
have been collected in the "Norton
Anthology of Poetry" and "The Best
American Short Stories 1975." Silko's
dizzying and subversive second novel,
"Almanac of the Dead," merited much
critical attention upon its publication in
1991.
Silko's Laguna Pueblo heritage
inspires the form and content of her lit-
erary works. For example, Native
American concepts of time influence
the chronological structure of
"Ceremony."
Silko also weaves traditional myths
and stories into the body of the novel.
"Ceremony's" spiritual center lies in
the connection between her mixed-
blood protagonist's modern life and the
myths.
Silko's works promote storytelling as
a vital method of preserving and trans-
mitting culture. As she writes in
"Ceremony": "You don't have anything

ack~

/ if you don't have the stories."
Silko's influence on Native America
writers cannot be underestimated. "Slie
is the pre-eminent Native American
woman writer," said English Prof. Betty
Bell.
Silko is important, in part, because
her works and message have reached
the general reading public.
" Ceremony' is
VI E wperhaps the Only
Native Amerrcaj-
lie Marmon text included
the canon," Bell
hursday at 7:30 m said. The novel,
rhurdayat .30pm. along with ' .
ham Auditorium, Free a cow ' t
S c o ~t'. t
Momaday 's
"House Made of Dawn," "initiated
the Native American renaissance, an
increase in the number of books by
Native American authors," Bell said.
She went on to say that Silko has
"influenced and mentored eve-
Native American woman writerfo
there," including Louise Erdrich and
Joy Harjo.
Silko is an outspoken advocate =of
Native American communities, and
has been honored by several tribal
organizations. "Yellow Woman"ahd
the Beauty of the Spirit," her latest
collection of essays, attempts to inter-
pret the Pueblo Indian oral tradition
and chronicles abuses by the Unit*
States Border Patrol. "Almanac of the
Dead" provides detailed accounts of
early native / European relations; the
novels bear witness to horrible mas-
sacres as well as indigenous upris-
ings.
Silko's worldview is not exclusively
Native American. Since she believes'in
the interconnectedness of all beings,
Silko prefers to view herself as' an
American author writing about sub
of worldwide concern.
What Bell called Silko's "generdis
vision" does not focus solely on the
Laguna Pueblo community, for, as
Bell said, it is "international and
inclusive, not local and exclusive."

JOIN THE MOST PROMISING
PROFESSION OF THE 21ST CENTURY _ .,w

Prospective Teacher Education Meeting
Tuesday, December 3, 1996
6:00 p.m.
Whitney Auditorium
Room 1309 School of Education Building
Call 764-7563 for more information.

Michigan's Premier Multi-Tap is also Michigan's Best Whiskey Selection
50 Scotch Single Malts " 13 Small Batch Bourbons
Wednesday is:
Whiskey & Cigar Night 8-11 pm
Each week a featured 5 pack whiskey sampler and a cigar only $20
Limit 20 persons, tickets available in advance

True or False?
iEnglish is, like, degenerating before our eyes
VGood grammar is a matter of self discipline

No need to resort
to miming on the
Diag for a little
cash next term!

0

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