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January 24, 1997 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-24

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 24, 1997

'King' reigns over prime time

By Michael Zilberman
For the Daily
In the wake of "Beavis and Butt-
head Do America" unexpectedly ruling
the box office, every TV-watching soul
in the country is expected to join one of
the. two warring camps: Those con-
viP dtha Mikr

vincean t a e
Judge and hisR
parade of stick fig-
ures are gleefully.Ki
corrupting Little
America, and those
who think the jazz
bassist-turned-ani-
mator is merely holding up a slightly
warped mirror to its everyday horrors.
"King Of The Hill," Mike Judge's net-
work debut, presents a strong argument
for the latter.
"King Of The Hill," running on Fox in
a post-Simpsons slot that deservedly
buried "The Critic;' is nominally a new
series and a de facto spin-off concentrat-
ing on Hank Hill, a figure similar to
"B&B"'s harried suburbanite Mr.
Anderson. The show, set in a fictional yet
instantly tangible Arlen, Texas, is posi-
tioned in the middle of the same Judge-
mental universe of trailer parks and cook-
ie-cutter ranch houses (brilliantly

U

ng

addressed by Butt-head: "A man builds a
house on alien burial grounds. The house
multiplies and soon it's the suburbs").
There is a substantial shift of focus,
though: If Anderson of the old show
was seen primarily through Beavis'
eyes - with the MTV logo permanent-
ly imprinted on the
I Wretina - as a buf-
foon babbling
of the Hill incomprehensibly
about his glory
FoX days, "King Of The
Sundays at 8:30 p.m. Hill" actually sides
with Hank. Mr.
Hill, voiced by Judge, is a regular guy
frantically grasping at his notions of
men behaving like men in the world of
"tofu dogs, designer underwear and
Very Special Episodes." It's only natur-
al, then, that the show's pilot would
establish Hank's chief nemesis: '90s
talk-show hypersensitivity.
In the first episode, the Hills are vis-
ited by a wispy-voiced social worker (a
slightly more malevolent version of
"B&B"'s spacey Van Driessen) who,
through a series of coincidences,
becomes convinced that Hank is beat-
ing his son. When the guest spins out a
tirade to the effect of "I see that you

have a lot of anger in you, and it seems
that you are projecting it on me," it's
Judge/Hill's delivery of the answer -
"I haven't even BEGUN projecting my
anger on you, twigboy" - that makes
the exchange hysterical. It is also
indicative of why we can latch on to
Hank as our hero: his intrinsic ability to
cut through the maze of PC-speak right
back to the trademark Lone Star "don't-
mess-with-me" stance and remain non-
threatening throughout.
The second episode, which aired last
Sunday, demonstrated that the show,
like "The Simpsons" before it, can
effortlessly shift our attention from one
family member to another. Its plot
hinged on Hank's wife, a substitute
teacher, taking over a sex-ed class (with
Hank's son in it), and the lady seemed
to hold her own just fine - with the
help of Kathy Najimi's line deliveries.
The only thing that can be said against
"King Of The Hill" so far is that it seems
to lack "B&B"'s absurdist catchiness.
On the MTV show, a constant hook is
provided by Beavis' teetering on the
edge of dementia: everything from caf-
feine to a bad video can suddenly sum-
mon his alter ego, Cornholio, whose
nasal utterances sound like Martian beat
poetry. In "King Of The Hill," this hook
could perhaps come from Dale, a next-
door conspiracy nut. After all, "Beavis
and Butt-head" took about a year to find
its tone, evolving from the juvenile nas-
tiness of "Frog Baseball" into the smart
and self-reflexive satire of "Animation
Sucks." Similarly, "King Of The Hill"
may take turns in unpredictable direc-
tions (one promising hint is planted in
the pilot - the Hills may get stuck with
a teen-age female houseguest). The fact
remains, however, that Mike Judge has
an unerring, and sometimes unnerving,
eye for lower-class America and about a
thousand voices with which to back it
up.

These are the beer-drinking men of "King of the Hill."

"King of the Hill" star Hank Hill poses on the riding mower with his family.

RECORDS
Continued from Page 9
weakest attempt anyone's made at
"alternative" music, mix in some sucky
lyrics, some really boring songwriting
and you have "Pet Your Friends.'
"Counting Blue Cars," the song
you've heard like 50 million times, is
actually the most tolerable song on the
disc. "Tell me all your thoughts on God /
I'd really like to meet her" is indicative of
the fluffy crap "Pet Your Friends" exudes
in multitudes. Other songs like "Charlie
Brown's Parents" attempt to rock, but
"Pet Your Friends" is so overproduced, it
sounds like a really bad pop album. The
songs drag and just don't leave any

impression on the listener at all.
Dishwalla is about as alternative and
tolerable as straight vodka, which is
what I'd have to drink a gallon of to
enjoy "Pet Your Friends?' If this is the
future of popular music, oh, kill me
now.
- Colin Bartos
Luther Vandross
Your Secret Love
Epic
Perfect. There is no better summary
for Luther Vandross' newest LP, "Your
Secret Love?' And more importantly,

there is no better apology Mr. Vandross
can make for the disappointing '94
release of "Songs,"an album of nothing
but covers, many weakly sung, which
best reflected the many other soulless
"R&B groups" out today. It should
never have come from one of the most
original and innovative songsters to
ever grace a stage.
Fortunately, Luther has realized that..
Although "Your Secret Love" does fea-
ture a few covers, this time the songs
are performed superbly.
Yet no one can overlook the
Vandross's original songs on "You
Secret Love."Vandross has brought the
full "umph" of the old-school ballad
into the '90s while simultaneously
shaping his music to fit a '90s mold.
The five-star example of this is "It's
Hard for Me to Say." This is much less
a love song than it is a song about love;
it captures the feeling of love in all its
many faces. Listening to this song, one
can envision two lovers, a little boy with
his puppy, a two-decades-long friend-
ship, a parent and a child, Mother
Theresa holding a leper, or just about
any other act symbolizing love in its
purity.
Of course, Mr. Vandross is one of the
founding fathers of the ballad. And
throughout this 12-cut album the ballad
serves as a base. From "Too Proud to
Beg" to "Whether or not the World Gets
Better" (duet with Lisa Fischer)

Choral Union makes
Sunday. appearance

By Jack Schiliaci
Daily Arts Writer
The musical genius of Russian com-
posers Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff
will burst into Hill Auditorium this
Sunday as the University Musical
Society's Choral Union joins the Detroit

making his debut in the United States
with the New York Philharmonic in
1980. He is a well recorded conductor
with more than 280 entries in his
discography.
Popov is one of the world's leadi
dramatic male vocalists, appearing reg-
ularly with the
Metropolitan Opera
SVI E since 1984. His list
MS Choral of performances and
Union roles is exhaustive
y, Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. but covers many
m, Tickets $18-$46 notable roles of dif-

The University of Michigan
School of Music

Sunday, January 26
Stearns Collection: Virginia Martin Howard Lecture
Michael "Chikuzen" Gould:
"The Shakuhachi"
McIntosh Theatre, 2 p.m.
Michigan Chamber Players
" Derr: Six Songs of Sundry Sorts for soprano, saxophone
and piano with Melody Racine, soprano; Donald Sinta,
saxophone; and Logan Skelton, piano-Ann Arbor Premiere
" Mozart: Serenade in C Minor for Winds with Harry Sargous,
oboe; Deborah Chodacki, clarinet; Fred Ormand, clarinet;
Richard Beene, bassoon; Peter Unterstein, bassoon
. Beethoven: Piano Trio in D "Ghost" with Louis Nagel, piano;
Andrew Jennings, violin; Anthony Elliott, cello
Britton Recital Hall, 4 p.m.
Super Bowl Alternative Concert
. Music of William Bolcom for Violin and Piano
Paul Kantor, violin; Stephen Shipps, violin; Andrew Jennings,
violin; Henry Rubin, violin; Ali Jennings, violin; William
Bolcom, piano; Eric Larsen, piano
Britton Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, January 27
The Fifth Annual Mozart Birthday Concert
-Ann Arbor's orginal birthday concert!
University Symphony Orchestra, Kenneth Kiesler, conductor
Symphony Band Wind Ensemble, H. Robert Reynolds, conductor
. Symphony No. 1, K. 16
" Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter," K. 551
" Serenade No. 10 (Gran Partita), K. 361
Hill Auditorium, 8p.m.
Tuesday, January 28
Arts Chorale
Hugh Ferguson Floyd, conductor
. "Three Fuguing Tunes" by William Billings; "O Magnum
Mysterium" by Victoria; "Two Welsh Songs," arr. Alun
Hoddinott; "Flower of Beauty" by John Clements; and a
selection of South African songs
Hill Auditorium, 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 2
Music Link Contemporary Concert

Luther Vandross
to"Crazy Love" to "Nobody to Love,"
Luther serves a heaping dish of old-
school lovin' upon the "Your Secret
Love" platter.
Luther Vandross has in every way
imaginable brought the spirit of yes-
teryear's R&B superiority smack-dab
into the heart of the '90s. This spirit
should be infused into a number of
other performers out there so that
"Your Secret Love" will serve as an
influence for a number of outstanding
releases -- and not just remain a sole
speck of light in a sea of dreary R&B
releases.
- Eugene Bowen

Symphony
Orchestra. The
evening of
music's specialj
guest will be
vocal sensation
Vladimir Popov,
who will sing the
baritone solo
Commemoration o
Also featured will b
Ove Andsnes who
ing the orchestra du
No. 3 by Rachmani
The 180-voice C
Thomas Sheets sin
fixture at the Univ
Their most popularl
annual productionc
recent years, the U
its scope and wil
Grand Rapids and
this season.
The Detroit Sy
marks its 83rd yea
season. It has held
guished career th
notable events as be
tra to be broadcasto
To this day, they,
more than 450,000,
cionados annuall
throughout the cou
Neeme Jarvi, on
sought-after condu
DSO in 1990 and h
to recording 20 co
Chandros label in
Born in Estonia, 1
Petersburg Conse
years conducting ni
and opera compan
Soviet Union and E

\PRI
Sun
Hill Auditoi

U
ida
riu

12 S. State St.
HN G RY FOR El S
Club M Salad (served with char-bro
Chef Salad * Dinner
* Greek Salad * Pasta-

ferent composers.
of "Cantata in He also sang as part of the Olym
f Peter the Great." Arts Festival in Atlanta last summer.
be piano soloist Leif At the age of 26, Andsnes has
will be accompany- accomplished a great deal. He began
iring Piano Concerto playing the piano at the age of 5 and
noff. attended the Bergen Music
horal Union, led by Conservatory beginning in 1986. He
ce 1993, has been a has recorded numerous major piano
ersity for 118 years. solos on the Virgin label. Both audi-
performance is their ences and critics have given him praise
of the "Messiah." In for past performances of the concerto
Jnion has expanded he will play on Sunday.
I perform with the Andsnes' American orchestral dce
Toledo Symphonies with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1990
curiously enough, was under the guise
mphony Orchestra of Jarvi - the duo has again reunited
r with the 1996-97 after seven years.
i a long and distin- Sunday's performance is a single
hat includes such point in the strong UMS season that
eing the first orches- includes everything from a series of
on the radio in 1934. Franz Shubert recitals to a performance
continue to gather of "La Boheme" by the New York City
classical music afi- Opera National Company. UMS h
y while touring grown considerably in the past yea,
ntry and abroad. with the number of season ticket hold-
ne of today's most ers nearly doubling between the 1994-
ctors, came to the 95 and 199-/96 seasons.
has led the orchestra With the talent drawn from all over
mpact discs on the the world, the reproductions of
the past six years. "Cantata in Commemoration for Peter
he attended the St. the Great," "Overture from Voyevode"
rvatory. He spent and "Piano Concerto No. 9" will be
umerous orchestras astounding. The works of a century ago
lies throughout the will again fill the hearts of a captivated
astern Europe until audience.

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