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February 04, 1997 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-04

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Learn how to make different string figures. Getting tied up in all
those papers, exams and other homework? Loosen the knots of
school pressures for one night, and join Marcia Gaynor for an instruc-
tional session on how to make cool stuff out of string. The activity
begins at 6 p.m. tonight at the Ann Arbor District Library, 343
S. Fifth Ave. Don't miss the fun.

February 4, 1997


Comedian's film
gets no respect

Carter uartet,Jazz
Artists azzle crowd
By Jessica Simmons Carter is an extremely talented saxo-
For the Daily phone player. Once he got started, there
On Friday night, the University was no doubt who everyone had bought
Musical Society presented tickets to see that night. His style was
"Conversin' With the Elders," which fresh and unique. Throughout the
featured the James Carter Quartet and course of the night, Carter didn't refuse
the Detroit Jazz Artists. Also appear- the opportunity to ham it up for the
ing on the program was the Leon crowd.

By Neal C. Carruth
Daily Arts Writer
*t's hard to deny that tabloid talk
shows are a fascinating and troubling
part of American culture. A film that
handles this phenomenon with regard
for its complexity
and richness is cer- RI
tainly desperately
needed. /l Meet
U n fortunately,
"Meet Wally
S arks" does not At B
that void.
Rodney Dangerfield stars as Wally
Sparks, a television talk show host who
continually pushes the envelope of
good taste. Given the outrageous nature

!t i

of many talk show topics, the filmmak-
ers have trouble outdoing their targets.
The best they can do is a fellow (Gilbert
Gottfried, in a brief appearance) in love
with his wife's dog.
The credit sequence showcases a num-
ber of personalities,
VI EW none of whom are
strangers to the kind
Wally Sparks of aberrance that
* Sparks purveys. The
whole gang -
rwood and Showcase Sally, Geraldo,
Jerry, Rolanda and
even Morton Downey Jr. - pass judg-
ment on the extremity of Sparks'
approach and content.
The basic story starts when Sparks
receives an ultimatum from the network
president (Burt Reynolds) to clean up
his show - or else. After an attack by
his moral nemesis, the conservative
governor of Georgia (David Ogden
Stiers), Sparks fires back insults that
place his career in jeopardy. The gover-
nor's mischievous son then proceeds to
send Sparks an invitation to a gala at the
governor's mansion.
Sparks shows up, and as expected,
makes a mess of the party. While in
attendance, he and his producer (Debi
Mazar) manage to stumble onto a
potential sex scandal involving the gov-
ernor. Doing what anyone would,
Sparks feigns a back injury to continue

Rodney Dangerfleld stars as Wally, a TV talk show host, In "Meet Wally Sparks."

his broadcasts from the governor's man-
sion in the hopes that it will somehow
improve his ratings.
The film, having already bored or
insulted most by this point, continues
along predictably. Its cartoonish sensi-
bility revels in the kind of humor that is
hard to digest, coming from the mind of
a mature, competent adult.
The screenplay, co-authored by
Dangerfield and Harry Basil (they also
wrote "Ladybugs"), features a seeming-
ly endless stream of penis references, as
well as limply written characters.
However, it must be conceded that the
"comedic" scenes are vastly better than
the laughable attempts at dramatic ten-
sion or sensitivity.
Lest one get the idea that I have no
respect for Rodney Dangerfield, let it
be known: Dangerfield is an entertain-
ing comic. ("Back to School" is a minor
classic.) His constant quipping in

"Meet Wally Sparks" is quite amusing,
but it does not add up to a satisfying
Concerning the film's other star, it's
quite sad to see as fine an actor as David
Ogden Stiers stuck in a turkey like this
one. An actor has to eat, like everyone
else, but one should also have standards.
There is an awful moment in the film
where Stiers, a man who has portrayed
Lear, has his head vice-gripped between
the thighs of a professional wrestler.
Most disturbing of all, "Meet Wally
Sparks" features a cameo appearance
and performance by Michael Bolton.
Now if that isn't in bad taste, I don't
know what is. Any film that even men-
tions Bolton in a favorable light auto-
matically deserves a rating of one star.
"Meet Wally Sparks" is a film that
insults the audience's intelligence even
more than the shows on which it is
based. "No respect" is right.

Parker Duo.
The concert was
titled after Carter's
current CD,
"Conversin' With
the Elders." On the Mende
CD, he pays
homage to various
Detroit jazz musicians who greatly
influenced his musical career and his
The show opened with the Leon
Parker Duo. The Duo, consisting of
Leon Parker and Steve Wilson, started
with a song titled "Caravan." Although
the beginning was somewhat slow, the
Duo gained the audience's attention
once it got rolling. The song was a won-
derful mixture of the bongos and the
clarinet. Both musicians played with
extreme style and grace.
The third song, "Two In the
Pocket," with its upbeat tempo,
brought the mostly conservative audi-
ence to life. As Wilson led with the
saxophone, Parker followed suit on.
the drums. Each musician's style and
talent perfectly complemented the
The Duo performed many songs,
but the final selection was most enter-
taining. Parker's unconventional use
of maracas, voice and body language
was a musical treat. The audience
responded to the song with much
delight. The Leon Parker Duo was
only a taste of the wonderful music
that followed.
During the intermission, the rest-
less crowd buzzed with excitement as
it anticipated the performance that
was yet to come. When Carter
stepped onto the stage, it was as if a
fuse had been lit; the crowd exploded
into applause and cheers before he
even played a single note on his saxo-
phone. Carter had the audience's full
attention, and he held it until the end
of the show.
Throughout Carter's entire perfor-
mance, the audience would burst into
applause - and with good reason.


Not only is
V I E w Carter a talented
musician, but he's
James Carter also a great per-
S Quartet former who was a
ssohn Theater pleasure to watch.
Jan. 31, 1997 While on stage, he
engaged in direct
conversation with members of the audi-
ence, allowing them to actively partici-
pate in his performance. His onstage
persona helped to captivate the audi-
ence's attention.
Carter's supporting cast was also
central in making the performance a
success. The James Carter Quartet
added the perfect balance to Carter's
explosive style. The Quartet accentuat-
ed Carter's play by keeping pace. It also
allowed the audience to know it was
present, without drowning out Carter. It
would have been easy for the Quartet to
have gotten lost behind Carter's perfor-
mance, but that didn't happen; the
Quartet's members allowed the audi-
ence to see that, they too, were talented
The biggest treat of the night was
watching Carter perform with the
Detroit Jazz Artists. The Detroit group
consisted of pianist Bess Bonnier, drum
player Richard "Pistol" Allen and saxo-
phonist Larry Smith. It was an opportu-
nity to witness jazz musicians from the
older and younger generations coming
together to create a truly beautiful per-
formance. The Detroit Jazz Artists gave
the audience a glimpse of where jazz
has come from and why it is still pre-
sent today.
The concert's only drawback was
its brevity. It was apparent that the
audience wanted more, and through
its thunderous applause, it was able to
convince Carter to play yet another
song before he ended his show.
As a whole, the concert was wonder-
ful. All the groups played extremely
well, and Carter was phenomenal. He
gave a dazzling performance that would
have garnered praise from all music
lovers, young and old alike.

Rodney Dangerfieid looks smooth.

Developed characters make A2 mystery a treat

Bleeding Maize and
Susan Holtzer
St. Martin's Press
the headline of The Michigan Daily,
thanks to clever sleuthing by Daily
reporter Zoe Kaplan. A school known
for its pride in football and its high stan-
dards of procedure in matters concern-
ing the sport and its regulations would
not easily accept an investigation -
,ecially when the information is
ked during President's Weekend, a
gathering of important alumni.
In Susan Holtzer's "Bleeding Maize
and Blue," detective Anneke Haagen
pairs up with Kaplan to uncover the truth
behind the allegations of recruiting viola-
tions, when a weekend already tense with
excitement, anxiety and chaos comes to a
head in Michigan Stadium.
A group of prestigious alumni meets
to discuss the implications of the investi-
ion that will be undertaken by Alvin
Greenaway of the NCAA. Suddenly they
watch Greenaway lurch forward in the

bleachers of the stadium and then fall to
the football field, impaled through his
side by a Michigan banner. From this
point, the events build upon each other,
plots becoming subplots, until the action
reaches a climax, once again in the
Michigan Stadium, in front of 104,000
screaming spectators.
Lt. Karl Genesko, for-
mer Michigan foot-
ball hero and,
Super Bowl p
champ for the -
P i t t s b u r g h
Steelers, heads
the investigation
into Greenaway's
murder, the second
investigation of the
book. He is also Haagen's
significant other, thus ensnaring her
further into the events of the weekend.
One of the alumni who witnessed the
murder is Charlie Cassovoy, a troubled
journalist who creates more problems
for himself than worthy stories for The
Detroit News. He and Kaplan compete
in a battle of wits to be the first to print
the solution to the tangled web of disas-
Holtzer's descriptive touch vividly and

accurately brings the residential and
campus aspects of Ann Arbor to life.
From the point of view of a student, her
depiction of Kaplan's daily concerns and
activities are true to those of the average
student at the University. Since Haagen
and Genesko live in Bums Park, the
areas of Ann Arbor not as well-
populated with students
are also brought out
- with a tone that
denotes a love
r. and understand-
ing of this town.
Still, one
does find certain
oddities in the text
itself, such as the
occasional usage of
what Americans consider to
be British slang ("bloody" or "bug-
ger"). Now, this observation might be
overlooked if it were a British individ-
ual who had said the words. Instead it is

the conversations of Haagen and
Kaplan in which readers find this kind
of slang. Its foreign nature adds an
interesting color to their speech.
A second inconsistency involves the
position Genesko played for the
Pittsburgh Steelers during the Super
Bowl Game, in which he made a play
referred to as "The Pass." According to
Holtzer, he played linebacker, even
though an offensive team was on the
field at the time of the play. A line-
backer, however, plays defense, so it is
rather impossible for the two to be on
the field at the same time.
Despite these two minor observa-
tions, the plot is plausible, and the char-
acters are well developed, as event after
event brings out characters' true
natures. Haagen and Kaplan make an
excellent team as they search for the
truth in the mystery "Bleeding Maize
and Blue."
- Liz Mills

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UN Dance/Party Policy
Open Forum
Thursday, February 6, 7:00 - 8:30pm
University ClubMichigan Union
The Dean of Students Office will hold an Open Forum
on the University of Michigan Dance/Party Policy
for the purpose of biannual policy review and amendment.
Comments and opinions will be solicited.
All members of the University community are welcome.

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