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March 14, 1997 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-14

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Ann Arbor's own Dr. Arwulf Arwulf performs live at the Film Festival tonight!
Watch A27s favorite media technician/artiste present his contribution to the
35th Annual Ann Arbor Film Festival with a live performance of "The Lullaby of
the Rocks." The other entries in the festival will follow. Tickets are $6 and
$10 and showtimes are 7 and 9:30 p.m. For more information, call 668-8480.

Friday
March 14, 1997

8

J ones' offers good lovin'
Strong characters, great sex make 'Love Jones' a blast

By Bryan Lark
Daily Film Editor
What exactly is a "love jones?" one might ask. Ns it a sexy,
butt-kicking blaxploitation character somewhere in Pam
Grier's repertoire? Is it a tingly sensation down below that
causes women to cross their legs and men to drool like Saint
Bernards? Is it the undeniable realization that smacks you
upside the head when you know you're in
love?
If your answer was one of the last two R
possibilities, then you're well versed in
the lexicon of the hip.
You also could've said that "Love
Jones" is one hell of a screen romance,
and you'd be met with little opposition.
Written and directed by newcomer Theodore Witcher,
"Love Jones" is a superb sexed-up, jazzed-up cinematic love
poem that is kept heated by the electric charms of leads Nia
Long and Larenz Tate.
Portraying lust-to-love among the educated and artistic in
downtown Chicago, "Love Jones" is a refreshing, realistic
break from the oozing sentiment and declining intelligence of
most romantic comedies and also a break from films with
entirely African American films that overuse the phrase "the
hood" and/or star a Wayans brother.
Focusing on young, smart, attractive struggling photogra-
pher Nina Mosley (Nia Long) and young, smart, attractive
struggling writer Darius Lovehall and their respective circle
of friends, the "get together, fall apart, start over" plot of
"Love Jones" is somewhat less than innovative. Butjust as in
a great jazz cover, Witcher and cast take that same old break-
up, make-up song and inject new verve and style into it.

;E

Using the spoken jazz and poetry scene as a backdrop, the
film opens as Nina is rapidly becoming a cynic following her
merciless dumping at the hands of her fiancee Marvin (Khalil
Kain). Meanwhile, Darius is about to quit his thankless pub-
lication job to write his first novel.
Nina's plans of cynicism and Darius' novel plans get a lit-
tle sidetracked when they meet each other at a poetry bar. We
know, as they do, when they meet where
this vibrant couple is headed - it's get-
: V I E W ting there that makes this romance
Love Jones retread worthwhile.
After letting herself be seduced on the
***! first date and several subsequent dates,
At Showcase Nina believes that she and Darius are just
kickin' it, with no commitments to speak
of. That changes when Marvin comes back into the picture,
asking Nina to give their love another try in New York.
Realizing their respective love jones after many complica-
tions in the forms of another woman and MTV's Bill Bellamy
(as Darius' competitive friend Hollywood), the pair reunites
briefly, romantically and memorably until the issue of trust
surfaces. Nina and Darius then split with harsh words and
hard feelings that make the inevitable conclusion all the more
poignant and fulfilling - reunited and it feels so good, so to
speak.
Marked by believable and lovable lead characters, strong
performances, great sex and great music, "Love Jones" is a
glamorous, fabulous and lyrical film; its only fault is its
underdevelopment of its supporting characters.
So enthralled, and rightfully so, with its two leads, the film
opts to use its outstanding supporting cast, including "ER"
regular Lisa Nicole Carson; Spike Lee discovery Isaiah

Nia Long and Larenz Tate have a smiling chat in "Lrove Jones."
Washington; and erstwhile VJ Bellamy as set design and plot
elements with fleeting glimpses of a personal life instead of
the three-dimensional people we can love and believe in.
Since he issues the majority of his cast, Witcher must rely
on Long and Tate to carry the film, a task which the pair pulls
off remarkably well.
Both veterans of numerous "hood" films, Long, all soft fea-
tures and skepticism, and Tate, all charm and confusion, excel
in their roles as individual artists and compromised lovers.
Their chemistry is undeniable - whether making break-
fast, using photography as foreplay, ballroom dancing or
doing the horizontal mambo, you can't help but fall in love

right along with them.
"Love Jones" is just as technically proficient as it is roman-
tically and emotionally enthralling, with first-time director
Witcher creating a lush portrait of young black love, first-
time writer Witcher creating witty dialogue and expertly
crafted characters, and cinematographer Ernest Holzman cre-
ating such unforgettable sequences as the wrenching train
scene and that bittersweet rain-soaked finale.
A rhythmic, funny and highly sensual love story, "Love
Jones" is one romantic quasi-comedy that will satisfy your
cravings for one true love, on the screen, that is.
And true love is definitely a jones you can't deny.

Shepard's 'Fool' shines
in Basement production

By Kristin Bartus
For the Daily
Although the wintry weather pre-
vents us from going to Cedar Point right
now, Basement Arts is offering a heated
ride on the tumultuous relationship
roller coaster in its production of Sam
Shepard's "Fool for
Love" this week-
end.
"Fool for Love" F
sheds extraneousT
accessories and
simply focuses on
characters, their
emotions, and human relationships.
"I's a very exciting, touching play.
There aren't going to be any chandeliers
falling or helicopters crashing or any-
thing like that," director and BFA senior
Jonathan Berry said, referring to the
large scale commercialized theater pro-
ductions that are becoming popular
with modern audiences.
The play involves a cast of only four
characters. It explores the passionate,
yet destructive relationship between
Eddie (a rodeo stunt man) and May (a
woman trying to become mentally
strong). The two presumably ex-lovers
reunite when he tracks her ,own in a
tiny hotel room on the edge of the
Mojave Desert. They rehash their rela-
tionship one last time as Eddie attempts

to win May back and she tries to get
away.
The four characters tell two or three
different versions of the story throughout
the play, slowly revealing the truth."Fool
for Love" delves into themes of sin and
redemption, as well as the danger of liv-
_ oing lies and how it
E V E E destroys lives.
V "Fool for Love"

Rl

ool For Love is by no means a
Tonight at 7 and 11 p.m. cheery play, but it
Saturday at 7 p.m. addresses a topic
Arena Theater, Free that touches nearly
everyone. "I think
we've all gone through relationships
where we've done things wrong or
we've been hurt or we've hurt someone
else. I think that the healing process, to
see the effects of that, and the coming
through of that is very important. I
think everyone will be able to find
pieces of themselves," Berry said.
Beyond the attraction of the universal
theme, Berry commented that Shepard
seems to truly know these characters,
which makes the play special. "He is
probably the foremost modern
American playwright or possibly the
foremost modern playwright we have."
Berry finds that the cast's passion for
the play adds even more to Shepard's
material. "What really struck me about
it is that it is four very, very great roles

Heather Dilly, Alex Alloto and Mark Gmazel have a fight in "Fool For Love"

for actors and I had four very, very
committed people, Berry said. "The
play is so tightly wound, I couldn't
imagine working on a better script. It's
just this perfect little tempest in a
teacup I guess."
In addition to the tightly written
script and committed cast, Berry also
feels that the lighting accentuates the
emotions of the play within its simple
stage setting. "Charlie Packard, our
lighting designer, has really done a lot
to create, to pull attention," Berry said.
"There is an explosion off-stage, a truck
blowing up, horses racing away, gun-
fire, and things like that."
Berry views "Fool for Love" as a
meaty kind of play that has been scarce
in recent university theater. "They've
(the university theater groups) done
some Shepard here, but it's hard with

university productions. They don't do a
lot of the modern things that you'd go
and see off-Broadway right now, the
real raw, rough stuff. I think that there
was a definite passion and hunger for
these four actors to get a hold of some-
thing that they could really sink their
teeth into and run with," Berry said.
While he believes that all people can
relate to and appreciate "Fool for Love."'
Berry thinks that there is a specific
attraction to students. "I think this is a
great show for a college audience
because they are two young people, but
also it's a very hot, passionate, sexy
show and there is a lot that happens. It
takes place in an hour, so it's not a huge
chunk out of your evening." If looking
for a hot moment of passion on a cold
late-winter night, "Fool for Love" looks
to be a promising fulfillment.

Young Bear to share
beliefs at Rackham
By Sarah Beldo Native American culture from acade-
For the Daily mics who have never actually lived life
Ray Young Bear is a man with a on a settlement, who have not been
vision - several visions, in fact, which instilled with these myths and values
he has transformed into two acclaimed throughout their entire life. Young Bear
volumes of poetry and two novels. said their viewpoint is interestirigs but
"I try to divulge in cryptic form limited, because everyone is bound in
and diverse sym- some way by their
bolisms the super- PREVIEW cultural identity.
natural and ani- Young Bearn
mistic belief of Ray Young Bear wants to use his '
Native American Tonight at 8 own cultural iden
people," Young Rackham Amphitheater tity to communi-
Bear said in a tele- Free cate with the pub;
phone interview lic and to voice his
with The Michigan Daily. "My hope concern about the future of the
is that people can have a more concise Meskwaki. He has two main worries: ;
understanding of the tribal imagina- incompetent leadership that makes
tion." decisions without informing the rest a
Young Bear's latest novel, the people, and what he refers to as
"Remnants of the First Earth," contin- "linguistic atrophy."
ues the ideas and characters of its "A majority of our young people
autobiographical prequel, "Black use and depend on English too much
Eagle Child: The Facepaint rather than Algonquin," Young Bear
Narratives." It follows Young Bear's said. He said he hopes the literaturj
alter ego - Edgar Principal Bear - he is producing will demonstrate that
through struggles and celebrations on there are many different ways to
the fictional Black Eagle Child express oneself. Young Bear has cho-
Settlement in Iowa. sen to exile himself from contempo-
The Meskwaki settlement in the rary literature, so that his writing
book is based on the settlement where retains purity and transcends the4
Young Bear himself grew up, settled in ideas of what is currently being writ-
part by his great-great-grandfather in ten.
1856. In the book, Young Bear com- "I don't follow any particular literary
bines myths of his people with actual tenets,"Young Bear said.
reminiscences from his childhood to Young Bear sees his craft as one
create a fictional account with many without limits. "I think of myself as an
autobiographical elements. artist," he says, explaining that, in addi-
"As the ripple effect of creative tion to poetry and fiction,, he writes
waters gets wider, people get more fic- essays, sings, drums, paints and-per-
tional,"Young Bear said. forms his art.
Young Bear believes his message is Tonight at 8 p.m., Young Bear -
made even more important because he called "a national treasure" by the
is telling his story "from the inside out. "Bloomsbury Review" - will present
He said that much of the non-native this unique artistic vision at Rackham
world receives its information about Amphitheatre.
MOZART
E ZZ D F A
-i
SGG 5MUAN ~rH NGUSHsG r

All.

The University of Michigan
School of Music
Friday, March 14
Ethel V. Curry Distinguished Lecture in Musicology
"Stravinsky and Us" by Richard Taruskin,
University of California at Berkeley
Rackham Assembly Hall, 5 p.m. (reception to follow)
Sunday, March 16
Faculty/Guest Recital
Paul Kanor, violin
Paula Elliott, violin
Hong-Mei Xiao, viola
Anthony Elliott. cello
Arthur Gireene, piano
" Chopin: Sonata in g minor for cello and piamu, Op. 65
" Brahms: Quintet in f minor for piano and strings, Op. 34
Britton Recital Hall, E. V Moore Bldg., 4 p.m.
Guest Master Class
Jessyc Norman Series, inaugural class
Elly Ameling, voice
McIntosh Theatre, E. V. Moore Bldg., 4 p.m.
Monday, March 17
Composers Forum
Britton Recital Hall, E. V. Moore Bldg., 8 p.m.
Tuesday, March 18
Guest Recital
Mark Fisher, trombone, bass trumpet and euphonium
Britton Recital Hall, E. V. Moore Bldg., 8 p.m.
Thursday, March 20
M~iic FnpineeriuoSeminar Series

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