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October 07, 1997 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-07

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UM19 £tAiWMx atg

See Tomas Gutierrez Alea's 1993 "Strawberry & Chocolate" in the
Union's U-Club. The film follows the confrontation of two men - one
gay and one straight -- in an ice-cream parlor in Cuba. A screening
of "Wigstock: The Movie," a film about the celebration of drag will
also be presented. Stop by the U-Club at 8 p.m. Admission is $1.

Tuesday
October 7, 1997

.Cynic G
By Michael Zilberman
Daily Arts Writer
Janeane Garofalo, it seems, might do
for romantic comedy what Christian
Slater did for the '80s teen-romp genre:
Bury it. And I'm
fairly sure she'd be R
nothing less than
elated to hear this. The
Remember how
"Pump Up the
Volume" and the At E
like slammed the
lid on the pretty-in-pink John Hughes
universe -- an angry kiss-off and an
amiable footnote at once? "The Truth
About Cats and Dogs" has managed to
back itself out of the Meg Ryan territo-
ry in much the same way. And now,
"The Matchmaker" enables us to start
talking about a trend.
At first sight, Garofalo appears to be
just about the least likely contender for
the Annie Hall of Fame, due not to the
"untraditional" looks (she is astonish-
ingly photogenic as well as just plain
pretty) but the decidedly unromantic in-
your-dreams scowl.
Growing outward from a caustic
stand-up persona, Janeane's screen
image is that of a raven-haired
Replacements fan in the back of, every
class and of a smart woman scorned a

irofalo lost in scenic Ireland

0

Big

couple times too many; in both cases,
the most comfortable defense is sarcas-
tic distancing, and that's precisely what
Garofalo's great at.
It was also a minor miracle, and per-
haps a sign of an A-
E V IEWlist actress to come,
that she reined in
Matchmaker her image short of
crossing into a
shrill schtick a la
arwood and showcase Rosie Perez: telling
off a macho dork or
doing a slow burn off a snobbish
saleslady, Garofalo is still fundamental-
ly likable in scenarios that would reduce
hundreds of others to a bitchy one-note
cipher.
But a too-well defined screen per-
sona invites a temptingly easy solution.
The audience loves the character, now
what do we do with it? Send it on a for-
eign trip! "The Matchmaker" casts
Garofalo as Marcy, a political aide dig-
ging up a senator's family roots for a
pre-election stunt, and the film feels
part like a "Janeane goes to Ireland"
HBO special, part like cashing in on a
predecessor's success. Even a cute dog
tags along as a sad-snouted reminder
that our heroine used to be Abby Barnes
from "The Truth About...."
A huge part of that movie's pleasure,

however, lay in seeing Abby's defenses
gradually melt in the presence of Ben
Chaplin's unibrowed photographer.
"The Matchmaker" throws Garofalo
into the arms of Sean, a barfly ex-jour-
nalist played by David O'Hara, and
man, is this a step down! Their fling,
staged in various green and grey
locales, is supposed to teach Boston girl
Marcy a Big Lesson - and the lesson
is to not give a damn. "Sometimes the
easy way out is the right way out," notes
jobless Sean, who evidently knows a

thing or two about the subject. As a
result, Marcy starts doubting her career
choice - understandale. especialy
when the end result of it is personified
by Denis Leary (in a nice bit part of a
shady spin doctor).
The joke of the movie is, everybody
in town is busy trying to set Marcy up
with Sean anyway: She's landed in the
middle of a rather strange matchmak-
ing festival - it's never clear, by the
way, whether the festival is a conven-
tion of actual matchmakers, or the
town simply turns into a giant singles
bar.
This, what appears to be the central
plot of the film, becomes instead an
odd throwaway sandwiched between a
political caper and a love story. And
hell, what kind of a love story hooks
up its two heroes via a matchmaker
anyway?
Janeane Garofalo does what she can
to save the proceedings, and almost suc-
ceeds. Her idiosyncratically witty alter
ego is fun to observe under any circum-
stances: a lit major's pinup, a lover as an
intellectual challenge. She deserves bet-
ter material (she writes better material,
in fact), and so do we. "The
Matchmaker," meanwhile, proves its
own philosophy wrong. Sometimes an
easy way out is, well, just that.

Garofalo and David O'Hara

Janeane Garofalo stars as Marcy in Mark Joffe's latest, "The Matchmakerl

Spiegelman to read at Shaman

By Sarah Beldo
Dly Arts Writerg
Long before Art Spiegelman was a guest in panel discus-
sions with the likes of Elie Wiesel and Steven Spielberg, he
was doing something that most self-respecting adults found
despicable: helping create the much-
revered Garbage Pail Kids. Luckily, con-
temporary kids who don't know the plea- P R
sures of collecting the vile stickers can be Ar
introduced to the artist through his new
book, "Open Me ... I'm a Dog."
Today, there are few adults who would
find Spiegelman despicable. In 1992, he
merged visual and literary artforms and
broke taboos when he won the Pulitzer Prize for his comic
collections "Maus" and "Maus I." The intricate, powerful
volumes are transcriptions of Spiegelman's conversations
with his father, a Holocaust survivor. The text is what gives
the story its weight, while the visual medium lets Spiegelman
lend a witty and inventive twist; each group of people is por-
trayed as a different animal - the Jews are mice, the
Germans are cats, the Polish are pigs.
Spiegelman had long been known for his edgy innovation. A
Lesser- known fact is the cult roots of Spiegelman's own history.

RU
1

The artist spent 20 years working for the Topps Gum Company to
create the Garbage Pail Kids and other like-minded products. This
start as an irreverent illustrator who indulged children's offbeat fas-
cinations has never really left Spiegelman. His new children's
book, "Open Me ... I'm a Dog" is a wacky tale about a dog who
has a run-in with an evil witch. The witch
turns him first into a shepherd in Germany
E V I E W (as opposed to a German Shepherd), then
into a frog, and finally into the book itself,
i$piegelman which is sold connected to a leash.
Today at 4 There is a subversive edge that emerges
Shaman D u even in this, Spiegelman's first children's
book. Born in Sweden and raised in New
York, Spiegelman filled the early years of
his career with avant-garde comics ventures. He is the co-founder
and editor of "Raw" comix magazine and illustrated the cult clas-
sic, "The Wild Party," by Joseph Moncure March. He's been a
contributing editor and cover artist for "The New Yorker" since
1992 and currently edits the comics for Details magazine.
As one of the most respected comic book artists and illustra-
tors of our time, a chance to meet Spiegelman should be fasci-
nating for adult fans ofhis acclaimed work. And, for those of us
who remember the Garbage Pail Kids, it's a chance to thank him
for adding a page to our own personal histories.

Trueblood
absurd 'Ma
By Christopher Tkaczyk
Campus Arts Editor
Out of the American 1950s emerged
an impudent school of thought. Home+
life embodied a male dominant society

to feature
They see the problems and reality that
the 1950's husband and wife must.face.
Through different scenes that relt
one view of an everyday lifestyle the
family of Bette and Boo is presented

in which the
woman was a wife
and mother.
Thankfully, this
American tradition
has since died in
our contemporary
society - where

PREVIEW
The Marriage of
Bette and Boo
Thurs-Sat., 8 p.m.
at Trueblood Theater $7: call 764-0450

using major thepies
of alcoholism,
p s e u d o -
Catholicism, and
misogynism - a
pretty distasteful
combination. The
humor derives from

w.:.

women are supposed to have an equal
opportunity and co-dominance in the
workplace and home. While violent
feminists tend to disagree with that
idea, we can say that we have come a
long way since the 'SOs.
"The Marriage of Bette and Boo," a
play written by Christopher Durang,
will open Thursday as part of the
Department of Theater and Drama's
1997-98 season. The play, described as
a dark satirical comedy, uses a 1980's
mentality to poke fun at the backward
lifestyle of the American home of the
'Ss. In a world where women are treat-
ed as stupid feeble creatures and serve
their husbands only as cooks, lovers,
maids and baby factories, "The
Marriage of Bette and Boo" strives to
consciously educate its audience of the
mishappenings of our past.
"The Marriage of Bette and Boo"
follows just that - the marriage of
Bette and Boo. The lives of a man and
a woman are followed and scrutinized
under the eye of a suspicious audience.

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Picture Perfect: Krista Braun and
Joshua Parrott star as Bette and Boo
in Christopher Durang's "The Marriage
of Bette and Boo."

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the way in which the charaeters It
each other; we laugh at the gross re<i-
ty by which these characters interact.
The play is an absurdist comedy that is
not meant to be taken as a gtuclj-to life.
Using modern television comparisons,
it's a view of a world that is represented
today only by re-runs of "Donna Reed,"
and "Leave it to Beaver" - two televi-
sion programs that were designed to cre-
ate the image of the honey-drenched
lifestyle of an average American fai.
"It desperately strives to be "the Betty
Crocker cookbook," the show's director
and University theater Prof. Jerry
Schweibert said in an interview. -Bette
and Boo reveals the truth in 'our
American past and draws humor from
the harsh reality that has sincejbeen for-
gotten.
The play begins with the' wedding
itself. The audience is allowed to take
part in the ceremony that will emtk
Bette and Boo upon life's -voy .
Through a series of narration mono-
logues and soliloquies, their son'matt,
who is grown and looking back at his
parents' life together, serves as narrator
and voice of the playwright. Hecnbierges
within the play as himself during differ-
ent parts of his life - as chit-as ado-
lescent, college student and graduate.
His life is the product of Bette and Boo's
relationship. His character reflects
moments of his parents' life events. e
purpose of the play is to help Matt sort
out his own world - a world created
within an unbalanced framework.
The intentions with this production
aren't to bring a social enlightenment to its
audience, but rather to serve as a delight-
ful piece of entertainment. "It's a fun piece
of theater," Schweibert said. "My goal is
to have the audience come from the the-
ater and say 'Wow! That was fun.'
"This play is best described as '
Worst Day of Our Lives," Schweibert
added. Nothing goes right within "The
Marriage of Bette and Boo." Daily disas-
ter abounds for the married couple as they
try in earnest to build their lives according
to the image of the American family.
The satire is told in a series of 33
non-chronological scenes -- all which
go by pretty fast. "This dark and dan-
gerous comedy zips along at an inc '-
ibly fast-pace" he said. "The twot
play will clock in at less than two hours
from beginning to end -- including
intermission" - a time limit not com-
mon in today's theater. "As a director,
my job is to try to make the story as
clear as possible, and as fun as possible.
I want it to be fast-moving."

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