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October 14, 1997 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-14

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Blue Mountain plays Blind Pig
Blue Mountain brings its tunes to town tonight. Known for its win-
nng hybrid of bluegrass, rock and country, the Oxford, Mississippi
trio is sure to win converts at the Blind Pig. Be sure to get there
soon after the doors open at 9:30, to hear opening act Robbie
Fulkes' stirring performance.

Tuesday
October 14, 1997

5

'ibet' e
By Joshua Pederson
For the Daily
"Seven Years in Tibet" has been pro-
moted as a film spotlighting Brad Pitt.
Being that he is a headliner, the produc-
ers took advantage of his popularity in
orjiser to gain standing in the box office.
this reason, one might expect the
0ot to revolve solely around him -- it
doesn't.
In one aspect, "Seven Years in Tibet"
is the story of one man's personal pil-

xplores uncharted temtory

grimage to a greater self. More impor-
tant, though, it is the story of a country's
struggle for freedom of religion and of
thought.
Unfortunately, while tackling incred-
ibly worthy themes, the film may have
attempted too much.
Although an exceptional production,
it fails to give adequate attention to both
the personal and worldly components of
its plot. It gives the viewer tantalizing
beginnings, but is unable to completely

develop a singular theme.
From one angle, "Sev en Year in
Tibet" is the story of one man's search
for himself. A driven mountaineer,
Austrian Heinrich Harrer (Pitt) aban-
dons his wife and
unborn son to
attempt the ascent
of Nanga Parbat, in
the H imalayas. 4
Throwing off his
familial relations,
he tuns to himselfA
choosing cold self-
reliance and disowning those who
would care for him.
Allowing himself to be ruled by
emotionless passion, he loses that
which would bear him up. He disowns
love as a weakness, and effectively
loses touch with his own humanity.
Landing in an Indian prison camp
after the start of World War II, he is
drawn back to this humanity by what
begins as a personal responsibility for
his son, and develops into a deep-
seeded affection. Harrer's son is an
ever-present and motivating force iln
his exile.
Through a number of plot twists,
Harrer arrives in the holy city of
Lhasa, the seat of Tibetan Buddhism
and the home of the young Dalai
Llama. They form a close relation-
ship, based on the Dalai Llama's
curiosity and Harrer's need to fill
the emptiness left by his estranged
son.
So many admirable themes, so very
little time! Harrer's personal pilgrimage
as a human being is disjointed, and his
moment of revelation is both sudden
and unexpected.
His compassionate realization, while
welcome, is not understood, and his
conversion from unfeeling automaton
to compassionate individual is not fully
explored.
Fatherhood and the nature of paternal
love are both subjects that the film
undertakes, but is unable to completely
examine.
Harrer's relationship with the young
religious leader is abrupt, both in its
growth and its close. In the end, when
he finally does meet his son, their rela-

E
At

tionship is similar, portrayed with even
more brevity.
As World War 11 comes to a close in
the Western theater, China begins to
flex its imperial muscle and chooses
Tibet as the object
of its desires. A
V I E W peaceful nation,
neven YearS Tibet is unpre-
in Tibet pared to face the
threat of a military
attack. Its army is
Briarwood & Showcase decimated. That
situation forces
the Dalai Llama to take both a politi-
cal and religious stand against the
oppressive forces of Mao's China,
hoping to defend a way of life that has
been present for centuries.
Religious freedom is a topic that-
could be insufficiently discussed in a
12-hour documentary. Therefore, it is
hazardous to introduce it into a film
already rich with issues. The actual ide-
ology of Tibetan Buddhism is examined
only partially, making it hard for the
viewer to identify with the country's
plight.
War and its destructive power are
subjects that are similarly massive in
scope and equally deserving.
Accordingly, they are equally risky.
Tibet's military devastation is some-
thing the film deals with piecemeal, at
best, and it comes off as almost an after-
thought.
While thematically deficient,
"Seven Years in Tibet" is still an
amazing movie artistically. Its
scenery is breathtaking; photographs
of the Himalayan mountainscapes are
reason enough to watch.
The acting is brilliant, and Pitt may
give his best performance to date. And
while it may not sufficiently explore all
the topics into which it delves, "Seven
Years in Tibet" does open the viewer's
mind to these areas, inviting a deeper
investigation on the part of the audi-
ence.
This, in itself, is a commendable
trait. In this day, popular media sel-
dom seeks the creation of such a sto-
ryline. The creators of "Seven Years
in Tibet" deserve acclaim, if only for
taking this risk.

The Samples put on an energetic show at the Michigan Theater last weekend.
" "
Samples bing tively,
sirited show toA2

Brad Pitt, as Heinrich Harrer, may, in fact, give his best performance to date, in
"Seven Years in Tibet."

Inviting 'Bette and Boo' triggers laughter, tears

By Peter Altman
For the Daily
This past summer, The Samples
started a new phase of their 10-year-old
run as one of the most popular ir1epen-
dent bands in the United States. After
seven years of inces-
sant touring and the R
sale of half a million
records, The7
Samples hit the wall.
Performances on the Mi
HORDE tour in
1992 and concerts
with bands like Hootie and the
Blowfish and Dave Matthews Band
were well in the past.
In June, the band announced that
drummer Jeep Nichols and guitarist
Charles Hableton would be leaving
the band due to personal conflicts.
The internal problems had come to a
boil during the Spring of 1997, when
the band's tribulations became public
while on tour with Guster, a hot new
rock trio out of Boston.
On July 10 at Double Diamond in
Aspen, Colo., lead guitarist. Sean
Kelly and bassist Andy Sheldon
announced three new members of
The Samples: drummer Kenny
James, acoustic guitarist Rob
Somers and Alex Matson on key-
boards. The band also announced it
would be releasing a new album on
Sept. 30, titled "Transmissions From
the Sea of Tranquillity," a double CD
that mixes live and studio record-
ings.
In support of its new CD, The
Samples hit the road on Sept. 17, for
a one-month long national tour.
Quickly, the band encountered atten-
dance problems, highlighted by the
50 percent filling of New York City's
Irving Plaza Notwithstanding, the
band stormed into the Michigan
Theater on Saturday night for a big
performance.
The performance featured two open-
ers: singer-songwriter and acoustic gui-
tarist Cory Zipper and East Lansing's
own 19 Wheels. Zipper played three
original solo songs, warming up the
crowd for an night of electric music. 19
Wheels, producing a sound comparable
to Bush, played for about a half hour,
jamming out hard, punk-like music.
The Samples took the stage at
about 9:15 p.m. in front of an enthu-
siastic and devoted crowd, a hallmark
.of its shows. The performance began
with a unique and interesting home
video of the band clowning around
and driving to a house for a perfor-
mance. This segment was one of the
many times when the band effectively
used a video monitor behind the stage
to complement the music.
The band's catchy, world-beat influ-
enced rock music immediately got the
crowd into the show. James, donning
Chris Webber's college jersey, waved a
Michigan flag around, pumping up the
crowd and causing shrieks and shrills to

EVIEW
The Samples
ichigan Theater
Saturday, Oct. 11

cover of a Neil Young song, which the
band learned about an hour before the
show, according to Kelly. The dueling
vocals of Zipper and Kelly were no
doubt one of the highlights of the
evening and a nice change from The
Samples' usual electric routine.
Next, Sheldon took Kelly's acoustic
guitar and played solo with a soft ,key-
board accompaniment from Matson.
This was one of the many times that
band members left the stage for a break
while the others were individually high-
lighted for the audience to appreciate.
Kelly returned to the stage for the
final song (a rare song titled
"Information") and by far most excit-
ing and entertaining part of the
evening. With a video segment of the
streets around the theater in Ann
Arbor and pre-show activities outside
and in the lobby playing on the
screen, Kelly invited crowd members
to dance on stage. At one point, a
teen-age girl was playing Kelly's gui-
tar and Sheldon was standing in the
audience pounding away on the bass.
For most of the song, about 25 people
were on the stage dancing and jump-
ing around.
The mix of the closer to the show,
which featured a wonderful drum sold
by James, and the dance party on stage,
provided a triumphant end to a great
performance.
The energy and good spirits of The
Samples kept the crowd moving around
and involved. The return of the
Colorado-based band to Ann Arbor was
successful and entertaining.

echo throughout the theater. After two
traditional Samples' tunes, Kelly
switched to an acoustic guitar and
slowed down the pace with a perfor-
mance of "Sacred Stone." The song fea-
tured an excellent piano solo from

Matson and strong
guitar work from
Kelly.
A few songs
later, Zipper
emerged from
backstage to join
the band for a

Iy Christopher Tkaczyk
pus Arts Editor
"You are cordially invited to witness the vows of holy
matrimony between Bette Brennan and Boo Hudlocke,
at the request of their parents: Margaret and Paul
Brennan, and Soot and Karl Hudlocke, even though
they won't last longer than the Thirty Years' War."
Or so might say the realistic invitation that challenges
an audience to experience the joys
and pains of the institution of mar- RI
;The Marriage of Bette and Boo" TI
tned this weekend to a delighted
wd of all ages - those who have T
een married for years, those who
,May have recently been married and
those who might hope to get hitched one day in the
future; Whatever the case, "The Marriage of Bette and
Boo" helps all to see the downside as well as the com-
edy in human life.
Beginning with the actual wedding ceremony,
Christopher Durang's farcical black comedy tells the
story of one couple's history together as husband and
fe - from the very beginning until the very end.
Touching upon strong themes such as alcoholism and
sexism, Durang's play uses both Catholicsm and 1950's
mentality to poke fun at life.
Bette and Boo attempt to have children. However,
because Bette is Rh negative and Boo is Rh positive,
they counteract with one another, and destroy the baby's
blood. With many attempts at succeeding, Bette decides
that God is punishing her husband for his drinking
problem by refusing them any more children. Their dis-
agreements eventually lead to separation.
,,.1 Bette, depicted by Krista Braun, seemed a modern-
y feminist placed within the confines of the 1950's
marital prison. Her most effective moments arrived

when she demanded the respect of her husband and
father-in-law, as well as her child-like ramblings.
Braun's Bette was what captured the audience's hearts
and made them care about the marriage.
As Boo, Joshua Parrot proved an unbelievable
drunk. Whether it was an indication that his drink-
ing was not that much of a problem, or was just an
oversight in the creation of the character, it seemed

EVIEW
he Marriage of
Bette and Boo
Trueblood Theater
Sunday, Oct. 12
Jett explained his

a roadblock in development
that could have made Boo more
realistic. Parrot's acting is
superb in other aspects and
gives Bette many a reason to
hate him as their years together
grow.
As their son Matt, Charlie
parents' life together and their

purpose. Serving as both narrator and voice of the
playwright, it was clear that Matt's intentions in
telling story were to find his own peace in life.
Bette's and Boo's story is explored through their
family relations. Both of their parents are strong
influences on their characters, and provide a
humorous background as to why their lives are so
screwed up. As the misogynistic Karl Hudlocke,
Jason Lindner provided some of the play's best
laughable moments.
Stephanie Bernstein as Soot was excellent as
well, providing a perfect interpretation of dumb
woman who unwittingly laughs at all of her hus-
bands insults. Bette's parents, played by Jenny
Burleson and Patrick Moltane, illustrated the stu-
pidity upon which Bette was raised.
Moltane was quirky and believable as the unintelligi-
ble Paul who suffers from a stroke and is not able to be
understood by his own family. Burleson as Margaret
provided a sickening sweet June Cleaver-esque cutout

who delivered disappointing Mike Brady-like advice to
naive Bette.
lBette's two sisters, Emily and Joan, prominently fig-
tired in the play as well. Played by Jennifer Moore and
Dana Dancho, respectively, they counteracted Bette's
immaturity with charming freakishness. Dancho as
Joan seemed to be muted, and could have possible been
funnier if she were allowed to be bitchier. Moore as
Enily was a comedic treasure, with her character's
incessant need to apologize providing much of her
comedy.
While being classified as a dark comedy, "The
Marriage of Bette and Boo" is also a serious drama at
points when it reveals the trials that couples must face
when they realize that they've made a commitment for
life. Using rules not usually applied to in our modern
society, Bette and Boo must face a life together because
of their Catholic religious views. The Catholic Church
does not condone divorce; this surfaces as one of their
main concerns.
As their lives progress together, we see the way in
which couples not only evolve as one but also separate.
In strong emotional scenes, the cast proved worthy of
the demands the playwright had assigned. The tie-in of
both tragedy and comedy allowed the audience to
understand the humor in all situations, as well as derive
respect and love for life.
Great comedic theater doesn't lie in how hard you
laughed, but how hard you cried; the combination of
serious drama and dark comedy was handled well by
this talented cast.
Director Jerry Schweibert and assistant director
Francine Leibling should,be proud of their accom-
plishment: the creation of a believable couple who
portray life in all of its sad and laughable splendor.
Their marriage should not be missed; gifts need not.
be given.

The Samples: The early years.

I

Free
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'Kiss the Girls'tknow start
passes! your own business
Want to see Morgan Freeman and
Ashley Judd track down a serial
killer? Come to the Arts office at
420 Maynard after 1 p.m. today and
you can. Just tell us in which film
Ashley Judd starred with a killer Valhe .
Kilmer. Supplies limited.
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