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February 17, 1998 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-02-17

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she ice Storm" is playing tonight at the Michigan. Although the
critically acclaimed drama starring Sigourney Weaver and Kevin
Klein was snubbed by Oscar, you can still catch one of the finest
films of 1997. The Ang Lee film shows tonight at 9 p.m. at the

Urb IadjIm fatil

Tomorrow in Daily Arts:
What do Ben Folds Five and "The Apostle" have in common?
Both w l be reviewed tomorrow in Daily Arts, so be sure to
check it out.

February 17, 1998


Black History Month comes alive on television

lies, film footage and home photographs, the doc-
umentary presents an intimate portrait of the
social character of Birmingham and a view of the
horrible crime that possibly was a response to the
beginning stages of the Civil Rights Movement.
Airing on HBO on Feb. 23, 26, and 28, "4 Little
Girls" includes interviews with noted people such
as Bill Cosby, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Coretta
Scott King, as well as former Alabama governor
George Wallace.
Along with Lee's powerful documentary, HBO
also is re-airing some exciting performances of
Chris Rock and Ving Rhames. You may have
missed Rock's hilarious,"Chris Rock's Bring the
Pain" last week, but you'll still be able to enjoy
HBO's other offering, "Don King: Only In
America,' in which Ving Rhames stars as boxing
promoter Don King. Rhames, best known as
Marselis Wallace in "Pulp Fiction" won a 1998
Golden Globe for his role as King. "Don King"
airs tomorrow.
Just as Chris Rock's comedy is ripe for new
generations, the imitations and antics of Bill
Cosby have bridged multiple generations.
"Uptown Saturday Night," airing on Encore today
and tomorrow, is a 1974 comedy featuring Cosby
as well as comics Flip Wilson and Richard Pryor,
and heavy-hitters Harry Belafonte and Sidney
Poitier, who directed "Uptown Saturday
Night;" is also in the a spotlight this month. The
first black actor to be nominated for and win an
Academy Award, Poitier has been a pivotal figure
in the film and television industry. You can see
Poitier in "Mandela and DeKlerk," airing on Feb.
26 on Showtime. Poitier's talents bring the South
African battle over apartheid to life.

Another Showtime drama, "Blind Faith," airing
on Feb. 24, stars Charles S. Dutton, Kadeem
Hardison and Courtney B. Vance. A tale of a gay
black man in the '5Os, the powerful acting and
story tackle the issues of racism and homosexual-
ity in the family and community.
The filminaking of Showtime is usually well
received and critically acclaimed, receiving nom-
inations at the Golden Globes and Emmys annu-
ally. To promote aspiring filmmakers, Showtime

supports the "Sixth
Various Networks
This week, check
local listings

Annual Showtime Black
Filmmakers Showcase and
Grant Program" the pro-
gram gives filmmakers
$30,000 to make a short
feature, which are being
aired throughout the
Another awards pro-
gram on TBS, "1997
Trumpet Awards" honors
achievements of African
Americans in medicine,
law, entertainment and pol-
itics. The awards are pre-
sented Feb. 23 along with a
90-minute special about
young African Americans.
and TBS are not the only

Courtesy of PBS
Bill Cosby, shown here in "Kids Say the Damdest Things," starred in "Uptown Saturday Night,"
(1974) which will air on Encore today and tomorrow.

Showtime, HBO

major cable networks with programming to com-
memorate Black History Month. Beginning on
Feb. 23, the History Channel is showing Alex
Haley's epic story of slavery, "Roots," along with
the two features, "Harlem Hellfighters" and "For
Us, the Living." "Harlem Hellfighters" chronicles
a Harlem-based infantry unit in World War 1.
Airing on Feb. 21, "For Us, the Living" highlights

the life of civil rights activist Medgar Evers.
An in-depth look at the musical genius of
Duke Ellington and the political prowess of
Nelson Mandela are revealed in two A&E pro-
grams, airing on Feb. 22 and 26. "Duke Ellington:
Reminiscing In Tempo" portrays Ellington's rise
to the Harlem Cotton Club. Part of their biogra-
phy series, "Biography: Nelson Mandela" dis-
cusses his struggle over apartheid in South Africa.
No television programming would be complete
without one of its most successful entertainers
and philanthropists, Oprah Winfrey. Through her

talk show, her book club and her acting perfor-
mances, Winfrey has been an inspiration for tele-
vision viewers across the United States. On Feb.
24, the Lifetime special will premiere: "Dinner
With Oprah." She talks with Toni Morrison,
author of the Nobel prize winning "Beloved" and
the recent "Paradise."
Winfrey's studio Harpo Productions presents a
two-part film, "The Wedding," based on a novel
by Harlem Renaissance writer Dorothy West. The
film stars Halle Berry and Eric Thal and will air
on ABC on Feb. 22 and 23.

Johnson explores Shakespeare's scope

By Cara Spindler
For the Daily
The most recent "Romeo & Juliet" adaptation
has received mixed reviews, but what drew many
people to the theaters was the promise of a mod-
ernized Shakespearean tragedy. Audiences don't
necessarily care that Verona is not Venice Beach,
that guns are not swords and that Will himself died
about 400 years ago. It is the modern interpreta-
tions of Shakespeare's plays that keeps them alive
To describe the cinematic version of "Romeo and
Juliet" as "terribly American" brings up the idea
that the cultural context is impressed upon a
Shakespearean spine, and suggests that an
American version would somehow be different
than, for example, a Nigerian.
Lemuel Johnson, a professor in the English
department and a native of Sierra Leone, will speak
of Shakespeare's role in literature this afternoon at
a reception for his new book, "Shakespeare in
Africa (And Other Venues): Import and the
Appropriation of Culture."
Impressively and richly produced, Johnson's
book pulls the issues of Shakespeare's authenticity
to a deeper level. While questioning Shakespeare's
role in affecting African culture, Johnson looks at
his effects upon the culture and counter-effects
As a native of Sierra Leone, Johnson was raised
in a country that experienced direct affects of colo-
nization: The harbor of Freetown was a Golden

Triangle stop for slave exportation; the oldest
church in West Africa is located there; and later
Freetown became an haven for displaced slaves and
free Afric'ans.
Johnson's early education was at The Grammar
School For Boys, a school founded by missionar-
ies in the early 1800s where each morning his
teachers were still greeted in Latin by students.
"My reading of Shakespeare's imagery was pow-
erfully invested in the insular imagination,"
Johnson said in a recent inter-
view, "and, for example, the
nature of 'Henry V' that was
Prof. equally invested in the world
outside of England."
Lemuel "Shakespeare's work reach-
Johnson es not only the world of
Shaman Drum Europe, but also (the global
Tonight at 4 p.m. world) as in the quotation
when Shylock ('The Merchant
of Venice') identified the geo-
graphical spread of Antonio's
investment - 'Hath all his
ventures failed? ... From
Tripolis, from Mexico and
England, From Lisbon,
Barbary and India?'."
Johnson said that there is much complexity when
Shakespeare is interpreted globally, and he pushes
beyond the simplicity of "Look at human nature,
isn't that interesting?"
"You haven't gone to any of these places -Mexico,

Egypt, India. How then do these Mexicans write?"
Johnson asked. "My presence as, for example, a
Mexican, is an extension of Shakespeare's glory."
But there is another reaction to the
Shakespearean import: "I could do without that
glory because the way in which I enter into his
imagery is one in which I am reduced, forever pre-
sumably, to a demoralized other ... or am I reduced
to kind of an exploited and conquered woman, like
Cleopatra," Johnson said.
But people - not even Shakespeare himself -
do not exist in a vacuum free of reactions. One of
the subversionary plays Johnson mentioned was a
retelling of "The Merchant of Venice" court scene.
The setting is apartheid South Africa and the Prime
Minister has inexplicably become a black man. He did
this while having sex with his wife, who has remained
a white woman, and they are both on trial for possible
violation of the Immorality Acts. The acts forbade
sexual relations between the races.
The background noise to this impressive and
elaborate book is three volumes of poetry that focus
on Sierra Leone's and Johnson's intermingled lives.
As he explained it, "The fact that in our heads, now,
collectively, we are aware of ourselves in a complex
way ... and in a very real way ...]conversation is
contextualized by all these structures."
The plays that Johnson will discuss are not
Shakespeare's but subversions of Shakespeare's
work. Not only will Johnson mention Shakespeare's
way with other folk, but "the ways of other folk
with Shakespeare."

Daily Arts wants to
knock you 'Senseless'
This is your chance to see the
new Marlon Wayans and David'
Spade comedy, "Senseless."
Stop by the Daily Arts office-
after 1 p.m., and name two of
David Spade's most recent
movies to get your pass good'
for two people.x

Summer '98
An extensive range of graduate and under-
graduate courses in 28 departments. Call
today for a bulletin-or check the web for
complete course listings and an application.
e-ma :s' ft ou ae

Take a look at what we're offering
this summer:
New Courses for '98
Dgital documentary photography
Body and society
U.s. Latino literature: the Chicano novel
The culture of ancient Egypt
Jewish music: musical and cultural diversity
Topics in American cinema: film and the Beat Generation
Studies in the novel:Jane Austen
Philosophy of religion
Lab seminar in language and communicaton
Scholarly writng
Find these courses and all the rest
in our 1998 Bulletin.


Fall '98 or Spring '99
Want to spend a semester or two in
New York? Now's the time to think about
becoming a Visiting Student at Columbia



+ssm ima m

Recruiting for a Management Development
Program on February 24, 1998
-Gain Immediate Hands-on Training
-Leam a Full Spectrum of Business Functions
-Take the Opportunity to Contribute to the High
Standards of Flagstar's Management Staff
For an appointment call
The Placement Office at (313)764-1372

ra Continuing Education and Special Programs
Friday, February 20, 1998
3:30- 4:30 p.m.
Hutchins Hall, Room 236
4:30- 6:00 Pn.
Hutchins Hall, Room 236
Saturday, February 21, 1998
8:00 - 9:00 am.
!;A i Registration and Continental
Hutchins Hall, Room 2,36
A A9:00 - 9.10a.m.
Welcome Address
Dean Jeffrey S. Lehman,
A University of Michigan
Law Schol

U. R

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