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February 23, 1998 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-02-23

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Don't miss the Michigan Theater's special presentation of Ingmar
Bergman's "Wild Strawberries." One of Bergman's "journey"
films, the film follows a professor's rejuvenating sojourn into his
memories. In Swedish with English subtitles, the film begins today
at 4:10 p.m. Admission is $5.

UJte *cIigm J&tv

Tomorrow i naily Arts:
Check out this week's latest CD releases, including the
latest from Black Grape and the soundtrack to "The Big
Lebowski," in tomorrow's Breaking Records.
February 23, 1998

'Elmo' tickles fans of
30-year-old 'Street'


By Chris Cousino
For the Daily
"Sunny days/Keeping the clouds
away/On my way ..." airing on ABC. In
celebration of the 30th anniversary of
esame Street. Sony Wonder and the
Children's Television Workshop joined
together to produce "Elmopalooza!," a
musical and comedic spectacular featur-
ing the muppets and a slew of major
celebrities, musicians and entertainers.
Along with Elmo, Big Bird and the
"Sesame Street" gang, music acts such
-as the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and
Jimmy Buffet highlighted the program,
,as did entertainers David Alan Grier,
Rosie O'Donnell and Jon Stewart.
Stewart acts as the host for the evening,
providing comic spunk when he says,
"Hey, there goes R.E.M.," and the letters
R, E and M walk by. When Elmo acci-
dentally locks him in a dressing room
with the rest of the production crew, the
muppets band together to produce the
show. While Big Bird, the Two-Headed
Monster and the Cookie Monster run the
cameras and the sound under the direc-
ion of Bert and Ernie, Elmo stands in for
Stewart as the host. Assisting Elmo with
the show is stage manager Grier, who
pops in and out, ranting and raving in a
Harvey Korman-like manner
Along with all the problems back-
stage, the plot also develops around
some of the human members of Sesame
Street - Bob, Gordan, Susan, Gina and
Mr. Hanford -- who are taken on a
cross-country odyssey in a limo driven
*by Grover en route to the show.
Although the various skits carried the
standard Muppet silliness and fun, the
true strength of the show came in the
music videos shown throughout the pro-
gram. Great performances came from
the duets of Shawn Colvin and Ernie
singing my favorite, "I Don't Want to
Live On the Moon," and Jimmy Buffet
and Kermit the Frog's island spirited,
"Caribbean Amphibian." Cutesy En
*Vogue's, "I Want a Monster to be my
Friend" and O'Donnell's rap duet with
Elmo were fat from memorable, but the
Count rocked in a high-energy tune
called "Zig Zag Dance" with the Mighty
Mighty Bosstones.
Bosstones' saxophonist Tim Burton said
he likes "to think of other toddlers bopping
away to the Bosstones." Regarding the
Count's future with the band, Burton does-
n't rule out the possibility of a Count col-
*aboration. "Definitely. He's a big ham.
He's Vegas. He's an old school entertainer,"
Burton said.
Closing the music video entertain-
ment was Kenny Loggins with Big Bird
and a children's choir, singing "One
Small Voice,' a touching song about the
unique specialty of every child.
Showing children performing at a talent
show, the accompanying video provides
the ultimate beauty of the program.
When the song ends, Big Bird kindly
:ays to one boy, "You were great," and

the boy replies joyfully, "Thanks Big
Bird. I had fun."
Having fun and celebrating who we
are act as the greatest part of the mes-
sages "Sesame Street" has given chil-
dren through the mediums of acting,
puppeteers and song. "Elmopalooza!"
embraced all of these wholeheartedly.
"Elmopalooza!" wouldn't be com-
plete without some of the famous
"Sesame Street" tunes, so the entire
ensemble joins in a grand finale, per-
forming a medley of such memorable
songs as, "Who are the People in Your
Neighborhood?," "Rubber Ducky,
You're the One," and "C is for Cookie."
As the credits roll by, the cast finishes by
singing the theme from "Sesame Street,"
a fitting ending to a celebration of a 30-
year masterpiece.
Winner of more than 100 awards and

Friday, Feb. 20

watched in 140
"Sesame Street"
is a daily master-
piece that has had
worldwide influ-
ence. Through the
joyful lore of the
M uppets,
"Sesame Street"
teaches children
basic skills of
numbers, letters
and sharing,
while providing
them with a posi-

Wayans makes
ense of success
By Matthew Barrett
Daily Arts Writer
You may have played hopscotch. You may have played
jumprope. You may have never played "make me laugh or
Well, the Wayans brothers, creators of the humor-or-
consequence game, never seemed like part of the hop-
scotch crowd.
You see, make me laugh or die was a game the broth-
ers played to stay entertained during their early years. The
rules were simple. Someone stood up and had 60 seconds
to make the others laugh.
If they were successful, then nothing happened. But if
the other brothers could keep a straight face for a whole
minute, things got ugly. The defeated sibling then had to
do whatever the others wished. The most popular punish-
ment was to go wake up their exhausted and overworked
father by tickling him. And from this vicious diversion
emerged four brothers who have made their mark in var-
ious areas of the entertainment industry.
The youngest Wayans brother, Marlon, can be seen
starring in "Senseless," where he plays a character who
receives super senses as part of a medical experiment. "I
liked the idea of a guy who lost all of his senses, every-
body wonders about what it would be like, so the high
concept alone attracted me to it. It was also a chance to
work with (director) Penelope Spheeris."
Wayans has appeared in a variety of films throughout
his career, including "Mo Money," "Above The Rim,"
"Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking
Your Juice In The Hood," and last year's "The Sixth Man."
Also, unbeknownst to many he came very close to
appearing in the "Batman" series. The makers of
"Batman Returns" cast him as Robin, but later decided
that there were too many characters in the movie and
Robin wasn't getting his proper due. When "Batman
Forever" came around, new director Joel Schumacher had
a different vision for Robin, and the role was recast with
Chris O'Donnell. After losing the role of Robin, Wayans
joined forces with his brother Shawn for the spoof come-
dy "Don't Be A Menace ..." on which they both served
as writers, actors and producers for the project.
Marlon currently can be seen with Shawn in "The
Wayans Brothers," a television show that airs on The W B.
MarIon blames "bad writing" for the program's slow start
but sees the show maturing as the characters grow up.
"We're going to start dealing with more relationships and
try to get a girlfriend on the show next year: trying to
build and build the dimensions of the characters instead
of always going to different things on different episodes."
As his career progresses, Wayans looks to expand his
acting repertoire beyond comedy. "I think all comedians
should do dramas because you expand your range. But
every comedy I do I like to have heart. 'Senseless' had
heart. I just have to move into those kind of movies, like
'Mrs. Doubtfire' or 'Liar Liar."'
He also plans to continue writing scripts with and with-
out his brothers and hopes to eventually direct because it
offers him "the ultimate of complete vision." Down the
road, along with Shawn, Marlon says he hopes to start a
studio and create, star in and fund a movie with their own
"There is no way Hollywood wouldn't have worked:
said Wayans, "1 would have found a way for it to work.
There isn't anyone who's going to tell me I'm not going
to do it." With such determination, the future appears to
be bright for the youngest Wayans brother.

Courtesy of Hollywood Pictures
Beyond his sitcom, Marion Wayans is creating a career for himself in comedies like "The Sixth Man."
Wayans' 'Less isn't al ,as more

tive outlook about their talents, personal-
ities and curiosities.
Bob McGrath, who has played Bob on
"Sesame Street" since it began, enjoys
knowing its positive impact on millions
and millions of kids for 29 years.
McGrath, who graduated from the
University in 1954, has also learned
from "Sesame Street" about his five
children and five granddaughters. He
feels, "I became more sensitive to the
needs of my own children. It made me a
better parent, certainly for my grand-
Now that she has a daughter who is a
viewer, Alison Bartlett O'Reilly. who
has played Gina for 12 seasons, said she
feels "a new responsibility:" Bartlett
says, "It's the only show I feel safe with."
Though "Sesame Street" carries only
a positive message, the show has dealt
with tough issues. Weiss and Bartlett
both recall difficult episodes dealing
with racial divide. McGrath believes the
episode dealing with the death of Mr.
Hooper was "unquestionably the hardest
show any of us had to tape."
"Elmopalooza!" kicked off the 30th sea-
son, evoking much of the joy "Sesame
Street" has brought to so many children for
generations. Bartlett couldn't have said it
better, "This is something wonderful. This
is really something unique here" When
asked about his future plans, McGrath
wonderfully replied, "I'm having so much
fun. I'm not sure what I could replace this

By Matthew Barrett
Daily Arts Writer
Ever wonder what people in the corner are say-
ing about you? If so, you'd be a perfect candidate
for the medical experiment conducted in
"Senseless." The experiment magnifies your five
senses 10 times. Just don't get greedy.
And that's the problem for Darryl Witherspoon
(Marlon Wayans). After using all possible
resources, such as giving blood several times a day
to pay tuition and support his family, Darryl jumps
at the chance to do an experiment that pays 53,000.
Things are going great for Darryl until he
decides to take a double dose of the medication. It
follows that he still has incredibly heightened
senses, but he can only use four of his senses at
one time. Darryl's life and the movie both take a
turn for the worse from this point on.
"Senseless" gets off to a great start with a
sequence involving Darryl giving tours around
campus. Wayans is at his best as he directs the
prospective students around Stratford while try-
ing to do work for his other jobs.
The scene is set to techno music, which helps
get the movie going and establish tone. The tech-
no music that is played throughout the comedy
gives it an edge that could easily have been lost
with the standard pop hits of '80s or '90s.
Wayans does a solid job in the lead and at times
evokes sympathy for the struggle of his character.
But he is so off the mark in the predictable four-
out-of-five-senses scenes that they disrupt the
flow and squash the movie's potential.
David Spade is his usual sarcastic self in his role

as the spoiled, know-it-all rich kid; he provides a
convincing contrast to Darryl. The two share some
funny exchanges as their characters end up com-
peting for the same job.
Matthew Lillard ("Scream") plays Darryl's
hockey star roommate. His opening scene is enter-
taining as he talks about his evolution as a person

At Briarwood
and Showcase

but the remainder of his
attempts at humor center
around his well-placed
body piercings and a "Is
My Friend A Junkie?"
packet that lie picks up
when lie thinks Darryl is on
"Senseless" is directed
by Penelope Spheeris
("Wayne's World"), and she
does a good job mixing up
shots and moving the story
along. She excels in using
zoom shots from Darryl's

point of view to communicate his newfound sens-
es to the viewer but lets the movie slip into pre-
dictable and pointless slapstick once Darryl dou-
bles up his dosage.
Overall, "Senseless" has some enjoyable parts,
but there really isn't much that is new or innova-
tive. It is nothing more than the typical main-char-
really-is story, and if you want to see this, watch
"The Nutty Professor." But look for Wayans in the
future, because although he gives an uneven per-
formance. he shows potential for bigger things.

Carroll holds court at poetic Blind Pig show


By Ryan Malkin
For the Daily
After arriviMg at the Blind Pig on
Friday at 11:15 p.m., Jim Carroll entered
*he stage to a mass of people sitting and
standing cheering his name. This eclectic
crowd of people, with age groups from
19 to 50 and up, seemed rather anxious
to hear work from his as-yet-untitled
new fiction and poetry books due out
around September.
Besides, most of the audience had
enough to drink in the two-hour period
of waiting for Carroll to arrive. The audi-
ence was indeed ready to be taken away
on a journey with Jim Carroll - author,
* usician, and poet.
What a journey it was. Carroll started
out reading from his new novel about a
hot shot minimalist artist in New York
City. Carroll set up the story rather
quickly and read a passage that sounded
more like poetry than fiction. Once he
completed this brief passage, Carroll
went off on several tangents - or "riffs"
as he called them - about the family
*md past of the novel's protagonist.
Jim's long, red hair shone from the
small clip-on light placed on an easel in

front of him. As this pale and weak-
looking man spoke in a thick New York
accent, the audience sat entranced in
anticipation of each word..
Once Carroll finished reading from
his novel, he went into some rather ver-
bose poetry. He started with "8
Fragments for Kurt Cobain," one of the
more somber poems read over the
course of the evening.
Leaving the audience with the line
"Starts out like a kiss and follows like a
curse speaking of the fame and fortune
in stardom, Carroll quickly jumped right
into "I am a diagnosed board-certified
Many of the poems read did not have
names - Carroll does not like coming
up with titles any more - so most of
them are simply called "Poem."
Scattered between several of these pas-
sages, Carroll read such works as "For
Virginia," "Father's Last Words" and
"You Are Not Going To Ruin Me."
After reading about a boy that sniffs
gold paint because gold paint has more of
the solvent "that gets you ripped out of
your fuckin' mind," Carroll read a poem
about train surfing. "This one needs a lit-

tie set up,' Carroll told the audience, half
of whom sat with eyes shut, imagining
the words as he read, while the other half
cheered on his every word.
Not sure of what to expect next, as the
show had been an emotional roller
coaster, Carroll ripped into a poem
about having a jukebox instead of a
headstone. "People could come along
and put in quarters instead of placing
stones or flowers on the headstone," Jim
told the audience prior to reading.
After reading "Message Left on an
Answering Machine," Carroll read a
short while longer before calling it quits
at about 12:50a.m.
Although Carroll started rather late,
this poet, musician, and novelist from
New York City was worth the wait. Jim
Carroll started out rather jumbled. and
uneasy, but as the show went on he
gained strength and solidified his vocal

Author and musician Jim Carroll played
the Blind Pig on Saturday.
range. Quoting from one of his own
"poems" read on Friday, for Jim Carroll,
it was all "simply a matter of time.

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