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March 15, 1999 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-15

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 15, 1999
bbey Lincoln passionately ignites in A2 debut

By Lauren Rice
Daily Arts Writer
Jazz diva Abbey Lincoln kindled a fire of
excitement in the Michigan Theater this past,
Friday night with her soulful UMS debut.

Joining Lincoln
mance were Marc
Abbey
Lincoln
Michigan Theater
March 12, 1999°

for the evening's perfor-
Cory on piano, Michael
Bowie on bass and
Alvester Garnett on
drums. The instrumental
trio kicked the evening
off with their powerful
contribution to the
show's high degree of,
talent.
After that exceptional
introduction, it's hard to
imagine that anyone
could top it off. But from
the moment she confi-
dently strolled out onto
the stage and graciously
bowed, Lincoln set the

voice permeated the theater, rendering the
sensation of a comfortable lounge setting.
Lincoln took a shot at love in the regretful,
"And It's Supposed to be Love," in which she
explored the craziness of commitment. She
succeeded in employing her sassy side to
lament the perils of love.
Her sentimental feelings radiated with
"Midnight Sun," in which she declared a vow
to remember the gentle touch of her lover's
lips, despite the surrounding world that could
crumble around them at any moment. Before
the end of each piece, she reassured the audi-
ence that she always picks herself up and
moves on.
But don't mistake Lincoln for a lovesick
puppy. She also takes on an idea of repetition
throughout generations in "Wholly Earth,"
comparing the spherical structure of the
planet to the cyclical nature of human lives.
Her songs were fascinating in the way she
succeeded in taking complex issues, such as
love and the world in which it resides, and
deals with it in a very straight forward man-
ner. Her simplistic style is what makes her so
inviting and readily understood, which is
probably the most powerful message of
Lincoln's music. Her smile and generous

laughter are a reminder that she, too, has
been there.
While her dynamic performance was mostly
composed of original works, she also featured
covers of Bob Dylan's "Tambourine Man" and
"If I Only Had a Brain" from Judy Garland's
MGM film debut, "The Wizard of Oz." While
she retained the majority of the original
melodies, her own flavor couldn't help but
shine through. These light-hearted segments
took a break from the sentimental mood and
evoked a chuckle from the audience.
Especially interesting was the use of back-
ground lights to convey the various moods
and tempos of the music and lyrics. In the
initial instrumental set before Lincoln's
appearance, the lights followed with a bluish
color to represent a moderate tempo, and
changed as they crescendoed to a bright, illu-
minating orange. Throughout her songs,
Lincoln would often switch back and forth
from the regretful to the optimistic. The col-
ors varied from blue, communicating loss or
sorrow, escalating up to magenta and some-
times red, which exposed her emotional
intensity.
Lincoln is clearly no new kid on the jazz
block. Her complacent demeanor and ease in

soft, yet passionate mood, interspersed with
raw heartfelt emotion.
Accompanied by the trio, she held her
audience captive with soothing vocals and an
enthusiastic performance. Her deep, melodic

4
Abbey Lincoln wowed the crowd with her Ann Arbor debut this past Friday evening.

courtesy of Verve

interacting with the crowd places her in the
same league with the finest of performers.
.Onstage, she constantly moves, smiling and

enjoys herself. She clearly has fun with the
audience and the sheer joy she derives
through a love of music.

Lost kid sinks in

By En Podolsky
Daily Arts Writer
Television movies of the week range
from the topical to the weepy; that's the
medium where they belong. It's when they
bleed into movie theaters that we ought to
be worried. "The Deep End of the Ocean"
is a film that not only has been made
before, it's been made as an odious TV
movie ("I Know My First Name is
Steven" has essentially the same plot and

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arc). It's a film that offers nothing new,
nothing unpredictable: every fear that you
can imagine about losing a child and then
getting him back ten years later fulfills
expectation.
Beth Cappadora (Michelle Pfeiffer)
takes her three young children, Vincent,
Ben and infant
Kerry to her high
school reunion,
leaving husband
Deep End of Pat (Treat
the Ocean Williams) at home.
In her mad and
inevitably futile
At Briarwood attempt to handle
and Showcase three little kids by.
herself amid the
mass hysteria that
stands in for old
friends reuniting,
Ben disappears.
Everybody goes
through the motions -and emotions-
associated with a missing child: Beth turns
withdrawn and depressed, Vincent is
neglected and left to his own young
devices, Pat is left to raise the remaining
children on his own.
Ten years later, the Cappadoras seem to
have gotten their life back together and
given up on ever seeing Ben again. In a
bizarre twist of fate, Ben, now known as

'Ocean
Sam (Ryan Merriman), lives two blocks
from their new home in Chicago. The
ensuing histrionics and mawkish reactions
are, as earlier, underscored by an over-
bearing string soundtrack, emotional
breakdowns and coping difficulties that
are at once utterly imaginable and utterly
laughable.
It's hard to believe that the same
Stephen Schiff who penned last year's
marvelously witty and tragic "Lolita" is
responsible for the tripe that passes for dia-
logue in this film. Pfeiffer sounds sickened
as she mouths her lines, as if she knows
how obviously bad they are. Ulu
Grosbard's direction is nothing special and
contains several inexplicable camera
movements that seem an attempt at art, but
are truly out of place.
There is, however, a ray of light visible
even from what might as well be 20,000
leagues under the sea. Whoever said that
the children shall lead- them may have
been talking about thisfilm,because that's
where "The Deep End of the Ocean" gets
it right. Maybe it's because Jonathan
Jackson, who plays the wayward, guilt-rid-
den youth Vincent as a teen, has done time
on "General Hospital" and therefore
knows how to' deal with a soapy script.
Maybe it's because Jackson and Merriman
are too young to know better than to be
better than their material. Whatever the

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures
Michelle Pfeiffer hugs Cory Buck.

reason, the two boys manage to elevate
their drama of brotherhood above the
string-pulling level of the rest of the film.
It's enough to make you wonder what
the film could have been had more time
been spent on the siblings (including their
little sister). We may imagine what it would
be like to lose a child, but what about the
brother who was left behind? This is where
"The Deep End of the Ocean" had a
chance to go the untrodden path.
In choosing to focus on the entire fami-
ly, especially on the parents and their
pained if predictable reactions, "The Deep
End of the Ocean" sinks itself. The ingre-
dients for a good film are here, but they're
just floating in a sea of emotional mania
that are all too familiar, thanks to tabloids
and news magazines.

Crime Wave
James Eliroy
Vintage
Genre writers often don't garner
as much respect as those whose
work transcends genre. But crime
writer James Ellroy has beat the
odds with his novel "American
Tabloid." This crime thriller won
Time magazine's novel of the year
in 1995 and his memoir "My Dark
Places" won universal acclaim as
well as a Time magazine book of the
year and a New York Times notable
book of the year in 1997. In addi-
tion to this, GQ named him 1998's
literary man of the year, joining
previous winners Norman Mailer
and John Updike.
While Ellroy's latest book, "Crime
Wave," is a collection of his short
fiction and reportage for GQ, it is a
wonderful showcase of his work.
This mix of crime reporting - from
'50s crime to the O.J. Trial - and
short fiction packs a punch unchar-,
acteristic of most writers. Ellroy'
brings you into the sleazy world of
Los Angeles, chronicling it less as a
physical being, and more as a social
being.
Ejlroy works his prose around dif-
ficult subject matter, not shying,
away from gruesome details in both
his fiction and non-fiction. Instead,
he uses lean, meaty sentences, free
from the fatty frills of writers, such
as Bret Easton Ellis, to convey the
horror of murder. Refusing to pull
any punches, Ellroy doesn't glamor-
ize the process of a murder investi-
gation or the people involved, giv-
ing it a stark realism unavailable on
television or in the cinema.
As a skilled novelist, Ellroy
works his magic on short fiction,
using alliterated sentences to give
snap and sizzle to his narrator
Danny Getchell. Getchell is a racist,

homophobic drug-addicted reporter
for the scandal rag "Hush-Hush." In
the stories "Hush-Hush" and.
"Tijuana, Mon Amour", Getchel
makes himself a part of the lives o
the movers and shakers in
Hollywood, getting involved in their.
improprieties and trying to avoid
getting murdered.
While the stories themselves are.a
stretch, their satiric nature create~
intricate plots. Ellroy derives a
great deal of humor from Getchell,
not just screwing with Frank
Sinatra's private life, but from tea
ing up with Sammy Davis Jr. an
drugging the late crooner in.
"Tijuana, Mon Amour."
Aside from a strong hand at fic-
tion, Ellroy creates as much interest
in his non-fiction works. Included
in this collection is "My Mother's
Killer," which is of interest because
it grew into the memoir "My Dark
Places." Aside from looking into the
death of his mother, Ellroy extend
his quest looking into the unsolve
murder of Betty Jean Scales in
"Body Dumps." Ellroy recounts the
failed investigation of this brutal
murder, in part, because Scales'
murder was at the time only the sec-
ond unsolved murder in El Monte,
Calif.; the first was that of Jean
Ellroy, Jamegs: Elroy's mother.
Obsession with murder and
unsolved crimes plays out in hi
'other non-fiction, "Glamour
Jungle" and "Sex, Glitz, and Greed:
The Seduction of O.J. Simpson."
Ellroy doesn't just use his medium
as an exercise in exploitation, giv-
ing just the grisly details of death
and murder. Rather, he makes the
victims and perpetrators into real-
life, flesh and bones, which is
exactly how it should be because
they didn't spring from his imagina-
tion, but from the belly of the beas
known as L.A.
- Ed Sholinsky

Eliroy's newest mixes'
true crime with fiction

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