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April 09, 1999 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-04-09

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 9, 1999 - 9

4iars concert claims to be 'Best Ever'

'Pleasantville' DVD
restores TV ma gic

Zaheer Merchant
the Daily
If there is one thing the Friars have
larger quantity than talent, it is
ibition. That, or the possibility that
y just have a sense of humor about
ryihing, seem to be the only expla-
t' for the fact that their annual
X is titled "Best Concert Ever."
nsisting of 20 songs, this hour-and-
a-half length con-
cert promises to
deliver exceed-
ingly large doses
the Friars of great music,y
irreverence and
Rackham humor that
Auditorium huo tat ,
Auditat8 threaten to put ~ ,
Tonight at 8 "Hash-Bash" to '
shame.
Currently in tou
their 44th year, The Friars, known for fine singing and comedy, mount one another.
the Friars (named
for the presti- Collins in 1955, they are a subset of The Friars have perfor
gious drinking the University's Men's Glee Club, and where from New York City
society that flour- for a team of eight tuxedo-sporting Denver to Atlanta and wer
eoat the University in the early college guys, they pack one hell of a during Spring Break. Foll
0) are an eight-member, all male punch. Their emblem, the frothy beer Spring Break trip, they arei
g group and are, incidentally, the mug, signifies the hallmark of every ly) glad and relieved to be
lest on campus and the second old- Friar performance -- "light hearted and assure a "guaranteed g
9the nation. Founded by Walter spontaneity." all." "Intoxicated on makin
Rolc aere tus excitement

a phrase they use to describe them-
selves, and after attending one of their
practice sessions in the Bell Tower, I
was left with no reason to argue with
that.
This concert marks the final
appearances (for all you die-hard
Friar-fanatics) of three graduating
seniors: Nate Pierantoni, Jeff Hogg
and Patrick Evoe. It will also witness
the debut of two new Friars, Phil
Kitchel and Jess Chestnutt. The songs
cover a wide range of music; every-
thing from the sincerity of "Why
Should I Cry For You?" to the foot-
stomping irreverence of "Liposuc-
tion" and "Banana Split."
If you just can't seem to get enough
of the Friars, they will be performing
again, tonight at Hill Auditorium,
along with the rest of the University's
Men's Glee Club, adding their charac-
teristic touch to the cultural event.
Taking this one step further, and prob-
ably one step too far, you can also
catch them running the Naked Mile,
donned in their designer bow-ties,
vests and beaming smiles. The Friars
Annual Concert is an event not to be
missed, whether you are an a cappella
fiend or just a cappella curious.

med every-
y to Hawaii,
e in Cancun
owing their
(surprising-
back home
ood time for
ng music" is

olicage Limited Edition
ygnosis
tystation
Rng games are an insidious lot. Ever since "Pole
sition" they've been fun while remaining strangely
ring. The best have been slightly off the main cir-
it; "Rollcage" is such an aberration.
Unlike most racing games, "Rollcage" gives the
syer access to weapons and driving on the walls and
iling. It's quite a cure for the repetitive nature of
ving around a track. Depending on your definition
a racer, it may not even be such a disc. Weaponry,
ving in three dimensions ... It might seem like a
glimulator to some. Just with tires and some
phat.
That would also explain the reason the tracks were
sfted with-a great degree of creative leeway. The

scenery changes track to track. From an icy pine tree-
lined road that you slip off of and into a wrecked sub-
marine to an active volcano where some of the roads
are glowing magma, each of the 40 or so environ-
ments has unique problems to overcome and soft
spots to help you along. These traps and tricks are
beyond the average devices of mere hairpin turns and
straight-aways, especially factoring in the massive
differences in handling of different drivers you can
choose.
There's also the design of the vehicles in the game.
Your car can flip over and keep on driving on what
was its undercarriage. And neither you nor anyone
else is ever actually destroyed; the kids won't be
turned evil by killing video game people. Or maybe
they will be turned evil by seeing no effects to vio-
lence. Ah, you're old enough to play.
The game's wall crawling makes the controls very
difficult and you're more likely to get blown off track

to race games
than to do the same to the surrounding cars at first.
Instead of ricocheting off an embankment, you fly up
the wall and, often, into the air, flailing helplessly like
a character in a Dalton Trumbo war novel. You don't
normally have much recognition of the X, Y and Z
planes while driving in real life, and strangely that's
harder to deal with than shooting or being shot at.
Must be the effect of the '80s.
The Rolleage Limited Edition also comes with a
soundtrack CD. While a common practice in Japan,
it's fairly innovative for this country. The music,
which also plays in a less crisp way while you race,
includes tracks from Fatboy Slim, amongst other
video game-friendly musicians. The album is atmos-
pheric, and it really plays best once you have positive
racing experiences in the game while one of the songs
is playing. It would be nice if it could stand on its
own, but that would likely detract from the game.
- Ted Watts

By Erin Podol ky
aly Wt
When I was younger, I used to
dream of living in the 1950s, when
my parents were kids - although I
will say that the 1950s of the early
1990s television series "Brooklyn
Bridge" seemed more appealing to
me than the bland WASPiness of
"Leave it to Beaver." Everything
appeared so much simpler then. No
global warming or AIDS epidemic,
white picket fences, unlocked doors,
the security of the future being just
that: The future, unknown, untested
and unspoiled.
In "Pleasantville," David (Tobey
Maguire) dreams of that same
place; in fact, he visits it every day
after school in the TV Time network
staple "Pleasantville" (show within
the movie, billed as "24 hours chock
full of warm family values") where
they use words like "swell" and
"keenest" with abandon and there is
an endless supply of mom-baked
cookies, while David's reality is
filled with a nerdy existence, a bad
complexion, divorcing parents and
teachers who constantly drill into
him how much the world he's grow-
ing up in sucks.
David's sister, Jennifer (Reese
Witherspoon) is a slut-in-training
who is "from the cool side of the
uterus" according to her friends.
During a vicious fight over the
remote control (David wants, no,
needs to watch a "Pleasantville"
marathon while Jen is planning an
MTV-chaperoned date with a popu-
lar jock), Don Knotts shows up as a
TV repairman from hell. He gives
them a special remote that sends
them into Pleasantville, where they
assume the roles of Bud and Mary
Sue Parker, characters reminiscent of
the kids from "The Donna Reed
Show" If this little turn of events
sounds like the bomb "Stay Tuned," it
isn't; if it sounds like the inverse of
"The Truman Show" it is.
The appearance of these two '90s
teens in the '50s world causes a rev-
olution in Pleasantville that at first
shocks and dismays David, but he
eventually comes to realize that
progress is power. The changes are
touched off by two key scenes, as
writer/director Gary Ross tells on
the excellent commentary track
included on the DVD. The first is
Jennifer-as-Mary Sue going out
with Skip; the second is David-as-
Bud showing up late for work only
to find Mr. Johnson (Jeff Daniels)
practically wiping a hole through
the counter because he doesn't

know what else to do. What these
characters all learn, Ross tells us, is
that free will exists.
The disc also includes an isolat-
ed score audio track, as well as a
commentary by composer Randy
Newman. Both commentary tracks
are fascinating, especially the
director's. Ross talks early on about
his penchant for taking high con
cept ideas and seeking out the sub-
versive, complicated, human ele-
ments behind them (he also wrote
"Big"-- kid trapped in man's body
- and "Dave" - president has
stroke and is replaced by looka-
like). Everything is kicked off by a
color adjustment instruction set on-
how to make sure your TV will dis-
play the color and black/white
sequences correctly.
There is a lot of subtle humor to be
found in "Pleasantville." There is a
lot of biblical imagery, as well, as the
Edenic Pleasantville existence is
changed, for better or for worse, for-
ever by the '90s interlopers.
Pleasantville becomes a town revolu-
tionized by sex, by thought, by reali-
ty, where characters and real people
alike realize that change is possible
and the world is what you, not some
crummy TV writer, make it.
I wonder now if growing up 40
years ago I would have known that I
was living in the TV cliche I longed
for. It's a fairy tale, really. You see,
David gets the luxury that none of us
have: ltving in a time gone by with
the knowledge of this time. That's
what "Pleasantville" is - it's a film
about a place that probably never
actually existed, but it looks oh so
appealing. David finds out about it
first hand and discovers that maybe
the present isn't so bad after all, and
that maybe a world without color
isn't a world worth living in.

playwiight examines lives of 'Comfort Women'

LOS ANGELES - Usually, when it
mes to conducting interviews, a tape
-o r is merely a tool of the trade. In
e of South Korea-born play-
-ight Chungmi Kim, however, the
zxpensive little machine placed on the
>le at Du Par's, tucked between the
a ght's healthy plate of fresh fish
d her interviewer's slab of pie, trig-
rs a surprising flood of emotions.
The tape recorder reminds Kim of an
terview she did - or rather, tried to
with an older woman in Korea
eim returned to her homeland in
9 d do research for her new play,
lanako."The drama premiered
ednesday at the David Henry Hwang
seatre in downtown's Little Tokyo dis-
et, presented by East West Players.
Kim wanted to interview the woman
out her experiences as one of the
omfort women,"a deceptively deli-
te term used for as many as 200,000
sian and European women, about 80
rcent 'of them Korean, who were
en or abducted to serve as sex
v for soldiers in the Japanese
perial Forces from the 1930s until
e end of World War II in 1945.
Kim says that "slave"is the only word
rwomen who were systematically
nsported as military supplies and tor-
red and raped by as many as 40 men
r day. Many were killed; many others
lled themselves.
"She was a good person, and she was
gt pain. I wanted to get the story
it of her, and she wanted to tell
'Kim remembers. "We were sitting in
r small room, and I said, 'Do you
nt to talk?' And she tried, she really
d, but after two meetings and many
tone calls, she still couldn't do it.
"Finally, I gave her the tape recorder
id said: 'Keep it for yourself-talk to
urself, into this tape recorder, and
ep it for yourself. Let go of the mem-
et
T woman, a survivor of multiple
iled suicide attempts, could not talk,
en alone in her room, to a tape
corder. She insisted on retuming the
achine.,
Ultimately, Kim decided that the tape
corder, or what the woman would
ve said to it, didn't really matter.
fter several attempts to interview for-
er comfort women, she found that as
r she was less interested in log-
ngle details of camp life and indi-
dual atrocities than in examining the

Chungmi Kim wrote "Comfort Women."
emotional scars of women who had sur-
vived 50 years of shame.
"They suffered during the war, they
were tortured, beaten up, starved - and
they survived,"Kim says. "And yet,
when they came back to Korea, to their
own country, they were ignored,
neglected. They had to hide their identi-
ty.... That suffering is, I think, more
tragic than the deaths.
"In this society, we have sexual free-
dom - somewhat. If a woman is raped,
she doesn't have to live with the shame,
(victims) sue people, they speak up. But
at that time, Korea was a Confucian
society, and chastity was more precious
than life itself."
The story of the comfort women was
not generally known until 1991, when
one survivor came forward and told her
story to a Korean newspaper, confirm-
ing a truth that the Japanese govern-
ment had long denied. Other women
followed her lead, and, in 1991, six
women brought a class-action suit
against the Japanese government,
demanding redress and monetary repa-
ration.
In Los Angeles, community interest
in the comfort women led to the 1994
opening of a memorial library in
Koreatown, under the aegis of the Los
Angeles-based Coalition Against
Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, a
group dedicated to the campaign for
justice and reparations.
Kim's interest in the comfort women
developed after coming to the United
States, although she has never fully
stopped researching issues on her own
country. She came here more than 25
years ago, after receiving her bachelor's
degree at Ewha University in Seoul, to
study playwriting at UCLA. There she
received a master's degree in theater

arts and also studied television and
screenwriting. She has written and pro-
duced for TV, including producing a
nine-part news series, "Korea
Today,"for Los Angeles' NBC affiliate,
KNBC, and several documentaries on
Korea. Also a noted poet, she is the
author of "CHUNGMI - Selected
Poems,"and her poetry has been pub-
lished in numerous publications,
including Amerasia Journal Between
Ourselves and the San Francisco
Examiner.
Kim also participated in the 1991-92
Mentor Playwrights Program at the
Mark Taper Forum, where her play
"The Temple of Mara"was presented as
a staged reading as part of the Asian
Pacific American Playwrights Reading
Series. She became interested in the
issue of the comfort women in 1993,
after hearing a lecture by Chung-Ok
Yun, a professor from Seoul and a co-
chair of a similar Seoul-based coalition.
As a result of the talk, Kim became
involved in the local coalition.
She had been working on a new play
when members of the coalition encour-
aged her to write something about com-
fort women. She took the idea to the
University of Southern Califomnia's
Professional Writing Program, where
she was awarded a fellowship in the fall
of 1994 to pursue the project. "In 1994, I
was given a book of the testimonies of
these women (published by the coali-
tion)'Kim says. "I was in tears - I was
so compelled to write about their experi-
ences, but I didn't know how."Her USC
professors encouraged her, and the
resulting one-act play, "The Comfort
Women,"won the grand prize at USC's
One-Act Play Festival in May 1995.
After that play was presented, Kim
returned to Korea at her own expense to
continue her research for a different
take on the issue; instead of recounting

the horrors of war, "Hanako"focuses on
a fictional meeting between some aged
comfort women and a very traditional
Korean grandmother of their generation
who meets them when she emigrates to
New York.
Conflict arises when the traditional
grandmother makes clear that she wants
to know nothing of that chapter of the
past.
Kim sees the grandmother as a
metaphor for what she believes is
Japan's denial of the harsh realities of
its history with these women, and Kim
does not think any theater in Japan
would be willing to produce her play.
But, even though East
West Players has received much sup-
port from the Japanese community in
Los Angeles, she makes clear she met
with no resistance to the subject.
East West Players artistic director
Tim Dang says he already was interest-
ed in the story of comfort women when
Kim sent her script to the theater for
consideration. And the play fit, too,
because the theater had been looking
for ways to reach out to Los Angeles'
fast-growing Korean community.
"It was one of those scripts you
couldn't put down; I was captivated by
it, and devastated by it"Dang says, and
he hopes the play will foster the same
type of dialogue between the Japanese
American and Korean American com-
munities as happened with another
recent East West Players co-production,
Philip Kan Gotanda's "Yohen,"about an
aging Japanese and African American
couple portrayed by Nobu McCarthy
and Danny Glover.
"This is the kind of play, when you
walk out of the theater, you have to talk
about it,"Dang says. "Since the largest
group among our season subscribers is
Japanese American, it will put two com-
munities together."

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The Office offNew Student Programs
is now recruiting
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Leader duties will include running check-in and
registration, facilitating an informational meeting,
leading a walking tour, participating in social
activities, and assisting in class registration.
Pay: $65/day.
International Orientation:
Training: Wednesday, August 25
Program: August 26-- August 30
Fall Orientation:
Training: Friday, August 27
Program: August 30 - September 1
*Stop by 3511 Student Activities Building
to pickup an application, or call 764-6413
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Application deadline: April16

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