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April 06, 2000 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-04-06

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10A -The Michigan Daily -Thursday, April 6, 2000
Greenberg documentary
steps up to the plate


Guster's tune
remains the same

By Matthew Barrett
Daily Film Editor
Tonight's opening of "The Life and Times of
Hank Greenberg" at The Michigan Theater is a
homecoming in more ways than one for Aviva
Kempner, the film's writer, producer and director. A
.Detroit native, Kempner attended the University of
Michigan during the late '60s and even worked at
the Michigan Theater during her days as a student.

The fife and
Times of Hank
Showing at the
Michigan Theater
Starts Tonight
, ,

Her film, "The Life and Times
of Hank Greenberg," takes a
documentary-style look at the
life of Hank Greenberg, a for-
mer first baseman for the
Detroit Tigers, member of the
baseball Hall of Fame and one
of the few prominent pro ath-
letes of his day who was Jew-
Kempner's love of baseball
and Hank Greenberg started
early in her home where she
was encouraged to have a
"strong identity about being
Jewish ... and part of being
proud of being Jewish in my

In 1986, when she was in Los Angeles promoting
one of her films, Kempner heard that Greenberg had
died and knew instantly what her next project would
be. "The minute I heard he died, I knew that would
be my next film," Kempner said. "I wanted to contin-
ue making films about Jewish heroes."
Kempner saw many reasons to make a film about
Greenberg. "I think the combo of his records along
with the fact that he's the Jewish Jackie Robinson
and the fact that he gave up four and half years of his
service (to serve in the war) for all the stats in the
world, I think he deserves his place (in history),"
Kempner said.
After deciding to make the film, Kempner spent
the next 13 years raising money and shooting inter-
views for the project. Kempner drew her interview
subjects from several different pools in an attempt to
provide a more balanced look at Greenberg's life. "I
obviously wanted to go to the players who were still
alive who played with him or against him ... then I
wanted to get a combination of famous fans, as well
as what I call the everyday fans. It was my father's
voice I wanted to capture (in the everyday fans),"
Kempner said.
The entire process of making the film was difficult
and demanding at times for Kempner, who says that
"I literally used to come down at night and sit there
and pray to Hank and pray to my Dad and say I'm
gonna do this. I could just never give up, and there
were hundreds of times I felt like it. First of all, once
you promise the family, once you get money from

Courtesy of Cowboy Booking International
Hank Greenberg is the subject of a new documentary.
people, once you film interviews you just got to do
All the struggles involved with making the movie
have paid off with a film that seems to be connecting
with viewers of all ages. Kempner is very pleased by
both the film and the enthusiastic response to it, say-
ing that right now she's in "heaven."
Kempner has three suggestions for those consid-
ering a career in the film industry. "Number one is
pick a subject that you're passionate about. Number
two, go with what works for you," Kempner said.
"Number three, it's really not as glamorous as they
make you think, a lot of it is fundraising and schlep-
ping around but in the end when people get what
you're doing there's not a better moment." And it
seems that after 13 years of hard work, Aviva Kemp-
ner's moment has arrived.

home was hearing about Hank Greenberg."
Although she never saw Greenberg play in person,
Kempner made countless trips to Tiger Stadium with
her father and brother as a child,

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By David Enders
Daily Arts Writer
Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit may rule
MTV right now, but the guys in Guster
have no doubt it won't last.
"Every year, if you think about
what the big song of the summer
was, it has melody to it," said Adam
Gardner, one of the band's gui-
tarists, during an interview prior to
Guster's show at Michigan State
University two weeks ago.
The band is
currently touring
in support'of its
third and latest
Guster album, "Lost and
Majestic Theater Gone Forever,"
Tomorrow at 8 p.m. and has been
playing sold-out
shows in small
venues across the
country, including
a show at the
' State Theater in
Ann Arbor last
"We're sort of
our constantly on tour," Gardner said.
To the delight of their fans, the tour
will probably continue this summer.
Rumors that the band will be opening
for acts such as Counting Crows or
Dave Matthews have been circulating
for some time.
"We're trying to get on some sort
of package where we can sort of
take time away from headlining and
get in front of some new crowds and
play some big summer venues,"
Gardner said.
"But if things go as planned, the trio
- which includes Gardner, lead singer
Ryan Miller and drummer Brian Rosen-
worcel - will soon be headlining its
own arena shows. Steve Lillywhite -
(U2 in the '80s and Dave Matthews in
the '90s) produced "Lost and Gone," and
the record has given the band their first
nationwide critical acclaim. The record
has helped supplant the avid fan base the
band already has on the East Coast,
especially around Boston, where Guster
formed seven years ago.
"People who know who we are like
us," Gardner said.
That relationship has made the band
approachable to its fans.
"If you've heard of us, you know
our names and you've probably had a
conversation with us," Gardner said.
But perhaps the most unique
aspect of the band is its lineup -
two guitar players and a set of
drums. Hand drums. From bongos

to cymbals, drummer Brian Rosen-
worcel creates all the band's percus-
sion without sticks.
"It forces us to be more creative w
the instruments that we have," Gardner
said. "Without a 'proper' rhythm section
behind you really have to think in sever-
al dimensions when you only have the
instrumentation we have."
Rosenworcel doesn't seem to have a
problem without a standard drum kit. At
the Michigan State show, he played for
more than an hour, solidly driving the
band's pop-rock stylings with bandaged
fingers and flailing arms.
The band considered auditioni*
drummers and bassists for "Lost and
Gone," but Lillywhite advised against it
- and the band was pleased with the
"He knew when to stick in his two
cents and when not to -- we really
came away making a record that we
always wanted to make," Gardner said.
But the idea of Lillywhite as a pro-
ducer came as surprise in the first placy
"He came out to a show in New
York, we were playing two nights,"
Gardner said. "He saw the first
night and really liked it, we heard
he came and he left and we were
like 'Oh shit, he didn't like us,' and
he came back the next night with
Adam Clayton from U2. They were
supposed to see the Beastie Boys,
but they blew 'em off and saw us.":
Gardner did admit that the idea was
a bit daunting.
"When he first said he wanted-to do
our record, we were obviously thrilled,
but once that went away, we were like
'What's going happen?' ... He could
obviously pull rank at any moment,..
and he wasn't like that at all."
Things went so well that Lillywhite
toured with Guster for a while, playing
But a big name producer is just t
first step the band has taken towards
more mainstream following. They just
finished filming their first music video,
and the first single off "Lost and
Gone," "Fa Fa," has started receiving
radio play. But the band isn't worried
about alienating their longtime fans:if
they make it big.
"We haven't changed our tune
since day one," Gardner said. "I
think the reality is that people like
having their own little secret 1
feeling cool that they know this
band that you. don't ... feel cool
about something else."
$12 Tickets are still available fo -
tonight's show, with Lana and Josh
Rouse opening. Call (313) 833-9700.

'r ' I


L I V I P1

Photo courtesy of Sire/London
Hooray for cleancut white males! Guster brings its tongueincheek humor to the Majesty:

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