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April 10, 2000 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-04-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

SAll you need is love...
Today marks the 30th anniversary of
the Beatles' break-up. Remember that,
in the end, the love you take is equal
to the love you make.

A ftoftd#.=, 'Baft

michigandaily.com /arts

APRIL 10, 2000


Gregarious director explores his film, humanity

By Aaron Rich
Daily Arts Writer
Errol Morris is an extremely busy man, current-
ly working on a television series and several com-
mercial spots for corporations, not to mention all
the press he's doing for his latest film, "Mr. Death
The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr." and
work for whatever his next film will be. He is espe-
cially hard to track down for an interview.
After canceling plans to fly to Detroit to speak
with press about his new film because he could-
n't leave his directing work in Boston, his office
pushed our rescheduled interview back several
times because he was in the middle of meetings
surrounding his new television series, "First
Person," for Bravo. Once on the phone, though,
Morris demonstrated why his schedule is so hec-
tic: He talks a lot and he's a really good talker.
"Mr. Death" tells the story of Fred Lcuchter, a
man who made a name for himself in the state
execution world in the mid 1980s by fine tuning
electric chairs, lethal injection machines, gal-
lows and gas chambers for several states who

needed their death devices fixed or rebuilt.
His name appeared again in the late '80s
when he was called ,as an expert witness in a
case in Canada involving Ernst Zundel, a man
who claimed the Holocaust was a myth.
Leuchter was employed as an expert on gas
chambers (because he had had limited design
work on them in the U.S.) to go to Auschwitz-
Birkenau, the Nazi concentration camp in
Poland, to determine the exact nature of what are
commonly known as gas chambers used for exe-
cutions. Leuchter concluded that these were not
gas chambers, partly due bad scientific work and
partly due to questionable reasoning.
Morris first read about Leuchter in the news
regarding his domestic work on capitol execu-
tion devices. He considered Leuchter as a sub-
ject in a film, but concluded that there was "not
enough story there." When the Zundel story
came out a few years later, he had a realization.
"These two stories of Holocaust denial and
execution devices connected in one man. To not
tell both stories together would be to miss the
point,' Morris said.

After working on and finishing another film,
"Fast, Cheap and Out of Control" (1997), he
began searching for somebody to put up the
money to make a film about Leuchter.
"People just did not want to pay to make this
movie. They were just afraid of it. They did not
know what would result from it and they were
afraid of that fact," Morris said.
"I tried to point out to one man who was talk-
ing to me as if I was a Holocaust denier that
there's a big difference between making a movie
about a Holocaust denier and being one. I am a
Jew. Im not a Holocaust denier. I've never
doubted that the Holocaust happened - not
even in my craziest moments. I did finally get
the money about a year and a half ago, and I
started work on the movie," Morris said.
For the interviews, which make up the majority
ofthe 90-minute runtime, Morris used an invention
of his own that he likes to call the "Interatron."
The machine works similarly to a
teleprompter where the camera shoots the sub-
ject from behind a glass panel on which, instead
See MORRIS, Page 8A

Errol Morris' cameras shoot Fred Leuchter, the subject of the new film "Mr. Death."

Prophets get poetic at Michigan

By Joe Chang
Daily Arts Writer

The Watts Prophets and guest Toni
Blackman spoke to the hearts of the
African-American community at the

Michigan Theater.
Talk Up/Not
Michigan Theater
April 8, 2000

Education driven, the
performers tried to
portray the soul of
hip-hop music that
the media has
tainted over the
years. With vari-
ous hip-hop
artists, student
speakers and a
great jazz band,
The Watts
Prophets produc-
tion showed anoth-
cr facet of hip-hop
the inbred cul-
ture, witty humor

Blackman gave a passionate perfor-
mance on stage. A woman of obvious
dignity and pride, she identifies herself
as the "woman voice for hip-hop" The
lyrics to her songs were frank and true.
She addressed issues of reality and love.
Blackman stood in front of the audi-
ence to use the "power of the word" to
educate the public about what hip-hop is
all about. Blackman truly redefined hip-
hop as something soulful, spiritual and a
genuine form of art. With guest perform-
ers Dada and Boogieman Ghost joining
her on stage. she improvised freestyle
verse on topics thrown out by the audi-
ence. Blackman sp-oke powerful words
that made one think about the nature of
the world we live in.
The second half of the performance
was focused on three men who have
come to be reco-nized as The Watts
Prophets. Richard Dedeux, Amade
Hamilton and Otis O'Solomon came
together to address more issues or real-
izations of life these men found to be
important. The trio began performing
together in the 1960s through a writers
workshop in the Watts community of Los

Although The Watts Prophets are not
young men, they give off the energy of
youth and liveliness in their performing
style that captures the audience. Carrying
themselves with casual class, the Watts
Prophets enlighten the audience with
words of wisdom. "if you treat life cool.
it treats you cool. If you fool with life, it
has no choice but to fool with you," was
one of many statements made that night.
The group also addressed issues such as
death, money and the importance of each

person taking responsibility to make
changes in the world.
The production really made the audi-
ence walk out of the theater with
thoughts and issues to think about. The
Watts Prophets and Toni Blackman pro-
vided an open door into a community
that has endured oppression for years, a
community that most people never have a
chance to understand. In offering this
insight, they also taught the audience to
reevaluate their actions and appreciate
the privileges that they have.


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and deserved respect it has so longed for.
The first half of the perfonnance was
dedicated to the well-respected hip-hop
artist Toni Blackman. An acclaimed rap
lyricist, vocalist actress and writer,


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Live from Argentina
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ai ge
Office of New Student Programs
Do you like your voice to be heard? Do you love performing in front of
crowds? Would like to get paid for making people laugh, think, learn? Res Rep
Theatre troupe (AKA Summer Troupe) is holding auditions for this summer's
orientation theatre program. This program performs to over 5000 incoming
first-year students. For the last three years, it has been the top rated orientation
Indivduals interested in being a part of this 10 person ensemble will not only
possess a passion for performing, but an understanding of how theatre can be
used to inform, enlighten and teach. Individuals in the ensemble will not only
assist in the development of the theatre piece, but will perform various roles
throughout the summer's 34 show run (Sunday through Wednesday evenings)
This opportunity is ideal for the student who either works or takes classes
during the day. This is an evening commitment from 7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
NO previous acting experience required. Minorities are encouraged to audition.
NO audition material required. Be prepared to stay the entire audition time.
Auditions will be held Thursday, April 13, 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. in the Main
Lounge on the first floor of the South Quad (East side of South Quad) Lounge
and call-backs are scheduled for 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. in the same location on
Friday, April 14.
Performances are 7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and
Wednesdays from June 4*through August 7*h except for June 25th and July 2-
4. Rehearsals begin in May.
Assistant Director Position: We are looking for an Assistant Director who

Malambo and Boleadoras
"The Obsession!"
12 Dancers plus
musicians on stage

Don't miss this exciting performance!

Friday, April 28
7pm to 9pm
Pease Auditorium
Eastern Michigan
university, Ypsilanti
Call (734) 487-2282 for tix
For information call
(313) 561-3236
AmyRay@mediaone net
Admission $40
Students w/ ID. $25
Learn the Tango! Every t ,
Monday and every

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