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October 26, 1999 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-10-26

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Take a Chance at the Ark
Mike Younger and Lori B perform at "Take a Chance Tuesday."
Younger and Lori B bring an eccentric blend of contemporary folk
music. The Ark, 8 p.m.

(7Ie £idigun latg

Tomorrow in Daily Arts:
Check out an interview with author Gregg Oppenheimer,
reading tomorrow night at Borders Books & Music.



October 26, 1999

Eclectic Frisell brings variety to Power

SO- Adlin Rosli
Daily Arts Writer
Bill Frisell is easily one of music's most eclectic gui-
tarist around today. His recorded works showcase a talent
with a remarkable ability to create musical journeys that
encompass a wide range of musical styles. Frisell contin--
ually makes weird and sometimes
whimsical sounds on his instrument
and has the ability to sound like a
Nashville country session guitarist, a
Bill Frisell metalhead, a jazz or an avant-gard
musician. He brings this variety to
Power Center his performance with his new quartet
situra a~t R m. at the Power Center Thursday at 8

genre of music and cater to only audiences of that style
of music, Frisell has been able to musically do anything
he wants.
"Of course I want people to like what I do, but at the
same time I can only do what feels good to me. I feel
exceptionally lucky that I have the support I have from
the fans and the record label," Frisell said.
Frisell had to endure many hardships to get to the posi-
tion he is in today. It was not an easy undertaking to
break into the music industry and still keep his musical
integrity intact.
Frisell said, "I guess I was always really stubborn. I
remember when I was around 18 or 19. 1 was in college
and I had this really intense feeling of being not sure with
what to do with my life. After I realized what I wanted to
do, I just kept going at it, I would teach guitar and play
in any gigs I could get."
He also mentioned that it's been a while since his days
of playing "crowd pleasing" music to make ends meet.
"I haven't had to play for a wedding or anything like
that in a long time now. I've had to play in all sorts of
groups, from a polka group to an Elvis impersonator's
band. When you're a struggling musician. you'll do any-
thing!" Frisell exclaimed.
Frisell also stresses the importance of believing in
yourself and encouragement in doing well as a musician.

"I remember in college one teacher dismissed this
piece I wrote and I was so discouraged that I didn't write
anything for like 10 years. When around that college age,
you're already so unsure of so many things, and com-
ments like what I got can really set you back," Frisell
"At the same time I had friends who were telling me
that I really had something worth developing, and that
helped. Most of all being stubborn really helped."
Inspiration comes to Frisell at different times.
He said that his most inspiring moments are usually on
stage. "When you're onstage playing with people you
love, you can have just the tiniest spark of inspiration, but
because you have all these other great people with you
they can really help set that spark off."
Other times when he's at home, Frisell still finds inspi-
ration but it doesn't come as simply.
"When I am at home working on an idea on my own, I
have to work on it a little more," he said. "It doesn't
develop as easily."
Regardless of how Frisell comes up with his ideas and
songs, Thursday's audience can be certain that they will
have that firm personality stamp Frisell manages to work
into his concerts. They can probably catch Frisell having
some moments of inspiration at his performance at the
Power Center.

I raurwdy dC 0 p.m

Frisell credits his wide musical
vocabulary to keeping an open mind
to different musical styles.
"I just like to open myself up to
things," he said. "I've been playing
the guitar for a long time now and I
see my progression as me constantly
something new for myself musically.

trying to uncover

It's as though I am chipping away at something to even-
tually get to what I am looking for."
While most musicians are usually stuck in only one

Courtesy of Nonesuch
Bill Frisell will bring a variety of musical styles to the Power
Center when he performs on Thursday.

College anecdotes
join Soup' series

"Chicken Soup
for the College
Dan Clark
Health Communications, Inc.
"Chicken Soup for the Soul,"
"Chicken Soup for the Women's
Soul," "Chicken Soup for the Pet
Lover's Soul," and now finally,
"Chicken Soup for the College
Soul." "Chicken Soup for the
College Soul" is full of stories that
are short enough to read at any time
of the day, yet touching enough to
make you laugh or cry.
"Chicken Soup for the College
Soul" is written by Jack Canfield,
Mark Victor Hansen, Kimberly
Kirberger, and Dan Clark. Dan
attended college at the University of
Utah; he loved his experience there
and writes of many fond college
memories in his book. Dan never
thought he would be a writer. But he
was in a football accident, which
paralyzed him for two years and also
inspired him to write. Clark empha-
sized that "Chicken Soup for the
College Soul" is for many:
teenagers, to motivate them to go to
college, college students, to give
them hope, and parents, to help them
through the separation process as
their child goes to school.
Whether you're homesick, having
boyfriend/girlfriend problems,
stressing about grades or just need to
smile, you will find a story to meet
your needs. Each chapter is a differ-
ent category, such as Lessons from
the Classroom, Love 101, Mind Over
Matter and Friends. The chapter on
Friends talks of new friends you will
meet :and old friends not to be for-
gotten. Lessons from the Classroom
makes you feel better when you
think you are failing every class,
while Lessons from Outside the
Classroom reminds you that class-

rooms are by far not the only place
we learn things.
In the Love 101 chapter, there is a
story by Dan Clark, "The Mirror,"
which every one can relate to. Dan
was totally infatuated with a girl,
Jilliene Jones. He investigates what
she likes and where she goes, and
even begins to change himself into a
person that he thinks she would like.
After finally getting a kiss, he real-
izes she is not the girl for him, and
he looks in the mirror and takes off
his fake nose ring, rips off his heavy
metal shirt and washes the grease out
of his hair. When he looked into the
mirror again, he sees himself, some-
one he had not seen a few moments
"Chicken Soup for the College
Soul" also has poems, drawings and
quotations within each chapter that
pertain to that particular subject. The
chapter titled Transition includes a
paper, "The Times I Called Home
From College," by Scott Greenburg.
His paper makes one think of all the
times you have called home, for
instance, "when I changed majors,
when I needed money, and when I
wanted to tell my family I loved
As "Chicken Soup for the College
Soul" makes you laugh and cry, so
might one of the authors, Dan Clark.
His advice to college students is to
"take classes outside of your major,
go to speakers, museums, concerts,
different restaurants, get involved
and do more than just study." The
book "Chicken Soup for the College
Soul" is recommended for everyone;
the stories are inspiring and make
one think of the important aspects of
life. Clark concludes that "If one
note on the piano is out of tune, you
don't throw away the whole piano.
Likewise, throughout life, if one
thing goes wrong, there are still
many more things to think about, as
there are keys on the piano."
- Shannon O'Sullivan

:,.. .''
Courtesy ofrWaitisney Pures
79-year-old Richard Farnsworth plays Alvin Straight in David Lynch's "The Straight Story," a simple, charming film about a man who drives a tractor from Iowa to Wisconsin.
Compellig Farnsworth reveals beauty in.'Story

Los Angeles Times
Richard Farnsworth shows up at the L.A.
Equestrian Center looking every inch the cowboy,
from his broad-brimmed hat to his crisp blue jeans to
his handsome leather boots. On his right hand, he
wears a huge turquoise ring.
The setting seems appropriate for an interview with
Farnsworth; he's been riding horses his whole life and
the Equestrian Center is one of Farnsworth's old
stomping grounds.
"This was the river bottom," the 79-year-old actor
says, staring out the window of a small reception area.
"We had (horse) races here in the late '30s, all the way
up to the early '50s," he says. "I kept my horses here
up until 1989. 1 can't ride now (he has a bad hip), but
I keep them as pets."
So it's ironic that in perhaps the role of his 60-plus-
year movie career, Farnsworth is riding again, but
instead of a horse, he's on a beat-up John Deere lawn
mower. And instead of Western plains and mountains,
he's traveling along rolling state highways through the
The film is "The Straight Story," and in it
Farnsworth plays Alvin Straight, who travels for six
weeks on his lawn mower to visit his estranged older
brother who has suffered a stroke. The elegiac drama,
directed by David Lynch - his first G-rated film -
is based on a true story.
Farnsworth says it was easy for him to fit into
Straight's shoes. For one thing, both men relied on
canes to get around.
"I saw the condition he was in," he explains in his
gentle, rather high-pitched voice. "It kind of gives you
a feeling of what he went through sitting on the
(mower) every day. It wasn't very hard for me to do
frankly. Even the dialogue seemed to go so smooth for
me. I am kind of limited (as an actor). I do rural
things. I couldn't do a Philadelphia lawyer or a nuclear
physicist. But the way it was written, it just felt fine."

Farnsworth's subtle, moving performance won raves
at film festivals and generated talk of an Oscar nomi-
nation. The Disney film opened Oct. 15.
"He doesn't consider himself an actor, which is a
real shame," says Lynch, who's best known for such
violent cult classics as "Blue Velvet" and
"Eraserhead." "As many times as I told him he's full of
baloney, he probably never will believe it. He started
out in rodeo and stunts and came to acting (late). He
doesn't realize what a gift he has, which is the gift of
a true actor. He's got it."
Because of his bad hip, says Lynch, Farnsworth was
in a lot of pain during the shoot. "A lot of times we had
to help him get out of the chairs," he says.
Sissy Spacek, who plays Straight's childlike daugh-
ter, Rose, felt Farnsworth really was like the character
he played, making it easy for her to bond with him
both on and off screen.
"They don't make men like him any more,"she says
with much affection. "He is very funny and a very
humble man. There are some people that you feel
awkward about even touching and he's not one of
Because the film follows Straight's route from Iowa
to Wisconsin, Farnsworth got to meet a lot of the peo-
ple who helped him on his journey back in 1994.
"They had a good word to say for the old man," he
says. "He was very independent."
Before the film began, Farnsworth asked Lynch
why Straight just didn't take a bus to visit his brother.
"David said he made up his mind that this was his last
big chore and he's going to do it on his own,"
Farnsworth says of Straight, who died in 1996. 'He
was a very hard-headed old guy. I might have played
him a little softer than he was."
From his Oscar-nominated role in 1978's "Comes a
Horseman" to his acclaimed performance in 1983's
"The Grey Fox" to "The Straight Story," Farnsworth
has demonstrated an uncanny ability to express more
emotion with his face than
in reciting pages of dia-
logue. With his twinkling
blue eyes, white hair and
mustache, and leathery but

still handsome face, Farnsworth calls to mind such old
western film stars as William S. Hart.
Even when Farnsworth speaks. dialogue, LX
says, "a word starts inside of him and by the time it
comes out, he has made it is own. He's made it real.
He has colored it with a facial expression and some-
thing in the eyes. It becomes just kind of a magic act."
"The Straight Story" screened at the Cannes film
festival in May. Farnsworth was overcome with emo-
tion at the standing ovation he received.
"It was thrilling," he recalls. "The standing ovation
really got to me, I tell you. It went on and on. I could-
n't get over it."
Farnsworth began his movie career as an extra e
1938 costume epic "The Adventures of Marco Po'
Being a stuntman in Hollywood in those days, he says,
was wonderful. "I was an athlete. I found out early in
my career I wasn't accident prone. I didn't want to do
anything but stunt work."
Farnsworth, in fact, was Montgomery Clift's stunt
double on the 1947 western classic 'Red River."
"In all fairness, he looked pretty darn good,"
Farnsworth says of Clift's performance as a cowboy.
Henry Fonda, whom he doubled in the 1948 John
Ford western, 'Fort Apache," was his favorite act-
work with. "He was a loner but I liked his style.
Farnsworth was also a gladiator in Stanley
Kubrick's epic "Spartacus."
The only reason he was considered for the role of
Jane Fonda's dedicated ranch hand in "Comes a
Horseman" was that director Alan Pakula had previ-
ously produced the 1969 Gregory Peck western "The
Stalking Moon," in which Farnsworth uttered a few
lines as a cavalry soldier.
Pakula remembered Farnsworth's brief scene.
"They called me in and showed me the script. I said,
'Look there's too much here.' They said to talbt
home. I took it home and my wife, Margaret, looked
at it and said, 'You can do this. We'll practice.' They
called me in a couple of days later and I read.6ne
scene with Jane. Alan said, 'That's it.' I got the job"
Farnsworth's eyes twinkle. "When the acting cane
up, it was a miracle," he says. "I was about to retik.:..
I would have been out of the business."

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