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May 23, 1986 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1986-05-23

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, May 23, 1986-- Page 9
'Salvador' turns art into propaganda
By Louis Goldberg time drunk, and insults everyone who break. Later, in a hospital, Dr. Rock shouting crowds, constant gunplay, depicted as soft-spoken men, living
can help him, finds Boyle wounded in the side, his seventeen-cent whiskey, and ten- quietly in the lush countryside, falling
Politics aside, is Salvador good A major problem with Salvador is stomach covered with blood, and dollar-a-night women resembles a in love, and teaching children how to
P cinema? that it lacks a purposeful main asks, "Are you all right?" We begin wild, out-of-control party rather than read, while their enemies are
It begins like a Hope-Crosby road character. Boyle is never directly in- by laughing with the film and end by a country torn by physical agony and represented by pompous and sadistic
picture with down-and-out photo- volved in a serious personal laughing at it. political turmoil. men who are constantly shouting,
journalist, Richard Boyle (James struggle or in the political conflict. Director Oliver Stone tries to create With all respect, Stone does prove shoving, or shooting. To use an ap-
Woods), and his sidekick, Dr. Rock Additionally, Woods' competent ac- a truthful version of events in El able to control the more difficult proach which tries to sell ideology the
(Jim Belushi), driving to El Salvador ting cannot overcome his character's Salvador by combining actual in- aspects of filmmaking such as on- way some people try to sell deodorant
in a red convertible, all the while inconsistencies. The scenes where he cidents, a loosely-connected plot, and location and crowd scenes. He uses takes a lot of nerve.
cracking some pretty good jokes and attempts to be angry or appear deeply a documentary style. His concessions color symbolically, the association
listening to Juice Newton tunes. affected by the events around him are to reality end there, however, as his between the U.S. and dictatorship im- In answer to the mitial question,
Once in El Salvador, Boyle wit- completely undercut by those where version also includes melodramatic plied by the omnipresent patterns of good cinema is drama, art, and craf-
nesses the atrocities of a fascist dic- he acts stupid and obnoxious. rapes, sentimental death scenes, and d, white and blue. p, not their replacement
tatorship, yet remains unchanged by The same could be said for the film that stock Hollywood cliche, the rebel Yet, regardless if one agrees with with cheaply manipulative attempts
them. Rather than clean up his act as a whole. In a scene where men charge on horseback. Stone's politics or not, much of his at propaganda. When a film is this
and work to get his girlfriend out of threaten to kill Boyle, all dramatic political message fails to convince contemptuous of its audience's in-
the country, he continues his comic tension is undercut when Dr. Rock Ultimately, Stone's version of El because of its heavy-handed, one- telligence, it should be met with equal
antics, spends a large amount of the tries to break a bottle and it doesn't Salvador, with its embassy brunches, sided presentation. His rebels are contempt.
Records Books

Siouxsie and The Banshees-
Tinderbox (Geffen)
The Banshees are caught in a whirl.
They still can't understand why they
haven't become megastars in the U.S.
like they have everyone else in the
world, but they are still trying their
darndest to crack the American Top
40. And this disc has been put together
to do exactly that--which doesn't
necessarily give it this reviewer's
death curse, but whatever happened
to the adventurous exploits that rock-
gods are supposed to take as they get
into the latter stages of their careers?
I am uneasy. I am skeptical. This is
a fine but very safe record. Easily the
most commercial Banshees effort to
date. Every move on it is strictly Ban-
shees. "Cities in Dust" is a good
enough (albeit wimpy) dance single
that has already gotten plenty of at-
tention on the sickly, trendy club cir-
cuit. And the new single "Candyman"
is more basic pop, not unlike their
earlier "Christine." But after the dust
has settled the only outstanding
(meaning rockin' kick ass stuff) is
"Partys Fall." It features static,
stringy guitar lines from newcomer
John Valentine Carruthers. Alas, he is
no Robert Smith nor John McGoech.
After those tunes there are a slew of
good, yet ultimately pedestrian songs
that suffer from clinical, processed
overkill. And of course we get the
traditional Banshees ending with the
slower, long epic finale dirge which is
a predictable bore. It would be nice if,
say, they ended with a two minute
acoustic guitar piece, or a country
love song or anything else. What I ex-
pect from the punk generation's Led
Zeppelin is much more. But by more
standard expectations this does stand
as a fine record. Just nowhere near as
adventurous as their last three LPs,
which stand as recommended.
The sad thing about all this is that
this will still probably go over too well
with the Top-40 acceptance that it is
searching for. And the Banshees are
running out of time and ideas for
achieving American mega-stardom.
Siouxsie and the Banshees -will
be playing at the Royar Oak Music
Theatre tonight at 8:00 p.m.
-Richard Williams

Spahn Ranch - six song
People always seem to judge
local bands by lessdemanding
standards than national or inter-
national ones. "Not bad for a local
band...for only $2 this stuff is
great ....for people I know, they
sound pretty good...etc." Local
groups end up being confined to
theirsown patronizing category,
with people reluctant to offer
criticism ("always want to be
encouraging, you know") and
unable to deal with real merit on
its own stark terms.
So I popped this baby into the 01,
walkman and eighty-sixed all
thoughts of the homeboy rockers
behind it. Imagined that I just
found it 'neath piles of sucrose ina
box of Count Chocula, you know,
ignorance is the mother of objec-
tivity and all that kind of thing.
Fortunately, said experiment
was made all that much easier by
the Spahn Ranch groove itself,
which finds its menacing but
ethereal niche far above the
categorical shackles so easily
slapped on most of their contem-
poraries. Anchored in the solid
and hypnotic rhythms of bassist
Brad Horowitz and drummer
Odell Nails, the band lays down a
haunting and seductive web of
original sound, recalling (but har-
dly imitating) such past music as
early Pink Floyd & the Syd Barret
solo albums, 154 era Wire and the
quiet side of Sonic Youth. The
vocals and guitar work are unique
and effective, creating a swirling,
dream-like atmosphere on top of
the big bad beat. The harmonica
on the brooding "Countdown"
works perfectly, adding a
strikingly rich dimension to the
percussive cacaphony of the bass,
guitar and drums. The band also
makes fine use of metallic per-
cussion, accenting songs like
"Trial" and "Wonder and Perish"
with powerfully subtle aggression.
No question that in time
(probably even by now) Spahn
Ranch will become more confident
and hence add a bit more self-
See RECORDS, Page10

Arab Folktales
Inea Bushnaq
Hardcover, 386 pages.
Pantheon Books
For those people who have traded
travel abroad for the less hazardous
armchair variety, Inea Bushnaq's
Arab Folktales is a delightful excur-
sion to the most volatile region of
them all. A collection of some 118 tales
gathered from older sources and
transcribed tapes made by the author
herself, the book provides an in-
teresting and positive outlook on the
customs and cultures of Middle
Eastern peoples.
More than an anthology, the author
has committed a portion of the book to
outlining historical, religious, and
traditional backgrounds. A large in-
troduction and epilogue give general
information on the peoples and the
construction of the book; smaller sec-
tions describe characteristics of the
seven groups of stories (ex: "Tales
Told in Houses Made of Hair: Beduin
Tales"; "Djinn, Ghouls, and Afreets:
Tales of Magic and the Super-
natural"; "Good Men and Golden
Words: Religious Tales and Moral In-
Through these explications one can
begin to see how different yet alike the
Arab tradition is from the
Christian/European. Some things
may be appalling, such as the san-
ction of revenge and the harsh sub-
servience to the Moslem Allah. Yet
many others are delightful, such as
the duties of a host to his guest:
"Generosity, first and foremost,
is the hallmark of the nobleman of
the desert. A man's worth is coun-
ted not so much by what he owns
himself as by what he gives to
others...it is the pride of the clan
sheikhs to regale their guests on so
grand a scale that Beduin
hospitality has become legen-
dary... Traditionally the period of
Beduin hospitality is three and
one-third days: the first being
devoted to salaam, or greeting,

the second to ta'aam, or eating and
the third to kalaam, or speaking --
for it is boorish to worry a guest
with questions upon arrival.

arisen concerning the importance of
exercise in living a healthy life. In his
book The Exercise Myth, Dr. Henry
Solomon M.D., attempts to separate
exercise fact from fiction.

Bushnaq took care to choose not
merely the best stories, but also the Dr. Solomon accuses stress tests,
best versions: designed to detect or confirm if there
is heart disease, and find the level of
My bias in making choices has exercise one is capable of, as being
been in favor of style over plot. At unreliable. He says a stress test
best the good storytellers are few shows how well one performs when
and far between...In many cases pushed to his limit, but says that
there were several texts for a story, coronary heart disease does not inter-
and if the imagery for the hero's fere with this performance at all.
courage and beauty in one version
was forceful while his adventures He next points to discrepancies
were lamely told, I combined two concerning exercise and longevity:
texts to produce one satisfying being physically active does not
story. guarantee a longer life than leading a
sedentary lifestyle. Dr. Solomon con-
The result is compelling enough to tinues to say that the two may not be
sweep the reader away on a trip full of connected at all. He finds no proof
exotic costumes, magic, wisdom, and that exercise eliminates fatty
happy endings--the stuff the best fan- deposits in the arteries, or slows the
tasies are made of.-disease process.
-Rebecca Chung

The Exercise Myth
Henry A. Solomon, M.D.
144 ppg.
Bantam Books
Every day millions of Americans
strain their muscles in an effort to
lose weight, reduce stress, and live
longer lives. As a.result of this '80s
fitness mania, many myths have

After disproving many beliefs that
exercise is physically beneficial to
one's health, the author questions the
psychological effects of exercise.
Many people experience a sort of
"high" or euphoria from par-
ticipating in a physically demanding
activity. But Dr. Solomon cites
evidence that there is no proof that
exercise can be used as a cure for
depression or anxiety.
See BOOKS, Page 10

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