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February 01, 1991 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-02-01

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ARTS
*The Michigan Daily Friday, February 1, 1991
*El Conguero plays

Page 5

h hot,
by Peter Shapiro

In the American jazz community,
Latin jazz has never received more
than a perfunctory ho-hum by critics
and historians, who merely note that
it exists as an obscure sub-genre.
This disregard is due in large part to
the canonization of jazz by critics
who wish to keep jazz enshrined
among an elite who "appreciate the
harmonic sophistication" of the mu-
sic. What this has done is to replace
the passionate fire of jazz with a
cloak of arcane intellectualism.
Latin jazz grows out of the same
Afro-Cuban roots that Dizzy Gille-
spie and Xavier Cougat popularized
in the '40s, the same roots that
started millions of feet in Africa
moving along with Zairean soukous.
The message of Afro-Cuban is
rhythm, rhythm, rhythm; sometimes
it's subtle, sometimes (usually) it's
hot, hot, hot. In a more obvious
manner than the African-American
jazz that critics have dampened with
their arty pretensions, Latin jazz
musicians lay out and jam in endless
blowing and percussion sessions.
This is particularly true of
Tabakov' s
.by Robin Kitzes
0 leg Tabakov's Moscow Theatre
Studio, making its U.S. debut in
Ann Arbor tonight at the Michigan
Theater, was banned in the Soviet
Union in 1958 due to its "Jewish"
subject matter. Today, the group
travels extensively through Europe.
In a cultural exchange with Amer-
ica's Acting Company, the Soviet
* troupe will tour a few select cities to
perform the two plays. "The exciting
thing about il," says Margot Harley,
executive producer of the Acting
Company, "is that although there
has been Soviet theater in the United
States before, it has only reached
major cities. This production will
enable smaller cities, like St. Louis,
Poughkeepsie and Ann Arbor, (to
have) the privilege of Soviet the-
4 ater."'

hotja
conguero Poncho Sanchez, whose
conga mastery is moving him into
the pantheon of Latin jazz greats
along with his mentor, Cal Tjader,
as well as Tito Puente and Mongo
Santamaria. While staying anchored
to his ranchera Tex-Mex roots,
Sanchez has fused the more sedate
Mexican style of Tjader with the tor-
rential rhythms of Puente's tipico
salsa. Shedding the gentle and mel-
lifluous melodies of early salsa,
mambos and cha-chas that are occa-
sionally too harmless to work on
American ears, Sanchez removes
their skeletal poly-rhythms and
brews the bones with the hot jazz
improvisation style that was a re-
sponse to the West Coast's cool.
The result of this cross-cultural
stew is a jazz with its eyes and ears
on the dance floor. The band's sound
is reminiscent of Art Blakey's ver-
sion of "A Night in Tunisia" (which
Sanchez's band plays as an up-tempo
mambo) with the woodblocks re-
placed by Sanchez's persistent con-
gas, the sterile timbres of Lee Mor-
gan and Wayne Shorter replaced by
scorching salsa workouts by trom-
bonist Arturo Velasco and reed
player Kenny Goldberg and with the

Renier Werner Fassbinder defi-I
nitely believed "it's better to burnI
out than to fade away." In under 201
years he made close to 40 feature;
films, most of which he both wrote+
and directed. His lifestyle - flam-
boyant, vindictive, gay and addicted
- was both the driving force behindi
most of his work (he supposedly
shot films during the day and, with
the help of barbiturates, wrote
screenplays for future films at night)
and, ultimately, his undoing.
In a Year of 13 Moons,
though not the epitome of his work,
is a deeply tragic semi-autobiograph-
ical piece which, through its essen-
tial themes, touches the uncertainty
and precariousness of each of our
lives. Though this sounds like the
description of every Bergman film,
this work is simultaneously much
harsher and much more adventurous
than many of Ingmar's works. In the

film, while eavesdropping on the
last days in the life of Elvira, a
trans-sexual who changed her sex on
a whim, we are forced to re-examine
our own seemingly trivial actions
and their often unexpectedly serious
consequences. Moreover, even
though we never see him on screen,
we constantly feel the will of Fas-
binder behind every shot and every
word.
In the final summation, it may
be that Fassbinder's hurry to corn-
plete film after film after film led
him to make some unwise decisions
- this film, for instance, has a ton-
dency to get talky and drag -- but
his final statement, the quantity and
profundity of his work, will ulti-
mately be recognized as one of the
most original filmic visions in tle
whole medium.
In a Year of 13 Moons is playing
at MLB 4 at 9:15 p.m. on Saturday.
- Mike Kuniavsky

Poncho Sanchez, looking vaguely similar to Topol, of Fiddler on the Roof
fame, shakes his proverbial cow-bell.

Trains, plains and:

addition of the heavily percussive pi- the percussion's undulation
ano work of Charlie Atwell. But the PONCHO SANCHEZ per
poly-rhythms are never overstated or the Mendelssohn Theater S
too dense to mire the salsa without a 7:30 p.m. Tickets are
groove, nor are the solos so cumber- available from TicketMas
some that they betray or drown out evilse rvi- hro-).

S.
forms at
Sunday at
$16.50,

volcanoe
by Julie Komorn

a, .

"' GYL OG( Y GG G(Id.N G

studio: M
Alexander Galich's Russian-Jew-
ish drama, My Big Land, carries its
audience through three acts that ex-
tend from the late 1920s to the dev-
astation encountered by the Russian
people during World War II. The
play traces the struggles of David
Schwartz, a Jewish violin prodigy,
and his father Abraham, a warehouse
administrator. The settings of the
play range from a small village in
the Ukraine to the Moscow Conser-
vatory and, ultimately, to a medical
train carrying wounded soldiers back
from the front in 1944. Abraham,
along with many other Jews, is exe-
cuted by the Nazis. The play's mes-
sage evolves when Abraham later
appears to his dying son in a dream,
during which David realizes the im-
portance of homeland.
Tabakov, famed Soviet actor-di-
rector and founder of the Moscow

[oscow on the Hur(

Theatre Studio, recently described the
play to the New York Times. "It is
the old story of the return of the
prodigal son," he said. "I like to
think of it as polyphonic - a drama
with many voices, many themes and
many meanings."
On Saturday, the Michigan The-
ater will feature The Teacher of Rus-
sian by Alexander Buravsky. The
play is set in a contemporary Soviet
hospital located in a reputable sea-
side resort. Doctor Popov, a corrupt
and scheming individual, rents pa-
tient's rooms to vacationing tourists
for personal profit. "The contempo-
rary play deals with a vision," says
Harley. "It is a black comedy and
probably an allegory on modern So-
viet life." The play features a guest
performance by the famous 80-year-
old Soviet actress, Maria Miranova.
The productions will be per-

formed in Russian with si
ous English translation viat
"The translation comes
headphones which are quite
says Harley. "The headphon
one ear and after a few m
melds together." The live tr
is contemporaneous with t
action, so that the actors' pa
dramatics are preserved.
"I chose these two play
repertory of twenty othe
Harley. "I thought these
best for the United States,
easily travelable and ones th
ican audiences could connec
MY BIG- LAND will be p
tonight at 8 p.m. an
TEACHER OF RUSSIAN
urday at 8 p.m. at theA
Theater. Tickets are $26
night, or see both showsfc

ster (plus
A lthough the era of the railroad
train has declined, the image of the
train still evokes a sense of excite-
) ment. Michigan artist Karen Moon
Schaefer has attempted to capture
multane- this dramatic relationship between
headsets. humanity and machinery in the post-
through Industrial Revolution era. Together
z usable" with Bern Pedit, she has created an
ie goes in engaging photography show at the.
inutes it Ann Arbor Art Association.
anslation Pedit's half of the show intro-
he play's duces Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of
acing and fire. His photographs contrast Schae-
fer's gentle black and white photog-
ys from a raphy with colorful images of
rs," says Hawaii's fiery volcanic activity. Ti-
were the tled Conversation With Pele,
the most Pedit's photographs document the
hat Amer- ongoing activity on Kilauea Vol-
t to." cano's East Rift Zone, while won-
werformedderfully conveying the volcano's in-
erfTrlE tense power and dynamic colors. It is
ndI THE Pedit's shots that are the true fire of
on Sat- the show.
Michigan On his photography expeditions,
.50 each Pedit wore five layers of clothing to
$ protect himself from the volcanic

way. Amazingly, no colored filters
were used to create the highly lumi
nous results.
Several of his photographs show
immense flashes of light such -as
Curtain of Fire which is framed by
ominous bluish-grey clouds. Thi i'
also seen in Enigma's lush single
streak of orange lava surrounded by
lavender and pink clouds. Many bf
the photos have a surreal quality that
provokes imagination. These include
Littoral Explosion'
whose detailed Lava resembles
melted candle wax sprinkled with
cinnamon or Dome Fountain's rep7
tile-like tail. While some resemtle
streaks of paint, the shots which i'ni-
clude nature such as water, and shdre'
remind us that these are all real life
images. This is seen in Curtain of
Fire, with its dead tree with splattbr's
of lava dancing behind it.
Pedit begins his work in the
field, studying the environmental
conditions - the eruptive history,
terrain, weather and lunar/tidal pIjt-,
terns. The knowledge he gath rs,
merges with his past experiences,
and allows him to become one with
his surroundings, enabling him to
predict volcanic behavior with a high-
degree of accuracy. Pedit's knowl-
edge of his subject is reflected in the
See PHOTOS, Page?

Danny Elfman
Edward Scissorhands: Original
Motion Picture Soundtrack
MCA
Once again, Danny Elfman
proves himself the composer of the
'90s with the fantastical soundtrack
for Tim Burton's Edward Scis-
sorhands. The score deftly evokes
the fairy-tale imagery Burton utilizes
as he guides us into a world where
pseudo-humanity is disrupted by the
intrusion of fantasy. Elfman's music
displays the wide range of themes
the film presents - as listeners, we
are swept through pastoral wonder-
ment to horrific scenes of danger.
Elfman combines many of the
theatrical elements of his previous
soundtracks to create a musical
equivalent of the movie's thematic
content. Methods used on such
soundtracks as Nightbreed and
Darkman are presented in the context
of this film quite effectively - the
haunting choir used throughout the
score conjures up the fairy tale land-

scapes of the film, while the driving
march of "The Final Confrontation"
is representative of the film's focus
on the battle between good and evil.
Both Elfman and Burton are fond
of contrast, which is evident in their
work together. The elements of
comedy and tragedy present in Bur-
ton's film Pee Wee's Big Adventure
were reflected in the soundtrack (also
by Elfman), and those same themes
exist in Edward. For example, the
"Ballet De Suburbia" provides a per-
fect background to the comedic hus-
tIe-bustle archetypal world presented
in the movie; and in "Edwardo The
Barber" Elfman uses a Spanish flair
to capture Edward's amazing use of
his scissors in a manner as original
ash Edward's haircuts. Conversely,
the tragic aspects of the film are ex-
pressed in "Farewell...," while goth-
icness is highlighted in "Castle on
the Hill." The choir, which is pre-
sent throughout the soundtrack, con-
tributes an overwhelming feeling of
sadness to the work.
See RECORDS, Page 7

r-

Need the hot news fast?
Find it in the Daily.
00 'Burnham Associates
Monda >5 .Ca , t < 'aii >>< pi~
THE PREFERRED PLACES TO BE
>'' :'fi yi Jiias
MARYCE
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heat. He set the timer of his camera
and then ran in the other direction.
Yet, his photos show no fear. They
capture the incredulous colors of an
eruptiveearth in a very professional

tt a
1 t

Ii

PONCHO SANCHEZ

J

L A T I N J A Z Z

an Eclipse Jazz Presentation

February 3, 1991
Mendelssohn Theater

at 8pm

NEA

.g

campus wide talent competition with guest
performance by Randy Scott, three-time
Apollo winner.-
Day: Saturday, February 2
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Place: Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
Tinlrt tc VA M atAtl,4crn ITniTr irpt Office

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