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February 06, 1991 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-02-06

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

Page 8--The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, February 6, 1991


Motorbooty No. 5
The world of pop culture criti-
cism is a large one, with an extreme
gap between the flagship of the fleet,
the slick, sold-out, let's-keep-the-
magazine called Rolling Stone, and
the homegrown, dittoed 'zeens put
out by frustrated pundits who often
think their overly-sheltered world
view is the only one, and that you
suck if you don't agree. Fortunately,
a magazine exists which is dedicated
to exposing the very best of the
subterranean sages that make life
bearable for the friends of that ever-
popular guy named Art, and is only
slightly insulting to it's readers.
Naturally enough, this magazine,
Motorbooty, got started right here
in Ann Arbor, but like most things
with artistic merit that developrhere,
its key staff soon split for the
coasts. Some of the rest, including
graphic genius Mark Dancey, are
quite busy playing in A2's other ul-
tra-hip export, Big Chief. This
partially explains why the current is-
sue, number five in three or four
years of publication, is the Winter
1990 issue, came out in December
1990, and is still full of material
61989. The other reason is that un-
less one works for one of the which-
part-is-the-"joumalism?" newspapers
or one of the aforementioned slick
New York publications, writing
about art pays roughly two dollars
an hour, if you're lucky.
This time around, the "As -long
as it happens to somebody else, Ev-
erything's Funny!" issue contains
the usual mix of cultural misfit sub-
ject matter you won't read about in
very many, if any, other places, and
heapin' helpins' of graphic skull-
fucks described inside the box (one
Comment from an unqualified ob-
server - Lloyd Dangle's "A Detroit
Punkography" is a way better sum-
mary of the legendary Bookie's scene
than the recent obituary published in

Motorbooty's comics review
Motorbooty megazine - local infraintellectual journal and pop-cul-
ture colander - runs, in addition to the tour guides and boznoid Detroit
rock homages (reviewed all around this article), various comic strips and
sundry illustrations of decent to really great quality. Post-geek comix in a
world of Doonesbury can be a kind of embarrassing - the old under-
ground, now at "ground-level," is still fighting for acceptance, while
Pfeiffer, Garfield, and, yeech, 8th-grade X-Men books keep the potential
readership at bay. Motorbooty's comics give us a look at what's happen-
ing among the insurgents.
Editor and prime drawist for the magazine Mark Dancey (the
"Minister of Graphic Violence") is responsible for the cover and much of
the interior art. From his trio of luckless jerks on the cover to his neat
Detroit-rock corporate logo parodying the old White Panthers guitar-pipe-
rifle badge, his hard yet sinuous organicist style, sometimes suggesting
Celtic/Mayan glyphs, gives the magazine a sharp look. While he doesn't
have any "normal" paneled comics in this issue, Dancey's graphic sensi-
bility informs the whole issue. And the bleeding mime is nice too.
Dancey's style is also suggestive of Peter Bagge, a big-time comics
maker from Seattle who's plugged Motorbooty in the pages of his own
comics. Ex-editor of Weirdo and ex-progenitor of Neat Stuff, Bagge is
currently the instigator of Hate (roughly bi-monthly from
Fantagraphics). His autobiographical one-pager is typical good Bagge,
fusing acrid observations on human character with quasi-"monster trucks"
drawing style.
Aurora, Illinoiser William Neff's junkie nerds and pointillist Vargas
cheerleaders are some of the more interesting characters in the magazine,
real or not. In "Science Fair," we learn the cyberConfucian aphorism,
"Reality is only for those who cannot handle hard drugs," and watch Neff
demonstrate handily the ability of graphic narrative to deal with real hu-
man concerns in a flippant, irreverent manner without losing any impact,
gravity, or meaning.
Lloyd Dangle is a solid cartoonist, the least aggressive artist in the is-
sue. He subscribes to the primitivist-ugly school of cartooning, of which
Lynda Barry, Mark Marek, and Aline Kominsky-Crumb are some of the
better-known graduates. This particular cartooning idiom dictates subject
matter as well as visual style, and Dangle's "Tales of the Uncommitable"
is autobiographically honest and nice 'n' cynical about relationships.
Dangle also drew the "Detroit Punkography" covered outside this, and his
Iggy is wonderful.
Another example of the type of irreverently serious social commen-
tary that's all too rare in graphic narrative is Terry Laban's "The Leather
Jacket." Studying class differences from the viewpoint of an article of
clothing? THIS is what comics are for. Laban's sketchbook lines are per-
fect for the tale.
All of these artists are exemplary of the new comics, and take part in
the late-in-coming utilization of a very American art form. Motorbooty
houses the good stuff and nothing less.
-Evan M. Corcoran and Antonio Roque

very fucked-up horn" (his own de-
scription) Sonny Sharrock get to let
it all hang out. Performance artist
Jeffrey, who opened for Big Chief in
Pittsburgh once, is introduced to the
world (if you thought Daniel John-
son tapes were cool when they still
came out on Radio Shack-quality
archival supplies, Jeffrey is the
recording artist for you).
The main focus of the issue is a
20/20 hindsight look at the history
of the incredible music made right
here in Motortown. It is a little
known fact that one of the birth-
places of punk rock is in a building
you may be sitting in right now, the
Michigan Union (damn hard to
recall, considering the swill that
usually "graces" its "stage" today). A
long historical analysis on Detroit
music's artistic decline by Daily
alum Mike Rubin and Rob Michaels
delivers the bad news in depressing
black and white.
Mysterious author "Toke" (most
likely Dancey) supplies an excellent
interview with rock artist Gary
Grimshaw, which unfortunately
sheds no light on what one of the
most under-appreciated artists in a
issue full of them has been doing
since he moved to San Francisco
again. One of the most impressive
collections of MC5/ Stooge memo-
rabilia outside of John Sinclair's
Guitar Army polemic keeps the eye
enchanted (the reproduced original
Gimshaw artwork for the 5's "Kick
Out The Jams" LP is worth $3
alone) while the brain tries to deter-
mine how much of it to believe
(Ministers of Dis-information, in-
Hint: read parts of the "Detroit
Rock Chronology" with several
grains of the chemical of your
choice. The jokes contained inside
won't lose all their humor until
some poor rock critic of the 21st
Century discovers an extra copy of
Motorbooty right underneath the se-
cret stash of Necros singles in Barry
Henssler's basement and quotes one
of these gems as truthi
t --Brian Jarvinen

But if you're looking for current
record-buying advice, you'll have to
closely examine the table of
contents, as there are no record re-
views. Motorbooty excels at letting

its subjects speak for themselves,
with the editorializing left in each
piece's introduction for the most
part. Author Harry Crews and jazz
guitarist/"jazz saxophonist with a

Continued from page 7
of Ringo's friends, this recording
might not have been worth making.
--Andrew J. Cahn
Bruce Cockburn
Bruce Cockburn Live
Gold Castle
Canada's Bruce Cockburn has
found that having a really zealous
audience can sometimes be a prob-
lem. Although the compressed,
kaleidoscopic imagery of his lyrics
betrays both humor and wonder
through the purest poetry in all of
rock 'n roll, this tends to be
overshadowed by the way that they
also often decry - with unparalleled
eloquence - the political and envi-
ronmental tragedies of various third-
world countries. When Cockburn's
largely activist-minded core of fans
come to see him live, they come ex-
pecting a shared venting of social
outrage - and little else.
So despite the brilliantly musical
moments found on Bruce Cockburn
Live, a 70-minute set of concert
tracks from the Canadian singer's
1989 world tour, one hears roars of
approval only on a couple of occa-
sions, when the veteran songwriter's
material rebukes right-wing dictator-
ships. And that's even before an au-
dience in Canada - the concert was
recorded at Toronto's Ontario Place
- where Cockburn's a major pop

with some background in these areas:
Folk Jazz Classical Music

star. During his March '89 gig at
Ann Arbor's Power Center, the guy
looked like he was practically.
pulling teeth when he tried to engage
an overly serious, Guatemalan-tex
tiled crowd in a whistle-along vera
sion (included here) of "Always
Look on the Bright Side of Life."'
from Monty Python's Life of Brian,',
The real surprise of that sets
though, was the way Cockburn and
his two sidemen ably conjured a va-
riety of sounds broad enough tQ.
match the dazzle of his lyrics. His
secret weapon is virtuoso inr
strumentalist Fergus Jemisop"
Marsh, who simultaneously gener-
ates gurgling basslines and washes
of synthesizer with a strange, corn-y,-
puter-interfaced instrument called th
MIDI Stick, which looks like a 10-,
stringed two-by-four. AndCockburn
himself, both on 12-string rhythd
and electric leads, plays guitar with
remarkable stylistic facility and flair.
Live's mostly representative as-
semblage of material from Cock.
burn's 18-album career includes only,
one song from 1988's Big Circum-,:
stance, his most colorfully textured-
LP yet. But a couple of more cuts
from 1986's World of Wonder,
make this retrospective a viable 0
alternative to the 1985 singles-
compilation, Waiting for a Miracleii
And by including lyrics for 13
songs, Bruce Cockburn Live offers
a thorough, worthwhile entire to a'
global vision that has always been:
more poetic than partisan.
- Michael Paul Fischer
Continued from page S





763-0379 for more information



in association with C 198
The University of Michigan
The Michigan Union/
Student Organization Development Center
Submit Your Applications
for the GM Volunteer
Spirit Award!
Deadine for applications 1is:
Fri., February 15, 1991
Applications available a
2202 Michigan Union

I - I


New Offerings at
Counseling Services
Black Women Graduate Suport/Therapy Group
For Info, contact: Gwyneth AwaiACSW at 764-8312
12 Week Workshop/Support Grouo on Compulsive
Contact: Jocelyn Towler, MA at 764-8312
Coping as an African-American Student at U of M
Contact: LaReese Collins, ACSW at 764-8312
Black Male Graduate Support Group


Two units:
one large, one small.
May be seen in operation.
Phone Property Disposition
for additional information.

themselves. Tina (Jvette Soler)
suddenly tells the audience that
she is having an affair with the",
film class teacher, just in time to,
be murdered by his evil twin. The,
tag line to Popcorn shouldn't be,
"Buy a bag, go home in a box,"
but "Buy a bag, you'll leave your
lunch in it."
POP CORN is being shown at-
Showcase and Fox Village. . .
'' r

Contact: LaReese Collins, ACSW

at 764-8312



Genuine Draft
TH-E Wisim NTf f I QAI1I1

Friday, FEB 15.*7:30 pm
U of M vs. M.S.U. (Host)
Saturday, FEB 160s 7:30 pm
M.S.U. vs. U of M (Host)
TICKES: $12 & $10
Students: $20 reduced to $5 with I.D.
(day of game or on campus)

Trimark Pictures presents A Steve Miner film
Julian Sands

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