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March 06, 1991 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-03-06

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Wednesday, March 6, 1991

'The Michigan Daily

Page 5


Babies stick it deep


by Greg Baise
G enderfucking roolz! And the
Blake Babies can phuck with the
While lesser talents like Saman-
tha Fox and Naked Eyes change the
gender in their cover versions to suit
their capitalist and heterosexist
needs, the Blake Babies take the path
paved by Ringo Starr, of all people.
It was Ringo, after all, who accom-
plished some of the most orgasmic
genderfucking ever with the Beatles'
rendition of the Shirelles' "Boys."
Ringo wasn't talking about girls: he
was talking 'bout boys. Yeah, yeah,
Meanwhile, the Blake Babies take
on the artistic apex of the Detroit
Rock/Murder City sound that we all
grew up with, the Stooges' "Loose,"
with its immortal phallus-asserting
chorus, "I'll stick it deep inside/ I'll
stick it deep inside/ 'Cause I'm
loose!" As Lester Bangs probably
would have said, when Blakian vo-
calist/bassist Juliana Hatfield sings
that, somehow you believe her.
Anatomical differences between Hat-
field and Jimmy Osterberg do exist:
check out page 79 of your copy of
Iggy's I Need More for ample evi-
dence. Hatfield doesn't use this
anatomical difference to justify any
manipulation of the artist's inten-
tion; instead, Hatfield brings out a
couple of nice gender-related contra-
dictions, as should be expected from
the situation arising from Hatfield's
voice, slightly younger and less af-
Theater d
by Mary Beth Barber
At first, when my instructor in an
acting class told us to talk in
"gibberish" as an exercise, I thought
he was crazy. The students paired off
and each was given an objective,
such as "He's your husband and you
want to divorce him" or "She's your
best friend, but you are in love with
her and want more." Some of the
students were shy, but once I saw
the emotion in the students who
would let themselves go, when I saw
the passion and intensity in their
faces, in their voices, in their entire
body, it didn't matter that I had no
idea what they were saying. I knew
their thoughts from how they said it,
not by the words.
Watching Moscow Theatre-Stu-
dio at the Michigan Theater last
month, here on a cultural exchange
with the Acting Company out of
New York, was a imilar experience.
The plays were in Russian, and the
headsets with the simultaneous
translation were helpful but cumber-
some. Halfway through the produc-
tion I took mine off and just watched
and listened, fascinated. I missed a
few jokes that depended on dialogue
and some details of the plot, but it
didn't matter. The action on stage
encompassed my mind even though I
didn't understand a word the actors
were saying.
Although "theater is the universal

language that allows us to under-
stand that we all have the same
blood-type," as Managing Director


Jurassic Park
by Michael Crichton
Michael Crichton withstood the
temptation of having Earth invaded
by green, bug-eyed aliens in The
Andromeda Strain, but he falls prey
to the slavering allure of B-movie
monsters in his latest work, Juras-
sic Park. These are green beasties
with a difference, however, as they
come not from outer space, but from
Earth itself - an Earth some 100
million years gone.
Warning again about exploring a
new science too far, too fast, Crich-
ton has crafted a cautionary tale
about the perils of genetic engineer-
ing. A few hundred dinosaurs are
cloned for the greatest theme park
since Disney, but industrial espi-
onage, bad weather, and operator er-
ror combine to bring down the walls
between man and beast. The denizens
of the Jurassic jungles haven't eaten
well since before the last Ice Age ....
Crichton's use of setting relies
heavily upon the animals on his lit-
tle island in the sea, as generic de-
scriptions of jungles and laboratories
and caves mush together into an
unmemorable soup. Fusing science,
imagination, and enough genetic
anomalies to endanger the world,
Crichton creates some well-fleshed-
out beasts which roam indiscrimi-
nately through jungle and resort
complex alike. Standing 20-feet tall
at the shoulder, it is perhaps in-
evitable that they overshadow the
scenery. In comparison to the mon-
strous beasts. the characterization of

the humans also suffers, especially
in the opening stages of the action.
While the main characters see
more development, even they are
dropped into the story with little
more than a few lines of nebulous
description to buoy them up. Luck-
ily, the unrelenting rhythm of cliff-
hanger after sudden disaster after nar-
row escape compels the reader's em-
pathy with, if not comprehension of,
the surviving humans as they make
their last-ditch stand against the
rampaging dinosaurs. The flight
from the island's biggest and mean-
est living fossil by a paleontologist
and two little children is especially
mesmerizing. That an oversized
Tyrannosaurus is hunting them with
the tenacity of the Waffen S.S. is as
believable as it is frightening; the
waterfall scene is among the novel's
Jurassic Park avoids the preachi-
ness that can ruin a good story, even
in the death-bed philosophy of the
novel's moralist. Luckily, in a dra-
matic sense at least, the dinosaurs
are clawing to get in even here, and
gripping tension is maintained. After
a slow start, this novel succeeds as a
thrilling story of suspense. Egoism,
avarice, treachery, and cowardice run
rampant as human science crumbles
beneath the chaotic power of nature.
Ultimately, it is old-fashioned
courage and luck, not electrified
fences and computer locks, which is
all that stands between humanity's
talent for self-destruction-and its thin
-Jonathan Harrison

You want some real gender-disorientation? Imagine the Blake Babies covering the Kinks' "Lola." Or better yet,
imagine the Blake Babies covering the Raincoats' version of the Kinks' "Lola." The Blake Babies are, from left
to right, Juliana Hatfield, John Strohm and Freda Boner.

fected than Edie Brickell's, when she
tackles the Streetwalking Cheetah's
With Hatfield's toothsome voice,
there will be no mistaking the Blake
Babies for Radio Birdman, no matter
what songs they cover. The Bosto-
nian trio is more of a twentysome-
thingish band, like Galaxy 500 or
Mazzy Star or even the Connells.
Their latest album, Sunburn, con-
tains tough folk-rockers like "I'm
Not Your Mother" as well as songs

like "Watch Me Now, I'm Calling"
and "Look Away," two songs which
recall the great first generation of
gender-integrated Athens, Georgia
rock bands like Pylon and the B-52s
of "52 Girls."
At other points the Blake Babies
come on like either very early or
very late Let's Active, except weaned
on the Stooges instead of Led Zep-
pelin. Like the earliest Let's Active,
the Blake Babies are composed of
two women and one man: Hatfield

(who does most of the songwriting)
joins John Strohm (future guitar
hero) and Freda Boner (drums).
Strohm's voice joins Hatfield's on
some songs, but it's most certainly
Hatfield's efforts that elevate the
Blake Babies to the upper echelons
of the twentysomething hierarchy.
THE BLAKE BABIES appear with
Heidelberg tonight. Doors open at
10 p.m. and cover is $5.

lisplays Cu
of Moscow Theatre-Studio Vyach-
eslav Yurkin told me with the aid of
a translator, there are some subtle
but significant differences between
acting in the United States and in the
Soviet Union. American drama is
usually very naturalistic and collo-
quial, while comedy is light and far-
cical. Soviet theater, with Moscow
Theatre-Studio as a prime example,
is much more dramatic, powerful,
and big, but absolutely real at the
same time. American drama seeks to
imitate real life, while Soviet seeks
emotionalize it.
The methods developed by Con-
stantin Stanislavsky, the Russian
theater instructor who emphasized
emotional truth and inner motivation
(and in fact revolutionalized modern
theater) are at the base of Soviet the-
ater, says Yurkin. "Every student
learns (how to recreate reality
through) Stanislavsky," he said as he
lit an imaginary cigarette.
Stanislavsky's favorite playwright
was Anton Chekhov, who is studied
rigorously by Soviet theater stu-
dents. His plays are different than
American favorites such as Thorton
Wilder, who concentrated more on
mimicking real life. Chekhov's
characters talk in emotional mono-
logues and longer speeches, while
Wilder's speech is more colloquial.
Chekhov's style lingers on today,
especially in Moscow Theatre-Stu-
dio's drama My Big Land. Characters
rambled on for minutes, reading let-
ters, reciting poetry, or just talking.
Unlike Chekhov's work, some of
the speech in My Big Land, the story
of a young musician's relationship
with his drunken father, was stilted
and melodramatic. But it was amaz-
ing to see how each actor took the
speeches, molded them, and added in-

iltural differences

tense emotion, yet made them com-
pletely honest and real. The acting
was big but not overdone. In com-
parison with The Acting Comany's
Romeo and Juliet, performed last
semester at the Michigan Theater,
My Big Land wins hands down for
naturalistic and emotional drama.
The players in The Acting Company
were melodramatic and overdone in
Shakespeare's tragic romance and
couldn't hold the audience through
long monologues.
The Acting Company's talent in
comedy, however, was magnificent.
'theater ...allows us to
understand ...we all
have the same blood-
Their rendition of Two Gentleman
of Verona, with the brightly-colored
circus setting, was a highly enter-
taining farce. There was not one bor-
ing moment of the performance.
Moscow Theatre-Studio's comedy
The Teacher of Russian, however,
did not meet The Acting Company's
comedic entertainment talents. It's
called a black comedy, but "tragi-
comedy" may be a better name for it.
Only the first half, the introduction
to the corrupt seaside hospital that
rents rooms to tourists, was funny.
The second act concentrated on the
fear of an inspection, talk about the
corrupt system of government, and
the breaking of a paton's bones by
the doctor to legitimize the medical
records. The "comedy" was in reality
a tragedy with a strong political
message. The acting was real and

honest, but the American farce was
more comically entertaining.
"There's a different attitude to-
ward the study of acting in the So-
viet Union," said Margot Harley, the
Executive Producer of the Acting
Company, which is responsible for
the Soviet troupe's American tour.
They have an emphasis on training,
especially in four-year master pro-
grams, she explained, while the only
similar program in the United States
is at Julliard in New York. "Actors
(in the Soviet Union) cannot get.
work without the training," said
Yurkin. In the United States they
can. Each system has it's advantages
and disadvantages, and each can learn
from the other. But the Soviet
troupe had a quality that was trans-
lated at "co-passion," when Yurkin
attempted to explain the great, realis-
tic emotion the actors have when
working with the others on stage.
American actors perform a sort of
subtle passion, but have trouble
with grand emotion and often slip
into melodrama.
There are exceptions, of course.
There is great, explosive, passionate
American theater, especially in mu-
sicals, just as there must be subtle
and naturalistic Soviet theater. But
with exchanges such as these we can
observe the differences and learn
from them. I was dismayed to hear
an abundance of Russian voices in
the audience at the performances in
February; Americans had a rare op-
portunity to see Russian theater and
passed it up. If faced with the oppor-
tunity again, I hope that all students
and lovers of the theater in Ann Ar-
bor will go. It's not something to

Digital Underground
This Is An EP Release
Tommy Boy
Releasing extended players with
fragmented pieces of sporadic bril-
liance on them seems to have be-
come the norm for most of the big
names in rap; the EP release is now
probably the most pragmatic way to
prove that, like NWA, you're still
"in this muthafucka." Following the
formula of Ice Cube, Sir Jinx, and
the Lench Mob with their superla-

tive Kill At Will EP is the Digital
Underground, surprisingly even more
ingenious than before, but no longer
so willing to tell "the rappers in the
top 10, please allow me to bump
Most notable on the EP is
"Nuttin' Nis Funky," a nine-plus
minute "workout" that, more than
see s, Page
Michigan alumni
work here:

HOME ALONE (PG Mademoiselle
10:1s12:30 2:4s 4:300 :00990
AWAENINA 31because they
9:s012:05s2:25 0 :44
A NEVER ENDING STORY 2 (PG) modelled here:
10:1s12:0s 2:00 4:00
. " .ISSU E'
4:30 7:1 9:4
4:30 7:3 30 Mass meeting:
KING RAIPH PG) Thurs., Mar. 7, 4PM
4:30 7:309
DON'T TELL HER ME (PG-13) upstairs at the Student
NOTHING BUT TROUBLE(PG) Publicatio ns Building.
Please bring candids to
impress us!
The University of Michigan



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Thurs. Mar. 7
Sat. Mar. 9
Sun. Mar. 10

Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble
Fritz Kaenzig, director
Music of Bach, Ott, John Stevens, Fisher
Tull, and others
School of Music Recital Hall, 8 p.m.
Bill Evans Solo Concert
Tickets: S4 (763-5460)
Dance Building, Sudio A, 8 p.m.
Michigan Chamber Players
Richard Beene, bassoon; Hamao Fujiwara,
violin; Armando Ghitalla, trumpet; Jeffrey
Gilliam, piano; Paul Kantor, violin; Fred
Ormand, clarinet; Harry Sargous, oboe;
Stenhen Shinns, violin: Ellen Weckler,

:= () UI j


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