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September 11, 1995 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-11

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

Messin' you up with their Vudu
That would be the Vudu Hipples, one of the Detroit music scene's
hottest movers and shakers. Their smokin' brand of modern rock
defines them as an irnense concert experience. Their singer has a big
beautiful voice that perfecdy complements their soul-inflected numbers.
Catch them tonight at Rick's; for more information, call 996-2747.


Page 94

September 11, 1

'Wong Foo' a fun, fluffy flick i


x.Ma, <.:....:.

$y Joshua Rich
Daily Film Editor
Cloaked in gaudy women's clothing
and sickening, pulse-pounding Euro-
pean techno tunes, "To Wong Foo ..."
begs enough questions to keep its audi-
ence guessing for most of the picture.
While the plot and themes in the film
aren't too hard to grasp, we really
wonder about more important things:
Who is this Julie Newmar? What's
with the strange title of this flick? And
what on earth are Patrick Swayze,
Wesley Snipes andpal John Leguizamo
doing in drag?!
Inquiring minds would be relieved
to hear that Newmar was a popular
glam model-queen of the '60s and '70s
most famous for being the first
Catwoman on Batman. The film's title
comes from an autographed picture
the dragsters find in a gay bar. And the
three dress up like women for at least
one major reason - publicity, baby,
Thankfully, "To Wong Foo ..." of-
fers its audience more than the out-of-
control publicity that, in past weeks
and months, has finally led it to the
silver screen. In this case, originality is
definitely sacrificed for showy cos-

I Rmmtw

To Wong Foo,
Thanks for
Everything! Julie
Directed by Beban Kidrom;
with Patrick Swayze and
Wesley Snipes
At Showcase and Briarwood
tumes, an outlandish screenplay and
over-the-top acting. And yet, these fea-
tures actually wind up being the film's
saving graces, not its downfall.
Strangely reminiscent of 1994's
Australian drag-fest, "The Adventures
of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," this
film also boasts a lengthy, absurd title
as well as a simple linear plot that
involves three cross-dressers who em-
bark on a lengthy bus trip. Here, the
country is America, the protagonists
aim for L.A., and their vehicle is a car.
Staying true to form, the girls are

stranded in some redneck dust-bowl
town where they encounter a smatter-
ing of racism, sexism and overall igno-
rance. You want to slap the local boys
around when they take our heroes for
bona fide females. You want to scream
when the village mechanic is shown
beating his wife. But you really want to
laugh and feel good about the whole
thing when Wesley and friends fix up
the place and finally set everyone
With astonishing daring, the three
leading actors embrace their roles and
conquer the difficult task of acting in
drag. This is, after all, a feat that only
few before them have mastered.
Snipes builds upon his flamboyant
"White Men Can't Jump" charm and
dominates the action whenever on
screen (he even takes time to dunk a
few basketballs while he's at it).
Swayze comes back from his movie
star limbo to deliver an endearing
performance second to Terence
Stamp's in "Priscilla." And
Leguizamo ("Spic-o-Rama") is a bud-
ding RuPaul (who also makes his ex-
pected two-minute cameo) by play-
ing the downright sexy Chi Chi.
Much to their credit, we quickly


'Hey good-lookln', we'll be back to pick you up later!'

forget that these ladies are actually
guys. They continually maintain their
feminine personae, even while
galavanting across the country with
homophobic cop Chris Penn ("Reser-
voir Dogs") or hick wife-beater Arliss
Howard ("Full Metal Jacket") out to
get them.
Director Beeban Kidron makes a
fine distinction between the good

(transvestites and friends) and the bad
(everybody else) in this movie. But
that just makes appreciating it all the
easier. It is fun to see them strut around
like Donna Summer and cosmetically
make-over the local women in a way
that would put Max Factor to shame.
It is even more amusing to watch
them beat up the shocked brutes who
grab their crotches not expecting to

find the king's crown jewels.
Perhaps it is a good thing that "Tv
Wong Foo ..." is a formulaic fluff
ball of a movie. We don't have to sit
there and pay close attention to intri=
cate plot twists or tearful drama. in-
stead, we can just relax, enjoy and
ultimately discover that there really ig
a polyester-wearing disco fan in all
our souls.

Cybernetic party mixes computers, science, art and music

_ R .

By Emily Lambert
Daily Fine Arts Editor
It really is possible to hold a rainbow
in your hand. Mountains can move and
carpets do fly. While most of Ann Ar-
bor was hitting the snooze button one
last time before Saturday morning's
game, a diverse crowd was undergoing
an untraditional psychedelic experience
in the unlikeliest of places. A mind-
altering, substance-free, cybernetic
party was underway at the University
Art Museum.
A constantly shifting kaleidoscopic
sight, which could be viewed from the
floor or balcony in the darkened mu-
seum, was accompanied by subtly ex-
pressive, unusual music. An array of
lights suspended from the high ceiling
projected images onto a large, sand-
covered canvas taped to the museum's
floor. Beach loving volunteers from the
audience, one ortwo at a time, played in

Univernily Art Museum
Septermber 9, 1995
the sand to insure perpetual change in
the landscape. As waves and shapes
flowed across the screen, they were
altered by shifting mounds of sand
which twisted and contorted the com-
putergenerated patterns ofcolor. Hand-
fuls of sand caught colors in midair,
creating slow motion illusions which
fascinated the audience, the participants
and even the artists.
After a six-minute excerpt, the two
creators rose to discuss their work. John
Dunn, a research fellow in the arts at the

University School of Art and the cre-
ator of the artistic software used, engi-
neered the note by note composition
which was taken directly from a DNA
strand. Using a Musical Instrument
Digital Interface (MIDI) synthesizer and
knowledge ofmusical scales, he meshed
the scientific and aesthetic building
blocks of both DNA and music to create
many subtle percussive and melodic
sounds. "It's nature's harmony in
DNA," he explained. "It's amazinghow
nice it actually sounds."
Dunn's collaborator was University
faculty member Jamy Sheridan. Using
the projected image of his computer
monitor, Sheridan walked the group
through the interactive, three-dimen-
sional images he created using Dunn's
software. The incredible swiftness and
precision of a computer made the ani-
mated effects possible and his artistry
brought them to life. As cloudlike and

starry structures moved across the
screen, Sheridan became the navigator
of a magic cyber-carpet.
This event was the first of ten pro-
duced by the New Art League, a sub-
group of the Friends of the University
Museum of Art. The series, Second
Saturday mornings, introduces art by
living artists and often commentary by
the artists themselves, to art enthusiasts
and mildly curious members ofthe Ann
Arbor community.
If you missed Saturday's presentation,
don't worry, sugar. John Dunn has a web
site where you can learn more about his
software: http:/www.webcom/-stfa/, and
the New Art League would love if you'd
volunteer. Just be sure to catch next
month's feature: Monumental Tropical
Flowers in Watercolor, to be held Octo-
ber 14, 11 a.m. at the T'Marra Gallery-
Artsearch on first street. A party this good
you don't want to miss twice.

If you're interested
in writing for our
please c all73


Heather or Alex.


According to a

recent su


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