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December 07, 1995 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-12-07

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SB - The Michigan Daily - Wet4- e. - Thursday, December 7, 1995

New magazine makes
readers do a'DoubleTake'

By Dean Bakopoulos
Daily Books Editor
If you don't take a double take when
you see the cover of "DoubleTake,"
you need to have your eyes checked.
The cover has no words, save the
magazine's masthead. Rather, it de-
votes the entire cover to a striking
color photo by Paul D'Amato en-
titled "Blue Boy." The photo cap-
tures young schoolboys at play in a
city lot, and well, it's incredible. Few
photographers have captured such a
disturbing and intense collection of
emotions on the faces of child sub-
jects. Looking at the picture, one
knows that inside the cover will be no
ordinary magazine.
Indeed, DoubleTake, published by
the Center for Documentary Studies
at Duke University, is certainly not
an ordinary magazine. This unique-
ness stems largely from the editors'
promise to "treat photographers and
writers - both in the field and on the
page - as equals." Indeed,
DoubleTake is filled with just as many

beautiful and stunning visual images
as beautiful and stunning words. Both
the photographic work and the poetry
contained in its pages are varied and
One of the most interesting photo-
The Magazine Column
graphs in the fall 1995 issue, only the
magazine's second, is Camilo Jose
Vergara's "The Ruins and Revival
Archive." This series of images cap-
tures the storefront at 65 West 125th
Street in Harlem, not from different
perspectives or angles, but across a
period of seven years. The changes in
the facade of the building capture not
only the sad decline of urban America,

but also the country's uncanny ability
to adapt and survive.
Another powerful photographic
piece is that of Bill Bamberger, who
offers readers a glimpse at his "Fac-
tory Lives" collection. Again, here
the reader gets skillfully evocative
photographs of former employees at
the now shutdown White Furniture
Company in Mebane, N.C.
Bamberger's images of the American
proletariat are surely meant to con-
jure up scenes from the short stories
of Raymond Carver, often thought of
as the chronicler of the American
working class.
Speaking of Carver, "DoubleTake"
also includes poetry, including a new
poem from Tess Gallagher, Carver's
widow. Gallagher's poem, "For Cer-
tain Foreign Anthologists of Raymond
Carver" is a tenderly written remem-
brance of her husband, and at the
same time, a bitter reprimand to those
who distort his image.
Another top-quality poem in the
second issue of "DoubleTake" is
Stephen Dobyns' "Thelonious Monk."
In this piece, the poet recalls the magic
of his first record album, a Monk LP.
Dobyns poem is filled with pleasing
lines such as, "I was eighteen and
between my present and future was a
wall so big that not even sunlight
crept over."
Fittingly, Dobyns' poem is followed
by "Jazz," a photo essay by Anthony
In addition to featuring some of the
best poets of contemporary literature,
"DoubleTake" also contains some of
contemporary fiction's best and
Particularly testimonial to the liter-
ary merit found in "DoubleTake" is
the short story "Nightcap" by Ron
Carlson. Wavering between humor-
ous and sorrowful, the story brings to
life the trials of a middle-aged lawyer
who feels he is losing control of his
world and himself. The story is
exemplementary of Carlson's sadly
witty and insightful prose. He writes,
"One of the primary cowardly acts of
the late twentieth century is standing
beneath the bleachers finishing a new
beer before buying another and re-
joining your date."
Other contributingwriters include
poets Paul Zimmer, Sandra
McPherson, and Dave Smith, as well
as fiction writers Patrick Yachimski
and Lucy Honig.
In addition, DoubleTake has all the
staples of other literay/intellectual
periodicals-book and film reviews,
essays, investigative journalism, and
biographical profiles. And all of this
is laid out cleanly and well, with a
nearly perfect eye and sense ofpreci-
Perhaps the most gripping feature
in this fall 1995 issue are excerpts
from the artistic, photographic and
poetic journals of Dan Eldon, a 22-
year-old Reuters photographer stoned
to death in 1993 by an angry mob
while working in Somalia. Eldon's
journals, which are now on display at
the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, show the world
that it may have lost one of its great
artistic minds far too soon.
Inshort, "DoubleTake" is the perfect
magazine for that car/bus/train/plane
ride home for the holiday break. Filled
with a variety of amusing and provoca-
tive writing, plus photographs you will
want to linger on for long periods of
time, "DoubleTake" ranks among the
best new magazines on the market.
Actually, even despite it's youth, it
seems have no trouble matching the

quality of writing and visual images of
some of today's top periodicals.
You may have some difficulty find-
ing a copy of "DoubleTake" in some
areas. Call 1-800-221-3148 for fur-
ther information.

Tim Robbins and Jennifer Jason Leigh face off in the 1992 film "The Hudsucker Proxy."

New movie 'Georgia' hits dose
to home for Jennifer Jason Leigh

This startling photo by Paul D'Amato graces the cover of the fall 1995 issue of
"DoubleTake," an Intelligent, Insightful new magazine featuring poetry, fiction,
investigative journalism by some of today's best writers.

Actresses exist most profoundly
within the lives they borrow, but un-
less they're Norma Desmond, they
generally know where to draw the
line. Jennifer Jason Leigh knows
where to draw it, too. She just likes to
move it around a little.
In her new movie, "Georgia," which
opens Friday, Leigh doesn't play
Georgia. She plays her sister, Sadie,
who wants to be Georgia. Shame-
lessly imposing, desperately needy
and occasionally pathetic - prime
Leigh territory - Sadie is a woman
living a co-opted existence: The mar-
ginally talented relative of a really
big singing star, Sadie desires noth-
ing more than to be her own sibling.
And she can't. And she is absurd.
But for all the embarrassment and
discomfort Sadie causes - to every-
one - Leigh makes Sadie memo-
rable, meaningful and occasionally
frustrating. You want her to straighten
out, separate her life from Georgia
(Mare Winningham), get it together
with her musician friend Bobby (John
Doe), get as far away as possible from
the dives and the demented wackos.
And most of all, be happy.
The emotional connection Leigh
makes with her audience will come as
no surprise to anyone familiar with
the actress' career, or the litany of
vamps, tramps and psychopaths she's
played since 1980's "Eyes of a
Stranger"; her work has placed her in
the vanguard of American actresses.
But she may have surpassed even her
own good work, because she's crossed
some self-drawn line from pure act-
ing to personal investment.
"She's just burning herself into the
ground," Leigh said of Sadie, look-
ing small and pale and cradled by her
hotel-room couch. "I'm so tired. I
was so jet-lagged I just couldn't fall
asleep at all last night. May I lounge
like this?" she asked, a little laugh
escaping as she stretches out.
Leigh has never been considerd a
warm and wonderful interview. Dur-
ing press for "The Hudsucker Proxy"
in 1993, for instance, she was always
cordial, always a bit chilly. She com-
ported herself like a pure professional,
and not much more. But during the
recent New York Film Festival, where
"Georgia" screened, it was a new
Leigh: Friendly, warm, eager to an-
swer questions, quicker to laugh. The
unsettling thing is, she's an actress of
considerable abilities, but she seemed
sincerely interested, at the very least,
in getting "Georgia" across.
She dragged on a cigarette. "Sadie
doesn't have a great voice; she doesn't
write songs. She even says, 'I don't
write songs, I just make them up,'
which is a line from Janis Joplin. It's
not even her own line. And she wants
to be thought of as this Janis Joplin
character, too."
But what she really wants to be is
Georgia, who is one of the very few
title characters around who is neither
hero nor villain but neurosis. Sadie

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isn't untalented - plenty of careers
have been built on less - she just
lacks a self. And where it leads her-
into alcoholism, drugs, stupid affairs
and two-bit gigs in bowling alleys -
is the stuff of the film.
As a social symptom, Sadie repre-
sents a broad constituency that in-
cludes everyone from Geraldo's next
guest to Mark David Chapman: In an
age when you presumably don't exist
if you're not on television, there are
many people who are desperate for


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A blond Leigh takes a drag in 1989's
"Heart of Midnight."
stardom but also desperate for talent.
It's like needing water but not having
a mouth. Sadie has a mouth, which is
part of the problem.
"It's so funny," Leigh said, "be-
cause whenever I do anyone's song I
would try to do it as close to that
person as possible, because that's who
Sadie is. She's dying to be Georgia,
but when she sings other people's
songs ... When she does a Van
Morrison song, it's Van Morrison,
ya know? And yet, the more she
tries to become these other people,
the more she becomes herself. The
thing I didn't even realize until I
saw the film was that the more she
tries to emulate others, the more
Sadie she becomes."
For the actress, who appeared ear-
lier this year in Taylor Hackford's
"Dolores Claiborne" and will soon
be seen in Robert Altman's "Kansas
City," "Georgia" was a family af-
fair. Her mother, screenwriter Bar-
bara Turner (Leigh's father was the
late Vic Morrow), was someone she'd
"always wanted to work with." So
she made a proposal.
"I had this germ of an idea about
two sisters," she said, "one with a
voice from God and one with a voice,
as John Doe says, from Detroit. It was
about the relationship between the
eternal screwup and the one who's so
grounded. I also always wanted to do
a movie about sisters, because I have
two sisters and I'm really close to
both of them, and I find these rela-
tionships moving and fascinating and
a big part of my life. So, anyway, I

told her this vague idea, and she said
she liked it and that she'd be inter-
ested in writing it."
The crossings of borders in "Geor-
gia" are considerable. Mare
Winningham, for instance, actually
was the older, folksinging counselor
to Leigh when they attended art camp
together (Leigh was 14, Winningham
17). Then there's Leigh's relation-
ship with her older sister, Carrie Mor-
row, 36, whom Leigh, 34, decribedas
the "gut" kid who got in trouble while
the "cerebral" Jennifer was cleanig
her room.
Carrie Morrow's difficulties have
been resolved, Leigh said. "She's in
school and she's going to become a
drug counselor; she's really goe
through it and come out the other
side. And she's one of the most amaz-
ing people I know. My other sister's
an actress, Mina Badie. She's just
starting out. Both my sisters are also
my closest confidantes."
Leigh, who also co-produced the
film with her mother and director
Ulu Grosbard, spends a large
amount of screen time singing and
performing, usually in run-down
honky-tonks. Her compatriots in-
clude Doe, former member of the
Los Angeles band X, and John C.
Reilly, who plays the doomed drum-
mer Herman.
The centerpiece of the film - and
the moment of relative triumph for
Sadie - comes during an eight-and-
a-half minute performance of Van.
Morrison's "Take Me Back," a ram-
bling, passionate musical meditation
that Sadie sings onstage in the middle
of a Georgia concert. It was done in
two takes, and is extraordinary to
watch, a collision of desire and fate.
Did the actress have to fake singing
badly through any of the film? "I sang
as well as I possibly could."
And yet, on certain numbers, such
as Elvis Costello's "Almost Blue,"
Sadie's voice seems to contain just
the right wistful fragility. It works.
And because it does, it adds to the
complexity of Sadie's plight.
From "Last Exit to Brooklyn" to
"Rush" to "Mrs. Parker and the Vi-
cious Circle"to "Dolores Claiborne"
to "The Hudsucker Proxy" - which
featured her insanely mannered hom-
age/parody of the Kate Hepburn-Roz
Russell-style screwball heroine _
Leigh has consistently won praise,
even ifthe people praising didn'tnec-
essarily like the movies she was in.
"I found that to be the case a lot
during the first couple of years I was
working," she said. 'But back then, I
felt lucky to find parts I found inspir-
ing and wanted to play; I didn't even
look at the whole movie - mean, as
a choice. I'd just say, 'This is a char-
acter I could do something with. It
excites me and it's challenging to
"Now I feel like I'm getting to make
movies I would pay to go see. For me,
that's a great thing, so I feel very
lucky in that respect."

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