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September 15, 1995 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-15

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 15, 1995 -11

Local author shares wisdom, insight

By Emily Lambert
Daily Fine Arts Editor
"My daughter won't come to my read-
ings because she cries too much," author
Jonis Agee warned the audience that gath-
ered at Shaman Dum Bookshop Wednes-
day night."She says 'Mom, don't read that
depressing shit to people,"' said a smiling
Agee from beneath the brim of her large
cowboyhat. Thewamingwent unheededby
the rapt congregation, which filled 48 chairs
and spilled onto the floor of the cozy shop.
Reading from her latest collection of short
stories, "A .38 Special anda Broken Heart,"
Agee immersed the willing crowd in her
horrificyetsatisfyingtalesofloneliness,lost
satisfaction and love gone bad.
There was the hopeless, young girl
whose first romantic experience was any-
thing but romantic. There was the sui-
cidal woman, drowning her troubles with
wine. Each trying scene was described in
vivid, florid detail.
Yet the despondent situations were too
laden with irony and the characters too
laden with Agee's wry humor to be pa-
thetic. The audience chuckled as awoman
burdened with a failing marriage and a
depressing affairendured the compliments
ofenvious friends. Howeverdid she man-
age to attract the attention oftwo men, and

V

atherage?The listeners laughed at Agee's
poetic descriptions of a bald hippie-girl
and a small-town barbershop with a
monumental picture of Jesus. And the
guffaws erupted at the antics of a motel
maid. "It's the naked eye that counts,"
remarked the maid, providing unexpected
insight from one who vacuums used
RIVSW
JanSis AgO
Shaman Drum
Bookstore
September 13, 1995
sheets instead oftaking the time to change
them.
Agee, recently luredto the University's
creative writing department from Minne-
sota, exhibited character of her own. She
complimented her stories with back-
ground, explanations and personal expe-
riences. When thefinal episode concluded,
Agee chatted with those who hung around
to talk to her (and munch on the free

cookies).
Since the store's expansion one year
ago, the reading series has attracted a
greater number of out-of-town artists
and a wider audience. Jonis Agee's
reading is one of the eleven events
hosted by Shaman Drum this month.
Marianne Boruch, an Associate Profes-
sor of English at Purdue University,
kicks off the remaining eight with
tonight's reading of her poetry.
Borders Bookstore also offers a read-
ing series, and alist ofupcoming events is
available at the store. Kent Bicknell, edi-
tor of the recently published manuscript
by Louisa May Alcott, will visit Monday
to discuss and sign copies of Alcott's "A
Long Fatal Love Chase."
Visits by visiting and local writers
are extremely accessible. IfAgee's char-
ismatic reading was any indication,
these "academic" events are popular
and have none of the stuffiness one
might expect. Much of Ann Arbor's
thriving academic community exists
outside of University classrooms.
Here's another warning for the audi-
ence: don't like the floor? Bring a lawn
chair.

Come Follow the whirlingRoad
Ann Arbor locals whirlingRoad will be playing a special show Saturda y night at the Blind Pig to promote the release of their
great new album, "Twelve Steps Below Walnut," on Skillet Records. The quartet will be playing with Kiss Me Screaming and
Daddy Stitch. The show is $4, but for a 19 and over crowd only. If yc u want to check out that good o1' Ann Arbor rock, be,
sure not to miss one of this town's best local bands. Doors open at .:30 p.m. And don't capitalize their name, dammiti

Various Artists
Music From the Motion Picture
Angus
Reprise
Welcome to mall punk heaven. De-
signed by 90s pop punk architects
Green Day, the "Angus" soundtrack
features many of the multi, multi,
multi-platinum punks' favorite
bands, and even a new cut from the
Day itself.
Despite the homogenization, the
soundtrack works, antd is actually
quite good. Where most three-chord
bands' albums get boring after a few
repetitive songs, the 11 different acts
on "Angus" keep the mix of mostly
new Warner Bros. bands interesting
and fun.
Green Day's "J.A.R. (Jason An-
drew Relva)," named for bassist Mike
Dirnt's newborn son, continues with
the trio's history of catchy poppy
punk. The track is a good Day song,
and well, sounds like Green Day.
The Day's old Lookout! label mates
Pansy Division, who they frequently
tour with, have a track on the album
most obviously because of Green
Day's influence. "Deep Water" is
much "friendlier" and has more mass
appeal than other Pansy Division
songs, even sounding like the Vio-
lent Femmes. For the band's first
time, they even fail to mention any
references to penises throughout an
entire track.
Another of Billy Joe's faves, The
Muffs, are also here with "Funny
Face," your typical Muffs track. Ska
punkers Dance Hall Crashers'
"Enough" and Goo Goo Dolls' "Ain't
That Unusual" are both good tracks
along with the typical sounding
Weezer track, "You Gave Your Love

to Me Softly."
Day prodigy Tilt's "White Homes"
is decent, and Smoking Popes and
The Riverdales tracks are also pretty
good.
The British group Ash's two tracks,
"Jack Names the Planets," and "Kung
Fu" are enjoyable, and Love Spit
Love's "Am I Wrong" is a mellow
and pleasant coda for the good and
punky album.
- Brian A. Gnatt

Pram
Helium
Too Pure
There are already few snobby 40-year
old music snobs out there who are circling
in on Pram for the kill, ready to dismiss
them as imitators of some kooky "space-
rock" that happened in the '60s. Even if
this were true (which it isn't), it wouldn't
matter anyway; right now, in the '90s,
Pram's music is essential because for

once, it makes one look forward to the
future of music instead of forcing one to
look back on it's past.
"Helium" is Pram's second full-length
LP, and even though dated adjectives
such as "jazzy," "quirky" and "spacey"
do come to mind every once in a while,
they ultimately fall flat. In terms ofinstru-
ments, guitars are noticeably absent;
Pram's energy emerges from spasticdrum
rolls, dissonant Casio-keyboard chords
and tensely configured basslines. On top
of it all, Rosie's free-form vocal stylings
wander in and out of the mesh of each
song, going in any direction that the mo-
ment demands of them.
But Pram certainly aren't lacking in the
song department, either. Most of the tracks
take a few listens to get a feel for, but songs
such as"Things Left On The Pavement" are
much more immediate, and tend to set the
pace for the album for the first few listens.
But after several listens, the brilliant subtle-
ties begin to emerge, such as the dual-
keyboard interplay on the opening track,
"Gravity," and the way in which the flute-
sounding keyboards give way to a real so-
prano recorder on "Pavement." These de-
tails,alongwithtoomanyotherstolistmake
"Helium" a more unusual and exciting ex-
perience with every listen.
- Andy Dolan

Gil Scott-Heron
Spirits
TVT Records
Here's a man who shoutlk need abso-
lutely no introduction. If y ou need one,
realize that help is available. Gil Scott-
Heron, whose first release came out 25
years ago and whose title. track, "The
Revolution Will not be Televised," is
more well known in some circles than
any Ice Cube or Notorious B.I.G. single.
Gil Scott-Heron is the undis putedgrand-
father, godfather, better yet.god ofmod-
ern-day, socially-consciou s rap. While
others in hip-hop deserve oa ,r respect for
carrying rap to the height iL's at now, it
must be realized that Gil Scott-Heron
was kickin' knowledge abo ut the streets
when the closest Snoop EI oggy Dogg
could come to saying "gang sta" was "ga
ga goo goo," and he was :using fresh
vibesandthemostpoeticlyriics to preach,
protest and praise when man ty ofus were
still engrossed in learning ti he moves to
"Patty Cake."
Now, after a 12-year leav( ; of absence,
Mr. Scott-Heron is back. A1, little more
gray up top, he is no less pro found in his
wisdom, caring and awe-in! ;piring way
of communicating his matst complex

philosophies in such a way that all can
enjoy him and take something from his
work.
"Spirits" follows in the tradition of Gil
Scott-Heron'spreviously-releasedLP's. He
remainswittyyetunderstandable. Hespeaks
to the younger generation, yet even those
older than him draw on his knowledge. He
shows a very humorous side at times, yet in
an instant he can make your heart burn with
angeratthe injustice aroundyouoryoursoul
shutter and cry for your guilt in perpetuating
these injustices both with your actions and
your inaction.
Once his "raps" begin to play, you can't
shut your ears to his words for he speaks
directly to your soul. It is with this feeling of
cautious anticipation that you should pre-
pare for your first listening to "Spirits."
Modern day musical poets like Reg E.
GainesandChrisThomashavetumedtothis
living foundationofallthatisgoodinrapfpr
both inspiration and a better understandi*
of their purpose as "rap poets." Now Gill
Scott-Heron has returned to directly school
everyone who will give him (or, more ap-
propriately, givethemselves) the chance. To
miss out on the opportunity to learn from
"Spirits" is to miss out on virtually every-
thing.
-Eugene Bowen
See RECORDS, page 12

In real life, the penalty for a mistake isn't obvious

"Yes, Petey, Yes! I am Angus. Hear me roar with undisguised venom. I am fat but
you are short. We will unite with my three chins to fight the evil locker monsters."
COG AodPcWo psenU
A Concert of Hits from the 50s & 60s
The fun includes ballads, novelty numbers, show
tunes, doo-wop and the beginnings of rock &
roll, performed by the COG singers and special
featured groups:
* Music Box * The Halftones
* The Gelcaps * Strangelove
Saturday, September 16, 8pm
Lydia Mendelssohn Theater
Tickets $5.00 (student, senior)
On sale at
SKR Classical,
Ann Arbor and at the door
ss

t
Now

ve copy your rGsumes
& reports correctl'y while
you wait to help you
avoid the penal l.s for
less than perfect results.

with coupon
no other discounts apply
expires 12/31/95
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