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October 12, 1995 - Image 20

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-12

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88 - The Michigan Daily - Wee4c efc. - Thursday, October 12, 1995

Lapdogs br
By Pete Levin
For the Daily
It was standing room only as people
filed down the stairs into the basement of
Cava Java. A very diverse audience
showed up Saturday night to catch the
Lapdogs, Ann Arbor's new funk-soul
band with a twist. Paul Ross opened up
the show with a quick set of his original
accoustic farses ofpolitically correct life.
Anitcipation mounted as second opening
band Disdic also whipped the crowd into
a frenzy.
Finally, the Lapdogs, featured band of
the evening, began to play. Bassist Sean
Rhyee, guitarists Josh Radcliffe and Jesse
Levine, and drummerBrianSteinclimbed
on stage for a Lapdog original opener.
(Percussionist Willy Jurkiewicz couldn't
make the show). The quartet rattled off a
funky instrumental to give the audience a
taste of what they paid three bucks to see.
The brass section then squeezed their
way on stage to join their fellow band
members. The Lapdogs' brass quartet,
one of the best around, is composed of
Slick Jon Kidd (trumpet), Joe Cislo (trom-
bone), Joby Morrow (trombone), and Dale
King (sax). The friskiest Lapdog of them
all, lead singer Melanie Friske, strutted
on up to the mic for a Janis Joplin cover.
The brass quartet then moved on to solos,
featuring trumpeter Jon Kidd in a stylin'
mustard suit and lime green tie.
The Lapdogs played three original

ing'family' to funk-soul
songs and the rest of their set was com- lecular biology.
prised of covers, ranging from various Most of the crowd had filed out shortly
Stax-Voltzmusicians, Aretha Franklin, after Saturday's show, and all that re-
The Meters, Janis Joplin, Digable Plan- mained was security, close friends and
ets, and even a mesmerizing version of family. "My dad thought we were better
Cream's "Strange Brew." After about then Sha-na-na," said Levine. The Levines
an hour and ahalf, the Lapdogs wrapped were notthe only parents at the show, they
up their set with a rousing chorus of were joined by the Kings, Steins, Kidds,
"Happy Birthday" to Kidd who recently and Friskes, not an unusual sight for the
celebrated his 21st. It was another great Lapdogs who can fill half the venue with
performance by the local band. family members. The Lapdogs are like a
The Lapdogs were first formed in family themseleves; as Radcliffe put it:
March of 1994 and really hit the spot- "One thing I like about this band is every-
light in early 1995. They've gone one gives each other space and support."
through many personnel changes, pick- Unfortunately, Friske will be taking
ing up new members on an almost her voice abroad to Spain for the winter
monthly basis. At sax alone, they've semester and the Lapdogs' family will
had five different members. "It just gets have to move on without her. "You really
to be more and more fun with all the appreciate how great this band is more
new people we get," Stein said as he and more after every gig with the re-
packed up his drums. minder that Melanie is going to Spain,"
"Themotivatingphilosophybehindthe Kidd said.
band is to have fun," added Radcliffe. The Lapdogs have no interest in
"I was writing my masters' thesis being rock stars, they simply have fun
when I joined the band and the music playing shows anywhere. "I would
was a huge stress relief for me. I even just want to be famous so I could have
put all them in my acknowledgements roadies pack upmy stuff aftershows!"
page," said Cislo, the oldest of the Stein laughed. The band has nearly
bunch. The rest of the band are all accomplished their dream of playing
currently enrolled as undergrads at everywhere, including coffee houses,
the University, and they have to be in the diag, and open mic nights at
one of the most intellectual bands on clubs. "We are even the only band to
campus. Stein and Radcliffe are both have played at Zingermans," band
math majors, Morrow is in the Inteflex members insisted. "They paid us in
program, Rhyee studies cellular-mo- sandwiches!"

Demi Moore heats up "The Scarlet Letter" next week.

Classic literature silver on-screen?

Publicbodatn rebounds from
bu twoes with superior season
The Baltimore have a sense of what's right with public kids' show. Geared
Newt Gingrich has been called many television these days. Programs premier- 11 and their parents
things, but one of them is not "friend of ing this week provide an even better win- Jack Russell terrier
public television." Last December, the dow on the new, improved PBS. Wishbone transpo
House Speaker called for Congress to This week, "Masterpiece Theatre" be- ern-day world into
"zero out" funding for the Corporation gan with Edith Wharton's "The Bucca- "Marsalis on M
for Public Broadcasting. Things looked neers" - for my money, the richest series no music lov
pretty bleak for Big Bird and the gang television production in the distin- While it's targeted;
as a fierce national debate on the very guished 25-year history of the series. A as was the late L
existence of public television ensued. wonderful new kids'show,"Wishbone," unforgettable"
The debate hasn't totally ended, but starring a dog who reads and lives the Concerts"on CBS
the picture at the Public Broadcast Sys- literary classics, joins "Sesame Street" for adults.
tem has brightened considerably. andthe restofPBS' admirable children's The first installm
Gingrich has backed off in the wake of lineup. And Wynton Marsalis takes up Marsalis on Rhythr
several public opinion polls showing the baton left behind by Leonard Wynton Marsalis.
widespread support for public televi- Bernsteininaseriesofsmartandswing- Seiji Ozawa with ti
sion. An August pledge drive raised ing music programs for young viewers sic Center Orchestr
$22 million, up 13 percent from last called "Marsalis on Music." turer, explains rhy
year. And Congress has just approved Affirming the maxim "What doesn't kids. Then Marsal
full funding for 1996. kill you will make you stronger," PBS turns leading thei
Most important for viewers, though, executives and underwriters say the de- excerpts of "The N
PBS has emerged from the debate with bate started by enemies of public televi- Tchaikovsky, and t
stronger and more focused programs sionis responsible forthe improvements imagined by Duke
than it has in years. It is in the midst of in PBS programming. The series is un
launching one of its finest seasons ever. While PBS executives can be asprone and Texaco.
Those who saw last month's "History to hype as their commercial brethren, Some of the gl
of Rock & Roll" or "Listening to Chil- the two new series are worthy of it. about the future o
dren:A MoralJourneywithRobertColes" "Wishbone" is a near-perfect PBS Texaco's decision

to children ages 6 to
s, it stars an adorable
. Each episode, finds
rted from his mod-
a work of literature.
usic," is a four-part
er will want to miss.
at young viewers -
Leonard Bernstein's
Young Peoples'
- it plays just fine
ent, "Why Toes Tap:
m," features both the
Jazz Orchestra and
the Tanglewood Mu-
ra. Marsalis, the lec-
thm to a hall full of
lis and Ozawa take
r musicians through
'utcracker Suite" by
the same piece as re-
Ellington.
nderwritten by Sony
oomiest predictions
f PBS were tied to
two seasons ago to
it Performances" and
e of that money on
channel. For some,
rporate underwriting
gh its support of the
ra radio broadcasts.
ack on board is im-
exaco vice president,
Washington seems to
3S' making decisions
es" it would try to
nnel universe.

By Dean Bakopoulos
Daily Arts Writer
Hester Prynne is one of the most
vivid and best-known fictional female
characters in American literature. For
years, it's been nearly impossible to get
through a high school English curricu-
lum without encountering Nathaniel
Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter"
which tells the tale of Hester and her
plight as a branded "sinner" in Puritan
society. But from tomorrow onward,
the future generations of high school lit
classes will come to know a new kind
of Hester Prynne. She's sultry, sexy,
and does a steamy shower scene; it's
none other than Demi Moore, Holly-
wood hottie and star of such gems as
"About Last Night" and "Disclosure."
It's a long shot to think that director
Roland Joffe's film version of
Hawthorne's classic tale will be much
more than a Demi Moore-Gary Oldman
lust story. If Joffe was going for artistic
integrity, he may have thought a little
bit harder about casting Moore. Based
on past performances, she just doesn't
seem to be artistically capable ofpaint-
ing a credible picture of the complex
emotional world of Hester Prynne. Un-
less, of course, Joffe has significantly
altered Hawthorne's text as most Hol-
lywood insiders report.
But however Moore's performance
turns out, the adaptation of "The Scar-
let Letter" raises fundamental ques-
tions about the act oftransforming clas-
sic literature into mainstream movies.
Judging from Hollywood's past record
with exceptional literary texts, it seems
apparent that there is simply something
about the written word that the camera
cannot recreate.
The beauty of reading fiction is the
sense of intimacy that the reader can feel
with the text. It's this intimacy which
often alludes us when we watch books on
film. For starters,there is the actual physi-
cal contact with reading that is unattain-
able in movie viewing. When we read,
we feel the heft of the book in our hands,
we feel the texture of the pages, see the
font of the typescript, feel the smooth-
ness ofthe cover. We directly participate
in the process of reading literature, but

with film, we feel like distant observers in
an uncomfortable seat in a crowded room
watching a story unfold as we passively
observe.
The physical act of reading also has
another distinct advantage over the dis-
tant world of film. In essence, the reader
of a text has much more control than
does a viewer of film. While the most
exceptional films are able to draw the
audience into a complicated thought
process, many fail to do so. Too many
of the films that get out of the studios
are so easily accessible, they eliminate
the need for careful examination or
imaginitive pondering. But with the art
of literary texts, the reader becomes
directly involved in the art form, as-
suming a role that is comparable to a
film's director.
For example, the readeris able to"cast"
the work in what he or she sees at the most
fitting manner. That is, the reader sees
how the author describes the charcters,
and then the reader is able to develop that
character more fully. The reader can give
that character a certain voice, a certain
world viewpoint, a certain eye color. The
reader also can control the pacing of a
story in a way that is impossible for a
movie viewer. An intense dialogue can
slow down for emphasis, or an abstract
monologue can be sped up. A series of
events can unravel slowly, or they can
unravel with startling rapidity. The film
viewer is at the mercy of the camera, but
the reader of a text is at his or her own
discretion; he or she can linger languidly
over a passage of flowing prose, or read
and reread a shattering epiphany. Once
again, this direct interaction between art-'
ist and audience is much easier with writ-
ing, and a key reason why film can never
replace the intimacy of prose and poetry.
Even the best films often fail to
capture the magic of classic literature
because they cannot forge that sense
of intimacy and interaction. For ex-
ample, Francis Ford Coppola and Jack
Clayton's film version of "The Great
Gatsby," a fine film in its own right,
as well as a decent adaptation, was
understandably unable to match F.
Scott Fitzgerald's stunning conclu-
sion. While the Coppola-Clayton con-

clusion was well done, the reader of
"The Great Gatsby" was abletolinger
over the orgiastic last paragraphs,
pondering and rereading, repeating
that magical line: "So we beat on,
boats aginst the current borne back
ceaselessly into the past." It's prose
like Fitzgerald's that film rarely rec-
reates successfully.
There is also a certain emotion that
bursts forth from the page, but is often
too restrained and faded when it shows
on the screen. Take for example Rob-
ert Altman's "Short Cuts," a film
based on the writings of the contem-
porary short story king Raymond
Carver. Altman's work is extremely
competent and well-done, but it sim-
ply cannot convey the emotional
punch that Carver's prose did. The
touching story "A Small, Good Thing"
simply did not have the same devas-
tating effect without Carver's near-
perfect prose. Even excellent adapta-
tions cannot match the art of authors,
and no matter how huge Hollywood
gets, there will always be those of us
who prefer to read.
Perhaps the simplest and best expla-
nation of this gap between fiction and
film comes from Kazuo Ishiguro, whose
novel "Remains of the Day" was made
into a critically acclaimed Merchant-
Ivory film. Ishiguro, at a reading last
weekend at the Rackham Graduate
School, said he feels there are two com-
pletely different versions of "Remains
of the Day" in existence. One is his; one
is James Ivory's. Ishiguro believes fic-
tion and film, though one genre influ-
ences the other and vice versa,"are two
different art forms entirely." This means
that a film could never be expected to
match a novel, and a novel coild never
be expected to match a film. Thd two art
forms must be looked at independently.
This viewing of fiction and film as
related but independent entities is a
necessary way of looking at the two art
forms. It seems easy to predict that on
Oct. 13, Demi Moore and "The Scarlet
Letter" will show just how amazingly
different they really are. And old
Nathaniel Hawthorne will be rolling
over in his grave.

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The National Theatre of the Deaf
presents

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I aI kS tA Ct LLJf

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A madcap comedy by
Eugene Labiche & Marc-Michel
You See and Hear Every Word!
Wednesday, October 18th, 8:00 pm
The Mendelssohn Theatre
Tickets are available at the Michigan Union
Ticket Office and all Ticketmaster Outlets
Charge by phone, 763-TKTS or (810) 645-6666
Find us on the Internet at http:lwww.umich.edul-mevents
A U-M Offie of Major Eventslis"on of StudentAffairs &The Heang Impaired Student "o''tion Presentation

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