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October 23, 1995 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-23

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

O EiduIIg0 i U The Road less traveled
Vic Chestnutt, the brilliant, tortured country-folk-rock singer/
songwriter, appears tonight at the Blind Pig. His insightful and
harrowing stories enrich his music with an almost frightening intimacy.
He's also the subject of another "Sweet Relief" benefit, which helped Page SA
singer Victoria Williams. See Chestnutt at the Blind Pig; Tickets are $8 Monday,
- in advance. Doors open at 9:30. October 23, 1995

Contrived 'Mallrats' lacks good humor

_.
._ _ _ _

By !ate Brady
For the Daily
What happens when a small-budget
filmmaker becomes successful and sud-
denly finds himselfwith loads ofmoney
to spend on his next movie? The answer
is "Mallrats," and the result is disap-
pointing.
Set in a New Jersey mall and the
surrounding area, "Mallrats" is about
the quest of two smart-ass slacker guys
to win back their girlfriends. The highly
contrived plot involves an attempt to
sabotage a TV show, a visit to a topless
fortune-teller and a cameo b comic

Mallrats
Written and directed by
Kevin Smith; with Shannen
Doherty and Jason Lee
At Showcase
book hero Stan Lee.
Filmmaker Kevin Smith gained at-
tention last year with the release of his
debut his debut film "Clerks." Although
criticized by some for its raunchy lan-
guage, the movie became a favorite
among teenage audiences, depicting the
day-to-day adventures of convenience-
store clerks. Directed and filmed by
Smith, and featuring unknowns, the
movie incited laughter ineveryone who
has ever been on the other side of the
counter.
However, "Mallrats" is not "Clerks."
"Clerks" was one hell of a funny movie,
complete with great, nearly NC-17 rated
dialogue, a dry New Jersey sense of
humor and likable characters.
Unfortunately, in "Mallrats," Smith
brings back all the Jersey but none of
the style or charm. It is all about Jersey,
complete with loud, mean-spiritedjokes

that do not always seem funny. The film
is highly recommended for those who
hail from the Garden State; this movie
contains tons of references that only
natives will truly enjoy.
This is not to say that "Mallrats" did
not have its funny moments. Jay and
Silent Bob (Smith, himself) return from
"Clerks" to bring much of this comedy's
humor with their bizarre behavior. They
are the best thing about this movie,
rescuing it from its many fits of bore-
dom. Most entertaining are their many
attempts at mischief, including a run-in
with the Easter Bunny.
Shannen Doherty is surprisingly
funny opposite unknown actor and
skate-boarding star, Jason Lee, who
plays her former boyfriend, Brodie.
These two are lucky to have some of the
best lines in the movie, although they
get bogged down in cheesy "romantic"
conversations which do not help at all.
The movie lacks the consistently sur-
prising and hilarious dialogue that made
"Clerks" so funny. The plot to win back
old girlfriends creates too many sappy,
predictable lines, which are delivered
quite unconvincingly. All of the con-
versations between the two couples
sound ridiculous.
The acting was not great either.

Silent Bob (director Kevin Smith) and Jay (Jason Mewes) check out the local mali culture. Snootchie Bootchles.

Claire Forlani, who plays Brandi, was
obviously selected for her good looks
and not her skills as an actor. Jeremy
London, acting as her boyfriend T.S.,
is stiff and dull. Often, the humor of a
good line was lost in bad delivery.
The actors seemed to trip over them-

selves as they hurried to tell the next
punch line.
In this movie, one gets the feeling
that everything is overdone. It almost
feels like Smith is trying so hard to
match his last effort, that he ends up
losing all the things which made his last

film work so well. The realistic air of
"Clerks" is replaced here by a storyline
which is contrived and clumsy. Watch-
ing"Mallrats" is like window shopping
at the film's Brunswick Square Mall;
although it shows the potential for great
things, it just doesn't deliver the goods.

Malirat Shannen Doherty.

Dance Theatre gives jazz a new groove

By Kerry Klaus
Daily Arts Writer
Jazz dance often gets a bad rap in
Ann Arbor. In a community where dance
often strives to send messages, change
views and provide answers, it is re-
freshing to experience a performance
that is simply dance for dance's sake.
Ann Arbor's Jazz Dance Theatre, the
resident professional company of Dance
Theatre Studio, attempts to create a
variety of emotions while first and fore-
most, simply entertaining its audience.
Friday evening's performance at the
Lydia Mendelssohn Theater was not only
entertaining, it was emotionally charged.
Comprised entirely ofpresent and former
University students, JDT created an ad-
mirable collage of feeling and quality.
Underthedirection ofAdam B. Clark,the
dancers successfully explored the skewed
idea of coming to a performance search-
ing for hidden meaning.
"Swing," the evening's first piece, is
a traditional show opener. Full of smil-
ing faces and witty moments, it is an
exploration of the fusion of classic
American jazz dance and music of the
Big Band era. Set in a German night-
club in the late-I 930s, this piece allows
the dancers to don feather boas, act as
lounge singers and bat their lashes at an
aluting "boy" (the company is entirely
fernale). While there are plenty of large
movements in this piece, including a
series of well-executed tours en l'air, it
is the dancers' animation that comes
through most effectively.
.'Forever," created for soloist Amy
Darby, is a personally motivated piece
on relationships. The beginning coveys
a warm feeling with a lyrical quality.
However, as the music picks up speed,
some of Darby's fine technique and per-
fonance quality is lost in the relentless
pace of triple turns and driving music.
A lyrical piece, "Let it Speak," is an

:1E
Jazz Dance

Theater
Lydia Mendelssohn Thaeter
Friday, October 20
excellent exception to the upbeat approach
most listeners expect from a jazz perfor-
mance. The number builds to a climax as
the dancers all individually manipulate
technically difficult combinations at a
frenzied pace. This creates a sense of
chaos, which nicely parallels the lyrics,
that speak of the confusion involved in
the search for love.
"Forgotten Promises," a premiere
duet featuring Lisa Darby Clark and
Sara Blaine Gorey, is a haunting piece
set to music by Depeche Mode. Dim
lights find the dancers crouching low,
breaking their way out of large plastic
bags. Clad in skintighttie-dyedunitards,
the dancers exhibit exquisite control
and focus. The choreography here pleas-
ingly strays from a lot of traditional jazz
steps and creates some asymmetrical
patterns that tease the eye.
After a brief intermission comes "To
Those Who Wait," a definite highlight
of the show. This is the piece the audi-
ence longs for. Up to this point, much of
the movement is almost too aesthetically
perfect-the combinations are very neat,
precise and turn-laden. While the dancers
are technically proficient, this piece, set
to "Freedom '90" by George Michael, is
where they really break out and strut their
stuff. In gray unitards, they stare down the
audience, executing difficult combina-
tions of pirouettes into extensions, all the
while scuffing their feet, exhibiting an
attitude that lets the audience know ex-
actly who's in charge.
1994's "More than One" is the only

piece with a very intended and serious
message. The piece's three sections are
set to music from the movie soundtrack
"Philadelphia." The choreography
boldly examines issues surrounding
AIDS. The movement shifts from loose
to balletic, while the dancers hang their
heads low. At one point, they execute a
slow motion walk across the stage, while
BlaineGorey delicately pleads fortheir
attention and understanding with flow-
ing turns and graceful arabesques.
A trio, "So Good," follows next. The
music of Led Zeppelin is a catalyst for
movement that is first slinky and drawn
out, only to pick up speed near the end.
The choreography calls for numerous
pirouettes, grand jetes and axle turns
that the dancers powerfully execute.
There is a moment to gasp when they
perform an amazing extension a la
seconde in succession, then rotate to
layouts.
The closer is a four-section premiere,
"The Coming," which is set to music by
Madonna. Posing in silhouette, the danc-
ers begin with "Vogue." This work is a
classic homage, providing an air of so-
phistication without forgetting the tra-
ditional bump and grind and revealing
costumes. "Rain" is a lyrical piece fea-
turing Fountain, with plenty of melting
arabesques and coupe turns. "Justify
My Love/The Beast Within" is another
highlight, with an appearance by Adam
B. Clark. Numerous lifts find Lisa Darby
Clark in contorted positions requiring
extreme flexibility, as the rest of the
cast roll in disfigured, fetus-like shapes
against flaring red lighting. "Rescue
Me" is an energetic, appropriate finale
to this showcase of fine technique,
emotions and just plain "busting out."
A mix of funk and hip-hop with swirl-
ing circular formations creates intricate
floor patterns, sending the dancers shim-
mying off into the night..

Blind Melon
"
sener dies
unexpectedly
By Brian A. Gnatt
Daily Music Editor
Blind Melon vocalist Shannon
Hoon was found dead in his band's
tour bus Saturday in New Orleans.
The 28-year-old singer was dis-
covered on the bus when the band's
sound manager tried unsuccessfully
to awaken the singer around 1:30
p.m. New Orleans police were called
and confirmed Hoon was deceased.
A police spokesman said there were
no signs of injury and the cause of
death is still unknown pending an
autopsy.
Hoon and his band mates were in
New Orleans to play at Tipitina's
music club Saturday night, but the
group canceled the show after find-
ing the singer's body. "They can-
celed the show because they
couldn't continue without him," an
employee of the club said yester-
day.
Blind Melon recently released
their second album "Soup," the fol-
low-up to 1992's very popular self-
titled release with the amazing hits
"No Rain," "Tones of Home," and
"Change." The band played a Sept.
24 show at St. Andrew's Hall in
Detroit last month, where they put
on an astounding set of their new
and old eclectic rock music.

Blind Melon lead singer Shannon Hoon at St. Andrew's Hall on September 24.

I

4C.

1

iI:fl i1)C l li

Frances Neel acsw
Licensed marriage
and family therapist
" Couples * Individuals
" Adolescents * Families
" Short Term Women's Groups

... - -. . . . -- wo
Folk Heroes
Reprise Records
Are you looking for a break from the
plastic, calculated schlock that com-
pnses roughly 99.99% of all radio
playlists? Do you fear that one more
silverchair song will drive you to hurl
your stereo out the window? Cleanse
your alterna-palate with the refreshing
sounds of The Foremen. Their debut,
"Folk Heroes," is a treasure trove oforigi-
nal comedy songs and biting self-parody
from a talented bunch of rednecks.
The Foremen have drawn praise from
comedy legend Tom Lehrer, and with
good reason. Their self-deprecating-
conservative schtick manages to stay
fresh and funny throughout the disc,
from the anthem "Ain't No Liberal" to
theclosingballad "Everyman (For Him-
self)." The real strength here is the
lyrical ability of lead Foreman Roy
Zimmerman, who crams every song
with zingers like: "My heart is jumpin'
and my head is swimmin'/1 feel like I
could take the vote away from women".
Both long-neck and plectrum banjos
are featured, along with a grocery list of
brass, strings and woodwinds. The
kitchen-sink instrumentation is used

ass and leaves you wanting more than
the ten tracks on their self-titled debut.
Complete with subterranean vocals,
crawling but evident bass-lines and a
mad oscillating John Zorn-esque saxo-
phone, New Wet Kojak is jazz on a
leash. The band has an uncanny sense
of tension and uses it well. They care-
fully gauge the points where their mu-
sic should break apart into chaos, and
then refuse to follow their own lead.
Musically inappropriate but quite
delicious, New Wet Kojak has its share
of gimmicks, too. "Me Acuerdo de Ti"
brings in a female vocalist who sings in

Spanish over a sleeping guitar and
impromptu but concise drums. In "Un-
buckled," Kojak's wild sax sound bur-
geons into that of a flock of wild geese
at a Metallica concert. But, behind the
frilly edges of their sound, New Wet
Kojak manages to lay down a solid
foundation to every song on the album.
With originality alone, New Wet
Kojak takes up a slot in new music,
pushing the limits of what is "alterna-
tive" just one step closer to breaking.
- Josh Biggs
See RECORDS, Page 8A

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