The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 30, 1995 - 9A
el Gorhamis fever-hot
Poets save best for last
v Alexandra Twin
aily Arts Editor
Originally named after'50sglam-babe
nd incendiary actress Marilyn Monroe,
iere is very little about vivacious, Mi-
mi-bom actress Mel Gorham that fails to
pnite a reaction.
How'd she get her campy part as the
weet, sexy, over-the-top Violet in the
ew "Smoke" spin-off, "Blue in the
I did this version of (Peggy Lee's )
ever' at the party after we finished
smoke' and it cracked everybody up so
uch that they decided to have me come
ack and sing it in the movie," said the
ntress in a recent phone conversation.
She was tired from having spent two
eeks traveling and promoting the film,
ut still remained upbeat and effusive
roughout the conversation. Her
aracter's unbridled energy flow is very
bviously her own; although little else
out the tempestuous Violet is a reflec-
on of the actress. Violet is modeled on
orham's mother: "My mother is a very
rong-minded and sexual person and I
lanted this to be a tribute to her."
While not as successful or enjoyable
s 'the laconically charming "Smoke,"
uch of the energy that "Blue in the
ace" does emit can be attributed to
Born Marilyn Schnaer to a Jewish-
rmerican father and a Cuban-American
'other in Miami, Florida, Gorham was
ised an only child. Her ex-husband, a
!an whose last name was Gorham, gave
er the name Mel: "He thought I looked
,ore like a Mel than a Marilyn and it
ed to fit." Her name has now been
legally changed to accompany the per-
Her earliest memory of wanting to act
took place some time around Junior High
School. There was no great epiphany, as
she recalls it, the desire just simply pre-
sented itself: "I just stepped on stage."
The play was 'Our Town,' by Thornton
Wilder and it ended up being the first of
A veteran of the New York and re-
gional stage, Gorham was twice on Broad-
way and is still a member of New York's
"El Barrio" theater company. Like many
before her, she feels that theater is an
actor's best form of training: "The disci-
pline it gives you is something that you
can't get anywhere else. If you fuck up,
when you are on stage, you can't go back.
It gives you a certain authenticity that you
can't get elsewhere." She is somewhat
disparaging of "TV Actors" who often
consistently lack that authenticity: "You
can tellthat these mechanical actors,many
of whom are on TV, have never done
anything like theater before. It shows in
Yet, so does quality and it was the
quality of her stage performances that
helped Gorham make the transition into
film. Strong, supporting roles in "Do the
Right Thing," and "Carlito's Way" as
well as the "Blue in the Face" companion
piece "Smoke," earned her good reviews
and respect for portraying a diverse bevy
of characters. With major roles in two
soon-to-be-released features ("Curdled"
and "Wishful Thinking") as well as two
possible projects with Tom Berenger,
one in which they'd play herparents, she
is definitely gearing up for the main-
By Kimberly Howitt
Daily Arts Writer
In 1968 Gylan Kain, David Nelson, and
Abiodun Oyewole united, fusing together
powerful inspirational anger, rhythmically
woven words and traditional African drum-
ming. They electrified Malcolm X's birth-
performance at Harlem's Mt. Morris Park.
This was the beginning of The Last Poets, a
group of African-American men on a mis-
sion to spread black pride, black love and
In 1970 the Last Poets released their
first album, awakening those who had
been sleeping through the rising black-
nationalist movement. They created per-
haps the most inflammatory union of art
and politics, anger and inspiration and
innovative delivery to emerge from the
black power movement. The Last Poets
condemn the political injustices that
plague their people, cry out against the
oppression of their communities and de-
On Thursday the University was hon-
ored to have The Last Poets perform,
sharing their timely messages andintense
energy. Three ofthe seven original Poets,
Abiodun Oyewole, Umar Bin Hassan,
and Don Babatunde Eaton, are still per-
forming, teaching new generations old-
Their performance hadahard-hitting, in-
your-face style that revealed the grim truths
of the black experience. In the wake of the
harsh reality of their words is a magical
rhythmic energy reminiscentoffreejazz. As
the Poets spilledtheirknowledge, you could
feel the strength of their wisdom, but never
a sense of superiority. Instead, they inter-
acted with the crowd, drawing them in as an
integral part oftheirperformance. The Poets
The Last Poets
October 25, 1995
respect the power ofthe crowd and incorpo-.
rate their voices into chants.
The connection they form with the-
crowd is born out of the energy of their
words and is strengthened by their desire
to interact and communicate with the;
crowd on a personal level. The Poets tell;
stories about when they were coming up,
and how they formed. They speak about
the circumstances of the times, and what
inspired them to become poetic pioneers
in the black-nationalist movement.
Their peformance of "This is Madness"
reflected the turmoil and inadequacy of our.
society. The Poets' chaotic screams of"This
is madness!" are laced within the poetic:
verse of the poem, reminding the audience
of the bitter anger and frustration that in-
spired the lyrical and visionary words.
The Last Poets fusion of rhyme and
rhythm, jazzy fluidity and pulsating drum-
ming laid the foundation for the hip-hop
nation. Ice Cube claimsthat"The Last Poets
were the forefathers of rap." "The main
difference between hip-hop and what we
were doing back in the day, is that rap music
We had a movement," Umar says.
The Last Poets continue their mission
- raising consciousness, influencing
music and spreading love. Their newest
release "Holy Terror" keeps their mes-
sage alive, in hopes that the revolution
will soon come.
Mel Gorham, looking spiffy In the "Blue In the Face" press photos.
Yet, that is not necessarily her objec-
tive; her experiences have lent her a tre-
mendous amount of respect for indepen-
dent cinema andcompanies like Miramax
films, "Blue in the Face" and "Smoke"'s
distributor. "(Miramax co-chairman)
Harvey Weinstein is a genius. He's mak-
ing 100 good films a year for what Holly-
wood spends to make one big bomb."
Fairly outspoken and unquestionably vi-
brant, Ms. Gorham may not be a Marilyn
a fresh, new screen presence. Call it fever.
aco de Lucia'
y Matthew Steinhauser
any Arts Writer
Last Friday evening at the Power Center,
aco de Lucia and his flamenco sextet in-
aded the ears, hearts, minds and bodies of
il in attendance, enthralling the sold-out
rowd with their special brand of flamenco
ausic. They balance the traditional folk
gusic of southern Spain with a variety of
iusical influences, including jazz and pop,
reating an intensely sensual experience.
Flamenco music itself reflects a long
e first century A.D. Beginning in the 14th
entury, the Spanish Gypsies assimilated
tany of these influences including those of
xe Moors, spawning the folk music and
ance now called flamenco.
In 1981, de Lucia created the group of
s fantastic flamenco lights up Power Center
Paco de Lucia
Power Center For the
October 27, 1995
ists, a singer, a percussionist, a dancer and a
flutist/saxophonist. After nearly 15 years of
collaboration, the sextet finds near perfect
harmony together. Friday evening, theirjoy
in playing and performing together created
an electric aura that permeated throughout
De Lucia opened the evening with the
solo piece, "Mi Nino Curro," showing off
his technical prowess and his impassioned
insights into the life-beat of flamenco.
The guitarist played the fast, fluttering
arpeggios and scales and finger-picked
speedy, complex melodic themes and
bass lines simultaneously, creating the
effect of two or three guitars playing in
Various combinations of the sextet
performed most of the first half of the
program. The full sextet didn't play to-
gether until the sixth and last song before
In "Alcazar de Sevilla," the group
melded all the elements from the first five
songs into a beautiful plethora of sound.
The dancing of Joaquin Grilo was also
featured for the first time that night. The
audience voiced its approval as Grilo's
feet stamped out the fast rhythmic pat-
terns in perfect synchrony with the music.
The dancer not only provided awesome
visual effects, but his feet hitting the
dance floor acted much like another per-
Often during the second half of the
evening, the group revealed itsjazz influ-
ences. Jorge Pardo's saxophone in
"Zyryab" explored the full scope of the
flamenco/jazz relationship. As Pardo
jammed on sax, the percussion and gui-
tars anchored the song to the flamenco
spirit with more traditional beats and note
Paco de Lucia proved to all in attendance
Friday evening that his pioneering, new
stream through the green hills of Spain. The
artist holds firmly to the traditional history,
sound, and spirit of flamenco, while recog-
nizing his own musical influences from
different genres. The product of de Lucia's
fusion of flamenco, jazz, and pop captures
the soul and spirit of nearly 2000 years of
Bolshoi Orchestra returns from long absence with a flourish
The Poets, back at last with a great live performance and a new album.
y Emily Lambert
'ily Fine Arts Editor,
It's a shame that it took nearly 220 years
bring the Bolshoi Symphony to Ann
le wait. The warm and generous reception
ie orchestra received left little doubt that
:iductor Peter Feranec and his Russian
tusicians will be back before another 220
ears go by. With luck, pianist Boris
erezovsky will return also, to charm and
light the growing number of fans he is
aking in this city.
Berezovsky is a masterful musician who
ade his Ann Arbor debut last March, as a
audienceto their feetbeforethe orchestra
even been acknowledged. Some critics
veberated Rachmaninoff's work as over-
tic and musically insubstantial, while
have applauded it as creative and
ive. Its success or failure rests in the
Saturday, October 28
performance was a success.
The pianist's fast fingerwork made for
dramatic highlights. Sweet, soulful playing
captured the audience in the piece's quieter
moments, and Berezovskymilkedthe senti-
mental cadenzas for all they were worth.
The size of the large accompanying or-
chestra did not detract from Berezovsky's
playing. Surprisingly, it was the wind play-
ers who were somewhat distracting and did
not mesh well with the music's sound or,
occasionally pace. The French horn solos
were beautiful, however, and tutti sections
were unarguably exciting. The orchestra's
final sprint cemented a great performance.
The first halfposed a hard act to follow,
but the Bolshoi tackled "Symphony No.
2" by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius
with verve. Conductor Feranec, who took
the position as the Bolshoi's director ear-
lier this year, infused the string players
with explosive thrill. The orchestra was at'
its best in moments of full, unified play-
ing. In soloisticpassages, orchestral unity
was lacking. Much of the chamber-like
section lost direction and intensity, though
fine playing was heard. A trumpet and
flute conversation was believable, and
the bassoon and oboe solos - among
others - were beautiful.
The orchestra's wrinkles were ironed out
by the fourth movement, when the Bolshoi
unleasheditspowerful sound. Anexhilarat-
ing fanfare propelled the piece to a vigorous
close, inspiring two energetic encores and
another standing ovation.
The audience wasgenerous with applause
and admiration, but not unreasonably so.
The Bolshoi Symphony was exciting, enliv-
ening and displayed amazing potential.
ti z Ptii -e~~ez.
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Department of Communication Studies
Howard I. Marsh Center for the Study of Journalistic Performance
announces a one
for Fall Term, 1995
Communication 502, section 002
Covering Presidential Politics
Tuesdays, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
4054 Frieze Building
October 24th through December 5th
(no class November 21st)
Live in historic Greenwich Village:
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