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October 31, 1995 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-31

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 31, 1995

Art' teaches audiences little

By Kate Brady
Daily Arts Writer
Most people think that their life
should be fairly interesting. Some feel
their lives are so interesting that they
share them with others. However, as
"art for teachers of children" shows,
interesting circumstances do not au-
tomatically make for an exciting
movie.
In this autobiographical film, Jen-
nifer Montgomery takes a look at her
early teenage years and her own
emerging sexuality. Living at a board-
ing school, the young, shy Montgom-
ery becomes involved with John, an
artist and faculty member. At 14, she
loses her virginity to John, a man
twice her age. She becomes his model
and lover.
Although he loses his job and wife
because of her, they continue their
relationship until she discovers that
he was sleeping with some of the
other girls in her dorm. The film then
jumps some 15 years when we find
that John has come under investiga-
tion for pornography.

REvIEw
Art for
Teachers of
Children
Directed by Jennifer
Montgomery; with Caitlin
Grace McDonnell
At the Michigan Theater
These pornography charges are just
one of the undeveloped issues that
Montgomery throws into her film. We
never get to see much of his work so
that we may judge for ourselves. Mont-
gomery, herself a photographer, speaks
strongly against the investigation of
John, citing artistic freedom. But the
audience does not get to make this com-
parison, and by the time we may do so,
ourdesire isnot formore story develop-
ment. Instead, we are ready to see the
credits roll.
This movie also suffers from a lack
of basic film technique. Granted, it is

shot on a small budget, but this does not
excuse a complete lack of skills on the
part of the cameraman. The camera
work is shaky throughout much of the
film, causing distraction and, general
queasiness in the viewer. Often the cam-
era cuts off the top of heads, or entire
faces.
The dialogue is terrible. Actors talk
like comic book characters, creating
much unintentional humor. The con-
versations are devoid of any grace or
wit; they come off sounding unnatural
and laughable. Further, the acting in the
film is decidedly poor. Given the small
amount of emotion they display, people
on the screen might as well be reciting
their laundry list.
This makes it difficult to either sym-
pathize with or believe any of the char-
acters. We are never really invited to
sympathize with Jennifer in her hor-
rible predicament. This film paints a
questionable portrait of Montgomery
as an annoying, self-indulged whiner at
age 14. Whether or not this is accurate
is uncertain, but she certainly appears
that way here.

Molly (Coles Burrough) and Jennifer (Caitlin Grace McDonnell).

However, what is understandable
in a 14- or 15-year-old, is hard to
accept in a 30-year-old -
Montgomery's approximate age when
she made this film. She drags out her

story to an unbearable pace, with re-
peated nude scenes which have no
obvious merit. Given all the years she
had to contemplate this story, it seems
that she should have something inter-

esting to say about her experience.
Instead, when she ends the movie hav-
ing reached no conclusions; the audi-
ence wonders if she has learned any-
thing at all.

I .4gj:J

Marilyn Manson
Smells Like Children
Nothing/lInterscope
"Smells Like Children" is one ofthose
album length EPs full of remixes that
seem all too prevalent these days. For-
tunately, this EP is chock full of new
compositions, too. Only four of the 16
tracks are called remixes, and one of
those sounds like a new recording to
me.
About half of the tracks fall into the
very short atmospheric bumper music
category. Traci three, "Shitty Chicken
Gang Bang," sounds like a mix be-
tween the musics ofafunhouse, amildly
scary CD-ROM game and a really cheap
horror flick. Six other tracks fall into
the same basic category, although sev-
eral of them are actually excerpts from
conversations about sexual domination,
medication and the like.
The remixes need little explanation.
There are fairly different versions of
"Organ Grinder," "Cake and Sodomy"
and "Dope Hat," while what is called

another remix of "Cake and Sodomy"
seems to be a country version, possibly
performed by someone else as well.
The new fleshed-out recordings are
quite entrancing by themselves, how-
ever. The rerecording of "Dope Hat" is
a slower, more Vegas-oriented tune than
the original and almost has to be in-
tended as a score for strutting vocalist
Mr. Manson's own spidery-stuff. The
rest of the new recordings are brilliant
covers. The translation of the Euryth-
mics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of
This)" is done expertly, due probably to
their extended use of it in their touring
set In the last year. Their version of
Screaming Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell
on You" is fine, but nowhere near as
good as theiraltered-for-their-own-pur-
poses cover of Patti Smith's "Rock and
Roll Nigger," although the latter has a
tremendous amount of forward momen-
tum that can carry any cover of it to a
higher level. The covers are all songs of
sufficiently dark themes (use/abuse,
obsessiveness, outsider status) to work
well with Marilyn Manson's image.

Better than the two previous re-
leases related to the album "Portrait
of an American Family," "Smells Like
Children" is a well formed and creepy
disc. Get your evil fix from it until
their next album, "Antichrist Super-
star," comes out.
- Ted Watts

Ke'

I am [I
RCA Records
Between model and musician, be-
tween male and female, between J
and L, Ke' (pronounced like the let-
ter) brings much ambiguity with his
debut album "I am []."
Before releasing "I am []", Ke' was
"discovered" by New York fashion
icon John Bartlett,-thus predating (and
possibly cursing) his music career with
fashion. Ke's profile is strikingly an-
gular, and overwhelmingly androgy-
nous, moving in directions where
David Bowie and Boy George dare

not tread. Devoid of make-up, Ke'
still evokes the oft-asked question,
"Is it a man or a...?"
But gender aside, Ke' can sing.
Ke's voice, like his face, also de-
fies laws of gender. Ke's vocals are
shatteringly delicate, gliding in and
out of layered backdrops of acoustic
guitars, strings, and African rhythms.
&Ke' becomes the first of his gender to
enter the same league Sarah
McLachlan, Annie Lennox and the
Cranberries.'
Often, Ke's intrigue is not in his
originality, but rather the idea that
such sounds could come from a man.
Starting where most men's stop, Ke's
vocal range climbs to stratospheric
levels, stopping at the edge of strain-
ing, and then going a bit further.
But, as a fledgling songwriter, Ke's
maturity may still be in question. His
lyrics often become over-sentimen-

tal, overstepping the lines that
Morrissey, Depeche Mode and The
Cure usually do well to stay within.
On Ke's first single, "Strange World,"
Ke' manages to decry all of the evils
of the world in a single four-minute
song. "Strange World," he weeps,
"People talk and tell only lies/Strange
World/ Hope one day we'll see the
light."
Still, the single is good. As its makes
the MTV 120 Minutes circuit, Ke'
could easily land himself in the ever-
revered Buzz slot. Dancing mostly
naked in a bathroom stall amid swing-
ing lights and disturbing scenes, Ke's
first video, filmed in the abandoned
Ambassador Hotel by Sophie Muller
(Hole, Spade, Annie Lennox), could
push Ke' into the limelight, exposing
this gender-bending mystery to the
world.
- Josh Biggs

*cMI4HI ( seA
RECORDS
r., .r~sa~as~a~rer+

12 *WT T
-rgee

~~ phone: 663.5800 .. .
1140 south university (above goodtime chadeys), AA
mon.-thurs.: 9:O a-lO:O0p sundays

I

Marilyn Manson.

II ~ .-.4~-

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