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November 01, 1995 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-01

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

Bli dU Cut a rug
with Cuttin' Heads, a Southern-influenced rock band. Their blues-based
music will put a smile on your face and a wiggle in your hips, as will the
psychedelic hippie rock of Baked Potato. Mmm-mmm. Catch 'em both
at the Blind Pig tonight; doors open at 9:30 p.m. Call 996-8555 for Page 9
more information. Wednesday,
November 1, 1995
M. Butterfly' compels and provokes ,

Kristin Cleary
- the Daily
The Ann Arbor Civic Theater
ACT) has taken on an ambitious and
allenging work which promises to
zzle audiences this weekend. David
nryllwang's "M. Butterfly" opens at
Mendelssohn Theater on Wednesday
ght, a show that has tapped into the
ording to director Simon Ha.
Theshow, whichis amodernvariation
the traditional opera"Madame Butter-
" by Puccini, is set against the back-
>p ofthe Vietnam Warera. "M. Butter-
"revolves around the relationship be-
een a French diplomat and the Peking
era diva with whom he falls in love.
e resulting situations, including a trial
respionage, provide for an interesting
ist to the traditional love affair.
fhe show opened on Broadway in
arch 1988, and stayed on for 777
secutive performances-making it
e of the longest-lasting Broadway
tys in history. "M. Butterfly,"a Tony
ward-winning play, also became one
the first Broadway plays to com-
tely bypass any kind of off-Broad-
y venue. Playwright Hwang is one of
first Asian-American playwrights

to achieve national prominence with
his story about the stereotypes and
misconceptions between the Eastern
and Western societies.
The plot, which is based on a true
story, depicts a role-reversal that in-
verts the conventional ideas of Asian
women during the era of the play. The
stereotypes are historically based con-
cepts that, according to Ha, most of
societytoday does'nt evenunderstand.
"The stereotypes are used without ...
thinking it through or without even
Director Ha was attracted to the pro-
duction not only for the compelling
story and dramatic plot, but also for the
exposure of these stereotypes. "In the
United States I think a lot of people
have a very stereotypical image of
people from the East in general - one
aspect that is easily recognized is about
Oriental women. They are seen as be-

ing mysterious, exotic, even at times
subservient," he said. Ha also stated,
however, that the stereotypes in this
encounter are two-sided."It's not just
the West misperceiving the East; the
people from the East also have a part to
play in the willful use of
misperceptions," he said. "I think the
playwright has a critical attitude to-
Ha hopes to shed light on, as well as
question, some ofthe stereotypes exist-
ing in society today.
This week's production of "M. But-
terfly" has been a monumental feat for
the AACT and everyone involvedin the
play. The play has several scene changes
that have required extensive effort and
preparation. Inaddition,choreographer
and assistant director Man Wong has
been busy with the show's Peking Op-
era segments, which involve dances
with the entire opera corps as well as a
musical score by Lucia Hwong. Wong
has toured with the original Broadway
production of"M. Butterfly,"and at the
pre-show Chinese Cultural event he
displayedsomeoftheoriginal costumes
from these productions.
The union of all the various efforts in
the play should make it a spectacular

production. "We want to make ( M.
Butterfly') work through the combina-
tion of several elements," said Ha."We
want to bring the audience into the
world that this Chinese opera singer
lives in so (the audience) can experi-
ence the cross-cultural encounters em-
bedded in the play." Ha said the direct-
ing crew has worked to preserve the
highly stylized nature of the play that
has attracted audiences since its origi-
nal opening on Broadway.
Ha mentioned that one ofthe strengths
of the play is the number of different
ways people read it. "The nature of the
story is so compelling that it causes
people to get involved and to interpret,"
he said. "Everyone will have different
experiences depending on their back-
ground and point of view." This open
interpretation of the play, according to
Ha, makes it extremely interesting for
everyone involved.
Many people have been employed to
bring this theatrical masterpiece to the
audiences of Ann Arbor. The work put
intotheproductionofthisplayhas been
astronomical, and the results should be
out of this world, "M. Butterfly" prom-
ises tobe avery compelling and thought-
provoking work of theater.

Go see M. Butterfly before it flutters away.

Cedars' a full, rich work

Elizabeth Lucas
ily Arts Writer
If we all try very hard, we might be
letorememberwhen courtroom dra-
is could be good books. "To Kill a
ockingbird" is one example that
mes to mind. In the past decade,
wever, this genre has been taken
er by John Grisham, Scott Turow and
like. But perhaps we can hope that
nes are changing again. David
terson's "Snow Falling on Cedars"
intage, 1995) succeeds in being both
ourtroom drama and a real work of
The book's secret may be that, as in
o Kill a Mockingbird," legal battles
only one facet of the plot. The most
sic description of events is that Japa-
se-American Kabuo Miyamoto is
arged with killinga white fisherman,
rA Heine, in 1954. Lookers-on in-
ide Kabuo's wife, Hatsue, and
mael Chambers, alocal reporter. But
trial encompasses the past of all the
vel's characters, and the questions of
[he novel's major theme is personal
ponsibility in the face of chance
nts, and it is reiterated in the charac-
s intertwined stories. Kabuo's sup-
ed motivation is that his father was
:ated out of land by Carl's bigoted
ther. This event parallels the intern-
nt of Japanese-Americans during
rld War Two. The novel is set on an
nd offthe coast ofWashington, with
irge Japanese population, and their
:ed relocation points to the implicit
It of their tacitly approving white
he internment has other long-rang-

and Ishmael, who have been carrying
on asecret romance, to separate. Hatsue
meets and marries Kabuo; Ishmael is
drafted and sent to the Pacific. Years
later, at the trial, it is his turn to choose
whether or not to accept responsibility
for past actions, as he comes across a
crucial piece of evidence.
Every character in the book eventu-
ally has to decide how they will react to
unexpected events, and their choices
shape the plot. The novel does a par-
ticularly good job ofshowingthis inter-
action between history and people's
Perhaps the most striking thing
about the novel is that it is Guterson's
first ,although he has written a short-
story collection and anonfiction book
on homeschooling. His prose is jour-
nalistically simple and surprisingly
poetic, at the same time. The novel
reads clearly and quickly, andis made
sharply real by phrases like, "He slept
curled up like an autumn leaf." Real-
ism is also present in the novel's thor-
oughly researched descriptions of
fishing boats, strawberry farming, and
World War Two battles.
Above all, the novel is remarkably
unified. Guterson doesn't dwell on ei-
ther the trial or details of life in intern-
ment camps more than is necessary,
and so they never overwhelm the plot.

'Girls' rings i
By Chriatopher Corbett
Daily Arts Writer
I never really wanted to see this
movie. I wanted to see something loud
and kickin' - something like
"Waterworld."Not any artsy-fartsyjunk
about two girls in love with ... Whom
are they in love with, anyway? Just
whomever? Wait. Are they inlove with
each other? Are they like those women
who grab ice picks and poke holes in
men after a wild night of sex and co-
caine? WHAT?!
Fromthe opening scene in which agirl
is making out with herscheming lover in
a"Ladies"room, we discoverthat,in fact,
this is not some strange, outlandish film
as the title suggests. It is a love story.
Randy Dean (Laurel Holloman)
works at a gas station in a town of about
four people. The three other people
who live there all hate her. Randy's
miserable. When people aren't scream-
ing "Diesel Dyke!" to her face, they're
saying behind her back: "Her family
are, like, OhmiGod, all lesbians!" But
how often does a love story make its
lonely main character suffer through-
out? We suspect her rose will bloom,
and soon.
Lo and behold, Evie (Nicole Parker)
pulls up in a Range Rover and asks for
help. She's looking very fine. Evie,you
see, thinks her back tire is out of air. But
she's like the perfectly healthy person
who believes everything ails her. She,
not the tire, lacks something inside.
In fact, we get a neat close-up -
when the pair meet again in the bath-
room of their high school - of Randy
facing Evie. Behind Randy, we see
Evie's reflection in the mirror. She has
a hidden, secret side that's as small and
undeveloped as her image in the glass.
Evie visits Randy for more than just to
say,"What up?" She hasrepressed feel-
ings. And the two characters' connec-
tion fascinates us because we under-
stand how much they could unlock in
one another.
While Randy is getting to Evie, the
two girls are getting to us. Because we
get the details about what makes them
tick, we start to see them as flesh-and-
blood characters. They start out as near-
opposites.Randy knows what she wants,
a e = |a aa -

credibly tie
The Incredibly
True Adventures of
Two Girls in Love
Directed by Maria Maggenti;
with Laurel Holloman and
Nicole Parker
At Ann Arbor 1 & 2
and her "lesbo household" is messy,
chaotic and carefree. Evie, though,hold-
ing so much back, lives under her
mother's strict, well-ordered roof. As
her mother says, "Evie, you are my
perfect little girl."
What does mom think when she
comes home and finds Evie has smoked
joints, drunk a $200 bottle of wine, had
an orgy with all their food and, well, is
asleep in her mother's bed with a naked
girl lying on top of her? She goes O.J.
They scramble out onto the street in
their underwear and burn rubber. We
laugh during the discovery scene, but
we also enjoy the fact that Evie has
finally let loose, she has finally lived.
Director Maria Maggenti winds us
up. Throughout much of the film, she
puts the two girls close only to interrupt
and kill the mood. We end up wanting
-as much as Evie and Randy do- for
the two characters to actually make
love. And when the moment comes,
Maggenti gives it to us not with vulgar
explicitness, but tastefully, with class.
Sure, we see skin, but the girls aren't
pieces of meat with appendages flap-
ping with hysterical glee, as they would
in a "Basic Instinct." Rather, Randy
and Evie's sex comes across as human
as the characters themselves. The scene
- white-hot - can make almost any-
one cheer: "Don't stop-get it! Get it!"
Randy teaches Evie not to care about
what anyone else says. "Do what you
want! Go for the gusto, bro," she sug-
gests. The message comes to us loud
and clear, too: In the final scene, as so
many people scream and yell at them,
the two girls in love place their hands
over each other's ears. The image prac-
tically burns itself into our memories.

Everyone in the novel is fully charac-
terized, and every story serves to rein-
force the theme, which is finally and
simplystated asthe novel ends. Ishmael,
living up to his name, has remained to
tell the tale, and concludes that "acci-

dent ruled every corner of the universe
except the chambers of the human
h e a r t . "
There is nothing accidental about this
novel; all of its elements work together
to create an incredibly satisfying book.


What we have here is some arena rock.
ice the band has metallic all-stars Phil
selmo and Pepper Keenan, the arena
ality of the band is hardly surprising.
rOLA" carries a lot of baggage along
th it, and it shows.
The sound is the first visible luggage.
ere is, after all, a fairly conservative fan
,e that needs to be addressed. Most die-
-dmetalheads tend to not latch onto new
thereislittlesurprising to be found. It's a
idZ-Rockingalbum,full ofthebleeding
tatintensity expected of it. It's executed
tty well, and while predictable is not
[hen there are the controlled substance
gs. "Rehab" is nominally about drink-
although on reflection that may not be
Leaf,"the presence of which is becom-
nearly as predictable as that of love
dictable genre songs used to show the
versity"ofthe group, andyou'vegot the
surely intelligent enough to make the
perjudgment conceming it.
- Ted Watts
'm not a big fan of"synthetic music."
I me old-fashioned, but I'd take the

power trio over the sampler any day.
Leftfield is synth music. Leftfield reck-
lessly employs samples and drum ma-
chines. I like Leftfield. Go figure.
Itwouldbeunfairtocall Leftfield"techno;"
I've always felt techno was a term reserved
for what's played during half-time dance
showsofHigh Schoolcheerleadingsquads;
namely,the classic"James Brownis Dead."
Unlike a lot of techno I've heard, what
makes Leftfield so contagious is not their
deep synth-bass lines and uptempo drum
beats, but rather, everything else. For ex-
chant, which seems to dictate the dynamics
ofeverythingaccompanyingit. othertracks
throw in some fimky keyboard effects and
live-sampled drums, like the bongos on
"Space Shanty."
Not all of Leftfield's focus goes to the
party music. They threw in some slower
tracks on the album,each of which sounded
like it was straight out of "Indecent Pro-
posal;"I was waiting for Sadetoshowupin
thelinernotes,but Icouldn't findhername.
Leftfieldis proofthatsamples and synthetic
other words,one Sadeonthissmallplanetis
quite enough.
is as good as I've heard. I wouldn't be
surprisedifsomeoneintEngland buys this
album; it'sthatgood. But really, Leftism
impressed me, and the nearest my CD
Jesus Jones stuff. Go figure.
- Brad Haywood

Martin Lawrence
Funk It!
That's right, Martin from the show
"Martin" and that cop buddy movie with
Wil "Fresh Prince" Smith. But don't
worry, it's just a comedy album and not
some Joey Lawrence/Bruce Willis
vomitous musical side project.
And after that it'sjust a good ol' com-
edy routine, just without the visuals.
Lawrence's stand-up has a rep for being
significantly beyondwhatevenFox would
allow him to do on the air. And so this is
a fine way to get access to that. You get
plenty of sex jokes, racism jokes and
other things that didn't really have aplace
on "Martin."
Lawrence still exudes the likable guy
presence he did on TV. But on disc he's
more like the friend you had in high
school who told dirty jokes. If you liked
that guy's jokes, get this; Lawrence does
it tons better.
- Ted Watts

Prospective Teacher Education Meeting
Tuesday, November 7, 1995
6:00 p.m.
Whitney Auditorium
Room 1309 School of Education Building
Call 764-7563 for more information.

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January 6
Fairmont Hotel, Chicago, IL
ISTE R send your resume with
ry preferences on the back to:
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aridge, M'A 02139
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868-0187 fax
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