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November 10, 1995 - Image 9

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-10

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Do you dig sex, video games and junk food? Well, then come check out
the MSextravaganza" as alf your dirty fantasies and habits come to life
on the big screen - in 3. - courtesy of the Ann Arbor Film Co-op.
Two screenings tonight, at 7:30 and 9:30 at Lorch Auditorium. You Page 9
know you want it. Giveno the sextr avaganza Friday,
November 10, 1995

OyamO strikes it rich
with I Am A Man'

Can't beat the Meat Puppets, no siree.
Meet theMt
'By Brian A. Gnatt
Paily Music Editor
Forthe past decade and a half, the Meat
,Puppets have been plucking away their
twangy country-rock songs with their in-
sane lyrics and fried brains. Their tour,
record, tour, record drill paid off briefly

last year with the smash hit "Backwater"
off their bazillionth record "Too High to
Die," but nevertheless, the band has never
ceased to use their twisted minds to con-
jureup some of the most bizarre images in
rock'n'roll.
"I feel like an untethered soul in the
universe, but society makes me feel like
the universe is a fuckin' zit on some
giant flying pig's ass in a whole other
universe," explained Meat Puppet lead
vocalist / guitarist Curt Kirkwood in an
interview with the Daily earlier this
week.
"I'm alreadyking ofthe fuckin' world,"
he proclaimed. "I'm the secret president
of the Multi-Death Corporation. I elected
myself president. I run it from my bath-
room. It's a cheesy little bathroom, but
every time I look in the mirror, I see the
sole inhabitant of our dismal planet and
realize my real position."
Kirkwood also likes to tell stories. "I
have one of those rocker toilets. It's like
a rocking chair with a toilet built into it.
A toilet that rocks back and forth so you
can, you know..."
With a new album and the same old
Meat Puppets lineup, brother Cris on
bass and drummer Derrick Bostrom,
the band's journey on "No Joke!" con-
tinues right where the trio left off on
1994's "Too High To Die." The
Puppet's ninth enigmatic long player,
produced by Butthole Surfer Paul Leary,
serves up another batch of the Tempe,
Arizona band's coagulated guitar,
bouncing riffs and acid-infested songs
toentrance and enthrall its thunderstruck
listeners.
"I guess the newest thing in my life is
that I recently lost my marbles,"
Kirkwood explained. "I finally found
the right combination of food and bev-
erage that made myselfeternal ly happy,
and it flip flopped all of the sudden and
pleasure turned to vertigo."
After "Too High to Die" earned the
Pups their first gold record, Kirkwood
said he didn't feel the usual pressure to
outperform himself when he wrote the
songs for "No Joke!"
"I wrote just about everything on
Too High to Die' and on this album,
and I don't feel like I have to follow
myself," he said. "I am myself. I'm
always myself. I can't follow myself,

eat Puppets
nor can I proceed myself. I just am."
Even without his marbles, Kirkwood
still finds time to write songs, with
literature influencing many of the lyr-
ics. "Most of it is English lit. I always
enjoyed English in school and I always
liked English literature and Shakespeare
all the way down the line. Most recently
I've been reading T.S. Elliott again and
enjoying it immensely."
However, while literature may be
important in the band's songwriting
process, Kirkwood said it's the corn
chip influences that make the Meat
Puppet's music that much more tasty.
"Our biggest influence is the fact that
the little black specks on Fritos are
actually pieces of cockroach shit,"
Kirkwood said in a half-joking, half-
insane tone. "Where the fuck did ...
there's no black in corn. It's shit or
actual cockroach parts. Leary has a
friend that works there. He knows the
fuckin' facts. That's fuckin' animal fe-
ces. It's actual cockroaches, it's their
shells. What else is that stuff? Think
about it. Is it spices? Shyeah."
Corn chips and cockroach shit may
be that one thing that sets the Meat
Puppets apart from all the other bands
out there. But while they may taste
good and salty with their extra spices,
Fritos may not be what every good
singer wants to sing about.
"I write a lot of things that aren't
suitable for the Meat Puppets,"
Kirkwood said. "I write songs for Diana
Ross sometimes, things like that. I've
never met her. I've been writing songs
for Diana Ross since I was a teenager. I
want to do a duet with Pam Tillis as
well. I like her singing quite a bit and
I've written some stuff I'd like to do
with her ... I really like Pam Tillis.
"I like anything with a hook. I didn't
know that was Bush singing about 'come
down.' I thought that it was Collective
Bob Mould. I had no idea what it was.
It sounded American to me. My girl-
friend asked me 'Who is that band who
sings that song? I can relate to that. I
don't want to come down.' And I said,
'I think it's Collective Soul, but I don't
know.' I listen to the radio because they
play the songs with the hooks that I can
remember and hum along with myself.
I don't care what it is. Whether it's
Whitney Houston, Smashing Pumpins
(sic), whatever," he said.
Part of the Meat Puppet's explosion
into the mainstream last year was due to
the band's appearance on Nirvana's
taping of "MTV Unplugged," where
Curt and Cris Kirkwood joined the
grunge-maestros for collaborative ver-
sions of early Puppet classics "Plateau,"
"Oh Me" and "Lake of Fire."
"It was real thrilling," Kirkwood said
of the unplugged session, which took
place in the middle of the Nirvana and

By Jessica Chaffin
For the Daily
The Department of Theatre and
Drama's production of "I Am A Man,"
which opened at the Trueblood Theatre
last night, is a compellingly watchable
and enjoyable experience.
OyamO's play is one which does
not draw absolute race lines. Rather,
it transcends them in order to present
1 Am A Man
Trueblood Theatre
November 9
Performances through
November 19. For ticket
information, call 764-0450
a more realistic and complex under-
standing of the historic events it de-
picts. "I Am A Man" is careful to give
voice to the many political maneu-
vers behind the 1968 Memphis sani-
tation workers' strike, expressing the
conflict present on both sides, as well
as within it.
At the center of this conflict is T.O.
Jones, who begins the play as a simple
man with a dream of equality in the
workplace. He believes fervently in the
union and its ability to do right by its
members. Unfortunately, the situation
grows more complicated than T.O.'s
original goal. The strike, which culmi-
nates in the death of Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr., becomes a symbol which all
sides of the Civil Rights Movement vie
to make their own. T.O. is ultimately
Meat Puppets joint tour. "I enjoyed it
immensely. At that time I thought for
those songs it was totally perfect.
"I had been trying to figure out what
kinship we had, because we had never
met those guys and I kept feeling some-
thing," he continued. "It was elemental.
It was almost like relating to my own
band, and yet musically I couldn't catch
it. I was listening to 'Teen Spirit' or
'Come As You Are,' and going 'Well,
that doesn't sound like us.' But when
(Kurt) started singing them, I could see
the lineage real clearly. I could see why
I'd been feeling this stuff."
"Yeah, roll another joint," ordered
the lead Puppet to the band's tour gui-
tarist who was in the room. Interviews
can be more interesting high. Espe-
cially for a Meat Puppet. But how much
deeper can you go after analyzing the
black specks on Fritos?
"We've got some kids in here, some
grade school children," he said. "Our
new guitarplayer Kyle is amember of the
international police force of the Multi-
Death Corporation, and we're giving them
a demonstration as to what marijuana
looks like and how ostensibly one would
roll a joint with marijuana so that they
know what to look out for."
Is this what was meant by drug edu-
cation?
What model citizens.

unable to cope with the increasing
stakes, as well as the various demands
which are put upon him.
The play revolves around T.O., un-
derscoring the importance of his in-
volvement, as well as his influence on
the outcome of the sanitation workers'
strike. King serves as more of a symbol
than as a participant in this historical
drama. His message and his presence
punctuate the performance with excerpts
from famous speeches, bringing the
play's events into perspective as they
unfold. The characterof"the Bluesman"
is one which serves in a chorus-like
capacity - underscoring the emotion
of the performance with his soulful
tunes, while commentating and even
participating in the stream of the dia-
logue.
Dr. Simmons' production cleverly uses
music to emphasize the themes of the
text. Both John E. Lawrence as the
Bluesman, and Elveria Buford as the
Singer deliver sensational performances.
Aside from a decidedly strong and excel-
lently portrayed Alice MaeJones (Natalie
McFarlin), "I Am A Man" is a play con-
spicuously lacking in female presence.
No doubt the historical basis necessitates
this absence, and Miss Buford's singer
exemplifies the voice that women had in
this movement in alternate ways.
Simmons' production is one which
successfully achieves the equality of
representation which this play deserves.
The acting of the principal characters is
for the most part excellent. Two nota-
bly chilling instances grippingly por-
tray the divisions present within the

white and black communities at the
time. The first is a volatile confronta-
tion between Solomon (Randy Kurstin),
the Northern Jewish labor leader, and
the dixie Mayor of Memphis (Matthew
Bower); the second, a potentially fatal
scene between Craig (Derek Brantley),
Solomon's co-worker, and Swahili (Joe
Moore), the vocal representative of
Black Militancy.
The level of performance is surpris-
ingly good despite initial concern about

the disparate levels of experience. The
play is undoubtedly enhanced by anum-
ber ofguest performances, such as James
Mathenia's meticulous recreation ofDr.
King, as well as Doc Riley, Jr.'s Rever-
end Moore. Wallace Bridges gives a
strong performance as Jones, poignantly
capturing T.O.'s downfall and disillu-
sionment. However, Natalie Mcarlin,
Randy Kurstin, Derek Brantley, and
Matthew Bower as the Mayor all gave
performances of distinction.

Strike leader T.O. Jones.

Chamber Music Society gives dynamic show

By Emily Lambert
Daily Arts Writer
When members of the Chamber Music
Society of Lincoln Center performed
Tuesday evening, it was the audience
who was having the off-night. Maybe it
was the forecast of snow, or that Rackham
Auditorium was quite a few seats shy of
being full, but there was not much energy
to be garnered by the performers. The
musicians had sufficient energy, how-
ever, to put on a good show despite the
passive audience and a rocky start.
The evening began with Beethoven's
"Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello in C
minor." Phrases weren't always tight and
the intensity sagged somewhat. The trio
served as a warm-up for Kavafian, violist
Toby Hoffman and (his brother) cellist
Gary Hoffman, who are too talented to be
stumped so easily. In an impressive dis-
play of dynamism, Ani Kavafian broke a
hair of her violin bow no more than two
minutes into the piece.
The first halfwas spiced up with Edgar
Meyer's eclectic "Trio No. 1 for Violin,
Cello and Bass," which the composer
played with Kavafian andGary Hoffman.
Meyer, being a bass player, gave good,
showy parts to this often ignored instru-
ment. His bluegrass background showed
through in his bass work and funky string

.Chamber Music
Society of Lincoln
Center
Rackham Auditorium
Tuesday, November 9
melodies. The second movement was too
long, even for the lazy-feeling piece,
though the jazzy bass solo in the third
movement won smiles . An ending of
breakneck speed earned applause from
the suddenly enthusiastic audience.
Antonin Dvorak's "Quintet in G Ma-j
jor" roundedouttheprogram asthe night's
finest performance. Violinist Joseph1

Silverstein led the group with beautiful,
confident playing, though each member
more than pulled their weight in the mu-
sic. The musicians, revived by Dvorak's
agile writing, played with unity and style.
As much or more fun than listening to
the piece was watching Gary Hoffman
play. The cellist smiled, scowledI and
nodded at his friends with the mootofthe
music. In artistry and attitude, Hoffman
was born for the stage.
Just three or four people were moved to
their feet at the conclusion. This is un-
usual for Ann Arbor, where audiences
often give standing ovations out of pure
habit. The musicians graciously retprned
for an encore before leaving the audience
to reflect on the music all the way to bed.

I

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Early arrival not necessary.

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x= Oyaiii0
A drama about
King's fateful trip'
to Memphis
yy
_ 1-E

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