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International Teletimes Volume 03 Number 04

eZine's profile picture
Published in 
International Teletimes
 · 26 Apr 2019



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¥ Vol. 3 No. 4 May 1994 ¥

-- Features --

"While some of her messages may infuriate, her ideas
cannot be overlooked. She possesses a unique voice that
demands the attention of anyone interested in culture and
politics in the world today."
- by Tom Davis

"It seems to me that I have learned as much about Canada
from fictional and non-academic sources as I have from the
statistics and facts I have read." Euan writes about five
well known Canadian authors.
- by Dr. Euan Taylor

Alexander Varty reviews three books: Incredibly Strange
Music, Volume 1; A Whole Brass Band; and A Hard Core Logo.
- by Alexander Varty

-- Departments --

"We talked for two hours, and Mr. Mandela said how
wonderful it was when the prisoners heard our [records]
from their cells, that it sounded like freedom. Then he
said, 'now you must come home!' "
- by Ken Eisner

Ken reviews ten albums by musicians such as Bonnie Raitt,
Tori Amos, Sam Phillips, The Golden Palaminos and Vinx.
- by Ken Eisner

Ken reviews ten albums by musicians such as Jan Garbarek,
The Shuffle Demons, The Gipsy Kings, Material and BABKAS.
- by Ken Eisner

Ken reviews six wide release film such as Bad Girls,
Threesome, The Hudsucker Proxy and Serial Mom.
- by Ken Eisner

Ken reviews five arthouse and independant films such as A
House of Spirits, Belle Epoque and Sirens.
- by Ken Eisner

"Fuente's genius is undeniable. He has brought to us the
myths and ideas of Mexico's past and present, with a
beauty, passion and brilliance, that can be understood by
even those who have not so much as glimpsed at a postcard
from Mexico."
- by Andreas Seppelt

"Today, B.C. wineries are starting to be known more for
their quality table wines rather than the cheap jug wines
that were the industry standard."
- by Tom Davis

A recipe for Peaches Chambord.
- by Markus Jakobsson


-- Chez Teletimes... --

Hello, and welcome to yet another fine issue of
International Teletimes. My name is Ian, and I'll be your
editor this evening. May I recommend something to start you
off? Why not begin with our special this month, Favourite
Authors. We have a lengthy review of a new book by Camille
Paglia, entitled Sex, Art, and American Culture, served with
a side order of "Canadian Authors" and assorted "Book
Reviews by Alexander Varty". If you enjoy that, I recommend
that you then try some of our fine Arts & Entertainment
writing by Ken Eisner. You may choose between various movie
and music reviews of all kinds, or try his specialty: "Mama
Africa Comes Home." If you're feeling particularly hungry
for knowledge, you may even choose consume it all!

Do we have any good wine you ask? But of course! You can
sample some of our fine "BC Wines" with the expert guidance
of Tom Davis, our own wine specialist. Finally, for dessert,
we have some succulent Peaches Chambord. If you really like
the dessert, the recipe is available in this month's Cuisine

Bon appetit.

Ian Wojtowicz

A-hem! Don't forget the tip...


-- News Room Debate Column Response --

With regard to the debate column: The individual supporting
the idea that all speech must be allowed on campus is
correct, the other is wrong. There is no debate here. If any
speech is allowed to be restricted, who is designated as the
restrictor? One of the debators mentioned that everyone
knows the Holocaust happened. This is not so. There are
those people who believe it never occured. What if one of
them was a restrictor? To safeguard democracy, three
absolutes are required: freedom of speech, seperation of
church and state; and the right to keep and bear arms.
Anything less guarentees the eventual slide down the
slippery slope to totalitarianism.
- Gerry Roston, Pittsburgh, USA

-- Tsukuba: Science City (Apr-94) --

I read [Prasad Akella's] article in the April Teletimes
issue and I liked it. I knew nothing about Tsukuba but now,
thanks to you, I do. I'm always interested in learning some
interesting facts and your article presented a few (I'm
gonna have to check out the Science article for more).
- Otto Grajeda, San Francisco, USA


-- Sex, Art, and American Culture --

By Camille Paglia
(Vintage, 337pp., US$13)

Camille Paglia is a something of a renaissance woman, a
Professor of Humanities at the University of Arts in
Philadelphia, a verbose master of criticism, and a truly
imaginative post-modern intellectual. Her style is witty,
engaging, full of humour and passion, and cuts to the point
with awe-inspiring ferocity. At times her prose reads more
like Ginsberg's poem "Howl" than an academic essay, but this
is precisely one of her strengths.

Her first book, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from
Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, was published in 1990, and
received little notice until after the publication of an
essay in the journal Arion. The essay was entitled "Junk
Bonds and Corporate Raiders: Academe in the Hour of the
Wolf." This brilliant essay is the core of her latest book:
a compilation of articles, essays, a lecture and an
interview, entitled Sex, Art, and American Culture.

After the publication of "Junk Bonds" in 1991, and the
paperback release of Sexual Personae, Paglia became a full-
fledged phenomenon, appearing in various video and print
media, as a self-styled defender of reason against a tyranny
of post-structuralist art theorists, feminist zealots, and
commissars of Political Correctness.

"Junk Bonds" is itself a book review of two books from the
field of Gay Studies: One Hundred Years of Homosexuality, by
David Halperin, and The Constraints of Desire, by John

Both books are representative of the views and methods of
Humanities scholars at leading universities. Both authors
are post-structuralists, a class of scholars which emerged
in the seventies and eighties inspired by the writings of
several French scholars: Foucault, Derrida, Lacan, and Louis

The post-structuralist approach, which like Marxism, claims
to be "scientific," while displaying nothing but contempt
for the scientific method, is based upon the interpretation
of art or culture in terms of textual analysis and the
process by which the "text" is deciphered. Feminist and
Marxist scholars often apply the typically dense and
problematic concepts of these hermeneutists in the fields of
art criticism.

Paglia is merciless and unrestrained in her attack on
Halperin and Winkler. Her wrath could even be termed Medea-
like. She speaks with outrage at such academics, who in her
analysis are self-serving get-rich-quick yuppies, the moral
equivalent of junk bond dealers:

"The French invasion of the seventies had nothing to do
with leftism or genuine politics but everything to do with
good old- fashioned American capitalism, which liberal
academics pretend to scorn. The collapse of the job
market, due to recession and university retrenchment after
the baby-boom era, caused economic hysteria. As faculties
were cut, commercial self-packaging became a priority.
Academics, never renowned for courage, fled beneath the
safe umbrella of male authority and one-man rule: the
French bigwigs offered to their disciples a soothing
esoteric code and a sense of belonging to an elite, an
intellectually superior unit, at a time when the market
told academics they were useless and dispensable. It is
comical that these vain, foolish and irrelevant people, so
contemptuous of American society, imagine themselves to be

The academe's addiction to French post-structuralism has
been at the expense of an entire generation's education in
humanities, Palgia contends. This is something that I, as an
art student during the early '80s would testify to as well:

"Lacan, Derrida, and Foucault are the perfect prophets for
the weak, anxious academic personality, trapped in verbal
formulas and perennially defeated by circumstance. They
offer a self-exculpating cosmic explanation for the normal
professorial state of resentment, alienation, dithery
passivity, and inaction. Their popularity illustrates the
psychological gap between professors and students that has
damaged so much undergraduate education."

After a relentless assault upon Halperin and Winkler,
Foucault and Lacan, academic feminism and Marxism, in an
attack that roams over a breathtaking battleground of ideas,
she speaks prescriptively to graduate students about to
enter the academe:

"This is a time of enormous opportunity for you. There is
an ossified political establishment of invested self-
interest. Conformism and empty pieties dominate the
academe. Rebel. Do not read Lacan, Derrida, Foucault, and
treat as insignificant nothings those that still prate of
them. You need no contemporaries to interpret the present
for you. Born here, alive now, you are modernity. You are
the living link between past and future. Charge yourself
with the high ideal of scholarship, connecting you to
Alexandria and to the devoted, distinguished scholars who
came before you. When you build on learning you build on
rock. You become greater by a humility towards great
things. Let your work follow its own organic rhythm. Seek
no material return from it, and it will reward you with
spiritual gold. Hate dogma. Shun careerists...Among the
many important messages coming from African-American
culture is this, from a hit song by Midnight Star: "No
parking, baby, no parking on the dance floor." All of
civilized life is a dance, a fiction. You must learn the
steps without becoming enslaved by them. Sitting out the
dance is not an option."

This quote vividly illustrates Paglia's one-of-a-kind style,
enthusiasm, and her commitment to truth. She continues in
this vein in her lecture given at M.I.T., entitled "Crisis
in the American Universities." This lecture should be
required reading for any university student. The rest of the
book is made up of tantalizing and thought provoking essays
on pop culture and such dangerous (thanks to Political
Correctness) topics as date rape.

While some of her messages may infuriate, her ideas cannot
be overlooked. She possesses a unique voice that demands the
attention of anyone interested in culture and politics in
the world today.

- Tom Davis, Vancouver, Canada

-- Canadian Authors --

I have lived in Canada for over three years now, but I'm
ashamed to say I still haven't read that much Canadian
literature. I haven't, for example, read Carol Shields
despite her recent fame (though I have a copy The Stone
Diaries sitting on my shelf, waiting to be picked up).
However, I have read some Canadian writing, and my rather
limited exposure to it forms the basis for the book reviews
and the thoughts I am going to set down here. There is no
particular order or league of merit to the books and authors
I am going to talk about, but that is how I choose what to
read, without any particular system. Maybe these names will
give you some new ideas when you next visit a bookstore. If
not, they will at least tell you something about my
prejudices (I could say "my opinions" but that would imply
rationality, which seems rather inappropriate when I'm
talking about what I like rather than what I think).

One of the better-known Canadian writers is W. O. Mitchell,
author of the classic Canadian novel Who Has Seen the Wind.
The story is set in a small town out on the prairies. I read
it a couple of years ago and some impressions still remain
with me. I don't pretend to remember the details of the
plot, or perhaps even all of the substance. I thought the
writing was wonderful and the characters deeply and
sensitively drawn. I could see and sense the affection the
author conveyed for the prairie landscape of her childhood.
YetÑstrangelyÑthe feeling I still carry with me is an
inability to "connect," a lack of empathy for the place and
its characters. I couldn't relate to the book, couldn't
submerge myself in it, and even while I admired it I felt no
nerve touched by the words. I can only attribute my
sentiments to the distance it lies from own background. I
never felt comfortable on the prairies. I grew up amongst
hills, took holidays in the mountains, went to university in
two very lively and exciting cities, and in my own internal
world the prairies suck. I can't possibly divorce my
prejudices about this part of the country from my reactions
to a book set amidst it. But reading this novel made me
accept something I think is quite fundamental: the greatest
writing needs to find a resonant chord in the reader. It
needs common ground with the audience. People I can usually
relate to, politics I can usually relate to, but the
prairies...well, apparently not. I'd love to hear the
impressions of some other non-prairie natives to this book.
Is it just my own clouded vision or can only those who have
grown up on endless flat ground under the vast and ever-
changing subtleties of the open sky really feel this story?

My second writer is Ruby Slipperjack, and having found her
work both intriguing and compelling I want to tell you a
little about it. She has been described as "one of the
strongest Native voices in Canadian literature." There is a
large body of heavy and dry academic writing about the
psychology and lives of Native Canadians as opposed to us
relative newcomers to North America. A great deal has been
written about how their attitudes and society may differ
from what many of us assume about human society and human
nature. I have read a fair bit of that sort of stuff without
really understanding what it means. Real appreciation of a
thing frequently depends more on feelings than on facts.
Silent Words is a touching vision of what it could be like
to be a growing aboriginal child within the last thirty
years. The book relates the story of a growing native boy
who runs away from his problematic home and finds his own
way through a variety of communities and experiences. As I
followed Danny through his journey of discovery, I found
myself much more deeply appreciative of what it can mean, in
psychological terms, to be a Native American. I'm not saying
there are any profound statements or explanations of the
meaning of lifeÑthere are no sermons. I also haven't joined
the Wannabe tribe. I just felt a sensitivity and an absence
of judgment which allows the reader to simply be with the
boy as he finds his way in the world, a world where the
expected and the valued take form in ways different from my
own experience or the experience of anyone I know. It is
much more personal, more informative, and leaves a far
deeper impression than several thousand pages of research
and analysis.

Another modern writer is Armand Wiebe. I bought his book
Murder in Gutenthal after I heard him do a reading in
Winnipeg. He comes from a Mennonite community, and the book
(one of quite a few he has written) is an intriguing mystery
set in a Mennonite village. Although I got used to the
tongue-contorting names after a while, I doubt I appreciated
all of the humour because I just don't have much common
ground with the place and its people. Yet I found myself
interested, and soon addicted, wondering what was going on,
laughing at ordinary human failings and eccentricities. Even
though it takes place in a totally alien setting, the story
is "lightweight" and amusing--but still absorbing. Maybe I
even learned something about the Mennonites (I knew
virtually nothing about them before).

Finally, I want to talk about a much older volume whose
title, The History of the Northern Interior of British
Columbia, is a little uninspiring, but that is deceptive. It
was written by the Rev. A. G. Morice who spent time
travelling and exploring in the west of this country around
the turn of the century, and who took it upon himself to
write a comprehensive history of the area spanning the
period from 1660 to the late 1800's. It describes the
adventures of the explorer, the intertribal politics of the
Indian nations, the conflicts and the relationship between
the Hudson Bay Company and the Indians, and much more. It is
pervaded by a strong sense of justice, and there are
occasional digs at earlier, inaccurate travelogues and
histories. Especially considering when it was written, it
provides a quite remarkably unprejudiced account of some of
the problems faced by the Indians as they adjusted to the
new force in their lives. It is both a fascinating and (to
me at least) very readable account of real life during a
complex and traumatic period (for the locals), and an
entertaining travelogue as well. His account of the
deliberate and malicious introduction of liquor to Indian
communities is an interesting reminder of the roots of many
social problems with which the First Nations are still
struggling today.

It seems to me that I have learned as much about Canada from
fictional and non-academic sources as I have from the
statistics and facts I have read. I hope you will take a
look at some of the authors I have discussed, and form your
own opinions and impressions. I had heard next to nothing
about Canadian writers before I came here, but there are
some real talents to discover (and I have only mentioned a
few of them). So, the next time you go to a bookstore
perhaps you'll consider picking up a Canadian novel.

- Dr. Euan Taylor, Vancouver, Canada

-- Books Reviewed by Alexander Varty --
All reviews based on a five star rating system

[A picture of the cover of Incredibly Strange Music appears
here in the Graphical version]
Incredibly Strange Music, Volume 1 ****
Edited by V. Vale and Andrea Juno
(RE/Search Publications, 206 pp., CAN$23.50, softcover)

With some collectible records fetching hundreds and even
thousands of dollars, it's no wonder that there's currently
a boom in discographies and price guides. With a little
research, it's possible to tell the difference between
black- and yellow-label Savoy LPs, find out how many surf
records were released in Saskatchewan in 1963, and even
untangle the thorny mess of Elvis Presley's RCA releases.
But only now is there a book available which attempts to
plumb the lowest depths of record mania. Incredibly Strange
Music, Volume 1 examines the world of 50-cent thrift-store
specials, as seen through interviews with icons of kitsch
like Martin Denny, Eartha Kitt, and "Popcorn" composer
Gershon Kingsley, plus collecting tips from such notable
vinyl hounds as the Cramps' Poison Ivy and Lux Interior.

This book attempts to portray "bad" music as a cultural
treasureÑand some of its arguments are convincing. Pop-
culture archivists Mary Ricci and Mickey McGowan, for
instance, theorize that a society's real story is told in
its throw-aways; given the attention archaeologists give
kitchen middens and Pompeian graffiti, they may well be
right. What makes Ricci, McGowan, and their peers seem like
kooks is only that they're stockpiling this junk before it's

Anyone who has ever thrilled to the discovery of a Screamin'
Jay Hawkins or an Yma Sumac record in a pile of yard-sale
wax will share their enthusiasm Ñ and this book's.

A Whole Brass Band ***
By Anne Cameron
(Harbour Publishing, 302 pp.)

B.C. storyteller Anne Cameron has won a measure of fame for
her reworkings of aboriginal legends and for her 1979 film
Dreamspeaker. Despite the integrity of her work, however,
and despite her life-long advocacy of Native rights, she has
recently come under attack by cultural appropriation
activists for writing of others' experiences instead of her
own realities. Perhaps impelled by this, she has moved
closer to home with her new novel, A Whole Brass Band, and
for once we might have reason to cheer the thought police of
the politically correct Ñ it's her best writing in a long

A Whole Brass Band is the saga of a typically unconventional
contemporary family, led by a caustic, funny, foul-mouthed,
and intuitively anarchistic single mother and supermarket
cashier-turned-commercial fisherman, Jean Pritchard. The
Pritchard clan's ups and downs are charted exhaustively, and
occasionally in ludicrous detail: so many calamities befall
Jean, Eve, Patsy, Sally, and Mark that towards the end of
the book one is half expecting a plague of frogs to swamp
the family fishboat. Instead, a Fisheries vessel rams it,
and... but we're not in the business of giving away plots.

The pleasures here are in Cameron's enjoyment of her own
characters Ñ by the end of the book you feel like the
Pritchards are your neighbours, so real does she make them
seem Ñ and her way with dialogue. Cameron has a genuine
flair for capturing colloquial speech: whole sections of
this book could be lifted verbatim for use in a film-
script. A Whole Brass Band could make a brilliant made-for-
TV movie, or perhaps even be serialized as a North Coast
successor to The Beachcombers.

And that's not in any way intended as a put-down. A Whole
Brass Band has the pacing and the humour (and, occasionally,
the sentimental overkill) of film, but it also has some very
powerful things to say about the difficulties of building
and maintaining family bonds in a culture dominated by
selfish individualists.

Hard Core Logo ***
by Michael Turner
(Arsenal Pulp Press, 200 pp., CAN$13.95, paper)

Vancouver's rock 'n' roll underground will be buzzing about
this volume for some time to come, if only because the
fictional punk-rock band that gives the book its title seems
a lot more like DOA than author Michael Turner's own outfit,
the Hard Rock Miners. Endless break-ups and reunions?
Acoustic benefit gigs for hippy Greens? Scuz-bag ex-
managers? A singer named Joe Dick? Seems familiar to me.

But whether Turner's intentions were satirical or simply
fictional, Hard Core Logo is a great road novel, its
innovative mix of song lyrics, flashback sequences,
straight narrative, interior monologues, diary jottings, and
grainy black and white photographs an exceptionally apt way
of capturing touring's series of random incidents Ñ without
the accompanying stretches of boredom.

It's true that Hard Core Logo's four musicians are difficult
to like, and somewhat unconvincingly fleshed-out. They're
rock 'n' roll ciphers, each bedeviled with one or more of
the travelling band's several deadly sins: greed, drugs,
insecurity, arrogance, ambition, cheap hotels, bad food. But
this book's not really about its human characters. Its
central focus is the road itself, and Turner's clear
observations and dark wit illuminate real-life rock 'n' roll
more forcefully than any number of celebrity bios ever

- Alexander Varty, Vancouver, Canada


-- Music Notes: Feature --
- Mama Africa Goes Home -

When I last talked to Miriam Makeba, in 1989, she closed our
conversation wistfully, saying she still dreamed of seeing
South Africa, the homeland from which she'd been exiled for
almost 30 years Ñ exactly as long as Nelson Mandela had been
in prison. A lot has happened since then, including an
emotionalÊreturn for her, and a new state of emergency for
her nation, declared only a day before we spoke again, via
her hotel phone in San Francisco, a few weeks before the
tumultuous April elections.

[A photo of Miriam Makeba appears here in the Graphical

Makeba's currently touring with 4 singers and 7 musicians,
including her longtime musical cohort (and onetime husband)
Hugh Masekela, who's having his own career resurgence with a
hot new live album. "I'm okay," says Makeba with a shy laugh
and a sniffle from a slight cold. "It's difficult with age."

Much has been difficult in her life, which saw exultant high
points in the U.S. and Europe Ñ with accolades for her
soaring music and prizes for her articulate activism Ñ and
thudding lows when governments turned against her, and
friends and family-members died in a dizzying variety of
ways. Now living on two continents, the prodigal Mama Africa
tends to describe herself with a protective "we", perhaps
to compensate for all the years she's been held at arm's
length from her own people.

"We finally went back in 1990, when Mr. Mandela came out of
jail. His wife told me they were going to be in Sweden, in
Stockholm, to visit Mr. [Oliver] Tambo, who was ill. I was
in Spain, and I flew just in time to meet them. We talked
for two hours, and Mr. Mandela said how wonderful it was
when the prisoners heard our [records] from their cells,
that it sounded like freedom. Then he said, 'now you must
come home!' And I said, 'how can I go home? I am a banned

The newly freed leader told Makeba to go to a South African
embassy and try again, so she ventured to one near her home
in Brussels, Belgium. "My name was still in the computer,"
she recalls with a sigh, "but the government had said
everyone could come back. Eventually, I received a temporary
visa, and went home for six days. It was just so... I
didn't know how to feel. I was crying, I was happy, but
also very sad. There were hundreds of people to meet me at
the airport, and my family, or what was left of it."

The singer returned to Johannesburg for two tumultuous
performances the next April.

"It was my first time singing for my people in 31 years. I
didn't have to explain myself! Everybody understood. It was
like a beautiful revival, and just I had to cry all night."
The response was so effusive, she decided to find a new home
there, alternating with her Belgian apartment. In fact, she
rehearsed the current tour in South Africa, with homegrown
musicians finally free to travel.

"Many things have changed. Most of our leaders are out of
jail, and we can move about, more or less. We're about to
vote, if they let us. But in all honesty, for our people,
nothing much is truly different. Life is still as hard as
ever, if not more so. People have no housing, there are so
many squatter camps; our children have no proper schools, no
books; not enough hospitals Ñ the basic things. So it will
be an uphill battle, even if we win the elections: we'll
have the flag, but not the money."

Most of all, Makeba rankles at any suggestion of further
trials brought on by tribal factionalism. Herself the
offspring of Xhosa and Swazi parents, the singer shuns
divisive labels. "Me? I'm a South African Ñ don't know what
else I can be. I must tell you, there are no tribes fighting
each other," she declares resolutely. "That is what is so
hurtful: When you read the international papers, they tell
you this is a tribal fight. The people who live in Natal
Province are all Zulus, but there's so much greed, so much
killing. But we always have hope. When you give up hope, you
may as well lay down and die. I always said, 'maybe one day
I'll go home', and I did. I never expected anything, but
still some of my dreams came true. We have to thank the
people at home who stood up to everything, and also the
international community for raising their voices. And now
we must say: 'don't abandon us. This is only the beginning!'
" It's also a potential rebirth for Makeba's music, now that
the 62-year-old musical matriarch is drawing on home turf
for inspiration. She recently finished recording a new
album, Sing Me a Song, in South Africa, although it has yet
to circulate widely. "We have had very strange careers," she
says of her fellow performers-in-exile. "When you function
in other nations, and you don't have the backing of your own
country, it can get difficult. Now, if things go well, you
should see a lot coming out of South Africa, because
there's a lot of talent: in theatre, in music, in dance, in
painting and sculpture. These people, who have been so
suppressed have so much to say."

Meanwhile, Makeba's been travelling and working, as usual.
Riding in her tour bus across North America, she has plenty
of time to think about the turbulent past and the still-
cloudy future, especially now that her late daughter's
children, performers in their mid-twenties, are part of her

"They are the only close family I've got, and it's wonderful
to have them with me," she says with evident pride. But the
decades of putting art and struggle in front of her personal
life show up in the essential loneliness which hangs around
the weary edges of her voice, whether talking or singing.

"I'm never in one place for very long," she admits. "It's
just that I love to sing. I think one of the very few times
I'm happy is when I'm singing. When people say I sang well,
that's when I'm satisfied. I don't feel good when I have a
bad night."

This distinction, apparently, is far more important than the
recent discovery that her name was touted as a possible ANC
candidate for parliament. "When they asked me, I said 'uh-
uh'. I was very honoured, of course, but I told them that if
I did anything, it was to be this way, with my music. Mr.
Mandela told me, 'you have been our ambassador, and you must
continue to raise our voice in the world.' That means more
to me than any vote. Politicians come and go, you know, but
music is forever."

- Ken Eisner, Vancouver, Canada

-- Music Notes: Pop/Rock/R&B --
All reviews based on a five star rating system

Terrance Simien - There's Room For Us All ***
(Black Top/WEA)

The title reflects an admirable attitude, and Simian's
elclectic taste in Louisiana boogie, reggae, and blues is
getting ever more refined. Ranging from a remake of Daniel
Lanois's "The Maker" and several Zydeco stompers, to the
'60s-style soul of "Groove Me", and doo-wop of "Will I Ever
Learn". The friendly music is dressed up with guests like
the Meters, string-man Bill Dillon, and co-producer (and
Neville Brothers veteran) Daryl Johnson on bass. But Simian
doesn't have a distinctive voice Ñ literally or
stylistically Ñ and the songs are more memorable for their
eclectic reach than for anything personal or definitive.

Sam Phillips - Martinis & Bikinis *****

Wow! She just keeps getting better. On her third outing with
a man's name (well, I guess the original Leslie was fairly
indeterminate), the songs are tighter, brighter, and
punchier than ever. Not that she and producer/ partner T
Bone Burnett eschew artsy touches or melancholic interludes.
In fact, the whole set recalls Revolver's blend of deadly
hooks and out-there experimentation. This Beatle-mindedness,
which you can gather from titles like "Same Rain" and
"Strawberry Road", is obviously shared by guests like XTC's
Colin Moulding, Van Dyke Parks, and ex-Dan Hicks fiddler Sid
Page, who leads a nifty string section on the Phillips-
defining "Baby I Can't Please You" ("you say love when you
mean control," she growls). The moptop connection is made
complete by closing the set with John Lennon's howling
"Gimme Some Truth." But even then, she's her own womanÑno
yellow-bellied son of Tricky Dicky's gonna Mother Hubbard
soft-soap her.

Tori Amos - Under the Pink ***

[A photo of Tori Amos appears here in the Graphical version]

It's not like ToriÊAmos (at right) really cares what we
think, or she would not have put her most inaccessible song
at the start of her new album. Sure, "Pretty Good Year" sums
up her whispy rhapsodizing and cacophonous rage, but do we
want that in the same song? The rest of the record also
follows a slow/fast/slow rhythm that makes for a pretty
unfocussed hour of listening. Taken individually, though,
there are rewarding songs here. "God", with its clanking
percussion and bad attitude ("Do you need a woman to take
care of you?", she smirks at the Bearded One) is an obvious
standout, and "Cornflake Girl" is catchy single material.
She's still under the sway of Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush,
though, and even adds Peter Gabriel to the influence pile on
the creepy "Past the Mission". I'm putting my money on the
third album.

Mint Condition - From the Mint Factory ****

Now that the harmony thing is back, groups of young men (and
women, a la SWV and En Vogue) are competing for the Boyz II
Men sweepstakes. This lively sextet, straight outta St. Paul
(and exec-produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis) is one of
the most creative New Jack outfits yet, combining
streetcorner soul, gospel fervour, and fusion jazz (really)
with contagious ease. The hour-plus disc never flags, and
the lads have equally strong voices Ñ although the one-named
Stokley standing out on the gently bragging "Nobody Does It
Betta", the churchy "Harmony", and "U Send Me Swingin'"
(that's pronounced swangin', of course).

Bonnie Raitt - Longing in Their Hearts *****

Bonnie's found her groove now, with her third, and best,
collection of slinky blues and sultry, Celtic-soul ballads
co-produced with Don Was. A groove ain't the same as a rut:
she brings back Anglo-Irish pals Richard Thompson and Paul
Brady, but has the latter sing backup on a glorious reading
of the former's "Dimming of the Day", and turns Brady's
meditative "Steal Your Heart Away" into an intense mid-tempo
shuffle. There are harmonies from David Crosby and Band-man
Levon Helm on "Circle Dance" and the title tune, and harp-
meister Charlie Musselwhite helps close the set with the
spare "Shadow of Doubt". But the guest writers and
performers never outshine the host Ñ just check out Raitt's
exuberant singing and Hammond organ-playing on her sexy
"Feeling of Falling" to find out who's in charge, and why
that's such a good idea.

Vinx - The Storyteller **

In which the Sting-discovered singer-percussionist expands
his sound with a variety of instrumentalists, including
saxist George Howard, flamenco guitarist Django Porter, and
a jazzy piano-plunker called Stevie Wonder. He goes
slightly grungy on the enraged "Letter to the Killer", about
his father's violent death, and streetwise on "Living in
the Metro". Despite the variety, the whole record is marked
by his lounge-ish croon, as typified by a remarkably
tuneless reading of "Moondance" (it defeated Bobby
McFerrin, too). Vinx has some pretty interesting stories to
tell, but he's still having trouble keeping the listener's

Kennedy Rose - Walk the Line **

Mary Ann Kennedy and Pamela Rose have found a nice harmonic,
Indigo Girls blend. Aiming for inventive country pop,
they've had help from friends like label head Sting, Emmylou
Harris, and new-age keyboardist David Lanz. Too bad they
didn't even try on the lyrics. Even with titles like
"Without Your Love", "Real World", and "Love Makes No
Promises" (haven't those been taken already?), some words
fall far below cornball level. Check out "White Horse": "The
freedom that she feels is more than free/There's a young
girl in her eyes/It's funny how she looks a lot like me".
This may make acceptable college-dorm fare (in rooms with
horse posters, anyway), but other listeners will have to
wait for Kennedy Rose to graduate to songs where language is
as crafted as sound.

Julee Cruise - The Voice of Love *
(Warner Bros./WEA)

As befits the David Lynch camp, the music of Julee Cruise is
long on ironic atmosphere and short on everything else.
Posing like a hopelessly jejeune member of the Vienna Boys'
Choir, the gamine singer never rises above a whisper, and
she's written neither words nor melody here. The former
chore fell to Lynch, who seems to think "I fell for you like
a bomb/Now my love's gone up in flames" is a clever play on
pop cliches; the music belongs to Twin Peaks veteran Angelo
Badalamenti, who serves up a diet of soothing ersatz jazz
and cool pseudo-doowop. But the songs have no development,
contrast, or meaning, and anyway, who needs this bland
nonsense while Peggy Lee records are still in print.

The Golden Palominos - This Is How It Feels **

Past GP vocalists have included Michael Stipe, Syd Straw,
and Richard Thompson in ad-hoc stylistic free-for-alls.
This time, band founder/drummer Anton Fier worked up some
smokin' late-night tracks with bassist Bill Laswell,
guitarists Nicky Skopelitis and Bootsy Collins, and
keyboardist Bernie Worrell (all connected with New York's
avant-funk Material). The boys then made a tres big mistake:
they handed the tapes over to singer Lori Carson. With her
breathy, glottal-stopped soprano, Carson makes Edie
Brickell sound like Aretha Franklin. And the tunes
constitute an instantly forgettable mishmash of "ethereal"
repetition and sophomore philosophy ("If the answers answer
anything at all/They do by making the questions small"). If
you own one of those karaoke machines, however, you could
probably still have some fun with the backing tracks.

Freddie Jackson - Here It Is ***

Yes, it's here. A collection of 10 new smooth ones from Mr.
Candlelight 'n' Wine himself. The songs, of course, are
variations on love ("Make Love Easy", love ("Come Home II
U", and still more love ("My Family"). Even so, the singing
is the thing, and Jackson's slick tenor has deepened and
grown more adventurous Ñ sexy, but still in a mom-approved
kind of way. He even turns up the tempo on (slightly)
funkier ditties like "Addictive 2 Touch", whatever that
means, and the propulsive title cut. He's never startling
like Luther Vandross, but Jackson's still nice to have

- Ken Eisner, Vancouver, Canada

-- Jazz/Worldbeat --
All reviews based on a five star rating system

Jan Garbarek - Twelve Moons *****

If you haven't heard the Norwegian saxophonist for a few
lunar orbits, Twelve Moons is the place to get back in
touch. Sure, all of Jan Garbarek's records pit his keening
soprano or ruminative tenor against icy Nordic backdrops,
but this one's exciting because it covers all the territory
he's staked out in the past two decades. With German pals
Eberhard Weber and Rainer Bruninghaus on liquid bass and
piano, and percussion chores bouncing from Manu Katche to
Marilyn Mazur, the tunes range from hypnotic minor-key
vamps ("Brother Wind March") recalling Garbarek's days with
Keith Jarrett to affectionate revivals of old Norse folk
tunes, as in Edvard Grieg's "Arietta" and songs featuring
traditional vocalists Agnes Buen GarnŒs or Mari Boine. The
long title composition suggests the cinematic sweep of his
work for Greek film composer Eleni Karaindrou, and the set
even closes with a reprise of the late Jim Pepper's
"Witchi-Tai-To", first recorded for one of Garbarek's
earliest albums. By integrating these styles into a
seamless and intoxicating whole, the moody, self-taught
saxist has created more than a gorgeously recorded
retrospective: it's a launch-pad for twenty more years of
polar exploration.

Gipsy Kings - Love & Liberte **

These savvy French wanderers are down a few members and
searching for a new sound. That means an unfortunate move
towards bland posturing a la Ottmar Liebert, but
instrumentals like "Guitarra Negra" and "Ritmo de la Noche"
still pack a flamenco kick. Maybe if they make enough money
from this filler-fest, they'll go back to their pre-"growth"

Material - Hallucination Engine *****

You never know who Bill Laswell will round up for his next
Material excursion; the oh-so-New York bassist even
combined out-there sax-man Archie Shepp with Whitney
Houston for an early-'80s cut! This time he has regulars
like Zakir Hussein, Aiyb Deing, Trilok Gurtu, and Sly
Dunbar in the percussion section, along with Bernie Worrell
on keyboards, and Simon Shaheen, Shankar, Bootsy Collins,
and Nicky Skopelitis on various stringed instruments. It's
much the same lineup as on the latter guitarist's last Axiom
album, Ekstasis, and it continues that record's fixation on
things Egyptian. Sometimes the connection is direct, with
Fahim Dandan's swirling Arabic vocals, but even when Wayne
Shorter swoops in with a sax solo, on the opening "Black
Light", or William S. Burrughs drops by to give "Words of
Advice", instruments like oud, ney, and ganoun keep
percolating in the background. That may sound pretty dense,
but the disc is actually characterized by a spacious,
Weather Report-like soundÑthis is made explicit on a re-do
of Joe Zawinul's "Cucumber Slumber" and an airy update of
John Coltrane's "Naima". Reggae, African, and Eno-esque
electronics also float through the crystalline mix, making
this both the edgiest and the most accessible Material set


The name's an acronym, based on the first and last initials
of altoist Briggan Krauss, drummer Aaron Alexander, and
guitarist Brad Schoeppach. It also implies something about
the controlled babble of sounds welling up from this
recently formed Seattle threesome (although the latter two,
known for their work with singer Jay Clayton, are New York-
bound). Managing to combine jazz and New Music sensibilities
with refreshing vigour and visceral spontanaeity, the
fifteen cuts (with evocative names like "Clang", "Czugy
Stodel", and "Big Bird Razor") on their 67-minute debut disc
run a surprising gamut of angular improvisations, quirky,
John Zorn-type formalism, and smooth bebop-fusion (like the
long opener, "Your Sign Here"). There's even a stately
reading of "Hungarian Dance #20", by that old swinger
Johannes Brahms. Some of the freer pieces could be pruned of
group noodling, but Krauss's probing, vibratoless sax is
engaging throughout, and Alexander fuels the affair with
effortless, and restrained, versatility. And Schoeppach's
tense, swirling electronics could draw fans of the guitar
atmospherics of Bill Frisell, David Torn, and Allan
Holdsworth. Heck, commercial jazz stations might even play

Kat Hendrix - Before the Rain *
(Lion's Gate)

For about a decade, Kat Hendrix has provided the spacious-
sounding drums for Vancouver's Skywalk. His first solo
venture finds him still thumping artfully in the fusion
field, with able accompaniment from hornmen Tom Colclough
and Vince Mai, as well as Skywalk synth-man Miles Black.
All the players contribute tunes to the clear-sounding,
self-produced disc, but there isn't one you're likely to
remember. Mainly, it comes across as a pleasant soundtrack
in search of a TV series that's already been cancelled.

Eastern Rebellion - Simple Pleasure ***

Pianist Cedar Walton and drummer Billy Higgins are the
constants in this irregular neo-bop group, which now boasts
bassist David Williams and English reed-player Ralph Moore.
They play extra-pretty on ballads on "My Ideal" and "Theme
for Ernie", and step up the tempo on some bluesy-funky
originals. The pacing, however, is a bit on the slack side,
and the record is ennervated by a staid polish that invites
admiration, not replays.

Bill Frisell - This Land ****

[A photo of Bill Frisell's guitarist appears here in the
Graphical version.]

In which the Seattle guitar auteur (guiteur?) continues his
musical cruise across America, with much the same
passengers. But where the previous Have a Little Faith in Me
was all spacious sunsets and midnight prairie howls, this
one is about changing tires and grabbing afternoon beers.
Titles like "Amarillo Barbados", "Unscientific Americans"
and "Jimmy Carter (Parts 1 and 2)" tell you that the ride
will be a bumpy, noisy, jocular one. Reed-men Don Byron and
Billy Drewes and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes have no trouble
shifting gears from the polka frenzy of "Rag" to the David
Lynch mysterioso of "Strange Meeting" or the angular,
buzzing modernism jazzers would expect from a cut called
"Julius Hemphill". The guitarist has plenty of gas and maps
be damned. Just one more question, Bill: Are we there yet?

Stanley Turrentine - If I Could Tell You ***
(MusicMaster Jazz/BMG)

One of the most overlooked tenormen of the fertile '60s and
crossover '70s, Stanley Turrentine has lately roared back
to form, if not innovation. In fact, his spate of releases
for the MusicMasters Jazz label, complete with old pals like
flutist Hubert Laws, bassist Ron Carter, and pianist Roland
Hanna, intentionally recalls Creed Taylor's CTI label,
albeit with exceedingly ugly covers. The funky "June Bug",
Evans-dedicated "I Remember Bill", and 15-minute, Latinate
"Caravan" are ensemble standouts. Still, there's little
satisfaction here you couldn't get from a reissue of Sugar
or any other, earlier Turrentine opus.

Peter Delano - Peter Delano ***

This absurdly young New York pianistÑhe'll be 18 this yearÑ
is bristling with enough talent to attract major sax-men
like Michael Brecker and Gary Bartz to his big-label debut.
He's equally at home in an ensemble romp like "Miles' Mode"
or lush solo rhapsodies like the closing "Reminiscence". In
between, though, some of his slower melodies are muddy, and
Delano can get pretty vague in the rhythmic department. That
chestnut- of-chestnuts, "Autumn Leaves", usually lopes at a
nostalgic gait, but the young pianist fumbles it
distractedly; perhaps a lack of accumulated memories is the

Shuffle Demons - Extra Crispy *

The Shuffle Demons's latest offering is strictly for people
who think jazz is some kind of goofy novelty act, and that
titles like "Deli Tray", "The Funkin' Pumpkin" and "Reggae
Man" (featuring a vaguely Polish-Rasta accent from drummer
Stich Wynston) are inherently funny. Maybe if the band,
currently a quintet, would just shut up and play music, they
might be be okay, but by the time the thinly recorded, over-
70-minute disc gets to its long closing intrumentals, the
welcome mat is worn through by inane, baggy-pants posturing
and tiresome (as in just-plain-bad) vocalising. And what
does it say about these alleged composers that their best
new songs were written by Gordon Lightfoot ("The Wreck of
the Edmund Fitzgerald", done Celtic-style) and a TV-show
hack ("Hawaii 5-0")? Extra Crispy? I think they're done.

- Ken Eisner, Vancouver, Canada

-- Movies: Wide Release --
All reviews based on a five star rating system

[A photo of Andie MacDowell and Drew Barrymore appears hee
in the Graphical version.]
Bad Girls *

Like everything else about Bad Girls, the title is so
crushingly obvious, it's hard to see it as even a single
entendre. Perhaps the Michael Jackson meaning was intended
in this tale of four tough hookers hee-hawing their way
through the Old West That Never Was, but it's safe to assume
that Strong Women never even hit the conference table.

Something else hit the fan, however, when director Tamra
Davis was fired and replaced by "feminist" Jonathan Kaplan
(The Accused). The real controversy comes from contemplating
what Davis could possibly have done to make her Girls
badder. Chances are, it would have been lame, loose, and
anachronistic in its own special way, but we could forget
about that if this version didn't give us so much time to
think about more interesting things.

The film has the kind of awesome absurdity you'd expect from
a high school play that suddenly landed $20 million to beef
up its production. Above all, the feel of egregious
amateurism is driven home by Madeleine Stowe, whose
performance here as snake-skinning Cody Zamora throws any
previously perceived talent into gloomy doubt. With her
sway-backed swagger and frozen mouth, Stowe is so somberly
self-important, she comes across like a robotic Clint
Eastwood without wrinkles, humour, or vulnerability.

Is that a feminist prototype? It may seem contentious when
Mary Stuart Masterson's forgettable character discovers her
land deed is worthless without her dead husband to claim
it, but that impression is wiped away by the very next
scene, in which another woman is rescued, John Wayne-style,
by a stern-jawed cowboy (soulful Dermot Mulroney) backed by
full Marlboro-music strings. Andie MacDowell's southern
belle is similarly nondescript, ending up in a bland
marriage to a decent, stoical rancher (James LeGros).
Neither embarrass themselves by approaching Stowe's deep
commitment to the wafer-thin script. Interestingly, the only
woman to emerge from this mess with a shred of dignity is
Drew Barrymore, who shrewdly plays her ornery, blond-vixen
part as if it were the lead in a multimedia Guess? jeans ad
campaign (you know, when Vanity Fair comes out on CD-ROM).
When she's captured by villains, led by nasty Kid Jarrett
(spectacularly awful James Russo), she blithely calls them
"pigs", rolling her eyes more in disdain than apprehension.

Barrymore's sense of trashy fun only serves to point up how
deadly dull everybody else is feeling. Well, at least
veteran character-man Robert Loggia, as Jarrett's even
meaner father, wallows loudly in some kind of Oedipus-Tex
perversity that isn't even on the page. Kaplan, however,
thinks it's all as pretty as an apricot sunset; his
widescreen, hoof-pounding vision empowers everyone in
sight... to behave like grade-A, no-logic morons. And of
course, he never threatens what we already know: misterhood
is powerful.

The Hudsucker Proxy ****

It's obvious to both fans and detractors of Ethan and Joel
Coen that those not-quite-lovable Minnesota brothers
(responsible for Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Millers
Crossing and Barton Fink) are creatures of utter artifice.
But what art!

Each film has been more stylized than the last, and their
marvelous new one, The Hudsucker Proxy is more homage than
creation, owing its life to the depression-era populism of
Frank Capra and Preston Sturges, and the screwball comedy of
Howard Hawks. With its ornate, bulbous art direction, the
$40-million Hudsucker, there are also modern nods to the
self-enclosed fantasy world of Tim Burton, the
anthropological detachment of Robert Altman, and the what-
the-hell surrealism of David Lynch, with hints of Brazil and

Some movie nuts will be tickled ecstatic by direct lifts
from Meet John Doe and His Girl Friday, and others will say
the originals can't be improved on, so why try? Both have a
point, but that will be lost on mainstream crowds just
looking for a quick, easy fix. Not that there isn't plenty
of story here, as young Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins)
arrives in New York City, fresh from the Muncie College of
Business Administration. He's a cornfed optimist, with no
experience but one odd ace up his sleeve... or shoe,
actually: it's a rumpled piece of paper with a plain circle
drawn on it. "You know," he explains, "for kids."

This cryptic "invention" comes in handy when he shows up at
Hudsucker Industries just as its founder (Charles Durning)
plunges 45 stories (with mezzanine) to his death. Swallowed
by the company's voluminous mailroom, Norville emerges just
as a venal vice-president with the (Groucho) Marxist name
of Sidney J. Mussburger (Paul Newman) schemes to acquire
power by driving the company's stock down. He needs a proxy,
a patsy, a chump, a fall-guy... You get the idea.

So does Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Amy Archer (Jennifer
Jason Leigh, doing a vastly irritating riff on Katherine
Hepburn), who cozies up to Norville long enough to figure
out how lost he is. "Only a numbskull," she barks at him,
"thinks he knows thing about things he knows nothing
about." So there.

But he does know one thing, and his "extruded plastic
dingus" turns into a runaway sensation when rechristened the
Hula Hoop. Hudsucker shares fly through the ceiling, but
Norville's knowledge of geometry ends there, and he's soon
pulling a Gary Cooper on the office ledge.

Too bad the audience doesn't care. As hilarious as Robbins
is, especially when klutzing his way through the early
scenes, there's nothing really endearing about Barnes, or
anyone else in this spectacular undertaking. The characters
are mere stand-ins for charismatic leads and indelible
second bananas from bygone, and implicitly better, years.
Oh well. The film is so beautifully crafted, from the
burnished shadows cast by the huge gears, clocks, and
circles which dominate the design (which picks up colour as
it goes along), to the sound of a pencil rolling in an
otherwise empty desk drawer, there's more than enough to lap
up with pleasure. Sure, emotion is scarce, and Newman and
Leigh are problematic casting choices. But there's a
surplus of sight gags, breathtaking edits, brilliant
digressions, brassy music and riveting cameos (Jim True
stands out as the fast-talking elevator boy, and Peter
Gallagher has a coolly bizarre walk-on as a jaded '50s

And by setting their retro-epic in the Eisenhower-addled
1950s, the Coens have also created the ghostly gasp of a
departed breed; you won't see another movie this decade (or
ever) where business boardmembers are all pig-pink males,
and the only non-white face belongs to a Nurturing Negro
named Moses, who keeps the clock going and tells the tale
in soothing voice-over. It ain't progress, but it's swell.

Serial Mom ***

What does the failure to floss, recycle, or rewind your
tapes have in common with impolite parking or wearing white
after Labor Day? Well, any one of these social infractions
(or less) can get you killed if Beverly Sutphin (Kathleen
Turner) is around.

On the surface, she's every inch "Beaver Cleaver's mother",
as one policeman initially jokes, but there's nothing funny
about her private fixation on Charles Manson, Richard Speck,
and other American anti-heroes. By the time her mild-
mannered dentist-husband Eugene (Sam Waterston), boy-
troubled daughter Misty (Ricki Lake), and horror-flick-
addicted son Chip (Matthew Lillard) start to cotton on,
Serial Mom has already begun to terrorize the suburbs. She
quickly escalates from makes filthy calls to a nervous widow
(Mink Stole) to planning the murder of a nosy neighbour
(Mary Jo Catlett) with bad trash habits, and soon, the PTA
is sorry she's such an active member.

This might be a good time to remind everyone that Serial Mom
is a film from John Waters, the Baltimore cult figure
responsible for such non-PBS fare as Lust in the Dust and
Multiple Maniacs, as well as such semi-mainstream fare as
Hairspray and Cry-Baby. He's certainly never had a budget
this big before, and it's a good thing he spent the best
part of it (in both senses) on the star, who tackles her
two-faced role with relishÑand scissors, and knives, and
fire-pokers, and an unforgettable leg of lamb.

Without Turner's Breck-Girl-on-acid performance, the movie's
combination of low humour, bad writing, tepid set design,
and realistic gore would be unpalatable indeed. As it is,
Waterston has little to do but his best Dagwood imitation,
and no-one else is particularly riveting, either.

Ultimately, I have no idea what Waters is trying to say
about present-day America and its fixation on violent crime
(That our subjugated rage needs some gladiatorial outlet?
That we shouldn't separate our garbage?). But it's
definitely funny. Especially when the film switches to
Court-TV mode, and Beverly happily defends herself against
multiple-murder charges. When Suzanne Somers shows up, as
herself, ready to star in a Serial Mom movie package, or
Patricia Hearst, as a sympathetic juror, argues
(unsuccessfully) for fashion tolerance, the story seems to
float on a sea of junky pop flotsam. And that's just where
Captain WatersÑbig budget or noÑfeels most at home.

[A photo of Josh Charles, Lara Flyn Boyle and Stephen
Baldwin appears here in the Graphical version.]

Threesome **

Part cheeseball exploitation and part coming-of-age
confessional, only the sincerity of Threesome offendsÑit's
Spring Break, dressed up as Dostoyevsky.

Set in an unspecified California college, the tale concerns
a mixed-sex troika accidentally dorming together when
stuffy paper-shufflers think curvy Alex (Twin Peaks' Lara
Flynn Boyle) is suitable roomate-material for bookish Eddy
(Josh Charles) and obnoxious Stuart (Stephen Baldwin).
Quick as you can say insufficient character development,
Alex whips up a major pash for the "sexually ambivalent"
Eddy, who's slightly more responsive to Stuart's
relentlessly lewd antics.

They do discuss J.D. Salinger, and drama-major Alex acts in
"a lesbian version of Oedipus Rex," but the pleasantly
tormented trio never seem to go to class. Well, Eddy does
have that French Cinema course, but's that's just to let
shlock-monger Andrew Fleming (Bad Dreams) refer
blasphemously to Truffaut's triangular classic, Jules and
Jim. Anyway, that leaves them plenty of time for softcore
hanky-panky, in various subsets, although they save the big
three-way until almost the end, like some kind of salacious
reward for sitting through long stretches of rudderless

Jacked up with artsy camera angles and de rigeur jangly
guitars, the film tries hard to be taken seriously, or at
least to be thought of as daring. Despite some frank talk,
though, Eddy's homo-erotic odyssey is handled like a tepid
sequel to The Wonder Years (Kevin's Little Secret?).

What energy there is is provided by Baldwin. His campus-
clinging character is unshakably idea-free, an ever-ready
party animal who brings new meaning to term panty raid. More
importantly, he states blunt thoughts with such brutal joyÑ
"ever taken it up the ass?" is a passing conversational
gambit for himÑeven the most reactionary audience recoils
towards the sensitive Eddy (in the confrontational scheme
of things, Stuart'll do until an Australian comes along).

Boyle's no Jeanne Moreau, but she's not bad either, at least
when she gets to drop the model 'tude and show some comic
flair. Charles is okay in a somewhat monotonous role. An
Indecent Proposal for the Cliff's Notes set, Threesome may
be sleazy and slow-witted, but it won't do any harm. As
sexual preferences go, being turned into amiable trash is
always a sure sign of mainstream acceptance.

The Paper **

As we've come to expect from director Ron Howard (Far and
Away, Backdraft), The Paper offers a lot of giddy
enthusiasm for the mechanics of filmmaking and very little
interest in the niceties of form, nuance, or depth of

Michael Keaton stars as Henry Hackett, the Michael Keaton-
ish editor of a semi-sleazy tabloid called The New York
Sun. Everything about this rag is implausible, from its
name, to its extra-flexible deadlines, to the unaccountably
posh street entrance which doesn't quite jibe with the
offices inside.

That's also the architecture of the movie. It hinges on a
supposed dilemma when Henry runs into a big story on the
same day he's set to interview for a cushy job at a New York
Times-like "rival" (with an officious editor played
wonderfully by Spaulding Gray). His massively pregnant wife
(a one-note Marisa Tomei) is pushing hard for the security
of the higher-paying gig. But as a reporter on leave, she
also has ink in her veins, and can't resist helping him
find the scoop which sends him off and running in the
opposite direction.

Get the picture? Almost everyone here is a bi-polar cartoon,
set up with some nervous tic or rigid attitude, and then
"humanized" by nice-guy Howard (and co-writing brothers
Stephen and David Koepp Ñ the latter was at least partially
responsible for the flat language of Jurassic Park,
Carlito's Way, and Death Becomes Her). In what I pray is a
parody of the basic corporate bitch, Glenn Close plays a
tough-nosed, beige-suited managing editor (Fatal
Redaction?) who warms up obligingly when good ol' Henry
finally tells her off. Then there's Robert Duvall, puffing
out his gut as the crusty, penny-pinching boss who's really
pining for the love of his daughter (awww).

At least slimmed-down Randy Quaid is allowed to get along
with only one trait: he's a hard-drinking reporter given to
sleeping in the office and firing sidearms to calm down
editorial meetings (in the U.S.A., that's considered funny).
Of the dramaturgical crop offered, only the bearded guy who
complains about backpains and second-hand smoke is more

Oh yeah, there's some strained social relevance, since the
drama involves a couple of black kids falsely charged for a
racially motivated murder. But from the rote way it's
handled, this hot potato has even less steam than a subplot
about a short-fused parking commissioner (Seinfeld's Jason
Alexander). The result is a storyline virtually without
tension or momentum. Consequently, the director compensates
by keeping the camera in constant, frequently pointless,
motion; he has everyone scream their overlapping dialogue
competitively, and pounds Randy Newman's surprisingly inane
score into already overloaded eardrums. The best 8-dollar
headache ar

ound, The Paper is more evidence that Splash will
likely stand as Ron Howard's career pinnacle.

Major League II **

It took five big years for director David S. Ward to rally
the troops for this dutiful rehash of Major League. Well,
most of the troops anyway. Wesley Snipes is now in the $5-
million bullpen, and can't be bothered with Roman numerals.
In his place, as the showboating Willy Mays Hayes, is Omar
Epps, last seen in Ward's football opus, The Program.

[A photo of David Keith appears here in the Graphical

Cleveland Indians in a deeper rut are: Rick "Wild Thing"
Vaughn (Charlie Sheen), with banker's pinstripes and a bland
haircut; Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen), who owns the club but
can't get up to bat; the absurdly accented Pedro Cerrano
(Dennis Haysbert, unrecognizable from his tete-a-tete with
Michelle Pfeiffer in Love Field), who has traded his voodoo
for Buddhism; paunchy manager Lou Brown (James Gammon),
sagging in the saddle; and catcher Jake Taylor (always-
watchable Tom Berenger), with bad knees and soulful mien.
Newcomers include a hayseed called Rube (Eric Bruskotter),
an unpredictable outfielder (Takaaki Ishibashi, a sort of
Japanese Gilbert Gottfried), and a badass powerhitter (David
Keith) who plays Bluto to everyone else's Popeye. That's it
for dynamics. Since Cleveland (played by Baltimore,
actually) came out on top last time, there's nowhere to go
but down; Ward sends them into a psychological tailspin that
they, and the movie, can't really recover from. Soon, Wild
Thing's throw is so mild, even his therapist is ragging on

The team's torpour is contagious, and MJII leans heavily on
Bob Uecker, as an irascible announcer, to paper over the
many dull spots with cynical chatter. Befitting a tale of
the team with baseball's most odious logo, the film is
filled with phobias Ñ racial and otherwise Ñ and its humour
is mostly of the lowest-common-denominator variety,
exemplified by Randy Quaid's uncredited, and increasingly
tedious, cameo as a traitorous fan.

Let's not forget the "ladies": Renee Russo, as Jake's boring
love interest, is only around for one scene, so Vaughn has a
middling fling with a nicey-nice schoolteacher (Coneheads'
Michelle Burke) who seemingly lives at the stadium with cute
inner-city kids. But Ward's more interested in powerful
women we can hate, so he brings back bitch-goddess Rachel
Phelps (Margaret Whitton) and adds a blond PR huckster
(Alison Doody) to double male fears. It's simply amazing how
much bad feeling some people can pack into an empty
formula. There is some nice ball in the last ten minutes.

- Ken Eisner, Vancouver, Canada

-- Movies: Arthouse/Independent --
All reviews based on a five star rating system

The House of Spirits *

Maybe there could be a worse adaptation of Isabel Allende's
bestselling saga of a strife-torn Latin American family,
but it's gruesome to contemplate how it would differ from
this spectacularly wrong-headed movie. If it didn't have
such big names attached, the epic wannabe could have been
comfortably shelved, or more likely cut into miniseries-
sized chunks and spread over several nights of so-so TV.

The project was sunk from the start with the selection of
Bille August, the Danish director who did beautifully
understated work on the period pieces The Best Intentions,
Pelle the Conqueror, and Twist and Shout. One glance at his
austere, Bergman-inflected style should have sent warning
signals to anyone fond of the magic realism underpinning
much Spanish-language literature (picture Pedro Almodovar
directing Wild Strawberries to get the effect in reverse).

Then there's that all-star cast. For a tale intended to
convey the trials of four generations of women in a South
American country quite like Chile (the film was mostly shot
in Portugal), it spends an awful Ñ and I do mean awful Ñ lot
of time with Jeremy Irons as Esteban Trueba, a reactionary
landowner who does his very best to ruin the lives of
everyone around him. With "swarthy" makeup and a prosthetic
device to enhance his public-school mumble, Irons effects
an unplaceable accent, but can't handle even the most
familiar Spanish words Ñ he comes across like an Iowa
Republican on his first trip to Mexico.

Meryl Streep fares better as his bride, Clara. She's a
gentle clairvoyant who can always see who's going to die
next, but can't quite predict the misery of life with bully-
boy Esteban, even after he bans his spinsterly sister from
their sprawling hacienda. When the gates close on black-clad
Ferula (a terrific Glenn Close, stepping out of a gloomy
Dutch painting), the movie loses the fraction of a heart it
started with, and lurches from one tacky tragedy to the

One of the saddest things about the generally dispiriting
Spirits is the way it reduces profound political events
(meant to parallel, but not duplicate Allende's own
experience) to a "sweeping" technicolor backdrop for sudsy
soap opera love. With Winona Ryder as the Truebas's well-
named daughter, Blanca, opposite Philadelphia's Antonio
Banderas, as a dashing peasant revolutionary, the story
plays like a wealthy Valley Girl dallying with the hunky
pool boy. (It says something odd that Banderas and Maria
Conchita Alonzo, two of the few actors with genuine Hispanic
accents, seem ludicrously out-of-place here.)

But most depressing is the way the disjointed movie, edited
even more brutally than the longer European version, robs
The House of what made it so popular in the first place.
Readers everywhere Ñ especially female ones Ñ were immensely
taken by the book's evocation of a private women's culture,
rich with non-linear storytelling, otherworldy omens, and
bursts of unexpected violence and feeling. Despite a few
luminous moments with Streep and Close, this version should
be called Sidney Sheldon's House of Spirits...
if that's not being too unkind to Sidney.

[A photo of Diaz-Aroca, Verdu, Ramirez, Cruz, and Gil from
Belle Epoque appears here in the Graphical version.]

Belle Epoque *****

If anyone remakes The House of the Spirits, they should hire
Fernando Trueba (dig the last name), the director of Belle
Epoque, the lovely Spanish sex farce which won a slew of
Spanish academy awards, and an American one, for best
foreign film.

The setting is rural Spain, circa 1931, during the tentative
tug-of-war between monarchists, fascists, and socialistas.
A confused young army recruit and former seminary student,
Fernando (handsome Jorge Sanz, who looks like a befuddled
Robert Downey Jr.) has deserted his post, and is wandering
towards Madrid when he stumbles onto the smalltown villa of
the friendly Manolo (Fernando Fernan Gomez), a self-
satisfied painter and padron. Impotent with anyone but his
opera-singing wife, and secretly religious, Don Manolo's
only real problem is that he's a would-be "infidel, rebel
and libertine, living like an old bourgeois."

The era's chaotic politics suits his well-developed sense of
cynical humour, and he likewise enjoys Fernando's
passionate innocence and exceptional kitchen skills. Still,
Manolo turns chilly the day his four grown daughters are due
for a visit; he abruptly hustles the young man to the train
station, bag in hand. One glance at these ninas, however,
and Fernando makes tracks back to the villa. Soon, his life
is reduced to cooking gourmet meals and deciding which
sister is prettiest and most desirable Ñ a task which isn't
as easy as it sounds.

This may sound like a male fantasy supreme, but the way it's
handled by Trueba and screenwriter Rafael Azcona, young
Fernando is never in control for a minute. Instead, he
flits impulsively Ñ and not usually on his impulses, either
Ñ between the demure Clara (Miriam Diaz-Aroca), still
adapting to recent widowhood; the voluptuous, dark Rocio
(Maribel Verdu), also involved with a goofy rich kid; the
mannish Violeta (Ariadna Gil), who prefers Fernando in a
dress and make-up (maing him to look like Tony Curtis in
Some Like It Hot); and feisty Luz (Jamon Jamon's Penelope
Cruz), the impatient baby of the family.

When not being burdened by Fernando's latest confession of
love, Manolo dreams of a free Spain, and of his absent
spouse, who finally shows up with her French agent and
lover (Michel Galabru, who did his own drag numbers in the
Cage aux Folles films). Once this extended family is in
place, the gorgeously shot movie takes on the sun-dappled,
giddily melancholic tone of rustic period classics like
Bertrand Tavernier's Sunday in the Country and Jean Renoir's
A Day in the Country. But Trueba, who admitted his fealty to
Billy Wilder on Oscar night, also calls on Howard Hawks and
other screwball directors for his flawless timing and tart,
female-centred comedy. His sense of eros, which pokes fun at
gender and tradition, but never at desire, is plenty
original though. And remarkably hard to shake off, at least
without a cold shower.

Sirens **

Not really bad, Sirens is not really good. Still, it's easy
to explain why it's getting attention: there's plenty of
sex in it. Or at least plenty of nudity, which amounts to
the same thing for North Americans fed on a steady diet of
look-don't-touch arousal Ñ a kind of slavering puritanism,
if you will (or, more likely, won't).

Whence came this special brand of glazed voyeurism? From the
Brits, of course, although they at least have the ability Ñ
the craving, actually Ñ to make fun of "private functions"
we don't find all that amusing. Essentially an Australian
spin on Enchanted April's liberation-through-nature
comedy, the early-1930s-set tale follows a young church
couple's journey from England to the Blue Mountain home of
Aussie artist Norman Lindsey (Sam Neill), whose subversive
nude pictures are causing an uproar in Edwardian London.

It's a foregone conclusion that the free-thinking painter
and his sun-dappled, supermodel-strewn surroundings will, as
they anachronistically say, "shock the socks" off the young
marrieds (named Campion, much to the delight of Piano fans).
The only steady fun in the film is seeing how they get
undone, or done, in the case of Estella Campion (Tara
Fitzgerald), who turns out to be considerably more
adventurous than her husband, the only slightly irreverent
Reverend Anthony (Hugh Grant). Although both actors come
across a little wiser than their naive characters are
written, they're so good at bumbling their way towards
ecstasy, you have to laugh.

But what's really going on here? Not a lot, unless you still
happen to find D.H. Lawrence and Havelock Ellis
controversial. More exactly, the film is mired in a late-
'60s sensibility which says: if the establishment doesn't
like it, it must be good for you. Writer-director John
Duigan, so perfectly understated in his autobiographical
works (Flirting and The Year My Voice Broke) and perfectly
ghastly in his potboiling Wide Sargasso Sea, plays it down
the middle here. He's too smart to fall into blatant sexism,
so he dabbles in ultra-vague feminism and presents a blind,
Pan-like figure, thoughtfully named Devlin (Mark Gerber),
for the gals to ogle.

The rest of the time, though, the ogling is aimed where
Sports Illustrated subscribers would expect, at Lindsey's
frequently clothes-free model-muses, led by a beefed-up Elle
Macpherson, who, no matter how many pots of stilton she
sticks her fingers into, is a numbingly dull screen
presence. Duigan directs her as if bedroom eyes and sloppy
eating habits constitute a whole personality.

He's right, if you belong to the Hugh Hefner School of
Pavlovian Responses. In that case, you'll also accept Sam
Neill's sketchy performance as the real-life painter and
children's book illustrator whose story this isn't; as
written, Lindsey's simply a wise Rabelaisian patriarch, and
that's the end of it. Fortunately, Estella Campion has a bit
more going for her, and when the story focuses on her,
things pick up dramatically. That's mainly because
Fitzgerald, with her sculpted flower of a face, is bonafide
star material. In fact, the somewhat muddled photography and
editing both become sharper when she's around (there are
some arresting images in the final quarter; Rachel Portman's
score is tops throughout).

Overall, though, Sirens is markedly missing what its hype
boasts most: atmosphere. Worse, its (few) conclusions about
sexuality, Anglo or otherwise, are conventional to the point
of boredome. On the other hand, the film's up-the-buggers,
let's-have-at-it philosophy may still be revolutionary to
some. An unshushable woman sitting behind me on opening
night provided a running commentary along the useful lines
of "oh, he's cute", "look at those breasts", "nice dress",
"Ohh, yuck", and "I would never do that". If that's
anywhere near the intelligence level of arthouse types
attracted to this tame sex-o-rama, I can't rightly accuse it
of talking down to its audience.

[A photo of Hugh Grant appears here in the Graphical

Four Weddings and a Funeral ****

A romantic comedy with an irresistible glow, Four Weddings
and a Funeral takes place over a couple of years, but only
during the events described by the title. These highlights
are enough to gain intimate knowledge of a small cadre of
Londoners in their 30sÑthat age when lust and mortality
demand just about equal attention.

The main focus is on Charles (hugh-biguitous Hugh Grant), a
professional bachelor whose firmament is shaken when he
meets Carrie (Andie MacDowell) at wedding number one. After
a night together, the mysterious woman vanishes back to
America, but not from Charles's consciousness. Good thing
she's a sucker for English parties, giving the inveterate
procrastinator ("his lateness has a kind of greatness,"
somebody sighs) several more chances for connubial

Lovable eccentrics all, Charles's crowd includes his deaf,
yet blunt-spoken brother (hearing-impaired actor David
Bower), a ditzy flatmate (Charlotte Coleman), a bumbling
aristocrat (James Fleet) and his elegant sister (Kirsten
Scott Thomas, currently starring opposite Grant in Bitter
Moon), and a gay couple (John Hannah and movie-stealing
Simon Callow) who seem the most normal people in the movie.

And it's not surprising that weasel-faced Rowan Atkinson
shows up, as an ineffectual priest-in-training, since the
movie was written by Richard Curtis, the author behind The
Tall Guy, and the Blackadder and Mr. Bean series. But what
makes this more than a jolly, longform Brit-com is the
darkly sardonic direction of Mike Newell, who has previously
ranged from the Merchant-Ivory Lite of Enchanted April to
the bleak drama of Dance with a Stranger and the mystical
verve of Into the West. Within the wonderfully fluid crowd
scenes and deftly timed comic cock-ups, he gives Charles's
plight a desperately melancholy edge.

Obviously, Grant helps. From the shy Chopin of Impromptu to
the effete clergyman in Sirens, the ubiquitous actor has
become a master of anguished embarrassment. Here, though,
when his character is trapped in a couple's wedding chamber,
or suddenly blurts out a David Cassidy-inspired confession
of love, his chagrin is far more painful than anything
you'd associate with that other stammering Grant, Cary.

The choice of MacDowell to play his opposite number isn't
nearly as felicitous. Her natural allure, impressive enough
to justify the leading man's ardour, must have snowed Newell
into thinking she didn't actually have to do anything.
Unless she's challenged soon, this latter-day Merle Oberon
is in danger of being dismissed as a model who milked her
Sex, Lies and Videotape role through ten more movies before
the offers dried up. Furthermore, Carrie's behaviour is more
enigmatic than the story really requires: we have little
idea who she is when not seducing strangers, reciting past
conquests ("less than Madonna, and more than Lady Di"), or
heading off with a wealthy Scotsman, played all the more
disturbingly by Corin Redgrave, In the Name of the Father's
evil inspector.

Even so, the film's central conflictÑwhether or not to c-c-
c-ommitÑis the hero's to grapple with. And as frothy and
familiar as this setup is, Four Weddings is fresh and full
of feeling throughout. It manages to make "I do" the
punchline of the year.

Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould *****

It's a truism (and therefore open to attack) that the
musical life is impossible to capture on film. How much
easier to reduce complex art to peripherals like fame,
glamour, and early death, and wrap them around made-to-
order melodrama Ñ whether strained biography (Sweet Dreams)
or cheapjack "rock'n'roll" thriller (Streets of Fire).
Hollywood's attempts to tackle the classical world have
usually been, at best, along the line of Intermezzo, wherein
the romantic thrust of the 19th-century music was to
instantly render all those people in tuxedoes and evening
gowns passionately fascinating (that they could carry on
conversations while pounding out Chopin always intrigued
me). But Canada ain't Hollywood, and sometimes that's a real

What biography has taken more liberty with its subject and
still conveyed something both elusive and concrete about his
or her spirit? In fact, people who don't give a fugue about
classical music will be charmed, dazzled, and provoked by
this stylistically daring work.

Rather than build a tedious docudrama on the familiar
chronological skeleton, writer-director Francois Girard and
co-scripter Don McKellar have taken as their guide Bach's
famous Goldberg Variations, with its quirkily symmetrical,
32-part form. There's plenty of contrast in tone and form
between the "Aria" bookends, during which the pianist Ñ
actually his stand-in, Colm Feore (the real Gould is seen
above) Ñ wanders out of, and then back into, the frozen
North he loved.

Ingeniously, the treatment mixes archival images with staged
scenes, brief interviews of varying interest and, of course,
Gould's own audio recordings. Highlights include some Norman
McLaren animation, a perfectly recreated '60s recording
session, and a stark ode to Gould's veritable library of
colourful pills. Thanks to Feore's uncanny embodiment (not
that he actually looks like the dissipated muso) some scenes
manage to fuse the pianist's poignant and infuriating
traits, as when he receives his latest album while touring
Europe, and forces a German-speaking chambermaid to listen
to it.

Listening, it seems, was his forte, even away from the
piano, as evidenced in an Ontario truckstop where Gould
effortlessly keeps track of a dozen conversations, and then
transposes the idea of overlapping monologues to his Idea of
North radio special Ñ just one example of his ability to
play a CBC studio like a Steinway. Of course, the artist's
well-tempered ears did not extend to those humans we would
normally call friends; Gould's inability to maintain even
the simplest of human contacts is on ample display here.
His well-cultivated neuroses, however, are sometimes
clouded, or maybe just over-celebrated, by the self-
conscious cleverness of the script Ñ don't forget
McKellar's association with style-meisters Bruce McDonald
and Atom Egoyan.

Still, over-reach is the smallest problem in a project as
daunting as this. Girard has packed in as much about the
trials and rewards of creation as he unearths about this
mysterious Canadian icon. By the time Glenn Gould returns to
that icy wasteland the 50-year-old pianist entered forever
in 1982, the film has offered an elegant and electrifying
glimpse at one mortal's unorthodox dance to the music of the

Red Rock West **

The ghost of Twin Peaks (hit TV series and dud movie) hangs
heavily over this Film Noir parody/tribute/knock-off, from
the reverb-heavy guitar score to the casting of Lara Flynn
Boyle in the Barbara Stanwyck role. As in Lynch's Wild at
Heart, Nicolas Cage plays the sap, but he's a hell of a lot
calmer here, as a drifter named Michael.

This good-natured soul with a bum leg (like Kevin Bacon's
character in The Air Up There) has come to MontanaÑplayed
with impressive versatility by ArizonaÑlooking for roughneck
work at an oil camp. When that falls through, he limps into
the dusty town of Red Rock and, in a case of potentially
lethal mistaken identity, is offered an absurdly lucrative
job by the gruff bartender (perennial bad-guy J.T. Walsh),
who wants his wife (Boyle) bumped off. Michael's an
improvisor, not a thinker, and he barely knows how to handle
his good/bad fortune. Then, of course, the real employee
(Dennis Hopper) shows up, and things get even more

This unfolding of events provides giddy fun for the film's
first half-hour, while the audience's bafflement is
reflected by Cage's constantly shifting eyebrows. Naturally,
Hopper provides the over-the-top amusement you expect from
him. But if you expect over-the-top, where is the top,
exactly? As the pieces fall into place, it becomes
numbingly obvious that brothers Jon and Rick Dahl, who
wrote, directed and produced Red Rock West, are satisfied
with meeting minimum requirements. In some areas, they're
happy with less.

Specifically, this wayward wife collapses the formula's
fragile geometry. Boyle brings nothing but a pouting mouth
and distracted aloofness to the already undernourished
part. Michael wants to bed her because it's in the script,
not for anything we see on screen, and as her character
"develops", she becomes even less dimensional.

Such standard femme fatale roles may not have been
enlightened in the 1940s, but Stanwyck, Crawford et al
brought a compelling vibrancy to them that made male fearÑ
the core of film noirÑseem inescapably palpable.
Furthermore, these black-and-white B-movies reflected
America's uneasy postwar (that's WWII, kids) recognition
that the world was made of vaguely shifting alliances, and
the best one could do was stay alert to them. What do
today's stylish attempts to recreate that genre say about
our (or Hollywood's) perception of the world? That things
were a lot cooler in the '40s? Is the Lynchian nudge-nudge,
wink-wink of ironic recognition enough? Sometimes, there's a
thin line between paying homage and burying your head in the

- Ken Eisner, Vancouver, Canada

-- Keepers of Light --
- The Anything Goes Art Auction -

Station Street Arts Centre: Vancouver

Greetings Cyberspacians, and welcome to another Keepers Of
Light. Have you entered Photon '94 (International Teletimes'
annual photography contest) yet? Well? Why not? Nifty prizes
could be yours! Why not fill in your application now? (See
end of this issue.)

We're in for a treat this month. We lucked out. The Station
Street Arts Centre is holding their Anything Goes art
auction this week, and several of Vancouver's best
photographers have donated work for the show. The fund-
raising event for the Fend Players theatre troupe has drawn
the support of over fifty local artists who have donated
works to be auctioned off at a gala party and dance this
Friday evening (at time of writing).

["Ballerina" by Carmen Schmid appears here in the graphical

There are many beautiful works in the collection, and here
are a few of them: "Ballerina" by Carmen Schmid is a
delicious print, and the scanned image here can not do it
justice. The original is a transfer print on rag paper, and
the surface shimmers with the oily blue-black toner that
this process provides. It is an excellent choice for this
image. The image itself, of a dancer's leg, foot, and a wisp
of costume is shadowy and mysterious. Strange runes criss-
cross the ballerina's leg insinuating rituals ages old. It
is a bold composition. From the dancer's gnarled toes at the
bottom left, the leg rises diagonally across the frame
cutting the inky black background in two. The pale costume
licks out like a flame from the right. Very tasty.

["Untitled" by Paul Perchal appears here in the Graphical

Also fit to eat is an "Untitled" work by Paul Perchal. This
is an arresting image, and beautifully printed. A man faces
the camera, his eyes closed, and his hands clasped before
his face, as if in prayer. This well balanced, symmetrical
composition is enhanced by the printing process, a blending
of the image of the man, and one of what appears to be baked
clay. The overall impression is of statuary, perhaps a stone
Buddha. The warm-toned print itself is very good overall,
but a slight lightening of density towards the bottom and
bottom right mars the composition. This may have been due to
enlarger falloff. A gentle burn of these areas would improve
the overall balance.

["Untitled" by Tobi Asmoucha appears here in the Graphical

Another "Untitled," this one by Tobi Asmoucha, is another
fine piece. Here Tobi puts a moderately wide angle lens to
good use in capturing the strong diagonals of the long, late
afternoon shadows, the angled banisters, the masonry, and
the structure of this village alleyway. I have no
information about this print or it's setting whatsoever. Now
that I think about it, that low sun could just as easily be
rising as setting, but for some reason it feels more like
evening to me. I like this simple scene. We watch a cat who
watches an old man carefully make his way down the street.
It's an excellent candid shot of everyday life.

["Untitled" by Holger Herman appears here in the Graphical

And now for something completely lovely. This "Untitled"
print by Holger Herman is as a fine a classic studio nude as
you're likely to find. The model reclines, her arms draped
back as if luxuriously stretching. The whites of her skin
tones and drapery contrast with the delicate dark patterns
in the bed clothing and wrinkled folds of the gray backdrop.
The printing is simply perfect, executed on a fine, high-
silver, double weight fiber stock.

That's it for this month. Hope you enjoyed them. As always,
the images presented in the Keepers Of Light are protected
by copyright and are the property of their respective
creators. The images presented here are provided for your
personal enjoyment. Please do not alter or re-distribute
them in any way. If you are interested in collecting
original photographic prints, many of these (and those in
the back issues of International Teletimes) are available
for sale. If you have any comments on any of the work
presented in Keepers Of Light we'd enjoy hearing from you.
You may send your observations, advice, or one-time love
gifts to:

- Kent Barrett, Vancouver, Canada

-- The Latin Quarter --
- "Poor Mexico!" -

In recent articles, I have frequently quoted or referred to
opinions of Carlos Fuentes, Mexico's leading novelist,
author of The Old Gringo, Aura, Christopher Unborn, among
other novels, and recently the author and narrator of the
brilliant BBC Television series, "The Buried Mirror".
Probably Mexico's most vocal critic, with his searing
political commentaries appearing internationally (monthly
columns in the New York and Los Angeles Times), and yet
undeniably an ardent supporter of his own country's culture
and people.

However, the domestic perception of Carlos Fuentes is as
enigmatic as the country itself. Mexicans, often fiercely
nationalistic, have never really excelled at critical self
evaluation, and public sentiment towards the writer and his
works is often mixed. Such remarks as "He's an elitist", "He
doesn't really understand our problems", "Its easy to
criticize Mexico when you don't live here", are often voiced
amongst Mexican academia; and amongst the general public,
with illiteracy rates among the highest in the world, and a
good portion of the population reading little more than
comic books, it's not surprising to draw a blank when asking
people about their literary star. Fuentes admits that he
spends little time in Mexico, and in an interview with Bill
Moyers a few years ago, he joked that his home was the
Clipper Business Class of the now defunct Pan Am Airlines.
However, he has pleaded with his detractors, "don't classify
me, just read me!"

Fuente's genius is undeniable. He has brought to us the
myths and ideas of Mexico's past and present, with a beauty,
passion and brilliance, that can be understood by even those
who have not so much as glimpsed at a postcard from Mexico.
He has written political satire and historical
interpretation, created worlds of abstract narrative, and
discussed present economic and political developments in a
clear and honest manner.

I was first introduced to Carlos Fuentes' work ten years ago
by German radio correspondent Joerg Hafkemeyer, who was
stationed in Mexico City at the time. Over many late nights
of discussion and tequilas in the tiny fishing/tourist
community of Puerto Angel, Joerg explained how Fuentes' work
had given him unique insights into the Mexican mentality,
and its peculiarities and contradictions. In particular, he
recommended reading "The Hydra Head", which, on the surface,
is probably the first Third World spy thriller, an action
packed, quick-paced novel of intrigue, but with a subtle
backdrop of current cultural and political reality. Fuentes
makes his observations subtly, giving us a glimpse into the
Mexican psyche, while taking us on a dazzling labyrinthine
ride. In this present Mexican political climate of
assassination, conspiracy theories, and publicly accepted
deception, this work is even more electric. In particular,
its description of an government orchestrated attempt on the
President's life, rings with an eerie suggestion of reality.

Much of Fuentes' writing discusses the differences in
philosophy and history between Mexico (and the rest of Latin
America, for that matter) and its northern neighbours.
Fuentes has described the border which runs between the U.S.
and Mexico as a "scar", one which divides two memories: one
of victory and one of loss, best expressed by Mexican
dictator Porfirio Diaz's famous remark: "Poor Mexico! So
far from God and so near to the United States!" This border
is not just geographical, but also psychological and
emotional, and Fuentes has advocated trying to bridge these
differences without denying them. In his 1984 Massey Hall
Lecture series, Fuentes poetically described:

"We [Mexicans] are worried about redeeming the past; they
[the United States] are accustomed to acclaiming the
future. Their past is assimilated, and, too often, it is
simply forgotten; ours is still battling for our souls. We
represent the abundance of poverty; they, the poverty of
abundance. They want to live better; we want to die
better. They are accustomed to success; we, to failure."

Fuentes summarizes these comparisons by stating that every
Mexican has a personal frontier with the United States, and
before this century is over, every North American will have
a personal frontier with Mexico; particularly prophetic
remarks in light of recent Free Trade Developments and
immigration/border controversies.

Carlos Fuentes' plea to read his works is well-founded, and
a wise choice if one's aim is to better understand a rich
and often perplexing culture.

In another segment of what is soon becoming my "American
Ambassador - Moron Watch", it was hilarious to listen to
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, James Jones' succinct analysis of
Mexico's political and economic climate at his April 16th
address to the Trilateral Industrial Environmental
Conference in Mexico City. Ambassador Jones observed that
the recent rebel uprisings in the state of Chiapas in no way
reflected political or economic instability nationwide and
that: "I think that everybody has recognized that Chiapas is
a social and economic development problem that is unique to
that region." Possibly Ambassador Jones has been out of
town for the almost-daily protests and the daily news
stories of worker unrest and growing economic dichotomy
throughout the country!

- Andreas Seppelt, Mexico City, Mexico

-- The Wine Enthusiast --
- British Columbian Wines -

British Columbia, for those not familiar with the place, is
Canada's western most province and home to Canada's second
winegrowing region. The Niagara peninsula at Niagara Falls,
Ontario, is the oldest and currently most successful
winegrowing region in Canada. But the Niagara peninsula is a
very tiny viticultural area, however, limited geographically
to a small production, so in the 1950's adventurous grape
growers in the comparatively large Okanagan Valley in south-
central B.C planted the first large-scale commercial
vineyards to satisfy the potential Canadian market demand
for indigenous wine.

At that time a different philosophy about viticulture held
sway. Experts in the field of viticulture, many trained at
California's U.C. Davis school, gave recommendations that
the cold winters and shorter growing seasons of moderate
climate regions like the Okanagan Valley, or eastern
Washington, or western Oregon, would not be suitable for
growing the european species of winegrapes vitis vinifera,
but only for native North American species vitis labrusca or
hybrid varieties. This advice turned out to be dead wrong,
reflecting a hot-climate, big-yield mentality that was
native to California at the time. So on this bad advice
growers in the Pacific Northwest, including B.C., planted
poor-quality grape varieties that would produce wines that
would have a distinct disadvantage in the marketplace.

The provincial government in B.C. further exacerbated the
problem by enacting extremely liberal product labelling
requirements that allowed such things as the inclusion of up
to 15% water to any wine "product". The table was set for
B.C. wine producers to produce oceans of poor-quality wines,
with no emphasis on premium wine. Furthermore, protectionist
pricing policies at Provincial Government monopoly liquor
stores kept prices of imported wine unnaturally high, giving
no incentive to local producers to improve quality.

The wines of B.C. wineries in the late seventies and early
eighties, despite having over twenty years of experience,
were still simply horrible, trashy and flavorless
concoctions barely recognizable as wine. The average B.C.
wine was a sweet, dull, flavorless chemical soup made from
overburdened hybrid grapes and water, dressed in cheesy
packaging that inevitable bore some Gallic or Germanic
brandname written in garish gothic script. The state of the
B.C. wine industry was much like the U.S./Canadian auto
industry of the same time, which enjoyed similar
protectionist measures against Japanese imported cars. The
cars made in the North America at the time were simply
terrible: outdated technologically, poor quality, and not
what the consumer demanded.

When, under the Reagan administration, the U.S. removed its
import quotas in Japanese cars, the North American auto
industry was forced to respond to market demands and produce
vehicles that are today, right up to world quality

Likewise when the 1991 G.A.T.T. agreement was signed by
Canada and then the subsequent N.A.F.T.A. treaty, things
began to take a turn for the better.

To appease growers that felt betrayed by this move toward
free trade, the B.C. government began a program to pay for
growers to tear up hybrid grapevines. They also instituted a
new system called the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) that
held member producers accountable to comparatively rigorous

Today, B.C. wineries are starting to be known more for their
quality table wines rather than the cheap jug wines that
were the industry standard. Even the inexpensive wines have
improved, as they are made largely from Californian musts or
blends of imported bulk-wines.

B.C. still has a long way to go, as a true identity for the
Okanagan Valley as a wine producing region has yet to
emerge. Pressure from two fledgling winegrowing regions in
B.C., the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, and the Esquimalt
peninsula near Victoria, may help to further accelerate an
identity for B.C. wines.

The lesson to be learned from this forty year span that
produced millions of hectoliters of overpriced swill, and
rotted the livers and palates of several generations of
British Columbians, is that the marketplace must be driven
by the free choice of consumers, rather than consumers being
at the mercy of an alliance of bureaucrats and cutthroats.

- Tom Davis, Vancouver, Canada
Ê c/o

-- Cuisine --
- Peaches Chambord -

This is a delightful, very easily and quickly prepared
dessert that cannot fail.

Count per person:
1 half canned peach
3 tablespoons chocolate chips
1 tablespoon Chambord

Melt the chocolate, pour over the peach, pour over Chambord.
Served while the chocolate is still warm.

- Markus Jakobsson


The June issue of Teletimes will feature articles related to
Sports & Leisure. Articles could be about anything from Sumo
Wrestling to Paintball to the therapeutic aspects of
outdoors hiking. The submissions deadline is the 15th of
May. Contact for details.

And in July, we will be bringing you an entire issue devoted
to Photon '94, our first annual photography contest. The
issue will announce the winners, display their work, the
work of some runners up, and will hopefully contain some
interviews with the winning photographers.

One last announcement: Between June 15th and 18th, the
University of British Columbia will be hosting a large
conference on writing and publishing in the information age.
The conference is called WRITE '94 and costs around US$375
(cheaper if you are a full-time student). Teletimes will be
appearing at the conference in the CD-ROM showcase. E-mail for further information.


Ian Wojtowicz, Vancouver, Canada

Art Director:
Anand Mani, Vancouver, Canada

Arts & Entertainment Editor:
Ken Eisner, Vancouver, Canada

Contributing Editor:
Daniel Sosnoski, Tokyo, Japan

Cover Artist:
Anand Mani, Vancouver, Canada

Past contributors:
Biko Agozino, Edinburgh, Scotland
Prasad & Surekha Akella, Japan
Ryan Crocker, Vancouver, Canada
Prasad Dharmasena, Silver Spring, USA
Ken Eisner, Vancouver, Canada
Ken Ewing, Beaverton, Oregon, USA
Jon Gould, Chicago, USA
Paul Gribble, Montreal, Canada
Jay Hipps, Petaluma, California, USA
Mike Matsunaga, Skokie, USA
Satya Prabhakar, Minneapolis, USA
Brian Quinby, Aurora, USA
Motamarri Saradhi, Singapore
Dr. Michael Schreiber, Vienna, Austria
Johnn Tann, Ogden, USA
Dr. Euan Taylor, Winnipeg, Canada
Seth Theriault, Lexington, USA
Alexander Varty, Vancouver, Canada
Marc A. Volovic, Jerusalem, Israel

Kent Barrett, The Keepers of Light
Tom Davis, The Wine Enthusiast
Ken Eisner, Music Notes & Movies
Andreas Seppelt, The Latin Quarter

Funding policy:
If you enjoy reading Teletimes on a constant basis and
would like us to continue bringing you good quality
articles, we ask that you send us a donation in the $10 to
$20 range. Checks should be made out to "International
Teletimes". Donations will be used to pay contributors and
to further improve International Teletimes. If you are
interested in placing an ad in Teletimes, please contact
the editor for details.

Submission policy:
Teletimes examines broad topics of interest and concern on
a global scale. The magazine strives to showcase the
unique differences and similarities in opinions and ideas
which are apparent in separate regions of the world.
Readers are encouraged to submit informative and
interesting articles, using the monthly topic as a
guideline if they wish. All articles should be submitted
along with a 50 word biography. Everyone submitting must
include their real name and the city and country where you
live. A Teletimes Writer's Guide and a Teletimes
Photographer's & Illustrator's Guide are available upon

Upcoming themes:
June - Sports & Leisure
July - Photon '94
August/September - Education
October - Religion

Deadline for articles:
June issue - May 15th, 1994
July issue - May 31st, 1994
August/September issue - June 30th, 1994
October issue - September 10th, 1994


Snail mail:
International Teletimes
3938 West 30th Ave.
Vancouver, B.C.
V6S 1X3

Software and hardware credits:
Section headers and other internal graphics were done in
Fractal Painter 1.2 and Photoshop 2.5 on a Macintosh
Quadra 950. The layout and editing was done on a Macintosh
IIci using MS Word 5.0 and DocMaker 4.02.

Copyright notice:
International Teletimes is copyrighted (c)1994. All
articles are copyrighted by their respective authors
however International Teletimes retains the right to
reprint all material unless otherwise expressed by the
author. This magazine is free to be copied and distributed
UNCHANGED so long as it is not sold for profit. Editors
reserve the right to alter the content of submitted
articles. Submitting material is a sign that the submitter
agrees to all the above terms.


Kent Barrett
Kent Barrett is a Vancouver artist with over twenty years
experience in photography. His work has been exhibited in
galleries across Canada from Vancouver, B.C. to St. John's,
Newfoundland. He is currently working on his first
nonfiction book and interactive CD-ROM, "Bitumen to Bitmap:
a history of photographic processes."

Tom Davis
Tom is a wine maker who lives and works in Vancouver,
Canada. A former brewmaster, a painter and amateur (in the
truest sense) film maker. Currently a Philosophy
undergraduate at Simon Fraser University, Tom seeks to start
his own vineyard.

Ken Eisner
Originally from the San Francisco area, Ken Eisner is a
Contributing Editor to Vancouver's entertainment weekly, the
Georgia Straight, and Canadian correspondent/film critic for
Variety, in Los Angeles. He has also been a frequent arts
commentator on CBC TV and radio, and currently reviews new
movies for CKNW, throughout Western Canada.

Anand Mani
Anand is a Vancouver, Canada-based corporate communications
consultant serving an international clientele. Originally an
airbrush artist, his painting equipment has been languishing
in a closet, replaced by the Mac. It waits for the day when
"that idea" grips him by the throat, breathily says, "Paint
Me" and drags him into the studioÑ not to be seen for

Gerry Roston
Gerry is a PhD candidate (scheduled graduation Dec 1994) in
the field of robotics. He is also a licensed professional
engineer in the state of Pennsylvania. Although robots are
his vocation, his avocation is civil liberties. Gerry
believes very strongly in Benjamin Franklin's words: "They
that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little
temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Andreas Seppelt
Andreas is a former Economist with Transport Canada, now
consulting in Business Communications and Marketing. He has
spent a number of years undergoing formal graduate study and
research in Economic Development and International Trade.
He currently lives and works in Mexico.

Daniel Sosnoski
Tokyo resident since 1985. Didn't plan on being a permanent
expat but these things happen. Editor and freelance writer
for several magazines and business-oriented publications, he
can be found playing Go online and offline (IGS: Golgo13). A
Macintosh and internet addict, his life currently revolves
around a modem.

Dr. Euan R. Taylor
Euan grew up in England where he did a degree in
Biochemistry and a Ph.D. Before moving to Canada, Euan spent
6 months traveling in Asia. Now living in Winnipeg, he is
doing research in plant molecular biology, and waiting to
start Law School. Interests include writing, travel,
studying Spanish and Chinese, career changing and good
coffee. Pet peeves: weak coffee, wet socks and ironing.

Alexander Varty
Originally from New Brunswick, Alexander Varty is the Arts
Editor for the Georgia Straight, Vancouver's entertainment
weekly, and he's been known to twang an evil guitar with
Chris Houston and other po-mo rockers.

Ian Wojtowicz
Ian is currently enrolled in the International Baccalaurate
program at a Vancouver high school. He is an avid fencer
(no, he doesn't sell stolen VCRs) and makes a habit of
sleeping in on the weekends. Born in Halifax, Canada in
1977, Ian has since lived in Nigeria, Hong Kong and Ottawa.
He now resides in Vancouver, the city known to millions as
"The Home of Teletimes".

P H O T O N 1 9 9 4

Sponsored by Wimsey Information Services

People - Send in your best "people" work. Portraits, action
shots, kids, whatever. Works will be adjudicated on
composition, effective use of lighting, emotional impact
and general photographic quality as determined by our
Places - We want to see your grandest mountain vistas, your
moodiest urban landscapes. Works will be adjudicated on
composition, effective use of lighting, emotional impact
and general photographic quality as determined by our
Small Wonders - Flowers, butterflies, thumbtacks or your
thumb. Take a little time to send us a little gem.
Photomicrographs of vitamin C or pinholes of pebbles. If
it's bigger than a breadbox, it's too big for this
category. Works will be adjudicated on composition,
effective use of lighting, emotional impact and general
photographic quality as determined by our judges.
Digitally Altered Photos - Go crazy with this one, or use
some subtle pixel filters. Either way, amaze us with your
light fantastic. Images will be adjudicated on their "wow"
factor by our judges. If appropriate, submit a copy of the
image before the digital touch-ups are made.
Humour - Humour says it all. Photos will be judged on their
ability to crack up the judges.

May 31st, 1994. Winning entries and honourable mentions
will be displayed in the July issue of International
Teletimes. Teletimes can be read at
in the /pub/Zines/Intl_Teletimes directory.

1st place contestants in each catagory are guaranteed a
fantastic colour Teletimes tee-shirt with their winning
photo printed on the front as well as US$20 cold hard cash!
More cash prizes will be awarded pending sufficient

Please write out a check or money order to "International
Teletimes" for $10 in US funds for every 3 photographs
entered. There is no limit (except your bank balance) to
the number of photos you can enter. Our mail addess
is given below, in the ENTRY METHODS section.

FTP - Scanned entries may be submitted to in
the /pub/photon_94 directory. Be sure to e-mail us with the
name of the files you have put on the FTP site. Acceptable
file formats are TIFF, GIF, PICT and JPEG.
E-mail - If you are concerned about leaving your entry in a
public directory, you may e-mail your entries to Files must be uuencoded. Acceptable
file formats are TIFF, GIF, PICT and JPEG.
Mail - If you do not have access to a scanner, you may send
prints to: Teletimes Photo Contest, 3938 W. 30th Ave.,
Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6S 1X3. If you enclose a return
mailer with appropriate Canadian postage affixed, we will
make every effort to get it back to you, but we can make no
GALLERY QUALITY PRINTS. Send "reproduction" quality RC
prints, or any prints that you won't go crazy over if they
are lost or destroyed. Hard copy images must measure
11"x14" or smaller, and have the entrant's name, address
and phone number affixed to the back of the image.

All works remain the property of the original artist. By
submitting work to Photon '94, you are agreeing to have it
published in International Teletimes and on the World Wide

This must be filled out and e-mailed (or mailed) to us in
order to participate in the contest.




Phone number:______________________________________________


Titles and file names (if applicable) of photos entered in

the PEOPLE category:_______________________________________


Titles and file names (if applicable) of photos entered in

the PLACES category:_______________________________________


Titles and file names (if applicable) of photos entered in

the SMALL WONDERS category:________________________________

Titles and file names (if applicable) of photos entered in

the HUMOUR category:________________________________________


Titles and file names (if applicable) of photos entered in

the DIGITALLY ALTERED category:____________________________


Method of submission (FTP, e-mail or mail):________________

Method of payment (check, money order, electronic


Amount due (US$10 per 3 entries):__________________________

Reader Response Card

If you enjoy reading Teletimes and would like to see us
continue bringing you great electronic literature, please
fill out as much of this card as you like, print it, and
mail it to:
Teletimes Response Card
3938 West 30th Ave.
Vancouver, BC, V6S 1X3
You may also e-mail it to: or post it
in the Onenet conference "International Teletimes."


Age:______ Sex:______

City and state/province of residence:_______________________



E-mail address:_____________________________________________

Computer type:______________________________________________


Hobbies, interests:_________________________________________


What other electronic publications have you read?___________



How many people do you know who have seen Teletimes?________

Where did you find Teletimes? (BBS, friend, etc.)___________






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