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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York • Page 13
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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York • Page 13

Rochester, New York
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tf CLASSIFIED I1B WHAT'S DOING I8B COMICS I9B SHOPPING MACHINE Erma Bombeck says something strange happens to her when she's in a Wal-Mart store. 9B TELEVISION 8B COLUMNISTS 98 BRIDGE 9B HOROSCOPES 8B Democrat antr (fljronicU MONDAY, MAY 18, 1992 ROCHESTER, N.Y. 'Daughters of the Dust' not too clear Styron, Fuentes will lecture here William Styron and Carlos Fuentes head the list of six authors who will speak in the next Rochester Arts Lectures series. Lorene Cary, Tobias Wolff, Richard Restak and Susan Faludi round out the list of speakers scheduled for the series that will begin September this year and run through May of next year. Styron, who will speak next May, is a Pulitzer Prize winner for his 1967 book b' "'J i Sv- The Confessions of Nat Turner, a book that attempts to fuse the points of view of the master and the slave in 19th century America.

His book Sophie's Choice won the 1980 National Book Award and was made into a film W.lliam Styron Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. Styron has won numerous international awards and in 1988 was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Fuentes, a one-time ambassador to France from Mexico, has earned international recognition as an essayist, critic, Li a-- portrayed the legendary desperadoes in Library Democrat and Crtronicte Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. me firr in Bolivia may be the outlaws' By Jack Garner Democrat and Chronicle tilm critic Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust offers so much to admire, it's too bad its occasional lack of clarity and meandering style weaken its impact. An impressionistic independent feature, Daughters of the Dust focuses on the relationships and attitudes among members of an African -American family in 1902.

They're members of the distinctive Gul-lah tribe from an island off South Carolina, an insular society that preserved many of the customs and spiritual beliefs of the African homeland. The film looks in on the Peazant family during an extended beach picnic-reunion, occurring at a pivotal moment in its history. Several of the Peazants are about to move to the mainland and head north. Much debate occurs between those who want to hold fast to the old ways and beliefs, and those who think it's a bunch of "hoodoo mess," and are anxious to embrace modern American ways. Defending the old ways is Nana Peazant, the 88-year-old matriarch, an indomitable believer in ancient tribal customs.

Two different camps of opposition are represented by Viola Peazant, a fervent Baptist who has turned from tribal spirituality to Christ, and by Haagar Peazant, who married into the family and is anxious to abandon African ways and to assimilate into American middle-class life. Adding fuel to the fire is the presence of Yellow Mary, a woman who had already abandoned family ways for life off-island, and who has returned for the gathering. She is apparently the family pariah, shunned by the other women for being a prostitute. That last point, I should say, was gleaned from a press release, and not from what I could understand from the film. Daughters of the Dust is difficult to follow, both because of the thick patois of the Gullah island people and director Dash's impressionistic approach.

The Gullahs speak a language that is 90 percent English but with rhythms and accents more African in origin. The result is a dialect not unlike some of the Caribbean tongues (such as Jamaican). At a few points, Dash employs subtitles for clarity. But, quite frankly, I needed more subtitles than she provides. For style, Dash opts for a gentle, restrained approach.

Though important issues are explored and debated, it's not with the high-volume immediacy of modern life. Though challenging to follow, Dash's style admirably attempts to recreate the methods and manners of tribal griots, the storytellers and oral historians who kept customs and traditions alive. Daughters of the Dust employs voice overs from several characters and not necessarily the one currently on screen and also stops occasionally to simply admire a lovely view of coastal island life, or a diorama of everyday life on the island. Daringly, Dash's moviemaking embraces the rhythms and textures of another culture and age. Rut she isn't always successful in making it clear or accessible for modern viewers.

Layered within Daughters of the Dust is a fascinating look at a beautiful culture, and a strong argument for honoring and preserving the good in our respective pasts. I only wish it all had been more clearly articulated. riOVIE REVIEW y2 DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST Directed by: Julie Dash. At: The Little Theatre. Rated: Not rated.

Running time: 113 mins. Excellent Good Fair Poor quite a show Entertainer Hammer 4''- i "'Vfc' 1 Robert Redford, left, and Paul Newman Bones found By Douglas Farah The Washington Post AN VICENTE, Bolivia In a barren cemetery at 15,000 feet in the Andes mountains, Froilan Risso, sitting beside a battered concrete marker, is telling the story that was entrusted to him by his father, of how two famous gringo bandits sought refuge in this desolate town decades ago, died in a blazing gun battle and were buried here in this very spot. "The army had them surrounded in a house and the whole village was watching," Risso said, as gusts of wind whipped dust off the naked brown hills, cutting through the graveyard like a machete. "The shooting lasted several hours, and the bandoleros were badly wounded in their arms, and they knew they were going to die. So they faced each other and killed each other.

Like suicide." He is talking, it seems, about Butch and Sundance. He is supplying, it seems, the answer to one of the great enduring mysteries of the Wild West. How and where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, whose real names were Robert Leroy Parker and Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, met their deaths has been the subject of speculation in books and in film ever since the two desperadoes fled to South America at the turn of the century, and disappeared. At 54, Risso is one of the oldest villagers in this impossibly remote mining rs rpDUADOR BRAZIL JJ BOLIVIA rgentinJ gave him the story, to be passed on for eternity. "My father said that someday someone would come and ask about these people," Risso said, as he chewed on a wad of coca leaves.

"He said, 'Tomorrow or the day after, we don't know when, someone will want to know what happened to these gringos, and this is what you are to tell them, and this is where you are to say they were When Risso is asked why he had not told the story to anyone until two historians recently found him, his weather-beaten face breaks into a nearly toothless grin. "No one ever asked me," he said. "Why did you take so long to get here?" The final chapter of the American Wild West was written here, in the hills of South America. This is the place to which many of the most notorious desperadoes fled after the advent of the telegraph and telephone made tracking them too easy in the United States. There is no doubt that Butch and Sundance came here to rob banks and mining company payrolls, and to and generally kick back and raise hell.

What there has been great doubt about is whether they met a death anywhere near as dramatic as the one portrayed in the final seconds of the 1969 movie that first paired Redford and Newman and that made the Butch-Sundance saga an American legend. The legend appears to be true, or TURN TO PAGE 9B but gives them playwright, scholar and author of 22 novels. His novel The Old Gringo was the first by a Mexican author to become a best seller in the United States. He is the recipient of many international literary awards, including the Cervantes Prize (Spain) Carlos Fuentes and the Gallego Prize (Venezuela). He will speak in Rochester in October.

Tickets for the lectures will go on sale as a series in August. Current and past subscribers will receive series brochures, which will also be distributed through the Rochester Public Library System and area book stores. For more information, or to be put on the mailing list, write Rochester Arts Lectures at: 2604 Elmwood Avenue, Suite 205, Rochester, NY 14618; or call 244-3284. 'Northern Exposure' star hanging out with Stallone Janine Turner is getting exposure far more northern than she ever dreamed of. She's shooting Cliffhanger, with Sylvester Stallone, high in the chilly Italian Alps, hanging off mountains clad only in tights, wondering if a helicopter blade might clip her a new hairdo.

Turner, pilot Maggie in the CBS series Northern Exposure, is a tough mountain ranger in her first major feature-film role (she was in Steel Magnolias). "But my character has an emotional side, and love scenes with Sylves Janine Turner ter. It was freezing, but we did kiss on the side of a cliff, 12,000 feet up. His kiss made me dizzy!" In tonight's season finale of Northern Exposure (at 10 p.m. on WROC-TV, Channel 8), Maggie plays a missionary in a flashback to the founding of Cicely in 1909.

'Designing' man keeps cool behind the scenes of sitcom According to Designing Women co-star Alice Ghostley, Meshach Taylor, who plays ex-con turned law student Anthony Bouvier, was known on the set as the "Rock of Gibraltar" during the show behind-the-scenes problems with Delta Burke and now her replacement, Julia Duffy. Adds Dixie Carter, who plays Julia Su-garbaker on the show: "It's so nice to have a man around the set. Especially a good man who is confident and strong. He's abso- Meshach Taylor lutely grounded. Next season, if fire- works erupt, Taylor, 45, promises to re main unfazed.

Ironically, the name Meshach is taken from an Old Testament character who entered a fiery furnace and emerged unscathed. Taylor tells People: "All I want to say about my name is that I like the metaphor." Dan Aykroyd planning 'Blues' club in New Orleans Dan Aykroyd plans to open a New Orleans club to be named for his Blues Brothers act with the late John shi. Among the investors: Belushi's widow, Judy, brother Jim Belushi, actors John Candy and River Phoenix, and Isaac Tigrett, co-founder of the Hard Rock Cafe chain. "We hope to do for blues what Preservation Hall has done for jazz internationally," Tigrett said. "New Orleans' gift to the world is its music and a group of blues lovers have joined together to create a venue for live local and national talent" Compiled from reports by The Associated Press, Gannett News Service and Democrat and Chronicle.

1 )ixmAi. bswp i Hammer keeps kids up late Miles 500 Democrat and Chrontde town, reachable from the Bolivian capital of La Paz only by a 14-hour train ride and three more hours by jeep over treacherous terrain. Risso is the designated keeper of the story of the shoot- out, an oral historian in this Quechua-speaking region where few people can read or write and no one lives to old age. Risso says his father, who as a young man witnessed the gun-fight and oversaw the burial, solemnly MUSIC REVIEW muda shorts, double-breasted blazers and Perry Como shoes, looked like four gents heading for a cricket match. And, for mature listeners, there were echoes of the Temptations and Four Tops albeit with a doo-wop twist highlighting with the truly fine a cappella It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday.

Fans patiently wiled away the 40 minutes it took for Hammer's crew to set the stage for his performance. But, once in gear, it wasn't hard to see why it took so long. As for allegations that the man is a "has-been rapper," this show begged to differ. The 40 or so dancers, musicians and singers he had in tow created a three-ring circus of talent to showcase ring-master Hammer. It's hard to argue with the intensity of the audience experience as Hammer is one thoroughly-talented dancer.

By Deborah Fineblum Raub Democrat and Chronicle The heads are drooping again on the school desks this morning, just like the last time Hammer spun through town a year-and-a-half ago. Because a good chunk of the just under 6,000 fans who showed up at the Rochester War Memorial last night were kids who socked away babysitting and lawn-mowing profits to come up with the 20-something dollars for a ticket. However, despite some technical flaws, the show was worth staying up late for. Yes, Mom, even on a school night. This time, instead of the insipid Vanilla Ice opening, Hammer had a formidable line-up to follow, rap doo-woppers Jodeci, and those ultra-hot crossover preppies, Boyz II Men.

Sadly, Jodeci's lyrics and rap-and-soul harmonies were overwhelmed by the skeleton-jolting bass. Their half-hour set peaked with the gospel-tinged Stay but their hit, Forever My Lady, lost some of its loveliness in the muddy sound mix. In contrast, Boyz II Men, in their Ber- Although he does not sing, he makes sure plenty of other people do and do it well. In addition, he changed his clothing more often than Diana Ross, first a purple brocade suit, then a satin one, then a hooded space costume (emblazoned with the Hammer insignia), finally winding up in a teal and gold brocade jacket. Hammer and company performed all the favorites his fans came to hear: an exuberant rendition of Pray, as well as an equally spirited Turn This Mutha Out and the enormously successful Can't Touch This, all off 1990's Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'em, the more recent Too Legit To Quit and a jazzed-up dance version of the gospel Do Not Pass Me By.

Still melody is not Hammer's strong suit; a marriage of movement and wildly infectious rhythm is. Hammer demonstrated all over again last night that, although pop music pundits can speculate on the staying power of his music, they can't say the man can't put on one hell of a show. And that's just what he did..

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