Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida on July 24, 1987 · 57
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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida · 57

St. Petersburg, Florida
Issue Date:
Friday, July 24, 1987
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ST. PETERSBURG TIMFS FRIDAY, JUL Y 24, 1 987 3D 'La Bamba' can't By HAL UPPER Timet FHm Critic Rock 'n' roller Ritchie Valens 1 had a promising career that was cut short at eight months by a tragic plane crash. La Bamba lov-; ingly retraces that career, in what ' feels like a minute-by-minute ac-' count. Writer-director Luis Valdez's movie is an example of just how tedious a bio-pic can be. Of the three rock stars who died in the February 1959 crash near Clear Lake, Iowa Buddy Holly, "Big Bopper" J. P. Richardson and Valens singer-songwriter Valens was the youngest, blandest and least established. He lacked the showmanship of the Big Bopper, whose "Chantilly Lace" was the third most-played ;single of 1958. Valens' popular ballad "Donna" and rock version of I the Mexican folk song "La Bamba" ; didn't have the innovative sound ; that Buddy Holly had created in his dozens of songs recorded between : mid-'57 and early '59. '. But Valens was a legend in his own right, partially because his ;overnight success was so unexpected. Born Richard Valenzuela, he was a California fruit picker of ' Mexican-American heritage. Va- ; lens launched his career in a dance hall rented by his mother. His ethnic background and meager beginnings, no doubt, were deemed marketable elements by Columbia Pictures, the studio that made a bundle when Gary Busey practically reincar- Billy Joel in the USSR: 'This is something else' By JANIS D. FROELICH Timet Ttlevltion Crrttc LOS ANGELES Billy Joel, wearing USA blue jeans and sitting at a piano, was being interviewed live from the Soviet Union. Asked the reason he was invited to tour there, he said: "I'm far from heavy metal, but I'm not a wimp, either." That was typical of Joel's long-distance humor and openness during the interview, presented via satellite hook-up by cable's HBO at a Television Critics Association meeting this week in Los Angeles. Joel will hold six concerts in the Soviet Union, three in Moscow and three in Leningrad. This winds up his almost year-long tour that also has included stops in England, Australia and Japan. HBO plans to broadcast portions of Joel's concerts in the Soviet Union some Christo's new project: umbrellas in Japan, California By SUSAN CHIRA (D New Vol Timet TOKYO Christo, the artist who wrapped Paris's Pont Neuf in golden cloth and Miami's Biscayne Bay islands in pink, now plans to dot Japan with blue umbrellas. At the same time that he hopes to place more than 1,000 huge umbrellas in farmland 70 miles north of Tokyo, Christo wants to scatter yellow umbrellas near the San Joaquin Valley in California. The ambitious project is to cost at least $8-million and should be completed by October 1990, Christo said. He said he would pay for it through sales of his plans and OVEI 50 SINGLES I'm interested in: Dance Parties Dance Classes Supper Club Weekend Trips (Personal Interviews Required) Singles Club 12350 So. Belcher Rd. 9 largo, FL 34643 536-4499 Address . City Phone Custom-Made DRAPERIES "Cheaper than ready-made Drapes" 100,000 yd INVENTORY CLOSE-OUT All Drapes Pinned, Pressed, Weighted, Ready to Hang W itWs 3S SMIS SI ! LENGTH fltSO 75 tlU t J(l175 ntX M 25 '38 5j H4 77 104 W 35 54 72 90 108I27 "145 1900 82nd Ave N. St. Pete M-f 9-5 Sat 9-1 S Eves by Appt Goby's DRAPES ft SHADES r i Lou Diamond Phillips portrays rock earnest but staid fashion. nated Holly with his electrifying performance in The Buddy Holly Story (1978). Valdez apparently thought so, as well, because the parallels between La Bamba and The Buddy Holly Story are unmistakable. There are the factual similari time in October. For the satellite interview, Joel was in Tblisi in the state of Georgia about 1,400 miles from Moscow. He says he and his staff went to Georgia first before going on to Moscow so he could "ease in." Thus far, he says that he has been recognized, "but then I've been with Christie and they notice her." Goel is married to model Christie Brinkley.) He added that one man kept following him down the street saying the name of one of his songs only it came out "Krepsure" instead of "Pressure." Joel says he "never got the feeling I'd be censored at all" and the only changes he plans for his concert in the Soviet Union is to add a few songs, including "Honesty" and "Ballad of Billy the Kid." Joel also plans to include his drawings. The artist, who is in Japan to announce the project and to negotiate for permission to carry it out, said he had long hoped to work in Japan and had always planned to pair a project here with one in the West. "I will never understand Japan that's impossible in my lifetime," he said. "But when I create a work of comparison with something familiar to me, that can invigorate the project." The artist, who said the essential part of his work was "an irrational, irresponsible gesture that nobody needs," will be bringing this sensibility to a country better - i -if . , SmdAtThe BelleviewBiltmore Brunch. $15,95, And It Includes On Our Menu. TJ-hc vnrtav OnK; Buy One Ticket Hall The spectacular Summer At The Biltmore Brunch. It's another way we're celebrating summertime. Plan on it! Join us every summer Sunday. Feast your eyes on all the delectables from Eggs Benedict to seafood au gratin to rare roast beef. It's all you could ask for. And far more than you could ever eat. All served with the elegance of the Belleview Biltmore. Could there be a more beautiful way to start a summer Sunday? Time: 11.00 AM-2:00 PM. RESORT AND SPA Please call for reservations 442-6171 25 Belleview Blvd., Clearwater. Florida 34616 On the Bay, One Half Mile South of Morton Plant Hospital. seem to Columbia Picture 'n' roller Ritchie Valens in an ties. Holly's wife was Hispanic; Valens' high school sweetheart was Anglo. But Valdez goes as far as to reprise some of the scenes that give The Buddy Holly Story its dynamism. Instead of Holly making his debut at Harlem's Apollo, Valdez films Valens crossing ethnic BILLY JOEL , on year-long tour. customary chit-chat between songs, although he'll use an interpreter. "But basically I'm hoping that my music will hold up." And on a serious note, Joel concluded by saying, "This isn't just being a pop star anymore. This is something else." known for its pragmatism and the subordination of individual gestures to group goals. In that sense, Christo said, his work may jolt people in Japan as it has people in other countries. "I will never try to do a project to fit the Japanese sense of art or culture," he said. "I'm trying to keep the project free of cliches of what we Westerners think of Japan. My art always has a strong displaced dimension. I am a displaced person perhaps that's the most typical characteristic of 20th-century culture." Christo, who is 52 years old, was born in Bulgaria and has lived in New York City since 1964. W cV Anything And Everything Summer Opening Special: Bring A Guest For race. pick up REVIEW mcui2 La Bamba Cast Esai Morales, Rosana De Soto, Elizabeth Pena, Joe Pantoliano, Lou Diamond Phillips Director Luis Valdez Screenplay: Luis Valdez Rating: PG-13; violence, profanity Running Time: 1 1 1 minutes Theaters: Hillsborough: ; Britton, Main Street 6, University Collection 6; Pinellas: Clearwater 5, Movies at Clearwater, Movies at Largo, Pinellas 6, Tyrone Square 6 ' Exceflent Very good Good Mediocre it Poor lines and playing for cowpokes in small-town California. Regrettably, there's none of the tension, none of the fish-out-of-water feeling that makes The Buddy Holly Story so exhilarating. (Busey makes the audience feel as if it's standing alongside him every time he climbs on stage.) Then there's the matter of longevity. Holly had been kicking around since 1956 and had a string of hits, including "That'll Be The Day," "Peggy Sue," "Early In The Morning" and "Oh Boy." Valens Warm 'business' Dear Ann: My lady friend is in her mid-30's, happily married for the second time. I am almost old enough to be her father, also happily married with a grown child. We are both attractive, outgoing executives in the same industry. "Ella" and I talk to each other daily and see one another twice monthly, once for dinner and once for breakfast. We laugh a lot and chatter like teen-agers. Our too few hours together are cherished. From the beginning, the ground rules have been no sex and no interfering with each other's business or social life. Intimacy has been limited to hand holding, a hug and a warm goodnight kiss. The happiest moments of my recent life have been with this woman. The knowledge of her affection has been a great boost to my self-esteem. Also, I have benefited economically from our business association. I hope we can go on like this All New 2 watch it beina made. v. 4. No charge to com in and browsel v 2 1 119 1.4th Street N. 896-3186 . LIMITED TIME 10 for Only I V LEARN THE DANCES OF YOUR CHOICE World of Dance 1 2350 So. Belcher Rd. 9 Largo, FL 535-0444 2 r I ci 0 FREE samples of deliciout V homemade fudge while you 4 Quality Rattan for Less Contemporary Traditions Rugged! This love seat & armchair are exceptional in every respect. Deep seats, thick quality cushions and superb construction ensure years of comfort. Love Seat 575 Side Chair $275 Reg. $850 Rfl 50 O Rattan Crafters sT 10 , tun I t Vsx M 1124 Cantrel Ave).. St. Petersburg 822-4800 the beat had just three, "Comes On Let's Go," "Donna" and "La Bamba." which hardly constitute a movie soundtrack despite superb renditions by Los Lobos. La Bamba is a family drama rather than a rock chronicle. It focuses on Valens' personal life instead of the creative process that gave birth to his music, detailing his infatuation with a blonde-haired classmate and his love for his mother and his alcoholic half-brother. His music and career evolve through his relationships. Precious little in Valdez's screenplay connects actor Lou Diamond Phillips to Valens' music, except the guitar he lugs around and the charm he exudes as an awkward teen who transforms into e powerhouse performer every tine he plugs in his amp. There's earnestness and sincerity to Phillips' performance. A little bit goes a long way, and he's careful not to overdo it. Phillips has enough of a presence to keep La Bamba moving. But he's so polite, it's impossible not to wish he'd slug his girlfriend's racist father, or lose his virginity, or demand jelly beans (the black ones removed) for his dressing room. That might not make La Bamba factual (Valdez is striving for historical accuracy), but it would give the picture dramatic meat. Instead we watch conscientious Ritchie Valens attempt to dry out his half-brother Bob Morales, buy his widowed mom a nice home in the suburbs and win the trust of his friendship heading for trouble nnn L(inDER5 WX, forever. What are the chances? The Odd Couple Dear O.C.: About the same as a snowball in Texas. It's only a matter of time before your libido leaps into hormonal overdrive, the defense system collapses and it's Saturday night in Sioux City. My advice is simply this: If you don't want to burn down the barn, put away the matches. Panic attacks Dear Ann: When I was 20, I experienced my first panic attack. Not knowing what it was, I went to several doctors. a I CHRISTMAS TREES Providing quality trees at lower prices to Florida retailers for 20 years. Guaranteed profit program for clubs, churches and organizations. Ask for our retailers quidelin es. Call Bob Poulin J Michigan Tree Company 825-2653 f 1 Patch j FLORIDA'S FASHION M ANUFAC I'UK KR TOMORROW! THE (almost) PERFECT SALE 60 to 75 OFF! Very Slight Irregulars In Our Fabulous 'Fashions Including All Current Collections Monday Saturday 10 Co Downtown C'trarwatrr Drew at Garden 44I - Braided Rattan Dining Room Set Comfort and style best describe th 5-piece rattan-reed set. Choice upholstering 48" glass top (Vi" thick). 42" and 54" available. high school sweetheart's parents. The screenplay is a major problem. Valdez, a theatrical director who expanded into cinema (Zoot Suif), often relies on dramatic devices that are better suited for stage. His picture opens with a plane crash and closes with a plane crash. There are plane crash fantasies en route to its resolution. Everything is circular. Neat. Too neat for the movie's own good. La Bamba' 's predictable nature hardly affords its cast much opportunity to act beyond stock responses. The talents of Elizabeth Pena (Crossover Dreams, Down and Out in Beverly Hills), as Bob's common-law wife, and Rosana De Soto, as Ritchie's and Bob's mother, are largely squandered. Actor Esai Morales, as Bob, makes the pre-Compromising Positions Raul Julia seem reserved. Subtlety is not in his repertoire. And since much of the movie rests on his character's relationship with Ritchie, this is a serious shortcoming. La Bamba like Ragtime, The Color Purple and A Soldier's Story is a welcomed attempt by Hollywood to project minorities beyond stereotypes. Its characters have dimension. They exhibit personality traits, have complex problems and dreams that almost always are ignored by mainstream filmmakers. Valdez seems to have recognized the potential importance of his picture and the possibility for a breakthrough for Latin artists, and apparently was stifled by the responsibility. This is too staid, too sluggish an effort. It is too reverent. La Bamba, quite simply, is la bomba. After more attacks, I developed agoraphobia (fear of leaving the house). I happened to see a talk show and was convinced that I had a disease called panic disorder. It's a disgrace that so many doctors don't know anything about this problem. Thank God I ran into a neurologist who did. I am now being treated with an anti-panic medicine and I feel terrific. ! There are many books in the library on this subject. One that was extremely helpful was Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes, published by Bantam Books Press. Please tell people. Grateful in Minn. Dear G.: I have mentioned Dr, Weekes' book many times; also her Peace from Nervous Suffering. She was the first to write intelligently about agoraphobia. Dr. Weekes has an excellent new book, More Help for Your Nerves (Bantam). It is, I believe, her best. 1987, Lot Angeie Timet Syndicate ngton Dresses 6k Separates Sizes 2-18 I I 2 Kf tail Shop l(vd 2M20 ( ome to Bat k Door Ask About Our Unique 5-Year Warranty am, ' ': 685 Now Rag. $1,050 'ritM Oood ftw y WZW.J -i rT 17 18 -..'. , v 7 i . s

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