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Arts ntertainment Section Austin American-Statesman Friday, January 24, 1986 Sixth Street Beat, G2 Rock 'n' Roll, G6 Television, F8 Night life Review Portraits of modern men 7' "HP I Enigmatic novelist profiled By Patrick Taggart American-Statesman Staff The life story of Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima makes a compelling, if enigmatic, tale in the movie Mishima. Review Family issues make movie a bit special Night life is a guide to a variety of music available this weekend in Austin. Hot and heavy "Was it heavy? Did it achieve heavyosity?" asked Woody Allen of a girlfriend who had been to a rock concert (in Annie Hall). Good as the joke was, he may well have asked, "Was it hot? Did it remove wrinkles from your clothes?" for there is no higher accolade in the world of casual rock conversation than "hot." Among musicians, the word is often "tight," suggesting chord changes falling into place like perfectly timed pistons, but to the rock-happy layman or the smooth-talking promoter, there is only "hot." And in this heirarchy of heat, there are few things warmer than a "hot" guitar player. David Spann, a local guitarist whose 30th birthday is still on the distant horizon, is being touted as a fearsomely hot guitar player by followers of the hottest Austin guitar player of the 70s and early '80s, Eric Johnson (boy, was he a Spann's new group is called the Jags, and the name is an apt metaphor for his fast-boiling guitar style.
At 10:30 Friday night at Liberty Lunch. $4. Fair and frolicky Guitars in the service of friendlier music and felicitous melodies provide the bark and bite of Trees, a Dallas group with roots in the rocking pop romanticism of the Beatles and the Lovin' Spoonful, yet ever set to climb out on a sturdy country limb. With the True Believers (three hot guitars), now going on three years together and resembling a force of nature. At 10:45 Friday night at the Continental Club.
$4. Trans-Tex three "Texas what a state to be in," sang Roxy Music many years ago. And in this Sesquicentennial year, we can expect to be reminded of that often. Over and over again. (Texas admittedly has a pretty interesting history compared with some of the other states).
Trans Texas Night, a regular feature at Liberty Lunch during this year of celebration and commemoration, will unite rock 'n' roll groups from the corners of the known universe Dallas, Houston and Austin and encourage them to play like heck just as if it were an old Battle of the Bands night. This week: the Zealots from Houston, a band generating great word-of-mouth which features an especially hot guitar player; the aforementioned Trees from Dallas; and Austin's own Windows. At 10:30 Saturday night at Liberty Lunch. $4. Townes and tunes Townes Van Zandt, though not extremely hot as a guitarist, is a songwriter of remarkable depth and idiosyncrasy, and a decent singer as well.
An interesting Sesquicentennial project could result if someone hired him to write songs for a film version of The Dolph Briscoe story, though this idea probably hasn't occurred to anybody in high places. Anyway, the beautiful Pancho and Lefty is but a single facet of Van Zandt's sensibility: let it be your introduction. At 5:30 p.m. Saturday at South Bank. $3.
By Patrick Taggart American-Statesman Staff "1 Yukio Mishima, Japan's most celebrated novelist, was also one of the great enigmas of the modern world. Of the many ways one could view him and his work (the two are inseparable, as we shall see), the most obvious might be that he was a political nut, quixotically bent on restoring Japan to imperial greatness. Others might see him as an artist of limitless passion whose convictions finally drove him to commit ritual suicide in 1970. Paul Schrader, himself one of the iconoclasts of American film (he wrote Rolling Thunder, Taxi Driver and directed American Gigolo), has undertaken a most unusual film biography of Mishima (played by Ken Ogata) that doesn't really work, but which cannot fail to move the attentive viewer. Its narrative style is unlike any other you are likely to see in a Hollywood film.
One leaves the theater knowing a great deal more about the author and playwright, but in this case that's a little like comparing something with nothing. In order to secure the rights to his story, Schrader had to promise the family he would not stage Mishima's last act, the public suicide called seppuku, and that no clear references be made to the writer's homosexuality. Schrader structures the film in four clearly defined parts, the first three consisting of highly stylized short films based on Mishima works. Part one is a lushly photographed rendering of Temple of the Golden Pavilion; parts two and three are Kyoko's House and Runaway Horses. The final part depicts the author's 1970 siege of a Japanese military installation, the sight of his last speech and ritual death.
At first the technique may seem vaguely off-putting; the acting style of the films-within-the-film is stagey and is filmed in a series of awkward closeups. Once one gets past that, it is possible to see what Schrader was going for, which is that Mishima's obsession with the unity of art and action, the "harmony of the pen and the sword," as it is called in the concluding chapter, permeated his life. He was not the first or last artist to be consumed with the notion that one's art should directly affect society and not be appreciated in a vacuum. He was, however, one of the most passionately committed to the-idea. Schrader fills out his film with references to Mishima's kaleidoscopic sexuality, which apparently included everything from narcissism to sado-masochism.
These revealed secrets don't shed much light on anything, and if there is a central problem with Schrader's film, it is that so little of Mishima's motives can be explained. In any case, Schrader's film is challenging, daring and ultimately touching. Mishima, rated for nudity, at the Village. 4 Ellen Burstyn, left, and Ally Sheedy are mother and daughter in Twice in a Lifetime. Twice in a Lifetime is the title of television producer Bud Yorkin's new film about separation and divorce, and one could almost use the same words to count the times one is likely to see a Hollywood film taking the American family head-on.
Though this film isn't in the distinguished company of Ordinary People or Long Day's Journey Into Night, it belongs in their general category, and these days that makes it a little bit special right away. But special, worthwhile ideas don't always receive their proper treatment, and the relentless banalities encountered in Twice in a Lifetime may have you squirming even as you respect the film for its issues. The script is by Colin Welland, whose previous work for the screen includes Straw Dogs, Yanks and Chariots of Fire. Before the project reached Yorkin, the drama was set in the coal-mining community of Manchester, England. As filmed, the action takes place in Seattle and is filled with steel-mill types.
Perhaps it was the transoceanic trip that tripped Welland; in any case the language spoken in this film runs a gamut from that of light beer commercials to soap operas. It's not a fatal flaw, but one that gets your attention. A couple of examples: "Sometimes pain needs causing, to shake everybody up." Clunk. "If we're gonna make it, it's you and me; it's gotta be nothin' but you and me." Clang. But this is also the film that has Gene Hack-man, playing a 50-year-old steel worker and married man of 30 years, telling his new mistress that he feels excited for the first time in many years.
"It's been a long time since I didn't know what a day had in store for me," he says. That rather poetic sentiment is at the heart of Twice in a Lifetime, because the film, even though it blinks now and again, is an examination of the frustration built into the working-class lifestyle. It also is a study of what happens to people when they stop communicating. The picture opens on Harry's (Hackman) 50th birthday. He acknowledges his wife's gifts with distracted smiles and a peck on the cheek; even though he hasn't yet found his dream girl we know its only a matter of time.
As it turns out, the attractive bartender Audrey (Ann-Margret) innocently seduces him that very night. Yorkin, who produced and directed the film, likes to use broad brushstrokes on his cinematic canvas. The dinner table at Harry's house is set with what seem to be hundreds of bottles of A-l and Heinz steak sauce, ketchup and French dressing all the better to get the humdrum lifestyle across. He also makes Harry's case more sympathetic by making Kate (Ellen Burstyn), his wife, such a mindless frump. Once the affair is out in the open, the movie moves along familiar ground.
Daughters Sunny and Helen (Amy Madigan and Ally Sheedy) react very differently to their father's actions; Kate goes through despair and healing and before it's all over even learns to have a little fun. I especially liked that part of the film when she learns that she doesn't always have to think of other people first. The film's best recommendation is its ending, which refuses to provide the pat solution that one might have expected. Even if it doesn't sort out its issues very clearly, Twice in a Lifetime will send you out of the theater discussing the very issues it has been reticent about. These days, it's refreshing to find yourself talking about a movie an hour after it's over.
Twice in a Lifetime, rated for profanity, at the Arbor. Acclaimed pianist makes long-awaited visit Coming Saturday By Jerry Young Special to the American-Statesman Will Sexton is honing his musical style with a tough band called the Kill. 4' I.I I I I I 111,11. HI llll unuaJ AUiIimuiihmi He is one of the few pianists to record the complete sonatas and is working on his third set of the five concertos. The new recordings will be with Sir Colin Davis and the Dresden Staatska-pelle.
Arrau, who became a naturalized citizen in 1979, lives in New York with his wife Ruth and keeps a full schedule of recording and concert engagements. He recently cut his concert schedule from 100 to about 70 yearly concerts, leaving him more time to record and read. Beethoven's Emperor concerto, although from the middle of his career, is the last of his concerted works. In the work, Beethoven broke from the classical tradition of giving the soloist a chance to provide his own cadenzas and began the romantic tradition of composing them out in full. In the classical concerto the cadenza gave the soloist the opportunity to display virtuosity and inventiveness at improvisation, but left the performer free to depart from the spirit of the score in pursuit of his own fantasies.
This is the first Austin Symphony concert of 1986 and is an appendix of sorts to December's all-Beethoven program. The three orchestral excerpts from Wagner's operas on the program provide a clear example of Beethoven's influence on composers. Kwak also will lead the Austin Symphony in the overture to the early opera, Rienzi, and two of the most well known of Wagner's works, The Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walkuere and the Prelude and Love-Death from Tristan and Isolde. Pianist Claudio Arrau will perform with the Austin Symphony Orchestra at 8 tonight and Saturday night at 8 p.m. in the Concert Hall of the Performing Arts Center at the University of Texas.
Ney birthday The 153rd anniversary of Elizabet Ney's birth is being celebrated in style. Certainly one of the biggest musical disappointments of last year was the postponement, then cancellation of a solo recital by legendary pianist Claudio Arrau sponsored by the University of Texas' Cultural EntertainVnent Committee. The Austin Symphony will offer a chance to hear Arrau as soloist tonight and Saturday night in Beethoven's Emperor concerto. Maestro Sung Kwak also is delighted with the rescheduling of Arrau. "I'm quite honored to conduct this piece with Claudio Arrau, and to have him as a guest," Kwak said.
"He is in demand everywhere." Arrau, who will be 83 on Feb. 6, was born in Chile. Before age 7, he was giving recitals of music by three of the composers with whom he is still most closely associated Beethoven, Chopin and Schubert. Three years later, his prodigious gifts had prompted the Chilean government to sponsor European studies for the young Arrau. In Europe, Arrau attracted the attention of the great pianists of the era and won the Franz Liszt Prize and the Geneva Prize.
In the 1930s Arrau established a reputation for playing series of performances featuring complete works by the great composers of keyboard music. He presented the keyboard works of Bach in 12 concerts as well as the sonatas of Mozart and Schubert. While still a young pianist he established himself as one of the foremost interpreters of the music of Beethoven with his performances of all 32 sonatas and the five concertos. Arrau was chosen by Peters Edition to supervise the recent publication of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas, which Includes all of his fingering Killer's kiss What on earth happened to that Sexton boy? From rockabilly kid to Rolling Stone's cheekbones-of-the-month club, Charlie's Odyssey is the kind of thing that makes you want to scratch your head and say, "Huh?" His brother Will is another matter, however, sticking around town and honing his style with a tough band called the Kill. Hot guitars? Scalding! At 10:30 Friday night with the Paladins from Los Angeles at South Bank.
$4. Bums and brio The Dharma Bums is a band lacking a truly hot guitarist, though vocalist Steve Spinks is playing a bit wilder each time out. Significantly, he knows the difference between good songs and bad songs, so he doesn't play any of the bad ones, assuming he's written some recently, which I doubt. Saturday night at the Beach with One Second. and Pop Art from Los Angeles.
$3. Chrit Walters Time Out Also. KASE-FM rates at the top once again for listeners age 12 and older. THE WEEK is Austin's most comprehensive guide to entertainment. Time Out Claudio Arrau will appear as soloist with the Austin Symphony tonight and Saturday..
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