The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 05, 1990, Page 9, Image 9

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    Arts & Entertainment
f Companion’ tells compassionate AIDS story
By Julie Naughton
Senior Reporter
Few filmmakers have chosen to
tackle the still-controversial subject
of AIDS and its effect on homosexual
men. The one filmmaker who has
chosen to take on the subject has
Inoyjp ,
handled the subject with grace and
humor, and with no apologies.
That filmmaker is screenwriter and
playwright Craig Lucas, and his film
is “LongtimeCompanion,” the Shel
don Film Theater’s latest offering.
The film’s title comes from the eu
phemistic term used by most newspa
pers to describe the lovers of de
. ceased gay men and women.
“Longtime Companion’ ’ tells the
story of a small circle of friends and
the changes that occur in their lives as
a result of a July 3,1981, article in the
New York Times.
That article noted the outbreak of
Kaposi’s sarcoma, a rare cancer, in
the gay community. Starting from
July 3,1981, the film shows how this
cancer and AIDS affect these men
and their friends.
“Longtime Companion” opens on
Fire Island, New York. Willy
(Campbell Scott), a health club worker,
and his best friend John (Dermot
Mulroney) are visiting their friends,
David (Bruce Davison), an investor,
and Sean (Mark Lamos), a TV soap
writer. Willy meets Fuzzy (Stephen
Caffrey), a lawyer, and begins a rela
tionship with him.
In New York City, the audience is
introduced to Howard (Patrick Cas
sidy), a young actor for Sean’s soap,
and his lover Paul (John Dossctt)
They live next door to Fuzzy’s best
friend, Lisa (Mary-Louise Parker),
who works in an antique shop.
As the story passes from year to
year — from July 3, 1981, to July 19,
1989 - each of the characters is pro
foundly affected by the disease, ei
ther by his own illness and death or
because of the illnesses and deaths of
See LONG on 11
I. Courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Company
Sean (Mark Lamos), left, and David (Bruce Davison) enjoy a weekend at the beach with their friends
in “Longtime Companion,” an American Playhouse Production.
Other than one little slip,
rock climbing great adventure
I looked up and could not even see
the two ropes above me in the glare of
the sun. I looked down at the person
holding my ropes, a small dot about
500 feel below.
I was stuck. It was like someone
had polished the side of the cliff smooch.
My hands were bloody and my left
shoe had fallen off several minutes
earlier, narrowly missing the person
There were no handholds. My feel
were just dangling in the cold air. The
ropes were slippery with my blood. I
yelled at my partner below, but she
could not hear me in the fierce wind.
She was my bclaycr, responsible
for keeping my ropes taut so that if 1
fell, 1 would not really fall, just bounce
forward into the face of the mountain.
I thought back over the malicious
names I had recently called her like
“poophead” and “boob” and hoped
her anger might have subsided on the
drive to Souiii Dakota.
I sat there a few more moments,
unable to do anything but spin in the
wind. I thought about the book of
rock climbing accidents I had read on
the drive to our site:4 4 Inexperienced
22-year-old male, climbing over dif
ficulty level, lost grip and careened to
the ground, killing two observers on
The thought galvanized me and I
decided to keep going. It was only
about 500 yards to the top, straight up
the side of a cl i ff with less concern for
me than Mueller Tower.
Using the suction created by blood
on my hands, I plastered mysel I against
the cliff and began inching upward,
staring into the cold, sheer wall and
banging my exposed knees with each
upward puli.
Slowly, inch by inch ...
No, it was not like that at all. My
Campus Rcc/Outdoor Adventure Basic
See ROCKS on 10 .
Indescribable ‘Blue Leaves’
kicks off UNL theater season
By Jim Hanna
Staff Reporter
When the University of Ne
braska-Lincoln theater season kicks
off tonight with a production of
John Guare’s * ‘The House of Blue
Leaves,” it may be difficult to get
a grasp on just what kind of play is
taking place.
‘‘It’s very, very hard to de
scribe,” said Director Paul Stegar.
‘‘It’s not a realistic play and it’s
not representational. It’s a very
strange tragic comedy mix.”
It’s hard to blame Stegar, a vis
iting professor in acting and stage
movement, if he has trouble de
scribing ‘‘The House of Blue
Leaves. ” It’s not your typical night
at the theater.
“It’s something they (the audi
ence) won't get a chance to see
very often, because of the stylistic
differences,” Stegar said.
The play revolves around the
character of Artie Shaugnessy, a
zookeeper and frustrated hack writer
of show tunes. Artie is convinced
his songs will bring him fame if
only he can get to Hollywood.
Artie’s stymied career is exae
til vii^y |—
erbated by a variety of odd charac
ters including his pathetic, demented
wife Bananas, his mistress Bunny,
his AWOL son Ronnie (who in
tends to blow up the Pope so he can
get on the cover of Time maga
zine) and three corruptible nuns.
The play’s unusual title isdrawn
from an experience Artie had out
side of his wife’s mental hospital.
As he approached the hospital, Artie
saw what appeared to be a tree with
blue leaves. As he drew nearer, the
leaves flew away and Artie real
ized that they were merely blue
birds perched in a leafless tree.
This bleak revelation is indica
tive of much of the play’s overall
tone. While much of the play is
humorous, darkness lies behind the
humor, Stegar said.
“There arc so many things
beneath the play. It is very funny at
times and yet the same things that
arc funny, are the saddest,’’ he
This contrast is one aspect of
the play that drew Stegar to it in the
first place.
“I really like things to have that
kind of edge. We catch ourselves
laughing and then going, ‘God I
really shouldn’t be laughing at that.’
The play is really kind of relentless
in that way,” Stegar said.
Stegar said that the inability to
describe the play is part of what
See BLUE on 10
Screaming ‘Gums’ radiates anti-pop plot
By Jeffrey Frey
Staff Reporter
Bad Taste Ltd.
Bless is a band full of energy --
disturbed energy. Even so, as unbal
anced and altogether strange as this
trio from Iceland is, their debut re
lease, “Gums,” has appeal.
Iceland is most famous for their
babes of pop-music, the Sugarcubes.
Bless sounds a great deal like the
Sugarcubes without being polished
or without having learned how to play
their instruments prior to recording
this album.
The most noted similarity between
the two bands is on the tracks, “Worlds
Collapse,” and “Yonder.” Sug
arcube’s lead vocalist, Bjork
Guomundsdottir, is featured on these
tracks and sings with a typical Sug
arcubes style -- using her well-fash
ioned voice as a backdrop to mix with
the more obnoxious and less lyrical
voice of the lead singer. In this case,
■i s Bless lead man Gunm Hjalmarsson.
These two songs also have a dis
tinctive produced sound, unlike most
of the album.
Bless relies on basic, gritty guitars
and wandering bass lines while the
drums pound erratically -- a discon
nected sound is the result
“Gums” is a compilation of songs
which are often funny as well as
obnoxiously self-pitying. Much of the
time the music is sloppy and neurotic
~ bordering on confusion with the
instruments playing against one an
other. And yet, “Gums” is an album
which deserves to be listened to -- at
least once -- perhaps over the drone of
your vacuum as you clean house. Bless
makes music slightly less soothing
than the noise from your typical house
hold appliance, but docs so with ear
There arc no happy love songs on
“Gums.” Vocalist Hjalmarsson cre
ates bitter stories of violence and
betrayal on songs like, “The Shovel
Of My Love,” and, “Night Of
Cheese.” His lyrics often detail mis
guided lovers who turn on each other,
left to do strange things like cut off an
arm in “Darling Dangling” to get rid
of the tattoo of a girl’s name.
“ I have a tattoo/actual I y her name/
across my left arm/now I guess the
arm has to go.”
‘‘You Are My Radiator” is less
violent, comparing a lover to a radia
tor which, if nothing else, is a warm
companion for the cold.
Much of the time, the loosely struc
tured music sounds like improvisa
tion; the instruments are played furi
ously and at random. “Wontbother”
borders on thrash with its pounding,
erratic drums and bass. “Blanket” is
more subdued, with Hjalmarsson’s
screaming vocals telling a story of:
‘‘Boy meets girl/thcy have nothing to
talk about/girl loves countrysidc/boy
gets sick-sick-sick seeing cows.”
Formed in 1988, Bless features
Hjalmarsson and Birgir Baldursson
(formerly of S.H. Draumur) on vocals
and drums respectively, and Ultimate
Ari (formerly of Sogblcttir) on bass.
Many of the songs on “Gums”
sound basically the same, with only
slight variations. However, Bless is a
band that seems to be having fun
without taking themselves too seri
ously, and without trying to create
pop-songs which arc catchy and
completely likeable.
i__a 1
Courtesy of Bad Taste Ltd.