The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, January 29, 1992, Page 9, Image 9

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    Arts & Entertainment
Sea journey renews professor’s wonder
UNL biologist’s
books teaching
practical science
By Mark Baldridge
Staff Reporter
John Janovy is a man with a pas
sion for life. In fact, he’s made life his
life’s study.
A professor of biology at the Uni
versity of Nebraska-Lincoln, Janovy
is the author of several popular books,
notably “On Becoming a Biologist”
and “Keith County Journal.”
His most recent book “Vermilion
Sea: A Naturalist’s Journey in Baja
California” came out last week from
Houghton Mifflin.
In it, Janovy recounts his experi
ences and meditations resulting from
two separate summer trips to South
ern California. He went on a quest to
satisfy his curiosity about marine
creatures and renew his sense of
wonder, he said. He went, he said, for
the pleasure of discovery.
And he traveled with one other
purpose, he writes in his new book —
to see a living whale in the sea.
In his book he writes, “We all sit in
silence and listen. The morning is
dead and calm. From across the glassy
surface comes a sound, a deep and
mighty sigh — the sound of a gray
whale breathing, a sound of great
exhalation that is thirty million years
old. How far the earth has come, 1
think, from the Cambrian seas, how
much has changed, how many forms
have lived for millions of years, then
disappeared forever.”
Janovy said he found his Baja
experiences rewarding.
“Any time you get to take off for a
month and study the things that inter
est you the most, it’s always renew
ing,” he said.
In his writing, Janovy ponders
questions raised by human interven
tion in the environment.
He describes human activities,
social and political, in biological terms.
They are the result of survival mecha
nisms sometimes gone awry, he said.
Though he secs humans as “truly
magnificent animals,” he said he
worries about their ability to cooper
ate for a common good.
“At least at the individual level we
have this rational capacity. We have
the ability to solve our problems,” he
said. “What stresses me is that we
don’t seem to be able to do that at the
population level. We don’t even seem
to be able to do it in a community of
more than five or six people.”
“You begin to wonder if human
groups larger than a basketball team
are really able to function very well,”
he said.
Though his latest book is enter
taining, it also serves a deeper pur
pose. Janovy said he believed science
See JANOVY on 10
^—* WJM
Jef* Haller/ON
John Janovy, a professor of biological sciences, often writes in the Nebraska Union to get
away from the distractions in his office.
Keed races
fears, death
in uplifting,
cool release
“Magic and Loss”
Lou Reed
Warner Bros.
After listening to Lou Reed’s lat
est, “Magic and Loss,” “Dirty Boule
vard” suddenly seems like a nice place
to be.
Written for two friends who died
of cancer last year (one of whom was
R&B songwriter Doc Pom us), “Magic"
is a firsthand account of the painful
healing process that follows loss. In
spile of the somber subject matter,
the 14 vignettes that make up the LP
manage to be uplifting, and ultimately,
“Magic and Loss” is more about liv
ing than dying.
Very often, the only thing separat
ing the songs is their titles, which
read like beatnik poetry (“Sword of
Damocles: Externally,” “Goodbye
Mass: In a Chapel Bodily Termina
tion”). In fact, every song on “Magic”
is subtitled.
Musically, this is Reed’s barest
Lou Reed
collection since his work with the
legendary Velvet Underground, with
percussion included on just five of the
LP’s 14 songs. Mostly, the album
contains the jangly guitar work of
Reed and co-producer Mike Rathke,
and it beautifully underscores Reed’s
deadpan delivery.
Although “Magic” was inspired
by Reed’s two friends, it’s not fair to
say that the album is entirely about
them. Very often, the man is coming
to terms with his own fears and disap
pointments, as he does with the un
easy humor of “Harry’s Circumci
sion: Reverie Gone Astray” or the
flat-out anger of “Warrior King:
When Reed laments not having
had “a chance to say goodbye” on
See REED on 10
Storyline, music, cast
enthralling in ‘Evita’
By Steve Pearson
Staff Reporter
In scheduling Andrew Lloyd
Webber’s “Evita,” actors with the
Lincoln Community Playhouse, 2500
S. 56th St., and director Bob Hall,
took a big risk — a risk the cast was
willing to accept.
Composer Webber and lyricist Tim
Rice’s story of the second wife of
Argentine dictator Juan Pcron is an
intense pop opera that requires the
utmost in physical energy and vocal
consistency. Despite a slow start —
perhaps due to opening night jitters
—and a few lapses here and there, the
“Evita” cast delivered a compelling
The play begins with the death of
Eva Pcron, or Evita, and then flashes
back to the beginning of her meteoric
rise from working-class actress to the
most powerful woman Argentina had
ever known.
Rachel Komfcld (Eva) takes ad
vantage of a winning voice and a
commanding stage presence to claim
the stage as her own. She displays a
wide vocal range — from the hot
dance number “Buenos Aires” to the
tender ballad “Don’t Cry for Me
Argentina:” Her committed perform
ance makes her instantly believable
as the fiery Evita.
David Landis appears as the Ar
gentine revolutionary Che Guevera.
Though Guevera never met Eva, lyri
cist Rice chose to utilize his persona
as a narrator and commentator for
“Evita.” Landis maintains a cynical
lone throughout his performance and
is most impressive when he lets him
self slip into an uncontrolled rage.
Kevin Paul HofcdiUrportrays Juan
Pcron with dictatorial flair.
Both Stacy Johnson and Phil
Brawner provide excellent support „
with strong, well-trained voices.
Although the show does not call
for a lot of dancing, choreographer
Craig Ellingson made the most of the
opportunities provided by the script.
But most of all, this was a show of
technical triumph. C.M. Zuby’s set, a
montage of black and white portraits
of principal characters, is fabulous.
With limited props, the stage is trans
formed from a movie theater to a
night club to an apartment with rela
tive ease. Additionally, a movie screen
that is integrated into the set often
displays actual photos of the events
being described — a mixing of fact
and fiction a la “JFK,” This effect is
See EVITA on 10
Guns, ghosts, gangsters don’t galvanize slow week
Hopefully the residuals of the Superbowl
can tide viewers over because this week is full
of mediocrity in the area of home video. Noth
ing really leaps out to say “Rent me, rent me,”
although the new Jim Abrahams spoof is some
what promising.
, ’ ’ ‘ *
“The Hitman” (R) Chuck Norris stars in,
yes, another action-thriller. Requisite Norris
props abound — guns, explosions and vio
lence. (Available 1/29)
“Hot Shots” (PG-13) Jim Abrahams, one
of the creators of “Airplane!” and “The Naked
Gun” moves to the director’s chair for “Hot
Billed as “the mother of all movies” this
“Top Gun” spoof stars Charlie Sheen as flyboy
Topper Harley. Longtime screen actor Lloyd
Bridges is his incompetent commander.
Together they embark on Operation Sleepy
Weasel, a mission designed to strike at the
center of operations in a desert kingdom.
They are aided by squad members Cary
Elwes (“The Princess Bride”) and Jon Cryer
(“Pretty in Pink”) and Valeria Golino (“Indian
Runner”) who plays Sheen’s love interest.
This spoof contains zingers aimed at some
of Hollywood’s most popular films, including
“Rocky” and a much-needed lampoon of “Dances
with Wolves.” (Available 1/30)
“House IV” (R) William Katt (“The Great
est American Hero”) returns to the now famous
possessed house that caused problems for him
in the original film.
The“House” films are not traditional horror
films. The comedy here is more slapstick than
black. (Available 1/29)
“LifeStinks”(PG-13) Director Mel Brooks
has created another adult-oriented comedy, but
this time he builds it around a serious theme—
Brooks is Goddard Boll, a filthy-rich real
estate baron who bets his archenemy that he
can survive 30 days on the streets on his own.
By his own means without his money, his
credit cards or his connections. The wager: half
of an enormous parcel of urban-development
land. ^--T-*
Lesley Ann Warren is the bag lady who
becomes his friend. Of course, she’s also the
love interest. Furthermore, she’s probably the
first homeless person who always looks like
she walked out of Vidal Sassoon. (Available 1/
“Mister Johnson” (PG-13) Director Bruce
Beiesford (“Driving Miss Daisy”) brings an
See NEWVID on 10