The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, August 26, 1998, Page 12, Image 12

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    Bar takes
Brass Rail boasts performance of Sam Shepard’s ‘The Unseen Hand’
By Jason Hardy
Senior staff writer
Sometimes beer, second-hand smoke and
sorority girls just don’t cut it.
Enter Adam DeMars and Brad Mausbach -
stage right.
The two theater majors have taken it upon
themselves to provide entertainment for the
hordes of beer guzzling _
Brass Rail patrons, not to
mention experience for
hungry theater students.
DeMars and
Mausbach are producing a
performance of the Sam
Shepard one act play,
“The Unseen Hand.” The
show runs tonight through
Saturday and Sept. 3
through Sept. 5.
DeMars and
Mausbach, who both
work at the Brass Rail,
1436 O St., figured that
since live bands perform
at the bar, so could actors.
They checked with their
boss, who gave them the
go ahead.
They have since done
two productions, one last
summer and the other dur
ing the first two weeks of
“It's a good experi
ence, and it's something
new that nobody in
Lincoln has ever done.”
DeMars said.
He said the two previ
ous performances both
went very well despite
what some would consid
er the obvious clash
between a theatrical
atmosphere and that of the
Brass Rail.
Ryan Johnston, the
play’s director, said the
bar’s atmosphere is a big
pan of what makes doing
the play so cool.
“I want people to sit
back and drink beer and
relax,” Johnston said. “It’s
not very often that people
can go to a play and get up and get a beer or go
to the bathroom. It’s a nice way to have a rela
tionship and sense of interaction with the audi
DeMars believes the kooky subject matters
of each script were very conducive to a bar envi
“I think the scripts that we’ve chosen really
fit in,” he said.
Of the two shows they put on before, one
took place in an alley - very similar to the Brass
Rail beer garden - and the other in a bar, no
stretch of the imagination for patrons. However,
Johnston said “The Unseen Hand” is on an
entirely different level.
“It’s really wild, and there’s a lot of cool
music, so it should be real fun for a bar environ
ment,” he said.
Enter kooky plot - stage left. A 120-year
old man who’s been living in a car on the side of
a highway meets “Willie the space
freak,” who tells him he wants to bring
the man’s two brothers back to life and
travel into space with six guns a
Aside from giving the bar crowd a
taste of something different (really dif
ferent), DeMars said the performances
gave students a chance to get paid for
real theater work.
Actors get a slice of the cut from
the door, after production and copy
right costs are deducted.
“In that aspect, you could actually
call it professional theater, and that’s
something different,” DeMars said.
“They can walk away with that on their
resume, and no one will know that it
was done at the Brass Rail beer gar
Despite the show’s location,
DeMars said, the actors all took their
performances very seriously.
“All the students act real profes
sional in what they do, and they don’t
want to be taken for granted because
it’s done in a college bar,” he said.
Johnston said most of the students
involved with the production were
excited about doing something other
than university-sponsored events.
“It is nice to do something that’s
out of the university theater environ
ment,” Johnston said. “It’s a chance to
have a different kind of experience,
because when you’re a student, those
chances don’t come up very often.”
Seth Swink, a member of the
play’s cast, said he likes gaining the
atrical experience, but mainly he has
fun acting in the play.
“It’s been hard, but it’s been a lot of
fun,” Swink said. “As much fun as
we’ve been having, I think an audience
can’t help but have fun, too.”
The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m.
and costs $6 for general admission, $4
for students.
..... . __ _ DAWN UIETRICH/UJN
WILLIE THE SPACE FREAK, in “The Unseen Hand,” played by Kyle
Johnston, restores the Blue Morphan’s youth. Sam Shepard’s “The
Unseen Hand” starts today and will continue s until Sept. 5 at the Brass
Rail beer garden.
‘Dead Man’ is bevond resuscitation
By Patrick Miner
Staff writer
A well-liked but underachiev
ing student manipulates a low
self-esteemed brain to buy into a
mischievous scheme that doesn’t
exactly turn out as planned. Sound
Zack is back.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar, better
known to the 14- to 30-year-old
demographic as Zack Morris of
“Saved By The Bell,” has returned
with a starring role in the MTV
production “Dead Man on
Campus.” Gosselaar teams up
with Tom Everett Scott, and they
play roommates in college who
fail to live up to their parents’
Gosselaar reprises his role as
Zack, although the character’s
name in this movie is Cooper, a
wealthy party boy who doesn’t
even know what classes he is
signed up for. Scott plays
Josh, a pre-med freshman
who hangs around with
Cooper too much and
begins to fail his classes
The premise of the film
is a simple one. One night at
the bar, Cooper is told a
piece of classic college
lore: The survivors of a
dead roommate receive an
automatic 4.0 GPA for the
C Pm PCtor A ff or
not to murder Josh, the two go
around campus attempting to find
a suicidal maniac who would fit
the bill and move in.
Randy Pearlstein, Corey Page
and TV star Lochlyn Munro are
three of these lunatics.
Unfortunately, none of them is
funny. Munro is especially pathet
ic as Cliff, although he does make
a cool sound when he chatters his
Thankfully, there are some
The Facts
Title: "Dead Man on Campus"
Stars: Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tom Everett
Scott, Lochlyn Munro, Poppy Montgomery
Director: Alan Cohn
Rating: R
Grade: C+
Five Words: Zack needs a new jobby-job
one-nners mat can oe very runny,
most of which occur when Cooper
holds parties in his room. There
are a few other good lines here and
there, but it is a basic Adam
Sandler film plot without the good
fortune of starring anyone as
funny as Sandler.
Most of the blame for the bor
ing sequences falls on MTV’s
“The Real World” editor and pro
motional director Alan Cohn.
Cohn has no experience above
production assistant in any film,
so he might not have been the best
choice as director.
For Gosselaar, this film hits a
little too close to home; the
“Saved By The Bell” comparisons
are uncanny. He befriends, and
only knows, three female stu
He uses school strictly as a
means to meet people, and when
everyone’s looking to have fun,
he’s the guy they go to. While
Gosselaar tries to trick the audi
ence with a black hairdo in the
film, we all know that bad ideas
and worse acting are just around
the comer.
In the end, there are only two
certainties about “Dead Man on
Campus.” First, after starring in
“An American Werewolf in Paris”
and now “Dead Man,” Tom
Everett Scott needs to fire his
agent. Second, “Saved By the
Bell” will be known as just a
slightly better career launching
pad than “Dilf’rent Strokes.”
Courtesy Photo
indie success
a musical fit
By Bret Schulte
A&E editor
Already 26, Tim Scanlin works a steady stream of
temp jobs, reads Stephen Crane and feels most com
fortable in his favorite pair of sports pants.
He also fronts power-chord pop trio Actionslacks,
a hooky, forceful and frequently clever Bay Area band
making its Lincoln debut tonight at Duffy’s, 1412 0 St.
The show supports the group’s second album.
“One Word,” a spelling tip on the band’s name, which
serves as a tribute to Levi’s famous stretch slacks.
Laden with throaty rhymes and quick melodies,
“One Word” marks a breakthrough for the Arena Rock
Recording Company artists, whose first album, “Too
Bright, Just Right goodnight” appeared on the now
defunct Minneapolis label, Skene!
“Our first record was recorded in three days m a
basement, and we had no money,” Scanlin recalled.
“We wanted the second album to be more than just
a live studio record.”
“One Word” builds on the trio's basic guitar, bass
and drums collection by adding piano and even a
string quintet to a few tracks.
Calling from a date in Houston, Scanlin chatted
while his band mates loaded up the group’s mini-van.
“We are driving the Slackswagon, known to the
department of motor vehicles as a 1994 Ford Aerostar.
“It’s got air-conditioning,” he bragged.
The van has already carried them half-way around
the country, starting in Los Angeles at the infamous
Viper Room, owned by actor Johnny Depp.
Scanlin reports that Depp rarely visits the Viper
Room, but the band hardly noticed his absence.
Actions lacks members aren’t always so flippant,
though. Scanlin, along with drummer Marty Kelly and
bass player Mark Wijsen, knows about the pitfalls and
complexities that accompany indie success.
“I’m acutely aware of the capacity for being pre
tentious in music,” Scanlin said. “(But) as one guy
said, I would rather hear a pretentious album than a bad
The catchy simplicity of the Actionslacks stems
from an affinity forindie-pop bands like Guided By
Voices and New Sweet Breath. But the band also looks
toward pop masterminds Elvis Costello and The
Replacements for inspiration.
1 tie desire for pop perfection is what brings the
Actionsiacks back to the studio, where they tinker with
guitar dubs, mixes and a variety of instrumentation.
“The studio is a palate that you can practice on,”
Scanlin said.
He describes the band as “wearing two different
hats” to marie the distinction between the densecompo
sitions of the record and the three-piece live rock show.
On the road, the three musicians, crammed in the
van with their equipment, keep their minds sharpin
other ways.
“We’d just recently taken to all nautical terms in
the van,” Scanlin explained. “We now say ‘Lightning
to the starboard bow,’ and when we park it’s ‘Drop the
“And you have to say it in a pirate voice.”
But the real fun starts at the shows. The band is fre
quently bombarded with, you guessed it, pairs upon
pairs of Levi’s action slacks of all shapes and sizes.
“People give us action slacks all the time,” Scanlin
said. “I wear two pairs, black.”
For those interested, Scanlin wears a 34 or 36 waist
and prefers 30 long, so they are just a little too short.
He also likes shades of maroon.
Despite probable trade violations, Scanlin hopes
to sell the “stretchy and comfortable” pants they col
lect along with the rest of the band’s merchandise.
The Actionsiacks open for Split Lip and Rayfield
at 10 p.m. The show costs $3, a small fee for a little
action in your slacks.