Twenty-one businessmen have accepted invitations to speak at this semester's African-American Studies forums.

AAS Director Elizabeth Brown-Guillory said the program, "A Forum for Tomorrow's Leaders," is part of President Marguerite Ross Barnett's plan to form a union between UH and the business community.

"We get to look at them, they get to look at us, and our ultimate goal is to form a partnership," Brown-Guillory said. "We need to let Houston know that we are here and we are doing great things for our students," she said.

Brown-Guillory said the forums will give students a great chance to learn about the business world and how to get jobs.

"I didn't have this opportunity when I was in college," she said, "and I'm enjoying this as if I were a college student."

The forums, which are open to all students, feature businessmen from various fields. Six are UH alumni, and many are rich. Brown-Guillory said one, who she wouldn't identify, has in the past donated several million dollars to other universities.

"I said, `Would you be interested in becoming one of our strong supporters?' and he said, `All I need is to be asked.'"

She added he would be.

In one of the more highly anticipated forums, Carl Richie, the Texas Deputy Chief of Staff, will talk about blacks and state government. Brown-Guillory said she was impressed that Gov. Ann Richards would let him come to UH for such a talk.

Other speakers come from such diverse occupations as attorneys, gynecologists and environmental quality specialists. Corporations represented include Anheuser-Busch, Arthur Anderson and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

"When students see those companies, they think jobs," Brown-Guillory said.

Appointed to her job eight months ago, Brown-Guillory said she has worked hard to create a rich and stimulating learning environment.

"This is an urban university," she said, "and we need to make ourselves visible."

Six forums have already been held. The next, on April 2, features Sheila Dansby Harvey, publisher of Black Tie Magazine.

The forums fall on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with some additional speeches held later in the week.






Rothko Chapel will host a prayer service for world peace led by the Dalai Lama and leaders of the Hindu, Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Bahai communities at 5:30 p.m. on March 31.

This interfaith service reflects the commitment for peace as expressed by Pope John Paul II.

Tenzin Gyatsho, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. Dalai Lama is a Mongolian title meaning ocean of wisdom. Gyatsho is renowned for his belief in peace and his insistence on non-violence. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

For reservations, please call 524-9839.








The Music Hall presents yet another musical interpretation of Gaston Leroux's classic The Phantom Of The Opera.

For those who haven't been paying attention the story goes like this: Christine, a chorus girl in the Paris opera, takes singing lessons from a Phantom instructor and gets a lead role in an opera.

However, her performance is thwarted by one devious device or another, which outrages the Phantom. He kills a few people, kidnaps Christine and finally dies in the arms of his beloved student -- the end, run the credits.

But to keep things interesting, the Music Hall's version has thrown in a brother for the Phantom. The two worked together for the Persian emperor and the Phantom attempted to have his brother killed.

After the attempt failed, the Phantom runs off to Paris and falls in love with Christine's beautiful voice. The story continues from there.

Although this story is basically the same as the others, the Phantom's character is interpreted differently. One normally pities this poor, talented man, shunned because of a horrid birth defect, who's a nice guy except for his face.

This London stage musical portrays the Phantom as a deadly and sinister killer who refuses to let anything come between him and Christine. Murder and death seem to be the norm in this rendering.

To his credit, this Phantom is ghost-like with appearances that are brief and unrevealing. The audience is treated to a glimpse of the Phantom's hands or an ominous shadow, but that's all. It is only toward the end that we get a lingering look at this terrible opera spectre.

Steve Blanchard gives a convincing performance as the Phantom. He lurks about the stage and throughout the theater, scaring both patrons and actors. His voice is clear and crisp, yet at times it sounds a bit lounge-lizardish.

Blanchard's talent lies in his ability to communicate emotions through precise hand movements and body gestures. When the Phantom's deformity is revealed, Blanchard twists his body into gross disfigurements.

A long blond wig denotes the only light in the Phantom's dark demeanor and Blanchard uses it to the fullest. His radiant mane is kept hidden under a black, broad-rimmed hat until the climax when the Phantom finds happiness in death.

Eileen McNamara plays Christine, a major character in the musical. Yet, McNamara somehow down plays the role. The character is seen often enough but leaves no impact upon the audience.

McNamara's acting is soft and forgettable. Her tragic scenes are unemotional and flat. Sadly, McNamara's singing is quiet and frequently drowned out by more powerful voices.

Serena Soffer is a treat in the minor role of Jammes, a ballerina at the opera. Her light-hearted character uses her feet where most would use their hands. Emotion and mood are captured with a mere thrust of her toes.

Despite a few flawed performances, The Phantom Of The Opera is a good show filled with fantastic music and lively entertainers.








"Mark, since you didn't write a preview for last weekend, I was so uninformed that I couldn't find anything to do." Or perhaps, "Please tell me where the cool shows are this weekend so I won't be shunned any longer."

That's the kind of thing I expected to hear after my week of absence. But, the general reaction seems to be, "What, did you get fired?"

To make up for neglecting my duty, I'll name a "show of the week" for this week and next.

Denton's BillyGoat has risen up out of the gutter to tour the most remote corners of the United States and now they will be returning to Texas to perform beneath the shiny glass and steel monuments of downtown Houston.

The Party on the Plaza, at the corner of Texas and Louisiana, has probably never seen anything like BillyGoat.

When BillyGoat first started playing shows in Houston, the band developed a reputation for missing many of their bookings. The band skipped out on shows with Goodfoot at Fitzgerald's and Joe Rockhead at the Axiom. And when the band did make it to a show, clothing was scarce.

Singer/percussionist Mike Dillon originally formed BillyGoat and the Power Chicks after he left Denton's real claim-to-fame, Ten Hands. He was far too wild for Ten Hands, a band that strives for order on stage. Dillon preferred diving off the stage and throwing his percussion instruments into the crowd.

BillyGoat's song "Leche" may be the strongest cut from the Texas Funk compilation and "Clothes Off" is a pretty accurate representation of the band.

BillyGoat opens today for the man with the big head (Did I say "big head?" I meant big hat.), Michael E. Johnson and his humble reggae band, The Killer Bees. The Party on the Plaza begins promptly as the yuppies come crawling out of their sterile corporate shells around 5 p.m. It's free.

Not only the most promising show for Spring Break week, but probably the entire semester, is fIREHOSE on Saturday, March 30. With former members of the Minutemen, Mike Watt and George Hurley, and guitarist Ed fROMOHIO, who forced the two to continue playing after the unfortunate death of D. Boone, fIREHOSE is in a class by itself.

After seeing the show you'll surely feel compelled to go out and buy a fIREHOSE record. The one to look for is Ragin' Full-on with "Chemical Wires" and "Brave Captain." Their sound is phenomenal on record and on stage.

Opening the show at Fitzgerald's is Austin's Bouffant Jellyfish.

Another opener at Fitzgerald's that will be worth seeing is Zsu Zsu's Petals on a bill with Ten Hands on Friday, March 29.








A black student group at the University of Pittsburgh has launched a campaign to dissuade black high school students from attending the university.

More than 200 of the 400 members of the Black Action Society (BAS) at Pitt signed a letter saying they could not recommend Pitt because the school has not done enough to recruit and retain black students and faculty.

"It's an effort to make sure black students know what they're getting into if they attend Pitt," said Justin Laing, chairman of the BAS's political action committee. "If they want to come here and struggle, then come on," he continued.

At a press conference on Feb. 26, BAS set a March 12 deadline for a "detailed response" from the administration and outlined its demands.

Among other things, the group wants counselors to help it set up study groups for black students, more full-time faculty for Pitt's black studies department and a larger budget for the school's Challenge for Excellence Program, which is designed to recruit first-generation college students and primarily serves non-whites.

"I think some of their recommendations for improvement are valid," said Bill Harmon, Pitt's vice president for student affairs, who conceded that Pitt's graduation rate for black students and its number of black faculty are too low.

Currently 7.3 percent of Pitt students are black. The number has remained steady over the last decade, Harmon said.

The administration wants to sit down with members of BAS to discuss "how we can proceed together," Harmon said.

Although Harmon admitted he has "some difficulties" with BAS not recommending the school to black students, he's not sure how it might affect Pitt's recruiting efforts.

Black student leaders at other schools sympathized with BAS's concerns, but did not necessarily approve of its tactics.

"I would encourage them to keep working with the administration," said Rodrick Colebrook, president of the Black Student Association at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Putting pressure on the school by holding boycotts and rallies would be more effective, Colebrook said.

However, a member of the University of Illinois at Chicago's Black Student Organization for Communication, who asked not to be named, said she thought the tactics were "a good idea."

"We have those types of problems (with recruitment and retention) on this campus and we discourage (black high school students) from going here," the student said.








The UH Lady Cougars are sticking with it until the very end.

Even after a heartbreaking 83-77 overtime loss to eighth-ranked Arkansas, in the semifinals of the Southwest Conference Post Season Tournament, the Lady Cougars are hoping to still come out on top.

A win could have ensured the Lady Coogs a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Instead Houston will continue its season for a while longer today in the Women's National Invitational Tournament against Northern Illinois at Amarillo's Cal Farley Coliseum.

"Naturally, we're disappointed that we didn't make the NCAA tournament, but that's over and now we're focused on the WNIT and it would be an honor for us if we could walk away from it as champions," UH Head Coach Jessie Kenlaw said.

Houston, 19-10, is seeded sixth in the tournament and will be matched against No. 1-seeded Northern Illinois, 24-8.

Northern Illinois leads the North Star Conference in scoring, averaging 84.3 points per game, while holding its opponents to just under 73 points.

"They play a lot like us," Kenlaw said. "They like to play a fast-tempo game and they are also a guard- oriented team, so we should match up pretty well," Kenlaw said.

Houston is a team that depends heavily on its guards. Houston's guard quartet averaged 43 points per game during the regular season, which was 52.3 percent of the team's total scoring.

Junior guard LaShawn Johnson led the team in scoring, contributing 14.6 points per game during the regular season and boasting a 22- point average during the SWC tournament.

Senior Arlene Brown, the other starting guard, has slumped in her scoring, falling from 13.5 to 11.7. However, Brown leads the team in assists and steals, averaging 4.3 and 2.2 respectively.

Cynthia Jackson and Lasonya Conley come off the bench to give Houston speed and quickness, in addition to some instant scoring. Jackson and Conley combine to give the guard quartet another 16.7 points per game.

In order for Houston to do well against Northern Illinois, they must stop 5-foot-7 guard Lian Foss, the team's leading scorer and the North Star Conference's player of the year.

Foss averages 25.6 points per game, connecting on 52.1 percent of her field goal attempts. Foss has scored in double figures 46 consecutive times, becoming NIU's all-time leading scorer with 2,444 points.

"From looking at the tapes, they don't seem to handle pressure very well, so if we can put a lot of pressure on them from the start and force some turnovers to get things going our way we have a good chance of beating them," Kenlaw said.

Houston has been off since its loss to Arkansas on March 7, so the Lady Cougars will go into today's game without the momentum from that game.

"I wish we could have continued playing right after that game and carried that momentum with us, but we've been practicing hard and with good consistent defense we should beat anybody," Kenlaw said.

The Lady Cougars will tip off at 3 p.m. today.








In an effort to educate Texas community colleges on the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC), the UH College of Technology has put together a proposal to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to help prepare students for superconductivity-related careers.

Associate Dean of the College of Technology Curtis Johnson and Larry Wolf, former dean, have written a manual covering the basic workings and needs of the SSC and plan to provide statewide instructors with the resources to answer students' questions.

"This has been written to address that audience and to reduce this complex scientific field into something everyone can understand," Johnson said.

The construction of the $8 billion SSC, which should be completed in five years, and its maintenance will require about 6,000 workers, Johnson said.

"We're talking about everything from electricians and computer technicians to welders and drafts- men," he said.

To reach the potential college workforce, Johnson and Wolf also put on a teleconference at UH last December. The teleconference covered who is needed to build the SSC and why it is important for them to understand its inner workings.

"It came out of the studio in the library and was transmitted by the satellite company Star to 35 junior colleges around Texas," Johnson said.

In addition, two Dallas public broadcasting stations picked up the teleconference and re-broadcast it for Dallas-area viewers, he said.

When completed, the SSC will enable scientists to better understand the composition of matter.

"It all started with Demarcritus trying to understand what the nature of matter is," Johnson said. "He composed the idea that matter is formed of atoms and that all an atom was was something indivisible. Demarcritus took a piece of gold and said if it was flecked into small and smaller pieces, you'd finally reach the smallest piece of indivisible gold -- and that was an atom," Johnson said.

"In more recent years, we have discovered that atoms were not the smallest pieces of matter, although atoms are the smallest pieces of matter that have distinct elemental characteristics. By this I mean you can break apart elemental gold, but once you do, the resulting particles do not have the characteristic qualities of gold," he added.

Johnson said the SSC will help unravel this age-old mystery and will primarily do theoretical research.

Sub-atomic protons, which make up atoms, will be placed in the SSC's two tubes and magnetically accelerated to the speed of light.

Johnson said the two tubes, which spin protons in opposite directions, will then be connected together, allowing the protons to collide. The resulting reaction will release thousands of other, smaller particles called "quarks."

From these particles, thousands of new protons will be created, proving that matter and energy are the same thing, Johnson said.








A UH political science major, detained by police last Thursday for painting the College Republicans' yellow ribbons red, was ensnared in ribbon tying again Wednesday.

Roy Casagranda, a junior, said he knew the College Republicans were going to tie new, unpainted ribbons in front of the UC Satellite at 1 p.m.

Although he said he couldn't prevent the tying, he wanted to make a public statement and asked participants to tie him to a tree with the ribbon.

College Republicans' Vice President Byron Smith said he and other Young Republicans refused Casagranda's request because it would make the College Rupublicans look bad and Casagranda was only after publicity.

David Fanelli, who supports the Republicans' actions and was tying ribbons with them, eventually did bind Casagranda, Byron said. Fanelli couldn't be reached for comment.

Casagranda said he attempted to block the Republicans' tying ribbons to trees because, as opposed to putting them on bulletin boards, the action implies a UH-supported policy, which creates a political bias on campus.

It is common knowledge, Byron said, that his organization puts up the ribbons.

The Republicans' position on the ribbons was pointed out to Casagranda during the incident, Byron said.

Casagranda said he sees the ribbons as support for an unjust war, despite statements by the College Republicans that the ribbons show support for the troops and not the war.

"You can't separate the war from the people doing the killing just like you can't separate the rape from the rapist," Casagranda said.

Byron said he ties the ribbons because he's sure the troops don't want to dwell on the war for the rest of their lives and, "we should all welcome them home and tell them we're glad they're safe."

People who claim to support the troops and tear down yellow ribbons to protest the war are hypocritical, Byron said.

Casagranda said the U.S. government has positioned support of the troops so people who speak out against the war also seem to be against the troops.

Casagranda said he feels the best way to support a friend he has in the Middle East is to protest the war.








Most people have to die before receiving a memorial. Professor Peter Guenther, however, is alive to see his 28 years of service commemorated.

The UH Art Department created the Peter Guenther Memorial by planting six red oak trees on the east side of the Fine Arts Building on March 9.

"This is a living memorial of him and his family," Professor John Hanna, an art professor, said.

"Doctor Guenther is a long-time faculty member. He's esteemed in the Art Department and we thought this would be a good way to remember him."

"It was the most beautiful gift which they could have made," Guenther said.

"It's something growing and it's on campus. The idea of something growing which would be enjoyable for the students for years to come was an absolutely marvelous and very sensitive idea," he said.

Guenther, 71, retired in the spring of 1990, but continues to teach an art class each semester. He plans to teach for a long time, he said.

Art Department faculty contributed more than $600 to purchase the oaks.

Associate Art Professor Richard Hutchens said faculty chose oak trees because they symbolize strength and sturdiness, two of Guenther's characteristics.

Six trees were planted to honor Guenther, his wife and their four daughters, Hutchens said.

"That was especially thoughtful because one of our daughters died and so we were really only five. It was a beautiful gesture," Guenther said.

Guenther began his UH career in 1962 as chair of the Art Department. He stepped down from that position in 1972, but continued teaching.

When Guenther retired, about $54,000 was raised for the Peter Guenther Art History Scholarships, which will be awarded this year, Guenther said.

Several merit scholarships will be awarded to art students, along with a travel scholarship, including a trip to Washington D.C. and New York, Hanna said.

The travel scholarship, valued at about $2,000, will give a student the opportunity to study art works firsthand, rather than relying on books, Guenther said.

The red oak is one of America's favorite ornamental trees, Grounds Department Manager Raymond Dale said.

He plants new trees every year, but the six memorial oak trees are particularly beautiful, he said.

The young trees are not yet impressive because they have no leaves, but buds should begin to show in a month, Dale said.

Red oak trees are well adapted to Houston's soil and will require minimum care. Most trees on campus will only live for 20 years, but these red oaks are expected to live for 100 years, Dale said.








When predicting Oscar winners, one has to deal with two questons: are these nominees you think will actually win, or are you choosing those you want to see win?

I'm doing the latter, inasmuch as there are sundry others in the media trying to predict those who are going to go to the podium this Monday night. I'm going to give my own opinions and let the Academy be damned.

Supporting Actor: Bruce Davison (Longtime Companion) certainly has a topical role, playing a man who loses his gay lover to AIDS. From the Godfather, Part III Andy Garcia made a splash as hothead Michael Corleone while his co-star in the same film, Al Pacino, was snubbed for a Best Actor nomination and had to settle for a nomination in this category for Dick Tracy.

Joe Pesci (GoodFellas) played a mobster type and Graham Greene played the noble Kicking Bird in the ubiquitous Dances With Wolves.

While Pesci has emerged as a talented character actor over the years, Pacino nonetheless deserves the statue for his hammy portrayal of Big Boy Caprice in Tracy. He has yet to win one and this will be compensation for being overlooked for Godfather III.

Best Supporting Actress: Rule out newcomers Annette Bening (The Grifters) and Lorraine Bracco (Goodfellas). Diane Ladd may garner a sympathy vote, since she's the eldest of the lot and did a splendid job in Wild At Heart, but don't count on it.

If box office take determines who gets an Oscar, Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost) would get it, but the true acting accomplishment in this category goes to Mary McDonnell, who played Stands With A Fist in Dances). Her weepy eyes and impeccable Sioux distinguish her.

Best Actor: Richard Harris (The Field) ought to be thankful for the nomination alone. Gerard Depardieu did well in Cyrano de Bergerac and Kevin Costner (Dances) certainly deserves the nomination as well, but they don't match the performances of the other two.

While Robert DeNiro certainly made you feel sorry for him in Awakenings, he and all the others pale next to the phenomenal job done by Jeremy Irons in Reversal of Fortune. As the fiendishly ambiguous Claus Von Bulow, Irons turned in a truly remarkable performance which isn't easily forgotten.

Best Actress:The toughest competition of them all. Meryl Streep, despite being miscast, did a terrific job in Postcards from the Edge. So did Anjelica Huston as the nasty con artist in The Grifters.

God knows what Julia Roberts is doing in this category, however. Pretty Woman appeals only at the lowest common denominator. Where are Michelle Pfieffer (The Russia House) and Glenn Close (Reversal)?

That narrows it to first-time nominee Kathy Bates (Misery) and veteran actress Joanne Woodward (Mr. and Mrs. Bridge). Bates scared up a storm, but Woodward's portrayal of a frustrated Kansas City housewife in Mr. and Mrs. was a joy to see.

Best Director and Best Picture: The two are entertwined because, with last year's exception (Oliver Stone won for Born on the Fourth of July while Picture went to Driving Miss Daisy) and especially since the awards went to separate pictures last year, the two go to the same movie.

Had the Academy been thinking (Why the hell is Ghost a Best Picture Nominee?), it would have nominated Reversal of Fortune for Best Picture and Penny Marshall for directing Awakenings. Barbet Schroeder did get a nomination for directing that picture and so did Stephen Frears, for The Grifters, another non-Best Picture nominee.

But the only real contenders are Francis Coppola (Godfather III), Costner (Dances) and Martin Scorsese (GoodFellas). Coppola did well, but Godfather isn't as good as its predecessors. And while Scorsese never does a lousy job, GoodFellas lacks the power of Dances, not to mention the sheer emotional impact.

Kevin Costner will walk away with Oscar for Best Director and will return to accept Best Picture honors for Dances.

"And the Oscar goes to..." Ah, but you'll have to wait until Monday to hear the answers.


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