LIVING MEMORIALS TO HONOR DECEASED PRESIDENT, STUDENT

BY CROSBY KING

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Two past members of the university community are being remembered by the planting of trees.

Handicapped Student Services is honoring Wally Roberts, the 27-year-old handicapped student who died two weeks ago.

In a dedication ceremony planned for 10 a.m. today in Lynn Eusan Park, HSS will plant a Bur Oak at the edge of the park, in a place Roberts used to spend time studying.

Roberts, a graduate student in English, was keenly interested in linguistics. He frequently used the HSS services, and he was greatly admired by the staff there.

"We decided that he was so well-liked, and he gave so much to people, that we thought it would be a lasting tribute to Wally," HSS employee Deedie Gentry-Heinsohn said.

The late UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett will be similarly honored.

Marjorie Goodman, head of Students for Israel, said the group intends to plant a tree in Israel for Barnett. She said this is a common custom within the Jewish community.

Goodman said the Jewish National Fund would help with the planting.

She said she had much respect for Barnett and was deeply saddened by her death.

 

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ONCE-POOR STUDENT REFOCUSES FOR SUCCESS

BY ERICKA SCHICHE

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Many say the brain is not a forgiving organ, but one neurosurgeon is working fervently to change that perception.

Dr. Benjamin Solomon Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery and associate professor of Plastic Surgery, Oncology, Neurological Surgery and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, has successfully attempted operations that many in his field wouldn't dare touch.

Carson was in town last week to promote his autobiography, Think Big, at the Shrine of the Black Madonna and to speak with students at the High School for Health Professions.

At HSHP, he explained some of the delicate procedures he has performed and how he has risen to the upper echelon of neurosurgery.

In 1987, Carson led a team in performing a breakthrough operation that involved two Siamese twins -- Patrick and Benjamin Binder -- who had been joined at the back of the head. Now five years old, the twins live in Germany with their parents, Josef and Theresa.

Since he became director of pediatric neurosurgery at the age of 33, Carson has risen to the challenge of some extremely dangerous surgeries.

To date, 30 hemispherectomies, procedures in which all of a given hemisphere (right or left) of the brain is removed, have been performed by Carson. He has had a 90 percent success rate for this procedure, which he revived after Dr. Theodore Rasmussen stopped performing them years ago because many people believed the procedure was inhumane. He is retired now.

The operation is done on those with Rasmussen's disease, also termed Rasmussen's encephalitis, which causes violent seizures in its victims.

The diseased part of a patient's brain, which generally causes the seizures, would be removed, causing the remaining hemisphere to adopt the functions of its absent neighbor. One child, shaking violently and uncontrollably, suffered from as many as 100 seizures a day. After the procedure, the boy had no more seizures and only had a slight limp.

One patient died shortly after undergoing the radical surgery, but autopsy results did not indicate the hemispherectomy caused the death.

"I remember one young girl (who had a condition known as Fibrous Dysplasia), who had what seemed like a horn on her forehead, with severe facial deformity and protrusions," Carson said. "The surgery lasted a long time, but when we finished, she looked like a model."

Carson said he does from 400 to 500 surgeries a year, including cranial-facial reconstructive surgeries and oncological (tumor-related) procedures.

Nevertheless, the road to being a contemporary pioneer in his field has not always been so smooth.

While attending elementary school in Detroit, Carson became the subject of his fellow classmates' jokes and tauntings. He consistently ranked near the bottom, bringing home such grades as D's and F's.

His mother, Sonya Carson, knew she had to come up with a cure. Her prescription included a cut-back in her children's television diet and mandatory readings of two books -- with interpretations -- each week.

"When I started reading, I started developing perspectives," he said. "Although we were poor, I could travel anywhere and meet anyone through books.

"My mother is an important mentoring influence," he said. "The main thing she gave me is a no-excuses mentality."

He metamorphosed from a rebellious, lackadaisical student to a studious one, eventually graduating from Yale University on a 90 percent academic scholarship.

He discovered that life in the competitive environment of academia posed a seemingly insurmountable challenge. "Who do I think I am?" he wrote in a chapter of his first autobiography titled Gifted Hands. "Just a dumb black kid from the poor side of Detroit who has no business trying to make it through Yale with all these intelligent, affluent students."

His source of misery during his freshman year in 1969 was none other than a first-year chemistry class.

After that period of despair, Carson learned to apply himself. He graduated from Yale and entered the University of Michigan School of Medicine.

"My concept of psychology had been gleaned from television," he said, referring to his first field of choice, which soon became neurology.

Carson honed such skills as hand-to-eye coordination and relied on his keen three-dimensional sight. After graduating, he was selected, with another student, out of a field of 125 applicants, for a year-long neurosurgery residency at Johns Hopkins.

Throughout his life, Carson has overcome the obstacles imposed not only by medicine, but by racism. "My mother told me that if I walked into an auditorium filled with racist people, they will have the problem instead of me," Carson said. "She said, `Let them cringe while you decide where you want to sit.' In 1983, Carson accepted a position as a senior registrar at the Sir Charles Gairdiner Hospital of Queen Elizabeth II Medical Center in Perth, Australia. Friends and others tried persuading the Carsons not to leave the United States.

"I had been told that it (life in Australia) would be difficult because Australia had a whites-only policy," he said. He learned that the policy had been rescinded in 1968 and that even if he wanted to return, he wouldn't be able to because he didn't have enough money.

But racism was not his biggest problem abroad.

"The biggest problem we had was keeping up with all the dinner invitations we received."

He said he garnered more experience in Australia than he would have in the United States.

One dominant aspect of his personality is his calm, warm demeanor. Carson attributed this to his experiences as a Christian.

"There's no way I could have been so successful with these surgeries without God in my life," Carson said.

His mentor, Dr. Donlin Long, also proved to be an inspiration. Initially, some patients seeking help at Johns Hopkins said they didn't want a black person operating on them. Long, chairman of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, would tell them, "There's the door -- walk out."

Carson said this benefited him tremendously because "knowing someone who did not tolerate such behavior enabled me to continue to do my job without walking on egg shells."

Despite his strength of character, Carson said one of his surgeries tested him in several ways. One of his most difficult surgeries involved the husband of one of the nurses in the neurological ward.

Suffering from a disease called Von Hippel-Lindau, which causes tumors in the brain and retina, Craig Warnick had only a 50-50 chance of survival if he elected to have surgery done to remove a tumor from his brain stem.

"If the brain stem is operated on, there is always the possibility that there will be severe neurological deficits," he said.

Warnick eventually recovered from the surgery and continues to improve, Carson said.

A family man who lives in suburban Baltimore with his wife Candy, his sons Rhoeyce, Murray and B.J., and his mother, Carson said he enjoys traveling and playing such games as Trivial Pursuit and Chess with his family.

Nevertheless, to many who put their hands in his life, Dr. Carson is simply a miracle worker who is constantly proving that the brain can indeed be a forgiving organ.

 

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BIKE OLYMPICS TO BENEFIT RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE

BY RHONDA HECTOR

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Sigma Nu will hold its 27th annual bike race and party today to benefit the Ronald McDonald House.

"It gives a chance to give something back," said Steve Rothbauer, a senior RTV major and chairman of the bike race. "It's not an excuse to have a party. It's a chance to raise money for a worthy cause."

The Ronald McDonald House shelters and entertains children who are undergoing treatment at hospitals. The organization charges families $15 a night (or whatever they can afford).

"Ronald McDonald House is thrilled to get the support and involvement of young people," said Melissa Garlington, administrative assistant at Ronald McDonald House.

"We have many areas that the money can go to, such as the toy room, the game room and the families' activities fund," Garlington said. "The activity fund pays to take the children and their families out to enjoy the community."

The bike race will be held at noon in the street in front of the University Center and consists of four events: the men's relay, the women's relay, the men's grudge match and the women's grudge match.

Teams of four compete in the relays, and each member makes three laps around the track and then hands off the bike to the next person.

The grudge match is an individual race where everyone makes 10 laps around the track.

"We don't make any money off the race because the money goes toward costs," Rothbauer said. "The purpose of the race is to get people involved on campus, but the party itself is the fund-raiser."

The after-the-race party will be held at 9 p.m. at the Sigma Nu house, located at 5018 Calhoun. The $5 donation at the door goes to the Ronald McDonald House.

KRBE deejay Scott Sparks will MC the party and also attend the bike race.

The Austin band Touch Gallery will perform at the party after the Bike Race Queen contest.

"The more people that come out, the more money we can raise for Ronald McDonald House," Rothbauer said.

In past years, the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has been the benefactor of the event.

 

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WOMEN'S HISTORY TO BE LAUDED THIS MONTH

BY PAULA NAST

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

March is Women's History Month, a joint resolution of Congress declared in 1991.

The idea behind Women's History Month is to give recognition and focus attention on women's contributions in history.

"Imagine the trouble you'd have understanding math if you'd only learned half the numbers. Not knowing about women's contributions to U.S. history can make our lives confusing, too," said Mary Ruthsdotter, projects director of the National Women's History Project.

The project is a non-profit organization based in California. It provides technical assistance to women's history program planners, produces videos on women's history and serves as a clearinghouse of information about women in history.

"This doesn't mean we need to rewrite history, but we do need to look at past events from different perspectives.

"That will lead us to quite different judgments about what should be considered historically significant," Ruthsdotter said.

She gave several examples of women's contributions to history that basically have gone unnoticed.

"Saying that `Lincoln freed the slaves,' overlooks the decades of anti-slavery organizing by thousands of women, including Harriet Tubman, Sarah and Angelina Grimke and Sojourner Truth.

"How about `Congress gave women the vote in 1920'? It had taken women like Susan B. Anthony and Jeanette Rankin 72 years of constant lobbying to get that Constitutional right.

"Or consider today's concern over the health and environmental costs of pesticides. Public awareness began with Rachel Carson's careful research for Silent Spring, her enormously popular book that was published in 1962."

UH and UH-Downtown are both observing Women's History Month.

The downtown campus is presenting a series of speakers every Monday in March from 6-8 p.m.

UH recently had a panel discussion about women's history and will be hosting another speaker at 2:30 p.m. on March 17 in Agnes Arnold Hall, Room 108. The speaker is a professor from the University of Georgia, and her topic will be "Women and Academic Careers."

 

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STUDENTS BRAVE FLASH FLOODS TO PAY RESPECTS TO BARNETT

BY CLAY CARPENTER

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Students and faculty braved rising waters Wednesday to attend a memorial service for late UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.

More than 70 people paid their respects to Barnett, who died Feb. 26 of cancer, said Morris Graves, associate director of African-American studies.

The ceremony, which consisted of 14 short speeches by campus and community leaders, featured an invocation by Senior Academic Advisor Alex Brown. The memorial speech was given by the Rev. William Lawson.

After the service, the attendees lit candles in front of the church in Barnett's honor, Graves said. The Good News Gospel Choir then sang "The Little Light of Mine," he said.

Because of the bad weather, turnout for the service was smaller than expected, Graves said.

Lori Ewing, who spoke on behalf of African-American studies, said, "It had more of a family feeling. The coziness felt really good."

Graves said the ceremony was special because it was initiated by students. "A group of students came to me and said they knew the university would do something, but they wanted to do something themselves that was student-centered. Then a lot of other people came and said they wanted to help," he said.

The service allowed those who could not attend Sunday's memorial service in Cullen Auditorium to formally pay tribute to Barnett.

"I was out of the country. I saw a picture of Dr. Barnett in the International Herald Tribune. It turned out to be a notice of her death. I was very grateful that another (service) was held," said Kathleen Knight, associate professor of political science.

Knight was surprised that Barnett's death was mentioned in the International Herald Tribune. "I think it says something, that she was internationally known, and she brought that recognition to the University of Houston.

"The service provided a sense of resolution and, at the same time, hope for the future of UH," Knight said.

 

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BOTTLE BLONDE DOESN'T WANT BAD PUBLICITY

BY GRAM GEMOETS

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

The Swedish rock duo Roxette will rock the stage at Houston's own Back Alley on March 12.

The band has been burning up Swedish airwaves since they formed in 1986. In 1988, they made the difficult cross-over to the American scene.

Now, thanks to their triple platinum recording, Joyride, they have become pop icons from coast to coast.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Marie Fredrickson of the group. After teasing her about her hair color (no, she's not a real blonde), we got down to business.

I wanted to get her to say something controversial, but she wouldn't. "Really, I don't need any bad publicity," the blond bombshell said.

Q: Since you started out in Sweden, are your early albums totally in Swedish?

A: Yes. We have six albums totally in Swedish. But we wanted more. We realized that if we kept all our work Swedish, we would never get big anywhere else.

Q: How do they feel about this at home? I mean, do your old fans like your new American work?

A: It has been more successful than anything we have done. In Sweden, people just love anything American. But we still get a lot of requests to do new Swedish songs.

Q: Is this your first American tour?

A: Yes. We just finished some gigs in New York, but we can't wait to get to Texas.

Q: Why? Didn't they like you in New York?

A: The crowds were great, but the rest of it is just too much. Everything is so rush-rush in New York, and the crowds are real pushy. We heard that in Texas, the people are more laid back.

Q: How would you rate American audiences? Are they different than European crowds?

A: Very different. I would say that, on the average, they are older and much wilder. Also, they tend to be drunker, which makes it really weird.

Q: Can we expect a new album after you complete your tour?

A: Of course. After we finish in late June, we're off to Japan. They love us there. But then it's back to the studio. You can expect a new album in '93.

With her eloquent Swedish accent, Marie went on to tell me about the problems they have had with American record companies.

"In Sweden, we come out with an album about every eight to 10 months. Here, they want us to put one out every other year. To me, it seems like they are trying to stifle our creativity."

Whatever problems Roxette has had with American recording studios, it has not affected their incredible success. So far, Joyride has produced a number-one hit and has sold more than eight million copies.

 

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HOT YOUNG SINGER TO PLAY FREE SHOW

BY REBECCA MCPHAIL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

The third time's the charm for pop singer Matthew Sweet.

Girlfriend, Sweet's third album, is climbing up the charts with the help of an eye-catching video for the album's title track.

The idea for the video, a blend of lip-sync performance and scenes from a Japanese animated film, came from Sweet himself.

"It was my idea to use it," he said. "I'm a big fan of Japanese animation."

Sweet, who was born in Nebraska, moved to Athens, Georgia, in the mid-'80s after his high school graduation. The move garnered him a record deal with Columbia but soured his relations with Athens.

"I think that my biggest mistake was that I got a record deal within the first couple years of being there. I think that people around there that really wanted to be famous, like REM, really resented the fact that I just kind of whipped through there and ended up with a record deal," he said.

After recording his first album, Inside, for Columbia, Sweet switched to the A & M label and delivered his second album, Earth.

The album, with guest appearances by Richard Lloyd, Robert Quine and Kate Pierson of the B-52s, received critical acclaim, but, like the first album, it was not a success.

Preparations for the recent album were mired in problems. While writing the songs, Sweet was in the middle of divorce proceedings.

When Girlfriend was finally completed, Sweet suddenly found himself without a record label, after being asked to leave A & M.

With finished record in hand, Sweet began the search for a new label.

He settled on the fledgling Zoo label. Sweet, for his part, is pleased with the choice.

"It's been really good for me," he said. "Zoo is like a big family, and it's a place where I can stand out when I have a little success."

Although the album has been completed for more than a year, Sweet is still fretting over it.

It bothers me when people take the lyrics too seriously and think I'm singing about my life. That would get boring after a while, he said.

"One bad thing about lyric sheets is when people can take lyrics away from music, it takes a lot of the mystery and the effect out of them," Sweet said.

Sweet is currently on a headlining tour in support of Girlfriend and will be appearing this Sunday at a free show at Back Alley on Richmond.

 

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PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS ONLY TIP OF ELECTION ICEBERG

FROM STAFF REPORTS

As Super Tuesday approaches, some students and faculty are battling for political office while others have been busy supporting and volunteering for primary candidates.

Two UH adjunct professors are running for Justice of the Peace Precinct 1, Place 1.

Adjunct political science Professor David Fernandez and adjunct law Professor Thomas Rayfield are both competing for the position, which encompasses much of north Houston.

Both said truancy is the major issue facing their prospective offices, but have different approaches to handling the problem.

Fernandez said he wants to implement a program of community service for juvenile offenders instead of the current law which fines parents and lets students go untouched.

"It's the children who need a little focus, not the parents who need to be fined," he said.

Rayfield said public service might be a good idea, but the law says the parents are responsible.

Running against the two professors in the Democratic primary are: Houston City Councilman Dale Gorczynski, Assistant City Attorney Gloria Cantu Minnick, Desmond Gay, Ray Hill, UH alumnus James Gerson, Harry "Red" Loftus and Cynthia Owens. There are no Republicans on the primary ballot for the position.

Former five-term state legislator and third-year UH law student Al Luna is seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Representative in the newly-created Dist. 29 seat.

Also competing for the spot in a field of five candidates are: State Sen. Gene Green, Houston City Councilman Ben Reyes, Judge Sylvia Garcia and Andrew Burks Jr.

Luna has said he will give education and health care priority status in his campaign.

Republicans seeking to be on the November ballot for the Dist. 29 seat are: Freddy Rios, Clark Kent Ervin, Carole Keeton Rylander and Barry Williamson.

Doctoral candidate and Democrat Alma Allen is running for State Board of Education, Dist. 4. She faces four other Democrats Tuesday.

Candidates running for positions representing UH include:

County Commissioner: Incumbent Democrat El Franco Lee runs unopposed in his party's primary and will not face a Republican candidate in November.

U.S. Representative, Dist. 18: Incumbent Democrat Craig Washington is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, while two Republican contenders, Edward Blum and C. L. Kennedy, vie for the position to face Washington in November.

Texas State Senate, Dist. 13: Incumbent Sen. Rodney Ellis also runs unopposed and will not face a Republican candidate in November.

Texas House of Representatives, Dist. 147: Incumbent Democrat Garnet Coleman faces Rev. Jew Don Boney Jr. Tuesday. Republican Glen Hancock runs unopposed for his party's spot.

Coleman, who defeated Boney four months ago for the late Larry Evans' seat, owns and manages three local business.

Coleman said improving public schools is a first step to curbing the rising crime problem in Houston.

Boney, a local activist, wants Texas criminals to serve their full prison terms.

State Board of Education, Dist. 4: Democratic candidates are Allen, Birdia Churchwell, Ed Cline, Lois Mosley and Gary Yokie.

Campus political groups are busy supporting their parties, but are waiting until after the field of candidates narrows before focusing their endorsements.

Latrice Sellers, president of the College Democrats, said members of her group have volunteered for various Democratic candidates.

College Republicans President Mai Spickelmier said her organization has been involved with the District 29 race.

"They've also been helping with the Bush/Quayle re-election campaign," she said.

Spickelmier said her group has brought Republican candidate Ervin and County Chair candidate Betsy Lake to campus as speakers.

For those students voting in the UH precinct, the polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Jeppesen Gym for Democrats and at Austin High School, 1700 Dumbel, for Republicans.

 

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COMICS OPEN DOOR ON CLOSED SUBJECT

BY SHANE PATRICK BOYLE

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Comic books have long been used as a medium to address social issues and challenge negative stereotypes.

Even the issues of homophobia and AIDS have been addressed by comic publishers, and several comic books are including positive portrayals of gay and lesbian characters. Underground and small, independent comic creators took the lead in this move. But now, even mainstream companies like Marvel and DC are addressing these once-taboo topics.

The March issue (106) of Marvel's Alpha Flight is the most recent and most publicized example of gay characters in comics.

In this issue, Northstar, of the Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight, reveals his homosexuality.

The story focuses on AIDS. Northstar adopts an abandoned baby who is HIV positive, and the little girl's plight becomes the subject for the fictional news media's attention.

Major Mapleleaf, a superhero whose gay son died of AIDS, attacks Northstar in the hospital to protest the public attitudes toward AIDS and homosexuals.

When Mapleleaf's son died, he says, "He was gay -- so people didn't afford him the luxury of being `innocent.' There were no press conferences. No fund-raisers, no nightly news updates!"

In the midst of the conversation/battle between the two, Northstar says, "Do not presume to lecture me on the hardships homosexuals must bare," revealing that he is gay.

The story stresses that AIDS is not a strictly homosexual disease. During his conversation/battle, for example, Northstar says, "AIDS is not a disease restricted to homosexuals as much as it seems -- at times, the rest of the world wishes that were so!"

Another AIDS story from Marvel appeared in the December issue of The Incredible Hulk (388). The storyline involves a mobster who sends an assassin after his HIV-positive son's lover.

In the subplot of this issue, Jim Wilson, the Falcon's nephew and the Hulk's former partner, reveals he has AIDS. The method by which Jim contracted the disease is not revealed, and the Hulk is not interested.

"If he had measles, it wouldn't matter where he got it." the Hulk says.

However, in spite of the publicity Marvel has received over the Alpha Flight story, they have not done anything revolutionary.

"Marvel is getting excess credit," said Howard Cruse, founding editor of Gay Comics and cartoonist for The Advocate.

The real significance of the Alpha Flight story is not that Marvel did anything new, but that the comics industry is "getting less afraid of the word (gay)," Cruse said. "The real pioneering has been in the underground."

Cruse said the earliest comics written "by gay people about gay people" were underground comics published in the mid-'70s, such as Come Out Comix and Dykes Shorts by Mary Wings.

Gay Comics, founded in 1980, was the first one that was "serious about political issues and the everyday life of gays," he said.

Since 1987, the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) has been publishing Tales of the Closet as an educational effort.

The series has readers of all ages according to writer and artist Ivan Velez Jr., but it is primarily targeted to a teenage audience.

In a non-preachy way, the well-developed, continuing storyline educates readers on self-esteem, prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases, homophobia and other topics.

It attempts to help young gay people feel more comfortable about the feelings they experience, but Velez said it has also been a valuable tool for helping straight people overcome homophobia.

In commenting on the Alpha Flight story, Velez said Marvel "exploited the topic a little bit," but he is not entirely pessimistic about recent efforts by the mainstream publishers. The Hulk story was handled with "more emotion," he said.

He also expressed satisfaction with the portrayal of gays and lesbians in some of D.C.'s comics. In comparing a coming-out story that appeared in the pages of D.C.'s Flash with Northstar's coming-out, he said, "Marvel tends to be sensationalistic," whereas "D.C. tries to make things happen naturally."

In the Flash story (issue 53), villain-turned-hero Pied Piper reveals to Wally West (a.k.a. Flash) that he is gay. The revelation comes up in a conversation between the two friends, unlike Northstar's coming-out which takes place in the middle of a battle.

In a further development of this character, Piper and Wally had a discussion on HIV in issue 60 which underscored the need for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, to be careful about AIDS. Piper makes the point that Wally's promiscuity (well-known to regular readers) puts him in danger even though he is straight.

In another issue (61), Piper brings a male date to a wedding.

While gay characters are still relatively new to mainstream comics, they have been part of D.C.'s universe much longer than Marvel's.

Over the past few years, gays and lesbians have been appearing in several D.C. series including Sandman, Swamp Thing, The Legion of Superheroes and Superman.

"D.C. is much more progressive than Marvel," said current Gay Comics editor Andy Mangels.

Mangels, who also writes various comics for Innovation and D.C., is a progressive writer himself. He said he is "the only mainstream writer who is openly gay," and he makes an attempt to include a gay character in every story he writes.

In one of his upcoming stories for Innovation's Quantum Leap comic, the time-traveling protagonist leaps into the body of a lesbian who must protect a transsexual from the police two days before the Stonewall Riot.

Anyone interested in the portrayal of gays and lesbians in comics should follow Mangels' work.

As far as future developments from D.C. are concerned, Martha Thomases of D.C.'s marketing department has said that the creative staff is "committed to continuing realistic portrayals of all kinds of people."

One example of this commitment is the forthcoming mini-series featuring Maggie Sawyer, a lesbian police officer, who started as a supporting character in Superman.

Another project, coming in 1994, is a graphic novel by Howard Cruse about racism and homophobia in the '60s.

 

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PHOTOGRAPHER'S UNIVERSAL ISSUES ON DISPLAY

BY AMEY MAZUREK

NEWS REPORTER

Photography professor George Krause will exhibit his controversial images of nudes, crucifixions, saints and martyrs at the Museum of Fine Arts beginning Sunday.

The exhibit of 130 works, entitled "George Krause: Universal Issues," will run through May 17 as part of FotoFest 1992.

"The nude is controversial," Krause said, "but it has always been a major theme in art. I don't want to offend anyone. I like the idea of pulling the rug out from under someone's perceptions or touching a nerve."

His 30-year project is divided into four themes, which highlight his perceptions of human relationships.

"The Street" chronicles his residences in Mexico, Spain, Italy and Philadelphia. "Saints and Martyrs" shows tombstone effigies of saints reposing in Rome, or martyrs withstanding horrific tortures and graphic crucifixions, as found in Mexico.

Krause has noticed that as communities in Mexico prosper, they replace their sculptures of a bloodied Christ with a triumphant Christ. He regards his pictures as records of the old sculptures, which were done by anonymous artists.

"I Nudi" portrays diverse types of bodies in situations that reveal Krause's eye for irony and humor, extending his creativity by metaphors, as in Medusa, where a woman reclines in bathwater, her hair waving around her head like the snakes on the head of the mythological character.

"Qui Riposa" studies tombstones, especially of Italy, where specific details reveal the relationships of the living to the dead. In one of the pictures, a portrait was scratched off a tombstone.

"There was anger," said Anne Tucker, MFA's curator of photography. "Someone didn't want this person to have even that sad reminder of immortality."

At the turn of the century, when photography was in its infancy, portraits on tombstones were usually made of corpses.

"They took these pictures not to be strange or weird, but as an attempt at immortality," Krause said.

Krause has a unique method for developing his pictures, called silver toning. The picture looks almost aged, as if it was taken in the early 1900s. It retains sharp detail in a warm, gray tone, eliminating the harshness of glossy white print.

"In the nudes, and the saints and martyrs, it adds lushness and sensuality," Krause said. "It makes the cemeteries something other than artifacts and gives them more emotional content."

His influences include the 1930s radio program The Shadow and Herman Hesse's Steppenwolfe. He prefers to observe without being intrusive, and he manipulates his subjects as little as possible.

"I like to create the most bizarre and unsettled images from things people see every day," he said.

He likes to include in his images "a little bit of a hook -- if it continues to haunt, or if it refuses to fade," then he has accomplished what he wants.

Funding for "Universal Issues" comes from the Lannan Foundation, Louisa Stude Sarofim and Friends of George Krause.

 

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MINORITY NETWORKING SMOOTHS HS TRANSITION

BY KATHY ALLEN

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

When Jose Montoya entered UH's electrical engineering program in 1987, he planned to go to classes and study hard -- on his own.

But when he attended the new-student orientation, Montoya heard about the Program for Minority Engineering Students from Gerhard Paskusz, professor of electrical engineering and director of PROMES.

Montoya's initial reaction to the program was negative, as he thought it was a remedial program, but he decided to check into it anyway.

"After I was there awhile, I realized it was not remedial. PROMES was there to ease the transition from high school to college. I have a rough time adjusting to new situations," Montoya said.

PROMES Assistant Director John Matthews said Montoya is not alone. Many minority engineering students, who typically were high achievers in high school, have a rough time adjusting to college, which is why PROMES was started in 1974 by Paskusz.

At that time, many minority engineering students were dropping out of college or switching their majors to non-engineering degree programs, Matthews said.

Today, PROMES offers math and science workshops patterned after the results of a study conducted at the University of California at Berkeley in 1985, which analyzed why black students who had high SAT scores consistently performed poorly in calculus, he said.

Berkeley researchers found that blacks who were high achievers in high school typically isolated themselves from their peers in order to focus on their studies.

Since this technique served them well in high school, they assumed it would also work in college, Matthews said.

In college, black students did not join study groups or participate in hallway conversations about calculus even when given the opportunity to do so, he said.

Instead, they studied alone, and when they began having comprehension problems, they simply knuckled down and studied harder.

Ultimately, their grades slipped, and self-doubt took hold. Those who finally sought assistance usually waited until it was too late to do much good, Matthews said.

What they didn't realize was that in high school, students primarily regurgitate information to the teacher. But in college, students must conceptualize beyond the information provided in the classroom, he said.

In contrast, the researchers noted that Asian students, who excelled in calculus, used their social groups also as study groups.

Researchers concluded that the university community needed to coax black students out of their isolation and show them the value of group study because the more a student "handles" the concepts through discussion with others, the more likely the student will understand and retain the concepts, Matthews said.

Berkeley instituted special workshops for minority students, encouraging them to work in groups on problems beyond the required course work.

Caution was taken to not make the workshop remedial because this was not what was needed, and a remedial workshop would have been a turn-off to the students.

Within one semester, the black students excelled in calculus, he said.

At UH, PROMES simply creates a study and network situation that the majority of students come into naturally, Matthews said.

Blacks, Hispanics and American-Indians, who are considered under-represented minorities in engineering, are eligible for the program.

Corporate sponsors provide the majority of the program's funding, while UH provides office and workshop space and a portion of Paskusz' time, Matthews said.

As to its success, Matthews pointed to the fall 1990 calculus I course.

About 40 percent of all students who take calculus have to retake it. Of the 124 students who took it that semester, 24 participated in the PROMES calculus workshop.

Of the 14 students who received A's, seven attended PROMES workshops; of the 17 students who received B's, seven attended PROMES workshops, Matthews said.

PROMES conducts workshops for calculus I, II and III; physics I; chemistry I; industrial engineering; FORTRAN; and English.

PROMES also offers a freshman orientation class geared toward mastering skills, such as time management, study techniques and test-taking, that will lead to academic success, he said.

Furthermore, students are taught that persistence is the key. But Matthews said, "that's the factor we cannot manufacture for them."

Additionally, PROMES assists students in obtaining internships, coop assignments and scholarships, he said.

"In a nutshell, PROMES has kept me on track," Montoya said. "I think I would have changed majors by now (without it)."

 

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UH HOSTS INTERNATIONAL PIANIST ALLESSANDRINI TO PLAY SATURDAY

BY CHRISTOPHER CUMMINGS

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

A rare musical event will occur at UH this weekend.

Olinda Allessandrini, a Brazilian pianist, will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, at Dudley Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Building.

Allessandrini is the winner of the National Piano Competition in Brazil and the Golden Medal from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.

"The Brazilian pianist masters the most difficult passages with her brilliant technique. She delights the audience not only with her technical prowess, but also with the enthusiasm with which she conveys to the listener the passion of a committed artist," a German magazine recently said.

Allessandrini is in Houston to kick off her U.S. tour that will include Texas, Louisiana, Washington, D.C., Indiana and Illinois.

While on tour, she will perform works by famous Brazilian and American composers: Heitor Villa-Lobos, Marlos Nobre, Clodomiro Caspary, Ernesto Nazareth and Louis Moreau Gottschalk.

The recital will include Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4l and Ciclo Brasileirol by Villa-Lobos; Toccatina, Ponteio, Final by Marlos Nobre; Mobile by Caspary; Three Brazilian Tangos by Nazareth; and the Variations of the Brazilian Anthem Op. 69 by Gottschalk.

Allessandrini has played the piano since the age of 4. She received her bachelor of arts in piano performance in 1965 at the University of Caxias do Sul, located in the Brazilian state of Caxias do Sul, her home town.

She continued her studies at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in 1967 where she earned a master's degree in piano.

Allessandrini has performed chamber and solo music recitals in Brazil, Uruguay, Germany, Austria and Italy.

She also is a respected educator, writer and clinician. She has coordinated several special projects for the youth of Brazil including "Recitais Didaticos," a musical project for the youth in the city of Novo Hamburgo.

Allessandrini said there are several movements in the big cities of Brazil to stimulate the growth of music, but in the smaller cities, "the art is far from the people." She said these people rarely see concerts or recitals, and it is her goal to give them an opportunity.

Saturday's recital is sponsored by UH, Promusica E Arte Inc. and VARIG Brazilian Airlines.

Promusica E Arte Inc. was founded in 1988 by Maritza Mascarenhas, special projects consultant at the UH School of Music. Mascarenhas said the non-profit organization functions as a medium between artists and institutions and was set up to widen the range of communication and understanding between the United States and other countries.

Allessandrini will be the third Brazilian pianist to perform at UH in the past two years. Luiz Fernando Benedini visited on Oct. 20, 1990, and Arnaldo Cohen on Jan. 19, 1991.

Tickets for students are $3, non-student tickets cost $5 and will be available at the door.

 

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