KERRI ANDERSON HOPES FOR A BETTER LIFE WITH HER NEW CD

BY GRAM GEMOETS

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Every few years, a performer arrives on the music scene with little or no help from the establishment. This is more than true in the case of Kerri Anderson -- a vocal dynamo with a passion for the unusual.

You see, the record industry is very clique-oriented. Talent and ambition can easily be overshadowed by who you know. Not in the case of Kerri Anderson.

Anderson didn't have the connections or the desire to play anyone's game but her own. All she had was talent, but she had enough of it to get herself discovered.

After mustering the courage to cut a demo, Anderson convinced the big shots at Impact Records to give her a try.

She has just released her first album entitled Labyrinth. With a little luck and a lot of determination, Anderson has launched a new career.

Starting out on your own can be difficult but not impossible. Anderson is a prime example of how to beat the odds.

The odds in her case were stacked pretty high against her. "If I hadn't dropped out of high school, I would have been thrown out," she lamented in a recent telephone interview.

Anderson also was the product of an unstable home life. "I tried to kill myself. I have more scars on my wrists than I can count."

But despite the odds, her story is one of success. Therapy didn't help. Her parents didn't help. In short, nothing helped Kerri except Kerri.

"At (age) 8, I started taking group lessons on a rented guitar, but it did little for me." After a bout with yet another instrument, the piano, Anderson returned to the guitar on her own.

Because she "hated her new teacher," she had to learn by herself. Well, needless to say, she taught herself a lot. It is this independence that is her unique trademark.

"What really frightens me now is the future. I mean, what comes next?"

Well, if her future work is anything like Labyrinth, then she has nothing to worry about.

Anderson figures the next two years of her life will be spent on the road. "I'll be seeing the world; it will be a cool experience."

However, there are still some minor obstacles in her way. Most new artists are forced to sign long-term record deals. These deals ensure future employment but sometimes tie an artist to a record company for a very long time.

"I didn't sign anything. We just recorded the album and that was it. I hope everything turns out for the best."

Well, so far everything is for the best for Anderson. Since releasing her record, her life has been a whirlwind of public appearances and interviews. It seems the public just can't get enough.

Still, most people have not yet heard of Kerri Anderson. She is hoping to change this.

"Ghosts," her first single, is supported by a video that is, in the least, interesting considering the artist's attitude toward it. "I had little to do with the video. I just showed up and did what I was told.

"Now that I have more experience, I want to have some creative influence on the next video we do.

"If people like what I do, great. If not, well, so what."

 

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KITTY CONTROVERSY LEAPS TO CAMPAIGN SPOTLIGHT

 

BY FRANK SAN MIGUEL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

 

The YES Party, competing against three other groups in the upcoming Students' Association elections, has angered two student groups who recently announced a campaign against the party's wish to buy a new live mascot.

The Association of Students for Animal Protection and Team Earth launched a "Just Say NO to YES" campaign last week, targeting the YES Party's advocacy of a live mascot as too expensive and dangerous to students.

YES has come under fire for a platform including the re-acquisition of a live mascot as one of its priorities.

"Right now, we're in the midst of a recession. We're cutting classes and the needs of the library," said Trisha McKaskle, director of finance and administration for the animal protection group. "It's ludicrous for anyone to say that, with no parking and overcrowded classes, paying for a new cougar and the facility is even a priority."

Team Earth President Michelle Palmer is also protesting fiscal support of a new mascot.

"We can't have a decent library, but we can spend thousands of dollars on getting a new cougar?" she said. "There are many more important issues than getting a new live mascot."

YES presidential candidate Rusty Hruska defended his party's stand on the mascot issue.

"I feel that's it's the strongest tradition UH has," Hruska said. "God forbid that this school spends a little money to support one of its strongest traditions. I think the university could spend $10,000 on caring for a cougar."

However, McKaskle said the tradition argument doesn't wash.

"People say a mascot will increase school spirit, but football-game attendance has been going down since the 1970s," she said. "Many schools have enthusiastic students because they have highly-ranked departments and services that put students first, not because of live animals."

Hruska said he felt the money to pay for a new cage could be raised.

"I didn't like it in that cage and think we could find the resources to build one," he said. "It's hard for me to believe that, with the right resources, we couldn't raise that money."

McKaskle, however, said it was a matter of misplaced priorities.

"If Mr. Hruska is so concerned with raising money to build UH, why hasn't he been raising money to help the library or for new buildings?" she said.

"How can we have pride in a school whose library is ranked as one of the lowest?" Palmer said. "If we're going to make a big fund-raising effort, we should work on projects that all students are concerned with."

McKaskle said her group's opposition to the purchase of a live mascot was more than just being humane. In Shasta V's last year, UH paid more than $7,000 for care of the animal, she said. Such money could be put to use to fund departments and programs directly affecting students, she said.

"So many departments on this campus need computers, staff and resources that the money spent on a cougar every year could really help students," she said.

Liability in the event that a live cougar attacks a bystander, McKaskle said, was also a major concern. In 1969, Shasta III attacked two children in a seven-month period. Both attacks occurred while Shasta was tied to a tree during a cage cleaning.

"If someone besides a Cougar Guard (caretakers of the live mascot) is mauled by this wild animal, can students really afford to pay a million-dollar lawsuit?" McKaskle said. "Will we have to add a Cougar Fee to cover liabilities? Or is Mr. Hruska going to pay for it if UH gets sued?"

Hruska said liability is not an issue.

"There's a liability with everything in life -- driving a car, anything," he said. "We can't go around and get worried about the liability of everything. UH can certainly afford the liability."

However, Palmer added the threat of a mascot was also pragmatic.

"A live cougar will harm all students by taking away money from classes, more professors and parking," she said.

Part of her group's campaign, McKaskle said, calls for all SA candidates to make their views known about the live-mascot issue.

Other SA candidates characterized Hrsuka's championing of the issue as petty politics.

"I think this proves how desperate some people are for an issue," Student Advocacy presidential candidate Andrew Monzon said. "Being an average student, I'm concerned about the library, the long lines at add/drop.

"People talk about traditions, but UH's biggest tradition is being nontraditional," he said.

Monzon said he is opposed to a Shasta VI.

"I think it's really sad when something this controversial is being pushed by a particular party," said Damien Kauta, PRIDE presidential candidate. "SA should be the voice of students and listen to their concerns, not push personal opinions."

Kauta said he favored SA sponsoring referendums on the issue rather than serving as an agenda for personal platforms.

"If there is a real need for students to make their opinions known on this issue, then SA's role is to solicit student opinions, weigh the results and advocate what the majority of students want," Kauta said.

Kauta said he was personally opposed to getting a new mascot for financial and liability reasons, as well as for the issue's divisiveness.

"Some of the groups that have come out are proof that there isn't a consensus. Before the campaign, I never even knew it was an issue. No one had approached me about it."

PLAID presidential candidate Eric De Beer said he, too, thought the mascot was a dead issue and registered his opposition. "It simply costs too much," De Beer said. "Students are worried about the costs of a lot of things, and a cougar isn't one of them."

On May 28, 1989, Shasta V was euthanized because of kidney failure. The cougar had been at the center of controversy after students and groups decried the conditions of her cement-and-glass enclosure.

In September 1989, a campus referendum drew more than 2,000 votes to voice student views on the issue of purchasing a new mascot. The vote was a slim victory for mascot proponents with 698 favoring purchase of a new mascot if a new cage were built and 665 students opposing purchase of a new live mascot at all.

Of those wishing for a new mascot, 481 students voted to acquire a Shasta VI immediately, while 246 wished to have a new mascot housed at the Houston Zoo.

Efforts to raise money for a new cage by that time had garnered slightly more than $25,000.

In October, interim President George Magner announced UH would not seek to acquire a new live mascot, citing liability and cost as issues.

In October 1990, then-Residence Halls Association Policies Director Julie Newton told local media that she would be writing a resolution to be introduced to the SA Senate calling for UH to revive the mascot tradition. Newton said a poll of 308 students in the residence halls showed students wanted a new cougar.

In that poll, 42 percent favored getting a new cougar if a new facility were built, 37 percent favored getting a new cougar immediately and 21 percent of respondents opposed getting a cougar at all.

A competing university bill, authored by Association of Students for Animal Protection members, was introduced to ban future ownership of live mascots by UH.

Newton's bill was defeated. The bill to ban live mascots passed the SA Senate by a two-thirds majority and was signed by both Speaker Mark Burge and President Paul Hoglund.

In April 1991, late UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett returned the banning bill unsigned, writing that she would abide by Magner's decision to not purchase another mascot.

During the search for a new president, McKaskle said she hopes that acting President James Pickering will honor Barnett's wishes not to purchase another mascot.

McKaskle, whose group will meet at 4 p.m. today in the University Center's Aegean Room to discuss the "Just Say NO to YES" campaign, said, "We want to let YES and all the parties know that there are students opposed to the idea of a live mascot on campus.

"We're telling students that if they don't want a new live mascot, want their money to go to things that affect them and want these parties to address real issues, they should cast a vote against YES," McKaskle said.

Thus far, however, the protesting groups have run into administrative red tape, with sanctions placed upon Association of Students for Animal Protection by the Department of Campus Activities for reported posting violations and intervention by Election Commissioner Stefan Murry.

Association of Students for Animal Protection was cited by the Department of Campus Activities for posting unapproved materials over YES fliers. As part of the penalty, the group is barred during election week from getting any fliers or handbills stamped for distribution.

Materials such as fliers and handbills are required to have the approval stamp from the Department of Campus Activities for them to be legal at UH.

 

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STUDENTS GET ANOTHER VIEW OF LIFE'S WOES

BY KATHY ALLEN

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Students are shedding their 1980s apathy toward community service.

"I think there is more acceptance of the idea of volunteering and the need for it in the community," said Lloyd Jacobson, student director of the Metropolitan Volunteer Program.

A few years ago, about eight out of 10 people described UH students as apathetic, but it really was a question of getting them connected, Jacobson said.

MVP connects students to volunteer efforts by sponsoring special events and serving as a clearinghouse that helps students find community service opportunities throughout Houston.

Although only three years old, the student-run community outreach program's active volunteer list has expanded to 1,250 people.

Jacobson said this expansion was enabled, in part, because the Student Fee Advisory Council doubled MVP's budget this year.

But the committee granted the increased budget because it was convinced that an increasing number of students are interested in volunteering, and community service provides students with growth and development opportunities.

"Community service has the capability to educate students about issues," Jacobson said.

A couple of years ago, he took both conservative and liberal students to a Star of Hope shelter. Just by talking to the homeless people there, the experience shook the conservative students' stereotypes of who the homeless were.

But it also challenged the liberal students' views of social programs established by liberal lawmakers -- they don't necessarily work.

As students' volunteer efforts make them more aware of issues, they start to ask, "Is that position on how to solve that problem really informed?" Jacobson said.

MVP also helps students coordinate community service with career interests.

To help students fulfill a community service option offered by the UH College of Education, MVP recently assigned 127 education majors to 20-hour assignments at social service agencies such as women's shelters and domestic-violence programs.

The assignments enable future educators to gain insights into the root causes of the problems showing up in the school system, Jacobson said.

But there are other reasons for the increase in student volunteers.

Karen Bredehoeft, president of the Delta Gamma sorority, said she has seen a big increase in community service.

"We (Greeks) are trying to play down a bad image," Bredehoeft said, but she doesn't think the response would be that great if that was the only reason for volunteering.

She cites the good feeling she gains from participating in efforts such as a Halloween party her sorority held for a Star of Hope family shelter.

Faculty members also see an increase in community awareness among students.

"Students have a more acute sense that they're part of a community," said John Bernard, associate professor of English.

Students tend to be more politically involved and more socially conscious than they were 10 years ago, Bernard said.

Jacobson cites an increased interest among students in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the School of Social Work as further evidence of today's students' more altruistic attitudes.

The raised consciousness toward community service at UH may be a reflection of a nationwide trend.

A recent Washington Post story reported that while the community service movement is reminiscent of the political activism that swept campuses during the Vietnam War, this movement is less visible, largely disengaged from politics and more focused on the difference one person can make.

Recent interviews with students and school administrators on 10 campuses indicate that volunteering has become the trendy thing to do, the story reported.

Jacobson said he welcomes this trend, but hopes it is not simply a fad.

Students may call 749-2972 or stop by the MVP office in the University Center Underground for information about community service opportunities.

 

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ATTORNEY, BUSINESS WOMAN OPENS LOCAL HANGOUT FOR COMMUNITY

BY DANA DURBIN

NEWS REPORTER

One look at the petite, black woman with braces belting out the words to Police's "Roxanne," and no one would know that she is different from the other people at U.B.U., the bar on Calhoun.

But 27-year-old Cynthia Harvey is different. She's not just another student hanging out -- she's the owner of the bar. She's also a lawyer and is working on opening her own law partnership.

"Sometimes I feel that I haven't accomplished enough for my age," she said.

In 1987, Harvey moved to Houston to attend UH. She earned her master's in business administration and a law degree.

"I started working on both degrees because I couldn't make up my mind between the two," Harvey said.

In March 1991, while still in law school, she bought the bar from 86-year-old Grace Hall.

Hall had owned the bar for 30 years when she decided to sell because of the risk of being forced off the property to make room for a proposed highway, Harvey said.

Harvey knew it was a risk, but she bought the bar anyway because she wanted the business experience.

But her motivation wasn't completely selfish.

"When I was at UH, I realized there was no place to hang out. I'm not trying to get rich; I just want to give students an environment where they can have fun," she said.

The bar needed a lot of work, such as getting it up to snuff to meet health standards.

Harvey said she had to become creative with her resources in order to pay for the pool tables, vending machines and contract labor.

The bar finally opened on May 22, 1991, Harvey said.

It was slow at first because the opening was between semesters.

But she said she was able to learn the tavern business slowly and study for the bar exam during the summer.

Business improved with the beginning of the fall semester, thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations and more advertising, Harvey said.

The crowd at U.B.U. is quite diverse, including some campus residents and rugby players who frequent the bar. Harvey said a high percentage of patrons are law students and professors from UH and Texas Southern University.

Craig Jackson is a law professor at TSU and a regular U.B.U. customer. He said the place reminds him of a bar where he used to hang out when he was a student at the University of Texas.

"This is a place where TSU and UH meet, and everybody feels comfortable. And it's because of Cynthia," Jackson said.

Unfortunately, Harvey said she's been told the highway might come through ahead of schedule. She said she intends to have a grand opening and going-out-of- business party all in one.

"Right when things start to pick up, I get my legs cut off," she said. "I want to emphasize that while this bar is still here, it functions for the UH community."

 

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GLADIATOR FULL OF CLICHES

BY MASOUD SHAFIEI

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Have you ever seen any boxing movies? If not, welcome to the Gladiator, a film

that blends all boxing movies ever made.

Tommy (James Marshall) is a college student who recently moved to the South Side of Chicago. He has to face tough street gangs by being the "good guy" of the film.

Tommy's not too keen on fighting, whether in or out of the ring, but he has to put up his fists to survive and pay off his father's gambling debts.

Tommy is romantically involved with Dawn (Cara Buono) and finds a job as a dishwasher in her mother's diner, but the money isn't enough. He also makes friends with Lincoln (Cuba Gooding Jr.) after saving his life during a gang fight.

Tommy's romantic relation with Dawn and his friendship with Lincoln are the director's means to create the same old cliche scenes in such movies by threatening the "hero" to do what the "bad man" wants him to do by kidnapping his girlfriend and building up a fight between two friends.

Everything in Gladiator is so predictable that there is no need to use the imagination. It is a kind of movie which is known as a "popcorn" movie. You can relax in your seat and take a nap, if you feel so inclined, while watching the movie.

The film, on the whole, is a counterfeit of other gang and boxing movies ruined with boring cliches. Even the title scene is a ripoff of the beginning of West Side Story!

Nonetheless, the very same scene is significant and matches the name of the movie. Showing the row of houses from above and focusing on several houses one after another, the film implies that a gladiator may eventually step out of any of the houses. He would step out fighting for freedom, by fighting against injustice.

 

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LYNN EUSAN TO BE SHELTER FOR HOMELESS

BY MELISSA NEELEY

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Food and clothing drives, information tables and a sleep-out at Lynn Eusan Park are some of the activities being held this week to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless.

This week is Hunger and Homelessness Week at UH, and the Metropolitan Volunteer Program is working with other agencies to give food and clothing to those in need.

MVP is a student organization devoted to finding volunteers from the UH student and faculty bodies to help others in the community. The organization has found volunteers to work in soup kitchens, resale shops that raise money for people in need, and community centers for homeless people and battered women.

"We have a network of 120 food pantries in the city. The food generated at UH will be distributed to our network of pantries.

"The spring is a really important time for food drives because less attention is paid in the spring than holiday seasons like Christmas when people are celebrating with their own families and thinking about other people more," Valerie Parkhill said.

Moore coordinates food drives for the Interfaith Ministries Hunger Coalition of Houston. MVP is working with other agencies to collect 5,000 pounds of non-perishable food for Interfaith.

There are collection bins at 18 strategic locations on campus, including Agnes Arnold Hall, Melcher Hall and Moody Towers. The food barrels will be collected Friday, and the food will be distributed later that day, Parkhill said.

MVP also is collecting clothes at 13 campus locations, including the Hilton College, Cougar Den, Agnes Arnold Hall and Melcher Hall. The clothing will be given to the Bristow Center, a drop-in rehabilitation center for homeless people with mental illnesses, and the Bridge, a shelter and resale store to aid battered women and their children, MVP Director Lloyd Jacobson said.

After the clothing is brought to the Bridge's resale shop, the women living in the shelter will be given a certificate that enables them to buy $20 worth of clothes, said Christy Crow, the shop's coordinator.

"Our pants are $1; our shirts are 50 cents; and our shoes are 50 cents, so $20 can buy a lot of clothes here. The reason we sell them so cheap is to make money to put back into the shelter," Crow said.

Booths are also located around campus to provide information to those who want to volunteer their services to shelters like the Bristow Center or the Bridge.

The grand finale of Homeless Week is a sleepout, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday night. The sleepout will allow students to get a small taste of what it is like to be homeless, Jacobson said.

"We're strongly encouraging people (who participate) to bring cardboard and newspapers instead of sleeping bags. The unknown element in this is actually the elements," Jacobson said. "We figure if it rains, we'll head for some sort of overhang."

Speakers will discuss the reasons why some people become homeless. The goal is to put people in situations to see how they would respond to personal hardships such as losing a job or a relative, he said.

"The students who will be at the sleep-out will have to go to school Friday a little grungy from being outside all night," Jacobson said. "That will encourage them to think, `How would I feel if I had to look for a job? What kind of impressions would people have of me?'

 

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AD EXEC TO SPEAK ON WONDERS OF ADVERTISING

BY REBECCA MCPHAIL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Armed with slides and videos of creative work, veteran advertising executive Al Hampel will speak this evening on the creative process and its relation to the advertising profession.

The provocatively titled lecture, "Ads You Won't See On TV," will be held in the Regents Room of the University Center from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is open to all students, faculty and staff.

Hampel is confident with his lecture's content. "I can assure all those who attend, they will be enlightened and entertained," he said.

His first venture into the business began more than 30 years ago.

Interested, at first, in both journalism and advertising, Hampel decided on the advertising route.

He has had a distinguished career with some of the top ad agencies in the business, including stints as executive creative director for Foote Cone & Belding/Chicago and chairman of D'Arcy-McManus.

In addition to creating campaigns for Time Inc., Proctor & Gamble and General Electric, Hampel wrote a column on advertising in Advertising Age magazine for several years.

During his career, Hampel was able to travel the world and meet many well-known celebrities. He admits the perks were "all those good ego-gratifying things that attracted me in the first place."

Recently, Hampel left the ad world to start his own consulting firm.

He admits he occasionally longs for re-entry into the business he calls both "stressful" and "dynamic."

"I do miss the action from time to time," he said.

However, Hampel is now busier than ever due to his recent affiliation with the non-profit Advertising Educational Foundation (AEF).

Hampel said AEF, based in New York, is a spinoff group of the Advertising Agency Association of America.

"AEF's purpose is to spread the word about advertising in the universities and to help put a better image on advertising than it currently enjoys," he said.

As an AEF ambassador, Hampel has spoken at universities across the country about the advertising business.

Although he receives no monetary reimbursement for his time, and often has to pay his own traveling expenses, for Hampel, serving as an AEF ambassador is a labor of love.

"I've spoken at a number of schools, and it's met with great success. I love to put this on for them," he said.

Tonight, Hampel hopes to convince a few students to join the dwindling ranks of advertising professionals.

"We need to get more students interested in a career in advertising, and we're losing them because of the economy and advertising's poor image. We need an infusion of new blood," he said.

Hampel himself is sold on the merits of the business.

"This is a very dynamic business where a creative person could prosper and enjoy a career. I'd just like to turn them (the students) on to this

 

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MATTHEW SWEET'S SHOW WENT SOUR

BY REBECCA MCPHAIL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

Last Sunday, amidst a cacophony of bass-heavy dance music, patrons of Back Alley waited for up-and-coming pop singer Matthew Sweet to take the stage.

Thanks to Sweet's lack of an opening act, the audience of less than 200 passed the time watching drunken patrons take to the dance floor, pass a few half-hearted gyrations and lurch back to their seats.

Sweet kicked off the show at 11 p.m., nearly an hour and a half after his scheduled performance time, and the band immediately launched into the first track from Girlfriend, "Divine Intervention."

The four-piece band consisted of Sweet on rhythm guitar, Ivan Julian on lead guitar, Ric Menck on drums and Paul Chastain playing bass and providing back-up vocals.

Near the end of "Divine Intervention," Menck tossed his drumstick across the stage, apparently frustrated with the poor sound quality.

Sweet tried to explain the situation. "We've got a nightmare sound problem up here," he said.

Unfortunately, it improved very little as the evening wore on.

Yet, despite the muddied sound, the band went on to play a riveting, one-hour set consisting almost exclusively of songs from the latest album.

The band relied heavily on the talents of Julian, who magnified the intensity of songs like "Looking at the Sun" and the sneering "Does She Talk?"

A blistering version of Sweet's current single, "Girlfriend," drew the most vocal response from the small crowd.

Returning for an encore, Sweet introduced the last tune as "a dip into the cover pool."

The normally cutting-edge band surprised the crowd with a nod to the past in the form of Buffalo Springfield's "Mr. Soul."

The song ended in a whipped-up frenzy of bass-tossing and drumstick hurling. Only Julian, displaying genuine care for his guitar, gingerly set it down, smiled at the crowd and walked sheepishly off stage.

 

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