Stages is having a party! A perfect party, and everyone is invited.

What do you get when you cross a schizophrenic host, an ego-inflated big-city journalist, a neurotic housewife and a couple of nosy next-door neighbors? Stages' bright, sleak and witty social spoof: The Perfect Party.

Chef Tony (Michael Burg) has decided to throw a party. Not just any party, but the "perfect party." How does one throw the "perfect party?" you ask? Well, you aren't the only one who wants to know. Poor Tony is painfully clueless as to how to give any party, much less the "perfect party."

Parties, according to Tony, are as simple as following a recipe. Pre-heat home; mix together a well-balanced guest list; beating steadily, add an A-list caterer and bake. Well, if Tony was following a recipe, he must have had it upside down.

You see, Tony is like most of us -- he has dreams. But his dreams are a little odd. Tony hopes that by inventing the recipe for the "perfect party," he will get famous. He has left his job as a college professor to become the "perfect-party" planner with the hopes of a guest-spot on Oprah.

Enter Lois (Sally Edmundson), a society writer for a major New York newspaper. She has been invited to write the perfect review for the "perfect party."

Now, writers are a lot like meringue: If you're not careful, you won't get a good one. In this case, Tony should have checked his ingredients twice because he couldn't have gotten a more cynical result.

Lois, doing one of the best Lauren Bacall imitations I have ever seen, is quite the critical one. She is weary that the "perfect party" might flop, thus providing her with a washed-out review for her major New York newspaper. After a brief interview with Tony, our chef for the evening, Lois decides that too many cooks spoil the broth.

Although ready to make her escape before the pot boils over, Tony convinces her to stay by promising she will get to meet his over-endowed, sex-starved twin. This perks this meringue, and she decides to stay for dessert.

Now, they say if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. This is exactly what happens next, as the stew thickens.

The nosy next-door neighbors, Wes and Wilma (Rutherford Cravens and Barbi Norton), throw a bad egg into Tony's "perfect-party" recipe. They refuse to attend for fear they might crack under the pressure of being perfect. But after some urgings from Tony, this couple, reminiscent of Fred and Ethel Mertz (chez I Love Lucy), decides to attend anyway.

Once the party gets going, it is obvious that things are amiss in the kitchen. Tony's wife Sally (Marcy Bannor) seems unaware that her husband has a twin, much less a sex-starved one with a limp. Well, the rest is as original as theater slapstick can get.

You have Tony running around trying to please everyone and failing miserably; Lois trying to leave in a huff; and the neighbors, Wes and Wilma, drunk in the study.

It is obvious that chef Tony has failed to invent the recipe for the "perfect party." Maybe he should have attended a cooking school instead of free-lancing the project.

The ending, however, is a delightful surprise. Like a cake rising to perfection or a properly chilled mousse, Stages' The Perfect Party goes out with style.

Expert special effects offstage give the impression that a party is really in progress. Although the entire cast consists of only five people, one is lost in a party atmosphere.

Stages is located at 3201 Allen Parkway. The Perfect Party runs through May 17. For prices and show times, call 52-STAGE.






Former UH quarterback David Klingler is well on his way to becoming a millionaire, or at least he will be before the next NFL season.

Klingler was the sixth pick overall in the 1992 NFL draft.

With the help of his agent, Leigh Steinberg, Klingler will be among the highest-paid players in the league. Steinberg is also Oilers' quarterback Warren Moon's agent.

It has been obvious for some time that the former Cougar quarterback would be drafted in the first round, but that became official when NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced to a stunned ESPN television audience Sunday that Klingler was the Cincinnati Bengals' first choice.

It marked the second time in three years that the top general in the college ranks hailed from the run-and-shoot Cougars. Andre Ware was picked seventh by the Detroit Lions in 1990.

After taking Ware's place in 1991, Klingler went on to become the most talked-about quarterback in Houston history. He took his chances in 1991 and passed up the draft to stay for his senior year, despite leading the nation in passing yards and breaking or tying 33 NCAA records.

In 1992, because of a weak and inexperienced offensive line, Klingler was in danger of losing his stature as the top-ranked quarterback in the nation. But he rose to the occasion with courage and strength, something NFL scouts said they like most about him.

By the end of his senior season, Klingler had eclipsed 54 NCAA records and proved himself ready for the pro's.

It was certainly a dream come true for Klingler and his family. Head Coach John Jenkins and the rest of the UH football allegiance also had to be ecstatic with the pick after enduring the Cougars' recent, rocky 4-7 season.

Klingler was the second offensive player taken in the draft, behind Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard. The wide receiver out of Michigan was picked fourth by the Washington Redskins.

Expect Klingler to take a back seat to current Bengal quarterback Boomer Esiason for a couple of years before taking the reins. Klingler will also be competing with former Rice quarterback Donald Hollas, who was taken last year in the later rounds by the Bengals and Erik Wilheim, last year's main back-up.

Four other Cougar players were taken Monday in the later rounds of the draft.

Linebacker Glenn Cadrez was grabbed by the New York Jets in the sixth round, and wide receiver John Brown III will be sporting a Chicago Bears jersey next season.

The Bengals chose the next Cougar, running back Ostell Miles, in the ninth round even though he was only a sophomore and was ousted from the team in mid-season.

The last Cougar to be picked was offensive lineman Mike Gisler in the 11th round by New Orleans.

Other players from the SWC will also be seen in NFL jerseys next year -- most notably Texas A & M's Quentin Coryatt.

The linebacking extraordinaire captured the No. 2 pick overall by the defense-hungry Indianapolis Colts. Coryatt, a senior, performed admirably, taking the Aggies to the Cotton Bowl last year, and will join the No. 1 pick overall, Steve Emtman, a defensive lineman from Washington.

Coryatt will always be remembered for the clip showing his fearless, but legal, hit on an unlucky TCU receiver that ran repeatedly on ESPN throughout draft day.

With the Dallas Cowboys' 18th overall pick of defensive-back Kevin Smith, also out of the Aggie stable, the SWC placed three players in the top 18 picked from the highly talented draft stock.

The next pick to appear from the SWC ranks was defensive lineman Shane Dronett from Texas to the Denver Broncos in the second round. Teammate James Patton followed close behind in that round, going to the Buffalo Bills.

In the third round, defensive lineman Mark Wheeler exchanged his Aggie uniform for a Tampa Bay Buccaneer suit, and defensive tackle Tommy Jeter moved from the Texas line to the Philadelphia Eagles' camp.

The choice of Jeter rounded out three UT defensive linemen being chosen in the first three rounds.

After that, Baylor's defensive back Frankie Smith was nabbed by the Atlanta Falcons, and the Broncos chose their second pick from the SWC with their choice of Longhorn offensive lineman Chuck Johnson.

Also of interest was Aggie Chris Crooms, who was snatched by the Los Angeles Rams, and Baylor defensive-line stand-out Santana Dotson, who joined the Bucs.

In an unexpected move, the Oilers drafted Aggie quarterback Bucky Richardson in the eighth round.





Any aspiring screenwriters out there should try selling this one to a producer.

Friday afternoon, ninth inning, two on, one out. Houston and Texas A & M are tied. Tim Holt, the Aggies' number-nine hitter, a young man with no RBIs all year, is facing one of the Cougars' best pitchers, Jeff Haas. A double to left, the winning run scores. Peat.

Saturday afternoon, ninth inning, two on, two out. Houston and Texas A & M are tied. Tim Holt, the Aggies' number-nine hitter, a young man now with two RBIs, is facing one of the Cougars' best pitchers, Wade Williams. A single to left, the winning run scores. Repeat.

We've all heard of college players showing off for Major League scouts, but Hollywood scouts?

In three games that couldn't have been scripted any better had Frank Capra himself risen from the grave to write it, the visiting Aggies took two of three from Houston at Cougar Field this weekend, sending UH to its second consecutive losing season in the conference and four of its last five.

The Aggies won Friday's opener 4-2, while the two teams split Saturday's doubleheader. UH took the first game 2-1, and A & M squeaked out the second 4-1. All three games were decided in the winning team's final at-bat. It was a story straight out of the A & M film school.

The house lights faded on Friday afternoon as UH Coach Bragg Stockton handed the ball to Jeff Wright, returning from a three-and-a-half week layoff with elbow trouble, to face Aggie super soph Jeff Granger.

Neither pitcher dominated, but both threw well enough to see their teams forge a 2-2 tie going into the late innings.

"I thought Wright pitched outstandingly, even though he's been off for about a month," Stockton said. "He tightened up in the seventh, and we decided not to risk it."

Freshman Justin Dorsey, who had relieved Wright the previous inning, walked Aggie Jason Marshall to open the ninth. Stockton then brought in Haas to face the bottom of the A & M order.

Pinch-hitter Brian Thomas sacrificed Marshall to second. Haas then walked right fielder Billy Harlan, bringing up Roy Hobbs, er, Tim Holt. If you want to know the rest, go grab a copy of The Natural.

"I was just trying to put the ball in play," Holt said. "It's kind of ironic. Most of the time, I'm put into the game in the ninth to help save a game defensively. But this time, I did it at the plate."

It was the sort of performance the Cougars could have gone without seeing once, but when the curtain lifted on Saturday's doubleheader, it was as if the projectionist had left the previous film in the camera. Unfortunately for the Cougars, he turned the darned thing on.

UH did pick up a break in the seven-inning first game. In another superb pitching duel, this one pitting Haas (10-7, 6-7 in SWC) against Aggie Brian Harrison, both teams scratched their way to a 1-1 tie in the sixth.

In the bottom of the sixth, Scott Kohler laced a two-out triple to left. Ricky Freeman followed with an easy grounder to second, but first baseman Brian Thomas dropped the throw, allowing Kohler to score the winning run.

Haas, last week's conference Player-of-the-Week, hurled his third consecutive complete game, striking out two and giving up one earned run.

The second game was back to normal for the Cougars, providing a microcosm of their whole season -- no clutch hits and late collapses.

Hard-luck UH starter Wade Williams entered the game with a 1-4 SWC record despite being among the leaders with a 2.60 ERA.

Going into the ninth, Williams had yielded only four hits to the Aggies while striking out eight. But then the wheels came off.

Jay Estes singled to start the inning and eventually moved to third on a one-out base hit by Scott Smith. Billy Harlan then squibbed a nubber to third that Freeman fired home to nail Estes. Then with two on and two out, there was only one guy who could've come up, Tim Holt.

"It was kind of like deja vu," Holt said. "Some of the players have said that whatever it is I'm eating or drinking, to keep doing it."

Try as they might, the Cougars just couldn't spike Holt's punch. He nailed Williams' first pitch, a sinker down and in, just over the shortstop's head for the game-winning RBI.

"I didn't feel much different going into the ninth," a clearly dejected Williams said. "They just got some key hits, and Holt hit a good pitch."

A & M reliever James Nix (9-4) picked up both of the Aggie wins, his third and fourth against the Cougars this season.

Looking to next season, maybe Stockton ought to refocus his recruiting, away from the High School sandlots and to the studio backlots. It sure seemed to have helped the Aggies.






Two years after it was first filed, Dana King's shocking discrimination lawsuit against the university is scheduled for a May 7 docket call in U.S. District Court, Southern District.

A former Physical Plant plumber, King, 41, worked at UH from 1982 until he was fired for the second time on Sept. 25, 1990. His lawsuit, filed in May 1990, reels off a litany of astonishing allegations, including criminal activity, death threats and gross occupational harassment.

The suit names Paul Postel, manager of building maintenance, Thomas Wray, assistant director of the Physical Plant, Herbert Collier, executive director of the Physical Plant and Robert Scott, mechanical maintenance foreman, as defendants.

Physical Plant foreman James Mitchell was originally listed as a defendant in King's suit, but has since been dropped because allegations against him happened too long ago to satisfy the statute of limitations.

King's suit, Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, alleges that, in 1985, he was harassed and eventually fired for his participation in a UHPD investigation in which he positively identified a missing sewer machine found in Mitchell's possession. No charges were ever filed against Mitchell, the complaint states.

Former UHPD Officer Louis DeLeGarza, one of the officers who investigated the missing sewer machine, refused to comment on the matter.

"I never want anything to do with UH again," DeLeGarza said. "No, you don't understand at all; I have nothing to say."

King, a former Harris County constable, charges that he was harassed by Postel and Mitchell for refusing to assign case numbers to property the suit alleges was stolen by Mitchell and Postel, including a boat trailer, a riding lawnmower and a tractor.

The suit states that King understood the term "case numbers" to be the numbers assigned to police incident reports after someone reports a crime. When King refused to comply, the suit charges, Mitchell told King that "he was not playing" and that Postel is the "Prince of Darkness" and "you don't turn him down."

One former Physical Plant plumber, Bruce Hamilton, who worked at UH from 1985 to 1988, said theft of state property among Physical Plant administrators and employees was rampant while he worked there.

Hamilton said Physical Plant inventories routinely showed "big" equipment missing, citing "riding lawnmowers and weed eaters" as a couple of examples of such missing state property.

He said he and other employees used to refer to Postel as "teflon," meaning that "nothing would stick to him."

A Physical Plant memorandum issued on June 18, 1985, from Postel to all Physical Plant departments states: "No employee shall borrow ANY tools or equipment of his or her personal use, whether they are assigned to the employee or not."

Almost three months later, Collier issued another memorandum dated Sept. 6, 1985, to all Physical Plant departments, stating: "No equipment is to be loaned to an individual for personal use," and "that any exceptions to this rule must be approved in writing by either myself (Collier) or Thomas Wray."

The same memorandum states that requests to "transfer Physical Plant equipment" by department foremen must "be approved by me or Thomas Wray."

The Texas Penal Code, Section 39.01, explicitly forbids the personal use of state property by university employees. Such an offense is punishable from a misdemeanor to a second-degree felony, depending on the worth of the property being misappropriated.



After the sewer-machine incident, the suit charges that King was ordered to work in the rain with electrical equipment and in tunnels containing asbestos without safety equipment. He was fired on Sept. 2, 1987, but was reinstated through a complaint he filed with the UH Personnel Department, the suit says.

Upon his return, King met with Collier, the suit says, who told him, "I can take everything you got" and "I know people who can take care of you."

After King contacted an attorney, the suit charges, Collier called King at his home and told him, "I know people who can take care of you."

One of King's attorneys, Joseph Indelicato Jr., said his client has received numerous phone threats, and his home has been burglarized more than once since the suit was filed.

UH has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation, Assistant University Council Nancy Footer said.

However, Footer said, "I am very confident that we're going to prevail in this case."

"We're talking about real, honest, hard-working people," Footer said. "It's a horrible thing (for the defendants). They take it so seriously."

As for King's motivations, Footer said, "He is obviously very angry about the situation and obviously feels wronged. When people get fired, they get very angry," she said.

Footer said there was nothing out of the ordinary regarding King's dismissal from the Physical Plant and that his termination was, in all respects, a "clean" one.

King's suit asks for more than $1 million in punitive damages and will be heard in U.S. District Court, Southern District, of Texas in Houston, Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt presiding.

After the docket call May 7, the suit will be on a 24-hour-call basis for a pending trial date, Footer said.






More conflict-of-interest allegations were lodged against YES candidate Rusty Hruska and Election Commissioner Stefan Murry before the new general election began on Monday.

Presidential candidates Eric De Beer and Andrew Monzon have filed a total of six complaints alleging Murry behaved preferentially toward Hruska. Both Murry and Hruska are members of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

In one instance, De Beer said Murry was available to approve campaign materials for Hruska before Election Commission office hours were made public. De Beer said Hruska had the opportunity to post materials days before he or Student Advocacy candidate Andrew Monzon could get materials approved.

Election code guidelines state campaign materials must be approved by the Election Commission before they can be distributed.

In his decision, Murry wrote that no regulations of the code were broken, but De Beer disagreed.

"There is definitely a conflict of interest here," De Beer said.

De Beer's complaints were forwarded to the UH Hearing Board.

Another complaint before the Hearing Board alleges that Murry and Hruska together solicited candidates for the YES ticket.

The complaint, filed by former Student Program Board Director of Finance Steve Hanson, stems from comments made by College of Business Senator Ralph Coatsworth about being recruited as a YES candidate.

"I'm here because Stefan and Rusty asked me to run," Coatsworth told the senate during introductions at the first meeting of the 29th senate.

Coatsworth, who won his position in the general elections with YES, is also a Sigma Chi member.

The new presidential election began Monday and will continue through today. The runoff will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, if necessary.

De Beer, Hruska and Monzon returned to the presidential race two weeks ago when the Hearing Board booted PRIDE candidate Damien Kauta from the ballot over ballot-stuffing allegations.

Kauta had beaten Hruska in the runoff by more than 200 votes.






Many UH students, unhappy with the current choice of presidential candidates, are working to add a new face to the line-up.

Perot Volunteers is a campus-based organization formed to add Texas billionaire Ross Perot's name to the 1992 presidential ballot.

The recently formed group is the product of one student's uneasiness with the current political climate.

Jean Williams, a junior English major, has been voting for Republicans since Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater's unsuccessful bid in 1964.

But this year will be different.

"I got angry when I read that the Republican plank was going to include the pro-life language," Williams said. "So I voted in the primary, but when I went in, I couldn't pull that lever for Bush. I simply couldn't do it."

After her change of heart at the voting booth, Williams began exploring other options.

"I read about Ross Perot and found out he was pro-abortion rights. So I walked into their (the Perot campaign's) office and said, `what can I do,'" she said.

Karla Mock, a graduate student majoring in Metalsmithing and a Perot volunteer, understands Williams' voting quandry.

"I really have a hard time, right now, voting for anybody the Democrats are putting forth, and I'm not a Bush fan at all," she said.

Unlike Williams, Mock comes from a long line of Democrats.

"My family is Democrat, and I can't even see myself voting Democratic," she said. "I'd much rather vote independent."

Perot Volunteers is made up of about 30 students, but Williams hopes to swell the group's ranks at a petition-signing drive on April 27 and 28 in front of the Student Service Center.

"In order to sign, the students need to be currently registered to vote. They also must not have voted in either primary on March 10 and must not have signed another candidate's petition," Williams said.

The group will also be conducting on-sight voter registration for those students who have not yet registered.

According to Williams, the signatures obtained during the drive are vital to Perot's political aspirations.

"In order to be on the ballot in Texas, he needs 55,000 signatures by May 11," she said.

However, if the opinions of the group members are any indication of the public's attitude, the signatures should easily clear the 55,000 mark.

"When I got into this, I thought just being involved was worth the effort. But now I think he's got a really good chance," Williams said. "When you talk to people, they're angry."

Betsy Mulligan, a graduate student majoring in printmaking and a Perot Volunteer, is discouraged by Bush's current economic policy.

"It certainly isn't helping my children any," Mulligan said. "My working children can't afford to do anything. I'd like to see some changes made."

Williams believes this view represents a good deal of the voting public.

"I think the Democrats are too far on the left, and the Republicans have gone too far to the right," she said. "I think that leaves the whole middle open."







Six police officers, including two from UHPD, arrested a man Sunday and charged him with attempted murder in conjunction with a drive-by shooting on campus April 14.

Luat Ha was identified in a photo line-up by Felton J. Ransby on Friday. Ransby was the target of the shooting, which occurred in UH parking lot 5C.

UHPD Cpl. Robert Finley and UHPD Sgt. John Heron joined four Houston Police Department officers in making the arrest, said UHPD Assistant Chief Frank Cempa. Two of those came from HPD's Asian gang detail, he said.

Ha was charged with attempted murder, which constitutes a second degree felony, and bail was set at $100,000. The arrest warrant was signed by the magistrate, and on Saturday, police set up a surveillance team to watch known areas that Ha frequented, Cempa said.

Ha was arrested early Sunday morning while coming out of a restaurant with a female companion in the 9300 block of Bellaire, Cempa said. Both UH officers were on hand to make the arrest, as well as HPD officers, he said. Ha, 21, was still in custody as of Monday and has been convicted twice before on charges of auto theft.

Three other suspects remain at large, Cempa said, including one whose composite picture ran in the Daily Cougar April 21.

The charges stem from allegations that Ha and three other Asian men fired a barrage of bullets at Ransby's car. UHPD Lt. Brad Wigtil said the incident started when Ransby and his infant son were driving past the University Center April 14 when their path was blocked by four men who were shadow-kickboxing in the middle of the street.

After Ransby honked his horn, one of the men kicked his car, Wigtil said. Ransby told the group of men to stop, and one of the men threatened to kill him, Wigtil said.

The men then followed Ransby to the Moody Towers' parking lot, 5C, where he was sitting in his car watching a volleyball game, Wigtil said. The suspects paired up in two cars, believed to be a Mustang and a Nissan pickup truck, and fired six to eight shots from a semi-automatic weapon, three of which hit Ransby's vehicle, and fled the scene, Wigtil said.

Wigtil said anybody with information on the case can call UH police at 743-0617 or the HPD homicide division at 247-5415. "Even if they only have a tiny bit of information, it may be the piece that solves the puzzle," Wigtil said.


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