by Pam Griffin

Daily Cougar Staff

Theatre LaB's production of <I>Beirut<P> is a must see for those who can look beyond the exposed skin and perceive a deeper meaning.

Alan Bowne's 1987 off-Broadway play is set in the "near future" in Beirut, the lower east side of New York City.

Directed by Ron Jones, the one-hour, one-act play oozes with gritty sexuality and richly raunchy language.

Quarantined in a dark, dank room in Beirut, Torch's naked body rolls out of bed and slinks across a filthy, cluttered floor in a candlelit room. His left buttock, tattooed with a "P" for positive, identifies him as a "Plaguey," a carrier of an unnamed viral disease which is deduced as AIDS.

Plagueys are inspected daily for lesions and frequent testing of the uninfected is only part of the severe protective measures. Punishment by death is enforced to deter sex among the uninfected and to prevent the uninfected from crossing quarantine lines.

Dauntlessly donning a stick-on "P" to flash patrollers if caught, Blue, Torch's girlfriend, enters the quarantined area to see Torch. Angrily asking if she's crazy yet happy to see Blue, Torch keeps her at a distance and lets her into his room.

Blue professes her love for Torch, sexually entices him and tells of her plan to live with him because "living without love is not living at all." Responding violently to Blue's plan, Torch begs her to leave before his resistance fails, and he infects her.

They argue lovingly, playfully, hatefully and fearfully about love, sex and death.

Lynn Miller Jr. and Celeste Cheramie as Torch and Blue are strong and steamy, admirably handling moments of nudity with complete composure. Their intense concentration is engrossing, drawing the audience to total belief of the emotions conveyed violently and lovingly out of a love/hate passion. As the voyeuristic lesion patrolman, Otis Hardy Maclay was graphically convincing.

Although superficially, <I>Beirut<P> is analogous to a '90s <I>Romeo and Juliet<P>, Torch's capitulation to Blue's conviction that life without love is an equation of death may be his cure. After all, "in the near future, love may become the greatest risk."






by Tiffany Vaughner

Daily Cougar Staff


Na'im Akbar, a noted psychologist and educator, told students in a lecture Tuesday night that,"having African American history capsuled into the shortest month of the Euro-American calender (was) an on-going assault on the integrity and autonomy of (African Americans)."

In his lecture, "Afrocentricity -- the path to self determination", Akbar said that Afrocentric thought is not a philosophy that African Americans can either accept or discard, but is the only way of thinking that will insure their evolvement as a people.

"Every people of every cultural, ethnic identity ... have a particular paradigm which both structures and confirms their cultural truths because in that paradigm people engage in those thought processes that insure their continuity," Akbar said.

He said it is through that confirmation that African Americans can begin to heal the wounds of slavery that have kept them from progressing.

"We are the only group to have had our cultural perspective completely destroyed in order for us to be made a part of America. What this means is, we were not brought here to be Americans, unlike every other group who came here. We could not have any cultural integrity because to do so would contradict the motive for bringing us here," Akbar said.

Akbar said African Americans were not brought here to be participants in the growth of a country but as a permanent labour class. He said white Americans intended to keep African Americans, not only in physical chains but in mental, and emotional chains as well. He said this is the reason why many African Americans are in a such a state of desperation today.

"We fail to understand that everything we've become as Americans has not been with permission or with the assistance of America but in defiance of America's fundamental objectives. I think it's important, especially for the young people, to understand that every right and privilege we practice in this country; none of them were given to us willingly. When we went to the bathroom, they blocked the boors. When we wanted to drink water, they blocked the doors. When we wanted to get an education, they blocked the doors. Then after we kicked the damn doors open they came back and said,'Come on in if you want to,' " Akbar said.

Akbar said that other ethnic groups like Italian Americans, Chinese Americans and Jewish Americans identify strongly with their ethnic background but still consider themselves Americans. He went on to say that an Afrocentristic approach to living serves the same purpose with African Americans as other cultural frames of reference do for other groups. He then described how an Afrocentric frame of reference serves African Americans.

Akbar said an Afrocentric frame of reference insures the particular survival needs of African Americans by maintaining unity; in the family and community and empowering African Americans to make choices about the way they run their lives in a way that is right for them not in a way that is satisfactory for white America.

He closed by saying, "In order to liberate the African mind we must establish an orientation to learning, to living, to growing and developing that puts our reality in the center. In doing so it does not mean that we hate white people, it does not mean that we hate Jews, it does not mean that we hate Koreans, it does not mean that we see ourselves as better than anybody else on the planet. It simply means that we see our survival as preeminent for us".

Akbar's lecture was part of UH's Black Student Union's Black History Month Celebrations.






by Adam King

Daily Cougar Staff

The University of Houston Board of Regents called an emergency session Thursday to discuss the university's position in the Southwest Conference realignment process and reaffirm its commitment to competing in Division I-A athletics.

The session was prompted by the recent agreement between the Big Eight Conference and four Southwest Conference schools -- Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor and Texas Tech -- to form a new 12-team superconference.

Houston, Rice, Southern Methodist and Texas Christian were not extended invitations, effectively slicing the SWC in half.

Baylor's board of trustees met Wednesday and formally accepted the Big Eight's offer. Texas A&M's board of regents followed suit yesterday and accepted the invitation unanimously.

The governing boards from Texas and Texas Tech are expected to meet today and add their approval of the plan, which is to take effect at the start of the 1996 football season.

UH President James Pickering met with SWC commissioner Steve Hatchell and the presidents of Rice, SMU and TCU in Dallas to discuss the situation.

"The presidents got together with Steve Hatchell, we talked about the next two years, and we simply reviewed what had happened," Pickering said while in attendance at the regents meeting.

"The Southwest Conference as we've known it for 80 years will be working together and playing together for the next two years, and (saying) anything now would just add to speculation."

UH's tight-lipped approach to relaying what direction it plans to take was furthered in a statement released by the regents.

"Houston regrets not being part of the SWC/Big Eight agreement but remains focused on successfully realigning UH in a strong conference," the statement read. "We also realize that while the SWC/Big Eight realignment may well be in the best interest of the four Texas institutions (Baylor, UT, A&M and Tech), it is not in the best interest of Houston and, therefore, not in the best interest of the state as a whole.

"We believe that a nationally competitive Division I-A program in Houston is a critical part of realizing and demonstrating to others the strength of Houston and Texas. In order to ensure this end, we are conducting a rigorous assessment to identify, in timely fashion, the best realignment opportunities and strategies for UH."

UH Athletic Director Bill Carr declined to comment on which avenues the school was exploring for realignment, but said UH will be in the middle of the big picture, whatever that might be.

"With all this realignment, there are going to be fewer schools in Division I-A, and we want to be one of those," he said. "The cost and benefit of being in Division I-A is going up and you're either a player or not."

When asked if there was a scenario that he personally preferred Houston to be a part of, Carr said, "That would be getting us back into the area of speculation, and I wouldn't want to do that. The leadership we're getting from our regents, I agree with it."

Possibilities for Houston that have been mentioned are for UH to join the Western Athletic Conference or for the four snubbed schools to remain together and begin a new SWC with members of the Metro Conference that include Memphis State, Tulane, Louisville and Cincinnati.

The second situation would create a strong SWC basketball power, but football would be a question mark.

Head basketball coach Alvin Brooks said both sports need to have viability in any scenario.

"As far as basketball goes, we can't lose," he said. "All of us need to be in a position to where we can thrive. It has to make sense for football to be in the conference. That's the major factor.

"(The Big Eight) could still lose a member to the Big 10, and that throws everything out of whack again," he said.






by Ivana Segvic

Daily Cougar Staff

With almost three years of brutal war in former Yugoslavia, President Clinton is on the verge of some kind of intervention. The United States has been a leader in many conflicts, such as Somalia, Iraq and Vietnam and many look to the United States for help.

Opinions are diverse. Some believe the United States should intervene and others say it is a European problem. However, most wonder why something hasn't been done.

The world has many options it could have and still can take; however, the negatives of these options are never too far off.

The arms embargo could be lifted and Bosnia could be provided with weapons to hold off Serb aggression. But, some say this could prolong the fighting.

Ground troops could be used to seize Sarajevo and enough of the surrounding territory to protect the area. U.S. defense experts say this would require at least 50,000 troops and involve holding a 25 mile perimeter outside the city.

Bombing military and industrial targets in Serbia to force the Serbs to call off the fighting in Bosnia might also be a solution. But strikes of this sort could cause heavy civilian casualties, and it still would not be certain that Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia's president, and the Serbian government would order the army to stop fighting.

These possible solutions have been discussed many times since the beginning of the war, but the drawbacks have kept the world from taking measures to carry anything out.

Some UH students have strong opinions about the crisis.

Petra Voigt, a Junior German and English major, said the United States should definitely not get involved. "They (former Yugoslavia) should never have formed separate states. Small states are not strong enough for economic power." She said that it is not only a nationality problem, but mainly a religious one. "They should make an effort to stay together," she said.

Paul Cobb, an MBA, said something needs to be done. "It doesn't look like the Serbs are going to let up. The Bosnians don't have enough weapons and it's always hard to bring someone to the bargaining table. Bosnia is not prepared. The Serbs have too much equipment. Frequently it takes the United States to lead internationally," he said.

Celia Shen, a Freshman, sculpture major, said something should have been done a long time ago. "The UN needs to intervene. I don't know that the United States Lifting the embargo might be enough," she said.

Raymond Calzoncini, a senior business major, said the United States should intervene. "If we want to have some kind of human rights the United States should do something. Everyone should be involved. This was the whole point of establishing the United Nations," he said.

Victor Gaudin, from France, who is a freshman business major said something needs to be done. "The effort is already there. If they need more soldiers, then the United States or someone else should go in. The U.S. wants to be the world solver, so if that's what they want to do..." He said a solution might be to implement a peace treaty and use force to some extent. "But if force is used they (the United States) should expect people to die. It's going to be hard to have a compromise, " he said.

Yet with so many solutions, the nations in the world are still waiting to see who will take the first step.








by Jason Paul Ramirez

Daily Cougar Staff

Like they did against Baylor last Saturday, the Houston Cougars won Thursday night's game against Southern Methodist at the free-throw line.

Houston (6-17 overall, 4-8 in the Southwest Conference) needed every one of their freebies to dispose of the Mustangs (4-19, 2-10) 89-80 in Hofheinz Pavilion as the Cougars sank 37-of-44 shots from the charity stripe.

Sophomore forward Tim Moore, who finished with 19 points, made 11 of his 13 free-throws while senior guard Anthony Goldwire, with 18 points, put in 12-of-16.

With the ballgame tied at 70, freshman guard Willie Byrd sank a 3-pointer to give UH the lead for good after falling behind the Mustangs by five points just five minutes earlier.

The Cougars then proceeded to make the plays down the stretch as 12 of their final 16 points were converted at the free-throw line.

"For the last three weeks we've been making all the big plays down the stretch and playing to win ballgames," said Houston head coach Alvin Brooks.

In addition to cashing in on their free throws, the Cougars also caused four critical turnovers during crunch time that helped seal SMU's fate.

The Mustangs had no choice but to foul.

"Turnovers killed us," said SMU coach John Shumate. "We kept giving them opportunities. Both teams played hard. It was just down the stretch ..."

Once again, Shumate was at a loss for words as his Mustangs suffered their 14th defeat in their last 16 ballgames.

But SMU wouldn't go away in the first half.

The two teams bounced back and forth as neither Houston nor the Mustangs could take control of the game.

The first 20 minutes saw the lead change hands 16 times. The score would have remained tied at the break had it not been for a Byrd 3-pointer just before the horn to give the Cougars a 39-36 advantage.

Byrd's trey was a sign of things to come.

Most of his production came after the break as he was constantly applying pressure on the SMU guards and hustling off the boards.

In the second half alone, Byrd had three steals, 11 points and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the line.

"Byrd steps out every night and believes in himself," Brooks said. "If he goes 0 for his first nine shots, he believes that he will make that tenth one."

Byrd's trey, which gave Houston a 73-70 lead with 5:18 remaining, couldn't have come at a better time.

The Mustangs galloped in rhythm from beyond the arc as guards Troy Dorner and Troy Matthews were a collective 8-of-14 and helped give the Ponies a 59-55 lead with 11:02 left to play.

Dorner led all scorers with 23 points on the night while Matthews added 13.

"When we stopped their 3s," said Houston center Rafael Carrasco, "we really got on them."






by Chris Pena

Contributing Writer

The Houston Cougars will hop on a bus and once again take their chances on the road when they travel to Austin on Saturday to face Southwest Conference leader Texas at the Erwin Center.

To put it mildly, the road has not been the friendliest of places this season for the Cougars, who have dropped 10 games away from Hofheinz Pavilion.

But to beat the Runnin' Horns on their home floor, the Cougars will have to make fewer mistakes than the last time they met.

At Hofheinz, Texas abused the Cougars en route to a 110-78 debacle that was only competitive in the first two minutes of play.

The backcourt duo of B.J. Tyler and Terrence Rencher scorched the Cougars for a combined 49 points.

Houston will have to contain Tyler and Rencher when Texas has the ball, but it will also have to minimize its mistakes, a task it did not perform well in the first game.

In that Jan. 29 game, the Cougars committed 33 turnovers, which is partly why they received such a severe beating.

Houston head coach Alvin Brooks hopes that things will be different this time around.

"We need to go at our own pace and not let Texas take control of the tempo like they did last time," he said.

Sophomore forward Tim Moore has been on a tear of late, averaging 23.6 points and 10.7 rebounds in his last nine games.

He and Anthony Goldwire are Houston's only threats against Texas, who is coming off a 105-75 rout of Lamar.

Texas coach Tom Penders expects a tough game.

"Houston is a very athletic team," he said. "They have good individual personnel, but we'll be pumped up."

Penders also doesn't expect the game to be a copy of the first encounter.

"In that particular game, we played well, and Houston was struggling to find its identity," he said.

The Cougars (6-17 overall, 4-8 in the SWC) are coming off an 89-80 victory over Southern Methodist.

They have won four of their last six, and a win over Texas is a win that could make them a threat in the SWC tournament.

"(The SMU game) was our second consecutive win for the first time this season," Brooks said. "It's just one short of three consecutive and that's what you need to win the tournament."

Goldwire, who is averaging 18.4 points per game, and Moore worry Penders.

"With Goldwire, Tim Moore and Rafael Carrasco, they could beat anybody in the league."

That is something that no one in the league was proclaiming a month ago.

At that time, the Cougars were mired in a 14-game losing streak that was finally broken with a victory against Rice. Goldwire sealed that game with two free throws with under one minute left to play.

Since then, the Cougars have shown some of the promise that Brooks expected of his young team, but a win in Austin will not come easy.

As Penders said, "We respect everyone, (and) fear no one."






by Ryan Carssow

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston Cougar baseball team faces its toughest challenge of the non-conference schedule when defending national champion Louisiana State arrives at Cougar Field for a two-game series this weekend.

Single games are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Houston head coach Bragg Stockton has attempted to downplay the significance of the series.

"I've told the team not to make a big deal out of it," Stockton said. "We need to concentrate on how we play."

Despite nearly opposite results in 1993 and vastly different predictions for 1994, the Tigers and Cougars are surprisingly similar.

The series could end up being a pitchers' duel. Both teams will start their pitching aces.

Houston (10-4) will start left-hander Matt Beech Saturday and right-hander Brad Towns Sunday. LSU (2-2) counters with right-hander Brett Laxton Saturday and ex-Cougar Jeremy Tyson Sunday.

Beech is 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA and 16 strikeouts this year after pitching the first perfect game in UH history at Louisiana Tech last weekend. Towns has been impressive, going at least six innings in both of his starts this season. He is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA.

Laxton was the 1993 co-national freshman player of the year along with Rice outfielder Jose Cruz Jr. Laxton finished 1993 with a 12-1 regular season record and 1.98 ERA before pitching a three-hit shutout against Wichita State in the College World Series title game.

He is 0-1 this season after a 3-1 loss to Auburn in the season opener.

Tyson impressed his new coaches with a 3-0 shutout of Alabama last Sunday. In seven innings, the sophomore transfer struck out four and allowed only four hits and one walk.

"He's been very strong," LSU assistant coach Mike Bianco said.

Last season, Tyson was 4-4 with a 4.95 ERA and three saves for Houston.

Both teams also feature dominant closers who are converted position players.

Shane Buteaux has recorded three saves and a 1.50 ERA for Houston when he is not playing center field. LSU closer Adrian Antonini is a converted catcher who throws a hard slider and a 90-mph fastball.

Both teams are also mired in season-long hitting slumps after impressive offensive seasons in 1993.

The Cougars have raised their season average to .250 after a slow start. The Tigers are hitting at a horrid .203 clip after their first four games.

"We've struggled offensively so far," Bianco said. "But it's still very early."






by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

It is time for the Cougars to sink or swim.

The Houston swimming and diving team is in Austin this weekend competing in the Southwest Conference Championships. The meet started on Thursday and will be completed on Sunday.

The Cougars have had a shaky season at best going into the meet with an 0-8 record.

Through the first six events, the Cougars stand in fourth place. Olivia Clark did well in diving with a second place finish on the one-meter board, and the freestyle relay team finished fourth.

Whoopin' on the lesser foes

The Houston tennis team is hosting their fourth match in the last 10 days when they face Southwest Texas State today at 1:30 p.m.

The Cougars (3-3) are coming into the match with a three-game winning streak.

Head coach Stina Mosvold is predicting a painless victory.

"We'll have some tough matches, but we should win," she said.

Houston's last three wins have not exactly been painful either. Pitted against lesser teams, the Cougars have had an easy time with their schedule.

They beat North Texas 8-1 Feb. 18 and shut down Nicholls State 6-3 the next day.

One of the factors in this win streak has been the play of the Cougars' only freshman, Kristen Paris.

"(She) has the best singles record on the team (5-1)," Mosvold said. "I knew she would improve."

Primarily these matches are used as tune-ups. Mosvold said she wants the players to expand their parameters of play.

"I don't believe they should win 6-0, 6-1. If you know you have an easy match you should try something new."

The schedule was already set when Mosvold took over as head coach this year. She said that in the future she hopes to toughen up their schedule.






by Lisa Ferro

Daily Cougar Staff

Anti-Semitic incidents on U.S. college campuses increased for the sixth straight year in 1993 according to a report recently released by the Anti-Defamation League. The report is based on data from 44 states and the District of Columbia reported to ADL regional offices by police, victims and community leaders.

Last year, 81 campuses reported 122 anti-Semitic acts, an increase of 7 percent since 1992. In 1992, a total of 114 anti-Semitic acts were reported at 60 campuses. These acts included personal harassment, threats, assault and vandalism. No deaths or serious injuries resulted.

Paralleling the report's findings for the general community, there were more campus incidents of personal harassment and threats than vandalism in 1993. The campus ratio of personal to property related anti-Semitic acts was 3 to 1. Since 1988 reported campus incidents of anti-Semitism have increased 126%.

"I think the reasons (for racism) are very simple," said Rabbi Stuart Faderow of the Hillel Foundation, here on campus. "There are certain groups that are labeled politically correct. Jewish groups historically have been left off the list."

Faderow said it is easier to be racist toward groups that stereotypically we are not suppose to be against.

The five states reporting the highest totals of campus anti-Semitic acts last year were Florida, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Ohio. Florida and Ohio each reported ten incidents, the most of all the states.

In 1993 there were no anti-Semitic acts reported to the UH police department. According to the ADL report, there were no reported incidents in Texas.

On February 7, 1993, at Florida Atlantic University, a spray painted message was found in a men's restroom that said, "Anti-Semitism is alive and well at FAU - we will hang the Jews in the University Center on Saturday."

On October 17, 1993, multiple swastikas were carved on cars of Jewish dental students at Ohio State University.

Alan Schwartz, the Anti-Defamation League's national research director said one factor which might be contributing to this increase is the growing number of racism speeches on college campuses. He cited Khalid Abdul Mohammad, former aid to the Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan. Mohammad gave a three hour speech last year at Kean College in New Jersey during which he blasted Jews and whites. Student funds paid for the speech.

Schwartz also noted the renewed efforts of individuals such as Bradley R. Smith to place advertisements in college newspapers questioning certain facts about the Holocaust, such as whether or not gas chambers were ever used in Concentration camps.

Such advertisements were sent to at least 18 campus newspapers. Thirteen universities published the ads in some form, including editorials, news or advertising. The ad was sent to several Texas universities, including Southern Methodist University and the University of Houston.

Both SMU and UH's Daily Cougar decided against running the ad.







by shane patrick boyle

Daily Cougar Staff

Without a doubt, <I>My Beautiful Laundrette<P> is probably the most famous gay movie by a Pakistani script writer set in a laundrymat (or laundrette as the Brits call it) directed by Stephen Frears that Daniel Day-Lewis ever appeared in.

This classic from 1986 is about two childhood friends, now lovers, one a Brit and the other a Pakistani, who open a neon-lit laundrette and give a whole new meaning to the phrase, "If you build it, they will come."

But there's more to it than that. The film also deals with sociological issues and the tension between immigrants and Brits and class division. There is also a struggle in the relationship as they air all their dirty laundry for the viewer and strive to keep their business from going under.

The screenplay by Hanif Kureishi, a personal friend of Salman Rushdie, has been highly praised. Stephen Frears (<I>The Grifters<P> and <I>Sammy and Rosie Get Laid<P>) directs and Gordon Warneke and Daniel Day-Lewis (<I>My Left Foot<P>, <I>Last of the Mohicans<P> and <I>In the Name of the Father<P>) star as the two lovers. (Yes, Mr. Macho did a gay film before it was cool for straight actors to do them.)

Catch this love and laundry flick Sunday, 7:30 p.m. at the Rice Media Center.

For more information call 527-4853.

It's more fun than doing laundry on a Sunday night.

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