FACULTY REVIVES ANTI-ABORTION FIGHT

by Tiffany Vaughner

Daily Cougar Staff

 

UH Faculty Senate members met with UH President James Pickering in a special meeting Wednesday to reaffirm last semester's resolution to abolish intercollegiate athletics at UH.

The Senate's decision follows the storm of controversy caused by UH not being asked to join the Big Eight athletic conference. Many senators said they felt the act was a sign that UH should get out of athletics altogether.

Pickering told senators that realignment with a major conference is a definite possibility and that getting rid of athletics is not the answer.

"We are not going to settle for a program that is second-best. If it doesn't happen, I think we will have to renegotiate the whole idea. That may mean, certainly, having to come to a point of thinking about what other resources we can use," Pickering said.

Many senators disagreed with Pickering's views and voiced their opinions to him during a question-and-answer session.

Senator John Lienhard of the Mechanical Engineering Department asked Pickering to convince him that the fate of the university hinged on having a quality athletics program.

Pickering answered that intercollegiate athletics is such a big part of major colleges and universities, it could not be taken away.

Senator Janet Chafetz of the Sociology Department disagreed with Pickering and said she thought UH should follow the example of other urban universities that do not have Division 1-A athletics like the University of Chicago and New York University.

"(I disagree with) this notion that great cities need to have their collegiate football. Washington D.C., to my knowledge, has no major college football. New York City, to my knowledge, has no major college football ... what you've got are your major cities basically are not big on college sports because they've got too much else going on in the cities to draw (large crowds).

"Why aren't we looking to be like the older big cities on the cutting edge in terms of what's coming? Maybe the big megasports are at University of Texas and Texas A&M and then you've got the rest of us. So why wait to have our noses rubbed in it? Why don't we take a pro-active stance?" Chafetz said.

Pickering said he agreed it could be done, but didn't think UH was ready to make that step yet.

Senator Valentini Brady of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages asked Pickering if there are any negatives to not being aligned.

Pickering said there are students who attend UH because of athletics, and if UH was not aligned with a strong conference, it could become a factor in UH not being chosen by these students. He said that same reason could also affect money contributions given by alumni.

Some senators said they were concerned about the drain on resources caused by funding athletics. They said the money spent on athletics could be funnelled back into academics to make it the reason students want to attend and the reason alumni give.

Senator Chafetz made a motion, which was passed by the Senate, to form an ad hoc committee to draft a document addressed to the UH Board of Regents that would outline the reasons why the Faculty Senate thinks it is time to withdraw from intercollegiate sports and only have intramural sports.

 

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ARTIST TURNING OLD HOUSES INTO ART

FUNDS SOUGHT FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN ART SHOWCASES

by Mike Rush

News Reporter

A scarcity of funds has stymied a local artist's mission to revitalize part of Third Ward by transforming deteriorating wood-framed houses into showcases for artists.

Rick Lowe, a Houston-based artist, calls his plan Project Row Houses. The 10 shotgun houses are located on the 2400 block of Holman, between Live Oak and Dowling. The purpose of the project is to make African-American art available to the community and to revitalize the neighborhood that consists mostly of dilapitated houses.

Once renovation is completed, the work of African-American artists will be displayed in the houses, Lowe said. He said each house will display the work of an artist for about five months. After the five-month period, other artist's works will occupy the houses.

"The artist will create an environment that artistically expresses his experience as an African-American," Lowe said.

Originally from Alabama, Lowe said he had successfully shown his work in mainstream galleries and studios throughout Houston when he realized his art was not available to people in his community. About a year and a half ago, he decided to build an art center accessible to the African American community.

"It's (the art center) for people in this area who don't get a chance to participate in the arts programs that go on at museums or galleries," Lowe said.

He said he hoped to have Project Row Houses completed by the beginning of February for Black History Month, but a lack of financial assistance slowed the project, he said.

"We are not at a point where we are displaying the projects because we have the renovation phase to take care of," he said. Only one house has been renovated at a cost of under $6,000. It is being used as an office. He estimates total renovation cost for the houses is about $100,000.

The project has received funding from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Cultural Arts Council of Houston, but Lowe said the money is being used to cover rent on the houses. Lowe said he also uses his private funds to cover refurbishing expenses. Money is still needed to pay for artists' fees, materials and travel expenses, he said.

He has made requests of the Brown Foundation and the Meadows Fund, but the organizations do not decide which entities receive the funds until late spring.

DiverseWorks, a local art gallery, used its non-profit status to help Lowe apply for the funds when he started the project. Michael Peranteau, director of DiverseWorks, said lack of money is the only factor preventing Lowe from completing the houses.

"They are on the verge of getting all this money but right now the situation is just hand-to-mouth," Peranteau said.

Henry Bell, president of the UH Black Student Union, said his organization members have expressed an interest in helping Lowe. The group plans to meet with Lowe to discuss possible fund-raising events sponsored by the Black Student Union.

"A lot of people in the African community are not aware of their culture," Bell said. "Anything that exposes them to the culture can be very beneficial."

Lowe said there has been a sufficient number of volunteers. Students from the UH sculpture department helped him repair the first house. Senior Missy Bosch cleared brush from the yard and scraped paint from the house. When more money is allocated for the revitalization project, the students said they will volunteer their time to renovate the remaining houses. "We'll help him any time he needs it," Bosch said.

 

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SERVICE FEE HITS

by Tiffany Vaughner

Daily Cougar Staff

Student service fees will go up $4 per student, per semester starting in fall 1994.

Students are currently charged $96 for six or more semester hours. The new fee will be $100 per semester for students who are taking six hours or more.

Student Fees Advisory Committee Chairman Rodger Peters said based on low enrollment stats for the fall 1993 and spring 1994 semesters, SFAC has lowered its projected enrollment for fall 1994 from 31,500 to 30,500.

Peters said that under the present service fee, the university would only recover $6 million. The university needs $6.5 million to cover its expenses.

Peters said the committee calculated, by $2 amounts, how much money an increase would bring in. Four dollars was the lowest amount that would bring in the most money ($6.6 million).

Peters said the increase is also necessary to meet state-mandated pay raises. While the state can require institutions to provide pay raises, they do not supply the university with the extra money for student service workers. The fee hike will help provide the extra funds.

While the Athletics Department receives 35 percent of all student service fees, Peters said lowering the amount of money that goes to the Athletics Department could not be an alternative to service fee increases.

One-third of the athletics budget ($2 million) comes from SFAC. By law, SFAC cannot cut the amount of money given to athletics because it is an official student service.

Peters said decreasing the athletics budget has always been a concern of the committee, but the current administration does not feel the need to do so, and it would be breaking an agreement made with the Students' Association.

The agreement Peters mentioned is the Athletic Fee Referendum that sets a separate fee for athletics. The fee is identified as the Intercollegiate Athletics Fee and would be levied on all enrolled students. For the fall, spring and 9-week summer sessions, the fee would be $34. For the 6-week summer sessions, the fee would be $17.

Right now, the referendum is being studied by the state attorney general. If it is passed, the Athletics Department would be barred from receiving more money from SFAC when general service fees are raised.

Peters also said decision-making about the current athletics budget is being hindered because it is being reviewed by the Board of Regents.

William Munson, assistant vice president for the Dean of Students, refused to comment on the situation.

SA Vice President Patrick Brown said he felt the increases were justified, but also understood if some students did not agree.

"I think it's justified because the student services are all viable groups that are doing something positive. I know some students think they're getting nickeled and dimed on some things, but when it's multiplied by the number of students, I think it's worth it," Brown said.

The last service fee increase was $6 and occurred three years ago. Previously, UH had gone 10 years without an increase.

 

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FOREIGN TONGUES A KEY TO SUCCESS

LANGUAGE PROVES NECESSARY SKILL IN GLOBAL ECONOMY

by Ivana Segvic

Daily Cougar Staff

Since English is the number one language in the world, it is easy for Americans to forget the necessity of the hundreds of languages in the world.

However, with new frontiers such as NAFTA, and business with other countries such as Japan and Germany, riding in from the sunset, Americans are slowly beginning to realize the importance of a second language.

Dr. Claus Reschke of the UH German department says knowing a foreign language is as valuable as gold, if not more. Being a board member for the International German Teachers' Association since 1989 has given him the opportunity to travel widely and discover the stress other countries put on foreign language.

"In Russia students are required to learn two foreign languages. The first is started in high school and the second is picked by faculty. These students receive more contact hours in the first year than they would get as majors in America," he said.

In Russia and China in one year students get 684 contact hours in a language while over a four year period in America a major has 416 contact hours. A Russian five year program has 2280 hours while a Masters has 56 semester credit hours of which 26 are pure language instruction.

"Students must pick a language and culture early. Two years of a language is nothing. A student has to be able to use it, " he said.

Reschke says it is difficult for Americans to learn Russian and Chinese or Japanese, but learning the language is necessary not only to be educated, but also to apply it to particular fields. A person who is fluent in these languages has a world of opportunity. "These countries have a 75 percent higher requirement than the U.S. We are trying to compete economically and technologically with countries who are putting in so much more effort."

He says that a solution to this problem would be offering languages to children in kindergarten and definitely in Junior High. "We need to work to help people make a tomorrow." He says language is the solution.

He suggests that students who are studying a foreign language get into at least one year of a serious student abroad program. "Live with the people, live with families, take it seriously and learn as much as you can about the culture."

Reschke, who speaks, German, English, French and some Dutch, and understands some Scandinavian, Chinese and Hungarian, says language is the strongest glue in the world. "We all cannot speak English. We need to get away from our culture and more important, learn about other cultures, especially those very different from ours. Too few students are aware of how much we need foreign language.

He says students need to have their eyes set on an occupation and look real carefully to equip themselves with all the tools they need to do the job. With the difficulty of finding jobs, having an extra language under the belt is only a big plus. "We are living in a global community. We must learn to communicate and respect other cultures. We need to know and learn other cultures to fit in," he said.

 

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MAINTENANCE CREWS HAVE HANDS FULL

by Cheryl Luedke

News Reporter

Crowds of students bound up and down the motionless escalators of Agnes Arnold Hall, hurrying to get to class, wondering why the escalators have malfunctioned.

Some students look up at a clock hanging in the hallway and realize it is not ticking, like the sixth floor clock, on the face of which someone wrote "out of order" with a black marker

Jerry Fuentes, a senior psychology major, complains that the temperature of classrooms is often too hot on warm days and unbearably cold on cool winter days.

The bathroom stalls are adorned with graffiti and writing of apparently bored people who enjoy holding in-depth conversations in bathroom stall correspondence.

Who maintains the campus, and who cleans up after the students?

Tony Gonzales, the assistant manager of custodial services, said janitors are working diligently 24 hours a day.

All bathrooms are cleaned twice daily, and the classrooms are cleaned during the night shift from 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., he said.

As the custodians clean, they take note of such problems as broken locks, damaged plumbing or anything that must be repaired or replaced, Gonzales said. The problem is then referred to building maintenance.

For instance, if a custodian's cleaning spray does not wash writing off of a bathroom stall door, building maintenance workers need to repaint the door.

Howard Rose, manager of building maintenance, said a considerable amount of time and money is spent painting stall doors. At one time bathroom stalls were painted black in response to vandalism, said Rose. Eventually, the stalls were repainted beige because black made the rooms look too dark.

"There are various miscellaneous problems with parts," said Rose of the AH building escalators.

A high moisture level in the air will cause the escalators' handrails, which run on rollers, to halt. For safety purposes, maintenance personnel elects not to turn on the escalators if this happens. "That is why sometimes you'll see they are not running in the morning, but later in the day they are," Rose said.

Air conditioning and heating, another concern of students, is hard to maintain because of Houston's fluctuating climate, Rose said. When Monday is hot and humid and Tuesday brings a sudden drop to 50 degrees, maintenance is constantly having to adjust the temperatures of the classrooms.

Sometimes, students tamper with the thermostats, remove the protective covering or rip the entire fixture out of the wall, said Rose. These damages cost maintenance time and money for repairs, and "time is money," said Rose.

"The amount of damage (to campus property) done by students has increased over the past few years," Rose said.

The expenses for repairs to classroom seating alone has more than doubled in two years, said Rose. These repairs are necessary due not to general wear and tear, but rather to vandalism, carelessness and disrespect on behalf of students.

About $400,000 of the University of Houston budget is allocated for building maintenance each year. "I spend every penny of it," said Rose.

There are 5.2 million square feet of space at UH, and Rose must maintain this space with about 90 maintenance employees.

"There are more than 16,000 doors on campus, not including filing cabinets and desks that people lose keys for," said Rose, adding only three locksmiths and six carpenters work as maintenance personnel.

As calls and work orders are placed to the maintenance staff, problems are resolved according to priority. Safety measures have highest priority, Rose said, but some things like the out-of-order clocks are not high priority.

Building maintenance serves a purpose to "maintain" campus facilities, but Rose said staff members seem to be constantly "rebuilding" instead of simply maintaining.

 

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VIETNAMESE DIVIDED ON EMBARGO LIFT

by Bridget Baulch

News Reporter

President Bill Clinton's decision to lift the Vietnamese trade embargo placed on Vietnam has caused rift between Americans who either support or disapprove of the measure, including the Vietnamese American community.

The embargo against Vietnam, which dates from the end of hostilities in 1975, has been up for review every September, although a given president could have lifted it at any time. Until recently, the Missing In Action/Prisoners Of War issue has been used as leverage against those in favor of lifting the embargo in place.

Because of alleged human rights violations by the Vietnamese government, some Vietnamese Americans are outraged, such as those who protested Clinton during his recent Houston visit. Not all Vietnamese Americans, however, share these protesters' feelings. Some Vietnamese Americans are positive about Clinton's decision.

Vietnamese businessman and U.S. Navy veteran Viet Dang, 30, said the Vietnamese economy is so stagnant that only stimulation from outside sources can help revive it.

Dang said, "More people leave Vietnam for economic reasons than political."

Dang also asserts the public has been misled by the media about the MIA/POW issue. He said the media perpetuates the belief that the Vietnamese government is hindering U.S. government-led efforts to account for MIA/POWs.

Dang said, "Truthfully, I don't think any MIAs are alive. I think the peasants are keeping the remains in hopes that eventually the families of the MIAs will offer rewards." He said, "The peasants are very poor and see this as a way to make money. I really believe the Vietnamese government is going out of its way to get this thing together."

UH political science major Hoa Dang, Viet's brother, is enthusiastic about Clinton's decision. "I think the human rights issue will improve with the influx of capitalism, especially if the U.S. sticks to U.S. regulations and standards," he said.

Hoa Dang said he doesn't think the Vietnamese government is as oppressive as the Chinese government, which has established closed markets and prison labor camps. "And let's not forget Tiananmen Square," he said.

Some Vietnamese Americans are neither in favor of nor opposed to Clinton's decision. Jim Davis, formerly Thanh Tran, said he does not feel connected to Vietnam. He came to the United States at age 13 and was adopted by an American family. "My roots are in America not in Vietnam. I think the older Vietnamese are more opinionated because they spent more time there."

 

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HURDLER GETS "MOBIL"

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

People have often told Ubeja Anderson that he is too young to run with the older men. He says that they are wrong.

The 19 year old hurdler will take a step towards proving them wrong when he competes at the USA/Mobil Indoors in Atlanta on March 5.

There, Anderson will face world class competition when he competes in the 60-meter hurdles for the first time ever, collegiate meets run the 55-meter event.

So far this year Anderson has been a standout on the men's team.

"Him and Sam (Jefferson) are the best runners at this time," said head coach Tom Tellez. "I would say he is one of the top collegiate hurdlers in the U.S."

The fact that he is already at this level and only 19 portends of greater things to come.

"I think he is definitely great Olympic potential," Tellez said. "He'll be better next year."

This year he finished first at the Southwest Conference Indoor Championships in the 55-meter hurdles, but he says there is room for improvement.

"There's still a lot of things I need to work on," he said. "My starts haven't been real well."

He said that this is not even the best he has run, but is happy to be going to the meet in Atlanta.

"It means quite a bit (the meet). I guess it shows a lot of people who didn't believe in me that I can run with the older guys," he said.

The chance to compete in this meet means that he will miss the Carl Lewis Relays at Robertson Stadium March 4-5.

The Carl Lewis Relays will host Houston, Texas Southern, Southwest Texas and several local high schools.

Friday will be exclusive for the high schools. Collegiate events will begin 11 a.m. Saturday.

For the college level the meet will not be scored, but is a chance for the athletes to practice in a meet. The focus is on the high schoolers.

"We do it because we felt, and Carl (Lewis) felt, that we needed a high school meet," Tellez said. "Mainly it's just a chance for high schools to compete here, and Carl wanted to sponsor it."

Also missing the meet will be Kenneth Bigger, Katrina Harris and Dawn Burrell. Friday they will be at Louisiana State for a last chance qualifier. The LSU meet was originally scheduled for Wednesday but was rescheduled for March 4. No reason was given.

They are competing in this meet for a final opportunity to qualify for the NCAA Indoors at Indianapolis March 11-12.

 

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UH SPLITS WITH UTSA AGAIN

COOGS GET GOOD START, WIN10-1; DROP SECOND GAME

Cougar Sports Service

 

The Cougar baseball team played Texas-San Antonio and split a doubleheader with the Roadrunners for the second time this season.

The Cougars (11-7) won the opener 10-1 but UTSA (14-2) turned around and won the second game 10-2.

In the first game Houston had 15 hits, 14 were singles.

Starter Bo Hernandez (1-0) pitched a full game for the win, his first decision of the year. He gave up one run on five hits, two walks and two strikeouts.

Jeff Hutzler (3-1) earned the loss, Hutzler, pitched two innings and was tagged for eight hits and seven runs, six were earned.

First baseman Ricky Freeman, who leads the team in hitting, went a perfect 4-4.

In the second game UTSA scored three runs in the first inning. Their 10 runs came off 11 hits. Starting pitcher Jamie Morton (5-0) pitched six innings and gave up two runs on six hits.

Houston's Brian Hamilton (1-2) was pulled in the first inning with no outs after being charged for three runs, two hits and one walk. Six Cougar pitchers followed Hamilton.

Mickey Perez led the Roadrunners with three hits and five RBI. Perez hit a triple in the fifth inning with the bases loaded.

 

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FAILURE TEACHES MOORE MATURITY AND SUCCESS

by Jason Paul Ramirez

Daily Cougar Staff

If saying that Moore is actually less, it must be saying a lot.

But for Cougar sophomore forward Tim Moore, there was a time when 'less' was really nothing at all.

Coming out of high school, Moore was a highly touted basketball prospect at Houston's Milby High in 1991.

But Moore's failure to succeed in the classroom doomed any chances of an immediate impact on the NCAA.

Only a 2.0 student at Milby, Moore also failed to earn a satisfactory score on the NCAA-required academic test to get into a major college.

"My grades were real low," Moore said. "And I wasn't taking the right classes to get into a Division I school."

So in order to keep playing basketball and attending school, Moore ventured to Lee College in Baytown that fall. However, after a year at Lee, Moore learned that his grades were still not good enough to transfer him out of junior college.

"I made it tough on myself," Moore said. "I wouldn't go to class and I was constantly coming home late. And I was always waiting until the last minute to do things."

So during the 1992-93 school year, Moore took time off from basketball and attended Houston Community College. And last fall, he went up to Perkinston, Miss., where he took classes at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Though not participating in team basketball, Moore still worked on his game in hopes of one day playing in the NCAA.

"I finally became mature enough to realize that it would be my last chance to get into a Div. I school because I wasn't getting any younger."

When Moore finally gained admittance into UH after graduating from Gulf Coast on Dec. 17, 1993, Houston head coach Alvin Brooks knew exactly what kind of a player the Cougars were getting.

"(Coming out of high school), Tim was the best player in Houston," Brooks said. "

Brooks even gave Moore some playing time against then 10th-ranked UCLA on Dec. 20 after becoming eligible only an hour before the game started.

"I knew that we were two to three weeks away from our first (Southwest Conference) game and I wanted to try and work him in and see where his game was," Brooks said.

Moore, however, was somewhat shaky as one would expect, registering just two points and two rebounds in a 93-72 Cougar loss.

But from that moment on, Brooks has seen nothing but drastic improvements in Moore's game despite the team's disappointing, though improving, 7-18 season.

In only his second start, Moore collected 17 points and six rebounds in a 77-68 loss at Texas Tech on Jan. 15.

Two starts later against the Baylor Bears on Jan. 22, Moore was unconscious, pouring in 33 points and pulling down 16 rebounds in an 85-81 Bears decision in Waco.

Since that time, Moore has continued to stay on fire, averaging 22.5 points per game in 11 contests.

Moore's 33-point outburst against the Bears was the first of his three 30-point showings this season.

His last time out, Moore scored 31 points against the Lamar Cardinals in Hofheinz Pavilion on Tuesday.

On the season, Moore is averaging 18.8 points and 19.5 points in Southwest Conference games.

With two years left in a Houston uniform, Moore's performance and production can only get better, which pleases Brooks.

"I think the sky's the limit (for Moore)," Brooks said. "He's like a freshman in that this is his first year here and he's already making an impact.

"But there is still a lot to be learned considering that there has been drastic improvements."

Only time will tell if Brooks continues to see more from Moore because the coach won't settle for anything less.

 

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JAMES LAID BACK FOR HOUSTON

by Robin Jones

Contributing Writer

It has long been recognized that James was one of the most compelling live acts in Britan, if not the world. The band's concerts were characterized by improvisatory daring and adrenalin highs.

In an effort to capture this excitement, the band financed its own live album <I>One Man Clapping<P>. Phonogram snapped the band up and its next studio album, <I>Gold Mother<P> was to prove the turning point. Here, it seemed, James had at least fully realized its potential with music of extreme originality but mass popular appeal, passionate, infectious, all its own.

The hit singles "Come Home " and "Sit Down" (A British No.2) became centerpieces of its live shows, the scene of nightly celebrations where thousands of people would commandeer the song and sing it unaccompanied for 15 minutes at a time.

Then and now, being in the middle of a James crowd is a goose-pimpling experiance. 1992's million selling <I>Seven<P> consolidated its position as a major modern rock band, although by now the band was only six following the amicable departure of Andy Diagram. This brings us to now and its new album, <I>Laid<P>, an album that confirms James' international status and yet is a bold stride in a totally new direction.

Since the release of <I>Seven<P>, James have performed a succession of acustic tours, both alone and as invited guest of Neil Yong, another of the band's champions. These experiances have forged a new dimention to the James sound.

"Playing acoustically is playing without a net," says Tim Booth. "You're naked, you're vulnerable, but it's exhilarating. That experiance is certainly reflected in the new record. It's not an acoustic record, but it's a stripped down sound. We were quite sure that we didn't want it to be cluttered with overdubs. If anything, it's more subtle than <I>Seven<P>. The lyrics sometimes tackle bigger themes, but it's quite an intense, personal record." The album is pronounced by Renaissance man, Brian Eno. The partnership has been a long time in the making. "We wanted him to produce <I>Stutter<P> but he said he was a bit busy and he'd call back in a couple of years. Well, one morning, he did. He'd heard the demos and loved them."

Eno's influence is evident in the delicate, shifting nature of the sound. "As a producer, he's quite unlike anyone we've ever worked with," he states. "Very balanced, very focused and extremely encouraging. He encouraged us to improve and take chances. He's never outwardly critical. He gets his own way in more subtle ways. It was a very productive time. I came up with 34 completed lyrics in six weeks. We even managed to record a whole other double album of jamming type stuff that'll hopefully come out next year."

On the new album, for all it's shift of emphasis, the classic James trademarks remain. Powerfully compelling songs, the result of a kind of orgasmic interplay between the band's musical fluidity and Booth's plantive, yearning voice.

"Sometimes" is a personal favorite. That was the one that initially hooked Eno. "Without being conceited, I just think it's a lovely song. I like 'Laid' because it's draft and uplifting. And 'Low Low Low' would make a perfect football chant." In fact, move are afoot to establish it as England's theme song for the 1994 World Cup in the USA.

The new James album is set to convince doubters and delight the converted. Reaction in Britian is already strong. The band recently drew rave notices for its massive Finbury Park show with Neil Young. "When you get that kind of encouragement," says Tim, "That kind of support from people you've always respected like Neil Young and Brian Eno, it just vindicates what you're doing. It really gives you the impetus to move forward."

For James, the move forward to a new level of success and acclaim begins here. James will be performing this Saturday night at Numbers.

The performance will be in support of its latest release <I>Laid<P>, which features the hit single of the same title. This show promises to be one of the best of 1994 and deserves attention.

 

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REBA MCENTIRE DOESN'T DISAPPOINT AT THE RODEO CONCERT

by Rosario Pena

Daily Cougar Staff

From high above the Astrodome as she was being lowered down in a basket, sounds of her voice spelling "R-E-S-P-E-C-T "echoed through the arena. Yes, Reba was back for her second rodeo performance and breaking a new Wednesday record for 54,030 in attendance.

Once on stage, Reba McEntire, strutted her stuff as she opened up with the Aretha Franklin classic. With the crowds on their feet, McEntire, in a sparkling white skirt outfit with white cowboy boots, continued on with two more songs including "They Asked About You," her second release off the <I>Greatest Hits Vol. 2<P> CD.

She uses a lot of drama in her stage shows and this was no exception. As the big video screen displayed the beginning clips of her video, "Is There Life Out There?," the band intervened with the beginning notes, and stagelights lit to show a scene of a kitchen complete with a refrigerator, table and chairs, typewriter and McEntire singing with wonderment of any signs of life. The song ended with her simultaneously on screen in her video and on stage dressed in cap and gown.

Accompanied only by piano and video clips, McEntire slipped into a slower but equally touching version of "The Greatest Man I Never Knew." Continuing on slower pace, the audience clapped in unison to a different version of "Walk On." A powerful saxophone solo, a gospel choir on screen and background singers on stage in gowns to match made this a delightful song to hear, see and sing. It really made it seem as if being in a church on Sunday morning.

McEntire proceeded in the slow pace with "For My Broken Heart" and the very high, long note song "You Lie." The crowds received a real treat as McEntire sneak previewed "Why Haven't I Heard From You," a song from her forthcoming album to be released in April.

Afterwards, as the dome quieted down a bit, a ringing could be heard, as she picked up the phone, looked directly into the camera and began singing, "It's Your Call." As she sang the lyrics towards the camera, it felt as though you were seeing her through the eyes of the song's unfaithful companion.

The unfaithfulness theme continued when Linda Davis left the background and joined her to share the spotlight with their number one song, "Does He Love You." That was it! The crowd went crazy as they took turns singing. Right before the song ended, the music stopped, the lights came on and the ladies received a five minute standing ovation from the entire dome.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the lights dimmed and the last verse was sang, only to conclude with another standing ovation for McEntire and Davis.

Before re-introducing her and allowing her to perform her newly released single "Company Time," a supportive McEntire told the audience that their duet had landed Davis a recording contract. Combining great vocal ability, stage performance, and much fanfare present, Davis will surely be around for a long time to come.

With only a brief pause between songs, McEntire, in a blue glittering outfit, accompanied by video clips, background vocals and choreography, and another great saxophone solo burst into "Take It Back." From that very up-beat song, she toned the music level down but not the audience response as she began "The Heart Won't Lie." The noise level rose even more when duet partner Vince Gill appeared on screen in his video character and sung his lyrics to McEntire. The song closed like the video with Gill and McEntire each raising their palms to the other, McEntire holding the last note, as it fades to black.

Wrapping up, McEntire mergeed from behind the stage in a black mink coat and black high heels with her hair swept up. Longtime Reba fans know her name is now Fancy. As she belted out notes from left to right in this fast paced song, she slowed down only long enough to let her hair loose and throw down the mink to reveal a very uptown Fancy, dressed in a glittery red and black dress.

Fireworks consumed the dome. Then at last the Cadillac drove her around the arena as she waved to her fans before retiring backstage.

McEntire is one of the best all-around entertainers. There is never a dull moment in her shows. She always comes out with heart and soul, full of emotion and drama.

 

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POLITICAL MOVIES KEEP THE FAITH

by Glenn Wilson, Jr.

 

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

<I>Bob Roberts<P>, the story of a populist with sinister intentions, is part of this week's video picks.

As a political science major, I've always had a fondness for films dealing with the subject.

But not so much the "message" films, which drown you in their politics without any concern for such archaic matters as plot or character. Rather, I've always been drawn to the "behind-the-scenes" action, or just a good-natured ribbing of our most hallowed institutions of power.

The four films I have chosen for the "Dirty Politics" Film Festival all meet these qualifications.

First up is Tim Robbins' <I>Bob Roberts<P>. This is an intriguing film for more reasons than just its subject matter.

Robbins fashions this satire on American political campaigns around the title character whose arch-conservative views would make even Rush Limbaugh blush!

What makes it so interesting is that Robbins and his "constant companion" Susan Sarandon are notorious for their extremely liberal views which actually fall somewhere just to the right of Karl Marx.

The film itself is done as a sort of phony documentary about this fictional character running for a Senate seat, who criss-crosses the state rewriting old Bob Dylan songs with new conservative lyrics.

Robbins makes his point that candidates are willing to do anything to get elected with all the subtlety of a jack-hammer. However, I seriously doubt that these practices are limited only to conservative candidates.

Next up is another film about someone running for a Senate seat. Michael Ritchie's <I>The Candidate<P> stars Robert Redford as a vaduous politician who gradually becomes aware of his own vacuity over the course of the film.

The witty script by Jeremy Larner is very entertaining and is helped along by the knowledge that both he and Ritchie worked on several different campaigns to get their research for the film.

Redford gives a quality performance and the film is never too annoying with its messages.

The last line of this movie is enough to send shivers down the spine of everyone who has ever voted.

For a harmless laugh, try Ivan Reitman's <I>Dave<P>.

<I>Dave<P> tells the story of a simple-minded sap who happens to look a lot like the president. One day Dave is actually asked to stand in for the president while he engages in a little extra-marital diplomacy.

When the president suffers a stroke, Dave is handed the job on a more permanent basis.

This is basically Mark Twain's <I>The Prince and the Pauper<P> updated for modern audiences, but Ivan Reitman is good with comedy and Kevin Kline gives an excellent performance as both the "prince" and the "pauper."

Lastly, there is Alan J. Pakula's <I>All the President's Men<P>. Although compared to this Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan affair, Richard Nixon and that whole Watergate scandal now seems passe'.

But back in 1974, Watergate was front-page headlines thanks to the expert reporting of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. <I>All the President's Men<P> tells the story of this incredible piece of detective work with a lot of attention to detail.

Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman are exceptional as the two reporters, but Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee steals all of his scenes from these two heavyweights, and deservedly won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor.

While none of these films alone may restore your faith in American democracy, at least you can have a good time trashing our most cherished institutions.

Wilson is a post baccalaureate student studying history and government

 

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SPIDER MONKEY TRIUMPHS, BUT JOYCE CAROL OATES FAILS

by shane patrick boyle

Daily Cougar Staff

Going to heaven can be a hellish nightmare.

At least it is for serial killer Bobbie Gotteson a.k.a. the Spider Monkey.

In Joyce Carol Oates' <I>The Triumph of the Spider Monkey<P>, Gotteson (Brian Alan Hill) stands trial in heaven for his crimes. Heaven, incidentally, bears a strong resemblance to a white padded cell covered in spider webs. Gotteson and the members of the court seem to be dressed more like mental patients than angels.

The judge and jury call upon Gotteson to defend not only the murders, but his entire life.

Ignoring his defense that he never asked to be born, they play back scenes of his life. They have that technology in heaven.

Beginning with his abandonment in a bus station locker as a small child the events of his life unfold.

The jury members make no effort to hide the fact that they are biased.

Even Gotteson's attorney (David Logan Rankin) is biased against him. He quits very early because his client is so clearly guilty and so ugly that he is indefensible. This is convenient, because Rankin plays several other characters including Danny Minx, Gotteson's drifter foster father who also abandons him.

In his early years, Gotteson suffers abuse, gets in trouble and travels from one foster parent to another (including a drifter and a movie star). All he wants out of life is to be left alone, play his guitar and be worshipped like a god.

In the inevitable course of events, people get in his way and end up dead, though Gotteson swears with Bart-Simpsonesque sincerity that he didn't do it.

Eventually, he becomes the "son"/lover/chauffeur of Melva (Vicki Weathersby), a famous movie star, though she denies at least two of those affiliations.

Vlad (Rankin again), Melva's other lover and a producer tells Gotteson he's going to be in a pilot for a TV show, but it's really just an opportunity to humiliate Gotteson. Gotteson, in a scene he recollects later is forced to climb a drain pipe as Vlad, Melva and Melvas real sons look down and laugh at the little "spider monkey."

He falls and is left for dead. Two days later (Easter Sunday -- a coincidence or an overdone Christ metaphor?), he comes back to exact his revenge by killing women who attended a party at Melva's. They don't remember him, but he remembers them -- and their addresses -- and in his confusion they are indistinguishable from the people who laughed at him.

The audience hears different accounts of what happened during the Easter Sunday Murders and Gotteson's subsequent suicide but all are from unreliable narrators. This is an attempt to play on the mythical status Hollywood serial killers achieve.

A reference to this is made when Gotteson is informed that a movie will be made, based on Melva's memoirs. He is also told that his part will be played by a taller and more handsome actor, because he is "much too ugly to be taken seriously even with a machete." But even his appearance depends on who is telling the story. Some of victims say he was "kinda cute."

The play is interesting for its surrealism, but Gotteson's transformation into a serial killer is unconvincing.

Another flaw is a reliance on out-dated myths about homosexuality. The audience is informed by Melva that Gotteson is attracted to older men, but other than this revelation, there is no indication that he is gay unless the author's intention is to imply a link between misogyny and homosexuality.

However, despite the weaknesses of the script, the acting company puts on a good show with what they have.

<I>Triumph of the Spider Monkey<P>

Curtains Theater

3722 Washington

862-4548

 

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STANDARD A GREAT SHOW

by Manuel Esparsa

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston Ballet's <I>Swan Lake<P> capped its Tchaikovsky Celebration with a feather in it.

Strong performances by the dancers were matched by the orchestra, step by note. The visual beauty of this ballet belies its challenging roles. Though the company is more than capable performing this work, it is one of the oldest in their repertoire, it is not an easy piece.

The story is about Odette, a princess who is turned into a swan by the wizard Von Rothbart. Falling in love with Odette, is Prince Siegfried, who must remain faithful to her in order to break the spell. Rothbart fools the prince into proposing to the vile Odile, Von Rothbart's daughter. When the trickery is revealed, Siegfried rushes to find Odette, while Rothbart destroys the castle. At the lake, Siegfried and Odette kill themselves ultimately foiling the wizard, and spend the afterlife together.

In the dual role of Odette/Odile, Janie Parker dancing is as seamless as a satin sheet. Her style is a little demure as the princess. When she plays Odile, the wicked fun she has shows a Janie Parker that is rarely seen. Maybe the glee in her eyes was part of the role, maybe not.

Li Cunxin danced the lead as Prince Siegfried who falls in love with the enchanted Odette. His performance was unsurprising, but then again best is expected of him. His fouettes (standing on one leg, kicking the other one to spin) had snap and speed, yet were still fluid and controlled.

The antagonist of the work is Von Rothbart, an evil wizard who turns the unsuspecting Odette into a swan. Danced by Dorio Perez, Rothbart's movements were dark and menacing.

Artistic director Ben Stevenson's lavish use of sets, costumes, and lights are more than the chrome on a roadster. They are the vehicle that takes the audience to the Kingdom. Every costume makes the dancers larger than life, while the destruction of the castle and the open curtain set changes are a marvel of modern stagecraft.

There are performances this weekend, March 4-6 and one can get student tickets for $5.00 starting at noon, the day of the show.

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