LATINO HERITAGE MONTH IN SALSA MODE

by Marlene Yarborough

Daily Cougar Staff

Today, a salsa band at the Satellite kicks off UH's newly formed Latino Heritage Month, sponsored by the Hispanic Students' Association.

UH celebrated Chicano Week for over 20 years until HSA expanded it to a one-month celebration, said Lorenzo Cano, associate director of Mexican-American Studies.

Latino Heritage Month was created to introduce HSA, formerly Concilio. The organization changed its name to create a new image more inclusive of all Latinos, not just Mexican-Americans, HSA president Russell Contreras said.

Latino Heritage Month focuses on issues concerning the Latino population, such as the Mexican elections. Contreras said he hopes to focus on what Latinos need to do to progress positively.

MAS is sponsoring a presentation on the Mexican elections Sept. 16 to commemorate Mexican independence.

"In light of the events of the past few months, Mexico is still trying to move toward democracy. It is important to become familiar with the political events of our neighbors to the South," Cano said.

There will be a Latin party Sept. 15, also in celebration of Mexican independence. El Grito, the scream, signifies when Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla asked the Indians and Mexicans to rise up against the Spanish.

"The principle of the event is not only to commemorate Mexican independence, but to reconfirm Mexican culture and history in the U.S.," Cano said.

"Students will be bombarded throughout the month with facts, figures, forgotten accomplishments, unknown stories, different insight and a world often excluded from mainstream society," Contreras said.

Contreras said he hopes that LHM becomes an annual event and that the spirit of the event will continue throughout the year.

"It is a form to bring out issues that impact the Latino community in Houston," Cano said.

 

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FACULTY OPINIONS ON CHEATING DIFFER

by Niki Purcell

Daily Cougar Staff

With the revelations about academic honesty breaches at UH, concerns have arisen about the subject of cheating and what can be done to prevent it from occurring.

Last week, former UH student-athlete Linton Weatherspoon was accused by local media of being paid to take tests for football players.

The English, Math and History departments are at the most risk for cheating by students because of large-section classes, said an English Department source requesting anonymity.

The term "large section" refers to classes with 150 or more students.

While many faculty refused to comment on the record, the general feeling from departmental heads is that nothing can be done to stop cheating during tests, saying that if it is going to happen, then it is going to happen.

"There are very few reports of academic dishonesty in (the English) Department," said Harmon Boertien, chair of the department.

The English Department has six large-section classes this semester — two at the freshman level and four at the sophomore level.

Boertien, who took office on June 1, said no complaints regarding cheating have been brought to his attention.

"The (teaching assistants) monitor their own exams," he added.

Boertien also said he had no recommendations for the other departments to aid in preventing students from cheating.

"Different departments administer different types of tests, which require different types of cheating," he said.

Christiana Hatteberg, a senior journalism major, said the best administration of a test she has been a part of happened in astronomy Professor Lawrence Pinsky's class.

"Everyone lines up in two lines outside the class, then (Pinsky) numbers the seats, rows and tests the same. He also has three versions of the test, so no one around you has the same test copy. Also, there are two to three proctors walking around during the exam," she said.

Pinsky said the most important thing to prevent cheating is not the steps the professors take, but rather the steps the students take.

He said a cheater is aware that students around him know he is cheating, but that because they do not say anything, the cheater feels secure. However, if one person has enough courage to say the cheater is cheating, other students will say something as well.

Pinsky said he believes it is almost impossible to cheat in exams or in life without someone suspecting or being suspicious.

He recommends, and actually encourages, that students make it known to the proctors or professors that someone is cheating during the exam, not after the test has already occurred or when it is turned in.

"Please remind students that it is UH policy that if you are on campus, you must have your I.D. on your person. If you don't when asked, you could be asked to leave the campus," he said, adding that he often conducts surprise I.D. checks during his classes.

"The ultimate line of defense (to prevent cheating) is the students themselves. They should not tolerate it," he said.

According to the student handbook: " 'Academic dishonesty' means employing a method or technique or engaging in conduct in an academic endeavor that the student knows or should know is not permitted by the university or a course instructor to fulfill academic requirements."

The maximum penalty the university can impose on a student guilty of cheating is expulsion from the university, such as in the case of Weatherspoon.

Weatherspoon's expulsion was reduced to a five-year suspension on appeal.

 

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TRIS-CROSS, BUDGET WOES HOUNDING SA

by Tanya Eiserer

Daily Cougar Staff

Students' Association Speaker Jeff Fuller cited the controversy surrounding his brother, former SA President Jason, and the spring elections as reasons why the Textbook Resale Information Service did not get off the ground last year.

TRIS was supposed to be a computer data base, in which students could enter information about each textbook they wanted to sell.

"The (Daily) Cougar seemed to be after Jason every day. He seemed to have everything else to worry about," Fuller said. "Plus we had the elections going on. It (TRIS) has not been top priority."

Fuller also complained that people upset about TRIS did not come to SA first.

"This is not going to make us work with them. We are not going to respond to every accusation in the Cougar," Fuller said.

He also promised that the problem would be addressed.

Justin McMurtry, the former SA senator who authored the legislation, disagreed with Fuller, saying, "They had their heads up their asses."

Last year's SA Senate allocated $1,000 from the General Reserve to start the program. TRIS supporters originally thought the program would start last spring. Because the money was not spent, the funds were encumbered and had to be returned to the Student Fees Advisory Committee.

McMurtry compared encumbered money to something going down a black hole. Once the money is not spent, the organization usually cannot get the money back.

Although SA leaders now plan to spend $500 on TRIS this year, they originally had left it out of their budget calculation. Students could have had access to the program this semester had the bill been implemented.

"In all honesty, I did not know about it. I mean, I knew about it, but I forgot about it, and it was not one of my top priorities over the summer," Milner said.

After McMurtry brought it to the attention of the Daily Cougar, SA suddenly remembered to include the program in the budget.

Fuller said SA plans to order the program from Wayne State University.

Some senators complained that a high percentage of SA's budget goes to pay salaries and wages for an SA secretary, senate secretary and for other compensated student leaders rather than to truly help the student body.

"Almost $7 of every $10 is going to pay people. That's ridiculous. That's bull shit," said Hunter Jackson, a senator from the College of Business Administration and a critic of the present administration's handling of budgetary matters.

Out of a proposed budget of more than $97,400, about $69,200 is allocated to pay for salaries and payroll taxes.

Jackson pointed out that if SA spent less on paying people, they could afford to spend more money on TRIS and other worthwhile programs.

Milner said that because SA had to pull money from other areas to pay for mandated IRS tax deductions from compensated student leaders' salaries, SA did not have the money to fully fund TRIS at $1,000.

"The $500 is enough to start. It will not pay for a student, but it will pay for getting the computer program," Milner said.

Milner added that before SA found out about the tax deductions, it was planning to fully fund TRIS.

Milner told the Cougar last week that SA equipment would be insufficient to run TRIS properly. Contrary to that statement, Milner now says SA does have the required equipment.

Although the SA code mandates that a director for TRIS be appointed by Oct. 1, SA leaders said they do not have anybody yet to take the job of setting the program into motion.

Milner said she hopes to have a pilot program put into effect by the spring semester.

 

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STUDENTS CAN CATCH BLUES ACTS NEAR UH

by Jenalia Moreno

Daily Cougar Staff

Blues musicians do not just come from the Mississippi Delta. Houston has long been a rhythm and blues cultural center, boasting artists such as Sam "Lightnin' " Hopkins, T-bone Walker, Albert Collins and Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton.

The Orange Show Foundation and the Houston Blues Society are offering Eyeopeners Tours from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, and Sunday, Oct. 9, to celebrate Houston's blues culture. The tour will include visits to neighborhood juke joints and historic haunts that have made the Houston blues scene popular.

The tour group can sit in on a Sunday-evening jam session at neighborhood bars in the Third Ward and Sunnyside areas near UH. Tourists will stop at Evening Shadows where Grady Gaines, former Little Richard saxist, played and C. Davis Bar-B-Que, where guitarist I.J. Gossey plays. Tourists will eat at El Nedo Cafe, a Third Ward soul-food restaurant.

The Eyeopeners Blues Tour costs $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers. The fee includes transportation, admission to the clubs, barbecue samples and dinner. Tour reservations must be made by Saturday, Sept. 24. Call 926-6368 for more information.

 

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TAKE A HIKE

HILL COUNTRY'S LOST MAPLES OFFERS TRUE TASTE OF AUTUMN

by Bobby Summers

Daily Cougar Staff

The breeze blows gently through the secluded canyon and the birds greet the dawn with a cacophony of chattering and chirping.

The aroma of coffee brewing on the camp stove rouses my backpacking partner, who is trying to get a few extra minutes of sleep. When we look around the canyon from our backwoods camp on this late fall morning, we see a sight that is most unusual in Texas — huge maple trees dressed out in an incredible spectrum of gold, red, scarlet, burgundy, yellow, orange and brown leaves. The change of seasons has arrived in Texas.

In order to see trees with multi-colored hues like this, Texans usually have to leave the state and travel north. The change of seasons in Texas takes just a few days in most years. Unless there is an early freeze, the leaves just drop off the trees one day and winter is officially with us.

But at Lost Maples Natural Area in the hill country of central Texas, the change of seasons is much like being in the border states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and the New England states.

Every year, during late October and the first part of November, backpackers and hikers travel to Lost Maples in Bandera County — southwest of Kerrville — to see the change of seasons displayed by the only stand of Uvalde Bigtooth maples in Texas.

The bigtooth maples (<I>Acer grandidentatum<P>), which line the Sabinal and Medina Rivers, are not normally found in this part of the United States. They are usually found growing in the Rocky Mountains, from Idaho to West Texas and Mexico, hence the name "Lost Maples." The small populations at Sabinal Canyon are believed to be surviving relics of the Pleistocene Ice Age, when these trees parted from ancestral maple sugar stock eastward across Texas.

As the climate became more hot and more arid, the maples were restricted to sheltered canyon pockets like Lost Maples. They require a fairly protected habitat of moderate temperatures, humidity and moisture. The area along the river provides all of this. Although the trees can be found along most of the nearly 58 miles of the Sabinal and the Medina, the park is the only place where the public can actually get out and see the trees up close.

Lost Maples is a paradise for hikers and backpackers. The terrain goes from bottomlands to steep limestone canyons to wooded slopes to plateau grasslands. The 2,200-acre park was purchased by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1973. It was designated a National Natural Landmark by the Heritage Conservation Service in 1980.

Aside from providing many beautiful panoramas for hikers to see and photograph, the park offers a diversity of plant and animal life.

Many types of deciduous trees grow along the canyon bottom. On the upper canyon slopes, evergreens make up the majority of the trees.

The woods are almost impenetrable. For that reason, the area was used until the 1800s as a base for raiding Anglo settlers by the Tonkawa Indians, the Lipan and Mescalero Apaches, and the Comanches.

The park, which sits atop the Edwards Plateau of central Texas, boasts some 350-plus species of plants, including rare plants such as spicebush, sycamore-leaf snow-bell, Texas barberry, canyon mock-orange, cross-vine and Texas madrone.

Over 110 species of birds have been recorded at Lost Maples. They include rare species like the golden-cheeked warbler, the black-capped vireo, the green kingfisher, the zone-tailed hawk, and golden and bald eagles.

There are 11 miles of hiking trails that wind through the Sabinal Canyon and the high ridges above the river. All of the four main trails are well marked and color-coded for easy orientation. The trails are generally in good shape with just a few washed-out and rocky places. Lost Maples also has a developed nature trail that is only 1,400 feet long for people who can't or don't want to hike the more difficult trails, which can prove to be quite strenuous.

Each of the hiking trails features several grade changes of several hundred feet. The two main loop trails have a steep climb taking you from the canyon floor to the top of the plateau and a steep descent, taking you back down. Proper shoes, apparel, water and reasonable physical condition are necessary on these trails.

Hikers are asked to walk only on the designated trails. Only 4 percent of the acreage is developed because the park has been declared a "low-impact" area. Walking off the trail causes irreparable damage to the root systems of grass, plants and bushes.

No plant parts, plants, twigs or limbs may be removed. The gathering of rocks, flint chips and arrowheads is prohibited. It is unlawful to disturb historical or archaeological sites or features as well.

Backpackers and primitive campers at Lost Maples must also follow some very important rules.

Camping is permitted only in designated areas. No ground fires are allowed due to wildfire hazards. Only containerized fuel stoves are acceptable. During periods of heavy rain, creeks and canyons should be avoided due to the danger of flash floods.

Backpackers should never strike out on the trail without the following items: extra-dry clothing, a knife, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, extra batteries, waterproof matches, a compass, extra food, a whistle, sun-tan lotion, insect repellant and, most importantly, a map and lots of water.

Water is absolutely essential. The normal adult may require two quarts a day, more when working hard. Most outfitters for backpackers recommend a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day. Water in the streams and the river is not safe to drink unless it is purified. There is no water available on the trails.

Lost Maples has eight primitive camp sites located at various places on the hiking trails. Some are located on the high ridge, others along the shaded banks of winding streams.

Some of the camp sites are only two miles from the trailhead, others are scattered throughout the park. There is also an improved campground near the park's entrance, with 30 camp sites that have electric and water hook-ups.

Reservations at Lost Maples are available by calling (512) 966-3413, or by writing to: Lost Maples Natural Area; Station C Route; Vanderpool, Texas 78885. Reservations should be made early as the park is usually booked up during November. Up to 6,000 visitors come through the park every weekend during the late fall.

Lost Maples is about four miles north of Vanderpool on Ranch Road 187. From Kerrville, drive 39 miles west on Highway 39, then turn south on Ranch Road 187.

 

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POETRY CONTEST GIVES AWAY $12,000 IN PRIZE MONEY

The National Library of Poetry has announced that $12,000 in prizes will be awarded this year to over 250 poets in the North American Open Poetry Contest. The deadline for the contest is Sept. 30. The contest is open to everyone, and entry is free.

Any poet, whether previously published or not, can be a winner. Every poem entered also has a chance to be published in a deluxe, hard-bound anthology.

The poem should be no more than 20 lines in length, and the poet's name and address should appear on the top of the page. Entries must be postmarked by Sept. 30. A new contest opens Oct. 1.

To enter, send one original poem, any subject and any style, to the National Library of Poetry; 11419 Cronridge Dr.; P.O. Box 704-1931; Owings Mills, MD 21117.

 

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COUGAR VOLLEYBALL OPENS IN HOFHEINZ

HOUSTON HOSTS LADYKATS AFTER DEFEATING NO. 5 OHIO, TYING FOR TOURNEY WIN

by Hiren Patel

Daily Cougar Staff

Rivalry. That's the word Cougar head volleyball coach Bill Walton uses to describe the near-annual matchup between Houston (2-1) and Sam Houston State (5-2) in the home opener tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion.

"They're really an emotional team that plays with a lot of enthusiasm," Walton said in describing Sam Houston State.

"(Houston and Sam Houston State play) good ball against each other," Sam Houston head volleyball coach Brenda Gray said.

The LadyKats bring to the match four returnees from last season's NCAA Tournament team, which finished 25-8 as the Southland Conference volleyball champions.

The LadyKats are led by last season's Southland Player of the Year, senior Julie Franzen. As a setter who led the nation in assists per game with 14.2, Franzen is averaging 13.7 this season.

Jana Harless, a senior outside hitter, leads the team in kills per game (4.42) after leading the conference last season.

"They're playing well right now, and they'll come down here real fired up wanting to steal another game," Walton said.

San Diego and California-Santa Barbara, two Top 20 teams, handed the LadyKats their only losses. Sam Houston State brings a five-match winning streak to Hofheinz.

"We're not sure what to expect from them (Sam Houston State), other than that they will play with a lot of emotion and enthusiasm," Walton said.

After defeating No. 5 Ohio State and Northern Illinois in its 1994 season-opening tournament, the Cougars lost to Colorado in the Buckeye Classic this weekend in Columbus, Ohio. Houston was named co-champion of the tournament with a 2-1 record.

Houston's offensive firepower, senior hitter Lilly Denoon-Chester, leads the Cougar squad.

Denoon-Chester, named the Southwest Conference Player of the Week for the eighth time, has received the award more times than any current SWC player.

Denoon-Chester led the team in digs and the Cougar attack with 4.82 kills per game during her banner week.

Marie-Claude Tourillon, a freshman hitter from Montreal, made an impressive debut for the Cougars. She started all 11 Cougar games, finishing with 33 kills and 29 digs for the tournament.

Sophomore setter Sami Sawyer began this season where she left off last year. In 1993, she was named SWC Newcomer of the Year, leading the team in assists per game with a 12.09 mark.

Christi Dreier, a senior transfer from Sam Houston State, will see her first action against her former team. Dreier played in five games in the Buckeye Classic, leading the Cougars in attack percentage.

"We're getting ready to play a team that's probably more fired up to play against us than we are against them," Walton said. "If you're not mentally prepared to play someone, you're preparing to lose."

Last season, the two teams met in the Cougars' first match, which Houston lost in five games.

 

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UH PLAYS GROUND GAMES

HELTON SEARCHES FOR ANSWERS AS OFFENSE TRIES TO FIND LIGHT AT END OF TUNNEL, IN END ZONE

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

As the residue of the Cougars' 32-7 loss at Louisiana Tech fades from memory and 0-2 Missouri begins to come into focus, head coach Kim Helton is looking for answers offensively.

Hopefully, those answers will come on the ground.

Houston stands at 0-2 after gaining only 64 yards rushing Saturday on 24 carries. Unlike the opener against Kansas, though, the passing game was also ineffective.

"I don't think we could have as poor a performance as last week, especially offensively," Helton said Tuesday. "Defensively, we improved. We have some young guys who are coming along.

"Offensively, we took a step back."

Starting quarterback Chuck Clements was 19-of-38 for 141 yards in the game, with both a touchdown pass accounting for the Cougars' only score and an interception.

"We'll try to keep the game in third-and-short situations," Helton said of the Missouri game. "We tried to do that last week and misconnected on some (short) passes we would like to have completed.

"We'll try to run the football and keep Chuck out of third-and-10. Our third-and-long situations, we are very poor at," Helton added.

One player who could make for a few first-down gains is running back Jermaine Williams. The 6-1, 202-pound junior has carried the ball 17 times for 90 yards this season, a 5.3 average.

"Jermaine will make a big run here, a big run there, but he's had a couple of fumbles," Helton said.

The first of Williams' fumbles came on a kickoff return against Kansas with UH down 28-7, resulting in a Jayhawk touchdown two plays later.

The second, against Tech, happened in the fourth quarter with the Cougars down 20 on a 12-yard gain from scrimmage. That turnover didn't cost the team directly, though backup quarterback Clay Helton was sacked for a safety on the next series.

No other back besides Williams has averaged more than four yards-a-carry so far, though freshman Jay McGuire has run 15 times for 53 yards (3.5 per carry) and caught eight passes for 38 more yards out of the backfield.

More passing may be necessary to set up the run. Clements averaged 3.7 yards-per-pass-attempt against Tech, not much better than the 2.7 Cougar rush average.

"We'll try to put the ball up top (against Missouri)," Helton said, addressing the lack of a deep passing game.

"Against Tech, Chuck couldn't hold the football long enough (to throw long) and had to fire off to backs."

About the offense's play distribution, which has been a bit lopsided toward the air, Helton was fairly candid.

"We're at about 18 runs and 38 to 40 passes a game," he said. "We have to try to put (the offense) in a perspective where we can deal with the run.

"It's a matter of putting the ball in our best players' hands," he added. "Right now, we're having to throw the ball because we feel one of our better players is our quarterback.

"We want to be a pro-style passing team that can run the football."

Tight end Chris Herold figures to be a key in both areas. So far, Herold has only two catches, but he sees room to do more than just receive this season.

"Personally, I would (like to see more running plays)," he said. "We need the running game to control the clock and give the defense a rest.

"We want the offense to help the defense out."

Defensive tackle Mike Meux, the coaches' defensive player of the game against both Kansas and Tech, echoed team sentiment from the other side of the ball.

"As a defensive player, you're there to put the offense in good field position," Meux said. "We can't rely on the offense."

Meux has the second-highest tackle total on the line with 10. The other tackle, Carlos Chester, has recorded 18, 11 solo.

The leading tackler for the Cougars is still Gerome Williams, with 22 stops.

An addition to the starters on defense this week is cornerback Alfred Young, who returned from an NCAA-prompted hiatus Saturday. Young did not start then, but will against Missouri.

"He made some nice plays last week," Helton said of Young. "He'll be a key part of our defense."

 

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CINDERELLA A SMASHING SUCCESS

by Rosario Peña

Daily Cougar Staff

Champagne, chocolate truffles, and Mayor and Mrs. Bob Lanier were all on hand at the premiere performance of <I>Cinderella<P>. The beloved rags-to-riches fairy tale came to life last Thursday night as it opened the Houston Ballet's 25th anniversary season at the Wortham Center's Brown Theater.

A romantic tale of a young mistreated girl who finds her prince, <I>Cinderella<P> is beautifully choreographed and marvelously directed by Ben Stevenson. The romantic score of Serge Prokofiev and David Walker's exquisite costumes and realistic sets enhance the magic of a truly great tale.

The beautiful dancing, complimented by beautiful music under director Ermanno Florio, along with great humor, make this production soar. The chemistry of Tiekka Schofield and Mark Arvin as Cinderella and the prince, respectively, flows flawlessly within them as they dance together. In their solos, they are very graceful and dance remarkably.

There are other outstanding performances. Some of the most hilarious scenes involve the step-sisters, played superbly by Dorio Perez and Timothy O'Keefe. From the dancing lessons in Act I to the final bow, these two are funny and display "great" dancing abilities.

Another fine performance is the jester, performed brilliantly by Dominic Walsh.

The performance is approximately two hours and 25 minutes and is on a limited run. Show times for the final performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $5 to $70 and can be purchased at the Houston Ticket Center in Jones Hall and Wortham Center, all Ticketmaster outlets or by phone at 227-ARTS.

For students and senior citizens, tickets are $5 on the day of performance beginning at noon. Bring a valid driver's license or student I.D.; there is a limit of two tickets per I.D.

 

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PRISCILLA A WITTY TALE OF TRANSGENDERS IN THE OUTBACK

by Francisco Sanchez

Contributing Writer

<I>The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert<P> is the Three Stooges in gaudy drag, extravagant wigs, sequined frocks and hiking boots.

It is Larry, Moe and Curly transformed into Mitzi, Felicia and Bernadette, taking their high-energy show through the hostile Australian outback on a pilgrimage to Alice Springs on a rickety pink bus named Priscilla with a plentiful supply of ABBA tapes.

This Australian import makes Houston's most talented female impersonators look like first-timers raiding their mother's closet.

Among five upcoming films about female impersonators to be released this year, <I>Priscilla<P> is not only the cheapest-produced and first-released, but seemingly will be the one on top. Unlike last year's <I>The Crying Game<P>, <I>Priscilla<P> is much more light-hearted.

Campy and comical as it may be, <I>Priscilla<P> is a quite believable exploration of how members of a tightly-knit gay and transvestite community might cope outside of their urban havens. Aside from themselves, it becomes somewhat evident that the three things the gay community has been able to count on to survive homophobia and the cruelties of life are adjectives, irony and eyebrows.

Their performances in the unlikeliest of places yield reactions ranging anywhere from hilarious to hostile to incredulous to accepting. Through its clever plot and unrelenting sense of humor, <I>Priscilla<P> is a roller-coaster ride through the lives and dreams of its characters.

Even if spending an hour and 45 minutes watching drag queens parading shamelessly through 3,334 miles of remote Australian terrain and climbing mountains in Gaultier-esque gowns and hiking boots is not your idea of a good time, writer/director Stephen Elliott will take you from laughing at the main characters during the first half to laughing with them at life through the second half.

Hugo Weaving, winner of the Best Actor award at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival for his role as a blind photographer in <I>Proof<P>, plays Tick/Mitzi in <I>Priscilla<P>.

Tick is a drag queen named Mitzi who struggles with many problems. Mitzi must return to Alice Springs to raise his son from a marriage he never actually left. Although his wife is quite understanding and has even offered Mitzi and this trio a four-week stint at her resort, it is no surprise that Mitzi is bewildered by her life. Mitzi is, rather bluntly, an ugly woman with an absolutely impeccable sense of style, and delivers an outrageous performance on stage.

Felicia, played by Australian hunk and heartthrob Guy Pierce, is a drag queen bitch from the depths of "dragorama" who is fashion-conscious and totally focused on his/her image in or out of drag. With the ability and explicit desire to get on everyone's last nerve, Felicia finds himself in deep water more than once.

An extremely versatile performer, Pierce is a popular international television actor and has worked on numerous other films. His theater credits include <I>Grease<P>, <I>I Hate Hamlet<P> and <I>A Midsummer Night's Dream<P>.

The most powerful and impressive performance is by Terence Stamp as transsexual Bernadette, the matriarch of the group, who has a strong sense of fairness and a tough personality, but who always keeps compassion at her side.

Stamp's performance is warm and convincingly detailed. Having recently lost a lover many times younger, Bernadette decides that taking up Mitzi's offer to join the four-week show is just what the doctor ordered.

Some of Stamp's more recent films include <I>The Sicilian<P>, <I>Wall Street<P> and <I>The Real McCoy<P>. He has worked with some of the finest directors of our time, including Peter Ustinov, Federico Fellini and Pier Paolo Pasolini. However, he may not ever do drag again.

"Within the confines of movie-making, I try not to step in the same river twice," Stamp said.

<I>Priscilla, Queen of the Desert<P> is playing at Landmark Theatres.

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