TOWERS WORKERS REPRIMANDED IN SUICIDE CASE

by Robert L. Arnold

Daily Cougar Staff

An alleged incident of a Moody Towers employee ignoring the warning about an impending suicide attempt has prompted administrators to discipline two Towers employees.

Sara Kolb, a freshman biology major, alleged she tried to warn office assistants in South Moody Tower about her friend's plan to commit suicide.

Kolb explained that she tried to reach Assistant Area Coordinator for the South Tower, Veronica Young, on Oct. 12, the day Kolb's friend attempted suicide, but was unable to talk to Young personally.

Office assistants in the South Tower said they have no recollection of anyone calling with an emergency situation, but Kolb named Jessica Clen as the staff member she talked with face-to-face.

"I told Jessica I had a friend who was going to commit suicide, not thinking about, but was going to do it," Kolb said.

Elwyn Lee, vice president for Student Affairs, said two Towers employees were disciplined over the alleged incident, but refused to release the names of the people and how they were punished.

During an administrative meeting last Tuesday, accusations proposed that Kolb had changed her original story, which she denied.

"They wish I had changed my story. I felt then, and I still feel now, the situation was handled very poorly," Kolb said.

Ahmad Kashani, director of Residential Life and Housing, and Assistant Director Sandy Coltharp were also present at the meeting and declined to comment on the allegations except to say the situation was unfortunate and that steps are being taken to improve the awareness of the employees.

"We (UH administration) had another meeting to discuss the problem of suicide, not only as a local problem, but as a national one too," Lee said.

One of the remedies UH is using to correct the problem of increasing suicide attempts on campus is to hire a staff psychiatrist and, according to Lee, put employees through a re-training process.

Staff psychiatrist Jane-Anne Leevee was an intern with UH before being hired. The doctor works on campus 16 hours a week in the Health Center, and there is a one-month waiting list for students to set up a session with her.

"We are very happy to have her (Leevee), but it is very bad that students have to wait a month to talk with someone. That is another problem we (UH) has to work on," said Gerald Osborne, assistant vice president for Counseling and Testing Services.

 

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THE DAY OF THE DEAD RECOGNIZED IN ART EXHIBIT SHOWING ON CAMPUS

Mexican tradition seen as way to help troubled youths

by Gale Lunsford

News Reporter

Imagine walking into a room filled with multicolored figures of skulls and skeletons. Instead of feeling fear, you are filled with awe and respect for the dead.

The Museo Guadalupe Aztlan presented the Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Folk Art Exhibit on Nov. 1.

It is the first exhibit of its kind at UH.

According to Jesus Medel, curator and director of Museo Guadalupe Aztlan, the indigenous peoples of central Mexico started this celebration of the dead. The Day of the Dead is now celebrated by all Latin American countries, as well as by Americans living in the Southwest United States. People traditionally honor deceased children Nov. 1 and adults on Nov. 2.

The two-day celebration consists of an array of foods, including the bread of the dead, a bread shaped like skulls or skeletons. Children eat sugar skulls made from sugar cane during the festivities.

"The idea was that the spirits would drink and eat because the food and drink were placed by the gravestones," Medel said.

One purpose of the exhibit is to signify the importance of life to at-risk youths involved in gangs and drive-by shootings. Medel said he realizes that some drive-by shootings occur at funerals and that the kids involved do not respect the dead.

According to Lorenzo Cano, assistant director of Mexican American Studies, he wants more young people to see these exhibits pertaining to celebrations of the deceased.

"By relating to the art, kids may feel they have more potential, and more meaning in their daily live," Cano said.

The exhibit consists of a combination of paper maché, wood and wire figures completed by one folk artist, Rodolfo Reyes. Two altars are also on display – one dedicated to Medel's paternal grandparents and one dedicated to children. Cano said the celebration of deceased family and friends has become more popular in the United States.

"People who see this exhibit and others of its kind can see more of a sophistication in the art work," Cano said. "This art conveys the diversity of our society."

Medel and Cano said they both want future exhibits to contain student art, as well as be curated by youths. Cano said if kids participated in activities like the arts, these youths could improve their perspectives on life and help to improve their communities.

The goal of the Museo Guadalupe Aztlan, which opened in March 1994, is to raise money for the museum and to further their purpose of promoting indigenous artwork. Prices for Reyes' artwork range form $115-$650.

The exhibit is located in the Art and Engineering Annex, next to the Band Annex, off of Elgin Street. Viewers may come by from noon to 5 p.m. today and Thursday. A closing reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

For further information, contact Jesus Medel at 926-8771.

 

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TRUEBA MEMO BLASTS UH SYSTEM

 

by Tanya Eiserer

Daily Cougar Staff

UH Provost Henry Trueba, in a recently uncovered document, has come out on the faculty's side concerning UH's relationship with the System administration.

"I was taking some chances. People in the System were kind of shocked," Trueba said. "They (faculty members) feel they have no voice and that nobody (within the UH administration) is advocating for them."

In the document, Trueba wrote, "I must honor the trust UH faculty and staff have placed in me." The document questions the System about its control of the central campus and about Trueba himself. Trueba attacks treating the four member institutions as if they are equals.

The "internal discussion document," dated Oct. 24, is the first time Trueba has attacked the way the System operates.

The Board of Regents recently formed a three-member committee to address the issue of UH's relationship to the System.

Trueba said the document does not reflect "division" between him and President James H. Pickering. He added that he informed Pickering he was going to send it out, but Pickering and Chancellor Alexander Schilt did not see it before its release.

Several high-ranking sources within the administration said that Pickering, Schilt and other administrators were unhappy that the memorandum did not go through administrative channels before being distributed to the regents, System administration and others.

"We have a tradition of placing an emphasis on face-to-face communication," Schilt said, commenting that Trueba's style was different from other administrators.

The document went out to the Board of Regents, System administration, vice presidents, college deans and the president of the Faculty Senate.

"The reaction to this (document) was shock and fear within the (UH) administration," Trueba said. "I could not compromise my integrity anymore."

Pickering denied reports that he was upset about the memo's release. "I find it extraordinarily refreshing that within three months, someone (Trueba) comes in and talks about these issues," he said.

Several deans who wished to remain anonymous said Trueba's move was a very courageous act. "The deans pretty much want to stay out of it. They would like to see him succeed in establishing the university in its rightful place," one dean said. "He is going to be the point man out there all alone."

Trueba, who is second-in-command under Pickering, came to UH from the University of Wisconsin in the summer.

Trueba describes in the document that the attempt to "treat the institutions (the four System universities) as if they were peers or equal, in spite of the fact that the institutions are vastly different in complexity, purpose, magnitude and significance, is what constitutes the myth of functional equivalence."

Schilt, though, denied that the System had made an effort to equalize the campuses at the expense of UH.

Trueba added in the document, "Given the fact that I must handle multiple affairs of 14 colleges and a full range of responsibilities beyond these colleges ... I can argue that the functional equivalent to the provosts in other campuses may clearly be one of my deputies, or at other times, one of my deans or their associate deans," Trueba states in the document.

He added that forcing him to attend these meetings of the campus provosts at the System offices is "a clear effort to perpetuate the myth of functional equivalence."

System Senior Vice Chancellor Dell Felder, the only System administrator Trueba directly names in the document, said, "I am not necessarily sure I agree with the conclusions Dr. Trueba has drawn."

Trueba complained that Felder was micro-managing his time and activities.

"He did not give himself long enough to understand the operations of these councils before he spoke," Felder said, referring to the Provost's Council that meets at the System level."Nobody is forced to come to meetings. I do not know what he is talking about when it comes to calender-blocking."

Felder denied that the System was calendar-blocking Trueba's time, but said she did not want Trueba to send substitutes to meetings on a permanent basis.

Calendar-blocking refers to the tradition of scheduling administrators' meetings up to a year in advance.

Trueba also argues that the myth of functional equivalence has resulted in denying him access to the Board of Regents, while at the same time giving the presidents of Victoria, Clear Lake and Downtown access. Because the provosts are treated as equals and do not have access to the regents, this has resulted in the UH provost not having access, Trueba said.

"I can argue that as UH provost, I am the functional equivalent to other presidents for the reasons stated above of UH magnitude, complexity, unique purpose and significance," Trueba wrote in the memo.

He calls for the examination of the System due to "the serious detriment inflicted upon UH faculty and staff by creating a UH System that structurally can systematically advance other campuses by giving them an equal voice and decision-making power ... ," he added in the memo. Robert Palmer, a Cullen professor of history and law, who has led the faculty fight to censure Pickering and has delivered blistering attacks on the System administration, agreed with Trueba's assessment of the situation.

"The memo accurately reflects faculty concerns and frustrations that this campus is disadvantaged to favor the System's smaller campuses by (UH's) being treated as an equal to the other campuses," Palmer said. "Our campus loses in the System administration even though we are something like 80 percent of the System."

This "myth" of functional equivalence, Trueba adds, has succeeded in creating competitive relationships among the campuses that in the end hurt all four institutions, with the UH System acting as the central headquarters for collaboration and coordination.

"For UHS to assume the power to equalize campuses by giving equal voice to all the campuses, is not only clearly wrong and unacceptable to UH faculty and staff, but fundamentally destructive of the level of excellence that UH and UHS has reached," Trueba wrote.

Trueba argues that the System should adopt the idea of functional complementarity, meaning that the four campuses would not be treated as equals, but would instead complement each other.

William Fitzgibbon, leader of the Coalition for Excellence and a UH math professor, said, "The memo speaks for itself. Trueba can't really effectively do what he needs to do if his agenda is controlled downtown."

The Coalition for Excellence includes high-profile researchers and scholars at UH who have banded together to decry what they believe to be the controlling influence of the System administration, the seeming impotence of the UH administration and the alleged ineffectiveness of the System in obtaining state funds.

Fitzgibbon added that he did not believe Trueba had to worry about becoming another Harrell Rodgers, a UH political science professor, who was summarily dismissed from his post as dean of the College of Social Sciences by Pickering for not behaving as a "team player."

"There are some chances that if he angers enough people (within the administration) that there could be an attempt to bypass him in the structure," Fitzgibbon said. "I would hope, though, that people would stop taking extreme umbrage when people speak their mind."

 

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TIME WARP TO RENAISSANCE A CAR RIDE AWAY

Plantersville fair celebrates 20th year

by Marla Dudman

News Reporter

King Henry has decreed this year to be "The Year of Magic" at the 1994 Texas Renaissance Festival in Plantersville.

Visitors from all over the state have already come to discover the sorcerer's secrets, watch a human chess game, take in a birds-of-prey performance and marvel at full-contact jousting. There are over 40 stage acts and events that take place each weekend, including the famous mud-wrestling show.

"I really enjoyed the beautiful Renaissance costumes and friendly atmosphere. It was fun hearing those fake British accents, eating a giant, soft, onion pretzel and watching the jousting match," said Rosemary Sharp, a nurse from Arlington. "It's much bigger than the one I went to in Chicago. I had a great time."

Along with promenading belly dancers and jugglers, visitors may stroll among costumed characters while tasting delectable treats like fried apple dumplings, pierogies, smoked turkey legs and tender pasta filled with potatoes and onions. A wandering "pretzel man" will also tempt visitors with four kinds of large, soft pretzels and a few stunts of his own.

A grand-march parade is held at noon, featuring King Henry and his entire court. Afterward, some visitors may wish to participate in games like fencing, Jacob's Ladder and the Amazing Maze, while others may choose to shop in some of the 250 arts and crafts booths containing unique and exotic hand-made treasures. There are also elephant, camel and pony rides for old and young alike.

In addition to fun, food and games, talented face painters are located throughout the fairgrounds to decorate faces, and a special booth has been set up for custom hair-braiding.

A roving artist named Sir Harry will sketch a visitor's caricature in minutes from his cart. "My picture for your picture," he says merrily to those who try to take his photograph.

The festival began Oct. 1 and runs for seven weekends through Sunday. The gates open promptly at 9 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets cost $12.95 for adults and $6.95 for children ages 5 to 12. Admission is free for children under the age of four. Discount tickets can be purchased at HEB and HEB Pantry Foods. For further information, call 1-800-458-3435.

To reach the Renaissance Festival, take I-45N to Conroe and exit FM105. Turn left under the overpass. Continue on FM105 to Plantersville. Exit FM1774 and turn left. From there, police and fairgrounds personnel will direct you.

 

 

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BEVO BBQ

Annual Game Ball Run kicks off with beefy party

by Stephen Stelmak

Daily Cougar Staff

If you like all-you-can-eat barbecue, football and bars (not necessarily in that order), check out the fifth annual "Game Ball Run."

Before the upcoming University of Houston/University of Texas football game held at UT this year, there will be a kickoff complete with all-you-can-eat barbecue.

The Zeta Chi chapter of Sigma Nu has run the game ball to various destinations nearly a dozen times for the University of Houston. Jason Kirbie, a Sigma Nu member, said they are proud to be making the run this year to Austin Saturday.

To drum up spirit before the Ball Run, they will get a send-off at the Bevo Barbecue and Kickoff Party. The kickoff is being held Thursday night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Griff's Shillelagh Sports Cafe and Bar. Tickets are $6, and for that price, you get all the barbecue you can consume.

At the event, fans will be able to meet UH athletic director Bill Carr, football personnel, team players, Cougar Cruiters, the Frontiersmen and other excited fans.

Even if you don't like football, but want to eat barbecue, this event is a great opportunity to hang out with other UH students and support a good cause. All proceeds will be going to the Ronald McDonald House, a charity Sigma Nu has supported in previous Ball Runs. Donations will also be accepted, and with a donation of $75 or more, individuals will receive recognition on the vans traveling with the game ball.

For more information, or to purchase tickets to the event, call Jason Kirbie at 743-7293. Tickets can also be purchased at Griff's Inn, located near Montrose and Westheimer. All ages are welcome to come out and show their support for the UH football team, to help the Ronald McDonald House and of course, to eat barbecue.

 

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BEVO BBQ

Annual Game Ball Run kicks off with beefy party

by Stephen Stelmak

Daily Cougar Staff

If you like all-you-can-eat barbecue, football and bars (not necessarily in that order), check out the fifth annual "Game Ball Run."

Before the upcoming University of Houston/University of Texas football game held at UT this year, there will be a kickoff complete with all-you-can-eat barbecue.

The Zeta Chi chapter of Sigma Nu has run the game ball to various destinations nearly a dozen times for the University of Houston. Jason Kirbie, a Sigma Nu member, said they are proud to be making the run this year to Austin Saturday.

To drum up spirit before the Ball Run, they will get a send-off at the Bevo Barbecue and Kickoff Party. The kickoff is being held Thursday night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Griff's Shillelagh Sports Cafe and Bar. Tickets are $6, and for that price, you get all the barbecue you can consume.

At the event, fans will be able to meet UH athletic director Bill Carr, football personnel, team players, Cougar Cruiters, the Frontiersmen and other excited fans.

Even if you don't like football, but want to eat barbecue, this event is a great opportunity to hang out with other UH students and support a good cause. All proceeds will be going to the Ronald McDonald House, a charity Sigma Nu has supported in previous Ball Runs. Donations will also be accepted, and with a donation of $75 or more, individuals will receive recognition on the vans traveling with the game ball.

For more information, or to purchase tickets to the event, call Jason Kirbie at 743-7293. Tickets can also be purchased at Griff's Inn, located near Montrose and Westheimer. All ages are welcome to come out and show their support for the UH football team, to help the Ronald McDonald House and of course, to eat barbecue.

 

 

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UT RECEIVER CATCHING HEAT

by Jason Paul Ramírez

Daily Cougar Staff

There are many national college football experts who seem to think Texas Longhorn wide receiver Lovell Pinkney is easily one of the nation's top five receivers.

Houston Cougar head coach Kim Helton does not subscribe to that notion, however.

"(Pinkney)'s all right," Helton said during Tuesday's media luncheon held at the UH Hilton. "But compared to whom?"

Pinkney's 1994 junior season has been plagued by trouble he's had with the law and his coaches.

"How many times has he shown up (to play)?" Helton asked the media.

Pinkney has played in six of Texas' first nine games this season. He was suspended for the Longhorns' first game against Pittsburgh because of charges that he and fellow starting receiver Michael Adams accepted free access and then misused several rental cars during the summer, which violates NCAA rules.

Pinkney then missed Texas' second game against Louisville for failing to be truthful to the university about a trip he took to Los Angeles around Mother's Day this year.

When Pinkney was first questioned about the trip, he replied that he was actually in his home town of Washington, D.C., visiting his mother for the holiday.

However, when it was discovered that Pinkney had indeed ventured to L.A., he told the school he was visiting a friend who was an actor. It was alleged, however, that Pinkney's real reason for the trip was to meet with a professional sports agent, also against NCAA regulations.

The investigation into the incident was unsuccessful, and Pinkney finally returned to the team Sept. 24 against Texas Christian and proceeded to play in the Longhorns' next three games.

But Pinkney again ran into trouble on Oct. 12 as he was one of seven Texas players responsible for "conduct misrepresentative of the football program."

That evening, Pinkney and the other six players, which included Adams, were apparently out at a late hour unsuitable to UT coach John Mackovic.

What the team's actual curfew was, was never announced to the team. It was just decided by Mackovic that 4 a.m. was just too late.

For the penalty, Pinkney and the players missed the Oct. 15 Rice game in Houston, which Texas lost 19-17.

Since that time, Pinkney has stayed "clean," playing in Texas' last three games. But there are rumors that Pinkney may not be on the team next season at all because of his track record.

"I'd just as soon not waste air time on him," Helton said.

 

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VOLLEYBALLERS END SWC WITH TRIP TO AGGIELAND

by Chris Peña

Daily Cougar Staff

The quest for perfection in the Southwest Conference by the 17th-ranked Houston Cougar volleyball team will culminate in College Station tonight.

The Cougars (20-3 overall, 9-0 in the Southwest Conference) will put their school-record 17-match winning streak on the line when they hop on Highway 6 and visit the Lady Aggies of Texas A&M (12-11, 5-4) in the teams' final Southwest Conference matchup at G. Rollie White Coliseum at 7 p.m.

A victory in Aggieland would give the Cougars a perfect 10-0 SWC record for the first and last time.

In the teams' first matchup at Hofheinz Pavilion, the Cougars swept a hustling Aggie team by scores of 19-17, 17-15 and 15-7.

Houston, as always, will rely on the explosive power of senior hitter Lilly Denoon-Chester.

The 6-0 SWC Player of the Year and All-America candidate has been unstoppable in 1994.

She leads the conference in kills per game with an average of 5.08. The Pasadena native's .344 hitting percentage is also good for second-best in the SWC.

Against the Aggies on Oct. 12, Denoon-Chester registered 22 kills along with 11 digs.

The Cougars also got a superb performance by sophomore hitter Emily Leffers in the teams' initial tangle in Houston. Leffers finished the match with 12 kills and 17 digs.

The Cougars will rely heavily on sophomore setter sensation Sami Sawyer to set the ball up for hard hitters like Denoon-Chester, Nashika Stokes and Leffers.

Sawyer leads the conference with 12.9 assists per game, amassing over 1000 assists this season, including a career-high 61 against the Oklahoma Sooners earlier this year in Norman, Okla.

The Aggie attack is paced by sophomore setter Suzy Wente. The 5-7 setter from San Antonio is second to Sawyer in the SWC in assists per game.

But it is senior hitter Jennifer Bronner that worries Houston head coach Bill Walton.

"We know what to expect from (Dana) Santleben; we know what to expect from (Kristie) Smedsrud," he said. "Bronner could be a problem. They've played her both right and left. If they play her right, we'll know what to expect. If they play her left, we'll adjust on the fly."

The other thing that worries Walton is the crowd at the Coliseum.

"It'll be a big crowd and a long game," he said. "If they (the crowd) keep them (the Aggies) fired up, they'll play with more emotion."

Regardless of what happens tonight in College Station, the Cougars finish out their home schedule Saturday and Sunday at Hofheinz.

The Cougars have been unbeatable at home. They own a perfect 12-0 record this year in their friendly confines, including wins over national powers Texas and Georgia.

Houston will host the Lamar Cardinals at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, then come back the next day and play regional rival Louisiana Tech at 2 p.m.

Although Houston can't overlook its next three opponents, the SWC Tournament looms on the horizon for one of Walton's most successful squads.

The Cougars received a first-round bye in the tournament by clinching the conference championship against the Rice Owls one week ago.

But the tournament championship may mean a third fight with the Longhorns, who for the first time in history have been swept by a conference foe, and may have revenge on their agenda.

 

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DENSE <I>DEMOCRACY<P> EXPLORES SOCIETAL MORES

<I>Sex, Drugs and Democracy<P>

Director: Jonathan Blank

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by A. Colin Tangeman

Contributing Writer

Jonathan Blank's fascinating new documentary <I>Sex, Drugs and Democracy<P> opens with a quote from the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza that asks the simple question: What are the limits of personal freedom?

As members of a democratic society, we rely on the protection of an elected government. Consequently, the citizenry must necessarily forgo certain individual freedoms in order for the system to work.

By focusing his documentary on the highly progressive social programs of the Dutch, Blank asks his audience to re-evaluate its own values and roles in society.

The format of the documentary is composed of a series of statistics and interviews with leading Dutch government officials and various members of the legal sex and drug markets. Between this progression of interviews, Blank ventures into a variety of sex shows and coffeehouses (stores where marijuana is sold), speaking with owners and patrons about the Dutch way of life.

What is so compelling about Blank's film is the candid and sincere opinions of the Dutch people.

The commissioner of the Amsterdam Police freely expresses his belief that even hard-core drugs like heroin and cocaine should be legalized. And why not, considering that the Dutch boast one of the lowest drug-related death rates in the world. Lottie Schenck of the Women's Party proudly states, "We have the lowest rates of abortion and teenage pregnancy in the world."

Another striking aspect of <I>Sex, Drugs and Democracy<P> is Blank's decision to intersperse his documentary with selections from the Dutch Constitution.

There is a familiar ring to the Dutch articles, like the one that states, "No one may be deprived of his liberty" (Article 15). The Dutch interpret this article to mean that the existence of guns in their country violates the personal safety of citizens. This is just a sampling of the pragmatism the Dutch use to deal with social dilemmas.

Many of the social practices of the Dutch are unacceptable to a majority of Americans. However, what cannot be ignored about this documentary is the sense of community the Dutch people have embraced. For example, racism in the Netherlands seems to be an absurd abstraction. As the Dutch saying goes, "In the dark, all the colors are black."

Regardless of what ideological leanings to which one may subscribe, Blank's <I>Sex, Drugs and Democracy<P> should be seen by all. This film is not a liberal diatribe, but a work of art that asks its audience to consider some societal possibilities. Blank's point is not what should be, but what could be.

 

 

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QUEENSRŸCHE MELLOWS OUT IN LATEST

 

by Ryan Carssow

Contributing Writer

As with its previous albums, Queensrÿche's <I>Promised Land<P> must be listened to many times before it can be heard. The more you hear it, the more you'll like it.

Familiarity breeds appreciation for this band and this album, which is the follow-up to its multi-platinum 1991 release <I>Empire<P> and the critically acclaimed 1988 concept album <I>Operation Mindcrime<P>. <I>Promised Land<P> is not of the same caliber as the previous two studio albums, but then again, it was not supposed to be.

The tempo has been slowed down considerably on many of the tracks, which at first sound more like 'Rÿche's popular and overplayed ballad "Silent Lucidity" than its hard-rock epics "Empire" or "Revolution Calling."

This may lead some who have followed the 'Rÿche for a while to the conclusion that the band has sold out to the more-ballads-equals-more-air-play idea of how to make a metal album.

However, there are some intense tunes on <I>Promised Land<P>, like the first radio-play release "I Am I" and the bass-driven "Damaged."

The band's main goal on this album seems to be slower, more melodic and emotional expressive. <I>Promised Land<P> is said to be more personal and introspective, but Queensrÿche has always written songs with a deep and often personal message. Thus, it must be listened to over and over again to be heard.

The best way to hear this album is to sit down, open up the lyric sheet and read along with the music like a good volume of short stories. In many ways, that's what the songs are: musically accompanied short stories.

"Out of Mind" and "Bridge" are acoustic/electric-guitar combinations a la "Silent Lucidity." The former's lyrics are a portrait of society's treatment of the mentally ill.

"So we keep these people inside these walls from society. Their forgotten lives safe from the crowd, they can't leave."

The latter is a gut-wrenching tale of a father-son relationship gone sour.

"You're begging me for a brand-new start, trying to mend a bridge that's been blown apart, but you know … you never built it, dad."

"Dis con nec ted" has a mechanized feel, reminiscent of industrial punk, that is a new direction for the band.

However, the most surprising new direction for the 'Rÿche on this album may be the last track, "Someone Else?" Lead-singer Geoff Tate, a former opera vocalist, showcases his immense vocal range and talent, while accompanied by only a piano. That's right, a piano on a Queensrÿche album!

The finished product is miles ahead of what you would expect from such a merger of different musical forms. Tate's voice has the unique ability to make a listener empathize. You are not even sure about the target of your empathy. You just feel for something.

But Queensrÿche has made a career and gained a huge following from just this kind of innovative chance-taking.

The bottom line is that the five members of Queensrÿche truly are gifted musically and lyrically. Lead guitarist and songwriter Chris DeGarmo turns a phrase as well as he strums a six-string. Drummer Scott Rockenfield, while sadly and noticeably less involved in the overall sound of this slower album, is still one of the best in the business.

<I>Promised Land<P> is not up to the same cosmic standards that <I>Mindcrime<P> and <I>Empire<P> set for this band. It lacks the dynamic, driving tour de force songs of its predecessors. But what it lacks in audible power it makes up for in deep and powerful lyrics.

You need only to listen in order to hear.

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