UH ELEVATORS DONT' MEET STATE CODE, PLANT CONFIRMS'

University's self-inspection program 'probably not a good idea,' state official says

 

by Andy Alford

Daily Cougar Staff

Left to police themselves, UH Physical Plant officials have failed to determine what has been causing the Agnes Arnold Hall elevator malfunction incidents, have failed to bring any of the 84 elevators on the UH campus up to the new Texas state code, have failed to file their annual report with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and have failed to satisfactorily assure all UH students that they are taking their concerns about AH elevators seriously, said a representative group of students and faculty that included a dean and the SA president.

In a briefing Tuesday, UH students and officials addressed concerns about what, if anything, was being done to secure the safety of students and faculty riding AH elevators. Students and faculty have been worried since four falling-elevator incidents had been reported in the past four weeks.

Holly Sterneckert, associate vice president of Plant and Operations in the UH Physical Plant, said, "We shouldn't have concern about the elevators falling."

Sterneckert said three separate outside companies have inspected AH elevators, adding that the inspectors found nothing wrong with the safety mechanisms in any of the AH elevators.

She said, however, "There's no denying that the elevators in Agnes Arnold, and all around campus, are old. They're well-used, and they're tired. They will not respond like newer ones would."

Even after Sterneckert's assertions that all the inspections performed on AH elevators so far have found the elevators to be safe, students and faculty are still very concerned about their operation.

History Professor Tom O'Brien said, "My concern is not that the elevators pose a safety hazard, but that the drops that they've been taking may injure people with pre-existing conditions and that sort of thing.

"So when (the inspectors) say 'safe,' are they saying that these elevators are not going to take these sudden drops? Because there, I see a potential for injury to people."

While Sterneckert said the Physical Plant was replacing the controllers in the existing AH elevators -- in hopes that problems would cease as a result -- O'Brien said he would prefer that all the elevators in AH be replaced.

"We hope to install two additional elevators in AH that will go from the basement to the third floor. The design work has begun. Next fall, perhaps around October, you should see them. After the two elevators are added in the fall, we would like to remove the escalators and replace them with fixed stairs," Sterneckert said.

James Pipkin, dean of the College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication, said, "If you had asked the occupants of the building what the priority was, clearly it would have been to do something definitive about the existing elevators, rather than to add two new elevators. Whatever the benefits of new elevators, they have nothing to do with current concerns.

"As long as I don't know for a fact what the accurate way is to describe those incidents in which those elevators moved in ways they're not supposed to move: plummeting, falling, slipping, missing floors -- there's a great variety and difference in the significance of those words -- I can't assure students and faculty that it would be safe to get on the (AH) elevators again," Pipkin said.

Pipkin asked Sterneckert for a precise accounting of what occurred on the AH elevators, because, as he said, "For many people, until they believe they have a precise description of what has occurred, they're simply not going to accept anyone's assurances that the elevators are safe."

Sterneckert said that while she understood Pipkin's concerns, "When somebody said they 'plummeted' or 'fell' -- well, I have talked to quite a few engineers who say that that can't happen. Then we have three inspectors who say, 'They're safe.' Well, I just don't know what more to say."

Geri Konigsberg, interim vice president for University Relations, explained that after each AH incident, repair people rode the elevators, trying to determine what happened.

"It is difficult to determine the cause of the incidents because the alleged incidents have not occurred when an appropriate person, who could have made a determination, was riding the elevator," she said.

Mary Banski of the School of Communication brought to light yet another concern.

"When the elevators don't function, so that we have to take the stairs in the dark hours and on the weekends, well, then this becomes a gender issue," she said.

Banski explained, "One of the most common things women are told to do to avoid sexual assault is to stay out of the stairwells. Now we can't."

"It really bothers me that I've raised this issue, and no one seems to understand what it's like to be on this campus when there is not a lot of people around and to have to use the stairwell," she said.

Pipkin agreed.

Adding to the list of student and faculty concerns is the fact that UH fails to meet a new State of Texas elevator code. Because the University of Houston is a state institution, it must comply with the year-old code.

"We know that the Agnes Arnold elevators, as well as the other elevators on campus, do not meet the state code," Sterneckert said.

"We got an assessment made and determined that it would cost the university $400,000 to $500,000 to bring the elevators up to code on campus. We have every intention of doing that with the HEAF funds that become available in September," she added.

Sterneckert said the bulk of state code violations with UH elevators fall within the Americans with Disabilities Act. The act requires additional inspections.

Tommy Smith, enforcement coordinator with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations, said, "They have had from March 1994 to March 1995, and UH has not had its annual state inspection to date."

Smith said only a specially certified inspector, either employed by the university or by an outside firm, may do the state inspection.

Sterneckert said that of the seven employees in the Physical Plant's elevator shop, only the elevator foreman is certified and licensed to inspect the elevators.

In addition to the three outside evaluations already performed on AH elevators, Sterneckert added, UH would also contract an outside firm to perform the state inspection.

Smith said that if UH does not have the inspection by the end of March, the university may apply for a delay or a waiver. After having the inspection, the state gives the university 30 days to meet state codes.

Otherwise, Smith said, "There is a $1,000-a-day fine, up to $250,000," until the code violations are remedied.

Sterneckert mentioned that the elevator controls in the remaining AH elevators would be replaced over Spring Break. During that time, from 5 p.m., March 17, to the morning of March 27, the Physical Plant will attempt to keep at least one elevator operating at a time.

Sterneckert said she expects to have the AH elevators in compliance with state codes within two months.

Smith said UH is under an in-house maintenance program.

"They inspect themselves -- which, I know, is probably not a good idea," he said.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

 

SHEINKOPF LEAVES ADMISSIONS POST WITH KUDOS, GRIPES

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

UH Director of Admissions Rob Sheinkopf has tendered his resignation from the university, effective Tuesday, and it seems that everyone will be much happier this way.

In his letter of resignation, Sheinkopf wrote: "These are uncertain times for the Office of Admissions, with the impending reorganization to be decided by the provost after his review of the recommendations by the Task Force."

The task forces are tools set up by UH Provost Henry Trueba to streamline UH services in Admissions, Financial Aid and the Registrar's offices. John Butler, chairman of the task force on Admissions, wants to set up a centralized Office of Recruitment, Admission and Retention to better serve students.

Sheinkopf said he did not feel part of that plan.

"Henry Trueba has never met with me," he said. "When I move to Georgia State, the first thing I am going to do is get to know my colleagues. I am going to get to know my staff. Any time you come (into a new job), you have a responsibility to do that. If I go there with an agenda, I do not think that is the right way to do business."

Trueba said the street is a two-lane road.

"Rob never came and talked to me," he said. "They used to have meetings with everybody. I did away with that. I asked the chief of the office to meet with me. There was no way for someone to meet with everybody.

"He never came (and) said, 'Look, you have never met my needs,' " he said.

One of Sheinkopf's few criticisms of Trueba was the idea that all the problems in the Admissions Office could be fixed with a restructuring of that office. "These problems can't be solved once and for all," Sheinkopf said. "There will always be problems. We are only kidding ourselves."

The interim director will be Mario Lucchesi, now director of Registration and Academic Records. "I decided to go along with Sharon Richardson's (the associate vice president of enrollment service) suggestion to keep Mario Lucchesi in charge of the whole enchilada in Admissions. He will be the interim director. The decision to go on a national search will depend on John Butler's task force recommendations," Trueba said.

Lucchesi said that although he has met with Trueba, they have had nothing but normal meetings.

"That is normal because I am reporting through (Richardson). It is staying in the chain of organization."

Richardson has not returned repeated phone calls.

"The task forces are a good idea," Sheinkopf said. "They are somewhat of an overreaction. It does not recognize Sharon Richardson. She initiated customer service workshops. She provided the service of being an ombudsman for enrollment."

Sheinkopf also pointed out that his staff is 20 percent Hispanic and 60 percent black and that 40 of the 51 employees are female, proclaiming this as an achievement that may have fostered improved minority student recruitment.

He also said he is qualified for the job.

"It wasn't like I was put in the job because I had a job here. I have some legitimate experience behind me," he said. "I was chosen in a national search."

In his letter of resignation, sent out Feb. 20, he compliments his staff in the job it has done since he has been here and discussed the "encouraging" Admissions reports for next year. He noted the help of UH President James H. Pickering and former Provost Glenn Aumann.

"Aumann had a personal interest in what I was doing," Sheinkopf said. "Aumann allowed me to provide him with information, but I have not had that opportunity with Henry Trueba.

"I have never presented our marketing plans, and I have never been asked to (by Henry Trueba)."

He said that last year, Pickering asked him what he needed financially to improve the Admissions Office and gave him what he needed. Pickering also gave him time, he said. He refers to this in his letter.

"It took time, patience, a sincere commitment to turn things around, and most important, it took your hard work."

Sheinkopf said the staff he leaves behind is very adequate for the job and that Richardson is also an extremely qualified worker. He added that he is proud of the job he has done in his two-and-a-half-year tenure.

"Many of the things that are going on at UH are very good," he said. "I do not think anyone who has ever dealt with Sharon Richardson did not know she had the capability and the compassion to work on their behalf. There has never been a more student-oriented administrator."

Sheinkopf had been at UH since 1992 and is a self-proclaimed fan of the university. He was an honorary coach of the Cougars at the UH baseball game last weekend, and although he said it is very difficult to leave UH, he said he feels it is the right thing to do. It will, after all, keep him close to his daughter, Andi.

"I am very close to my daughter," he said. "And being in the same city with her, especially at this time in her life, is very important to me."

So much, in fact, that he chose Georgia State over other offers he left undisclosed. UH never did issue a counter-offer, Trueba said.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

TEXAS HOUSE BILL SEEKS $46 NONRESIDENT TUITION HIKE

by James V. Geluso

Daily Cougar Staff

The Texas House Higher Education Committee Monday approved a bill that will raise nonresident tuition to $222 from $176 per credit hour.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Robert Junell, D-San Angelo, specifies that nonresident tuition would be equal to the average of the nonresident tuition rates of the five largest states other than Texas.

The bill must still be passed by the entire Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate. If it passes, it will take effect this fall.

The five states that tuition would be based on are California, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

Junell said the tuition hike is expected to raise $37 million statewide in its first year.

"I've been reading in the (Houston) Post and Chronicle that the University of Houston is underfunded," Junell said. "This is a way that we're going to fund it."

Currently, nonresident tuition is calculated by dividing the amount appropriated for higher education by the Legislature by the total number of credit hours taken at all state universities, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. That amount is considered to be the "cost of the education" according to the current law.

"This is very bad for UH because we try to recruit a lot of students from out of state," Students' Association President Angie Milner said.

"We'll have to watch those other five states," Milner said. "Texas has had very low increases (in tuition), and other states have had high increases."

Undeclared sophomore Steven Jaeb, a resident of California, was resigned to the increase. "I think that if they're gonna do it, they're gonna do it, and there's not much we can do about it."

No university officials were available for comment.

Other House bills introduced this semester have addressed the topic of nonresident tuition, but Junell's was the first to be considered by the Higher Education Committee.

State Rep. Tony Goolsby, R-Dallas, filed a bill before the Legislature convened. His bill would have charged nonresident students tuition equal to the amount a nonresident at a school in the student's home state would pay. These "reciprocal tuition rates" would apply only if the student's home state charged nonresidents more than Texas. Students from states that charged less than Texas would still pay the standard nonresident rate.

Two other bills address nonresident tuition, but they deal only with residents of bordering states. Both bills have yet to be considered by the committee.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

COOGS AGAIN OPEN NEW FIELD WITH VICTORY

Carr's 10th-inning blast lifts Houston to comeback win over Lamar

By Richard C. Kroger

Daily Cougar Staff

A dramatic 10th-inning home run blast by pinch hitter Dustin Carr shut the door on the Lamar Cardinals last night 5-4, enabling the Cougars baseball team to win their 13th game of the season.

On a night highlighted by the opening of the new Cougar Field, Carr's extra-inning homer provided the perfect storybook ending.

"I was just hoping to get on base, never would I have imagined to hit it outta here," said Carr on his shot over the right center field fence.

"Jason Farrow came up to me just before stepping up to the plate. He told me to just try to get on base and let the big boys behind me (Tom Maleski and Carlos Perez) knock me in."

"But then, there it was, a fastball up in the strike zone, so I gave it what I could," Carr said.

Said Houston head coach Rayner Noble: "(Unpredictability) is the fun of this game. On any given night, someone can step up and be a hero."

The game started with Cougars starting pitcher Brad Towns struggling early, allowing the Cardinals to load the bases in the first inning. Towns ended up pitching out of the jam by forcing Lamar shortstop Bob Rauch to pop up, stranding three Lamar runners.

The Cougars found themselves in trouble again in the fourth inning as Towns gave up two walks and then surrendered a double to Cardinals second baseman Donny Schroeder. Schroeder's double scored two for the Cards, who then followed with two more singles to score another run and put Lamar up 3-0.

The Cougars answered in the bottom of the fourth with leftfielder Chris Scott drawing an inning-opening walk.

Maleski followed Scott with a double to center, bringing up Perez, who grounded out but scored Scott on the play. A long fly by rightfielder Jason Farrow scored Maleski, leaving the Cougars down 3-2.

In the sixth, the Cardinals added to their lead with Chad Bunting's RBI left-center shot that pushed the Lamar lead to 4-2.

The seventh inning, however, saw the Cougars tie up the game on some timely hits.

After a Brad Grey pinch-hitting walk, Houston shortstop Jason Smiga doubled to right field bringing up Ray Trevino. Trevino answered with a shallow hit to left that scored Smiga and tied the game up at four apiece.

Cougars pitcher Chad Poeck came on in relief in the eighth inning and shut down Lamar's offense giving up just one hit in three innings of work.

Poeck (2-1) got the win as he struck out four while closing the game.

A tied score in the 10th set the stage for Carr at the plate.

"Knowing Scott's problem facing lefthanded pitchers, I thought I would hit Carr," Noble said on his late-inning choice to let Carr bat. "Thinking his speed would be an asset if he could get on base, I thought it was a good move."

It was more than just a good move, as Carr's blast electrified the crowd and won the game for the Cougars.

"I always wondered when I would hit my first home run," Carr said. "I can't believe it came tonight like this."

The Cougars don't have long to celebrate as the nationally-ranked Rice Owls play Houston on Thursday to open up the first-annual Southwest Conference First Pitch Preseason Tournament, being played this weekend.

"Beating Lamar like this (in extra innings) is a great win because they are a very good team, much like what the SWC has for competition," Noble said.

"I can't really think of a better way to start conference play."

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

DIAMONDS SHINE AS COUGAR FIELD OPENS IN GRAND STYLE

Group gives support to UH baseball

by Jeff Holderfield

Daily Cougar Staff

The grand opening of the new Cougar Field, which started the season as a diamond in the rough, was held Tuesday night in grand fashion.

The evening started with an introduction of the entire team and ended with hardly-used player Dustin Carr saving the day with a 10th-inning blast over the Sterling Bank sign in right center field to give the Cougars a 5-4 victory over the Lamar Cardinals.

After the teams were introduced, four skydivers from Skydive Houston dropped in on the pitchers mound, bringing the game balls to Athletic Director Bill Carr and UH President James H. Pickering, who threw out the ceremonial first pitches side by side.

"(The grand opening) was great. They did a classy job on it," said Houston head baseball coach Rayner Noble.

The Cougar Brass entertained those in attendance with the UH Fight Song, as well as other tunes.

"If we can come out here and help the team, we will, and I love to heckle the opposing team," said Cougar Brass tuba player Michael Edwards.

Promotions, which are handled by a group known as the Cougar Diamonds, were held throughout the game and included such give aways as Race the Cougar, the Woozy Whataburger Wace, the Pizza Hut Give away, and a grand opening extra -- Skydive Houston gave a free tandem skydive to a lucky fan.

The Cougar Diamonds consist of 21 female students who donate their time and effort to the Cougars baseball team.

"I've grown up with Cougar baseball all of my life," said Diamond coordinator Katheryn Lilie. "My brother and uncle both played for the Cougars."

The Diamonds prospects must go through a panel interview, as well as an application period, before they can become an official Diamond.

"The Diamonds must be dedicated, spirited, loyal and love baseball," said Diamond team leader J.D. Dearing.

Throughout the year, the Diamonds hold fund raisers and recently held a barbecue for UH alumni and current players.

"(The Diamonds) are sweet, dedicated girls that are here on thier own time," said UH marketing employee Patsy McClymont.

The Diamonds hand out koozies for every strikeout, choose contestants for the various contests and occasionally sing their rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame."

"I wanted to have a reason to go to watch baseball and support the Cougars," Dearing said.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

MAGIC CARDS CAST SPELL, SAY STUDENTS

Tournament held soon

by Stephen Stelmak

Daily Cougar Staff

Photo by Stephen Stelmak

"It's a way to escape, like any card game, it's just different," junior English major Sean Madden said.

Though it might seem like an addictive offshoot of <I>Dungeons and Dragons<P>, <I>Magic: the Gathering<P> is a different and distinct game.

In the tremendously popular new game, each player is a wizard trying to defeat other wizards. The players cast spells from their deck of playing cards to try to kill the other wizards.

The magic cards are collectable. Like bubble-gum cards, people gather in a huddle and try to trade cards or will buy that special card from a comic store.

Certain cards can be wise investments. The most expensive card, the discontinued Black Lotus, is worth at least $65 to $100. A set of five cards called "moxes" sell for $250, if you can find someone willing to sell them.

The appeal of the game is that "the game is constantly changing and the variety keeps the game interesting," sophomore English major Kelly Nine said.

Often it seems to turn into an obsession. Both Phoenix Comics and Games and Legends Comics and Sport Cards store offer open gaming. People will come in the evening around 8:30 p.m. and play until closing, sometimes as late as 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. Seating tends to fill up fast, so it is a good idea to call in advance to see if anything is available. After the card shop closes, the players will go out to a restaurant and continue play there. A starter deck costs $8 and comes with 60 cards and a rule book.

If you like the game, go out and buy a bunch of booster packs. You will need a minimum of 60 cards to play in a tournament, but it's a good idea to take out weaker spells and customize your deck.

The ability to choose what is in your deck is a part of what makes <I>Magic: the Gathering<P> so appealing. Like any card game, winning requires some degree of luck. However, formulating your deck allows the player to create a strategy.

To play you will probably have to spend $30 to $40. Some people spend a lot of money purchasing the cards they believe will make their deck great, but people who put a lot of thought into their deck and have spent little money can beat people with decks worth hundreds of dollars.

"(The) skill (is) in playing the game and in designing your deck," Madden said. "Speculators worry too much about the value of the cards."

For those who may be interested in playing the game competitively, Games Masters, a comic book store, is sponsoring a UH Magic tournament role playing group to be held in the Lafayette Room in the UC March 18.

A second tournament will be held on Saturday, April 8, sponsored by Phoenix Comics and Games in the Lafayette Room.

Both tournaments are free to anyone interested in competing or attending as a spectator. Sign-up for both events is at noon the day of the tournament in the Lafayette Room.

The prizes will be donated by Games Masters and Phoenix Comics and Games.

Players must have at least a sixty-card deck and may use a fifteen-card sideboard.

For more information call Phoenix Comics and Games at 464-1209, or contact Games Masters at 855-2792.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

POSSE PUTS THE PINCH ON TRASH

by Christen Hanlon

Daily Cougar Staff

Former Houston Oiler Coach Bum Phillips is roundin' up a trash-bustin' posse of volunteers to "Put the Pinch on Trash" at the River, Lakes, Bays N' Bayous Trash Bash March 25.

What began last year as The San Jacinto River Cleanup Battle and The Galveston Bay Area Cleanup has been expanded in 1995 to include seven official sites. This year's events will be held at Lake Conroe, Lake Houston, the San Jacinto Monument and Battleground, Houston bayous (Buffalo, Brays and White Oak), Armand Bayou, Dickinson Bayou and the Texas City Dike.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., when volunteers will be issued gloves and trash bags. The cleanup will begin at 9 a.m. and will end between 11 and 11:30 am. A "Trash Bash" party will be held immediately following the cleanup.

Primary organizers of the 1995 River, Bays N' Bayous Trash Bash are the Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission.

Lily Wells,who attended the University of Houston, is the 1995 Trash Bash coordinator for Houston-Galveston Area Council. Wells said that multiple locations were necessary for this year's efforts.

"The success of the 1994 effort, which drew 5,000 volunteers, encouraged us to expand this event to multiple locations, something that is really needed to clear out our waterways and debris. This is especially important this year following October's devastating floods. In addition to the ordinary trash that people toss or dump, many areas are filled with the aftermath of that tragedy," Wells said.

Wells also added that the Houston-Galveston Area Council was very grateful for for their sponsors. "We are most grateful to Coach Bum Phillips for agreeing to be our honorary spokesman for this massive cleanup effort to protect our watershed. We are excited that Phillips 66 has issued a Trash Bash Challenge and will pay $1 for each bag collected in support of this event. Other sponsors are contributing either funds or will make in-kind donations of goods and services to guarantee the success of this cleanup," Wells said.

M.A. Bengtson, member of the 1995 Trash Bash Committee, says that she is excited about this year's pick up. "It is going to be a fun day, and a family day," Bengtson said. Remarking on the benefits of volunteers coming to help with the pick-up she added, "With last year's flood damage a lot of property was destroyed and garbage was carried in the water. We all use the waterways for recreation, and they also provide jobs for our families, so this is a great way to help out and give something back to the community."

Entertainment for the party will include music provided by local radio station sponsors and bands. Hot dogs will be cooked by local chuckwagon crews, and many of the sites will feature mini-environment fairs with prizes and souvenirs.

For registration information, volunteers (individuals or organizations) may call 1-800-64-TEXAS. Volunteers will be sent registration forms and site maps. Registration will also be available on the day of the event.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY OPENS PLAYGROUND

by Christen Hanlon

Daily Cougar Staff

Photo by Dan Dalstra

PULLQUOTE: "The school is unique because here children can construct their own knowledge. They are given lots of opportunity to explore and to become critical thinkers and problem solvers," HDL Director Jeannette Doina said.

Today the University of Houston College of Technology will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new playground at the Human Development Laboratory school.

The ceremony will honor the Cameron family of Houston, sponsors of the Cameron Foundation, which has provided generous financial support to the lab school since it opened in 1968. The family's most recent grant has made the playground renovations possible.

In addition to the members of the Cameron family, UH President James Pickering will be in attendance, along with the children, parents and staff of the lab school. The ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m., with a short reception to follow.

The playground renovations were done by Creative Playgrounds by Worth which brought a fresh attitude to the project. Worth interviewed parents, staff, and children at the school to develop an idea of their specific needs, wants and concerns.

The resulting playground provides appropriate challenges for children aged 18 months to 6 years, and has a special emphasis on safety. This method of combining a knowledge of child development with innovative solutions parallels the basic principles on which the HDL school was founded.

The Human Development Laboratory is based upon Jean Piaget's constructivist theory of developmental psychology. This theory promotes a child's reasoning, autonomous self-regulation, interpersonal understanding, and social collaboration.

According to HDL Director Jeannette Doina, "The school is unique because here children can construct their own knowledge. They are given lots of opportunity to explore and to become critical thinkers and problem solvers."

Another interesting feature of the HDL school is its emphasis on diversity. Doina remarked that the school "wants a truly well-mixed group of children" from a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Peggy Bush, Director of Development at the College of Technology, said that the HDL school offers "an excellent program." She also explained that it would not be possible without the contributions of the Cameron family.

"Their original gift built and founded the Isabel C. Cameron building, located at the corner of Wheeler and Cullen. This is now the building that houses the HDL school," Bush said.

Because the school is located on the UH campus, it provides a learning environment for college students as well as children. Every year about 2,500 students from the Colleges of Technology and Education and the Psychology Department visit the school to observe the children in their natural environment through one-way mirrors.

Parents of the children are also encouraged to visit at any time to observe their children in order to gain a better understanding of how they learn and behave.

Those interested in learning more about the research projects through the Human Development Laboratory school may call Jeannette Doina at 743-4128. Students in all departments are welcome and encouraged to take part in this project offered at UH.

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

SCREEN LEGEND PECK TO SPEAK

by Jenalia Moreno

Daily Cougar Staff

Perhaps he is best remembered for his Academy Award-winning portrayal of the attorney Atticus Finch in <I>To Kill a Mockingbird<P>, where he helped defend a black man accused of a crime he did not commit. However, screen legend Gregory Peck has not always played the hero. He played Captain Ahab in <I>Moby Dick<P>, but even then audiences cheered for him, hoping he would at least survive his battle with the great whale Moby Dick.

Perhaps his versatility in over five decades of acting is what enraptures his audience. Fans will have a chance to speak with Peck at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Brown Theater of the Wortham Theater Center as part of <I>A Conversation With Gregory Peck<P> presented by the Society for the Performing Arts.

Peck, 78, was born in La Jolla, California and attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he was a pre-med student. A drama professor asked him to audition for a campus production. When Peck said he was not an actor, the professor said, "That's all right. I just need someone tall."

After graduation in 1939, he worked as a barker at a concession stand at the New York World's Fair. He was signed for the Broadway production of <I>Morning Star<P> and then won his first motion picture role as the lead in <I>Days of Glory<P>. At 27 he became a star with his second film, <I>The Keys of the Kingdom<P>.

Tickets are $10 to $50 and are half-price an hour before the show with a student ID. Contact 227-ARTS for more information.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

QUICKSAND'S EP NOT SINKING

by Chris Stelmak

Daily Cougar Staff

Rising above the average punk band, Quicksand releases its second album, <I>Manic Compression<P>. Combining heavy, abrasive music with rough vocals, Quicksand will make a great opening act for The Offspring.

Quicksand combines punk and hardcore music to give an excellent result. Its heavy low rhythms on guitar and bass result in hard-core bliss. The New York band branches from the hard core style.

Quicksand's music sounds similar to fellow New York band Helmut. Both bands have the same style of music and appearance. Being produced by Wharton Tiers, who has produced Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth and Helmut, the similarities not surprising. However, Quicksand varies from Helmut because of its faster style of music and more varying rhythms. Every song on the tape has its own individual sound to it.

Quicksand differs greatly from Helmut with its vocals. Quicksand's vocals sound similar to Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction. The high-pitched singing causes Quicksand to stand out amongst others or a similar style of music.

In many songs Quicksand uses a rhythm and just repeats the same rhythm throughout the entire song. Some of Quicksand's songs are heavy and abrasive with low pitched rhythms like "Backward" and "Delusional." However, songs like "Divorce" and "Landmine Spring" have higher-pitched rhythms.

Quicksand's first EP was released in 1991. After the release, the band toured the United States in a $300 van and borrowed one for the European tour. After releasing its first album in 1993, Quicksand opened various bands including Helmut, Rage Against the Machine and White Zombie. Quicksand does not mind touring according to band member Schreifles who said, "The only way we're going to reach the people with our kind of band is to go to their own and play, and that's fine with us."

Having heavy hardcore and punk rhythms combined with far from average vocals, Quicksand should put on a great show. Be sure to see Quicksand with The Offspring tonight.

**********************************************************

**********************************************************

 

IT'S <I>COCOANUTS<P>

Hysterical Marx Brothers light up Stages with musical comedy

Pullquote: This comical piece by Geroge S. Kaufman and Irving Berlin was a hit then and, due to the overwhelming talent of the actors at Stages, is still a hit today.

Cutline: The legendary Marx Brothers are featured in the incredibly funny 1925 Kaufman and Berlin Broadway hit <I>The Cocoanuts<P>.

Photo by Ben Apple/Stages Repertory Theatre

What: <I>The Cocoanuts<P>

Where: 3201 Allen Parkway

How much: $8 with student ID

When: Through Sunday

Phone: 52-Stage

by Eric James

Daily Cougar Staff

Repertory Theatre is presenting the southwest premiere of the 1925 Marx Brothers play, <I>The Cocoanuts<P>. This comical piece by Geroge S. Kaufman and Irving Berlin was a hit then and, due to the overwhelming talent of the actors at Stages, is still a hit today.

The play takes place in a hotel in Florida, owned by the ever-irresponsible Mr. Schlemmer (Groucho). His only employee is Bob Adams (Ryan Bonn), who is in love with one of the guests, Polly Potter (Gwendolyn McLarty). Unfortunately, Mrs. Potter (Che' Moody) wishes her daughter to ignore Bob and marry Harvey Yates (Jim Glenn). Harvey and his sensuous partner, Penelope Martin (Linda Ewing) plan to steal Mrs. Potter's diamonds, but their plan is discovered by two wandering bums, Silent Sam (Harpo) and Willie the Weasel (Chico). The cast of characters is rounded out with Big Skinny Brown as Officer Hennesey and Tug Wilson as Jim Dandy, the piano player.

The Marx brothers--Groucho, Harpo and Chico--are played by Peter Webster, Adrian Walter Townes and James Belcher respectively. They do a tremendous job at recreating the personas of these entertainment legends. Peter Webster is as sly and quick-tongued as any Groucho, Adrian Townes is wonderfully doe-eyed as Harpo and James Belcher is a scream as Chico, whose thick Italian accent Belcher has down perfectly.

The entire cast is a delight. Hennesey looks like something straight out of an old black and white film and Harvey Yates possesses just the right balance between foolishness and greasiness. Che' Moody is delightful as Mrs. Potter and Linda Ewing is the standout as the deliciously sly and sexual Penelope Martin.

The jokes are hysterical and the relationship between Mr. Schlemmer and Mrs. Potter (which is inevitable, as any Marx Brothers fan can tell you) is a riot.

There are wonderful old songs in the play including a beautiful rendition of "Always" sung by Ryan Bonn and Gwendolyn McLarty, and a sensually pleasing "Hard Hearted Hannah" performed by the impressive and incredibly talented Linda Ewing.

The play climaxes in a hysterical scene where the actors attend a Spanish-costumed dinner party and Hennesey sings a delightful song titled "Tale of a Shirt" which parodies <I>Carmen<P>'s "Habanera and Toreador March" by Georges Bizet.

Peter Webster doubles as the director of <I>The Cocoanuts<P> and does a fine job at keeping the jokes moving and the play interesting. Tug Wilson also acts as musical director and does an equally fine job.

Anthony Bish designed the wonderful play space set on a thrust stage. Natalie Roberts' costumes are magnificent and incredibly fitting for the 1925 setting.

At times the words being sung are not comprehensible and Mr. Schlemmer is often not understood, but the cast is amazing in this play. However, if you can't stand the old Marx Brothers style, do not see this play.

It runs at the Stages Repertory Theatre through March 19. Call 52-Stage for more information.

 

********************************************************

********************************************************

 

 

CONCERT NO <I>FUMBLE<P>

Alternative vocalists McLachlan and Cole put on ecstatic concert

Sarah McLachlan performed Sunday at the Music Hall for an adoring audience.

Photo courtesy of Arista

by Sean Fitzpatrick

Daily Cougar Staff

Sarah McLachlan sang through three encores to a rabidly adoring crowd at the Music Hall Sunday night, but her set came close to being overshadowed by a gutsy decision made long before her current tour began.

With its tuxedo-shirted ushers, lush upholstery and full-service bar in the foyer, the Music Hall seemed an odd venue for an alternative show. The temperament of the crowd, a large part of which, one would suspect, has never sat down for a concert, veered between adoring and edgily manic. Although "I love you, Sarah"'s predominated, several fans offered advice and one fan even volunteered to beat up the former boyfriend who inspired one song.

However, if the alternative movement (read: marketing strategy) has generated an artist appropriate for such lavish surroundings, it is McLachlan. With an ornate (and often intrusive) light show and ultraslick production values, McLachlan came off as the Sade of alterna-vocalists.

Before she hit the stage, though, McLachlan almost succeeded in upstaging herself. Opening act Paula Cole, a striking, confrontational vocalist and songwriter, ripped through her set backed only by an acoustic guitarist and a drummer. She thanked McLachlan for bucking the corporate greaseballs who thought a two-woman bill would fail, and McLachlan made mention of it later in the evening.

The fact is, Cole put on a stronger, more challenging set. Her percussive attack (she augmented her drummer's throb by stomping on a cupcake pan, beating on a plastic bucket and beatboxing into the mike) was dramatic and completely arresting, a hard act for McLachlan to follow.

She did, but only with the considerable help of her tight backing band and a glitzy light show. The greatest assistance came from Camille Henderson, a backup vocalist whose range extends into the upper registers beyond McLachlan's and who adds the distinctive piercing harmonies that drive her songs.

McLachlan's voice is unique and unmistakable, but her complex arrangements simultaneously cushion her vocals and cover their faults. Her humanity bubbled through the technical precision only occasionally, and it was sorely needed.

The material focused on her albums <I>Fumbling Through Ecstasy<P> and <I>Plenty<P>, and she saved the hits ("Hold On" and "Possession") for the end of the show. Three encores, at least two of which were built into the set, were not enough for the audience but too much for her band, which seemed tired.

Houston is the city that brought her out, with normally suspect KRBE pushing "Possession" into heavy rotation. The crowd loved her, but that was a foregone conclusion. Next time, it would be good to hear that startling voice unprotected and taking chances.

Visit The Daily Cougar