REP SAYS UH RECEIVED FAIR SHAKE IN AUSTIN

by James Aldridge

News Reporter

UH’s budget woes have not been silenced, and the university may not receive its full budget request from Austin, state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, said as he addressed a small group at an African-American Studies Program-sponsored meeting on March 17.

Coleman has been a member of the Texas House of Representatives for the last three-and-a-half years and serves on the 27-member House Appropriations Committee which oversees the state’s expenditures on government programs, including higher education. Coleman also serves on the Public Health Committee.

The Texas Legislature has its hands full writing its budget for the next biennium. Those with vested interests in appropriations, including UH, are vying for state dollars.

"We have to write a two-year budget and have to project for the next year, and the process is very intense. We have to fit two or three days into one day. If you know something by morning, by afternoon, it has to get done," Coleman said.

"Tensions run high based on need," he said.

Coleman said the recent cuts in the university’s budget have been fair.

During the last session, UH was supposed to face a reduction in funds due to a decline in enrollment.

Public universities’ state funding is based on each school’s enrollment figures. Schools with greater student populations, like the University of Texas and Texas A&M, receive more state dollars, while universities with small or declining rates have a drop in support. "Under state formulas, UH lost. (The university) lost on enrollment. It’s a fair loss."

The bargaining efforts by Board of Regents Chairwoman Beth Morian and UH System Chancellor Alexander Schilt led to the appropriation of $24 million in holds harmless funds for the UH System, Coleman said. "If that’s not fair, I don’t know what is," he added.

Holds harmless allocations are funds given to the university that the university does not deserve under existing funding procedures, but that the state allocates anyway to help the university.

UH originally received $14 million. Due to a change in the base period calculations, more universities will be eligible for the funds, so UH's share may be cut to $10 million, according to a report issued by Skip Szilagyi, associate vice president for planning and chairman of the UH Legislative Relations Council.

Szilagyi reported that the university will try to make sure the university keeps the funds in Conference Committee.

Coleman argued that many schools in Texas did not receive the consideration UH had received. "The Legislature gave UH (System) $24 million that could not have been included (under the formula). I think UH was treated very well," Coleman said.

If there is any frustration with the way Texas funds its colleges and universities, blame the committee that wrote the formula at the Higher Education Coordinating Board, Coleman said.

Coleman also sponsored a bill in the House increasing the minimum charge for semester credit hours. House Bill 2467, if passed, will set the minimum charge at $34 per credit hour in 1997-98 and will increase by $2 each year until 2000-2001.

One concern students should be aware of, Coleman said, is the Republican Contract with America now in Congress.

He believes the GOP plan of cutting billions from social programs will have serious ramifications for Texas.

If the federal government puts a cap on entitlement programs, like Medicaid and school lunches, the state and local governments will have to increase their contributions and pick up the tab of these programs, Coleman said.

If the state has to devote more of its resources to entitlement programs, the government would need to lessen its contribution to higher education because higher education is not an entitlement, but a privilege, he said.

Despite the conservative mood in Texas demanding lower taxes, he said, "I believe in these tight times, students should ask for a tax increase. If there is no new revenue, there can be no programs."

If the state’s general account receives less revenue from lower taxes, the quality of social services at this university and the state will be inadequate, Coleman said. He said it is time for students to call and write their representatives and voice their concerns to them. "Students have a hesitancy to speak up for this university. This school belongs to you, whether you believe it or not," he said.

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STATE BILL SEEKS LIMIT ON ATHLETICS FUNDS

by James V. Geluso

Daily Cougar Staff

The Texas House Higher Education Committee considered several bills that will affect UH in its meeting Tuesday afternoon, including a restriction on the use of student fees for athletics, a continuation of an annual tuition increase and a change in the way remedial education is handled.

All three bills were left pending in committee until more information can be collected from the universities.

House Bill 2812, sponsored by state Rep. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, would prohibit the use of student fees to fund intercollegiate athletics, unless the fee were specifically designated for athletics.

The UH Athletic Department currently receives $2.1 million from student service fees, which would be illegal under the proposed law.

Athletic director Bill Carr said the bill would be "very damaging" to the Athletic Department. "It would be very difficult to replace that money," he said.

The UH student body voted to create a separate athletic fee in November 1993, but the Attorney General's Office has refused to implement it, according to Students' Association President Angie Milner.

House Bill 2467, sponsored by Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, continues the pattern set in 1991, raising undergraduate tuition $2 per credit per year. Current law raises tuition every year until the 1996-97 academic year. Coleman's bill would continue that pattern until the 2000-01 academic year.

The bill would also raise the minimum scholarship amount required for a nonresident student to pay resident tuition. Currently, a student who wins a $200 competitive scholarship is entitled to pay in-state tuition rates. HB 2467 would change that amount to $500.

A bill introduced by Rep. Irma Rangel, D-Kingsville, prohibits the use of the TASP test to "prohibit or limit a student's advancement in a degree program."

UH currently has a policy prohibiting students from earning more than nine credit hours before passing the TASP. That policy would be illegal under Rangel's bill, which says the test could only be used to refer students to remedial courses.

Rangel's bill also changes the language of the current law, replacing the word "remedial" with "enrichment" and "test" with "assessment procedure."

 

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U.S. NEWS SNUBS BULK OF UH GRAD SCHOOLS

LAW CENTER RANKS 42ND; UT, A&M GARNER RANKINGS IN SEVERAL CATEGORIES

 

by Clydenestra Brooks

News Reporter

Although University of Houston officials are pleased with U.S. News and World Report's America's Best Graduate Schools ranking, in which UH's law school stole the show, the university's other graduate programs were not ranked at all in the study, published March 13. Still, the University of Texas and Texas A&M fared much better than UH overall.

U.S. News' annual ranking is considered to be one of the most influential reports due to its large circulation. UH President James H. Pickering said the law school's ranking put it near the top in the nation.

With the university currently under fire in Austin for state funding and with student enrollment down, the pressure to rank well has increased.

Even though UH did fare better in the graduate school ranking, an earlier ranking of colleges placed UH in the lowest tier at 173rd.

UH administrators blamed those previous ranking problems on a high staff turnover that resulted in not all the appropriate information being turned in to U.S. News.

UH's law school ranked 42nd, while UT's law school came in at 17th.

"UT has an excellent reputation, and it's older than UH's," said Geri Konigsberg, UH director of Media Relations. "UH spends a lot of time, money and effort in trying to promote their programs nationally as well as at the state level. We do a good job in promoting ourselves considering the amount of money we spend."

Rankings for the law schools involved five categories: student selectivity, placement success, faculty resources and two separate measures of institutional reputation.

Konigsberg said UH has smaller classes and a good placement rating. The average undergraduate age is older than usual, and that says a lot as well, she added.

"I don't think that Yale and Harvard are any better than UT," she said, "but it is Yale and Harvard that have hundreds of years of tradition, (have) educated presidents and (have) huge endowments to help support them."

Under the law-specialties category, which includes programs ranked best by faculty experts, UH tied for fifth place with New York University in the intellectual-property category.

"I'm pleased with our rank in this category because this city (Houston) has become a city where intellectual property is important," Pickering said.

The health category was also a fair ground for UH as it tied for second place with Loyola University in Chicago. UH did not rank in the other five categories.

No one from the law school would return repeated phone calls to comment on the report.

In reference to the fact that UH did not rank in the clinical training, environmental, tax, international or trial and appellate advocacy categories, Konigsberg said the report may not accurately reflect some UH areas.

"There may be an area at UH that U.S. News and World Report may not be concerned about, but another report would be," she said.

Among business schools, UH did not rank, while UT just made the top 20 at 19, and A&M was 42nd. In the business specialities, UT tied for fourth for accounting and fifth for management information systems.

In the liberal arts category, UT completely overshadowed UH and A&M by ranking 17th in English, 16th in psychology, 13th in sociology, 22nd in political science and 18th in history. A&M tied with UT at 17th in English. UH's education school also failed to make the ranking, while UT's and A&M's ranked 27th and 40th respectively.

Because UH does not have a medical school, no comparisons can be made.

Konigsberg said students and faculty should notice what programs are available at UH prior to assessing that UH was not ranked fairly in the report.

"UH does not have a nursing program; therefore, it can't rank there," she said. "We do have students who major in biochemical and biophysical sciences, but when these categories are so precise, our rank is not well-represented," she said.

The rankings are determined for the nation's 177 accredited law schools, 223 graduate education programs, 125 medical schools, 219 engineering programs and other accredited programs.

Konigsberg said UH does not lobby for rankings in reports like that of U.S. News and World Report and added that UH simply fills out questionnaires and returns them.

Cydney Mackey, associate director at the Office of University Relations, said, "The reports help to shape public perceptions and can influence enrollment."

UH offers 15 bachelor's degrees in 129 fields of study, 31 master's degrees in 115 fields of study and four doctoral degrees in 44 fields.

 

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HOUSTON'S MOORE TO FINISH SCHOOL, DECIDES NBA CAN WAIT

BROOKS PREDICTS FORWARD'S PRO FUTURE TO BE AT GUARD

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

While Houston Cougars basketball fans certainly won't be missing Tim Moore next season, they may have seen the version they witnessed from 1993 to 1995 for the last time.

Houston head basketball coach Alvin Brooks confirmed Tuesday that the Cougars' 1994-95 regular-season leader in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and steals will be returning for his senior year, rather than trying a jump to the pro ranks as he had considered earlier.

Moore could not be reached for comment, but his mother, Doris Townsend, said the decision was final.

"I'm very happy Tim is staying in school," Townsend said. "There are no guarantees in life, so I think it's wise that he got his degree first and then went on and played (professional) ball."

If all goes according to plan, however, Brooks said Moore may not be playing at his customary forward position.

Instead, Moore will be tested some at guard next season.

"He's got to work on his ball-handling, his shooting, his perimeter game," Brooks said. "He'll have to play on the wing (in the NBA), so I'm going to play him on the wing next year."

The Cougars will have Galen Robinson, a sophomore next year, and Kirk Ford (senior) returning as front-line contributors for 1995-96. Also, 7-2 Adrian Taylor will likely make his first appearance in a Houston uniform at center.

Brooks also said he would look at junior college players for some additional size up front.

"We'll try to get a couple of big guys," he said.

Obviously, losing Moore would have been a huge blow to the second-year coach and his team, but when Brooks sat down last weekend to counsel the player he recruited out of Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College in 1993, he had every reason to be impartial.

"It was his decision," Brooks said. "I wanted him to do what was best for him, so I just gave him the information and let him decide.

"I wasn't going to advise him because if it didn't work out, I didn't want to be blamed."

The question of whether Moore would stay in school or vie for the NBA draft was pondered throughout most of the season. However, a decision was not expected to be made until after the season was completed.

But following the Cougars' 94-79 season-ending loss to Texas Tech in the Southwest Conference Tournament in Dallas on March 11, Moore said he hadn't given the decision much thought.

A decision for wanting to leave school a year early, Moore said at the time, stemmed from "personal reasons" he had to sort out with his family.

"The main reason (for Moore wanting to come out early) was because he thought about his mom," Townsend said.

"But I said, 'Mom can take care of herself. She's lasted this long on her own. You need to take care of yourself, Tim.'

"Even if I was not doing so well (financially), still, one more year wouldn't hurt."

Last season was Moore's best, though he made just the second team on All-Southwest Conference lists. He proved his worth to the Cougars with 20.1 points and 10.6 rebounds a game, shooting .512 from the floor.

He also added 1.7 steals and an SWC-leading three blocks a contest, trademarks of a fine all-around athlete.

The return of Moore means only swingman Jessie Drain will be lost from last year's list of key contributors. The Cougars will thus have three sophomores (Robinson and guards Tommie Davis and Damon Jones), a junior (swingman Willie Byrd) and two seniors (Moore and Ford) coming back, along with whatever new finds Brooks adds.

"It's a good situation for us," Brooks said of his team's nice blend of youth and experience.

 

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FARROW, SMIGA DELIVER IN SWT TWIN BILL SWEEP

UH HURLERS HOLD 'CATS TO JUST FIVE HITS

by Jeff Holderfield

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston Cougars, led by the pitching and hitting of senior Jason Farrow, swept a doubleheader from the Southwest Texas Bobcats (18-16) to up the Cougars' record to 16-16.

The doubleheader at the new Cougar Field was delayed for an hour due to rain, and the Bobcats' bus breaking down en route to Houston.

The Houston bats woke up as the Cougars beat the Bobcats 6-1 in the first game and 3-2 with timely hitting in the second.

"We had some good output in the first game," Houston head coach Rayner Noble said.

Farrow (3-3) earned the win in the first game of the double bill, pitching five innings and giving up only three hits, one run, two walks and lowering his ERA from 2.86 to 2.67 -- the lowest of any Cougar starter.

"We needed to get him a start to calm down his control," Noble said. "Hopefully, he worked things out."

Farrow also had six strikeouts, with four coming in the fourth inning alone.

"I'm not real happy with (my pitching tonight)," Farrow said, however. "I'm happy the team won, but I got away with some bad pitches."

Farrow also hit a triple, a double, walked and scored two runs in the two-game series.

Bobcat pitcher Bart Spencer took the loss as he went two and two-thirds innings, giving up six runs on five hits.

The UH pitching staff held the Bobcats to just five hits in the two seven-inning games.

"They swung the bat a lot better than we did," SWT head coach Howard Bushong said. "We just didn't compete offensively."

The second game proved to be a real nail-biter. Going into the final half-inning, the Cougars were trailing 2-1 with their strong part of the lineup coming up to bat.

Carlos Perez lead off the inning with a walk from Bobcat lefty Chris Jones (0-3), who took the loss in the end.

Pinch hitter Chris Almendarez moved Perez into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, bringing shortstop Jason Smiga up to bat.

Smiga took a Jones pitch into the gap for a double, scoring Perez from second.

"(Jones) was tired," Bushong said. "He did a great job. I was about to pull him, but I thought I would let him face one more lefty."

The lefty he was referring to was junior Chris Scott, who handed Jones the loss on a silver platter when he doubled to left, scoring Smiga from second.

Cougars baseball notes:

Freshman centerfielder Geoffrey Tomlinson will be out four to eight weeks with a fractured ankle.

Freshman football player Eric Woloson will try out for a spot on the baseball team today.

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SWC CELLAR-DWELLING COUGARS GET NEW FIELD, COACH, PLAYERS, NOT WINS

by Richard C. Kroger

and Jason Paul Ramírez

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston Cougars baseball team began its season with a new coach, new players, and a beautiful new stadium.

However, there is nothing "new" about how the team is playing as a fourth consecutive Southwest Conference last-place finish confronts Houston (**-**, 0-7 in the SWC) with high probability.

Though it's difficult to say the season is already over, starting conference play with a winless record does say a long road lies ahead for the Cougars and head coach Rayner Noble.

"The main thing we're not doing in conference play is getting the right hit at the right time," Noble said. "We leave a ton of men on base."

The clutch hitting has just about summed up Houston's problem as it lost four of its first five SWC games by one run each.

And three of those four losses were played on the supposed-to-be-friendly confines of the new Cougar Field, which, as part of its christening, helped host the SWC First Pitch Preseason Tournament March 16-19.

But Noble said he points to the Cougars' most recent conference venture, a three-game series in Austin last weekend, when he thinks of the lack of timely offensive production.

"There was no reason we shouldn't have taken two games up there, or even three," Noble said. "Even in the last game (a 13-6 Houston loss last Saturday night), the score wasn't indicative of how the game went.

"In the first three innings, we had lots of scoring opportunities and didn't cash in."

The Cougars' inabilities to pull out the close ballgames may also stem from the fact that the 1995 team is loaded with a rough mixture of old and new faces as 16 new players put on the red and white at the beginning of the season.

While senior third baseman Tom Maleski (.336 avg., 19 RBIs) and senior first baseman Carlos Perez (.333, 22 RBIs) are once again carrying the Cougars on their backs as they did last season, they are getting little, if any, help.

Despite being second on the team in runs knocked in this season, senior pitcher/designated hitter and newcomer Jason Farrow is hitting just .272 and is last among the starters in drawing the base on balls (nine).

Newcomer senior shortstop Jason Smiga's .258 average is actually fourth on the team and has just 10 RBIs in 28 starts.

"Farrow has gotten a couple hits here and there," Noble said. "But he's had opportunities to drive in runs and hasn't done it."

However, Farrow's penchant for stranding base-runners may have something to do with his pitcher's mentality.

When the 6-1, 206-pounder is not leaving men on base in the batter's box, he is doing the same on the pitcher's mound.

Farrow has done well on the hill as his 2.86 ERA indicates. Even more impressive are his 21 strikeouts in just 22 innings of work.

Yet the Cougars keep getting bad news.

Tuesday afternoon, Houston learned that starting center fielder Geoffrey Tomlinson would miss the next four to eight weeks with a broken ankle.

"We'll probably plug Dustin Carr into center field," Noble said of Tomlinson's injury. "He had a 4-of-5 game at Texas, so hopefully, he's coming around."

 

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AMATEUR RADIO ENTHUSIASTS HAM IT UP

by Michael P. Martin

Contributing Writer

What is as old as the Titanic, as modern as the latest satellite and has enthusiasts aged 6 to 96 living in almost every country on the planet? Why, ham radio, of course! And you can find it living quite well on the UH campus.

More properly called amateur radio, the hobby consists of people licensed by their respective governments to communicate with each other by radio for the fun of it. According to the rules of the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates U.S. hams, they are "duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest."

"It's a great way to meet people," says Irv Block, a member of the Houston Echo society, a local radio club, "and boy, the people you meet!"

The hobby attracts people from nearly all walks of life, Block says. "In just our club, which is one of many in Houston, we have doctors, lawyers, technicians, nurses, teachers, students, housewives, firemen and cops -- but no robbers that I know of," he says with a smile.

A check of worldwide amateur radio listings shows King Juan Carlos of Spain, King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan, former U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater and Kari Young, wife of one of the descendants of the mutineers of the H.M.S. Bounty, holding ham radio licenses.

"The hobby has a place for everyone," Block says. "You're bound to find someone who has something in common with you."

Although you have to pass a test to get a license, Block says, the licenses are structured in a way that even someone with very little knowledge about radio can, with minimal study, get on the air.

"We even have a class of license that doesn't require you to learn Morse code," Block adds. "Before, if you didn't know how to send and receive Morse code, you couldn't be a ham."

Code is still required to get on frequencies that allow you to communicate with other countries, Block says, but there are plenty of local people to talk to on the "no code" frequencies. "Some are not so local," Block adds. "Both the Russian Mir space station and the U.S. space shuttle have hams aboard that communicate with other hams on Earth on the so-called 'no code' frequencies."

Hams are active on the UH campus, too, according to Brad Killebrew, president of the UH Amateur Radio Club.

"We have about 20 members and meet the second Friday of each month in Room 242 of the Technology College building," Killebrew says. The club is open to UH students, faculty and staff, he adds.

"Most of the members are technical types," Killebrew says, "but all are welcome."

Killebrew admits that many students are starting to communicate via the Internet, but says ham radio still has appeal. "There's a camaraderie in ham radio you won't find on the Net," he says.

Tests for ham licenses are given by hams, themselves, who act as volunteer examiners for the FCC, Killebrew says. They are given once per semester at UH if there is enough interest, but ham radio clubs in the Houston area also give them at various times of the month, he says.

Information on how to become a ham can be found at most electronics stores, or by writing the American Radio Relay League; 225 Main St.; Newington, CT 06111.

To get in touch with volunteer examiners, call the Houston office of the Federal Communications Commission at 861-6200.

 

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UH-ROTC LEADER SETS GOALS, MAKES HISTORY

 

by Christen Hanlon

Daily Cougar Staff

When she was only 5 years old, Kelle Dzien Do remembers crying as the boat departed from the shores of Vietnam. Her mother and half of her family waved goodbye to her as Kelle, her father and four other siblings headed for the United States. It would be two years before the family would reunite again.

These hardships have molded Do into the woman she is today and have helped to earn her the position of UH-ROTC cadet battalion commander. UH-ROTC is a part of the Military Sciences Department of the College of Social Sciences.

As the first Vietnamese female commander, the 22-year-old senior's responsibilities include monitoring a cadet class of 72 undergraduate students, ensuring that cadets run no less than two miles every weekday at 6:30 a.m., administering labs on the proper execution of marching commands and helping cadets rappel down a rope from heights up to 100 feet. Whatever the duty, Do must guarantee all cadets are prepared for their next challenge.

"Her ability to lead and communicate with the cadets is outstanding. She is basically responsible for everything that happens or fails to happen," said Capt. Brian McMurry, UH military sciences assistant professor.

Do hid her ROTC involvement from her parents until she unexpectedly walked in with her camouflaged uniform on one day. "The only thing my dad could say was, 'I knew you were weird,' " Do laughs. "I know they worry about me. They are very traditional, and it is difficult for them to understand my military career, even though my father was once in the military," Do said.

As the youngest of nine children, Do said she knew she was going to need some form of discipline to succeed. "That's where the ROTC program came in. When I make a commitment, I do it," Do said.

In May, Do will receive a bachelor's degree in economics and an eight-year contract with the United States Army.

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<I>CLAIBORNE<P> A SOLID PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER

by Joey Guerra

Daily Cougar Staff

If you walk into <I>Dolores Claiborne<P> expecting to be scared out of your wits, expect to be disappointed. Television previews and movie trailers play up the thriller aspect of this movie, and that it is based on a book by Stephen King only adds to the fear factor.

More than anything, though, <I>Dolores Claiborne<P> is a mysterious, emotionally gripping drama, but the effect is far more profound than any of those achingly stupid Freddy or Jason flicks.

The story begins in the home of Vera Donovan (Judy Parfitt), whom Dolores (<I>Misery<P>'s Kathy Bates) works for as a housekeeper. An argument unfolds between Dolores and Vera, who is in a wheelchair.

Vera cries out and comes tumbling (or is pushed) down the stairway. Dolores rushes down, and to her relief (or is it disappointment?), Vera is alive. In a panic, Dolores rushes into the kitchen, searching for something. She pulls out a drawer of knives, but decides on a rolling pin. As she is about to give Vera the final blow, the mailman arrives and catches Dolores, so to speak.

Dolores is charged with murder by Det. John Mackey (Christopher Plummer). Her daughter, Selena St. George (Jennifer Jason Leigh), is notified and arrives from New York, where she works as a journalist. There is an immediate strain between the two, who haven't seen each other in 15 years. When she first sees her daughter, Dolores says, "I told you I didn't want any lawyer."

From here, the story unfolds slowly and methodically, but it holds your interest completely. Mackey has a hidden agenda involving Dolores, whom he failed to convict for the death of her husband, Joe St. George (played with frightening intensity by David Strathairn).

This is also the cause of the strain between Dolores and Selena, who was never convinced of her mother's innocence. The new case reveals hidden truths too horrifying for Selena to remember.

As far as plot development, that's all that can be revealed without spoiling the satisfaction of finding out for yourself.

Set against an eerie Maine backdrop, <I>Dolores Claiborne<P> is an absorbing film. The complex characterization is fully developed in all the participants, especially Dolores and Selena. Dolores is a worn, tired woman, but she possesses an extremely smart mouth. "Go on, take what you want. I ain't doing any beauty pageants this week," she says when asked for a hair sample.

Her tart tongue and stone exterior are what keep her going; it is all she has left to survive. (She says, "Sometimes being a bitch is the only thing a woman has to hold onto.") Her only concern is that her daughter believe and accept her.

Selena is cut from the same cloth. Her job is her life, her escape from the pain. She blames her mother for her misfortunes because Dolores is the only person left to blame. Oddly, the tragic past that tore the two apart brings them back together.

Director Taylor Hackford excels in the use of flashbacks to tell the story, which can sometimes be cliched and boring. Striking imagery and fusion of past and present make the film all the more gripping, and music by Danny Elfman is appropriately somber.

The crowning achievement, though, is the acting. Bates, Leigh and Parfitt hold the movie together in a <I>tour de force<P> trio. Bates is marvelous, projecting all the pent-up fear and rage within Dolores. Leigh also shines as Selena, giving us a reason for her bitterness. Finally, as Vera, Parfitt takes a potentially modest role and molds it into one of the movie's driving forces.

<I>Dolores Claiborne<P> is an involving, sometimes strange movie. There is no doubt, though, about its success. Its only flaw is Selena's sudden turn as a whiz attorney near the end, but it can be overlooked. Forget <I>Candyman 2<P> to make you shake in your boots. For a real thrill, visit <I>Dolores<P> instead.

<I>Dolores Claiborne<P>

Director: Taylor Hackford

Stars: Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh

***1/2 stars

 

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THEATER LAB MAKES KILLER PRODUCTION

Mark Merchant (left) stars as John Wilkes Booth, and Raymond Carmiciano plays Lee Harvey Oswald in Theater LaB's play, <I>Assassins<P>.

Photo courtesy of Theater LaB Houston

by Deanna Koshkin

Daily Cougar Staff

Gerald LaBita's <I>Assassins<P> examines the lives of nine people who have assassinated or attempted to assassinate the president over the last two centuries.

In an avant-garde showbiz revue, assassins communicate with each other to explore their motives, pain and dark humor.

The play begins as the assassins introduce themselves and the president they assassinated or attempted to assassinate.

The next scene shows John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Abraham Lincoln, as he sits in a tobacco barn. Breaking his leg as he escaped, he leaves a letter to the press that was never printed, explaining his motives before killing himself.

In between each of the scenes showing the assassins attempting to kill the president, the assassins from different time periods cross pathways. The assassins meet and discuss their motives and the final straw that drove them over the edge.

The production includes "Squeaky," who attempted to assassinate President Ford. Squeaky Fromme, one of Charles Manson's disciples, planned to have Manson testify at her trial so he could share his teachings with the world. The play intertwines "Squeaky" with Sara Jane Moore's attempt to assassinate Ford three weeks later in a humorous plotting scene.

One of the more famous assassins is Lee Harvey Oswald, who killed President Kennedy. All the previous assassins reappear attempting to convince Oswald to kill Kennedy for them.

The 100-minute intermission free play has a wide array of talented singers and actors.

With a seating capacity of about 50, the up-close seating helps draw the audience into the production.

<I>Assassins<P> will be playing at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays through April 9 at Theater LaB Houston. Tickets are $15 and $18 and are available by calling 868-7516.

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