Friday, February 29, 2008

REV: ITM and the Wimberley Festival

I followed the Ingram Tom Moore Warrior theatre department down to Wimberley to see them in their second festival of the year. I missed last week’s festival in San Antonio for being on the road to Dallas, but they got great judge’s reviews there. By going to Wimberley of course i got to see shows by another favorite school – Wimberley – plus shows by two folks i’ve shared the stage with (Roslyn Houghton, director at Bandera High School; in Much Ado About Nothing and The Diviners, and some others) and had a directing swap with (Emily Houghton, director at Medina High School; who directed me in The Boys Next Door, and who i directed in The Octette Bridge Club). So it’s like old home week there.

The first show i saw was Bandera’s King Lear. It was a starkly set production of the violent Shakespeare classic, and Roslyn spared nothing in costuming and makeup and set pieces. The candelabra and fire pieces beautifully held the sparsely lit stage, and their movement beautifully created new settings for the scenes. I was particularly impressed with four of her actors, Bryce Jeter as King Lear (my personal choice for Best Actor; and who got an All-Star cast award), Reilly Downes as Cordelia (also All-Star cast), Kevin Cissell as the Earl of Gloucester, and Sierra Haile as the Fool. Lear was forceful in his mood swings and changes of heart, and Gloucester had a similar wide arc in his portrayals. Nicely done. Bandera was the state championship runner-up last year and will be stiff district competition for us this year again.

Next was Ingram’s Twelfth Night, directed by Holly Riedel and Marie Cearley. Word is that all the casts had personnel issues. I only know specifics about Wimberley’s other than ours. Which is not to make excuses for either, as the fill-ins were exceptional. Nevertheless, for Ingram at least, it added an element of anxiety. In particular Logan Stehling, stepping into a completely fresh role for him, did a masterful job despite having to haul a script around on stage. Kaleb Hargrove stepped up his portrayal of Feste a notch in his last chance to do the role, and it’s a shame he won’t be back to complete the role. Shana Baldwin was simply magnificent as Fabian, and was my favorite for Best Actress (which went to Jordan Wilson of Hays, and since i didn’t see their show i can’t speak to what i missed). Seems like everyone who we talked to after the show commented on her performance. She was named to the All-Star cast. Also named All-Star was Kaleb Dworsky who i thought was at his finest and most animated as Malvolio. Once he is fully costumed so that the audience can identify with some of his dialogue, he’ll be hard to top. I thought he might have a legitimate shot at a Best Actor sometime but i’m not sure he has the stage time to do that – ITM’s leads, even the male roles, are played by females. The other school’s leads i saw were onstage most if not all the time. Lindsey Morris as Viola, disguised as Cesario, was named Honorable Mention All-Star cast and was also as lively as i’ve seen her. And Kylie Nidever was elegant and in high control of her parts, especially when plotting against Malvolio. The rest of ITM’s cast was also superb. In fact, i think ITM had the finest overall cast top to bottom of any of the school’s save for Wimberley. With some tightening they’re going to be hard to top.

Emily’s rendition of Charley’s Aunt for Medina was just dang hilarious, and she deserves much praise for doing this cast and character heavy show at such a tiny school. Jake Dabney as the cross-dressing Lord Babs won the Best Actor award. He was perfect for the role and wholly believable as the faux aunt. Kaleb Charanza (All-Star cast) was perfect as Jack Chesney too. I thought the piece lagged occasionally when there was not punchline setup going on, but that’s one of those things that always naturally improves over time, and with three weeks to go before district contest i think this show is going to be tight.

The last show of the night and one i was looking very forward to was Wimberley’s The History of Tom Jones. Along with Man of La Mancha this is my favorite of all the shows i’ve seen Wimberley do. Five years ago they had what i think they must consider one of their best all time casts, and that show finished as second runnerup at the state title meet. So i think i entered Lone Star Theatre with really high expectations for this show – especially considering my fondness for their staging, but also because a number of the kids on stage are among my favorite Wimberley actors. In any case, i was much entertained by, and impressed by the group. I did feel like i was waiting for a lot more movement than what i saw – it seemed that this version had more posing and isolation of the dialogue characters than what i remember, but that might just be faulty memory on my part. Hard to tell. Nevertheless, as i said, it was another grand Wimberley production. Two of their actors were lost to this show because of a bad car accident. Both are recovering but aren’t quite ready to return – Connor Pickens and Bonnie Sturdivant, both among my favorites, and both missed. But their replacements were wonderful.

In looking at the show and pointing out some of the better performances i wanted to take issue, strong issue, with some of the judge’s critiques. I spend much time studying judges, partly so i know who i can trust – for whatever difference it makes, i’m not directing high school, and neither can anyone choose their judges – it still makes sense to me though to find a balance between teaching the literature and the craft (and making the art) and trying to game the one-act UIL system in order to advance. That is, i think it’s a bit goofy to accede to judges’ wills if it means going astray of literary intent.

Now, having said that, anyone should recognize that by opining here i’m imposing my own judgment of how things should be. So . . .

The main place i wanted to take strong exception was in their (two judges) dislike of the characterization of Tom Jones. Andy Patoski, my opinion, is one of the finest actors WHS has put on a stage. I think he has a gift for reading the text and developing a character that fits the mode and the mood. And i was not disappointed in his portrayal of Tom Jones. He gave it some nuance i’ve not seen in any other production – and it was a wonderfully astute nuance that i’ll get to in a minute (since it was counter to the judges’ intuition). The issue i think has to do with the “standard” portrayal of Tom Jones as a person, a portrayal i imagine the judges have seen repeatedly, and therefore have cemented in their head as being “correct”. And in their commentary post-show they drilled home the idea to poor Andy that he wasn’t manly enough in the role, being a wencher and a trouble-maker and the central target of the play. I think they were bothered by the fact that Andy looks so young. I think it was all a misread – both of the character and of Andy’s portrayal. In fact, i believe that Tom Jones is a hero in the classic sense –beating odds to bring about a favorable result. That he is mistaken as a rogue character from his birth to his near hanging makes him something of an anti-hero to those involved in the chase but he should not be so to the audience. The audience knows the truth and should be sympathetic and rooting for him from the very beginning in hopes that he overcomes the truly villainous and the well-intentioned but misguided characters of the play. That he “gets around” is more the result of his youthful discovering of himself for one, and two his replacement attempts in lieu of the lost Sophia, than any great Casanovating (the specific direction which the judges gave him; and which, i think, focuses on some fanciful idea about the Tom Jones character, and not, as would be wiser, how it fits within the character of the play itself). It is this nuance, and Andy’s own youthfulness, that made the character he developed a) so believable as hero and protagonist, and b) the sympathetic character that the audience ultimately, if not immediately, roots for, and c) the raison d’etre for the play. If he were to be the Falstaffian character the judges seemed to want then the sentimental character is completely lost. By making Tom Jones a real human being, i felt like this version was not just the swirling comedic entertainment that Wimberley always puts on, nor the usual laugh a minute comedy you usually see done with this piece, but a full-fledged dramatic piece. I’ll be seeing the piece again in a few weeks at district and am charged up to see whether any changes are made, and if so, whether it improves the lot or not. So need i say i found Andy Patoski’s performance impeccable, and Wimberley’s reading of the piece spot on.

I also found much of the other commentary by the judges to be perfunctory and trivial, feeling much like they needed to say something to earn their consultant’s checks. There were of course a handful of things that might help the piece, although i found myself not liking their penchant for broad gestures and comedy. At some point, subtlety still must used in order to add some swings in the dynamics of a play.

On another note i thought the portrayal of Blifil as out and out gay was a fine touch. All too often the character is foppish but ambiguous and the moment of pairing with Sophia, meant to arouse the baser instincts of Tom Jones, becomes one of self-discovery and panic on Blifil’s part. Again it’s a device that makes it momentarily funny, but has less affect on the outcome of the plot than Chris Bakka’s portrayal here. In this case, Blifil knows full well who he is, but is taken in by greed and in addition to being funny also creates the tension that was designed for this moment in the original novel. So Wimberley gets credit again for having a wider, but wiser, look at the progress of the story.

Not that even the average theatre-goer would be able to parse the reasons for their interest in the progress of the plot; it still makes for a better watch to be able to root for the good guy and have an interior dislike for who is ultimately the bad guy. So Bakka earns the kudos here. He, by the way, was named Honorable Mention All-Star cast, and Patoski was named All-Star cast.

Calen Cabler showed me a whole new level of performance with her turn as Lady Bellaston, being both bombastic and funny in her self-delusion. It is her bellicosity which makes you finally turn wholly in support of Tom Jones, and she pulls off the insidious jilted lover perfectly. The judge’s note that she needed to be more “mature” was confounding – she was the most mature presence on stage.

Harry Tork is an actor who has labored quite a bit in the background. His lead in their fall production of Dark Side of the Moon was very nice, but did not approach his wonderful Lord Western in this show. He had a vocal command that i hadn’t seen in him before, and his simple stage presence was fantastic. His being named All-Star cast was most deserved. Cameron Allen is another i’ve seen for some time, and he too was a whole other person onstage this time, and most deserving of his being named Honorable Mention All-Star cast if not more.

I think the two step-ins were Sarah Lindsey as Sophia and Zeb Duke as the Highwayman/Judge. Sarah was excellent, even if the show is male-heavy in characters. Her moments on stage were wonderful.

Zeb Duke was hilarious in their show last year A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. That was the first time i’d seen him on stage for Wimberley. In this show he took over for the injured Connor Pickens (i think) and commanded the stage while there. His flailing, impotent robber was as funny as could be, especially in light of his slight silhouette. He has a voice with an interesting timbre to it and his line reads are exceptional. I’m looking forward to what he has to offer for the future, and can’t wait to see him in a lead.

Okay, i guess i’ve gushed enough. I’ll have a lot more to say about the Ingram crew as the weeks go on and they begin to come into their own. I think they have a wonderful chance to advance, but the competition is fierce, with not only Bandera and Wimberley, but a brand new school, Canyon Lake. It’s going to be fun to watch. ITM is at the Kerrville Tivy Festival tonight, and has a public performance at Warrior Theatre on Sunday at 4 p.m. and i hope to give an update after that show, which will have three or four new moves to cover for personnel issues.



Tags: , , , ,

Labels: , , , ,

COM: Blogarithmic #233

Got a chance to see day one of the Wimberley Theatre Festival and saw Ingram, Wimberley, Medina and Bandera perform, and saw four fine shows. I have a rather extensive review of parts of it coming up, but it's going to take me a while to finish. So stay tuned . . .

Tags: , , ,

Labels: , , ,

ENV: It's Circus of the Spineless time!

From John Beetham:

Circus of the Spineless #30 is now online. You can find the current edition here:

http://dendroica.blogspot.com/2008/02/carnival-of-spineless.html

Thanks to everyone who submitted posts for this edition of the carnival.

our next host (for March, #31) will be at Archaea to Zeaxanthol http://attleborobio.blogspot.com/

send your submissions by March 30, 2008 to jim.lemire(at)gmail.com


#32 will be at Deep Sea News http://scienceblogs.com/deepseanews/

send your submissions by April 29, 2008 to Kevin at kaz146(at)psu.edu


and we're looking for hosts for May and beyond! contact tony g at hurricanetg(a)hotmail.com



Tags: , , , ,

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

ENV: Circus of the Spineless submissions due!

The next issue of Circus of the Spineless is at A D.C. Birding Blog http://dendroica.blogspot.com/

send your submissions pronto to empidonax(at)gmail.com


our next host (for March, #31) will be at Archaea to Zeaxanthol http://attleborobio.blogspot.com/

send your submissions by March 30, 2008 to jim.lemire(at)gmail.com


#32 will be at Deep Sea News http://scienceblogs.com/deepseanews/

send your submissions by April 29, 2008 to Kevin at kaz146(at)psu.edu


and we're looking for hosts for May and beyond! contact tony g at hurricanetg(a)hotmail.com



Tags: , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, February 25, 2008

COM: The Weekend










Tags: , ,

Labels: ,

Sunday, February 24, 2008

NAT: Ixcateco

Last ditch effort to save dying language
ITN - Monday, February 25 07:05 am

The race is on in Mexico to save an indigenous language from extinction.

There are now just eight people, all aged over sixty, who still speak Ixcateco.

They live in the town of Santa Maria Ixcatlan in Oaxaca, populated mainly by agriculture workers and arts and crafts palm weavers.

Many, including linguists, are worried that it won't be long before their rare language is never heard again.

Two local men in their seventies are attempting to pass their mother tongue on, but younger people don't want to learn because they associate indigenous languages with economic and social backwardness.

An American linguist, from the Benito Juarez Autonomous University of Oaxaca, has now teamed up with the pair in order to document the language and store his findings at the University in order to teach future generations.

According to the United Nations organisation Unesco more than 50 per cent of the world's 6,000 languages are in danger of disappearing over the next "few generations."


Tags: , ,

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

NAT: Quileute

Non-Native teaching Quileute tongue-twisting language
By Jim Casey, Peninsula Daily News

LAPUSH — Every word spoken in Quileute breathes new life into the ancient Native American language.

That's the perception of anthropologist Jay Powell, who has taught two five-week "crash courses" in Quileute — properly pronounced Kwil-LAY-yute — at LaPush and who hopes to teach two more.

Without energetic efforts by tribal members and their teacher, the language could disappear.

Three, perhaps four, people can speak Quileute fluently.

When they are gone, all that remains will be phrases, greetings, ceremonies and songs.

Even those could vanish if it weren't for the tribe's hiring Powell to help teach and record the language.

Powell and his wife, Vickie Jensen, have worked with the outer coastal tribe since 1968, when 50 Quileute could speak their native language fluently — and the 600 other tribal members could not.

Powell's efforts also have helped the tribe publish its first book, a dictionary that is expected to be released today to tribal members.

Speakers passed away
"They heard it in ceremonies, and everybody knew a few words," Powell said during a recent stop in Port Angeles on his way from LaPush to his home in British Columbia.

But over the next 40 years, "those 50 speakers grew old and started to die until they were about to lose an irretrievable part of their cultural heritage."

Chris Morganroth III, Quileute tribal councilman, Wednesday said, "Once a tribe loses its language, it loses its identity."

Along with the language, he said, the tribe stood to lose "many legends and stories about how we came to be here."

Morganroth recalled his grandmother, who spoke only Quileute to her family.

"I was really fortunate to grow up in the way I did," he said.



'Turns tongue to Jell-O'
To the untutored ear, Quileute sounds like it is spoken in the back of the throat and the base of the tongue with breath pushed up from the speaker's diaphragm.

"They have a sounds system that turns your tongue to Jell-O," is how Powell put it, with words as long as 40 syllables that incorporate what in English would be whole sentences.

"It is such a beautiful sequence of tones," said James Jaime, the tribe's executive director. "I love listening to it."

Powell began his involvement with the tribe when, as a graduate student at the University of Hawaii, he was offered a chance to study native languages up and down the north Pacific coast.

"I was lucky enough to be taken on by one of the last Quileute speakers — Fred "Woody" Woodruff — who had the patience and perseverance to teach me the language."

Punished for speaking
The loss of the language had been accelerated by the practice at boarding schools for Native Americans, beginning in the late 1800s and continuing into the early 1900s, of prohibiting native languages.

Teachers punished any student they heard speaking a native language and burned any baskets they might have woven or carvings they may have made, Morganroth said.

Along with the language went culture and spirituality and, often, physical and mental health.

"It's caused a lot of our health issues," Jaime said.

"Those social adjustments can be traumatic."

But young Quileute speakers reap rewards for learning their language, Powell said.

"We've got a lot of evidence that Native students who do best are the ones who are very clear about their cultural heritage."

A portable cultural icon
Renewing Quileute, said Powell, also gives tribal members an icon they can carry anywhere, unlike carved or woven objects.

"It's a portable symbol of group identity," he said.

"When you are speaking Quileute, you know who you are."

Powell — who the Quileute named kwáshkwash, or blue jay — has retired from the University of British Columbia.

He worked there for 20 years and published 10 books on the Quileute, recording their last speakers and trying to save the language.

He hasn't tried to make his students fluent in Quileute.

"We don't know of a single child raised speaking English who has learned a native language in a classroom," Powell said, despite educators' spending $2 billion on such efforts.

Phrases, not fluency
"Fluency wasn't one of the alternatives. It just wasn't achievable."

Instead, at the invitation of the Quileute Tribal Council, Powell and Jensen devised a series of intensive courses, four to five weeks long, held twice a year over two years.

The Quileute reached the halfway point of the curriculum last month.

What is emerging is a language of English mingled with Quileute words and phrases — greetings, common comments and "useful terms of various kinds," Powell said.

At the end of several weeks of study, "every Quileute realized they had heard people using their language, " Powell said.

He admits that orthodox linguists might be horrified at the idea of teaching a mixed language.

Tribe's first book
Powell says the purists need to consider the alternative: no one speaking Quileute at all.

"Their language is still with them," he said of the hybrid tongue. "This is a language in use.

"Something fun and rewarding is happening, and it's called the Quileute Language Revitalization Program."

The Quileute's efforts to relearn their language produced another point of pride: a Quileute/English and English/Quileute dictionary, the first book published by the tribe's own publishing company.

The book is to be distributed only to Quileute tribal members.

Asked why he would bother to try to save a dying language, Powell said, "The only argument I need is that the Quileute think it's worth the effort."

Besides, "a language is like a species of bird that has evolved across thousands of generations.

"How hard would we work to save such a bird from becoming extinct?"

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

OBT: David Shenk

2008 keeps eating away . . . another former student with two youngsters . . .

David Shenk
HUNT — Mr. David Shenk, 36, of Hunt, Texas, passed away Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008, at his residence.

He was born on Sept. 4, 1971, in Austin, Texas, to David Warren Shenk and Tansy Kaufhold Shenk. He was a tile installer in building construction. He was a member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and was active in serving holiday meals and coffee for Interstate 10 travelers. He was very active in A.A. and was a supporter of the Kerrville 720 Club and the Mo-Ranch Ministries.

Survivors include his mother, Tansy James; a daughter, Hannah; a son, D.J.; a sister, Deneise Harris and husband, Roy; a niece, Kimmy; a nephew, Joe; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

Funeral services for Mr. Shenk will be at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2008, at Grimes Funeral Chapels, with Clayton Rascoe and Sonny Kaufhold officiating. Interment will follow in Hunt Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Claude Jordan, Christopher Ray, Roy Harris, James Bowman, Dennis Shariff, Marcus Kunz and Tex Ford.

A memorial fund has been set up at TexHillCo Credit Union in David Shenk’s name or memorials may be made to the 720 Club, Barnett & Tivy, Kerrville, TX 78028.

Monday, February 18, 2008

OBT: Chuck Picciuti

In the absolutely crazy, wacked, absurdity that 2008 has already become (much of which has not been posted here, but includes lots of death of friends, and idols, and inspirations, and some in all three categories; catching the flu at the least opportune time, major surgeries in the family realm, and loads of other trivial things that mean little alone, but build up), by way of wandering the net today in search of grains of memory about some other folks i stumble across a site called FixUpChuck.com. Because of where i found the link i immediately suspected that the site referred to Chuck Picciuti, who was a kid who worked for me as a counselor (his first as such) my first summer in Kerrville at the Texas Lions Camp. Chuck is a legend. Period. I have spent an awful lot of years on the fringes of entertainment, and amongst brilliant people, and i am certain i have not ever met a funnier person. I could not be within 100 feet of Chuck without him making me laugh. So i quickly checked to see what was up with him and immediately realized i was looking at a memorial page, and have been sunk in a couple of hours' reading about where's he been, what he's done and how he's inspired for the last twenty years. It would do him zero justice for me to summarize here. If you have an interest and a heart, you should wander around the site yourself. It's a stunning tribute to someone we could all strive to be more like. You're the man Chuck.

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 14, 2008

ATH: Not an Obit, but not good either . . .

Ronaldo's Career Virtually Over

The career of Milan striker Ronaldo is virtually over after it was confirmed that he has completely severed the tendon in his left knee.

Ronaldo collapsed in the penalty area in agony just minutes after coming on as a substitute in tonight’s 1-1 draw with Livorno.

El Fenomeno was stretchered off the pitch in serious distress and he was in a flood of tears. The seriousness of the situation could be seen immediately as the Milan players were clearly shaken up by what they had seen.

Ronaldo was immediately rushed to hospital where tests revealed that he had completely severed the tendon in his left knee.

Milan's head of medicine Jean Pierre Meersseman revealed: "After Ronaldo's injury we decided at once to transfer the player to the Galeazzi hospital in Milan. It is one of the best orthopaedic hospitals in Europe.

"There's little to say about the seriousness of the injury - unfortunately they confirmed that it was a rupture to the tendons of his left knee.

"He will definitely need surgery. We are all distraught at what's happened."

The 31-year-old has already suffered this injury twice before, first in 1998 and then in 2000. In total, these have kept him out of the game for the best part of three years.

Even if he does recover, the kind of rehabilitation that would be required for him to return to action is something his body has not shown. As well, the risk of a relapse given his age and history will be so high that it could be risky for him to attempt a return.

With this in mind, and also considering the fact that reports yesterday suggested that he was already considering retirement at the end of the season, it seems highly likely that the great career of Ronaldo has come to an end.

Fingers are being pointed at Carlo Ancelotti for rushing the player back, but he pleads not guilty.

"No. I do not know what happened, if he played it meant that he was able to play. We are not that crazy," he blasted, putting the focus on those who had cleared him for action.

However, he did admit that his hand was forced somewhat: "We had practically no choice, because Ronaldo and Inzaghi had not yet 90 minutes in their legs, and didn’t have continuity.

“Ronaldo needed work to improve his condition. It was an obvious choice, given the absence of Seedorf, Kakà and Pato.”

"We are all very upset and worried about what happened to Ronaldo," Ancelotti continued. "I don't think I can say that his career is over because only time can tell when his career will end.

"For our part we can only be there for him and stay calm. His team-mates left the stadium in a hurry to go to the hospital and find out his condition. For us to be close to him is useful for him in such a delicate moment in his career.

"On Sunday he didn't play well but yesterday in training he was good, he seemed more alert, with better reactions and more ready.

"It's a pity because we value Ronie a lot, he has always played with great seriousness and great disposition. Ronie has always carried himself very well and has always looked to contribute to Milan."

Earlier, Livorno goalkeeper Marco Amelia had revealed that he had heard a terrible sound. “You can’t understand the noise Ronaldo’s knee made, I heard it though,” Amelia told Sky Sport Italia.

Milan’s Daniele Bonera also revealed that Ronaldo immediately knew that it was serious. “Straight away Ronaldo told us: It’s like last time,” he told Telelombardia.

The finer details will be available over the coming days, but Adriano Galliani had the final word on the night, admitting that the signs were ominous.

“He has already been seen by doctors at the Galleazzi where he was taken, he has a problem with the tendon in his left knee. The extent is not clear because they can’t do a complete diagnosis, he has a serious problem with his tendon,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ancelotti had declared the player fit, and insisted he knew nothing of the retirement rumours.

"You'd have to ask him [about retirement]," he had said. "He appears fit to me and hasn't said anything else.

“On Sunday, I appreciated Ronie's will to help out, despite the fact that he wasn't in a good condition. If he finds the right conditions, his contract will be renewed.”

Life clearly has its own sense of irony.

Labels: ,

OBT: raulrsalinas

Rene Valdez sent this message on behalf of Raúl's home base, Resistencia Bookstore, home of Casa de Red Salmon Arts. Valdez has been a longtime supporter and manager of the bookstore. A few more details here, including mention that there will also be an altar for Raúl at the bookstore, located at 1808 South First Street.

Saludos desde Resistencia Bookstore, Casa de Red Salmon Arts,

It is with great sadness we inform all of our community supporters, comrades, familia and colegas about the passing of our elder, teacher, father, chicanindio, and poeta revolutionario raúlrsalinas.

As you may know, for the past couple of years, raúl has been struggling with his health. We understand that it's difficult for us to let him go, but since the beginning of the year his health continued to be a major challenge. Unfortunately, his body just could not take the strain and was deteriorating at a rapid pace. Even though he has left this realm and it's a great loss para nuestro pueblo, his spirit is strong and lives on in all of us.

As his family provides more information, we will share it with everyone. For now this is just a notification of the passing of our brother. We will notify you about where you can send condolences, flowers, and cards as we get more information. An altar has been created in front of the bookstore on South First St. in Austin, Texas for now. We thank everyone for their good energy and support and prayers in this time of loss and mourning.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Monday, February 11, 2008

REV: The Real Inspector Hound

i made another trek to Austin to check out a second play this season by the Transit Theatre Company, something of a fly by night group at St. Edward's Univrsity. Yesterday they put on Tom Stoppard's amazingly convoluted and hilarious The Real Inspector Hound -- a sendup, and then some, of classic whodunits.

The piece featured a number of St. Ed's talented theatre students, including the wonderful Miss Annie Bond, who by way of disclaimer i have something of an ancient connection to and who was my primary purpose for attending. Which is not to say that's all i went for. Having seen this group do Ionesco's Rhinceros earlier this winter, i had some idea what i was getting myself into. It was directed by Zach Petticord, and wonderfully so.

This play was presented in four locations on four days which made finding it perhaps an unintended whodunit also. Played behind a string of moveable curtains, they did a wonderful job of creating a closed scenic wherein most of the action takes place. The initial device was to send in two second rate critics to write reviews. The two spent more time indulging the audience with their own personal fantasies -- one for taking the job of his higher-up, the other making hay with actresses by reviewing them in ways that don't always match their performances.

Enter the usual crew of uppity snobs sleeping around with unknowns, the maid who sees everything and says little, and uncertainty about who has disappeared exactly and when, and bombard us with overplayed devices (radio announcements of impending doom, card games no one understands, and deus ex machina phone calls) and you really have no idea where this is headed.

Then turn the tables by introducing one of the critics into the plot while beginning portions of the play over and you have another viewpoint of who might be the whodoer. Even if i were to try to unscramble the ending for you i'm not sure it would be a spoiler. The fun was in the journey, the sendup of every conceivable convention, and the sheer ridiculousness of the ending itself.

And of course, the company's slew of wonderful actors, each perfectly wielding their lines and characters have to be congratulated: Annie Bond, Roy Varney, Valerie Lara, Hans Hlein, Zach Petticord, Elizabeth Shortall, Nicholas Campagna, with Ev Lunning Jr as the radio voice, and the side-splitting pair of Kel Sanders and Elliott Dooley as the critics.

There's still a couple of chances left to see it:
Monday-02/11-In the Apartment Clubhouse @ 6pm FREE SPAGHETTI DINNER
Tuesday-02/12-In Teresa Hall @ 7pm

Tags: , , ,

Labels: , , ,

Friday, February 08, 2008

OBT: Theo Guillaume

Theo Gwendoline Guillaume
1920 - 2008

Theo Gwendoline Guillaume at the age of 87 passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008 in a Kerrville care center. She was born on November 07, 1920 in Peitosky, Michigan to Harold Guillaume and Nina (Paige) Guillaume. Theo was a school teacher her whole life. She is preceded in death by her parents. Theo is survived by her sister Joan Guillaume of Ingram, Texas and many other family members and friends who love her will miss her. Services are pending.

Labels: , , ,

OBT: Hoppy Hopkins

James (Hoppy) Willard Hopkins

KERRVILLE — James (Hoppy) Willard Hopkins, at the age of 76, passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008, at a local hospital.

He was born on July 10, 1931, in Dayton, Ohio, to John Hopkins and Josie “Roach” Hopkins. James Hopkins married Olive Cressell on Aug. 3, 1957, in Chicago, Ill. He grew up in Miamisburg, Ohio.

James worked in factories and played his guitar all his life. He played in Chicago from 1954 until 1961. James played with Bud Isaac and Bud Emmons in Ohio and Michigan. He retired to Kerrville in 1997 and became a Jurazzic Cowboy with E.C. Willman and they entertained the Hill Country. James’ music will be missed.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, George Hopkins.

James is survived by his wife of 50 years, Olive Cressell Hopkins of Kerrville; four sons, Stephen Hopkins of Okeechobee, Fla., James Hopkins of Houston, Texas, George Hopkins of Houston, Texas, and Joseph Hopkins of Comfort, Texas; two daughters, Tami Hopkins of Kerrville and Terri Hopkins Murphy and husband, Andy, of Ingram; 15 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; several nieces, nephews and cousins in Ohio; and aunt, Marie McGuire of Okeechobee, Fla.; and many other family members and friends who love him and will miss him.

Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008, at Wright’s Funeral Parlor in Kerrville. The family will greet guests from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

Funeral services will be at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, 2008, at Wright’s Funeral Parlor, with Frankie Enloe officiating. Interment will follow at Mountain View Cemetery in Kerrville.

Pallbearers will be James Mike Hopkins, Andy Murphy, James D. Hopkins, George Hopkins, Greg Hopkins, Joe Postlewaite, Jon Black and Beau Hopkins.

The family invites you to send condolences to www.timeformemory.com/wrights.

Arrangements are under the care of Wright’s Funeral Parlor of Kerrville.

Labels: , , ,

OBT: Toast Vinson

GREGORY "TOAST" VINSON
7/17/72 - 2/2/2008
Gregory "Toast" Vinson passed away over the weekend at his home in Trinity, Texas. He was a beloved son, uncle, brother, friend and teacher who touched and changed the lives of everyone around him. His fifth grade students at the Outdoor Education Center in Trinity affectionately referred to him as "Mr. Toast" and hung on his every word. Despite a near lifelong battle with Type I Diabetes, Addison's disease, Hypothyroidism and recently Osteoporosis, Toast tenaciously pursued physical activities. In the summer of 2005, Toast participated in a 4,000 mile coast to coast bicycle ride. He ran at least sixteen marathons, most recently the January 2008 Houston Marathon. The Houston Marathon was especially important to Toast, as it let him merge two of his favorite pursuits: exercise and charity. Toast was devoted to the Texas Lion's Camp in Kerrville, Texas, where he was a former camper, counselor, staffer and now "Legend." Memorial services in Toast's honor will be held in the near future at the Outdoor Education Center in Trinity, Texas, where Toast worked. There will also be a service at the Texas Lion's Camp in Kerrville later in the spring. If you would like to be notified of either service, please contact his brother Eric at austinev00@gmail.com. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a contribution to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or to the Texas Lion's Camp. We love you, Toast!

Published in the Houston Chronicle on 2/7/2008.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, February 07, 2008

ENV: My Chapter in New Book

Ron Smith and Nancy Millar have compiled a book of stories and remembrances about birding in the Lower Rio Grande Valley titled "Birding the Border". I got the call to contribute, and based on my reading i am the only Valley native to be in the book, although John Arvin is mentioned many times.

The books has chapters from myriad fine writers and great birders and ornithologists including Millar and Smith, Kenn Kaufman, John O'Neill, the Tvetens, Ted Eubanks, President Jimmy Carter and a dozen more. Of course, i had a personal interest in both the subject and in the book, but i found it to be a really fun read. If birds are your bag you might check it out.


Tags: , , , , ,

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

COM: Amen

OBT: Clark Hubbs

Clark Hubbs
March 15, 1921 – February 3, 2008
Clark Hubbs left this world on February 3 following a lengthy battle with colorectal cancer. He was born March 15, 1921 and was the second child of noted naturalists Carl and Laura Hubbs. He developed a love for the science of studying fish at an early age. His parents paid Clark and his sister and brother five dollars for collecting a new genus and one dollar for collecting a new species. They also paid them five cents for each species collected. Not surprisingly, Clark became an ichthyologist, a scientist who studied fish and truly loved his chosen profession.

During World War II he served in the army in the 96th Infantry Division Headquarters, including the invasions of Leyte and Okinawa. After the war, he obtained his PhD from Stanford in 1951 under the GI bill. He met his wife of 58 years, Catherine, while on a field trip with the Stanford Natural History Club.

In 1951, Clark Hubbs became an assistant professor of zoology at the University of Texas and subsequently became an associate and then full professor. From 1974 to 1976, he was chairman of the Biology Department and from 1978 to 1986, he was chairman of the Zoology Department. He was professor emeritus at the time of his death. During his long career, he published more than 300 articles. He was still collecting field data for his studies in January 2008. He was editor of Copeia, the journal of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpitologists for more than a decade and a former president of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpitologists, the American Institute of Fisheries Research Biologists, the Southwestern Association of Naturalists, Texas Organization for Endangered Species, and the Texas Academy of Sciences. He is Chair Emeritus Science Committee Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute. He was a tireless supporter of the Edwards Aquifor and Defense of Endangered Species. Four different species were named after him.

Clark Hubbs was preceded in death by his mother, father, and two sisters, Marjorie Anne Hubbs and Frances Miller. He is survived by his wife, Catherine, his brother Earl, daughters Laura Hubbs-Tait and Ann Hubbs, son John Hubbs and four grandchildren, Aaron and Aiden Tait, Eric Hubbs, and Adam Weissman as well as hundreds of students, colleagues, and friends. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute (www.HSWRI.org) or a charity of your choice. Memorial services will be held at the Congregational Church and at a scientific meeting. Dates to be arranged in the future.

Labels: , ,

Monday, February 04, 2008

OBT: Bobby Ozuna

Late Saturday night we lost Bobby Ozuna in his sleep. Bobby was one of those rare people who take the most menial of jobs and do the most amazing things for others. He was quite possibly the most loved manon our campus. When i started work here he quickly took me under his wing and showed me all the ins and outs and with obvious pride and glee. He was a walking beacon of optimism. It is going to be hard for our kids to wake up and go to school everyday and not see him smiling, waiting or them at the door.


Bobby B Ozuna \
1963 - 2008

Bobby Barrentes Ozuna, at the age of 44, went to be with his Lord on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008 at a Kerrville hospital. He was born on Sept. 9, 1963 in Kerrville, Texas to Urbano R. Ozuna and Maria (Barrentes) Ozuna. Bobby marred Leslie Ann Wright on Oct. 26, 1994 in Kerrville, Texas. He worked for the Hill Country Youth Ranch. Bobby was a member of the First Baptist Church of Ingram. He will be greatly missed by all. Bobby is survived by his wife of 13 years Leslie Ann Ozuna of Ingram; one son, Bobby W. Ozuna of Ingram; four daughters, Samantha Ozuna of Ingram, Amanda Ozuna of Tennessee, Paradise Ozuna of Washington and Octovanna Ozuna of Washington; father Urbano Ozuna of Kerrville; siblings Junior Ozuna of Pasadena, TX, Felix Ozuna of Lake Worth, TX, Jack Ozuna of Ft. Worth, TX and Ruby Ozuna of Kerrville, TX and many other family members and friends who love him and will miss him. Memorial services will be held Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008 at Hill Country Youth Ranch.



Labels: , , ,

Saturday, February 02, 2008

ATH: The state of college soccer

College Soccer's Defensive Trust
By Dave Lifton, 02/01/2008 10:00 AM, US National Team Players


WASHINGTON DC (February 1, 2008) USSoccerPlayers -- Major League Soccer last month changed its rules to allow teams more international players, arguing that with the league looking to expand even further in the next few years, the crop of college players would not be up to sustaining the current level of play.

It’s a good move for the league to acknowledge that today's audience is savvy enough to notice the difference between MLS and the world's top leagues, but it’s a step back from the league’s mission to create a deep pool of professional American players for the National Team. Still, with more Americans producing in the top European leagues, including those developed in MLS, the league has arguably to some extent met that objective, regardless of how many internationals are on each team.

The next logical question is: with teams having more freedom to look elsewhere for talent, are college soccer and the MLS SuperDraft becoming less relevant? Before answering that, it’s prudent to take a look at some figures.

Of the 47 players chosen in the first rounds from 2004 to 2007, ten have at least one cap with the National Team. At 21%, that's not bad at all. Furthermore, seven players drafted in later rounds, including Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, have also earned caps.

Only six of the 47 are not currently on the roster of an MLS or European team. Of the other 41, ten have not received significant playing time with their team (although two, Steve Cronin and Chris Seitz, are goalkeepers). This is a far cry from the earlier years in the decade, when players like Luchi Gonzales and David Stokes were drafted following successful college careers, only to languish on the bench. Does anybody even remember Mansour N'Diaye?

However, seven of those ten, including Seitz, were from the Class of 2007. So maybe things are taking a turn in the other direction. But the 2008 SuperDraft saw teams adopting different strategies. In the days leading up to the draft, the Kansas City Wizards transferred their leading scorer, Eddie Johnson, to Fulham, and traded Nick Garcia, a stalwart defender, to San Jose for the number one overall pick. Instead of filling those important slots with their two first-round picks, they selected Chance Myers and Roger Espinoza, who will most likely be behind Jack Jewsbury and Michael Harrington on the Wizards' depth chart.

Why would the Wizards choose to not replace Johnson and Garcia with highly touted collegiate stars like Patrick Nyarko or Andy Iro? When asked, Wizards coach Curt Onalfo said that he specifically chose Myers and Espinoza because they were Generation Adidas (originally Project-40) players, and will therefore be protected in the upcoming Expansion Draft. What Onalfo didn't say was that GA players are also exempt from the salary cap.

Translation: There was nobody in the draft who could step right in and fill Johnson and Garcia's shoes. We'll look elsewhere, thank you very much.

The irony is that Johnson, one of the most natural raw talents the US has ever produced, signed with MLS as a P-40 player as a 16-year old in 2001. As a result, he was given the time to reach his potential.

Forwards coming out of college are gradually having a more difficult time adjusting to MLS. Of the league's top ten goal scorers last year, only rookie Robbie Findley joined the league straight out of college in the last five years. Findley, Dane Richards, and Adam Cristman were the only forwards chosen in 2007 to see significant minutes on the field, with Richards spending the season on the wing. Cristman was chosen in the fourth round and enjoyed playing time thanks to an early season injury to Pat Noonan.

Defenders have traditionally fared better after finishing college. Perhaps the extra years of learning the game at a lower level, while their bodies are still developing physically, creates a player more capable of stepping into a professional starting eleven. Could Michael Parkhurst have gotten his exceptional ability to read the game if he was thrust into the New England Revolution's backline after only a few years in college? Conversely, could the defensive skills of Marvell Wynne, arguably one of the most physically gifted athletes in MLS, been better served had he not chosen to leave UCLA early?

We may have seen a glimpse of the future earlier this week when DC United unveiled five new signings, all South Americans ranging from former Argentine national team star Marcelo Gallardo to 17-year old Peruvian goalkeeper José Carvallo. United have not traditionally had much success with their draft picks over the years, and, with high expectations to maintain, have chosen to overhaul their roster with international talent.

The relevance of college soccer may diminish as the league expands to 16 teams (and eventually more) and attains an overall higher quality, thanks to both an increase in imports and the number of players signed out of the clubs' youth academies. For all its inadequacies, though, college soccer for now at least is upholding its role in creating future generations of players for both the league and the National Team.
Dave Lifton is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to USSoccerPlayers.

Labels: , ,

ATH: The state of college soccer

College Soccer's Defensive Trust
By Dave Lifton, 02/01/2008 10:00 AM, US National Team Players


WASHINGTON DC (February 1, 2008) USSoccerPlayers -- Major League Soccer last month changed its rules to allow teams more international players, arguing that with the league looking to expand even further in the next few years, the crop of college players would not be up to sustaining the current level of play.

It’s a good move for the league to acknowledge that today's audience is savvy enough to notice the difference between MLS and the world's top leagues, but it’s a step back from the league’s mission to create a deep pool of professional American players for the National Team. Still, with more Americans producing in the top European leagues, including those developed in MLS, the league has arguably to some extent met that objective, regardless of how many internationals are on each team.

The next logical question is: with teams having more freedom to look elsewhere for talent, are college soccer and the MLS SuperDraft becoming less relevant? Before answering that, it’s prudent to take a look at some figures.

Of the 47 players chosen in the first rounds from 2004 to 2007, ten have at least one cap with the National Team. At 21%, that's not bad at all. Furthermore, seven players drafted in later rounds, including Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, have also earned caps.

Only six of the 47 are not currently on the roster of an MLS or European team. Of the other 41, ten have not received significant playing time with their team (although two, Steve Cronin and Chris Seitz, are goalkeepers). This is a far cry from the earlier years in the decade, when players like Luchi Gonzales and David Stokes were drafted following successful college careers, only to languish on the bench. Does anybody even remember Mansour N'Diaye?

However, seven of those ten, including Seitz, were from the Class of 2007. So maybe things are taking a turn in the other direction. But the 2008 SuperDraft saw teams adopting different strategies. In the days leading up to the draft, the Kansas City Wizards transferred their leading scorer, Eddie Johnson, to Fulham, and traded Nick Garcia, a stalwart defender, to San Jose for the number one overall pick. Instead of filling those important slots with their two first-round picks, they selected Chance Myers and Roger Espinoza, who will most likely be behind Jack Jewsbury and Michael Harrington on the Wizards' depth chart.

Why would the Wizards choose to not replace Johnson and Garcia with highly touted collegiate stars like Patrick Nyarko or Andy Iro? When asked, Wizards coach Curt Onalfo said that he specifically chose Myers and Espinoza because they were Generation Adidas (originally Project-40) players, and will therefore be protected in the upcoming Expansion Draft. What Onalfo didn't say was that GA players are also exempt from the salary cap.

Translation: There was nobody in the draft who could step right in and fill Johnson and Garcia's shoes. We'll look elsewhere, thank you very much.

The irony is that Johnson, one of the most natural raw talents the US has ever produced, signed with MLS as a P-40 player as a 16-year old in 2001. As a result, he was given the time to reach his potential.

Forwards coming out of college are gradually having a more difficult time adjusting to MLS. Of the league's top ten goal scorers last year, only rookie Robbie Findley joined the league straight out of college in the last five years. Findley, Dane Richards, and Adam Cristman were the only forwards chosen in 2007 to see significant minutes on the field, with Richards spending the season on the wing. Cristman was chosen in the fourth round and enjoyed playing time thanks to an early season injury to Pat Noonan.

Defenders have traditionally fared better after finishing college. Perhaps the extra years of learning the game at a lower level, while their bodies are still developing physically, creates a player more capable of stepping into a professional starting eleven. Could Michael Parkhurst have gotten his exceptional ability to read the game if he was thrust into the New England Revolution's backline after only a few years in college? Conversely, could the defensive skills of Marvell Wynne, arguably one of the most physically gifted athletes in MLS, been better served had he not chosen to leave UCLA early?

We may have seen a glimpse of the future earlier this week when DC United unveiled five new signings, all South Americans ranging from former Argentine national team star Marcelo Gallardo to 17-year old Peruvian goalkeeper José Carvallo. United have not traditionally had much success with their draft picks over the years, and, with high expectations to maintain, have chosen to overhaul their roster with international talent.

The relevance of college soccer may diminish as the league expands to 16 teams (and eventually more) and attains an overall higher quality, thanks to both an increase in imports and the number of players signed out of the clubs' youth academies. For all its inadequacies, though, college soccer for now at least is upholding its role in creating future generations of players for both the league and the National Team.

Dave Lifton is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to USSoccerPlayers.