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Thursday, June 20, 2024 — Houston, TX

Timothy Faust

NEWS 3/19/09 7:00pm

Stop Kiss too legit to quit

"I can do this, you see! Choose me!" urges one of the main characters in one of the most emotional scenes of Stop Kiss. So pleads the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts Theatre Program as its production opens this weekend alongside four college productions (Martel College's I Took My Gun And Vanished, Baker Shakespeare's The Tempest, Sid Richardson College's The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and Wiess College's West Side Story) and, of course, Beer Bike. After one of the program's strongest years in recent memory, its plea is a legitimate one.Stop Kiss, a 1998 play by Diana Son, might be summarized as the story of a relationship between two women and the tragic results of an act of gay-bashing, but while such an explanation captures the play's main events it oversimplifies the depth of the script. The play is fundamentally about risk-taking and squeezing the most out of life and love - you know, that sort of carpe diem stuff which we're all supposed to love - and its place in the lives of two women, panicky traffic reporter Callie and no-nonsense Midwesterner Sara, as they live their lives in New York City.

NEWS 3/12/09 7:00pm

Taking a ride on the West Side ... Story

With tremendous productions like Urinetown (2007) and Hello, Hamlet! (2008), in recent years Wiess Tabletop Theater has established itself as the annual college musical theater powerhouse. But the reputation is double-edged: this year's production, West Side Story, carried with it fantastic potential and extraordinary expectations. When the stars align and all the gears within the production synchronize, the product is riveting. Unfortunately, these moments are spread too thin across the production's two-hour runtime. Wiess may have bitten off more than it can chew.West Side Story, written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, is a 1957 adaptation of Romeo and Juliet that replaces the feuding Montague and Capulet families with two Hell's Kitchen street gangs: the all-Anglo Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks. The show has become one of the more influential works in the history of American musical theater, largely because of the unprecedented complexity of its choreography and innovative music. Producing the show necessitates a fastidious attention to the details of its dancing and its music, and for the most part Wiess's production succeeds with only a few lapses.

NEWS 2/19/09 6:00pm

SA election demands widespread vote

Quick! Think of what makes you ecstatic.Not "happy." I don't want simple contentedness. I don't give a shit about warm bagels or chocolate or your iPod or how you feel when you make eye contact with that cutie in GenChem. I want ecstasy - a sensation so powerful, so moving, that it compels you to clench your toes so hard you can feel it in your soul. Think about bliss: What have you done recently that filled you so wholly with raw delight that you wanted to freeze time and space and never move again lest the slightest disturbance in the universe break that rapturous moment?

NEWS 2/5/09 6:00pm

Dude, that's Wyrd: The Rice Players take to the stage with their latest production

Somewhere deep within the Rice Players' production of Wyrd Sisters, an entertaining and fast-paced show is struggling to break free.Unfortunately, its struggle is ill-fated. Trapped by static, repetitive staging and questionable direction by Brown College senior Thomas Mings, the performance constantly trips over itself and never manages to find a steady rhythm. The result is a haphazard, arduous test of audience endurance that generates more awkwardness than applause.

NEWS 1/29/09 6:00pm

SA election, O-Week spur involvement

If you're going to be at Rice for the 2009-'10 academic year and you're reading my column, then you're probably looking for one of two things: sage, unsolicited advice about how to live your life or sophomoric jokes about how awesome beer is. Today I have more of the former and less of the latter.The results of the next few weeks of this academic year constitute what is the most significant indication of how successful and fun the undergraduate population will find the next school year. Many colleges will soon elect a president and governing body; dozens of candidates and applicants are crossing their fingers and fighting for Orientation Week coordinator bids at the nine established colleges and the two mysterious new colleges; and an alarmingly charming Student Association Elections Chair announced the beginning of SA election season this past Monday.

NEWS 1/22/09 6:00pm

Big challenges, big enthusiasm

Hidden away in Lovett Hall, Entrance A, in a little alcove left of the drinking fountain and across from the floor-to-ceiling wooden doors of the office of the Dean of Undergraduates, new Director of First Year Programs, Shelah Crear, prepares to make history. With a record number of applicants for the class of 2013 ("10,818", Jan. 16) and the quickly-approaching opening of Duncan and McMurtry colleges, Orientation Week 2009 stands to be a larger and more complicated operation than any O-Week in recent memory.Her office is comfortable and well-lit, if a little bare, but Crear, a Dallas native and adopted Austinite and Longhorn by education, has an enthusiasm for her responsibilities that fills every corner of the room.

NEWS 1/22/09 6:00pm

McMurtry, Duncan O-Week plans drafted

The residential college system is something so inseparable from the modern operation of Rice University, so ingrained into our personal habits and social traditions, that any change on the level of the addition of a new college becomes a matter of titanic significance that affects thousands of students. When two new colleges root themselves into this little patch of Houston - in the same year, even - the importance of their proper introduction into Rice life escalates exponentially. For this reason, groups of students, masters, administrators and faculty have worked eagerly for months to ensure that the opening of Duncan and McMurtry colleges next fall is as appropriate and effective a process as possible. Last year, a population committee headed by Dean of Undergraduates Robin Forman and comprised of college masters, resident associates, administrators and students drafted a series of proposals regarding possible ways to populate the two colleges. The committee sent these recommendations to President David Leebron, who ultimately chose a plan in which Baker and Will Rice colleges will move into Duncan and McMurtry, respectively, while their own facilities are renovated. Lovett College will remain in Lovett while its renovations occur. Forman appeared in front of the Student Association last semester to discuss the plan and promised to keep the student body abreast of its development.

NEWS 1/8/09 6:00pm

Sports not only for athletically inclined

In the movie Milk, anti-gay activist Anita Bryant condemns laws and statutes protecting gay Americans on the basis that permitting them to do whatever it is that gay Americans do - which, as far as I understand, are mostly the same boring things that straight Americans do - would decimate the country and plunge its citizens, perhaps overnight, into severe moral degradation. Bryant and several other characters in the movie (and in real life) make this assertion with the underlying argument that the religion of Christ is the religion of the United States. Unfortunately for them, we know that Christianity isn't the American religion. Sports are the real American religion, and it is our patriotic duty to celebrate them.Rice won a bowl game last week. Maybe you heard about it. Several dozen of Rice's finest (and also #94, kicker Brandon Yelovich) took to the field and punished a motley crew of Michiganders, who deserved to lose because they are bad people and even worse footballers.

NEWS 11/20/08 6:00pm

Lovett is a Cabaret

The success of Lovett College's deservedly well-received I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change ("Lovett's I Love You, You're Perfect needs little change", Feb. 22, 2008) seemed to many a dramatic revival of the college's once-stagnant theater program. Cabaret, directed by Lovett College senior and I Love You... cast member Paul Early, builds upon the spring show's forward momentum and brings a wide assortment of talent to the stage lights, but a few dark spots mar what is otherwise a very enjoyable performance.Cabaret, written by Joe Masteroff with John Kander's music and lyrics by Fred Ebb, explores the relationship between cabaret performer and general debauchée Sally Bowles and struggling young American author Clifford Bradshaw as they weave their way through the hedonistic excesses of Berlin's underbelly during the Nazi rise to power.

NEWS 11/20/08 6:00pm

Despite student caricatures, Leebron deserves praise

Editing the Backpage is a wonderful job. I mosey into the Thresher office every once in a while, sit in one of our many comfortable chairs, make fun of our editors in chief, avoid my homework and occasionally write something which I pray my mother will never discover. Sometimes I even make people laugh, but those weeks are few and far between.In those rare moments when I'm not busy scaling the mountain of humor godhood or trying to figure out how to turn my weekly flirtation with libel into a real-life job, I enjoy nothing more than attending the weekly Monday meeting of the Student Association Senate. As elections chair I'm technically required to attend all SA meetings, but this responsibility is its own reward: Nothing gets my blood a-pumping like glancing at the steely, determined gaze of presiding officer Matt Youn or admiring the sharp focus of the nine enthusiastic college presidents or playing "World of Goo" on my laptop while External Affairs Vice President Nick Muscara talks about some tailgate or another.