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Houston Breakthrough, October 1980
Pages 14 and 15
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Houston Breakthrough, October 1980 - Pages 14 and 15. October 1980. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. May 6, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1588/show/1575.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(October 1980). Houston Breakthrough, October 1980 - Pages 14 and 15. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1588/show/1575

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, October 1980 - Pages 14 and 15, October 1980, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed May 6, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1588/show/1575.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, October 1980
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date October 1980
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
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Item Description
Title Pages 14 and 15
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  • image/jpeg
File Name femin_201109_564l.jpg
Transcript Chocolate Bayou's Leonard Wagner says his theater will do all Houston premieres. Deborah Ledet's Black Ensemble specializes in live soap opera and dance concerts. produced off-Broadway and deals with the crisis of turning 30, and will be done in the round. Our second show will be Getting Out, an intense, psychological depiction of a woman convict's first day out of prison after an eight-year term. Her personality is split in two, so we will have two women playing the parts of her mind. Our cast is going to do field work with experts in prisons and we will try to capture the whole psychological intricacy of what she is going through." Stages' spring show list includes a celebration of Houston that has promise, says Swindley. "It's about what it is like to live in a city going through an identity crisis, moving from a local to a world outlook and involvement." Stages tries to develop local talent by holding open actor auditions (as do few are making a living from theater yet. "Houston has had Ken Cullinane, probably one of the finest young character actors around, Nick Hegler, a fine actor at Houston Baptist who has been in Dallas (he was arrested as a suspect in the shooting of J.R.), Morgan Redmond, who was trained in the Dublin theater and Jeanine Beckman, a marvelous actress, who played in Main Street's Old Times. Up and coming people are Max Maxwell, Kathy Goddard, Tim Parman, Lois Flee, Ron and Barbara Jones . . . many more." Wagner is also proud that his group was the second theater in the U.S. to do Preston Jones' Remember, a play given to Chocolate Bayou by Jones shortly before he died. CB also is the only innovative group with a playwright in residence, Keith McGregor, whose Renova- 'The Big Money only sees the need for professional athletics and corporation Hollywood culture."—Leonard Wagner all the small theaters) varying directors for performances, and performing the work of local authors. Last year it mounted a successful run of Patty Gideon Sloane's Night on Bare Mountain, and this season another premiere will be presented, along with two company-developed cabaret shows, in a season of eight plays. Says Swindley, "Houston's theaters are doing fine work, all of them in different ways, all of us fit in. I am really excited by the growth at Main Street-the more theatrical activity in the city, the better it is for all of us." Leonard T. Wagner, the artistic director of Chocolate Bayou Theater, at 1823 Lamar, east of downtown, said *%f "talent pool" in theater in Hou«°n 's getting better and larger, alt^u9h verY tions is on the coming bill which opens with O'Neill's Moon for the Misbegotten. Wagner says his theater intends to do all Houston premieres. This adds to thp problem of audience. Besides low ',s'" bility, the theater has to struggM9amst taste conformity, he says. T^ relatively few people in Houston <vno do 9° t0 theater often choose ' dinner or "community" theater, ",th the tried-and-true or frivolous. lhC*' tne audience comes in, and come?-11 D'9'tne theaters will be depended uP°n corporate or Cultural Arts Q0,.icil support—and "people wait two jx three years before they come around to us," says Wagner. "They suddenly one day decide to try to find us, and when they do come, we've got them. But we should have more people coming in." Drama Safaris Unfortunately, Houston is not the sort of charming, walkable place where one wants to explore highways and by-ways. But theater-goers are a hardy bunch and besides finding their way to Cecil Pickett's UH productions to see future Hollywood stars (he directed the Quade brothers and his daughter Cindy Pickett), to Rice University's unobtrusive Hammon Hall for Rice Players' romps, they seek these and other on and off-Main Street theaters such as Deborah Ledet's Black Ensemble, 1010 Tuam which does live soap opera and dance concerts, the Channing Players, hidden behind the patio at First Unitarian, 5210 Fannin (Houston's oldest continually performing community theater) and Barbara Marshall's Urban Theater Inc., the town's oldest established permanent floating performing group, operating out of a phone set, 523-4705. Lest anyone say it's not worth the gas, Marshall's transients have indeed Charles Robinson, seen on nation*' television in Roots anH^^a/o sJtdiers, and Loretta De***J winner of a Delco nominate ,n- New York. Her group won rave* from Houston reviewers withWts black and white production prermere of James Baldwin's Blues for l&> Charley. Supporting Marshall, executive producer, and Jan Crane, associ?^ artistic director, is Delta Sigma Th~a, an unsung sorority which brought Lena Home to Houston, established a foundation for Barbara Jordan raised money for a Fifth Ward carr center for homeless children and yelped arrange tours for Urban Theater to Atlanta, New Orleans and Austin. The opening show for Urban Theater is October 12 at TSU, an original by Lacey Chimney, acquisitions librarian there, called Big Six to the Board which Marshall described as "urban struggles young men must face here." Denny Stevens, director of Modern Times theater in New York, who visited Houston this year, commented on the local problems and promises in drama: "Theater succeeds when people want it to. Since it's a mirror of life, people can either need it to see life, or forget it and try to deny life, escape into silliness, or vegetablehood. Theater's communal, unifying, cathartic and immediate. It doesn't sell products, but it can stir up dangerous, liberated emotions and thoughts. "Is is happening? The four plays I saw in Houston seemed like initiations, explorations, interesting beginnings. There's a tremendous chasm between people in and out of the theater in Texas, sometimes bridged by productions such as Preston Jones or Best Little Whorehouse, but I think the theater is going to get farther, faster if the groups don't try to con anyone, or try to present that people who see their plays are chic and in touch, but instead concentrate on capturing and improving life, making the city more open to theater by making important productions. "I don't think anyone would make the 100 million dollar Nina Vance mistake," said Stevens. "These days, if someon' gets a few million from Exxon cneY will probably have something ''^e tne Greenway Three for live "10WS' a ,ot of little boutique prod-t,ons- That's show biz-but I wo^r' ,srVt the Houston theater cp-'^unity taking its, ideas seconj,und? Isn't the wildest you ha»' 9°m9 on tne stages sort of the easy jronco at Gilley's? And whose hand controls the pace? "But we all hope for something bigger, better and different from Houston." If not, Stevens warns, "We're going to do more Urban Cowboys on you!" FILM FARE A smorgasbord of movies from the esoteric to the avant garde. -BY JANE COLLINGS- "I'd eat a MOt d°9, it tastes real good. I'd even ><atch 3 movie from Hollywood." —Frank Zappa on the album, Roxie and Elsewhere. On any evening, any afternoon, at any time of year it may strike. Suddenly you know, you want to see a film. Nothing but a big screen filled with motion and nothing but the dark filled with sound will satisfy the urge. The mind clicks over, where to go? There are countless movie houses in Houston churning out dollops of our fantasies. These are the vending machines of film culture. But you'll get more nutrition with your popcorn at the River Oaks Theatre and the Greenway 3 film programs. And a strictly gourmet affair awaits you at the after dinner theaters at The Rice Media Center and the Museum of Fine Arts. Then it's back to TV dinners (without commercials) over at the summer buffet at the Alley. "The film culture in Houston is pretty clearly divided into groups who do not intermingle. If you go to the movies at the museum you see people there that you don't see anywhere else. The MFA crowd is very serious. You know that they know who did the make-up on every Antonioni film. That's serious," observes Doug Milburn, a social critic and author of The Last Great American City, a book on Houston. "We bring in works that represent a body of thought," says Ralph Dawes, the person who orders and projects the films at the museum. You get the impression from the way he says it that these films are made from sheer intellectual commitment and that the audience must be prepared to work. A museum guard told Dawes after one show: "Say, they all left looking happy for a change." Dawes seems to tread a fine line between the esoteric and your standard chef d'oeuvre. He generally highlights one director's work-this fall it will be Roberto Rossellini-or chooses a thematic Jane Collings was the summer intern at Breakthrough from Antioch College. She returned to classes last month to study her first love - film. approach—this summer Dawes decided on modern music: Jammin' the Blues and Rock & Roll Revue, rocking out with the 'Duke' and King Cole Trio; Sven Klang's Combo, jazz in small town Sweden '58; The T.A.M.I. Show, getting down to The Stones, James Brown, The Supremes, Leslie Gore; Shell Shock Rock, real live punks from Northern Ireland; and Blank Generation, Patty Smith, Richard Hell, Ramones, and Talking Heads-all the first favorite NewWave. In the opinion of Eric Gerber, film critic for the Houston Post: "The Museum Film Series is the most adventurous programming in Houston because they are the least commercially dependent." Yet Dawes offers this one regret: "Lots of times people in New York will be "During the early 70s the de Menils had a personal vision of bringing film as an art form to Houston. They brought Gerald O'Grady who brought James Blue. By bringing Blue they brought the whole French movement—the cinematheque," recalls Helen Foley, a local filmmaker and former film teacher. "We could go to the Media Center any night to see classics of the history of cinema. Afterwards we'd go to dinner. The de Menils would take all the students to the Stables. They bought up Beaujolais and steaks and people would sit and dialogue with film artists in a rather unusual way. That was invaluable—a group of people saw each other and from that grew group discussion. We don't have that anymore," says Foley. "Houston is still a frontier town. I once tried to convert Houlahan's to a coffee house. I'd sit around looking arty and Viennese, but nothing happened."—Doug Milburn lined up around the block for weeks to see a film. We bring it here and get 75 people for one showing." "Houston is still a frontier town," laments Milburn. "Some years ago, I tried to convert Hoolihans to a coffee house. I would go there about five in the afternoon and sit around looking arty and Viennese, but nothing happened." Dawes, too, believes that the lack of informal social settings is the missing link in developing an active arts culture in Houston. "A few years ago we tried to encourage discussion in the Tea Room after the films. But there's one big bank of flourescent lights in the ceiling and it was so bright. Only one or two people would stay to talk." The Camelot days of film and film culture have been replaced by a more pragmatic Rice regime. The name, the Media Center, suggests a community involvement, but after the de Menil funding disappeared it became a part of the Rice art department and its politics and protocol. It became more student- oriented, more elite, if you will. And, of course, money got tight. "Despite the fact that the Media Center is in an academic situation and trying to give the avant-garde exposure, they still have an eye on the budget. If it came to a toss-up between Ethiopian film and Annie Half again, Annie Hall would win," says Gerber. Speaking of rice-or Rice-the film