Fired up
Diane Emery wants to know why, if actors can pretend to love, murder, and even have sex on stage, they can't bring enough method acting to bear to fake smoking a lousy cigarette?

Emery, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, enjoys theater, but can't attend plays if actors, in search of realism, light up on stage. Even a little secondary smoke, she says, can set her up for a lung infection.

Emery recently complained to the management of the Undermain Theater, which she enjoys attending because of the social and political criticism in many of its plays. Now, she finds she's doing the social criticism, and she isn't enjoying the irony a bit. "Artistic directors think this [smoking] is a great statement of art--when it's so unnecessary," Emery complains. "I wish I could get them to understand that it's artistically unethical."

What you gotta love about rational, even-tempered Emery is that despite a lung disease that makes picketing and protesting impossible, she still manages to hellraise for her rights, even if it's reluctantly.

"I'm trying not to get into too much of a fight with another group," she says with a sigh. (Emery, if you remember, unsuccessfully sued Fort Worth's Caravan of Dreams on similar grounds.) "I'm tired of fighting all the time to get smoke-free environments," she adds.

Katherine Owens, an Undermain artistic director, says the theater will offer a smoke-free performance November 7 in response to Emery's complaints. The theater is sympathetic, she says, but "it's time for us to move on to bigger issues."

Where would Toulouse-Lautrec hang?
Buzz doesn't get it. Somebody tries to perform a little historic preservation in Deep Ellum--and, as usual, everybody's in an uproar.

Martin Rubio wants to continue running his topless club, The French Connexxtion (you gotta love him for that deluxe spelling, if nothing else), but other Deep Ellum biz types seem to think it'll give folks the wrong idea, verbalized by city councilman Chris Luna as "cheesy." God forbid.

The Deep Ellum-as-theme-park bunch already banded together last spring to push through a city ordinance prohibiting much of the sleaziness that once defined Deep Ellum. Fortunately, The French Connexxtion survived under a grandfather clause.

About the only thing separating Deep Ellum from the tourist trap West End is its wonderful cheese and sleaze--that gritty intangible that whispers "bohemian." Still, as this Disneyfication of Deep Ellum continues, Buzz is looking forward to exhibits like the Hall of Freaks--featuring tattooed, body-pierced scenesters in 3-D--and cool animatronic amusements like Panhandler Island and Club Land with nightly parades by Up With People.

Disappointing G.I. Joe
Katie, the Barbie-sized statuette presented to local journalists (in a self-important ceremony that makes the Academy Awards look understated), has had her second round of cosmetic work in the past couple of years. The curvaceous statuette has always seemed to be a more appropriate award for best porn actress than journalistic achievement, and a year ago she was given a gloss finish in hopes of diminishing her nearly obscene nooks and crannies.

That body-painting effort failed, and at the Katie finalist party last week, the Dallas Press Club unveiled a completely redesigned Katie. The Press Club's Cheryl Hill says the group wanted a statuette that was more in keeping with the '90s--whatever that might mean.

"We've really worked our butts off--and hers," Hill quipped.
"And that's not all you've worked off," came a retort from the audience.
The new statuette is indeed less buxom than the Katie of old. She has a sleek bronze figure but is still definitely female. This version, however, holds a large feather, strategically draped to cover her nether parts.

This Bud's for NPR
Like Buzz likes to say: You learn something new every time you listen to KERA. We don't really mind that public broadcasting has bent the rules on sponsorship to the point that it's, for all intents and purposes, running commercials. With the biannual beg-a-thon under way, God knows we understand it takes big bucks to do the news. But it's the subtle propaganda messages that we find fascinating.

We realize that even the most prosaic business wants to come off with class when its benevolence is noted during The Morning Edition. Smucker's, for instance, doesn't want to be referred to as the "jelly giant with the somewhat disgusting onomatopoeic name." Instead, it's "Smucker's: Four generations of jam makers."

But Joseph "Big Lie" Goebbels himself would blush at the Anheuser-Busch Foundation's plug. Its credit describes AB--not as beloved makers of brewski--but as "Sponsors of 'Family Talk About Drinking'"--which we presume is narrated by Spuds McKenzie. All this time we thought AB only made oceans of Bud Light, Mic, and the Bull--and it turns out it has been out there fighting alcohol abuse all along.

--Glen Warchol