LAURA'S CAVERN NEWSLETTERS
ELEVENTH NEWSLETTER - WINTERFEST 1997
Date May 1997
I will try this year to get the newsletters out a bit more often. There are two more conventions this year; Reflections in Minneapolis in July and A Moment In Time in Manchester in August. I hope that you are all enjoying Easter as I write this (well I did start this report back in March!) , although my desk calendar indicates that it isn't a holiday in the USA! There are a few announcements before I get on to the con report:
Claire Willars, Zoe & Fareedah Amin.
All three these ladies joined at Winterfest this year. Zoe signed songs with me at A Moment In Time '96 and at Winterfest '96 and '97.
To Melissa on the birth of her new grandson who no doubt would keep her running round in circles *if only* she were fit enough!
To Jamie on his TV appearance in Walker, Texas Ranger. Another step on the road to stardom? Naah! He doesn't have the time!!
Also the Cavern sends condolences to Bernadette on the loss of her Mother.
To Joan Chiu for the model of Laura as she left the Tunnels in Impossible Silence (and for regularly sending me recordings of relevant programmes which I do not have access to!)
To Melissa for help and support.
To Kathy Carrasco for liaison duties to the USA membership.
Also to the contributors to this newsletter; Judy Shimizu-Martinez, Pam Lang and Mary Tummon.
Any member who would like to send something for the next newsletter, please do so. You can send snippets of news about sign language in your area or deaf theatre or courses or something you've seen on TV, or a bit about yourself. Anything will we welcome.
This year Winterfest was a one-day convention finishing at midnight (well... nearer 2am) on Saturday instead of the previous Sunday lunch-time finish. It was no less enjoyable and we had a very nice buffet lunch at midday on Saturday and an excellent banquet in the evening. Only around 30 people attended but many stayed until after lunch on Sunday so the absence of an 'organised' programme did not prevent us from enjoying ourselves. The Saturday schedule comprised; Opening ceremony, video of Winterfest '96 and the Q&A sessions at A Kingdom By The Sea, Members entertain including an excellent set from the three-piece band, John Picton, Adam Deville and Ian Waters. A couple of signed songs from Zoe and myself were, as always, well received and there was poetry reading from Robert Gardiner and a short story from Mary Page.
After the banquet there was a disco, run by Kevin's brother so that Kevin (Waters) could have the evening off for a change! There was line-dancing led by Christine Smith and we ended the evening (morning?) with the customary serenade from our own Vincent (John Picton) in the bar. When we parted on Sunday afternoon we were all a little sad as we were sure that this would be the last Winterfest to be organised by the UK Chamber, although it was not confirmed until the April issue of The Chronicle came out.
In this part of the newsletter I want to share with you some things that members have written:
FROM JUDY SHIMIZU-MARTINEZ:
I do know the Sign Alphabet and about 20-ish or so words. I studied Sign for a bit (had a deaf-from-birth friend). She moved, and we eventually lost contact... and I forgot all I knew. An extensive vocabulary, I might add. :) A long time, and so little usage, made me forget it all. Just like any language...if U don't use it, you lose it. And by golly, I lost it. I rented a few Sign videos not too long ago, but for the Novice, they go just a little too fast. Perhaps, I need to rent a different one. That one seemed sort of advanced. Or maybe I needed to Slo-Mo.
Children of a Lesser God, was one of my favorite movies of all time. Boy, I learned then not to wear NON-waterproof mascara. Big-time Racoon-eyes.
I'll do my best and spread the word of your efforts amongst this area!!!! There are a few deaf centers around my area, and since a few of my past years dealt in medical supplies (etc.), my input is still very welcome. :) There are a few people I know who can sign, and have made a career of it. Even to retirement! It's really nice to see people talk about their careers and smile as they describe every aspect...their time was well spent in learning the trade and thus rewarded a thousand fold!
I've become quite a regular at this facility for the Deaf children near where I live. It's quite obvious that I'm a novice, so they're extra patient with me! I love watching them. Since they cannot speak, their facial and body language is so remarkable. Actors should take classes from the Deaf...they'd learn more than any acting class could ever provide!!! It's a romantic language in and of itself!
There are so many of those that wish to be a friend to those who are deaf, and/or have a sincere interest in Signing, but they haven't been personally acquainted with one who's deaf and/or are too 'shy' to go to a Center for the Deaf, etc. Your Newsletter brings that much needed connection together. The references that you provide are easily attainable, and the books that you recommend are extremely comprehensible... especially to us 'Novices'.
(Thanks, Judy, for those kind words)
FROM PAM LANG 5 Feb 1997
" I've signed up for a "Sign Language" class - AUSLAN - at my local TAFE College - it consists of two 10 week terms and then I'll take it from there and see what direction to head - I start tonight 6.30pm - 8.00pm - When I enrolled there were eight others - so at least it's a goer (they don't get a big response)"
(Pam lives in Australia. AUSLAN is Australian Sign Language)
FROM MARY TUMMON
(I should tell you that Mary is famous for her Lemon cake)
After I had been going to the Sign Language Stage 1 class for about two months, Sue asked me if we (Jayne and myself) would like to go to the Autumn Bazaar to be held at the Deaf Church. We did go (taking a lemon cake - what else?) and met some very nice people. So, I looked forward to my next visit to the Deaf Club. This was the Christmas Party, which brought together many of the Sign Language students from various classes in Birmingham. Naturally, when I set off to catch my bus it was pouring with rain, so I arrived in my usual wet state. I have lost count of the number of times I have gone to parties and arrived sopping wet. Fortunately I had a lift home.
The next Deaf Church activity was Christmas lunch at Stapeley Water Gardens. Since it took place about a month after Christmas we had all recovered from the Christmas excess. It was a most enjoyable lunch and afternoon looking around the Garden Centre, the tropical garden area and also the beautiful fish.
I now go to the church and the club every two weeks or so, and have made many friends within the Deaf community, and have been on several lovely Church trips, such as a trip to the Derbyshire Peak District to see the Well Dressings, and to visit Chesterfield and the Crooked Spire and Eyam, the Plague village, and a trip to Llandudno. We have been to Manchester Central Hall for an afternoon of hymns and bible stories in signing and mime by deaf choirs and performers from all over the country, and another at Westminster Hall. A visit in 1996 to Lincoln Cathedral to commemorate 100 years of the Deaf Church was especially memorable.
Thanks to Mary for her 'travelogue' - Join the Deaf Church and see the world! ;-)
These two bits of news about Terrylene came to me FROM DARLENE SULLIVAN (International Information research). I have the complete article from the Hollywood Times if anyone would like a copy:
APRIL 8, 1997 ~ INTERNATIONAL INFORMATION RESEARCH
TERRYLENE, whose last name is Sachette, is president of the Deaf Arts Council. As spokesperson for that group, Terrylene joined the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in protesting the casting of a hearing actress for the role of a deaf girl in "Breaking Free," a telefilm for ABC based on a true story. The project hasn't started shooting. The film's producers say ABC (who controls the film insisted they wanted a known lead actress without a hearing problem and based their reasoning on tv movies being star driven and without a star, there's no movie. The producers offered the role to a well known deaf actress who turned it down and, after checking with SAG, they cast a known hearing actress. They then started receiving objecting letters. Included in her strongly worded statement, was Terrylene's suggestion that casting hearing actors in deaf parts - without deaf actors having opportunity to audition - may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and other equal employment laws; "The Hollywood Reporter" 6/10/96.
Media Access Awards presented Terrylene the first Christopher Reeve Scholarship for a Professional Performer with a Disability; "Daily Variety" 10/30/96.
I will leave you with a piece of my own about SILENCE AND DARKNESS.
The first time I interpreted for Carole, who is deaf and blind, I hadn't a clue what to say to her! I had no difficulty as far as the church service was concerned and I had a précis of the readings in front of me to give me enough time to spell everything onto her hand. It was *conversation* I couldn't find. What could I say to someone who cannot see the beauty of nature nor hear the wonder of music? My whole being just screamed PITY but I knew this was wrong.
I made a start, "Hello, my name is Sue. Can you understand me?"
Carole has Usher Syndrome and lost her sight after she became deaf so she is able to use sign language. She turned to me and with a broad smile she signed "Yes, fine... I had my hair cut yesterday. Do you like it?"
"Yes," I said... "Would you like a sweet?" I really wanted to hug her!
Carole is just a person... she cannot see and she cannot hear but she feels everything just as I do. She has the same concerns as anyone else. Over the weeks, interpreting for Carole, there is *nothing* that we don't chat about:- Pat's had her hair permed - Danny played a bad note during the hymn - Father Gerry forgot the microphone for the hearing-aid users - and we laugh too, especially when I get my fingers tied in knots and spell 'sin' instead of 'son'!
Bye for now. Be Well and keep those hands busy!
Ps. I am currently trying to set up a web page for Laura's Cavern. It will be located at / There's nothing there yet but I hope it will be done by the end of June.
UPDATE... The web page is up and running!!
||Study of Jay - an excellent portrait of Jay Acovone|
Afterglow - Vincent & Catherine laying together
Study of Vincent - Superb study of Vincent
Study of Catherine - completes the set!
||Tale As Old As Time -|
A beautiful black and white oil painting of Vincent and Catherine set as in the Cocteau film La Belle et la Bete. (back cover of conzine)
A 'still life' oil painting of Vincent's chamber including a framed photograph of Vincent and Catherine. (front cover of conzine)
We have a new SPECIAL MEMBER: David Schwartz has joined Laura's Cavern. Welcome, David and thank you for your support. Laura's Cavern has been described as a 'Silent Cavern' in the past - This always was a misnomer with me and Amber as founder members but with David joining us, I think that clinches it! ;-)
We had a wonderful time in America in March. Although we were there for three weeks I have only included details of the con in this report. Anyone who would like a copy of my account of our visits to Sally Newman and The Chesapeake helpers, or Rhonda and Larry Collins in Texas, drop me a line.
We were able to check straight into our room at the hotel (I had booked the rooms in August last year!) and we were on the 9th floor looking straight out onto the ocean. We saw the sun come up more than once - it was spectacular! We saw a few folk there and some down at the overflow hotel and then all the Chesapeake Helpers and a few others went off for our Pre-Con dinner.
BEAUTY AT THE BEACH
Most of the con is a blur and I am, as usual, referring to my photo album to help me to remember it! :) It's always great to put a face to a name and there were a few e-mailers that I hadn't met, as well as brand new friends to make. I love going to cons!! The opening ceremony was a hoot - Jay had us in stitches telling us about his flight from Charlotte in a 'puddle-jumper'. Jay hates flying and especially when he can see out both windows. We also saw Margaret Beserra for the first time, who was later to tell us many stories from the hours she spent applying Ron Perlman's make-up.
The Sign Language workshop was quite well attended and everyone enjoyed learning the chorus to ''Because You Loved Me'' A few people, including one lady who had never signed before in her life, came on-stage and signed with me in the Talent Show! I also signed a song called ''Keeping The Dream Alive'' by Frei Heit, the chorus of which goes:
''The hopes we had were much too high,
Way out of reach but we have to try.
No need to hide, no need to run,
'Cos all the answers come one by one.
The game will never be over
Because we're keeping the dream alive''
Extremely appropriate to our fandom don't you think?
There were many excellent costumes on Friday night, including for the first (and last) time, Myhr dressed as a Samurai Warrior. Also present were Vincent (Stu Shef), Vincent's daughter (Kathleen Smith), Paracelsus (Renee Long) in *two* masks!, Canus Erectus (Lisa Gould) a glutton for punishment it seems - clad head to toe in fur!!, an extremely provocative 'Tunnel Tart' (Jackie Hunt), Mulder and Scully with alien-in-jar (Philip & Julie Smith), The Maxwell House Girls (Karen Quattlebaum, Judy Lloyd & Maranda Hull), Phantom of the Opera (Ron Stricklin) & Christine, and my personal favourite: Cruella DeVille (Janet Carper) leaving no stone unturned in her search for puppies.
Vincent's Chamber, lovingly recreated by Liz & Sally Perkins, was a popular place for photographs to be taken. There were pipe messages tapping away all weekend too! With the many other decorations, this made for a real Tunnels atmosphere. Another popular gathering place was the hotel bar and much catching up was done there.
The Q&A session on Saturday was very interesting by having Margaret Beserra there. David and Jay bounced stories off each other as usual and then Margaret put them straight as to what *actually* happened :) in relation to Ron's make-up regime. I missed some of the Q&A session as I was on duty in the dealers room but what I did see was very entertaining.
Jamie's Artist's Panel was enlightening as he showed the stages of development of a painting and brought photos and actual sketches of several of his works, including The B Files! The sketches, by the way, look like finished works in their own right - there is so much detail in them! I expected outlines and block shading just to indicate where things went but these were real works of art. You could auction them too, Jamie.
After an enjoyable banquet buffet came the Awards:
1. Black and White by Kevin Barnes for ''As She Fills His Dream''
2. Color - Jamie Murray for ''Afterglow''
3. Fabric - Karen Quattlebaun for ''The Tale Continues'' Denim Jacket
4. Three Dimensional - Dianne Russell for ''Crystal and Glass Box''
5. Best in Show by popular vote - Jamie Murray for ''She Calls''
The winners each received a handsome plaque to commemorate their achievements.
There was also a Special Award made to David Schwartz by The Dreamseekers to mark fandom's gratitude for all his love and support over the years. It was a touching tribute and for a moment, only for a moment mind you, David was lost for words!
The Charity Auction raised a goodly sum, especially considering there were only around 125 attendees. The art auction was *special* for personal reasons which I won't bore you with here.
The post-con dinner with the Chesapeake Helpers was great. It was an Italian Restaurant and Janet played a *wonderful* prank on Jackie :) Apparently there have been occasions when Jackie has told CHSBB members off for breaking the spaghetti before they cook it. This, an Italian would NEVER do! So as we are sitting waiting to order the Restaurant owner comes down the room with a big pan in one hand and a fistful of spaghetti in the other. He puts the pan down on the table right behind Jackie saying as he does so ''I justa gotta getta the spaghetti ready!'' whereupon he breaks the spaghetti in two and drops it into the pan. I was right next to Jackie and I gotta tell you, her face was an absolute picture!! We roared laughing but Jackie was nearly in apoplexy!! The owner promised afterward that he would NOT cook that spaghetti but would throw it away.
Later Mitzi (Anderson) put ''Because You Loved Me'' on the juke box and demanded that I stand up and sign it. Never needing to be asked twice :) I was on my feet and so was Chris at the other end of the table. We signed together and at the table in the next alcove a group of teenagers stopped talking and watched too. It was a very special moment... Thank you Mitzi!
We rounded off our visit with breakfast at The Pocha Hontis across the street from the hotel - pancakes, French toast, coffee and company - WONDERFUL!
Images from Beauty At The Beach are on view at:
A MOMENT IN TIME 98
(NB - the English pounds sign does not travel through hyperspace so prices are quoted in their dollar equivalent)
It was a small convention (40 attendees) with no invited guests (to keep the costs down) but it was like a real family party!
Registration for the con was only around =$30 and the room rate was =$75 for a double room - which ain't bad here for a city centre hotel - admittedly it was downmarket but it made for a better Tunnels atmosphere. The food was excellent and good value. We arrived around 8am Saturday morning and had a full English breakfast for =$7.50 and those who only had toast and coffee were not charged at all!! The staff were brilliant - nothing was too much trouble. The lift was not slow :) There was excellent food in the buffet both Saturday and Sunday evenings and disco music to dance to both nights. We are going back to the same hotel next year!
The Sign Language panel went well - mainly 'cos the emphasis is on enjoying yourself rather than *learning* and everyone
seems to like the little booklet that they get to keep too. In the evening, one lady (her first con) got up and signed with us
and she missed the panel... How about that?
Anne (Maxwell) & I won the hotel-based treasure hunt! Chris and Ginette (Prince) came second. Garnet Cavern (of which I am a member) had raised some money during the year, not much, but it was enough to provide tea & coffee for everyone throughout the weekend. Myhrlin put in an appearance at the disco and brought a message from Uncle Myhr. The Charity auction raised over =$600 - remember there were only 40 people there and only about 20 came to the auction! The Charity money goes to the Salvation Army. Played parlour games Sunday afternoon - it was a hoot!! :-D
We drove home very late Sunday night. We took it in turns to drive as we were both *very* tired. Great con - only 40 attendees but Boy, did we party!!
Images from A Moment In Time 1998 are on view at:
AND NOW SOME CONTRIBUTIONS FROM MEMBERS:
From Denice Morgan - 12 Nov 97
I do know a little ASL. I grew up with a wonderful lady who taught me some ASL because she was deaf and her parents forced her to wear hearing aids and talk. When her and I would get together we were always signing around her parents and her mother would say stop whispering behind my back. So her and I would stand in front of her mother and sign right in front of her face. *hee hee* It was fun. Unfortunately my dear friend passed away. (her folks had her put in an instution after they died and she didn't want to be there. So she committed suicide.)
Also, I used ASL when I was in High School. I was a tutor for the Developementally Delayed and some of them couldn't be understood. So against the teacher's wishes they learned the basic signs that they would need. Mostly we would end up finger spelling everything. At times we wondered what the our friend was trying to get at by saying ''the cow drinking out of the toilet'' *hee hee* Later I found out that she was telling us that another student was doing it *ewwwwww*!
I'm sorry I'm yammering.
Take care and thankyou again,
From Melissa Prideaux - 8 January 1998
Just wanted to let you know that I'm taking a ''poor man's version'' of a sign language class through our local park district. Depending on how miserably I mess this up, I may even pursue my dream and go after some college-level courses.
I just wish I had someone to practice with. My kids aren't interested, and I have to admit I look a wee bit silly signing to myself in the car!!!
From Rose O'Thorns - 10 June 1998
Greetings and salutations from America! I thought I'd take a moment (while I have one) to write you back:
1. My friend Luna and I had a great experience this past April. We had decided to see ''Jesus Christ Superstar'' at the
Byham Theatre in Pittsburgh. When we arrived, Luna asked why we were sitting with so many people signing. I didn't
know. I just bought tickets like anyone else.
Well, it turns out this particular performance was to be interpreted in ASL! I learned that an interpretor can make or break a performance. The one lady just didn't get into it at all. However, the other--wow--she WAS the performance. She interpreted not only words, but layers of emotion as well. I often listen to music and wonder how it may be signed. It brushes up my vocabulary skills. I was wondering how ''superstar'' could ever be signed. How right that it was signed as ''success''+''wonderful''. I encourage anyone and everyone to see a performance in musical theatre signed. It is a beauty inspired by God Himself.
2. Yes, I finally did it. I signed in public. More specifically, I signed ''The Message'' by 4Him at church. Okay, so there are no deaf members in our congregation and it was at a Sunday night service. But, what a reception! I love to sing, but God never granted me a voice others would flock to (perhaps flee from). It was wonderful that I could express my love of the Lord through a language more perfected at displaying emotion. I can't wait to find another song to learn.
Well, that's all for the newsletter. I wanted to tell you I finally read your story. It was fabulous! It really explored the emotions both sets of characters had toward the possibility of having children. I hope to read more some day.
Talk to you later.
Vampie Kisses and Absinthe Dreams--
1) I am pleased to report that the sign singing group that I belong to; Music In Motion, has been granted Charitable status!
2) Chris took his Stage I sign language exam last week so we are eagerly awaiting the result.
3) I re-take my Stage III exam next month - prayers, white light, any influence whatever will be very welcome! ;-)
Finally - I will have to take a lot of people off the land mailing list if I don't hear from them. I don't mind paying the postage for newsletters if I know that you are interested and happy to receive them. What I don't want is for you to feel that you are being 'pestered' with a newsletter that you don't want but you haven't told me to stop sending it. Please drop me a line to let me know that you still want to receive the newsletter, sporadic though it is! If I don't hear from you, I'll have to assume you are no longer interested. E-mail recipients... please let me know that you still wish to receive the newsletter. I can't do a mailing list at the moment so I have to send each one separately!!!
Be Well & keep those hands busy!