White: Downtown's big winner.
White: Downtown's big winner.

A Bowl By Any Other Name

It was with great sadness that our city waved good-bye to the galleryfurniture.com Bowl, the glorious football game that annually brought together the finest college teams that couldn't wrangle any other invitation. Sportswriters all over the country had great fun mocking the name of Mattress Mac's extravaganza.

But that might be worse than what they're doing to the new sponsor, Internet company Ev1.net. Instead of ridiculing the name, they're ignoring it.

As the sports media churns out endless stories about which teams will end up where in this postseason, most are just referring to the December 30 Reliant Stadium game as the Houston Bowl (a name that -- face it -- ranks right up there with the legendary, if now defunct, Garden State Bowl that the University of Houston played in 20 years ago).

You'd think there'd be much gritting of teeth in the offices of the bowl game, or Ev1.net, whenever the generic name is used.

Not so, though. "Everyone's starting to go with 'Ev1.net Houston Bowl' now," says bowl executive director David Ippoliti, a claim not quite backed up by a computer search of the country's newspapers.

"I've already seen it used a lot, and I'm talking nationwide," says Ev1.net spokesperson Judy Nichols.

The company won't say how much it spent to sponsor the bowl for the next three years, but maybe it should be happy if it's not getting its money's worth. After all, in 2004 the bowl contract calls for pitting the fifth- or sixth-best team from the Big 12 against "a representative of" the SEC. Marquee matchup!

And this year there's the possibility of an invite to the University of Connecticut. That would result in -- if not great ticket sales, perhaps -- at least a rash of stories explaining to Houstonians that UConn does, indeed, have a foot- ball team. -- Richard Connelly

On Again, Off Again

Hair Balls hates to get in the middle of a catfight, but the claws are clashing over a canceled class by Leisure Learning Unlimited (see "Ready for the Oral Tests?," September 11).

Vaughn Dampier, a former porn movie director and writer, had signed up to teach "Sex Toys: Exploring the Adult Playground." It was billed as a self-help course, complete with demonstrations of erotic devices.

However, the good vibrations went bad. Leisure Learning reported that the class would have to be rescheduled because Dampier, who is also a stand-up comic, had gotten a lucrative job offer in California.

No so, says Dampier.

After an exhausting three months readying himself for the role of sex-toy teacher, he says LLU scrubbed the course when he told officials he'd relocate the classroom to Eros in Pasadena. Dampier says the spouse of LLU co-owner Ted Weisgal nixed the deal as inappropriate.

Dampier insists that he had only a "show and tell" sort of curriculum: "Nothing you wouldn't see on HBO or Showtime late-night….It's not like everybody was going to get naked." As for talk by Weisgal of rescheduling the course, Dampier says he has doubts. "To me, he seemed whipped by his wife."

Weisgal says he was out of town when the class was canceled, but his wife would know about it. She didn't return phone calls to the Press. "I don't believe in censorship," he says, "as long as there's quality instruction and it doesn't break the law." -- Wendy Grossman

Welcome to the Big City

In an effort to remind us that the endless construction downtown is for our eventual benefit, the Houston Downtown Alliance recently raffled off a slew of prizes, including one year of free rent at the Post Rice Lofts. The big winner was David-Alan White, a recent transplant from Austin. A high-tech administrator for a bank, White had been commuting from Sugar Land. Hair Balls couldn't pass up the opportunity to do a little Q&A with this country mouse:

Q: How does it feel to win a year of free rent?

A: It's really strange. It's taken like a week or two for it to soak in, but it's dawned on me that it's a lot more than just rent. It's a whole lifestyle change.

Q: Now that you're downtown, do you think you'll have trouble sleeping at night with all the noise from drunks and construction?

A: I did worry about that…

Q: Do you think you'll find a favorite bum on the way to work to make into your charity case?

A: There's one guy on a bench at Jefferson and Milam. I felt bad when the weather got cold.

Q: As far as your other prizes go, are you more excited about the season subscriptions to the Alley Theatre and the symphony, or the year's supply of burritos from Chipotle?

A: That's a good question. All the guys I work with warmed up to the Chipotle thing real fast. But you don't want to let yourself get sucked into all-night party- ing downtown. I really think those season tickets represent a way of developing a whole different experience downtown. There's a lot more to life than just getting toasted out.

Q: Out of curiosity, how many burritos are in a year's supply?

A: For me, that would be about 600. They gave me a deck of 52 cards…I think there might be seven punches on each card.

Q: That's still a lot of burritos, right?

A: I haven't even opened the deck. I'm showing restraint. I don't want to feed that mon- ster. The old David-Alan White would have busted that deck open and grabbed a can of beer. But we're not going to do that. -- Keith Plocek


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