Model citizen armed for the cause

SUNDAY SNAPSHOTS

Actress: Courtney Ann...

January 04, 1998|By Jean Marbella

Model citizen armed for the cause; Actress: Courtney Ann 0) Webster has played Barbie, acted on 'Homicide' and is now appearing in a calendar of gunslinging gals.

In her brief acting career, Courtney Ann Webster has already been typecast.

She played a woman in a bar in one episode of "Homicide." She played a woman in a bar in John Waters' just-filmed movie, "Pecker." And, in a bit of a stretch, she played a woman at a party in the current movie "For Richer or Poorer."

But in perhaps the ultimate bit of typecasting for a young, blond woman, Webster recently was hired by a toy store to play Barbie. The doll. For the promotion, the pink-clad Webster signed autographs and posed for pictures with adoring young fans.

"That was a real thrill," the 23-year-old Towson University graduate says. "For three hours, you're treated like you're a celebrity."

She'll likely be appealing to a completely different audience with another recent gig: Webster is Miss February in G. Gordon Liddy's 1998 "Stacked & Packed" calendar. A year's worth of scantily clad yet heavily armed women, it's a paean to both the Second Amendment and silicone.

Or, according to a note on the back from Liddy, the Watergate burglar turned radio talk-show rascal, a way to "return America to its traditional values: guns, gals and a healthy appreciation of both!"

Webster, wearing a red-white-and-blue bikini top and an ammo belt in lieu of its bottom, poses with an Astra A-100 9 mm handgun. Other monthly misses show off lingerie and armaments ranging from pump shotguns to high-tech .357 Magnums.

The gig was Webster's boyfriend's idea; he listens to Liddy's show and showed her last year's version of the calendar. Webster, who has done some modeling, had a photographer take some shots, submitted them and was selected.

While she's a bit dismayed by some of the racy poses opted for by the other models (and thinks her own photo makes her nose look long), she has no problems with participating in the venture.

"I don't think anyone's going to go out and buy a gun just because they see this calendar," she says.

Meanwhile, she says, she's focusing more on acting than modeling. Even at her young age, she believes she's at the upper end of the absurdly short life span of a model.

That she is trading on her good looks is still something of a surprise for the former tomboy with short hair and skinned knees.

"But the older I got," she says, "the prettier I got."

The poet in question, Jose Marti, is the national hero of Cuba. He was a revolutionary against Spain, and an amateur soldier, of sorts.

Marti died in a battle, but he won't be shown on a horse. He'll be memorialized in a bust, 22 inches high and made of bronze, sitting on a granite plinth 6 feet high. He'll look contemplative; that is, poetical, not martial.

This is appropriate. Marti was a man of words: a poet, a journalist, a brilliant political essayist. He was admired all over Latin America. Thus the venue is appropriate for such a statue: right in the center of Baltimore's most Hispanic neighborhood.

The Marti monument is an important thing, for a number of reasons. One, it seems to have united Baltimore's disparate Hispanic community behind it. This is not always easy, as people familiar with life in that small neighborhood of many nations will tell you.

But, according to Carmen Nieves, president of the Federation of Hispanic Organizations in Baltimore, "This is a project that has galvanized the whole community. It has brought support from all the Latin American countries, as well as the neighborhood associations. I don't know anyone who is opposed to it."

Marti, she said, "is regarded as one of the more positive representatives of the Hispanic community."

(The only other historic personage from Latin America honored by a statue in Baltimore is Simon Bolivar, the liberator of much of South America. But he radiates his charisma from Guilford.) Along with grass-roots support, there was also evidence of support from the top at the groundbreaking last month on the TC median in the 200 block of N. Broadway. The mayor was there; so was one of the city's Congress members, a judge and a City Council member. There was even a bank president. You can't get more of an establishment imprimatur than that.

The monument -- the whole thing, from the bust to the granite, the landscaping and continuing maintenance -- will cost $35,000 to $40,000. The full amount hasn't been collected yet, but nobody seems worried about that.

"We've already gotten half the money," said Luis E. Queral. He's chairman of the Marti memorial fund. "We need at least another $20,000, not just for the monument, but we have to pay for the insurance and maintenance of it. You know, vandalism and all that."

There have been private donations and some corporate sponsorship for the Marti monument. Other donations can be sent to the Cuban American Foundation Pro Jose Marti Monument Inc. at 205 E. Joppa Road, Suite 2501, Towson, Md. 21286.

Donors can even memorialize themselves in the Marti memorial. Engraved bricks will adorn a pathway around the monument. They are $75 each, and each has room for a message of 36 characters.

Of course, if your name's too long -- as some Spanish names tend to be -- you're out of luck. It poses a potential problem.

"We thought about that," said Queral. "But when we talked to the man who makes the bricks, he said he couldn't give us more letters."

Richard O'Mara

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