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Not for Just Another Pretty Face

November 27, 1987|JAMES MARNELL

Judy Gardner is far from your typical Florence Nightingale. No, there's another side to this Des Moines, Iowa, nurse, a side that is pretty darned outlandish. And, right now, Gardner, 45, is looking for a few bad, ugly, loud women--to play some of the most notorious outlaw women in American history. Gardner's Wild Women of the West is a group of self-described uglies who ride in parades, crack bullwhips and smoke cigars. A would-be desperado must provide her own costumes, have a horse and pass a rugged riding test. "You've got to ride yourself uphill full gallop and not spill a drop of your beer," she said. Gardner, who was with the original Wild Women group in Arizona 12 years ago, plays Calamity Jane, who also happened to be a nurse. "We're not out to win beauty contests," said Gardner, a former ranch hand. "The women we portray were ugly and the scuzzier we look, the better." The few parts open include Elaina the Butcher, who spent time in the Yuma Territory Prison in the 1800s for cutting out a man's heart; Poker Face Alice, the only woman to play poker with Wild Bill Hickok; Lucy Hanks, bullwhip artist, and Belle Starr, outlaw.

--Obviously, nobody said "pass the turkey" at the Silvananda Yoga Center's Thanksgiving Day dinner. Rather, the yoga adherents were treated to a meal of nut, grain and bean loaf with tofu topping, as well as sweet potato pudding and cranberry sauce. Swami Saradananda, whose New York facility served about 250 people, said: "It's for people who want a place where they don't have to face a turkey on the table." Meanwhile, the Boston Vegetarian Society offered a meal of lentil-nut roast with cashew gravy and bread stuffing, pureed yam bake, mincemeatless pie, salad and egg-free pumpkin pie. Evelyn Kimber, of the society, said: "Our objective is to provide a possible alternative to the traditional turkey meal and provide a dinner that all creatures can be thankful for, including the turkeys."

--It was probably apparent only to a handful of people, but the federal budget deficit has shrunk by more than $12,000, thanks to Rose Fisher, owner of the Rainbow Mall shopping center in Kihei, Hawaii. Fisher, saying that people shouldn't be "putting their heads in the sand," sent a check for $12,771 to President Reagan to help in the fight on the deficit. Her check, which represents 10% of her 1986 gross personal income, is aimed at heading off a recession, which, she said, could adversely affect her business. "I wanted to make a statement," she said in a letter to the President.

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