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Bright and Brief

March 1, 1987

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Petting a dog or cat seems to be a simple thing, but Nancy Belser brings genuine expertise to the task.

She’s a therapeutic masseuse who is branching out from athletes to animals, having found that regular rub-downs do as much for the four-legged set as they do for us bipeds. She’s even given massages to a pet pig of hers.

″I don’t know of any animal, including humans, that doesn’t respond to massage,″ she said.

″A lot of people have dogs that are high strung,″ she said. ″Massage calms them down, makes them more manageable and better pets to have around.″ Rubdowns can even make an animal smarter, she insists.

Ms. Belser started as a therapeutic masseuse for athletes in North Carolina. She still treats some people but hopes eventually to stick strictly to animals.

″There is no reason both people and animals shouldn’t feel good and keep their flexibility,″ Ms. Belser said. ″Animals are attracted to people who give them massages. Massage would be a way to keep race horses calm.″


ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - The first virtuoso will step to the keyboard at 7:30 a.m. Thursday and begin playing a simple, two-line melody.

Over, and over, and over.

One after another, a line of pianists will keep it up for 12 hours or so, playing in its entirety ″Vexations,″ a work by early 20th century French composer Erik Satie, the genius behind ″Flabby Preludes″ and the ″Bureaucratic Sonatina.″

″Vexations″ is two lines, which must be repeated 840 times, slowly and without interruption - the longest piece ever composed for the piano.

″It produces a monotonous, meandering effect,″ said Richard Zimdars, chairman of the piano division at the University of Georgia School of Music.

The ″Vexathon″ to raise money for music scholarships will be held in an office and classroom building because ″we wouldn’t dare grace a concert hall with this,″ he said.

There will be no dress rehearsal, and organizers have expressed no interest in taping the performance, even though Zimdars vows ″it’s not to be repeated soon on this campus.″

Because Satie specified the composition must be played without interruption, when one pianist gets bored stiff, another will slide onto the bench to take over.

Unlike a concert audience, witnesses at the ″Vexathon″ are expected to express their displeasure.″Audience members can heckle,″ Zimdars said. ″They can demand a more boring performance.

″But they are not allowed to physically touch the performer. We draw the line at that.″