Picks

Garry Shandling Shandling's HBO series, The Larry Sanders Show is a wonderfully sardonic expose of the late-night talk-show wars. Nominated for eleven Cable Ace awards and eight Emmys, he is likely to outlast the majority of hosts he so hilariously lambasts. I mean really? How long can Conan O'Brian dance to his own band's music? Meanwhile, Shandling continues to forge ahead as one of television's more intelligent comedians. The evening's proceeds will benefit Hasdassah, the largest women's organization in the world. 8 p.m. Arena Theater, 7326 Southwest Freeway, 728-9172. $50. (S.W.)

Narcissism: Alter-Ego Looking for an Ego Alter-egos can be boring -- mine is Elyse Lanier's imaginary friend -- but Jim Pirtle has a winner that continues to pack them in. This performance artist and pre-kindergarten teacher presents the grand finale of the Stu Mulligan Project, in which Pirtle assumes the persona of self-abusive lounge singer Stu Mulligan. In Narcissism, a musical in three parts, Pirtle brings the project to a grand conclusion while wrapping up Stu's many loose ends. You would have loose ends too, if your favorite melodies were 1970s Barbra Streisand classics. 8 p.m.; Sun., 7:30 p.m. DiverseWorks, 1117 E. Freeway, 223-8346. $10; $9 members; $7 students & seniors. (C.K.)

Sunday
December 5
Chanticleer San Francisco's twelve-man a capella ensemble is already well-established as the country's most technically proficient vocals-only choir. When they performed at Palmer Episcopal Memorial Church last year around this time, I was tempted to use words like transported to get across the almost otherworldly experience afforded by Chanticleer's interpretations of everything from Renaissance musics to contemporary gospel. But if Chanticleer has any trait to match the beauty of its collective voice, it's the group's continuing embrace of a broad and evolving repertoire. Chanticleer recently signed a recording deal with Teldec Records, giving them international distribution for the first time, and later this year they will record an album of Mexican Baroque cathedral music and release a collection of works by Iberian Renaissance composer Cristobal de Morales on their own label. What the group has up its tuxedoed sleeve for the Houston performance is uncertain, but you can bet it'll be eclectic. And if you're even slightly into this sort of thing, you can bet it'll be transporting. 4 & 8 p.m. Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church, 6221 Main, 529-6196. (B.T.)

A Tribe Called Quest/De La Soul The Tribe's much-awaited third CD, Midnight Marauders, merited only two stars in a recent Rolling Stone review. Don't be fooled. The new disk marks a return to mellow grooves of their first album, People's Instinctive Travels and the Path of Rhythm, and though the rhymes might be a little more on the underground street tip, rappers Q-tip and Phife-Dawg still deliver. Nothing as powerful as The Low End Theory's [1992] "Buggin' Out" and "Scenario," but together with buddies De La Soul, this show should be a real hip-hop treat. 8 p.m. Rockefeller's West, 6400 Richmond, 629-3700. $15. (A.H.)

Monday
December 6
Nirvana/Breeders/Shonen Knife The critical consensus is in, and according to most observers, young America has two bands: Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam makes better records, and Nirvana is being kinda pissy about the whole superstar thing, say the suits. Whatever. I've seen both bands live, and there's little comparison. Eddie Vedder may speak to more people, but Kurt Cobain says more, and I expect a typically powerful show. In any case, I'm tired of writing about them, and the Breeders, touring on the ecstatic strength of the recently-released Last Splash, are the band to watch on this bill anyway. Shonen Knife, from Japan, and hand-picked by Cobain, come recommended. As for the unusual venue, the AstroArena, well... it probably says something important about alternative vs. mainstream in the '90s, but hell if I care at this point. Just pony up the cash and go. 7:30 p.m. Astroarena, Loop 610 at Kirby, 629-3700. $18.50. (B.T.)

Tuesday
December 7
Houston Rockets vs. Charlotte Hornets I caught the Hornets at the Summit two years ago -- the Rockets cruised to victory, but Larry "Grand Mama" Johnson had the last laugh. On a second-half fast break, Johnson took off from just inside the free-throw line, and, emitting a tribal yaw that echoed around the upper deck, tomahawked a one-hand power dunk over Otis Thorpe. It was the loudest The Summit would get during the pathetic 1991-92 season. The Hornets are still led by Johnson, who in the off-season signed a twelve-year, 84-million dollar contract. Center Alonzo Mourning and guard Hersey Hawkins ain't too shabby, either. The Hornets are no longer a look-past on the schedule -- they're the league's number one offensive team. Too bad they haven't quite figured out team defense. They will. 7:35 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-3700. $10-$100. (A.H.)

Wednesday
December 8
Jimmie Dale Gilmore Two friends without the proper passes kept me from my first shot at seeing Gilmore's traditional Broken Spoke brouhaha at SXSW earlier this year, and I'm still pissed off about it. Since then, Gilmore has released Spinning Around the Sun, which is still very much in the running for best country album of the year, and further increased my regret. Finally, though, Gilmore is bringing his high and lonesome voice and his gem-cut songs to Houston, and if you can get yourself a ticket before they sell out -- and they will sell out -- you're assured a seat at what will likely be the best country concert of the year. As highly recommended as they come. 8 p.m., Rockefeller's, 3620 Washington Ave., 861-9365, $12-14 (B.T.)

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