Picks

Thursday
December 2
John Mooney Testimoney is Mooney's latest effort on Viceroy Records, and it's the final nail in the coffin of anyone who claims there's a more distinctive white blues player anywhere. Mooney studied with Son House in his hometown of Rochester, New York (Mooney says that sitting at the master's feet was more like a party than an apprenticeship, but he obviously learned something), and he percolates that rhythmic Delta stamp through the syncopated funk of his present digs in Nawlins for a greasy, R&B-tinged swamp blues without equal. 9 p.m. Fabulous Satellite Lounge, 3616 Washington Ave., 869-COOL. $7. (B.T.)

White Zombie/Nudeswirl I love to see a good band crack the big time, but I'm none too comfortable with how it happened here. White Zombie's blazing cartoon-metal debut for Geffen, La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. I, has been putzing around the underground for almost two years now, while the band has eaten pavement opening for Danzig, Megadeth, Testament, Pantera, Anthraz, etc. Then along come this generation's newest critical avatars -- Beavis and Butt-head, fer Chrissakes -- to pronounce Zombie huhuh, huhuh, cool, and La Sexorcisto goes gold. Whatever puts the kids in a buying mood. The album is twisted, aggressive schlock-metal genius, and the live show takes its cue from Kiss-style overload and overloads that. Alt-rocking Nudeswirl opens. 7 p.m. Rockefeller's West, 6400 Richmond, 629-3700. $17.50. (B.T.)

An Evening in the Museum District Houston has a bustling art scene, full of up-and-coming artists and a veritable wealth of galleries. In one evening (not too much of a sacrifice) you can experience the Museum District -- five Montrose-area galleries. Check out several exhibitions, including the opening of Kelli Scott Kelley's "Full Circle" at the Lanning Gallery, a holiday photography exhibition, and small works by Andrew Bennett, Carolyn Prescott, Karen Sanders and Tom Sime. Galleries on the evening's program include Lanning (223 Westheimer, 524-5670); Benteler-Morgan (4100 Montrose, 522-8228); Inman Gallery (1114 Barkdull, 529-9676); Harris Gallery (1100 Bissonnet, 522-9116); and the Lawndale Art and Performance Center (4912 Main St., 528-5858). 5-8 p.m. (open houses); 7-9 p.m. (holiday party at Lawndale Art and Performance Center). Free.

A Christmas Carol/Christmas is Comin' Uptown What else is there to say about these perennial crowd-pleasers, except that that's what they are? The Alley's adaptation, by Michael Wilson, has spectacular London sets, a great cast led by James Black as Scrooge, and the inimitable Dickens tale -- spiced with the usual fog and an unusual twist on the ghosts past present and future. The Ensemble's soul-musical adaptation has a quirky Harlem setting, a slew of upbeat comic tunes and a refreshing irreverence for literary antiquity. In short, the theaters have been packing them in each year, so they'll continue to schedule Dickens until the mistletoe fails. Carol: Opens tonight. Tue.-Sun., 7:30 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 2:30 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 24, 2:30 p.m. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Ave., 228-8421. Thru Dec. 26. $15-$35. Uptown: Opens tonight. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 3 p.m. The Ensemble Theatre, 3535 Main, 520-0055. Thru Jan. 2. $10-$15. (M.K.)

Friday
December 3
Dave Hole Night number two of state-of-the-art slide guitar at the Satellite. Australian Dave Hole's Working Overtime CD, out on Alligator Records, has been raising jaded eyebrows and leaving shrugged shoulders in its wake as it makes the rounds of the blues community, and with damn good reason. Hole plays electric slide without the slightest hint of subtlety, screeching piercing notes over the top at the high-octane pace of a man being chased down the road by something much bigger -- and much meaner -- than himself. This is the sort of sound every adolescent air guitarist would aim for, if only he knew his history and had the chops. If Hole doesn't restrain himself much, he delivers all the balls-out, razor-edged adrenaline you'll be able to stand up to. Fabulous Satellite Lounge, 3616 Washington Ave., 869-COOL. $TK.

Brian Weil: The AIDS Photographs Weil has spent seven years traveling to Liverpool, New York and Haiti to get as close as possible to the devastating AIDS plague. This exhibit of 40 black-and-white photos shows the effect of AIDS in a more emotional and personal manner by focusing on the people, not the disease. Milby High School, 1601 Broadway. Exhibit closes today. For viewing arrangements, 840-9711. Free. (C.K.)

Saturday
December 4
Possum Dixon Never seen the live show, but any band with a stand-up bass has got a built-in edge. The eponymously titled new album on Interscope offers all sorts of evidence of an impending good time: catchy party rock music with nerdy vocals telling funny stories about girls and other nervous habits. Two of our town's better bands with names beginning with the letter M -- Manhole and the Mike Gunn -- open the show. 10 p.m. Catal Huyuk, 2524 McKinney, 237-1018. $7. (B.T.)

Fantasies and Fairy Tales It's easy-listening night for Da Camera shutter-bugs. D.C. goes light with a collection of loosely structured "fantasy pieces" that provide a pleasant example of 19th-century parlor (read: not elevator) music. These whimsical ditties helped our great-great grandparents survive a cultural void of life without Beavis and Butt-head. Charles Neidich, the Michael Jordan of clarinetists, joins viola player Sergiu Luca and pianist Ronald Brautigam for five low-cal compositions by Schumann, Beethoven and Brahms. 6 & 8 p.m. Wortham Center, 524-5050. $13-$27.50. (C.K.)

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.)

Beausoleil Haven't had a chance to see this outfit since they played NYC's Central Park about six years ago, but the group's contemporary cajun stylings, highlighted by the so-pretty-you-could-cry work of fiddler and vocalist Michael Doucet, are pretty well state of the art in the gumbo-loving world. And since Christmas is sneaking up, you might expect to hear a few of the yuletide ditties Beausoleil contributed to last year's Alligator Stomp collection on Rhino. It's the sort of music -- rare amongst holiday-topical tunage -- that makes you want to not kill yourself. 8 p.m., Rockefeller's, 3620 Washington Ave., 861-9365, $15 (

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