Picks

Thursday
December 9
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 that Beausoleil contributed to last year's Alligator Stomp collection on Rhino. It's the sort of music Ñ rare amongst holiday-topical tunes -- that makes you want to not kill yourself. 8 p.m. Rockefeller''s, 3620 Washington Ave., 861-9365. $15. (B.T.)

Dave Alvin Alvin started collecting fans in the roots-rock furnace of the Blasters, and since splitting from that outfit in '86, he's popped up as a member of X and the Pleasure Barons, and as sideman on too many projects to name. Museum of Heart, on Hightone Records, is Alvin's third solo effort, and having already carved out a broad niche for himself exploring what he calls "American music," he''s digging even deeper in the same trough and coming up with treasures. A whole lot of people can make a good record, though, and Alvin's real power is best indicated by the line of people who have seen him before, queuing up at the door for tickets. This many people can be wrong, but this time they're not. 10 p.m. Fabulous Satellite Lounge, 3616 Washington, 869-COOL. (B.T.)

Friday
December 10
Michael Battey's Science Fair This UT grad tended bar, studied computer science, taught English and even slaved a bit here at the Press before finally settling down into the fulfilling career of performance art. In this consciousness-raising piece, Battey plays three whiz kids and their duller counterparts in a grade-school science fair. The contestants are the objects of study, and the audience is treated to a wide spectrum of emotions, from nausea to paranoia. You might want to meet Battey after the show -- he's also been a persuasive environmental activist in Japan and Brazil. 8 p.m. tonight; 9 p.m. Saturday. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway, North Main & Naylor, 223-8346. $10; $9 members; $7 students & seniors. (C.K.)

Crazy Killed Mingus Record Release This damned deadline thing has kept me from hearing an advance of the new disk, Windows, but if it builds anything at all on the promise of the band's taped demo, start saving your allowance. Mingus has steadily turned into one of Houston's best alternative draws, and all those youngsters are crammed up near the stage for a reason: These kids have some genuinely exciting pop craft in them. Steal mom's purse. Buy a ticket. Buy a record. Buy a T-shirt if you don't already have one. And if there's any money left over, save it for a few years and buy yourself a drink. 9 p.m. Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, 862-3838. $7. (B.T.)

Susanna Sharpe and Samba Polic Record Release Sharpe is Austin's answer to south-of-the border specialist Norma Zenteno, more or less, and considering the number of people presently mining this rhythmically rich territory, I'd say there's plenty of room for both, and more. Last time Sharpe was in town she didn't have much in the way of product to hawk, but that didn't stop her and her six-piece band from burning down Latin rhythms -- romantically slow to dizzyingly fast -- with a heavy dose of Russell Scanlon's jazz guitar. The CD being celebrated is A Musica Das Almas, self-produced, and it's an attractive package filled with eleven cuts by other writers (Milton Nascimento stands out) and Scanlon's originals. 9 p.m. McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk, 528-5999. $6. (B.T.)

Saturday
December 11
Houston Rockets vs. Seattle Supersonics In a possible preview of the Western Conference playoff finals, these are two of the hottest teams in the NBA. If it weren't for a series of junk shots -- Sam Perkins' off-balanced turn-around and Derrick McKey's series of prayers -- the Rockets would've advanced to the conference finals. Incidentally, Seattle is the Rockets' playoff nemesis, having defeated Hakeem three times in the Rockets' last six post-season appearances. Despite taking the Suns to seven games in last season's conference finals, the Sonics inexplicably retooled; they traded away McKey and Dana Barros for Detlef Schrempf, and they signed ex-Hornet Kendall Gill. Explosive chemistry among the Seattle players is as frequent as Seattle thunderstorms, but as long as Nate McMillan

-- the biggest Rocket-killer of them all -- wears the green and yellow, expect a tight one. 7:30 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-3700. $11-$150. (A.H.)

Orange Show Closing Party They do this every year, but this time around the theme is a tribute to zydeco master Lonnie Mitchell, with performances by Pierre and the Zydeco Dots (4 p.m.), Willie Davis (5 p.m.), Paul Richards (5:30 p.m.), Lionel Stout (6 p.m.), Wilfred Thibideaux (7:30 p.m.) and Jabo, Texas Prince of Zydeco (8 p.m.). More talent is being added at press time, and at 9 p.m., whatever of the entourage isn't danced out will head to the Continental Zydeco Ballroom to continue the celebration with Wilfred Chevis. 3-8:30 p.m. The Orange Show, 2402 Munger, 926-6368. $3 Orange Show members; $5 non-members.

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