Picks

Thursday
January 20
Lucia di Lammermoor Italian soprano Tiziana Fabbricini makes her HGO debut in the title role, following a year of rather impressive debuts with the Metropolitan Opera, the Vienna State Opera etc., etc.,` etc. HGO presents six performances of Donizetti's splendid opera -- don't miss a chance to see the most famous mad scene in the fine arts! 7:30 p.m. Wortham Center, Brown Theater, 510 Preston, 227-Arts. $110-15; $20 seniors & students, subject to availability. (E.S.)

Friday
January 21
Southwest Collectors Show Sports-memorabilia collection is at an all-time high in this country. Where else can you pay $50 for an autograph and a smile from ex-Cincinnati Red/ex-con Pete Rose? This weekend, Houston-based Tri-Star Productions hosts the Southwest Collectors Show, and no, Charley Hustle will not be grinning and signing. Not to fret, however, because this show presents the collectibles of 300 of the nation's premier dealers -- over $10 million worth of priceless sports memories. Granted, it's the kind of stuff moms take pleasure in purging during spring cleanings (read: how I lost a Nolan Ryan/Mike Scott-autographed ball). Ex-Phillie slugger Mike Schmidt and "Broadway" Joe Namath headline, with a special appearance by the original all-female baseball team that spawned the movie A League of Their Own. ("They have great stories," says a Tri-Star spokesperson. "And their mouths. They talk just like the guys.") Fri., Jan. 21, 3-8 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 22, 10 a.m.Ð6 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. George R. Brown Convention Center, 840-STAR. $7; $12 weekend pass. (A.H.)

Brutal Juice Denton's angriest-sounding band has a habit of doing stylistic one-eighties between their sporadic Houston gigs, so the show you see this night may or may not have anything to do with the schizo-metal tour de force that left me dog-paddling in a puddle of my own drool after the band's last Catal Huyuk show. If it does, you're in for a treat of the most overwhelming sort. And if it doesn't, well hey, you're getting to watch a machine in motion, and how many other bands this well-developed can leave you wondering what the hell they're going to sound like next time out? Fitz's is promoting this as a battle of the B-bands, with the local punk rock histrionics of Bleachbath, Beefmasters and Baboon opening the show. 9 p.m. Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, 862-3838. 21-and-up $6.50; minors $8.50. (B.T.)

Saturday
January 22
African Delight Three folk tales from different regions of Africa combined in an original musical by Express Theater artistic director Y.A. Bagersh. African Delight tells the stories with music, dance, drums and exotic costumes. Children and families in Houston can see the differences and similarities between our lives and the lives of people on another continent. Helen Menza from Ghana choreographed the dances and designed the costumes for this new production. Express Theater plans many events for Black History Month, and if starting in late January seems a little early, just remember all those jokes about February being such a short month for so much history. Start early with African Delight. 2 p.m. Children's Museum, 1500 Binz, 759-1314. $3. (E.S.)

"12 Minutes MAX!" Basically, a performance-art showcase. Purists may sneer at this attempt to popularize the form. However, "12 Minutes MAX!Ó is perfect for the art crowd and ordinary mortals. For the latter, there is the comforting thought that, no matter how bad any act might be, it will be over in twelve minutes. For the initiated, the limit is a tease. What we got in this show is Lyle Derrick, formerly of Bloodsuckers, with Some Fanatics Live Down in Deep Roots of Texas; Michelle Engleman and Bronwyn Bowser performing an odd little children's-type tale, Nursery, with music by Bill Kelley; Allyson Spellman offering a one-woman show about Martha Graham; and Doug Cohen doing a Korean composition. Ed Sullivan was never like this. 8 p.m. DiverseWorks, 1117 E. Freeway, 223-8346. $10; $9 members. (E.S.)

Sunday
January 23
Lipizzaners Show This arms race we call history has gone on longer than some might think. First we had rocks, then pointed sticks, then forged metals, and after that about 2,000 years of equestrian arts. Stirrups figure heavily in all this, but the showoffs who ride Lipizzaners eschew such sissified stuff for Xenophon's style. That would be ancient Greek. Intercultural exchange being the norm, centuries later all the movements of Haute Ecole have French names and the current temple of equestrian arts is the Spanish Riding School in Vienna (Old Blood and Guts played favorites to keep the Piber stud from being destroyed in WWII). Some of the horses you will see at the Summit tonight are from that very farm. You'll also see Andalusians and Arabians. This equine ballet is magnificent. 2 p.m. Wonderful World of Horses, The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-3700. $14.50 & $12.50. (E.S.)

Monday
January 24
Baby Elephant Walk Here on the clement Gulf Coast we can spend the early days of the new year strolling in the sun looking at baby animals. Shovel snow? Ha! The zoo is open and the animals are out. Singgah, the new year's baby elephant, is on display with the herd -- said herd being her mother and father, brother, sister and aunt. Singgah is an Indonesian name, a loose approximation of a term meaning "to drop in." Her keepers were a bit surprised when she was born. Baby elephants are completely charming, in their lumbering, bright-eyed way. Another new arrival is a Francois Langer, born on the eighth. This baby primate has no name yet, save that exotic species label. They are more the monkey than lemur-type, with round hu-manoid heads. Adults have black-and-white spike hairdos, but the little baby is golden, still clinging and ridiculously cute. Cute as a bug and rare, to boot. The Francois Langer's home is outside, near the largest primates, the gorillas. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Houston Zoo, in Hermann Park, 523-5888. 50¢ for kids 3Ð12 years old; $2.50 13 and up; $2 seniors. (E.S.)

Tuesday
January 25
Brave New World: African-Americans in Science and Space

Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr., NASA astronaut and UH alum, is the featured speaker for this particular celebration of the UH African-American Studies program. Harris knows a bit about the African-American experience in science and in space. After graduating from UH, Harris received a degree in medicine from Texas Tech, then completed his residency at the Mayo Clinic. At NASA's Ames Research Center he did a fellowship and then trained as a flight surgeon at the Aerospace School of Medicine. A genuine astronaut, Harris flew on board the space shuttle Columbia from April 26 to May 6, 1993. He also had a hand in Spacelab D-2, and if you don't think this man has something to say, I don't know what it would take to impress you. 1-2:30 p.m. University of Houston, University Center, Atlantic Room. 743-2816. Free. (E.S.)

Rom Ryan Record Release Ryan, if you don't know, is a local proponent of the heavily treated acoustic guitar, and the new disk to be celebrated this evening, Another World, fleshes out Ryan's intricate, multi-ethnic sound with doumbek, trumpet, congas, rainstick, flute, tablas, sitar, saxophone, and a longer list of exotic instruments you've never heard of, let alone heard. The album offers six instrumentals in addition to four with voice, and while I'll save further comment for an upcoming review, I can tell you that you're in for a low-key evening of harmonic-laden atmospherics. Don't show up expecting foot-stomping excitement, but if you've got a hankering to sit back, light a candle, and let the soothing sound wash over you like an alpha wave, there's probably no place in Houston you'd rather be. 8 p.m. Rockefeller's, 3620 Washington, 861-9365. $7.50. (B.T.)

Wednesday
January 26

Rush I don't care if guitarist Alex Lifeson dresses like a renegade banker. I don't care if drummer Neil Peart, for all his drum-kit virtuosity, is the most pompous Ayn Rand-reading ass ever to walk Canadian soil. I don't even care if singer Geddy Lee bears an uncanny resemblance to death sucking on a lemon. I don't care. Recent misguided forays into rap don't bother me. Crappy songs that'll still be spinning on classic-rock radio when cockroaches rule the earth can't deter me. This is the first band my sorry fourth-grade self ever really wanted to see, and when last I had the chance (Summit, in what? 1986?), the original nerd-rock trio didn't disappoint. I'll be back. 7:30 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-3700. $24.25, $28.25 and $35.25. (

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