Thanks for the Memories A tribute to the late great Shamrock Hotel and the late great Glen McCarthy. "The Shamrock was not just a hotel, built of steel, mortar and rivets," the press release tells us. "She was a symbol of all Houston was and is: 'The biggest, best, futuristic in her thinking; hospitable and willing to reach for the stars.' " St. Patty's Day begins with former Shamrock staffer Mario Garza laying a wreath on the site and Dick Krueger singing "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" The public is invited to attend. At exactly 9 a.m., organizers tell us. 6900 Main at Holcombe.
Greening of Buffalo Bayou with the Texas Army Local Charm owner Rory Miggins has organized a one-of-a-kind celebration. Early on, enjoy the free and open-to-the-public event to re-green a downtown swamp space at Texas and Commerce, noon. As the sun sets, Irish History Month continues at Houston's oldest lounge. Take a cab (or designated driver) to Local Charm to enjoy Banana Blender Surprise, Houston's original snake races, leprechaun tossing and the Miss Patty O'Furniture pageant. 1501 Telephone Road at Lawndale, 926-0329.
Happy Hour for the Bering Care Center Another HIV/AIDS benefit effort from the Museum Restaurant & Bar. Gift certificates will be sold throughout the day -- said certificates valid for food and drink, lunch or dinner beginning tomorrow. Proceeds will go to the Bering Care Center Kitchen, which serves almost 20,000 meals annually. Celebrate St. Patrick's Day on the patio and raise a glass to the folks at Bering. 5:30-6:30 p.m. 1512 W. Alabama, 529-6071.
Irish Cultural Arts Program The cultural history of Ireland is more than what the promoters of this event call "little green Sambo" (others know him as the Lucky Charms cereal salesman). This event will have seanachie, damhsa and seisun -- that's story, dance and music for you non-Gaelic speakers. 8 p.m. University of St. Thomas, Cullen Music Hall, next to the Doherty Library. Free.
Flying Fish Sailors Montrosians know the Fish from their many appearances at music festivals and other chantey venues, or from their appearances at our finer bars. Tonight they perform obscure and delightful tunes from Ireland, Scotland and the Shetland Isles. 7 p.m. Munchies, 1617 Richmond, 528-3545. $4.
Rice Spring Theater Festival With little or no university support, the students of Rice are producing four plays and a staged reading. Performances will be held this weekend and next at various on-campus sites. Thank the Rice Players, Baker Shakespeare, Will Rice College Theater and the Black Student Association for their hard work by going out to see their efforts. Another Antigone, directed by Amy Hemphill, will be in Hamman Hall at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Baker Shakespeare has selected All's Well that Ends Well for this year. Friday-Sunday at 8 p.m., Baker College commons. With community theater flair, Will Rice College has put up Guys and Dolls, for Thursday and Friday, 8 p.m., in the Will Rice commons. Undaunted by Ntozake Shange's recent direction of her work at the Ensemble, Aaran Green and Rochelle Outlaw have staged a production of For Colored Girls...; we suspect their youthful enthusiasm might add worthy elements. Colored Girls will be presented at 7 p.m. March 25-27, with a 2 p.m. matinee on the 27th. Call for location.
A special event in this year's festival is the Equity New Play Development Workshop's reading of Secrets by Bren Dubay. New York director Terence Lamude lends his hand. Sunday, 2 p.m. Hamman Hall. For more information, directions or reservations, call the festival box office at 527-4040.
AmFAR, founded by another grande dame, Liz Taylor, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of AIDS research, education for AIDS prevention and sound AIDS-related public policy. Houston is very popular with AmFAR -- and with Minnelli, who has been keeping company with former Houstonian Billy Stritch for some years. Stritch will play piano for Liza's nightclub performance. (Lansbury is simply mistress of ceremonies.)
Minnelli and Lansbury have donated their services and will appear at a post-performance reception open to all who buy $500 tickets. 8 p.m. Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Freeway, 629-3700. $50, $100, $250, $500.
Children's Festival Child Advocates Inc. benefits, and so do Houston kids, who get a chance to see the premiere of the new Dinamation robot exhibit, "Baby Dinosaurs." The exhibit highlights the home life of the thunder lizards -- nesting, early dinosaur development and parental care.
Children at the festival will also enjoy rides, a Velcro wall and space-ball gyro machine. Magicians, clowns and musicians will entertain.
Both children and adults can learn at WhistleStop, a theme town built by 13 of Houston's largest nonprofit organizations to educate Texans about child-abuse prevention and to provide adults with valuable information about parenting.