Press Picks

thursday
april 7
African-American Studies Symposium Not a recent arrival on the multicultural bandwagon, the University of Houston African-American Studies Program was launched in the late sixties. Today's symposium will look at the program and its role in the community and in the UH curriculum. The symposium, "Working Together to Create the Future," is a three-day conference beginning today with registration from 4 to 7 p.m. Programs are scheduled from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday. UH Hilton Hotel, entrance 1 off Calhoun, 743-2811. Free for students with ID; meals extra.

Frontier Festival It's back, and as corny as ever. Hard-working University of Houston students have broken their backs setting up big rough-wood fences and other things frontier for a carnival to make any Kiwanis proud. Even Nick at Night doesn't get this fifties-fun. You get your barbecue and cook-off, live music and variety shows (for which there is a nominal charge), and the American Indian Powwow/Tipi Competition. Bring the kids! One night and two full days of outdoor fun. Tonight 7 p.m.-9 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.-9 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. UH-Central Campus, across from entrance 1 off Calhoun. For details, call 743-5290.

Kiss a Pig Why? Because the American Diabetes Association owes a debt of gratitude to swine. Pork insulin, a pig product, was one of the first types of insulin used to treat diabetes. You will not be required to actually put the pucker to a pig -- although many of the celebrity smoochers on hand will be getting personal with them.

This thrill-filled pig-o-rama will feature -- yes! -- learned pigs. They dance, they jump through hoops, they may even ride skateboards or push toy lawnmowers around with their snouts. Along with the exciting live pig entertainment, there will be live lawyer entertainment. The organizers aren't sure what master of ceremonies Racehorse Haynes and such notable counselors as Nene Foxhall, Benjamin L. Hall, Howard Jefferson, John O'Quinn and Steve Radack might do, or what costumes they might wear. "They lie to me," a spokeswoman for the Diabetes Association says. "Oh, sure, they hint a little, but I never really know what's going to happen till it happens." She has a glass of wine and enjoys the hilarity. You, too, can take a passive role and enjoy the Grub by Pig Stands, dancing, and a silent auction. Or, seize the night. The invitation says, "Dress casual or as your favorite pig." Why not party like a pig? 7-10:30 p.m. Texas Medical Center Conference Center, 2151 West Holcombe, 977-7706. $35-$100, tax-deductible.

friday
april 8
Sneak peek for the Annual Bargain Booksale Friends of the Houston Public Library, and any bibliophiles with $15, get first pick of the fabulous bargains at the book sale. Bargains? How about hardbacks for a buck? Paperbacks and kids' books for 50 cents? There will be more than 100,000 books for sale. Every type of book anyone could want -- adventure and romance, literature and drama, biography and history, science and sports, how-to books like Snail Gundering Made Easy. (OK, so not all hardbacks will be sold at the low, low price of one dollar. Better books, those of exceptional quality and value and big glossy coffeetable books, will cost two whole dollars.)

Those who can't make it in early for the sneak or don't want to pay admission can shop all day Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, noon-4 p.m., without paying admission. There's also a rare-book auction at 11 a.m. Saturday. The 16th Annual Bargain Booksale is a great boost for the library (the last sale raised $75,000). Go. Take a fine Metro bus if you can't swing the $4 parking fee. Tonight's preview, 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Astrohall, Loop 610 at Kirby, 247-2189. $15, $10 seniors and students.

saturday
april 9
Anything that floats The reeking regatta of homemade things that float goes reeling down the bayou, getting in the way of the serious contestants in the 14.5-mile canoe and kayak race. You don't see boating fun of this caliber any old day. The paddlers are athletes; the Anything that Floats entrants are entertainers (one of last year's boat-like things had a feisty zydeco band). And even if a craft has no entertainment program, it's a kick to watch the sailors struggling to keep their boat together as they go bobbing merrily along. Some sailors have attempted impressive tableaux -- jungle scenes from your better zombie movies and so forth -- resplendent with bayou babes in bikinis and life jackets.

The canoe race begins at 9 a.m. at the San Felipe Bridge. To win, racers must cross the finish line first. Anything that Floats begins at noon in Overlook Park. To win, contraptions must stay afloat for 400 feet; they are judged on originality and creativity. Take your bug spray and a big cooler of beverages. Buffalo Bayou, Allen Parkway. Free.

Health Day for Fourth Ward residents The Good Neighbor Health Care Center hopes that 500 Fourth Ward residents turn out for free screenings and exhibits offering an opportunity for people to learn about hypertension, breast and cervical cancer and domestic violence. The Houston Police Department, social service agencies and Fourth Ward schools and churches have gotten together to organize this day. Not only will AIDS, sickle cell anemia and nutrition be discussed, but Michael Knox of the HPD Gang Task force will also give a talk followed by an open discussion. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Gregory-Lincoln school, 1101 Taft, 529-3597. Free.

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