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.
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.
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.
Jazz mass and festival The goal of this joyous jazz is 50,000 pounds of food for the hungry. Local musicians Paul English and Joe LaCascio host a jazz mass in the morning followed by live music all afternoon and into the night.
The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany has held two previous Feed the Hungry jazz festivals. What started as the brainstorm of parishioner Chuck Brock and the Epiphany Jazz Ensemble has grown into a successful event: at last year's festival, 23,000 pounds of food were collected.
Dress fairly nicely for the church service, but be mindful that everyone will be outside enjoying snacks on the lawn afterward. Bring blankets or lawn chairs for festival seating. Mass 10:15 a.m. Live music 2-9 p.m The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, 9600 South Gessner, 774-9619. Admission $10, or one large bag of non-perishable groceries per person.
A Picnic in the Country There are two choices here. Picnickers may opt to spend the hour before dinner on a hayride through bluebonnet country, sipping sparkling and snacking on caviar. Or, picnickers may linger on the lawn outside the mansion to be entertained by an oom-pa-pa band and learn the Schottische. Either way, at lunch time the spread is rolled out -- German foods such as sauerkraut, sausage, strudel and cheese plus picnic foods such as potato salad, fresh sliced tomatoes, and fried chicken and gravy. All this and, as a special country treat, a relish tray! The Knights of the Vine will be pouring California and Texas wines so no one gets parched.
This cure for spring fever will be at Tommy and Karen Brasher's country mansion in Weimar. The lucky few who make their reservations on time will travel in style from the Confederate House (in its new location, where the Black Angus used to be) to Weimar. Bus leaves at 10:30 a.m. and arrives in Weimar at noon. The return trip starts at 4 p.m., so everyone will be safely back inside the Loop by 5:30. Dress is picnic casual. To make reservations, call 977-0524. $48 per person.
Yiddish Jazz One might think that musicians who perform with our symphony and opera or teach in our universities would not be out having a time with washboard players and accordionists. In fact, some of the city's finest musicians are happily associating with The Best Little Klezmer Band in Texas. This music, klezmorim, began with Russian and Romanian folk dances. After passing through Ellis Island, it incorporated Yiddish folk standards, Borscht Belt musical comedy, Tin Pan Alley tunes and who knows what else. One of the musicians, Loreta Kovacic-Hughes, has a performance degree from the Zagreb Music Conservatory in her native Croatia and has won many awards in Europe and the States, as well as having performed as a soloist in many orchestras. To her further credit, Kovacic-Hughes is thrilled to be playing Scherzo Fantastico on a bill with this klezmer band. HCCS Spring Recital, 8 p.m. Heinen Theatre, 3517 Austin, 630-1138. Free.
Tommy rocks Rockefeller's The rock opera roadshow takes time out from its busy schedule to present a special musical
performance benefiting AIDS Foundation Houston and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The original production of The Who's Tommy racked up five Tonys and a Grammy. This touring company will stage nine shows in Jones Hall. Tonight, at Rockefeller's, the audience will hear the music on a smaller stage and enjoy an auction of Tommy paraphernalia, too. 10 p.m. Rockefeller's, 3620 Washington, 861-4971. $15.
Russian Celebration The University of St. Thomas has a full month of Slavic delights prepared for your entertainment and edification. Tonight's treat is music sung and played to celebrate the contributions of Medtner, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky. Mussorgsky's biggest hit, of course, is Night on Bald Mountain, but he was no one-hit wonder; remember Pictures at an Exhibition and the opera Boris Godunov. We don't know that the mostly student ensemble will perform those works, just as we can't guarantee they'll play Rachmaninoff's best piano concertos (two and three), but we are sure that the Rachmaninoff will be characteristically romantic. 8 p.m. Cullen Hall, 4001 Mount Vernon. For details on this and other programs, call 525-3560. Free.
"Breaking Bounds" Lois Greenfield's dance photography, according to The New York Times, solves the "paradox of freezing the essence of movement." Greenfield has been recording the dance world since 1973. Her vivacious, energetic photography appears regularly in Dance Magazine, The Village Voice and Vogue. Her book, Breaking Bounds, is available in bookstores now.
But, while there is a joy in possession, seeing photos bound in a book is utterly unlike moving freely through a gallery and confronting them as whole and unique works. Greenfield's current show at Rice Media Center, up until tax day, offers a close and careful look at these powerful works. Greenfield prefers to work with modern, even experimental dancers, and she most often shoots not their stage work, but their movement in her studio. "I tell my dancers," she says, "to leave their choreography at the door." Her aim is to collaborate on images of the body in motion. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri. Rice Media Center, Rice University, entrance 8, 527-8101. Free.
Managed Care -- We have it! How do we make it work? Trust the Rotarians to explain it all to you. This conference on making managed care work in Houston is part of a three-part series. Tonight's discussion focuses on cost, quality, coordination, networks, customer satisfaction and quality management -- which sounds like typical managerial talk. The difference is, what's being managed -- health care -- is a fairly unknown beast in this region.
Health Access Texas and the Rotary Club of Houston have got several folks set to go up on the dais and give you the skinny. Dr. James Browerman, medical director at Aetna; Kay Hanson, of St. Luke's Hospital; and Steve Schultz, executive director of UT Medical School Practice Plan will offer their two cents' worth. 7:30 p.m. Wyndham Warwick Hotel. For information call 522-8552. $35.