Press Picks

thursday
april 28
Brewpub opens A certain sort has been waiting years for Houston to have another brewpub. Now, we get a brewpub and more. The fresh, unique, brewed-on-the-premises beverages at the Village Brewery include Amber Owl (whither nutty brown Cougar? red Tiger?); Houston Wheat, a light-bodied beer served with a lemon slice; and Armadillo Stout, a dark malty beer with hop bitterness. The "and more" is a menu -- a lunch, dinner, snack and breakfast menu, at that. No dank pub, the Village Brewery seats more than 300. Better, it has 144 freshly painted parking spaces all its own -- quite a rarity in the Village. The cuisine is described as good ol' American grill food, which, by their lights, includes Italian sausage wrapped in puff pastry, crawfish bisque, French onion gratinee and roasted poblano crab cake.

Tonight, for the first time since 1919 -- when a certain pesky constitutional amendment nixed the practice -- Houstonians will enjoy deep draughts of brewpub beer. "To our heads!," "Cheers," etc. Complimentary beer sampler and hors d'oeuvres. 6-8 p.m. The Village Brewery, 2415 Dunstan, 524-HOPS.

The Art Car Ball: Driving to Create Get dressed -- to the nines, in your Sunday best, for Halloween, like plain trash, comfortably, like a grease monkey -- whatever your heart desires. This is the most groovy event of the year, and it's held in a parking garage. Elsa Klensch would have no idea what appropriate attire would be.

Joe Ely will play, and weird things will happen. The food is tres fabulous -- Cafe Noche, Dolce & Freddo, and Pierre and Candy Massoud Catering have done their parts for this, the annual Orange Show benefit -- and the exotic decorations include more than 70 art cars.

Sure, the whole things is corny. But heed the words of Orange Show founder Jeff McKissack: "Have you noticed how animals love corn; how chickens run for it? Rats, squirrels, hogs, mules, horses, birds, etc... love corn and thrive on it. Look for corn productions. Corn products mean grits, cornmeal and pure corn oil.... Go heavy on corn." That's from How You Can Live 100 Years... and Still Be Spry, a book by the postal-worker-turned-folk-artist. That xeroxed tome is still available for $1 through the Orange Show and is just one of the many ways in which McKissack's legacy helps make Houston life special.

This year, the Ball will be preceded by Dinner at the Hub Cap Hullabaloo -- a Cajun buffet served by Denis Seafood Restaurant -- from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the lobby of 1600 Smith. $100. Art Car Ball only, 7-11 p.m., 1600 Smith Parking Garage, 926-CARS. $35 advance, $40 at the door.

friday
april 29
Main Street Drag A sort of sneak peek at the grand, long-awaited parade. Art cars tool down Main with a few stops in the Medical Center. A brief peep for those of us who can't get enough art car action and those tender souls who fear that the excitement of the actual parade might overwhelm them. Noon. As free as the polluted air we breathe.

Art car symposium Selected out-of-town parade participants, led by Wild Wheels filmmaker and author Harrod Blank, will explain why they do what they do, and what it is that they do do. Slides will be shown. 7 p.m. The Orange Show, 2402 Munger, 926-6368. Free.

You Can Rock the World with Your Voice Donna Jackson, author of How to Make the World a Better Place for Women -- in Five Minutes a Day, takes the podium as part of the Houston Community College Spring Speaker Series.

Jackson graduated magna cum laude from Duke in 1982 and went straight to Cosmo, where she was an assistant editor. Two years later, because of either increased opportunity or changed attitude, she was a founding senior editor of New Woman. She's still with that magazine, and now she's busily running around trying to explain that "even the largest problems faced by women can be met head-on and solutions can be reached if everyone takes just a little action."

Some of Jackson's ideas for a little action: hang a poster listing sexual harassment statistics in your workplace, request a written job review before telling the boss you're pregnant, and boycott companies that use scantily clad women to promote their products. She's also savvy about women protecting themselves on the job, at the doctor and in public policy.

Advance tickets are available at Inklings Bookstore, 1846 Richmond. Tickets will also be sold at the door. 3 p.m. HCCS Central College Auditorium, 1300 Holman, 866-8166. $3, $2 students.

Kerrville concerts Why drag yourself off to the Folk Festival? Several of the musical entertainers and as much fun as anybody needs will be served up at Miller Outdoor Theater's condensed festival. The whole thing happens at night, so no baking in the sun or scratching ant bites here -- and no awards show either. It does have some award-winners, though, and a fine lineup of other folkists. Kerrville award-winning fiddler Erik Hokkanen and 1993 Takoma Park New Folk award-winner Tom Prasada-Rao will play with Christine Albert, Paul Glasse, Champ Hood, Chuck Pyle, Kathy Moffatt and Michael Smith. All seating is free, but tickets are required for the 1,582 seats and 27 wheelchair spaces under the canopy. (Advance tickets at Whole Foods.) Special arrangements can be made for handicapped seating by calling 520-3292. Tonight and tomorrow, 8 p.m. Miller Outdoor Theater, Hermann Park, 520-3292.

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