Young Writers Reading Series Writers in the Schools, a nonprofit organization that sends real live writers around to teach children, allows kids to have the whole literary experience, up to and including public readings of their own deathless prose. High and middle school students from M.D. Anderson Hospital who've worked with Writers in the Schools will read, out loud and standing up straight, from their own works. 7:30 p.m. The Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross, 523-3877. Free.
Hot reptiles The Houston Museum of Natural Science continues its Distinguished Lecturer Series with paleontologist Robert Bakker. Sure, he looks like Sam Neill in Jurassic Park with a dash of Indiana Jones, especially considering the hat, but Bakker is a genuine Ph.D'ed scientist. His ideas have been brought to bear in Little Golden Books, the Encyclopedia Britannica and Jurassic Park. In the 1960s Bakker was a bona fide radical: he argued that dinosaurs were not cold-blooded reptiles but hot-blooded relatives of birds.
Throughout the series, the museum has presented science authorities who are outstanding in their fields, and Bakker certainly fits that bill -- he, the adjunct curator at the University of Colorado Museum, is often out in the field (though most likely stooped over, rather than standing). His crusading is often featured on public television, and he frequently arranges conferences to introduce real scientists to toy-makers and game-designers in the hopes that entertainment can be made more educational and accurate. Bakker was selected to speak in conjunction with the May 16 grand opening of Life Through Time, the museum's expanded paleontology exhibit (see Monday Picks). Reserve seats with a credit card by calling 639-IMAX. 7 p.m. The Houston Museum of Natural Science, One Hermann Circle Drive, 639-4600. $12.
Bike to Work Day Great for downtown workers who live in The Woodlands, heh heh. No, really, workers whose homes are ten miles from their workplaces should seize the day. You don't need a spiffy Velcro strap to keep your pants leg out of your bike chain -- just use a big ol' rubber band or an old shoelace. It just doesn't matter. What matters is getting around under your own steam; the benefits are better health (not to mention better legs) for you and decreased traffic and air pollution for our city. Ah, it's sweet. (A little sweat never hurt anybody -- and if you pedal fast enough, you can air-cool yourself, even in a suit.)
And, folks in The Woodlands and other far-flung burbs can't wuss out -- Metro will provide free round-trip passes to anyone who bikes to Park & Ride lots or Transit Centers. But wait, there's more! Over 100 Houston-area companies will compete for trophies, and all those company riders will be entered in a grand-prize drawing for two round-trip air tickets.
If you don't bike to work, at least be a considerate, law-abiding motorist. Cyclists have rights, and often the right-of-way.
Children's Festival The East Lawndale Civic Association has raspas, clowns, cultural programs, music, sodas, dancing, hot dogs and karate planned for a positive day in the park. Local elementary, middle and high school students will perform skits, songs and dances from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of this celebration of safe summer fun. Parents are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets (and some money for the plant sale). 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Mason Park, 75th Street at Harrisburg. Free admission.
Celebrate Korea! This is Houston's final event in the year-long, nationwide Asia Society Festival of Korea. Entertainment includes the renowned Korean National Taekwondo Demonstration Team, which opened the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, and a farmers' dance group from a small village. The Taekwondo team and Nongak Farmer's Dance will perform three times during the day. Along with the active art, there will be less strenuous demonstrations of Korean calligraphy, mask-making, fan and flower-making. This is no funnel-cake festival; bulgogi, mandu and kim bap will be served (that's grilled beef, fried dumplings and Korean-style "California rolls"). There will be, of course, a souvenir booth. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tranquility Park, downtown. Call 629-9316. Free admission.
International Festival No, not that international festival -- it's the W.G. Love Accelerated Elementary International Festival. W.G. Love students are predominantly low-income, so-called "at risk" students. Their parents, while often willing, do not always have the financial resources or the time to support the school.
The students hope their festival will raise money and forge alliances with members of the business community. This bazaar will feature games, food booths, dancing and music, and a peek at classroom activities. The festival begins with a parade at 10 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m. 1120 West 13th Street, 861-9980. Free admission.
Cypress Creek Cafe's Crawfish Festival These may not be the first mudbugs of spring, but laissez les bon temps rouler anyhow. These crawfish are hatched east of the Sabine -- Bideaux Crawfish Co., a fine old firm of Hammond, Louisiana, ships in fresh and frisky Atchafalaya crawdads for the festival. This 13th annual jamboree has live music by the Volunteer Fire Ants with Erik Hokkanen, the Texana Dames and the tres groovy W.C. Clark Blues Revue. People in California talk about a "laid-back" lifestyle, but they have no idea (although, to its credit, the population of California has relatively few annoying goobers who wear "Suck my head" T-shirts). Crawfish Festival begins at 1:30 p.m. Cypress Creek Cafe, Ranch Road 12, on the square in Wimberly, (512) 847-5300. $5, $1 kids 12 and under.