Kemah Shrimp Fest Kemah is one of the most heavily visited tourist cities in the state. We think this is because stir-crazy city folks who haven't the time to skip town entirely take treks down I-45 often enough to stave off the over-crowding corporate heebie-jeebies. Kemah is simply a "Mo bettah place!!!," according to the fliers for this Kemah Police Department benefit and (move over mud bugs) shrimp festival. Feast upon decapod crustaceans of the suborder Natantia. Limbo! How low can you go? Test your sacroiliac under the limbo pole, or move to less strenuous calypso dances. The brightly colored band list includes Wazobia, Yard Band, Transit, AYO, Liberation and Caribbean Notes. The family fun and shrimp-dish contests run through the weekend. Gates open 5 p.m. Friday. Kemah's Landing (next to Landing's Restaurant), take I-45 south, exit FM 518, go east (left) to FM 2094, continue east until you cross Highway 146. Voile. $5, kids free, no pets or coolers. For more info call 529-5955.
The Outcast A new opera from an old book. American composer Noa Ain has taken the Old Testament story of Ruth and styled an opera incorporating jazz, gospel and traditional African music. There will be eight performances of this exciting new work. Opens tonight, 8 p.m. Wortham Center, Cullen Theater, 500 Texas Avenue, 227-ARTS. $20-$45.
Webb Wilder The last of the full-grown men is here, and he's going to... he puts it: "I'm going to pop me the top on a tall-boy can of whup-ass." That's the esoteric cracker-boy's way of telling you to get ready for an evening of Swampedelic uneasy listening. Wilder is the kind of guy one can imagine as a bespectacled sprout sprawled on a braided oval rug in the living room of his loving parents, some nice ranch-style house with lovely avocado-colored kitchen appliances, grooving on Clutch Cargo (with Spinner and Paddlefoot!) while listing to the Cowboy Copas and reading Will Cuppy's The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody. Yes, he's probably just the spawn of the suburbs, but the pithy motherfo with the cleft chin would be the first to tell you that he and his band are "the kind of guys who are not afraid to go out on a limb and saw it off, just for a buzz." And, you can dance to it. 9:30 p.m. The Useless Playboys open. The Fabulous Satellite Lounge, 3616 Washington, 869-COOL. $10.
Ray Wylie Hubbard The only two things in life that make it worth living are broken-down country and western singers and revenge. Revenge is hard to come by. So are musical artistes, for that matter, but not so much so. Ray Wylie Hubbard, who made some sort of splash with "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother," spent long years before that and many a night since playing music, most recently with his Vicious Little Band. Revenge is hard to come by, and it's probably what you need (and if you don't, that's probably because right now, as you read this, genuinely good people are plotting just revenge against you). Good luck; we can't tell you how to find justice. Instead, we offer news of a show that will soothe your soul. Brazos Bottom Bar & Grill, 7010 FM 762 in Richmond (which is ten minutes, give or take, down 59 from the Beltway), 341-5210. $7.
Harvey Keitel Retrospective at Rice The Rice Media Center opens its summer film series with the nation's first tribute to Harvey Keitel. People tend not to be blase about Harv. He's either held as a god or considered a scenery-chewing poseur. The method actor's always-controversial image recently got another boost when the aging actor's 'nads were featured in Jane Campion's The Piano. Tonight, you get a chance to see the more subtle methods of evoking passion that Keitel has used (or abused) in his career. The seven-film retrospective, "The Gospel According to Harvey," begins tonight with a double feature. Martin Scorsese's 1973 Mean Streets plays first, and the recent stylish bloodbath Reservoir Dogs finishes off tonight's bill. 7:30 p.m. Rice Media Center, Rice University, entrance 8 off University, 527-4853. $4.-25.