Cornel West The author of Race Matters: The Future of a Multicultural Society, Prophecy Deliverance!AnAfro-American Revolutionary Christianity, Keeping Faith: Philosophy of Race in America and other weighty tomes crafted to spur public debate offers his message of hope and his practical advice. West promotes an ethic of love and encourages insight as a cure for racial violence. 7 p.m. Grand Ballroom, University of Houston Hilton, University of Houston, entrance 1 off Calhoun, 743-2996. Free.
Tap Jam The toes have it -- the Discovery Dance Group presents Texas tapper Gracey Tune in a master class and an improvised tap jam to live music. Food will be served during the evening's festivities so tappers can keep their strength up. Tunes and tapping events are planned throughout the weekend. Today's master class runs 7:309 p.m., and the dancing and dining jam runs 9 p.m.midnight. Institute of Dance Arts, 5016 Bellaire, 667-3416. Master class $15; tap jam $20.
Chainsaw Kittens Perhaps if Marc Bolan had lived, been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and taken his Ritalin, the resulting animal would have been along the lines of Kittens vocalist Tyson Meade. Meade, whose drag is becoming slacker in recent years is doing a more melodious thing in white bucks and sheeny synthetic material shirts. And, his band has made recent additions in the beat department -- namely bassist Matt Johnson and drummer Eric Harmon. The Chainsaw Kittens' third release, Pop Heiress, is a moody pop album with genuine, mid-'70s-style glam ballads. They've toured with Smashing Pumpkins, godfather of eye-liner Mr. James Osterberg and the Meat Puppets. Now they appear on the small, seedy stage of the un-burned-down Emo's. 2700 Albany, 523-8503. 21 and over free, $5 minors.
Juneteenth at George Ranch Bill Pickett was not the beginning or the end of the African-American cowboy heritage. James and Willie Thomas, who were born on the George Ranch and were among the first African-Americans on the professional rodeo circuit, lead the trail ride beginning today's festivities. They'll also be on hand for the demonstration of cowpunching that follows the ride. (Those interested in joining the ride should call trail boss Alex Prince at 545-9212.) The ranch founder, A.P. George, celebrated Juneteenth every year (after 1865, of course). Black cowboys were an integral part of the 474-acre ranch for a century, and the George Ranch Historical Park celebrates that history every weekend. Special extras for the holiday include gospel singers, barbecue, a rodeo and a dance. The Fort Bend Museum continues the celebration with a photo essay on black cowboying and with "The Art of Tony Sherman: An Expose of African-American Life Past and Present." The museum is open 15 p.m. 500 Houston Street in Richmond, 342-6478.
The park opens at 10 a.m., and the trail riders are expected to arrive around noon. Take US 59 south to Crabb River Road, go south and follow the signs to the George Ranch Historical Park. 545-9212. $5, $4 seniors, $3 children 312.
Inside/Outside A premier jazz art exhibit joins the murals at Dizzy's. New work by Israel McCloud, who describes himself as a jazzologist, goes up along with the permanent paintings of recognizable jazz legends, Leonard Cohen and what appears to be Allen Ginsberg. The motto at Dizzy's is "Jazz all the time," and this art event continues in that theme. McCloud, who practices the visual, musical and literary arts, has been studying jazz for 15 years. "Jazz," he believes, "is spiritually medicinal and reflective." His own visual art shows a gift for portraiture and improvisation. Opening tonight, 59 p.m. Dizzy's Jazz Bar, 1336 Westheimer, 520-5440 or 520-7221. No cover.
Swordsman II Kung fu fighting was never like this, although certain recent Japanese animated features are almost as wickedly bent. For this -- the final feature in "Exhilarating Escape Part II," the Museum of Fine Arts' Hong Kong series -- sorcery, fanciful Oriental costumes and exquisite weaponry are expected. Swordsman II goes at least one step further. Would you believe martial arts action with cross-dressing and bending of genders? Swordsman II has action aplenty and some rather clever surprises up its silky sleeves. Tonight at 7:30 p.m., tomorrow at 7. MFA, Brown Auditorium, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7515. $6, $5 members.
Father's Day for the Birds Stack your dad against a little chickadee. Naturalist Jane Hultberg offers taxpayers a chance to compare featherless biped dads with the fathers of the bird world. Many papa birds, it turns out, share in such parenting chores as feeding, grooming and teaching. (Does crop-feeding prevent croup?) The program includes a slide show and lecture, and then, if you like, a guided walk through the urban forest. 1 p.m. Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, 4501 Woodway Drive, 681-8433. Free.