Press Picks

thursday
june 30
Episode three of The Real World, season three Now we can really settle in with the new cast: episodes one and two have aired, we know the names and faces of the new kids and we've accepted the fact that the young and the flaky from The Real World, season two, have gone on to whatever obscurity awaits them. Tonight, we really get to know the San Francisco cast -- a motley crew of Gen Xers struggling to fulfill their dreams, battling the odds while living in a lavishly furnished home and enjoying a per diem. What will the new cast do tonight? Perhaps bad first impressions will be overcome. Perhaps a character who seemed benign will become a devil baby! One can only hope there will be a completely worthless person like Tammy, easily the most vile and worthless of all Real World characters so far, as a focus for hate. Surely "Puck," the pretentious-yet-adorable bike messenger, will prove to be the comic relief. Mohammad seems to be The Real World's first real man -- is he? And what of Rachel, the Republican -- is she just another Kennedy? Or a woman with her own politics? Find out for yourself during voyeurism's finest half-hour. Tune in at 9 p.m. (Repeats 6 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Saturday.) MTV.

Big Brothers and Sisters At the moment, it's tragically clear that dependable role models are sorely needed. The Big Brothers and Sisters of Houston Foundation has been working hard, since 1950, to set kids up with positive influences . Volunteers are required to devote a certain amount of time, on a dependable basis, to the children. Tonight, however, you can do your bit in an evening -- you won't even have to deal with kids. Wines of America's new Woodway store is having an official grand-opening gala that will do double duty as a fundraiser. Restaurants such as Escalante, Lagniappe, Churrasco's and Americas will provide haute cuisine, fine wine will flow and aloha attire is requested. In fact, one of the door prizes will go for "Best Island Attire." 7 p.m. Wines of America, 6530 Woodway, 461-4497. $30.

Brush-Off II The Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts are up to no good, as usual. For their latest stunt, they've conned local media monkeys, attorneys and hapless volunteers not involved in the law or the arts to publicly produce works of art. These teams will be assigned a "coach" from the ranks of local artists. (Harvey Bott, Dixie Friend Gay and McKay Otto are among the coaches.) One of the teams will be made up of judges from the First Court of Appeals, led by the Honorable Alice Oliver Parrott. While the non-artists struggle valiantly to create, Bert Wills will play rhythm and blues. For TALA, the embarrassment that will come to the hardworking non-artists when their work is seen by all (and the big paint mess) is just a bonus; the real reason for this event is to help TALA continue providing free legal assistance to Texas artists, musicians and nonprofit

rganizations. 6-10 p.m. Judging at 9 p.m. Old Oak Farms Dairy, 2000 Westheimer. For reservations or more information call

26-4876. $25.

friday
july 1
Cockrell Butterfly Center Thousands of brilliant live butterflies will flutter free through the newest, and perhaps most ambitious, part of the Museum of Natural Science's recent remodeling. A three-story glass structure next to the planetarium, the Butterfly Center houses a rainforest environment featuring a waterfall and a cool cave. The free-flying butterflies rounded up by Butterfly Director Nancy Greig are joined by their embalmed brethren. Near the crystal palace, an exhibit hall houses 100,000 specimens. For a different kind of butterfly, see the Butterfly Collection, a display of 162 "fancy color" diamonds in the Cullen Gallery of Earth Science on the museum's upper level. Most color diamonds aren't gem quality, just colored stones made when boron or some other pesky element becomes crystallized within the carbon of a diamond. These are special rocks. Cockrell Butterfly Center, Houston Museum of Natural Science, One Hermann Circle Drive, 639-4600. Advance purchase 629-IMAX. Admission to the Butterfly Center is $3, $2 under 12 and 62 or older. Admission to the museum is also $3, $2 under 12. Discounted combination tickets are available.

Othello The Bard's tale of a heroic Moor and his crippling jealousy opens as part of the seventh annual Shakespeare by the Book festival. This year the theme is the outsider, and Othello and The Merchant of Venice's Shylock will represent the disenfranchised. Director John Corley stages a spartan Othello. "Time and place," he says, "aren't the point of this piece. This play is about passions, desire, the sweeping drama of human emotion. Our very simple production approach gives it a very fluid, almost cinematic flow." Othello opens at the Houston Community College System's Heinen Theatre. After this weekend, the Fort Bend area's most popular play series will return to the George Memorial Amphitheatre in Richmond. Opening tonight, 8 p.m. Heinen Theater, 3517 Austin, 630-1138. $5, $3 students.

saturday
july 2
Treasure Beach The fine folks at KRBE/104 FM have littered -- they've left pieces of paper all over Stewart Beach. One hundred and four squares contain 104 buried certificates for prizes ranging from movie passes to trips for two. KRBE will be broadcasting live, and you can bet the kind of bikinied cuties Stevens and Pruett only dream about will be on hand. This fun in the sun is set up, they tell us, so that "revelers will relive this country's great pirate past." Patriotic celebrations are a wonderful thing, and don't forget the sunscreen. Better to look like a greaseball now than the Elephant Man later. Potential pirates should call Melissa Brezner at 226-1000. People who just want to watch: be on the beach 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Stewart Beach, Galveston.

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