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
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.
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.
Art festival and an air show on down the coast Rockport Beach no longer has the top-hatted redfish as its mascot, but it's still the toast of the coast. As always, the art festival and air show make the little bayside town, for one weekend, more than just a place to fish. Those who can stand a long drive can have a full, old-fashioned Fourth of July weekend on the bay. The art show opens today. Over the weekend, the Fulton Mansion, all dressed up as it was in the 1870s, is open for tours from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The Rockport Chamber of Commerce offers a self-guided walking tour of downtown. I can't imagine that this involves any more than picking up a brochure explaining what all the buildings along Austin Street were before they became shell shops. You might find out, though, where the big fish was on exhibition at. For most of the last two decades, on the final big building on the water side of Austin Street part of a sign was visible: "See the Big Fish on Exhibition at...." Where the big fish was had been bricked over. Every little town has its mysteries.
But if that mystery remains, at the air show Monday everything will be explained. Color commentators Jory Pacht and Larry "DuWat" Cissna will explain, over a beach-wide PA, exactly what all 24 of the pilots are attempting, and offer some background on their planes. The show begins at 2 p.m., when skydivers hit the skies, and then the beach, with a giant American flag. Next, Kirk Fulton does aerobatics in his Russian Sukhol Su-26; later, "Bubba" Vidrine turns his Extra every which way but loose. To find all this excitement take 59 south, even until it becomes 77, and then cut over to Hwy 35 when you're ready or before you pass 239. For more information call the Rockport Fulton Chamber of Commerce at (800) 242-0071.
A Man for All Reasons And what might those reasons be? Choreographer/ dancer/actor Farrell Dyde lets us know in his new "total theater" piece subtitled "Playing for Keeps." Dyde has created -- and you probably don't know this if you've just seen him biking around Montrose -- nearly 100 original works in the dance and performance arts. He's also a dad and therefore completely qualified to examine the most important male role. Dyde's new performance tackles the Iron John issues with poetry, dance and "stories from life." Sundays only, thru July 31. 8 p.m. Main Street Theater, 2540 Times Blvd., 524-6706. $10.
Rockets Red Glare on the Gulf All the historic homes in Galveston will be decked with red, white and blue bunting, paddlewheel boat cruises will be cruising and the weekend, although not the celebrations of the glorious Fourth, will end with a fireworks display. Sort of a preview of the show on the actual holiday. The lights and sounds, and maybe the festive smell of gunpowder and burning paper, will be enjoyed along the Seawall west of 25th and from most of the hotels along the water. The fun on the island is from light on Saturday till late in the evening Monday. Today's fireworks show begins at 9:15 p.m. The Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau can answer any questions, (800) 351-4236.
Freedom Festival The Budweiser Clydesdales aren't scheduled to be part of the party, but then the invitation says "no pets." Everyone else, it appears, will be on the banks of Buffalo Bayou for this 12 hours of patriotism. Miss Francis and the Rhythm Fish, Cheap Trick and REO Speedwagon will be onstage. Cooked food and beer will be on sale, so please, don't bring alcohol or grills... or fireworks or glass. And just in case you don't know how to play safe for you and me, the Parks and Recreation Department also reminds you not to bring weapons. Just show up with your happy family and enjoy the entertainment. The day ends with fireworks. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sam Houston Park, on along up the Bayou. Call 961-2992 for details. Plan to pay for parking downtown.
Ants in Your Pants Not likely. The Easter Seals picnic is bereft of heat, humidity and insects. They have, however, got all the Sousa you can dance to. The Easter Seals people have wisely decided to celebrate Independence Day indoors. (Pop quiz! What are we celebrating? The adoption of the Declaration of Independence? The third Continental Congress? The existence of the Union, the safety and welfare of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world?) One might, of course, stay indoors in one's home reading Democracy in America, but one can read any old time. Tonight, the fine folks of the Easter Seals Society of the Gulf Coast host a party with favors, and buffet, in the Sheraton Astrodome. From the mini-dome/penthouse level, celebrants will have an explosive view of the pyrotechnics over at AstroWorld, and in air-conditioned comfort. 7:30-10:30 p.m. For reservations and information call 957-2195. $20 per person, cash bar.
The House that Kids Build This new hands-on exhibit and an exhibition, "Tiny Treasures: A (Very) Small Art Show," open today at the Children's Museum. Kids "play house" using a computer and a full-size "house" viewed from above. As architects and decorators, children put in walls (and doors). There's a dress-up station so they may be properly attired. "Tiny Treasures" includes small (under 11 by 17 inches) pieces created in workshops at the museum. (Such workshops continue throughout the season as an outlet for kids inspired by "Tiny Treasures.") There's also a Spotlight performance today. Mick Corley does magic and mime and makes like a clown. 2 p.m., free with museum admission. Regular hours 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Children's Museum, 1500 Binz, 522- 1138. $5, $4 seniors, free for children under 2.
How to Meet and Mingle in the '90s The most astonishing people have significant others. The boorish, the ugly, the unrefined, the pushy, the dull... so often persons one might otherwise pity as of the dregs are quite happily hooked up with perfectly normal mates. If you find yourself -- your intelligent, attractive, professional with a sense of humor self -- unhappily alone, there is still perhaps hope. Kelly Howard may be able to help you. She claims that her seminar will help you find the love of your life, or at least someone to date. The author of Single Smart (those obsessed with the idea of couples might note how well the words "single" and "smart" work together) speaks 7-9 p.m. Holiday Inn Crown Plaza, 2222 West Loop South. Call Together, the nation's oldest dating service, for details. 621-7788.