Press Picks

july 10
Slavic Heritage Festival Polkas! Pirogi! Pivo! Non-stop music and dancing and all the fat-filled, perfectly spiced food you need, really need. Oh! With Top 40 music and microwaved meals, this modern mallbilly life destroys our souls, and here is a festival that may save us all, Slavs or not. Croatian, Czech, Polish, Slovene and Ukrainian friends have all joined to bring us this happy day -- and to benefit the Mishop Morkovsky Student Scholarship. The lucky St. Thomas student receiving this year's funding will be honored at the festival.

What have Croatian, Czech, Polish, Slovene and Ukrainian people in common? This particular festival honors Sts. Cyril and Methodius, who were responsible for the conversion of many Slavic groups. (A mass on Saturday is the festival's first event.) This festival also features a booth, and fabulous food, from members of the Bosnian Slavic Moslem community. The Sound Connection, winners of the 1994 Horizon Award for Best New Texas Polka Band, will play. (By the way, this is Houston's oldest ethnic festival. Surprised?) 11:30 a.m. University of St. Thomas, Jerabeck center, on West Alabama near Montrose. $2 admission.

Second Sunday Pickers Guitarist Louise Auclair once again hosts this informal acoustic concert, promoted as an opportunity "to have a hot time while staying cool as a cucumber." Good ol' Martin de Vore tells us, "Listening to lively music in a cool natural setting is a good way to prepare for the increased temperatures of summer." "Increased temperatures" is a kind way to describe the sweltering heat of a humid Houston summer, but the music is as lively as advertised. The Second Sunday Pickers informal folk concerts feature music from different genres and periods. Bring an instrument and join in. 2-4 p.m. Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center, 20634 Kenswick Drive, 446-8588. Free.

july 11
Reebok Jimmy Connors Hard Court Challenge/Houston Junior Open This five-day tournament is part of a global effort that has the lofty goal of bringing at least 10,000 children from all over the Earth into the wonderful world of tennis. The Houston Tennis Association has rounded up 700 local youngsters ready, willing and able to compete in regular, championship and super-championship categories. Any who do especially well may go on to the world final in Hong Kong. Kids who might not be ready for such high-profile, aggressive playing can take part in the free tennis festival. This pre-games play functions as the tournament kickoff and as a big tension-releaser for nervous kids about to compete. People on the grounds may have the opportunity to see how they score in a variety of not-exactly-tennis games.

Tournament play will be at several locations around town through July 15. The center of activity, and the site of the free tennis festival, is the Southwest Tennis Center. The free festival is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today. 9506 S. Gessner. Call the Houston Tennis Center for more information, 524-3027.

Grammar at Work Not for the innocent, the eager or the doomed, this is about making words work for workers. As Rush Limbaugh often says, how you speak affects how others see you, or words to that effect. This class could pave the way for job advancement, "hone collegiate writing" or provide personal enrichment. Grammar at Work is a non-credit review of basic grammar and writing skills designed for members of the job force and for older students. Four Mondays, beginning today. 7-10 p.m. Houston Community College northeast campus at Northline Mall. For details call 688-2022 and ask for course no. CRN55669. $47.

july 12
Texas Fathers for Equal Rights The whole name of this group is Texas Fathers for Equal Rights, Wives and Grandparents Coalition, and it recognizes not only that divorced people are a fast-growing demographic, but also that everyone in a child's life is affected by the choices of either parent. Family court judges have the most say in these dramas; therefore, TFER has the notion that the voting public should get a look at the judicial candidates before they end up on the bench. Today, TFER presents a public forum for the 308th Family Court candidates -- Georgia Dempster (R) and Robert Hinojosa (D) -- and for those who wish to serve in the 309th -- Sherri Cothrun (D) and John Montgomery (R). 7:30 p.m. Civil Courthouse, room 310, 301 Fannin. For more information call 932-6933. Free and open to the orderly public.

july 13
Superstars of Tomorrow Come see children who are, prior to puberty, far more talented than you will ever be, and who have the opportunity to win valuable prizes to boot. K-Arts classical radio is having a little noon music with prodigies and brown-bag lunches. The superstar of these little superstars is eight-year-old David Gil, who has done that Mozart thing on Good Morning America and Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee, as well as on concert stages throughout the civilized world. Gil made his formal debut at the very tender age of four. Some kids can't walk well enough to cross a stage at that age, but our boy was tickling the ivories with the Houston Symphony as a featured guest during the Mozart festival. He has soloed with the Symphony at least twice since, and now here he is in the Cullen Center lobby. David Gil is joined by 12-year-old pianist Katherine Quan and 14-year-old pianist Sarah Gavan. Bring a little nosh, or purchase a pre-packed brown bag for $4. Noon-1 p.m. Cullen Center, 1600 Smith. Free.

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