Press Picks

thursday
july 1
FIJA and NORML confab Tom Glass of the Fully Informed Jury Association is the featured speaker at the monthly meet of the Houston chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. FIJA would like for judges to tell jurors, right up front, that they have a right to judge the law, as well as whether or not the poor sucker sweating on the stand did it. 7 p.m. Downtown Houston Public Library, 500 McKinney. For info call 266-2378, access code HEMP (4367).

Conrad Lawrence: Is this comedy? We just don't know. Whatever it is that Conrad Lawrence does, he's done it for years and people laugh. The question is, does he know what he's doing? Is he having us all on? Is this, like, way PoMo commentary on the genre of standup comedy? Or is Conrad Lawrence a loon?

Conrad's cult followers, a spottier group than Star Trek fans, eagerly await his every performance and quote "'Radisms" with fevered glee. "Radisms are alarming non-sequiturs like this gem: "They say men want to marry women who remind them of their mothers. I've seen my mother. I'm going to adopt." What can this mean?

There's a section of Conrad's act -- his food hunk -- with, intentionally or not, a couple of great laughs. Speaking to the crowd about Rocky Mountain Oysters, he says, "You know what those are, donÕt you? That's when they make the bull Jewish." It gets worse. This cunning gastronome observes that rattlesnake meat "is the only food you have to kill first before you eat it."

You know it's a real "Radism when, even when you know what a 'Radism is, you think you must have heard wrong. Oooh! If there's a celebrity death during the week, Conrad is sure to say something about poor old so-and-so who's now "sleeping with the lizards." And what might he make of O.J.? Thru July 24. 8:30 p.m. Thursday & Sunday; 8 & 10:15 p.m. Friday & Saturday. Comedy Showcase, corner of I-45 and Fuqua (one block north of Beltway 8), 481-1188. $6.50-$8.50. Two-drink minimum.

friday
july 22
Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus The singing ringmaster might frighten impressionable children or high-strung women. Otherwise, the Greatest Show on Earth is still all really cool and spangly and has a Globe of Death and trapeze artists and spineless acrobats and snowcones and cotton candy.

The circus has two camels, two llamas, four zebras, 18 elephants and 33 horses. In just one week, these creatures eat seven tons of hay, 900 pounds of sweetfeed and oats, 1,200 pounds of carrots, 750 pounds of apples, 294 loaves of bread -- and the elephants get 1,400 pounds of elephant chow. These well-fed animals do what all well-fed creatures do eventually, and the result is regularly cleaned from their cages. Gardeners are invited to come on down and haul off all they can carry. Interested in exotic additions for the compost heap? Show up 11 a.m.Ð1 p.m. today at the corner of Norfolk and Timmons.

To see the show, daily thru Sun., get your tickets from the Summit box office. 961-9003. $10.50-$15.50 plus special group rates and special deal shows.

Mason Ruffner Mr. Gypsy Blood himself brings his guitar, which is all he needs, to Surfside for a fine show. Better Texans enjoy this sort of music according to a ritual as exacting as a Japanese tea ceremony.

Preparations are of the utmost importance. Cut out of work early, being careful not to bring all the suntan lotion, towels and etc. that you need. Hit the beach at four. At this hour you're too late to be fried to a crisp but have plenty of time to get all salt-water sticky and sandy and burn enough to be uncomfortable for the next couple of days.

As the sun sinks slowly in the west, 'bout 8:30 p.m., pull your clothes on over your swimsuit. Drive, being careful not to do anything effective to protect your car seat from your wet-bathing-suited butt, and being careful to get sand all over the car floor, to Del's.

Mason Ruffner is scheduled to take the stage at 9:30 p.m. You should have time to stuff yourself to a point three beats from nausea. Del's serves dangerous food, and on a cool deck washed by Gulf breezes. Have too much barbecue, smoked sausage and nachos.

The final, most important and spiritually satisfying step involves beer -- beer in long-neck bottles actually stored on ice. Some slack partiers skip everything but the final step. They're just trash. If you're gonna go enjoy Mason Ruffner, you gotta act right. Del's Lookout, 106 Yucca Ave., Surfside Beach, (409) 239-2666. $5.

saturday
july 23
Turbo, we hardly knew ye While the remaining members of the NBA Champion Dream Team bask in glory, some, perhaps those most responsible for the ascension of our team to its current rarefied height, are reduced to cameo appearances. Turbo, like Joan Crawford on The Lucille Ball Show, will no doubt do his best in this post-stardom appearance. Turbo is scheduled for "a spectacular half-time performance" at the UH Game of Champions. Will he get a little trampoline, do a nostalgic slam-dunk? Can this be the deposed mascot's first step on the comeback trail? Hey, maybe with that American Gladiators name he can find a spot on TV.

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