Press Picks

thursday
july 22
The Psychiatric Chemistry of Chocolate Harvey Rosenstock, M.D. explains it's not quite all in your head. Find out, from a medical point of view, exactly what it is chocolate fiends are after when they spend the rent money on Godiva truffles or giant Nestle's Crunch bars. Refreshments are served at these "To Your Health Seminars"; chocolate, though, is not likely to be on the menu. Carob, maybe. 7-8 p.m. Bellaire Hospital, Sun Room, Pavilion for Mental Health, 5314 Dashwood (use the Clarewood Street entrance), 669-4060. Free.

Russian Music Concert Folk and light classics from Viatcheslav Semyenov and Natasha Semyenovareontheprogram.Mr. Semyenov is a professor at the Gnessin Institute in Moscow. He and the missus happen to be in the States because of a convention in Reno. He'll play the bayan (Russian accordion) and she'll play the domra (a mandolin-type instrument). 8-9:45 p.m. Holcombe Music, 5450 Weslayan. $5.

Knives, guns, cocktails and the fight of the century "In typical renegade theater fashion, the cast is a fine mix of actors, musicians, dancers, artists, drag racers, alcoholics and carnival freaks." That sounds too good to be true -- has Infernal Bridegroom Productions really procured a carnival freak? That's unlikely, and unimportant, as the assembled cast is freakish enough. Jason Nodler, who fans of the avant will remember from In the Under Thunderloo, directs Bertolt Brecht's In the Jungle of Cities in such a way that the audience is part of the scene, and the scene is a Chinese bar. As Mike Scranton designed it, however, it's not your typical Chinese bar. Scranton, who always sweeps the Art Car Parade awards, likes metal and tools. His social skills range from lacking to nonexistent, but he can build anything.

Andy Nelson, stage-friendly slacker, is magnificent as C. Shlink, a Malay lumber dealer. Supporting players include that Jerm creature, Jerm Boor, and the most happenin' of the Brads, Keenlies' Brad Moore. Really, this production is all about malt liquor and Old Gold cigarettes. 9 p.m. Commerce Street Artists Warehouse, 2315 Commerce St., 521-0967. $5.99.

friday
july 29
Nintendo PowerFest '94 Stand back, Sega! This is three days of non-stop Nintendo action. Venture Store customers will compete for prizes, including a truly grand prize trip to the Nintendo World Championship '94 finals at Sea World in San Diego. Today and Saturday, the play is 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, the early play is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The top eight scorers will be pitted against each other in the final playoffs at 3 p.m. Garfield, or at least an actor in an amazingly lifelike costume with a giant head, will be shaking paws and enjoying jokes about lasagna near the greeting card department. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Venture Store, 12005 Northwest Freeway. No admission.

ViennaFest Just when you thought you'd seen every festival possible, ViennaFest comes to The Woodlands. This is your chance to yodel. Entrants in the yodeling contest on the hill will be fortified with bratwurst, sauerkraut and a little Schmittsohne Diesporter. And the tiny children will dance -- both plazas at the pavilion will be made up as Viennese town squares with merriment, craft booths and dancers.

The Houston Symphony will perform Strauss, Mozart and Beethoven and Brahms. Polka bands, home-grown, will be playing prior to the concert. Come to 19th-century Vienna in The Woodlands. "A Night in Old Vienna," 8 p.m. tonight; "ViennaFest Grand Finale," 8 p.m. Saturday. The plaza opens at 6:30 p.m. on both nights. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. $7.50 lawn, $9.50 reserved seats.

Hamlet Hands down, Hamlet is the best-known play in the Western world, and then some. How many productions of Hamlet have you seen? How many reruns of the episode where Lucy gets a job on the Vitameatavegamin commercial? (There are more people who can spell the name of that fictional elixir than can quote a line from Hamlet's contemplating-suicidespeech--morereasontosee Shakespeare.) Don't you think it's time to see another Hamlet? Pack up a picnic, lather up with insect repellent and make your way to the Houston Shakespeare Festival. Hamlet, tonight and Aug. 4, 6, 10 & 12. 8:30 p.m. Miller Outdoor Theatre, Hermann Park, 520-3290. All seating is free, but tickets are required for seating under the pavilion. Tickets, four to a person, are available each performance day at the theater box office from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Radney Foster The slim young man in wire-rimmed glasses and cowboy boots has a fresh release, Labor of Love, coming in August. He'll be singing new songs, all with his stamp, and old (like from last month on the radio) favorites. Radney Foster's first recording, Del Rio, TX 1959, produced several drive-time tunes everybody on the freeway can sing along to: "Just Call Me Lonesome," a playful country shuffle about heartbreak, the plaintive "Nobody Wins", and "Easier Said than Done." He's come quite a ways since appearing as half of Foster & Lloyd; now he's working with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Vince Gill and Tanya Tucker and showing up on the country charts. As Foster sings it in "Making It Up As I Go Along," though, he's just an average guy. "It comes down to a few basic things," the singer says. "Worrying about your house payment, doing your job right, keeping your relationship together and being a good father to your children." Ten-ish. Bushwhacker's, 3630 H Spencer Highway, 946-8827, $7 advance, $9 at the door.

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