Ensemble Mariposa The musicians promise scintillating Italian music from the 16th and 17th centuries and piacere -- which is, to say, pleasure. The historical instruments used in this concert: harps, portative organ, lute, rackett, krumhorn and recorder. The players will be: Becky Baxter, Bob Brewer, Bruce Brogdon, Kevin Ellis, Nancy Ellis and Bonnie Goodrich. 3 p.m. University of St. Thomas, Cullen Hall, 4001 Mount Vernon. For additional information call 356-2658. $8.
Theater District Open House Following the wild success of the Houston Grand Opera open house, all the downtown theaters and major arts organizations put together today's tour. The Alley, the Wortham Theater Center, Jones Hall and the Music Hall will pack the spaces with entertainment, games, costumes to try on and Opera to Go singers making fun. The point would be that the fine arts are fun. Last year, 3,000 humble folk attended the HGO open house. This should be even bigger. The Park Shops trolley will be scooting people from place to place for free. The corner of Louisiana and Texas is a good central starting point. Free parking on the streets and for-pay parking in select area parking garages. For more information call 853-8074.
Rich Hall The author of Sniglets offers this sordid detail from his past: his father was an Army MP who muscled Vic Damone to the ground in a German bar. Hall does not say if this family connection to fame is what drove him to enter show business. One never knows the source of inspiration. It may be that, like many of our local heroes, he met his muse while spending every afternoon of his senior year riding around with two friends drinking beer. In his case, the car was a Firebird and the friends were Tim McLeod and Larry Braswell. Either way, Hall's contributions are legion: Emmy-winning writing for David Letterman, Ace-winning writing for Not Necessarily The News and inspired and fantastic writing for Onion World on the Comedy Channel. Tonight, and tonight only, you have a chance to see his lanky frame and beautiful baby blues on a small stage. He'll be within spitting distance and speaking words of wisdom right into your shell-pink ears. You can prepare for this show by reading his recently released book, Self Help for the Bleak. 8:30 p.m. Comedy Showcase, 12547 Gulf Freeway (at Fuqua), 481-1188. $8.50.
High Anxiety: The Source and the Solution James Thurber's counsel was "let your mind alone." Thurber, however, was able to channel his neurosis into memorable cartoons and big bucks.
The rest of us should probably think of other ways to deal with anxiety, panic disorder, post traumatic-stress disorder, social phobia and generalized anxiety and then get on with our lives. No, don't be thinking that way -- getting weird enough to go on Oprah is a dead end. Seek help. No, don't call the Psychic Friends Network; they don't really care about you. They're not your real friends. And you knew that, didn't you?
KindfriendsatTERRAP (Territorial Apprehensiveness) Anxiety & Phobia Care feel they have the answers you need. Go to them. An anxiety seminar will be presented at 7:30 p.m. (Don't obsess about being too early or a little late.) 3821 Amherst, 266-5111. Free.
30Retired and Senior Volunteer Program The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program has a new group, the Professional Placement Network. This new group of do-gooding seniors will meet quarterly to discuss various volunteer opportunities around town -- and there is no shortage of work to be done. Snacks will be served at the first meeting and door prizes given away. No one under 55 allowed. 1-3 p.m. St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 3471 Westheimer. For more information, call 520-4619.
Tribute to Sherman Thomas Tom Potter's Zydeco Showcase continues with a special tribute, complete with special menu. Mr. Thomas has been ailing of late and the good people at Billy Blues thought it was high time someone did a little something for the bass player. Thomas' career includes stints with Clifton Chenier, Rocking Dopsy and Otis Redding. The Billy Blues kitchen will complement their usual menu with spicy dishes from the other side of the Sabine. 8 p.m.-midnight. Billy Blues Barbecue, 6025 Richmond, 266-9294. $3.
Jason Stuart: I'm Out ... Jealous! The comic who came out on Geraldo is in town and, he says, "I'm looking for a cowboy, a cowboy with a belt buckle so big he should be serving fruit off it." He belongs with rugged types, he thinks. After all, he says, "I'm a trailblazer -- how many openly gay headliners do you know of?" The former actor decided boldly to go on-stage as a queer because, he says, "I was just exhausted. I hated being a second-class citizen." And perhaps, a little tense. His gays-in-the-military joke: "I know what they're all afraid of: 25,000 gay guys with M-16s saying, 'Did you call me faggot?'" Now he's out. So out, he frequently quips, "I am so gay, I am so out. I could redecorate this room just by looking around." Previously, he says, "I did not get a lot of positive feedback about being gay." Since he came out on Geraldo, his career has been in high gear. Jason Stuart plays the Laff Stop thru Sept. 4. Tue.-Thu., 8 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 8 & 10:30 p.m.; Sun., 8 p.m. 1952 W. Gray, 524-2333. $6.50-$9.