The Great Comma War At the Houston Press, the style is to omit the final comma, unless doing so would cause confusion: "Leave out the serial comma (the one before the word 'and') in short lists," our style book dictates. "Leave the comma in if you need it for sense." Not everyone here is sold on this and there have been words, harsh words, uttered around the water cooler. Secretaries, people who frequently know more about the nuts and bolts of writing than the folks whose letters they type, also argue about commas. Maureen Giacchino, president of Training Team Inc., will present a full hour's talk on "The Great Comma War." (Hint: the press release uses final commas.) Giacchino has offered her input at a variety of space agency agencies and Unisys and other high tech hot spots and brings the good word about wording to the Professional Secretaries International, Southwest Houston Chapter. Networking at 5:45, dinner at 6 and program at 6:30 p.m. Hilton Southwest, 6780 Southwest Freeway. Call Dot Osborne for reservations and information, 261-4290. $12. Their next program will be e-mail -- less work for secretaries! Ha ha, just kidding.
Fashion It's not everyday that one has the chance to see a play that so delighted Edgar Allen Poe that he saw it eight times. This Rocky Horror Picture Show of 1845 was penned by one Anna Cora Mowatt, a woman born into a proper, blue-blooded family who had her life laid out for her but had her own, better ideas about what to be and do. She wanted to be a writer and do as she pleased. This play came after she had written two novels, a life of Goethe and a plethora of essays and poems. As the title should tell you, this is satire and shrewd social criticism. 8 p.m. October 21, 22, 27 & 29, Houston Community College, Central Campus, Heinen Theatre, 3517 Austin, 630-1138. $5, $3 students.
Honky Tonk (Part III) Our tacky Texas heritage of screaming guitars celebrated in photography. Cute boys in crew-neck sweaters, bad boys with nekkid women decoupaged to their guitars and shots of Texas architecture, all by Tracy Hart. Some of these photos, which are no more than ten years old, inexplicably look to be from the '50s. Maybe it's the picture of the nekkid blond pasted to the bottom of Jimmie Vaughan's guitar. Through January 31. Opening tonight, 6-9 p.m. The Heights Gallery, 1438 Herkimer, 868-9606.
First Houston Storytelling Festival Today and throughout the weekend storytellers will be practicing and teaching their craft. Internationally known storytellers will get up and do some telling, ghost tales will be told in honor of the season and classes for novice jabber-jaws will be held. James Ford, among others, will be presenting helpful workshops for those who need to know the difference between being a charming raconteur and being a full-blown storyteller. Ford's "From Anecdote to Story" is first thing Saturday morning. (Saturday ends with a Liar's Concert and a Harvest Moon Concert.) Tonight, the weekend begins with Kid Tales at festival central, Houston Garden Center, 1500 Hermann Drive, 523-3289. $45 for the whole shebang, also tickets and day passes for a la cart events.
Glen or Glenda and The Sinister Urge This weekend, the Rice Media center presents films by directors who follow their own unique visions and manage to involve noted professionals in their low-budget projects. Tonight's double feature is by Ed D. Wood Jr. By now, everyone knows about Glen or Glenda. The Sinister Urge is an odder flick. According to the Media Center's Christine Gardner, The Sinister Urge proves conclusively that grainy photos of fleshy babes in lingerie cause juvenile delinquency. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. Rice Media Center, Rice University, entrance no. 8 off University Boulevard, 527-4853. $4.25 (for single or double feature).
The Night They Invented Champagne To honor Lerner and Loewe, the Houston Symphony will present a pops concert with staged vignettes from beloved musicals such as Camelot, Brigadoon, My Fair Lady and Paint Your Wagon. Yes! Paint Your Wagon! Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe were large, they contained multitudes. Guest conductor David Bishop will lead the program, which continues tomorrow and Sunday. 8 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-ARTS. $15-$50.
Westheimer Art Festival Judging from the calls we get, the Westheimer Art Festival is the number one event for out of town guests and, especially, visiting in-laws. Every week someone calls and wants to know when the Westheimer Art Festival is. The Westheimer Art Festival downtown, that is. There are two. The fall festival begins today and, for hoopla, a metal windvane by Houston sculpture Noah Edmundson will be unveiled. Close to 300 Texas artists will be proffering their wares at the 21st Westheimer Art Festival. Tomorrow and today, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Downtown, Main at Calhoun. Call 521-0133 for festival information. $3, free for children under 12.