Art that has just begun The Christmas shopping season, is practically at our throats. So wise mavens should get out and catch up on their art enjoyment -- a pastime undoubtedly neglected during the sweltering summer -- before holiday responsibilities and holiday traffic destroy life as we know it. Paintings by Robert Helm are now hanging at the Blaffer Gallery. This is the first major show by the northwestern artist. His still lifes are eerie, in an engaging way. His sparrows have their eyes on you. Through Dec. 18. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 1-5 p.m. University of Houston, entrance no. 16 off Cullen, 743-9530.
Art that's ubiquitous Bring Beavis and Butt-head into your own home! Yes, the lovable TV teens can be yours for mere money. Fine Toon, right here at home, is the very first gallery in the entire U.S. of A. to offer original animation cels of head-banging America's favorite cartoon couple. Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. 2427 Bissonnet, 522-6499.
The Future is Not What It Used to Be Ah, but what is? Peter Blake, author of No Place Like Utopia and God's Own Junkyard and formerly editor of Architectural Forum, will lecture on what we can, in his considered opinion, expect. Does he envision a neutopia of Monster Trucks barreling through the smoldering wreckage of goober arcologies? A vast wasteland? Attend and find out. Be prepared for what is to be. Blake is known for his way with words, as well as for his way with space and design. 6:30 p.m. University of Houston College of Architecture Theatre, entrance no. 18 off Elgin. (It's the building with the Doric temple folly on the roof. Said folly based on a design by Age of Reason utopian architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, shamelessly ripped off by Philip Johnson. You can't miss it.) 743-8154. Free and open to the public.
Wayne Newton Ol' Eagle boy himself has flown in from Vegas to do a super-duper show in the round. "Danke schsn, oh darling danke schsn...." Oooh! I can hardly wait. What do you suppose he'll wear? Black leather? Something with feathers? Brut and a Speedo? Get your tickets now and get ready to squeal. 7:30 p.m. Houston Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Freeway, 988-1020. $34.
Keenlies Hey, if you can't afford the Newt Boy, check out Brad Moore and his happening band. Brad Moore is not quite as stylish as the Waynoid, not just yet. But he's working on it. And he has a band. They cover Rush tunes and sing their own original wailings and ravings and occasional droolings. Tons o' fun guaranteed. Tenish. Rudz, 2010 Waugh, 521-0521. $3.
Lou Ann Barton Lou Ann Barton is a plain, unpretentious blueswoman. Although her crooning is high class, her origins and current mores are not haute. Once upon a time, she wandered into a saloon in the afternoon. She was fresh from a bout with a bottle of fragrance. "My, that's lovely," said a gentleman impressed by the scent. "What is it?" "It's perfume," was Barton's proud answer. 9:30 p.m. (Doors open earlier.) Fabulous Satellite Lounge, 3616 Washington, 869-COOL. $8.
Dia de los Muertos There are ofrendas, alters with mementos and offerings for those who have passed, all over this Southwestern town; those who loath crowds should seek them out. Lawndale's seventh annual Day of the Dead celebration is sure to be a big party. Perhaps even too big. A Houston Press Romance Event has added to the festivities. (5:30-7:30 p.m.) After the mixing and mingling of the singles, everybody parties. Costumes are encouraged (by me, at least) and there will be live music and live performances and, for the best show of all, you can slip upstairs and look out over the crowd. Pan de Muertos will be sold, along with other Mexican food and margaritas, beer and wine. 7-11 p.m. (The ofrendas and retablos will remain on display, Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m. 5 p.m.; Sat., noon-5 p.m., through Nov. 5.) Lawndale Art & Performance Center, 4912 Main, 528-5858. Free admission, cash on the barrelhead for food and drink.