Holiday Trees Those who haven't visited the Museum of Natural Science since the butterfly center was opened aren't likely to recognize the old place, and now it's changed again. Groups from around town have decorated trees that stand in the entry hall and are on view even to those who haven't paid admission. Some of the trees are scientific. "A Christmas Display of Shell Mosaics," trimmed with Sailors' Valentines, was created by the Houston Conchology Society to complement the shell mosaics in the Strake Hall of Malacology; the museum guild's "2000 -- Shoot for the Stars" tree wears stars and other celestial objects that are like the heavenly bodies celebrated in the planetarium. Other trees, such as the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center kids' tree, are whimsical. The Ukrainian-American Cultural Club has decorated its tree in a traditional, old-fashioned style. The trees will remain in the museum until January 3. Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, noon-6 p.m. Houston Museum of Natural Science, Hermann Park, 639-4600. $2; $1.50 kids.
Metamorphosis: An Evolution of Motion Dance from hip-hop to ballet inspired by music as diverse as the soundtrack from The Lion King will be performed by students of the University Dance Theatre/University of Houston. These students have choreographed the dances to be presented and also performed a much more difficult task: they've produced the show. 4 p.m. University of Houston, no. 230 Melcher Gym, on Holman near the Hofheinz Pavilion, 743-9842. $2.
Go Finals It ain't Pente, and the Atari company got its name from this not-at-all-simple game of stones and straight lines ("atari" being one of the possible situations in Go). The weekend has been devoted to the pleasant tinkling of the stones used in this ancient Chinese war game. After two days of star points, bamboo joints, horses' heads, monkey jumps, joseki and oitoishi, players in the "Dan" rank are ready for the last day of the Eighth North American Fujitsu of Japan Qualifying Go Tournament. Two of the highest-ranked U.S. players, Michael Redmond and Janice Kim, will be playing. Slightly less fierce players will compete on the last day of the Houston Go Club's Fall Tournament. This 4,000-year-old game has always been popular in China and has been played in Japan for at least the last century. Now, it's your turn. The Houston Go Club invites everyone to see the final day of play, and the club's public relations director says, "new members are always warmly welcomed." (If you're too chicken to play strangers face-to-face, check out the Internet Go Server, where there's always a game going.) Houstonian Hotel, 111 North Post Oak Lane. For more information, call Andrew Kochis, 486-5459. Free.
The Housing Crisis: How Will Houston Respond? The subject isn't empty apartment buildings, which is many a former real estate ace's bust-days nightmare. No, the Rice Design Alliance, fresh from their fabulous Sheetrock Around the Clock ball, is sponsoring a panel discussion on housing for low-income families. Boldly, they have put Allen Parkway Village on the agenda (Lenwood Johnson is one of the speakers), and the focus of the evening will be on how to house people even as federal funds disappear and local agencies, public and private, become responsible for providing affordable lodging. Sociologists, economists, architects and planners will all offer their diagnosis and suggest solutions. We suppose you could ignore this discussion; we suppose you could ignore both it and the housing problem and still go to bed with a clear conscience and sleep like a child. We suggest, however, that rather than sit at home grousing at CNN you attend this lecture for two novel experiences. One, you will see people more frustrated than you are. And, two, you will have to think about things which don't directly and immediately affect you. What a hoot! 7:30 p.m. Rice University, Sewall Hall, rm. 302 (entrance no. 2 off Main), 524-6297. Free.
Mike Pogue Experience the magic of "Mikeism, Mikeism, Mikeism," line drawings and cartoon art, at Funk Art.Poguesays,"Truckers Welcome." Through December 23. 2439 Bissonnet, 527-9100.
Paul Driscoll Before becoming overwhelmed, even nauseated, with "holiday magic," why not enjoy an evening of Las Vegas magic? Billed as "Houston's own skyscraper of magic and comedy," towering Texan Paul Driscoll is 6 feet 9 inches. The most amazing thing about Driscoll, though, is that he has come up with a new way to honor the King. While trashy people claim to have seen Elvis' sideburned countenance at Burger King and the Weekly World News publishes unretouched photos of his meetings with aliens, Paul Driscoll alone has tried to give the Memphis messiah what he needs right here and now. Elvis is dead (since 1977, get over it) and yet he lives in Driscoll's "Velvis" tribute. The spirit of the King is magically evoked via a velvet Elvis painting. Elvis, you know, was a huge fan of Andy Kaufman. Don't you think he'd have liked "Velvis"? Magic Island, 2215 Southwest Freeway, 526-2442. $24.95.