Press Picks

january 26
Pro-Choice Luncheon Those who've been missing Nina Totenberg since Anita vanished from CNN will be heartened by this news: Nina's in town. The NPR legal affairs correspondent will speak at our local Planned Parenthood's annual Pro-Choice Public Affairs Luncheon. This is the seventh such event, celebrated on the very day the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down by the Supreme Court. Totenberg's topic was not advertised; perhaps she'll talk about terrorism. This event begins at the very civilized hour of noon. Galleria Ballroom, Westin Galleria, 5060 West Alabama. For reservations, call 831-6519. $40 individual, $100 sponsor, $1,000 table.

Endocrinologist offers excuses Hey, what some call sloth could be an actual, legitimate medical condition. Really! Cheer up; you're not lazy, you're sick. You haven't gained weight from overeating, your thyroid is all out of whack. Any niggling little symptoms are signs of complex, but probably treat-able, thyroid trouble. Well, they could be. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are both thyroid disorders, disorders that can be held accountable for weight gain, tiredness, weight loss, nervousness and a host of other genuine symptoms often misunderstood and cited as one's personal flaws. Dr. A. Mario Coscia will talk about the symptoms and causes of thyroid disease and tell how area hospitals are offering $5 thyroid screenings throughout the month of January. The convenient screenings set up by the Houston Thyroid Awareness Coalition will make things hard for hypochondriacs,butsufferersof Munchhausen's Syndrome may find a way to fail the blood tests. The lecture will be 7-8 p.m. Sun Room, Bellaire Hospital, 5314 Dashwood. Free. For reservations, call 669-4262. For information about screenings, call (800) TEST-THS.

Porgy and Bess Houston Grand Opera was the first company to put on Porgy and Bess as an opera, and not a minute too soon. The 1976 production came 40 years after Gershwin wrote it. That coup was extremely successful -- the HGO production won a Tony and a Grammy, set a record for a week's gross on Broadway and wowed 'em in foreign capitals. As David Gockley, current HGO director, puts it, "I have longed to take another crack at Porgy." This year's production is jazzed up with choreography by Hope Clarke, a former Alvin Ailey dancer. The first night is a benefit for Texas Southern University; a benefit, and yet tickets are at bargain rates. 7:30 p.m. Brown Theatre, Wortham Center, 500 Texas. For details or reservations, call 527-7097, 527-7098 or 639-1802. Prices for this benefit performance only: $10-$110, all tax deductible.

january 27
Harlem Globetrotters Take heart, Turbo fans, Globie is in town. Globie is the new mascot for the Harlem Globetrotters. The Globetrotters have gone along for, oh, some 70 years without the lovable imp, but he's here now, and ready to entertain all the little children. And dance to the Globetrotter song, "Sweet Georgia Brown." In a nod to family values, this tour's theme is "Salute the Family." Take the whole family to see the basketball tricksters. An autograph session follows the basketball exhibition. 7:30 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-3700. $9.50. $12 and $14. $2 discounts for seniors and children under 12.

Houston Symphony -- British conductor, Canadian pianist British born Raymond Leppard has led or played in orchestras around the world and is currently the music director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. His having a steady job is something of a surprise -- he never seems to settle on anything. He's spent enough time in the studio to make 150 recordings, and somewhere along the line he's resurrected the operas of Monteverdi and Cavalli, written books and spent time in academia. This weekend, he comes to Jones Hall to conduct a program of showoff symphonic favorites. The Houston Symphony is also joined by Canadian pianist Louis Lortie, who's never played in Houston before. Since he was teen, Lortie has won many prizes, and he is very intense for a Canadian. Concerts at 8 p.m. tonight and Monday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-ARTS. $10-$50.

Road Alan Clarke, again. This 1987 film is from a successful play by Jim Cartwright. However, Clarke's unique style is present in every frame. A group of bitter, unhappy young adults -- the women have hairdos and the men wear ties -- tramp around and drink too much and are poised between despair and ... something that could as easily be hope as denial. Those who saw Jane Horrock's work in Sweetie will be floored by her performance here. She has a long monologue, a bitter, insightful examination of every single horrible, filthy detail of her horrible, filthy existence. The women in this film work all week to save up to buy ugly clothes with which to attract oafs who drink too much, make rabid, brief gropes in alleyways and then puke. The poor women don't even seem to enjoy their cigarettes. The film does not, however, end so plainly tragic. It ends with a group of friends flush with inspiration and considering alternatives to their nasty little lives. Whether this resolve is the beginning of new lives for our heroines, or just a cruel trick of youthful hormones, is not said. Road is part of a double feature with Christine, the story of a middle-class drug dealer. Road begins at 8, Christine 9:15 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7515. Double feature $6.

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