The Young Beethoven: Music for Winds Ab Koster will perform the Sonata in F Major, op. 17 (1800), paying the valveless horn of the 18th and early 19th century. This entire concert will be played on the type of instruments common in Beethoven's early career. Koster is joined by Paul Dombrecht and his oboe, Eric Hoeprich and his clarinet, Dennis Godburn and his bassoon, John Gibbons on the fortepiano and Norman Fischer and his cello. The program also includes Quintet in Eb Major, op 16 (1797) and Trio in Bb Major, op 11 (1797). 8 p.m. Stude Concert Hall, Rice University (entrance no. 8 off University). Da Camera ticket services, 524-5050. $14-$29.
This is the Sound of My Heart Beth Secor, Houston artist, activist, and friend to children and old folks, presents a new solo exhibition of thrilling, wholesome paintings. In this town, when we see an exhibition of work by kids or senior citizens, odds are good that Secor had a hand in the show. And she used to host poetry slams, instead of presenting her own stuff. This show is of her work only. She likes personal narratives and the minutia of day-to-day life. Opening reception 6-8 p.m. Through April 9. Inman Gallery, 1114 Barkdull, 529-9676.
Carnevale di Venezia and concert The Houston Symphony's annual winter ball will go on as scheduled, despite this clement weather, and will be preceded by a concert. Emanuel Ax is the pianist and Christoph Eschenbach, of course, conducts for a program of Dvorak, Richard Strauss, Mozart and Offenbach. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and is followed, immediately, by the Symphony League's winter ball, Carnevale de Venezia. Those who purchase tickets to the ball may attend a pre-concert reception, the concert and the ball, the last with live entertainment and dance music from the Peter Duchin Orchestra. Concert, Jones Hall; dinner-dance, Hyatt Regency. For tickets and reservations to the concert alone, call 227-2787. $20-$70. For tickets and reservations to the whole shebang, including Carnevale, call 238-1435. $350, $500 and $1,000.
C.S. Lewis On Stage Tom Key's one-man show celebrates medieval and renaissance literature professor and sugary goofball C.S. Lewis. Key dons Oxford duds and reads from Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, Surprised by Joy, Mere Christianity and Letters to an American Lady. Key is, perhaps, no Anthony Hopkins, who portrayed Lewis in Shadowlands, but he's done 120 C.S. Lewis shows and none of them with Debra Winger mooning around. Wine and cheese at 7:30, performance at 8 p.m. Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Avenue, 227-2807. $10.
The Locke Consort More antique music, this from a mostly-from-Amsterdam group that includes a Texas girl, baroque violinist Mimi Mitchell. The Consort's program tonight is entitled "Passion and Division," and includes music by Henry Purcell, Robert de Visee, Arcangelo Corelli and Giovanni Legrenzi. 8 p.m. Christ the King Lutheran Church, 2353 Rice Boulevard. Tickets are available only at the door. For more information, call Anne Pearson at 995-0830, or Paul Mott, 524-9387. $10.
The Boys Next Door Karen Douglas will soon be leaving the Actors Workshop and, for her last show as artistic director, she's indulging herself by presenting a personal favorite, The Boys Next Door. Tom Griffin's play was a huge success off-Broadway, and while the four central characters may not be entirely accurately drawn, this story of retarded men is sincere. It's also sweetly funny. Opening tonight with a champagne reception. Through April 9. 8:30 p.m. The Actors Workshop, 1009 Chartres, 236-1844. Opening night tickets $17.
A World That Is Not Our Own When he was young, Sir Frank Kermode was one of the few students from the Isle of Mann sent to university. His career has gone quite well since then, and now, after a career at Cambridge and Columbia University, he's got a post-retirement gig at UH. This distinguished visiting professor is honored on his 75th birthday, not with cake and paper hats, but with a conference in his name. Kermode's friends and peers will speak at "A World That Is Not Our Own: Concords and Discords in Contemporary Criticism." In the criticism business, Kermode is one rung below God, and seems to have bridged the yawning gulf between academics and more journalistic efforts. His '60s book The Sense of an Ending is the subject of Margaret Doody's talk. The theme is apocalypse as a pervasive mode in culture. Do we seek closure? Or do we just want to see everyone snuffed? (Stephen King's The Stand has an apocalypse theme. So does Golden Days by Carolyn See.) As Kermode did in his book, Doody will talk about why we want to talk about things that would wipe us all out. Then, everyone will have lunch and attend more talks. On Sunday, David Mikics will present Kermode On the Outside Looking In, a discussion of Kermode's The Genesis of Secrecy. That book points out that the Gospel of St. Mark is told in parables, and that Jesus himself says he's talking in parables so some people won't get it. Right now, Kermode is teaching 17th-century poetry and, according to conference organizer Mikics, "It's hard to predict what sort of polemics will occur" at this Kermode fest. He also says the food is going to be pretty good. University of Houston, Hilton, Waldorf Astoria Room (210), 4800 Calhoun, 741-2447. There is no registration fee for this two-day confab on criticism. Parking will cost you $3.
Texas Heritage Day Pack up the kids, pack up a lunch and come on out and stay all day. The whole crew from Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center will be decked out in 19th-century duds and Native American gear, the better to recreate scenes from bygone days. The Redbud Homestead and Akokisa Indian Village will be abuzz with activity -- some crafts for demonstration only, others as activities for all. Other entertainment includes storytelling and music from the North Harris County Dulcimer Society and the Second Sunday Pickers. 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center, 20634 Kenswick Drive, Humble, 446-8588. Free.
Azalea Trail Middle-aged women and little old ladies from all over town will be lacing up their SAS shoes and setting out on the 60th Annual River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail. This means that spring has come to Houston. Tickets for all eight stops along the trail are available at Randall's, The Museum of Fine Arts, nurseries and at two of the gardens: Bayou Bend and the River Oaks Garden Club Forum of Civics Building. For more information, call or stop by the River Oaks Garden Club, 2503 Westheimer, 523-2483. $15.
Record Album Art Collection CDs are too tiny to display much art and, besides, MTV and VH-1 have the visual arts of rock and roll locked up. So where's album art to go? Into galleries, to be sold as collectibles. The Record Album Art Collection is a set of lithographic print plates, each signed by the artist -- which presumably means that the "by Bob Dylan" cover art for Dylan's Self Portrait album is signed by him. There are 23 covers in this show, including odd choices such as 50,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong. Many of the covers included haven't yet been converted into screen savers, and this show has not been seen before in Texas. Opening reception with John Wolf from Arrow 93.7, 1-3 p.m. Through March 25. Fine Toon Cartoon Art Gallery, 2427 Bissonnet, 522-6499.
Robert "Bob" Nesta Marley Festival Organizers expect 150,000 to show up and celebrate Bob Marley's music and message of world peace. This year's theme is "One Love," and is meant as a religious ideal, but might also serve as a reminder for young men. Some young men, when told that as many as 150,000 people will attend, rub their hands together and chuckle, "that's a lot of women!" These young men might consider having just one love, and a little respect. The rest of us are just going to dance. Noon-10 p.m. Buffalo Bayou Park. Parking will be a nightmare; why not go Metro? The festival has no admission charge, but a large part of the profits from food and drink sales is said to go to the Bob Marley Scholarship Fund.
Cancer Counseling Inc. and Candlelighters CCFA cancer patient conference Experts in the field and people who have or have had cancer will gather together to thrash out a few things. Topics will be presented in an expert and sometimes humorous manner. Yes, humorous. One of the worst things about suffering a serious illness is that everyone around you acts grim and somber and serious until you just want to scream. But you can't, because if you scream, people will think you're in terrible pain or hysterically depressed. The only people cancer patients can count on for sure are other cancer patients. One of the topics to be presented in a humorous manner is "healthy psychological and spiritual approaches," although certainly no one would suggest that those who failed to beat cancer died simply because they had the wrong attitude. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Hyatt Regency, 1200 Louisiana. For information or reservations, all 520-9873. $25.
Robin Utterback Not to offend any artists, but one of the nicest things about Hiram Butler Gallery is its tranquil garden. Visit the garden and then step inside for works by Houston perennial Robin Utterback. This exhibition is nine new paintings, all done since his last show at the Contemporary Arts Museum. Art mavens and tyros alike will be entranced by his tumbling rocks and calligraphic webs -- in blurb-speak, what he does looks like Pablo meets Brice (Picasso and Marden, that is). Utterback claims to have used a single batch of paint for this series; a simple examination of the works suggests that this claim is a modest understatement. The gallery is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Show through March 25. Hiram Butler Gallery, 4520 Blossom, 863-7097.
Arsenic and Old Lace South Texas College of Law professor Peter Murphy, who is also president of the Austin County Community Theater, plays troubled nephew Mortimer in the delightful farce, Arsenic and Old Lace. The story, for you cultural illiterates, is about two wacky old ladies who have a special solution for lonely, forgotten men. The solution contains arsenic, and when the hapless old men have imbibed it, a crazy nephew buries them in the cellar (this nephew is not Mortimer; this one thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt digging the Panama Canal). Joseph Kesselring's comedy about euthanasia is presented as a benefit for AIDS Foundation Houston. Theater and good works make for strange bedfellows, so to speak. 8 p.m. South Texas College of Law, Joe M. Green Jr. Auditorium, 1303 San Jacinto, 646-1800. $10.