Press Picks

thursday
april 13
Images of Vanishing Nature In some circles, the topic of dying species can generate much controversy. For others, the issues involved are more exotic, more distant. However, the Museum of Natural Science, in hosting the premiere showing of this exhibit of wildlife art, shows us that several Texas species, too, are in danger of extinction. The point of this exhibit, assembled by the Endangered Species Media Project, is to bring attention to the plight of these local and not so local animals, among them the prairie falcon, the mountain gorilla and the ubiquitous -- for an endangered species -- baby harp seal. Through September 24, then the display, featuring works by world-famous wildlife artists, sets off for a tour of North America. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Houston Museum of Natural Science, 1 Hermann Circle Drive, 639-4600. Exhibit free with museum admission: $3, adults; $2 children under 12.

Call a Doc Over the last 20 years, the medical community has recorded an 11 percent increase in disease and death among America's adolescents. The factors believed to be primarily responsible are the mainstays of public service announcements and after-school specials: substance abuse, sexuality and pregnancy, victimization, psychological disorders and suicide, and violence and trauma. The Harris County Medical Auxiliary wants to put these numbers in check by spreading information, and doctors will reach out tonight in a format most familiar to teens: the telephone. Teens and their parents can call with any health-related questions from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. The number is 529-TEEN, which any other time of the year is staffed by Teenline volunteers to help teens with common adolescent problems.

Gator gastronomy City dwellers may not realize that just 40 miles or so east of downtown there are areas where the alligator population outnumbers the local citizenry. Fortunately for the locals, these beasts pretty much keep to themselves. At the Houston Zoo, however, the reptiles bask in the spotlight. Zoo-goers are invited to feast their eyes on the gators' first public feeding of the year at 2 p.m. today; the menu opts for chicken over such delicacies as, say, beef lung. Of course, alligator tastes a lot like chicken, only chewier. April is National Zoo Month, and guests arriving between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekends will receive free activity packets. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Houston Zoological Gardens, Hermann Park, 1515 North MacGregor, 525-3300. $2.50, $2 seniors, 50 cents for children.

friday
april 14
Passion Walk St. Matthew Lutheran Church recreates the last days Christ spent on earth on this Good Friday. The reenactment begins with Christ's entry into Jerusalem, then continues as he is betrayed by Judas and led to trial before Pontius Pilate. The audience is then invited to participate in the Passion Walk to the foot of the cross. 6:30 p.m., followed by a Tenebrae service. All events take place on the church property, 5315 Main, between Main and Fannin, 526-5731. Free.

The Blue Exile The Rice Media Center and the Houston International Festival kick off a salute to Turkey with a series of five modern films shown in a language few Houstonians will understand. No worry, there are subtitles. Tonight's feature is The Blue Exile (Mavi SYrgYn) and stars Hanna Schygulla, who has appeared in numerous films including the German-language tragedy Effi Briest and the English-language mystery Dead Again. This multitalented actress plays an actress in this tale of a Turkish journalist sentenced to exile for an article critical of death sentences for deserters. Along the way, the movie delves into past relationships with the father the journalist may have murdered, his foreign wife and his youthful mother. New Turkish Cinema continues through April 20. 7:30 p.m. Rice Media Center, Rice University (entrance no. 8 off University Boulevard), 527-4853. $5.

saturday
april 15
Easter Fest '95 Go sumo for Easter. It's not the traditional celebration, but all should be well as long as the wrestlers don't waddle over any of the Easter eggs. Organizers say this KRBE/104 FM-sponsored Easter event is the city's largest, and thousands of people are expected to crowd Memorial Park for an egg hunt, photos with the Easter Bunny, face painting, karaoke, moonwalking, a magic show, a petting zoo, carnival games and, of course, the sumo wrestling. There's also human bowling. Let's hope some Fred Flintstone wannabe doesn't hop his lane and strike down the joggers across the street. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Memorial Park, 6501 Memorial Drive at North Picnic Lane, 266-1000. Free admission; food, beverage and activity coupons are nine for $5. Proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House.

Easter festival and egg hunt Why is it that the bunny is the star of Easter celebrations when it's really the chicken that does all the work? In just this one event alone, more than 30,000 eggs will be hidden in the midst of the grass and wildflowers at First United Methodist Church. That's a lot of Paas, or, perhaps, a lot of plastic. Apparently, a goose or two was put to work as well, as special prizes will be awarded to those children finding those elusive golden eggs. In any event, egg hunters will set out at 10:30 a.m.; when their baskets are full, they'll return for the usual festivities -- face painting, petting zoo, train rides and more. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. First United Methodist Church, 3663 Westcenter Drive, 652-2999, extension 312. Free.

Performance Art Madness Kelli Scott-Kelley, whose video performance piece Plantationland earned her local acclaim and who participated in the Contemporary Arts Museum's exhibit, "Texas: Between Two Worlds," is now teaching the only performance art class of its kind locally at Houston Community College. Her students in Central College's performance art class have been busy at work developing a number of diverse and provocative multimedia pieces, and now, under the direction of Scott-Kelley, these works will be performed in public for the first time. This is very personal art, as several of the students' pieces are autobiographical and explore issues of the self. 8 p.m. Zocalo Theater, 5223 Feagan, 861-2442. $3 donation suggested.

This Little Pyggie This world premiere is described as a fairy tale in a queer-punk-slacker groove. Intrigued? Houstonian K. David Cochran's story concerns a Pygmalion-esque relationship between a rich, suburban teaching assistant and trailer trash from Waller. The yuppie, Dale, is, perhaps, less crusty than Henry Higgins; we suspect that to be just one of the differences between the story line of the Shaw classic and this new work. Scott Guidry is Rocky, the street punk who is struggling to survive, and Ken Morris is Dale. Cochran, who originally wrote this piece for film, also plays a character named Morris and is responsible for the lighting. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights, Sundays at 5 p.m., through April 30. Kuumba House, 3414 LaBranch at Holman, 525-5960. $12, discounts for students, seniors and groups.

sunday
april 16
Luisa and the Rainbow Street Band The popular children's entertainer is said to possess a rare vitality and charm. She will use these special gifts today as she and her band lead a sing- and dance-along concert at The Orange Show. Her charms may well be put to the test, too; as Luisa entertains, Orange Show folks will carry out their tradition of hiding oranges and toys around the grounds and curious children may try to sneak a peek. The bilingual performance begins at 1 p.m., the orange hunt immediately follows. The Orange Show, 2402 Munger, 926-6368. Admission $1, parents admitted free.

monday
april 17
Houston Coca-Cola Open '95 Some may be tempted to stay indoors today and scarf down the leftover Easter candy. The oversized chocolate Easter bunny can wait. Instead, take a gander at the final day of competition in the Houston Coca-Cola Open '95 tennis tournament. This is the nation's largest weekend tennis tournament; of course, we like to do things big in Texas. Since Friday, 2,400 tennis buffs -- from the hit-'n'-giggle player to the serious competitor -- have aced, lobbed and smashed their way through 66 events at 15 different sites. Those who've made their way through the field finish up today at the Southwest Tennis Center. And if you're thinking about taking that gooey rabbit with you, then take a lesson from Seinfeld's George Kastanza: sweets and tennis don't mix. Southwest Tennis Center, 9506 South Gessner, 772-0296, or call the Houston Tennis Association at 973-7636. Matches begin around 9 a.m. and last throughout the day. Viewing is free.

tuesday
april 18
An Evening at the Menil Everyone lambada! Merengue! Houston-based, but Venezuelan-style, band Sentir is sure to light a fire under art patrons at this fifth annual Da Camera gala. The Latin-themed evening begins with a cocktail reception and silent auction featuring art work from Holly Newton Swift, McKay Otto, Jim Robertson, Roy Hanscom, D. Ainslie Ellington and J. Hill. Then everyone will settle into their seats for a buffet dinner à la Churrascos and music provided by classical guitarist Miguel Antonio. Thereafter, Sentir pulls out the bongos, the conga, the timbales and the horns. After that, who knows? This band is hot. At least Carl Herrera of the once-hot Houston Rockets, and a native of Venezuela, thinks so; it was with Herrera's help that Sentir completed its first album, From Houston to the World. Festivities begin at 7 p.m. The Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross, 524-7601. $300, $100 for youngsters (under 35).

Pin Oak Charity Horse Show This year celebrates the 50th anniversary of this, one of Houston's premier events. During its history, the Pin Oak show has topped 70,000 spectators; though attendance has waned at times, events this year should be right on track. Literally. The event that started out in 1945 at the Pin Oak Stables and later moved to the Southwest Equestrian Center will take place this year at the Sam Houston Race Park. The opening event, the black-tie Symphony of Horses Gala, begins at 6:30 p.m. in the exclusive Jockey Club. The dinner and dancing is preceded by the Houston Youth Symphony's salute to show entries. Equestrian competitions start Wed- nesday and continue through April 23. All kinds of horses and ponies compete. Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West, 224-7171. $150-$500, gala tickets; $3, general admission to opening night show. General admission to subsequent equestrian events is $3.

wednesday
april 19
Meet the Rosenkavalier Opera buff Ann Thompson leads a noon tour of illustrations of the original costume designs and other documentary material from the 1911 world premiere of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, which debuted at the Semper Opera in Dresden, Germany. This bedroom farce is said to be distinctly 18th century; costumes included buckle shoes, powdered wigs, lace-up white tights ... and that was just the men. After Thompson lends insight and anecdotes to the works on display in the Grand Foyer of the Wortham Center, she will host a group luncheon at a nearby restaurant. Thompson is quite knowledgeable on the topic of Strauss and is also conducting a series of lectures comparing Rosenkavalier's characters to counterparts in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. These events are sponsored by the Goethe-Institut to complement the Houston Grand Opera's opening of Der Rosenkavalier on April 21. Wortham Center, 500 Texas Avenue, 528-2787. Exhibit tour and lectures are free.

Symphony Scores Tonight kicks off two and a half weeks of parties in the name of the Houston Symphony Ima Hogg National Young Artist Competition. Notable Houstonians will open up their homes, their boats and their businesses for shindigs of varying magnitudes, hosting parties and dinners with an international flavor. Tonight the theme is "Music and the Maestro," and ticket holders will begin the adventure with cocktails at the Four Leaf Towers home of Houston Symphony conductor Christoph Eschenbach, then move about the building for salads and entrees, concluding the evening with dessert in the company of hosts Ermy and Gordon Bonfield. Proceeds provide young artists the opportunity for a solo instrumental performance with the Houston Symphony. Tickets for the various gatherings range from $25 to $750; a mere $500 gains you admittance to "Music and the Maestro." For more information, call 238-1435.

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