Press Picks

july 3
Steve Ribnikar and the Flying Spurs Steve "the Chief" Ribnikar has no truck with country wannabes such as Billy Ray Cyrus. Steve is a roots guy, and he goes back, not just to George Jones but also to Norman Wade and Vernon Oxford -- and he does a few of his own tunes, too. Drugstore cowboys and phony line dancers are unwelcome (unless they're ready and willing to shun the ways of the Anti-Hank and accept the way, the truth and the light of the one true Hank, Hank Williams Sr.) This is, local music lovers are assured by the Chief, a rare opportunity to hear the absolutely real thing. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. The Shakespeare Pub, 14129 Memorial Drive, 497-4625. No cover charge.

july 4
George Ranch Historical Park The cowboy history park and working ranch invites families out for an authentic Victorian-era Texas Independence Day celebration. Expect costumed programs and old-fashioned fireworks. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 30 minutes from the Galleria. Take U.S. 59 south to Crabb River Road, go south and follow the signs. (713) 545-9212. $5.

Freedom of Expression Festival Food, fun and freedom of expression -- but wait! there's more! Art cars, too! Scrawl graffiti, paint, make loud sounds. Eat your barbecue from the Bad Taste Barbecue Grill -- a former Volkswagen converted to a cannibal meat wagon. Real, bona fide artists and nascent artists both are urged to attend. Those between the ages of one and 90 must be clothed, but bathing suits are okay, and they have hoses. This is the grand reopening of the Art Car Park and Museum and a celebration of our inalienable rights as Americans to make fools of ourselves. Noon-midnight. Travis at Pease. For more information, call 869-4656. Free.

The Freedom Festival After the Rockets parade, this might seem less exciting than it would otherwise, but we won't have another parade for a while, so this will just have to do. Yes, patriot pyromaniacs have to be satisfied with the biggest, loudest and most colorful display of fireworks technology in the whole state. That, and music from longtime touring acts such as Steppenwolf and Foghat. For the kids, there are moonwalks (one in the shape of a dragon, the other in the shape of a castle) and a safety-training, 40-foot obstacle course. Also, a clocked pitching booth to test their throwing arms. Food will be all over, with vendors selling everything from snow cones to jerk chicken. The festival site is Buffalo Bayou Park, but the fireworks will be visible all over downtown. Music starts at 4 p.m.; activities wind down around 10:30 p.m. For more information, call 961-2992. No admission charge. Alcoholic beverages, glass of any kind (except, we hope, in eyeglasses), grills, weapons, fireworks, pets, umbrellas and recording devices are strictly prohibited.

1995 Fresca Junior Cycling Championships Under the banner of the grapefruit flavored soda, the best and the brightest of America's junior cycling talent takes to the Alkek Velodrome. Almost 200 cyclists, ages ten to 18, will compete in sprints, time trials, points races and pursuits, and the very best and brightest of them will go on to compete again at the World Junior Cycling Championships in Italy. The championships run through July 9, and while the highly skilled are whizzing around the 330-meter track, ordinary kids, four to 14, can compete in three bike rodeos. (Kids need not bring their own bike; they will, though, need their own safety gear.) Toward the end of the week, there'll be Penny Farthing racing for weird, old-fashioned high-wheeled bikes. All the excitement will mean minor adjustments to the usual cycling and in-line skating schedules at the velodrome. For a complete schedule, call 578-0693. Alkek Velodrome, Cullen Park, between Barker Cypress and Saums Road, 578-0693. Free admission.

july 5
Celebrity shoe collection See the fabulous footwear of a dead president, a living Beatle and a dozen other pairs of shoes of the stars on display right now at Larry's Shoes. Yes, the tasteful Galleria purveyor of quality accouterments for your feet enables you to see what the other half walks in. Ringo Starr's contribution to the collection is a pair of paisley psychedelic high-tops -- silly shoes not nearly as impressive, or intriguing, as the Egyptian-motif sandals formerly worn by Vincent Price. Larry's Shoes president Elliot Goodwin was recently quoted in Inc. magazine explaining why his stores offer anyone who stops in for loafers a chance to gaze at shoes formerly worn by Cher, Joan Crawford or even Rod Stewart. He created the traveling shoe museum, he said, in response to customer demand. See it all summer long. Larry's Shoes, 1703 Post Oak Boulevard, 621-8696.

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