Bud invites you The trendy appeal of microbreweries is all well and good, but let's not forget that we have a macrobrewery in town. Budweiser offers tours of their brew hall, packaging lines and carefully landscaped outdoor gardens. And, yes, the sight of hundreds of beer bottles whizzing along the packaging lines may inspire visitors to sing the Laverne & Shirley theme song. This is only natural. Brewery tours also offer a chance to develop a newfound respect for century-old Budweiser traditions and a chance to buy licensed Bud merchandise. (The brewery is conveniently located near another local sight, the burnt rubble from the Houston Distribution Inc. warehouse fire -- a sight that might serve as a useful caution for those who have cookouts planned for the summer.) Tours offered 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, year-round, weather permitting. Budweiser Brewery, 775 Gellhorn, 670-1695. Free.
First Friday 20th Anniversary Many featured poets and spoken word performers from the last two decades -- and new friends, too -- will give poetry readings at this super-special First Friday 20th Anniversary Celebration. First Friday is a poetry reading with a long and colorful history. The readings had been held in soup kitchens and between the hallowed concrete walls of The Orange Show before finally finding a home at the Firehouse Gallery. Typically, on the first Friday of every month, a featured local or traveling poet declaims before the floor is cleared for an open reading. Tonight's is a bigger show, and we expect the atmosphere will be so thick with nostalgia that you could cut it with a knife. 8:30 p.m. The Firehouse Gallery, 1413 Westheimer, 521-3519. Free.
Calling Metropolis A new, highly referential comedy by Houston playwright Sean K. Thompson, presented with a generous supply of ninjas and a special appearance by Bobo the kitten. This satire of superheroes is said to be two hours of wholesome family entertainment. Opening Friday, July 7, and continuing through August 8. Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. Fort Bend Community Theater (which is, in fact, inside the Houston city limits in Westwood Mall), Bissonnet at the Southwest Freeway, 981-1866. $6; $4 for children.
12 Minutes Max DiverseWorks presents a showcase of performance art with none of the acts lasting longer than 12 minutes. The time limit is a tease if any of the performances happen to be intriguing, and a blessed relief if the performances become tedious, obvious or self-indulgent. Ellen Fullman, Michelle Engleman, Teresa O'Conner, Gerald Pennywell, Tina Marsh and a special surprise guest are all on the performance roster. 8 p.m. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway (I-10 at North Main), 223-8346. $10; $5 students.
Ants at a Picnic Most people make every effort to avoid the dreadful insects, but Barbra Taylor would like to have ants at her picnic. The naturalist is giving a talk about carpenter ants, velvet ants, leaf cutter ants and that old Texas nemesis the fire ant, and she would like to have live specimens to display. Really. Unfortunately, the little buggers don't travel well and they don't come cheap. So instead, she'll show slides of ants, at many times their actual size, in the cool nature center. Insect fans and the generally curious ages ten and up are invited to the presentation. 10-11:30 a.m. Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, 20634 Kenswick Drive, Humble, 446-8588.
Neo-Dada: Redefining Art 1958-62 If the kids have been poring over the Fluxus Codex and are ready to learn more about pop, nouveau realisme, happenings and other schools spawned by the Dada works of Marcel Duchamp and Kurt Schwitters, this show is just the ticket. Moreover, Neo-Dada is heavy into found objects, something especially relevant in Houston, where the use of found objects is popular. Today's opening will have a special celebration of Neo-Dadaism, in keeping with what our friends at CAM call "Texans' persistent appreciation for non-conventional attitudes toward art making." The show continues through September 10. Contemporary Arts Museum, 5216 Montrose, 526-0773. This is a free family event.
Introductions '95 The Houston Art Dealers Association has a plot to drag you into the wonderful world of art appreciation, and art buying. Introductions '95 comprises 17 gallery openings (with 28 galleries participating) and a party with entertainment and door prizes donated by the Alley, the Post Oak Grill, Hermes and Aeromexico. The openings focus on artists who haven't had significant exposure in Houston, with "significant" being the key weasel word here. Not all the artists are completely new and unknown. Still, according to HADA, "the art presented ... is moderately priced to encourage potential new collectors to begin building their art collections." For information on participating galleries, see Art Exhibits in Thrills. The post party is 7-10 p.m. HESS Building, 3121 Buffalo Speedway. For advance tickets, visit a participating gallery. $10 per person, cash bar.