Press Picks

Bach to Broadway Yum-Yum and Tevye meet at the South Main Baptist Church dessert theater this weekend. The church's musical tradition continues with a two-part program of light opera and show tunes. The Mikado, a Gilbert and Sullivan favorite, opens the show. After the adventures of Yum-Yum and her dear little maids have concluded, a fanciful waitstaff made up of characters from the first and second acts of the program serve dessert. Once the sugar tooths are sated, the audience then settles in for a variety act of Broadway song and dance with numbers from Cabaret, West Side Story, Les Miserables -- and Fiddler on the Roof, which will receive a special tribute. 7:30 p.m. tonight and Friday. South Main Baptist Church, 4100 Main, 529-4167. Tickets must be purchased in advance. $6; $3 children under 12; free childcare for children ages four and under.

Joie de Vivre! A globe-headed comic strip icon and a beauty school dropout -- him from You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and her from Grease! -- meet in the Bering & Friends benefit variety show. All in all, Houston has quite a cast of musical characters on-stage this weekend, what with the show tunes and standards of this production and the light opera and musical numbers at South Main Baptist both going on simultaneously. Joie de Vivre! is arranged around life stages, beginning with childhood, which is portrayed through songs such as "The Book Report" and "Gooch's Song," and running right up to the afterlife, revealed by songs such as "Bless Us All" and "It's Today." The Bering & Friends review is affiliated with Bering Memorial United Methodist Church and the Bering Community Service Foundation; proceeds from this lively potpourri of musical stylings go to fund counseling and other services for people whose lives have been affected by AIDS. 8 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Stages, 3201 Allen Parkway, For tickets, call 526-5846 or e-mail $15; $12 seniors.

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Koosed crazy Paige and Larry Koosed have been churning out carvings, dozens each week, for more than a decade, and are now quite well known in certain circles for their merry hand-painted collectibles. The Kooseds, whose wood carvings have the charm of wizened-walnut and dried-apple people, tend to stick with bucolic themes, carving country doctors and cattle and cats, cats and more cats. Today and tomorrow, the Kooseds, live and in person, will be presenting crates full of their collectibles. We're assured that at this art event any attire is welcome. Dress nicely, though, if you plan to skip over to Ousie's afterward for a meal. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today and tomorrow. Gallery Americana, 3941 San Felipe, 622-6225.

Dead writer, dead paper Eddie Cope has put together a docudrama to celebrate short-story writer O. Henry's 1895 stint with the now defunct Houston Post. Dramatized stories fashioned by Houston attorney/playwright Walter Boyd also add to the mix in Surprise Endings: An Evening with O.Henry. A house that O. Henry, perhaps best known for The Gift of the Magi, rented in San Antonio is open to the public, as part of the Buckhorn and Hall of Fins museum experience at the Lone Star brewery in San Antonio. O. Henry should be better known for The Ransom of Red Chief, which is a) funny and b) telling social commentary. Opens tonight. 8 p.m. Continues Friday and Saturday through September 9. Houston Skyline Theater, Houston House, ninth floor, 1617 Fannin, 759-0701. $10.

Hare, Hare, Krishna, Krishna Quick, tell the boss you're a Hindu and skip out early to celebrate the Hindi/Hare Krishna holiday Janmastami, "The most opulent festival day for devotees," according to our friends at the Hare Krishna Dham. Lord Krishna's Appearance Day is celebrated with singing, dancing, dramas, feasting (yum), chanting (natch) and philosophical discussions. Last year, 5,000 of the faithful sang and danced and feasted, and all those 5,000 and more are invited this year. 6:30 p.m.-midnight. Hare Krishna Dham, 1320 West 34th Street, 686-4482. Free.

Justin World Bull Riding Championship Here in the Republic, we love rugged sport -- monster truck events and bull riding will always draw a crowd. Of course, compared to bull riding, driving monster trucks is relatively easy. Understood engineering principles govern the motion of monster trucks. Bulls are not engineered (not yet, anyway) and they are not easily understood. They are unpredictable, weird-tempered things that can and have injured people. The prize money is, therefore, six figures. Mutton busters, five- to seven-year-old kids under 55 pounds who ride wily and woolly sheep, are competing only for a trophy and new boots. Bull riding and mutton busting are, by the way, open to both males and females. The bull-riding and mutton-busting action is balanced by entertainment from the rodeo clowns who are always entertaining with their death-defying antics, as well as from charro Francisco Zamora, who will demonstrate his equestrian skills and the art of maguey roping (floreo de reata). Three full days of action and entertainment for the family begins tonight at 8 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-3700. $12.50-$23.50; special series ticket packages available.

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Otello The Houston Ebony Opera Guild presents the Verdi version of the tragic Moor's story, that tragic fellow being the fatally jealous lord best-known from Shakespeare's play (in which he spelled the name Othello, but as the Bard also noted, a rose by any other name, etc., etc.). The story line stays the same, with powerful music being added. The tale of Otello and his beautiful Desdemona, and how they can't make a go of their marriage, has an enduring appeal. There are other characters, of course; lots of people enjoy Iago, for example, even though he isn't the center of attention. They follow him slipping around causing trouble, enjoying his covetous mischief. Or they like Iago because poor Otello is almost too tragic; identifying with him is uncomfortable. The guild's superb singers are sure to present a collection of rich and compelling performances. The opera is sung in Italian, with English narration, and this free show by a fine musical company is a rare treat -- and even more rare, this is a chance to be uplifted and culturally edified while soaked in insect repellent. 8:30 p.m. tonight and Sunday. Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park. Call 520-3290 or 721-8647. Free.

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