Press Picks

Open drum circle and closing reception The "Primitive Streak" show at the Firehouse Gallery is closing with a bang -- actually, hundreds of bangs, and maybe a rim shot or two. Although the primitive streak of the title is a biological term, not anthropological, the artists are asking everyone, especially everyone with a primitive soul, to come out for fun, empowerment, dance and community. The artists are Holly Patterson, David Price, Nancy Kern and Rix Jennings, and knowing them, we suspect the emphasis is more on fun. How fun? Well, at the mid-August opening, "Primitive Streak" was the hottest show in town -- the gallery air conditioning went out, and yet people stayed in the cramped, unventilated space to enjoy the art. Grab something to bang on, and come on out. Paint your face, if some spirit moves you. 6-9 p.m. Firehouse Gallery, 1413 Westheimer, 520-7840.

september 17
Great Tastes of Houston After seven days of Great Tasting, everyone should know, by word of mouth, which of the 44 restaurant booths have the best food, so there's no danger of wasting coupons on a plateful of something that doesn't work as an outdoor dish. Some leading Houston restaurants, while completely trustworthy on their home turf, don't dish up a good meal al fresco. Of course, even if you make some bad picks food-wise, there's satisfying entertainment. Today, for instance, if you hung around all day, snacking, you could hear Bon Ton Mickey and the Zydeco Hot Steppers, Brave Combo, Carolyn Wonderland, Chubby Checker and Marcia Ball, and you could dance off some calories, too. Want serious dancing? Theatre Under the Stars kicks off their 1995 season, and a production of 42nd Street, with Tap, Twist and Taste, an effort at beating the Guinness World Record for the largest assembly of tap dancers in the world. (Tap registration begins at 10:30 a.m., competition at 2:30 p.m.) The weather is, finally, one or two degrees cooler so it's unlikely that Tap, Twist and Taste will get into Guinness by being the largest assembly of tap dancers dropping over from heat prostration. Great Tastes of Houston does not involve baking in the sun, for anyone, and there'll be tents to hide in -- the wine tasters tent, the Borders Book Shop tent and the Silver Platter Dining Tent. At 6 p.m., in the Great Chef's Demo Tent, Raul Arrendondo and the HCCS Culinary Association present a vignette called "The Funniest Kitchen in Town." 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. City Hall. For details, call the hot line, 684-6080. $4; free for children under 12. Bring extra cash for coupons -- $5 for a sheet of ten, with four coupons allowing you a taste of something.

september 18
Name the Oilers Didn't we all learn in elementary school that Tejas means friendly? Wasn't there some propaganda in the big book of Davy Crockett and the Indians about the very name of the state (the boldest and the grandest) being a word for "howdy"? In any case, we're supposed to be a friendly, outgoing people, and in that spirit Pat and Pete's Blues Burgers wants to send the Oilers off to Tennessee with a new, Tennessee-specific name. There have been some suggestions, bad ones, reflecting a poor attitude toward the team. This is not neighborly -- the idea is to thank Tennessee for, maybe, taking Bud's boys off our hands. The idea is also to win, and the prize is a happy hour party for up to 50 friends. Deadline is September 31. Enter early, enter often. Just stop by the store and turn in your notion, complete with your name, address and daytime phone number. While you're there, have a beer and maybe some Hey Heys, their homemade potato chips, with ranch dressing on the side. The winner will be announced November 1. Pat and Pete's Blues Burgers, 311 Travis, 222-7337.

september 19
Julio Iglesias Latin Lothario and sometimes Willie Nelson duet partner Julio Iglesias brings his golden throat and dewy eyes to Jones Hall. Like many of the singers who appear on that stage, Iglesias has an international reputation; unlike many of the singers who appear on that stage, Iglesias has international record sales that Madonna and Michael Jackson eye enviously -- he's won more than 1,500 gold and platinum records worldwide. He's sold more records, in more languages, than anyone in recording history. The Society for the Performing Arts brings the really big star to town as part of their Fiesta de la Hispanidad, and we suggest buying tickets right this minute. 8 p.m. tonight and tomorrow. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-ARTS. $25-$150.

september 20
Wendy Liebman You know her as the skinny girl on the Degree commercial and a voice on Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist; now see her do standup on-stage. Wendy, who is no stranger to television, has signature style -- old-fashioned one-liners jazzed up with a second punch line, this last line muttered as though an afterthought. "I'm a writer," she says, "I write checks ... mostly fiction, some mystery." She claims this style is a result of just hating to hear silence while she's on-stage, that she has to be saying something every second. After ten years in comedy, she's still a little nervous. About everything. On the subject of Dr. Katz, which many Warner Cable subscribers may have never seen, we'll point out that Wendy's cartoon character is herself, and that she insists, vehemently, that she does not look like that. She also says, by the way, that one of her best shows ever was in Dallas. We cannot allow that record to stand. We have several chances to make sure her favorite show was a Houston gig. She opens tonight at the Laff Stop and plays through the week. 8 p.m. The Laff Stop, 1952-A West Gray, 524-2333. $6.50, weekdays and Sunday; $10, Friday and Saturday.

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