Press Picks

february 3
Freedmen's Town Walk-a-Thon As a fundraiser for their organization, and as a Black History Month event, the Freedmen's Town Association is having an early morning walk-a-thon. Walkers will circle Freedmen's Town enjoying the sights, refreshment pit stops and a buffet breakfast at the end. Money raised by the walk-a-thon will be used for education, health care and business development programs in Freedmen's Town and other inner-city neighborhoods. The walk begins at West Dallas and the Gulf Freeway, circles the neighborhood, then returns to the starting point. 7:30-10 a.m. For more information, or to offer support, call the Freedmen's Town Association, 739-9414 or 739-9413.

PFLAG and anti-hate group meeting Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and other organizations devoted to fighting hate crimes will hold a meeting to discuss goals and strategies. 1 p.m. Bering Memorial United Methodist Church, 1440 Harold. For more information, call 995-9777, or e-mail

An Evening with Ossie Davis The Houston-Baytown Employees Association has invited Ossie Davis, actor, writer, director, producer and legend, to speak at its fundraising dinner to benefit the United Negro College Fund. Grammy Award-winning songwriter V. Michael McKay will also appear. Social hour, 6:30; dinner, 7:30 p.m. The Houstonian, Evergreen Room, 111 North Post Oak Lane. For reservations, call the 24-hour reservation line, 457-1190. $50 per person.

An Awfully Big Adventure Hugh Grant's latest is a downbeat coming-of-age drama that vividly evokes the seedy glamour of backstage life in post-World War II Liverpool. Sixteen-year-old Stella (newcomer Georgina Cates) is frightfully determined to establish herself in theater and willingly endures the bitchy authoritarianism of gay impresario Meredith Potter (Grant). Unfortunately, she makes the mistake of falling in love with fading matinee idol P.L. O'Hara (Alan Rickman). Even more unfortunately, O'Hara discovers a dark secret from their shared past that leads to tragedy. But the main attraction here is Grant, gleefully shattering his boyishly romantic image with a flamboyantly nasty portrayal of a petty tyrant who delights in his own cruelty. This film is not having a wide release in our neighborhood (although it is out on video). Your only chance to see it on the big screen is this weekend. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. today and Sunday. The Rice Media Center, Rice University (entrance no. 8 off University), 527-4853. $5, premiere admission.

Symphony Concert benefiting UNCF Jazz great Ramsey Lewis and his trio will join conductor William Henry Curry and the Houston Symphony on the Jones Hall stage for an exciting benefit concert. The College Fund/ UNCF performing arts scholarships will profit from the proceeds. 8 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-ARTS. $10-$40.

february 4
Living Tibet The Yoga Center of Houston and the MFA present the monks of Sera Je Monastery in a program of sand paintings (mandalas), theater and dance arts. During their stay in Houston, the lamas will be available for master classes. They'll also be available to tell students stories about trekking through the Himalayas to escape Tibet, and what it means to be political refugees. Today through February 17, during regular hours, the monks will demonstrate sand painting and sand painting rituals. The Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 526-1361. $3; $1.50, students, children six-18 and seniors; free, children under five. For more information about the special programs, call 524-4572.

New Play Reading Series More grab-bag theater! Country Playhouse presents new work by local writers each Sunday night in February. The fourth annual series begins with Rebecca Burrough's comedy, Behold, an Angel! 7 p.m. Country Playhouse, 12802 Queensbury (Town and Country Village), 784-1750. Free.

february 5
The Beardstown Ladies' Stitch-in-Time Guide to Growing Your Nest Egg The 15 blue-haired old ladies of the Beardstown Ladies' investment club started meeting in 1983. At every meeting, they put $25 in the kitty and planned investments, and they made lots and lots of money and wrote a book, The Beardstown Ladies' Common-Sense Investment Guide. The book was a bestseller, and the ladies became famous, especially Maxine. However, they did not let any of this go to their heads. Instead, they kept writing. Their latest book, the Stitch-in-Time Guide, is as down-home as the first, and full of simple, practical advice about saving money and making sure all the money you save is properly distributed after your passing. Meet these nice ladies from Illinois and buy their book. 7:30 p.m., Borders Book Shop, 570 Meyerland Plaza, 661-2888. Free, though you'll have to pony up $19.95 for the book.

february 6
Why Girls Can't Paint Cows and Other Myths of the Art World Perhaps it's not a very prevalent myth, but it makes for a snazzy rodeo-time title. In conjunction with the "Artgirls of the West" show at the Firehouse Gallery, the Houston Women's Caucus for Art presents a panel discussion. Men and women, Western artists and academics, will speak openly and publicly about women and Western art. Vivian Atwater, art history professor from UH-Clear Lake; Western artist Betty Gates; Susan Hallsten McGarry, editor-in-chief of Southwest Art; and Jack Austin Morris Jr. of Altermann & Morris Gallery are featured speakers. 7-9 p.m. Arrive early because the gallery is tiny. Firehouse Gallery, 1413 Westheimer. For more information, call 520-7840.

february 7
John Singer and the Dummy Company The dummies appearing on-stage with John Singer include Bush and Clinton, and a hairy ape. Singer is a talented ventriloquist who appears with not one or two, but at least a half-dozen dummies. Singer, who's in his sixties, tours the country in a 35-foot motor home with his Dummy Company, competing with young stand-up comics at clubs throughout the country. Tonight, he opens at the Showcase, where he'll play through February 11. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 and 10:15 p.m. Comedy Showcase, 12547 Gulf Freeway. (at Fuqua), 481-1188. $6-$9.

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