Press Picks

thursday
march 7
Lunch with the Education President George Bush is the featured speaker at the annual luncheon of the Institute of International Education. Bush and the missus have been supporters of the IIE and the Fulbright Scholarship program, we're told, since the early '60s. Speaking at the luncheon to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Fulbright program, Bush will address "American Foreign Policy: Past, Present and Future Challenges." We don't have a list of former Fulbrights from Houston who will attend, but Evin Thayer (He's everywhere! He's everywhere!) will show a photo collection of Fulbright Faces featuring portraits of James Dick, Peter Marzio, Dr. Carlos Vallbona and others. 11:30 a.m. Westin Galleria, 5060 West Alabama. For reservations, call 621-6300, ext. 25. $45, $100 and $150 for individual tickets.

Eve Arnold: In Retrospect As a young woman in New York, Eve Arnold took a six-week course in photography at the New School. That was in 1952, and by 1954, she was accomplished enough to be invited to join Magnum Photos, becoming that prestigious picture agency's first American woman member. In the '50s, she covered politics and personalities for glossy American magazines. In the '60s, she went to work for the London Sunday Times. In the '70s, she started publishing books. In Retrospect is the title of her autobiography, what she calls a "tale (with pictures) of an adventure." The show opening today at the Menil has the pictures of that adventure. Another photojournalist, Susan Meiselas, has a Foto Fest show in Richmond Hall at the Menil. "Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History" and "Eve Arnold: In Retrospect" both open with receptions, 6-8 p.m. The Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross, 525-9400. Free.

Romeo and Juliet The Houston Ballet presents a love story that is the love story, and offers an opening night reception for Houston Ballet Bravo!, the young patrons group. Houston Ballet Bravo! members will meet at Renata's (2006 Lexington) for cocktails at 6 p.m. Then they'll be whisked to the Wortham, by Grayline, to attend the opening performance with other, less special ticket holders. The performance may not be as gala as the original opening of the Ballet's production of Romeo and Juliet -- that first performance was the Wortham Theater Center's inaugural production -- but it's still a classic, and done in grand style. Houston Ballet Bravo! will return to Renata's following the ballet for champagne and dessert. Other happy fans are on their own. 7:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Wortham Center, Brown Theater, Texas at Smith, 227-ARTS. For Bravo! information, call Kathy Harper, 523-6300, ext. 234. $10-$75.

friday
march 8
Twilight of the Gods 1996 Houston Symphony Ball The Bugs Bunny cartoon version of opera, Wagner-style, is good, but it fails to accurately represent the German composer. This is something that members of the Houston Symphony League know well, and the Wagner program for tonight's concert and gala celebrates music at its highest levels. German soprano Hildegard Behrens makes her Houston Symphony debut in tonight's concert, and because it might seem odd that a stranger was chosen to sing at the symphony gala, we'll point out that she has worked with Christoph Eschenbach before, at a festival. Internationally acclaimed conductors get around, you know, and meet all the best artists. After the black-tie concert, guests will enjoy dinner and dancing (to music by Peter Duchin and his orchestra) in the Wortham Center Grand Foyer. Concert, 7:30 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-ARTS. $350, $500 and $1,000 for individual tickets; $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000 for tables of ten.

World Wrestling Federation World Tour de Force Symphony balls not your cup of tea? Fear not -- our city is large and contains a multitude of entertainments. Among them are the superstars of the WWF, who are going to grunt and sweat and shake and stomp for the amusement of thousands. Houston's own Ahmed Johnson, Bret "Hit Man" Hart, Diesel, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, the Undertaker and others will "battle it out tooth and drumstick to the final bell." One show only. 8 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-3700. $10 and $13.

Lysistrata Delicate types who are overwhelmed by Romeo and Juliet -- softies who don't like the idea of fussin' and feudin' and who are in a funk because we can't all just get along -- can take heart from Lysistrata. Aristophanes' play is about a classic heroine who tries to end a feud. For reasons of her own, Gypsy Theatre impresario Charlene Hudgins has got the cast in Hee-Haw duds so that this Lysistrata is set not among ancient Greeks, but Hatfields and McCoys. (Real softies maybe be distraught even after this comedy -- if Aristophanes was joking about why we can't all just get along in 411 B.C., and we're still fussin' and feudin', then perhaps there's no hope for our race.) Opening tonight and playing at 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through March 30. Last Concert Cafe, 1403 Nance, 691-7704. $10, show; $20, show and supper.

saturday
march 9
Mega Mess-A-Mania Live Tour How many family events ask everyone to dress "head to toe, in orange or green clothing" and to "wear a green or orange frizzy wig"? I mean, does your family even know where to get green or orange frizzy wigs? (Hint: Southern Importers.) Mega Mess-A-Maniacs are also expected to bring a flashlight and a cleverly designed "pick me" sign. Those lucky enough to be chosen will be Gaked and slimed by Nickelodeon's official Gakmeisters and Slimeologists. Happy Happy Joy Joy! Two shows, noon and 3:30 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-3700. $11.50 and $15.50. Also, a limited number of VIP seats are available, though what VIP means at a Mega Mess-A-Mania show is anyone's guess.

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