Press Picks

The Johnsonville Big Taste Grill My how things change. Not too long ago it would have seemed unthinkable that the world's largest touring barbecue grill wouldn't be from Texas, and yet here comes a grill the size of a truck, and it's from Wisconsin! Yes, the world's largest touring grill is from Sheboygan, and it cooks bratwurst. It has, the Johnsonville people boast, "the ability to cook more than 750 brats at a time, or approximately 2,500 an hour." Bratwurst! Pale bratwurst is the meat of choice on such a grill? In any case, you can see it, and the 12 grillmasters who man the flames, at a "brat fry" today, 3-8 p.m. Albertson's, 525 South Fry Road. Free.

Orange Show opens Spring is here, and that can only mean one thing -- seniors singing and dancing at the seasonal opening of the Orange Show. The folk art tribute to the orange and the artist in everyone begins the 1996 season with live entertainment. The Skylarks, a Texas trio, will perform "A Salute to Irving Berlin." The ladies' showcase features singing, dancing and costume changes. Other senior citizens will strut their stuff on the Orange Show stage, video from a senior citizen performing troupe in Kalamazoo, Michigan, will be shown and, finally, the young Men of Houston Morris Dancers will perform. 3-9 p.m. The Orange Show, 2401 Munger, 926-6368, $5; $1, seniors.

march 10
15th Annual K-9 Fun Run Often, dogs are left at home while their owners go out and run -- can you imagine anything worse? Running is a dog's idea of a good time. This unhappy situation is corrected at the Houston Humane Society's K-9 Fun Run. The run comprises a doggone great one-mile run, a one-mile non-competitive dog jog, a one-mile walk and a post-race party with a doggy costume contest and the crowning of the 1996 HHS spokesdog. All run events are broken down into size (dog-size) categories. Registration begins at 6, with the first race off and running at 8 a.m. In Sam Houston Park downtown. Vets will check all dogs to make sure they're fit to run; no puppies under six months or female dogs in heat will be allowed to compete. To register, or for more information, call 433-6421. $20; free, wheelchair entries.

King Lear Over the centuries, Shakespeare has shown as much as anyone that great literature knows no cultural bounds. His works have been performed and reworked by almost every national group across our globe, and most of the time the results have been outstanding. (Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa loved Shakespeare, and his greatest film, Ran, is a version of King Lear, mixed with a little Macbeth.) Now, the Whirlwind Art Group comes to show us Shakespeare in Chinese. The costumes are divine, so if you know the story at all (and if you don't, shame on you) you should be able to enjoy the production. 2 p.m. University of Houston, Cullen Performance Hall (entrance no. 1 off Calhoun), 870-1573. $10.

march 11
Okavango: Africa's Last Eden This is not a Foto Fest show, but confusion is inevitable. All the galleries in town and a slew of other places are papered with high-quality photos, and now here's a whole floor of the Museum of Natural Science decked with 80 glossy prints. These photos were taken by Frans Lanting, 1991 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Whether his subject is a flock of flamingos or a solitary chameleon, his pictures are breathtaking. And most of these were taken in Okavango, the only place left where African wildlife is unaltered by modern man. If these still photos aren't enough, Africa: the Serengeti is now playing in the IMAX theater. Okavango: Africa's Last Eden will be displayed on the second floor mezzanine through June 23. Houston Museum of Natural Science, 1 Hermann Circle Drive, 639-4600. $2; $1.50, kids under 12.

march 12
My Dog Skip Willie Morris, editor of Harper's in the late '60s and early '70s, returned home to Mississippi to heal the wounds he suffered fighting New York's publishing wars, and in the long Delta afternoons he wrote a book. Actually, he's written a bunch of books, but the latest is My Dog Skip, a memoir of his childhood whose hero is the canine Skip. Considering Morris' early career, his work with the likes of William Styron, Larry L. King, David Halberstam and Norman Mailer, and his recent memoir, New York Days, My Dog Skip is a surprising and fun read. It doesn't really stack up against My Dog Tulip, a dog memoir by J.R. Ackerley, but not everyone can write a classic dog book, because sentiment clouds the mind. Of course, that same sentiment clouds the minds of readers, and so almost all dog books are enjoyable for dog people. Today, Morris will sign and read from his book, and dogs from the SPCA service dog program will attend. 7 p.m. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet, 523-0701.

march 13
Moving Vietnam Memorial Bay area veterans have brought the "moving wall" to La Porte. This half-scale model of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., has the names of 58,196 casualties and 1,300 missing in action, including the names of eight female nurses and two male nurses. Other exhibits will be displayed along with the wall. For those who don't anticipate a trip to D.C. in the foreseeable future, this is a wonderful opportunity. The Memorial will be at Sylvan Beach in La Porte through March 19. Prizes for a student art contest will awarded, with ceremony, 5 p.m. For more information, contact Jim Hodges, 473-0880.

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