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.
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.
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.
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, orangeinsync.net. $5; $1, seniors.
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.
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.
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.
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.