Press Picks

thursday
may 9
MFA Spring Sale Antique Turkish urns, handcrafted burl-wood boxes and other fine items from the museum store must go, and some prices are reduced as much as 75 percent! We are told that the charming clay couple -- a pair of anatomically correct, foot-high statues coveted by many museumgoers -- are not marked down, and we're very sorry. But with the money you save on other art items, maybe you can afford $240 for the pair. The sale continues during regular store hours, through Sunday. Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7300. You need not pay museum admission to attend the sale.

Harleys, horses and barbecue SIRE (Self Improvement Through Riding Education) offers disabled kids a chance to ride horses, and the group's annual dance/auction ranks as one of Houston's more high-spirited fundraisers. Bidders compete for high-end items like golf packages and vacations, and Jerry Lightfoot and the Essentials provide dance music. Mancuso Harley-Davidson and the Houston Area No. 1 Harley Owners Group are the proud sponsors. Dinner, 67:30; dancing, 7:30 p.m.midnight. Tin Hall, 14800 Huffmeister. For reservations, call Harla Kaplan, 840-1536. $15.

Women's Center Spring Gala The Houston Area Women's Center spends most of the year dealing with grim and sobering women's issues, but HAWC directors have noticed that grim and sobering statistics win fewer patron dollars than lighthearted, quality entertainment. And so the group that brought you "Funny Women" and "Funny Men" presents yet another funny fundraiser: "Funny Politics." The Capitol Steps, former congressional staffers now on the spoofing circuit, are the main attraction at tonight's gala. Expect them to sing the likes of "Thank God I'm a Contra Boy!" "Fools on the Hill" and "A Whole Newt World." 6 p.m. Hyatt Regency Downtown, 1200 Louisiana. For tickets, call Lara, 528-6798, extension 228. $125.

Kiss-a-Pig Curly-tailed bacon producers were one of the first sources of the insulin upon which diabetics depend, and tonight, in a show of appreciation, local celebs such as Judge Andrew Jefferson and Annette Gonzales will compete for the honor of smooching a porcine snout. Proceeds benefit the Texas Affiliate of the American Diabetes Association. 7 p.m. Texas Medical Center Conference Center, 2151 West Holcombe. For tickets or more information about the American Diabetes Association, call 977-7706. $35$100.

friday
may 10
God Has Ninety-Nine Names Most people, even well-educated, broad-minded people, shy away from discussing Islamic fundamentalism and Arabic politics, but Judith Miller has written a whole book on the subject. In God Has Ninety-Nine Names: Reporting from the Militant Middle East, she draws on her experience as a former New York Times Cairo bureau chief and special correspondent during the Gulf War to explore the wide variety of societies in the Middle East, the prospects for peace and the region's threats to the rest of the world. The Institute of International Education presents Miller as a guest speaker at a special luncheon. Noon. Westin Galleria, 5060 West Alabama. For tickets, call 621-6300, extension 39. $25.

Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun? The Houston Area Urban League's annual meeting will address the late Reginald Lewis' question. Loida Lewis -- her husband's successor as chairman and CEO of TLC Beatrice International Holdings Inc. -- is the guest speaker, and all attendees will receive a copy of Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun: How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion Dollar Empire. 11:30 a.m.1 p.m. Wyndham Warwick Hotel, 5701 Main. For reservations, call 759-9400. $35.

Yogi to the Stars Perhaps, while watching the Oscars show or some quality adfotainment on E!, you noticed that Jamie Lee Curtis, Susan Sarandon or Chris Penn looked especially limber and toned. "My," you may have mused in wonderment, "I'll bet Chris Penn does some sort of program involving a unique and purposeful blend of 26 hatha yoga poses to stay in shape like that, but how can I, the average squid, learn and practice such a thing?" Well, you can practice such a thing by making a schedule and sticking to it -- that's all up to you. And you can learn such a thing from Bikram Choudhury, "Yogi to the Stars." No snob despite his impressive client list, Choudhury says, "Yoga is for everyone. There is no such thing as old and infirm. I continue to tell people the same thing even if they are 101 years old -- put on your leotards and get to work." The Yoga College of India, the only Houston school offering Choudhury's style, presents the master in a lecture, demonstration and class. 7:309:30 p.m. (There's a master class Saturday. Call for details.) Sheraton Astrodome Hotel, Alamo Room, Kirby at Loop 610. For tickets, call 664-5333 or 871-8540. Lecture and demonstration, $15; master class, $50; tickets to both sessions, $60.

Ambuya's Gift Distraught by the post-International Festival lack of African dance in Houston? Cheer up: the Kuumba House spring concert features a work by choreographer Clayton Ndlovu, a native of Zimbabwe and artist-in-residence at Kuumba House. The titular Ambuya is a fairy-godmother type who helps a young girl, an outcast because she can't shake her tail feather, trip the light fantastic or do a Cajun waltz. Naturally, the former outcast becomes the King's favorite. Performances tonight and tomorrow night, both 8 p.m., DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. For tickets, call 524-1079. $10; $5, students and seniors.

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