Press Picks

thursday
june 13
George Lopez The hot Los Angeles comic has a three-day gig here, and if you can't catch his act, you can pick up his new CD, Alien Nation. All weekend, the hard-working, socially conscious Lopez presents his pro-Latino gags, stuff universal enough to earn high ratings on Showtime. Tracy Brown, a talented local comic, is the opening act.8 p.m. tonight; 8 and 10:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat. The Laff Stop, 1952 West Gray, 524-2333. $12.

If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem Two actresses celebrate the Golden City in an evening of prose, poetry and song. Anna Cropper, an Englishwoman and a Christian, and Dalia Friedland, an Israeli Jew, share their own stories and the works of Yehuda Amichai, Byron, Shen Mah and Mark Twain. 7:30 p.m. Jewish Community Center, Kaplan Theatre, 5601 South Braeswood, 729-3200, extension 3231. $8.

Punchface: A Three-Part Puppet Serial This week brings Chapter Two in the continuing misadventures of Punchface, a puppet whose antics are not intended for children. This week, according to author, puppeteer and bad influence Joel K. Orr, "Dr. De Generiste out-evils himself. Papa is even less comprehensible. Punchface resigns to a life of dereliction. The Tumor returns." Unwholesome in the extreme. 10 p.m. Brasil, 2604 Dunlavy, outdoor patio, 528-1993. Free.

friday
june 14
Boogie Woogie Aesop Express Theatre for children concludes its season with a zoot-suited look at the stories of a sage slave of the sixth century, B.C. Lion-centric fables are featured in this ragtime musical -- the story of the lion and the deer, the lion and the fox and the lion and the mouse. In this way poppin' kids show, the mouse is a lady and wears long satin gloves. Tonight's opening is followed by a reception. Opening, 7 p.m. (Subsequent shows listed in Thrills, Kids, On-Stage.) The Children's Museum of Houston, 1500 Binz, 759-1314. $5.

ComedySportz The improv comedy troupe offers a "Tribute to Dadz." The perfect gift because, CSZers say, "He'll enjoy the wackiness while he relieves all that fatherly tension by yelling out his suggestions" -- suggestions to the improv actors, you'll be relieved to hear, and not to you. 8 p.m. Treebeards, 315 Travis. For info, call 521-2226. $8; free for dads, though ComedySportz reserves the right to levy an "ugly tie" surcharge.

Ricky Van Shelton Renaissance man Ricky Van Shelton -- an award-winning country singer, pilot and children's book author (the popular "Quacker" series) -- has returned from his creative sabbatical and is touring again. Tonight, after six concert-free months, Van Shelton will sing hits such as "Somebody Lied," "I'll Leave This World Loving You" and "I Am a Simple Man." 8 p.m. Houston Arena Theatre, Southwest Freeway at Fondren. For tickets,call Ticketmaster,629-3700. $15.50$22.50; $1, parking.

saturday
june 15
Juneteenth in Galveston: History Tour Reservations are required for this bus tour of significant sites in Galveston's African-American history. The Galveston Historical Foundation will also provide each tourist a copy of Black Galvestonians, a who's who of important local folk. 11 a.m. Departing from Old Central Cultural Center, 2627 Avenue M, (409) 765-7834. $5, book included.

Juneteenth in Galveston: Celebrations The tall ship Elissa will be open to the public, and so will the rest of the Texas Seaport Museum. All day long, choirs, jazz and African-American cultural groups will provide live entertainment, and refreshments will be available. In a nod to the solemn nature of the holiday, at 1 p.m. Alex Pratt of the College of the Mainland will present a program on the history of Juneteenth. 10 a.m.8 p.m. Pier 21, Harborside Drive between 21st and 22nd streets, near the Strand, (409) 763-1877. Free.

Juneteenth at the George Ranch Historical Park Missouri City artist Tony Sherman, author of The Black Cowboy, is one of the co-chairs for this event, and he brings his scholarship to bear on many of the black-proud ranch displays, vignettes and performances -- including a reenactment of a broomstick wedding and an appearance by Buffalo soldiers. Along with traditional cowboy demonstrations -- roping, riding and wrangling, and a pony ride for the kids -- the celebration will feature live gospel music and blues. "Family Ties" is the theme for this event, so load everyone into the car and come out for this holiday barbecue. Did we mention the show by the Charles Gilpin Players? The griot? 10 a.m.7 p.m.; rodeo at 3 p.m. The ranch is 30 minutes from the Galleria. Take Highway 59 south to Crabb River Road; go south and follow the signs. (713) 545-9212. $6; $3, children.

Cooking with Herbs "Master gardener" Marilyn O'Connor presides over a lecture and lunch -- a lunch that starts crisply with an Australian chardonnay and herbed cheese. A Mexican mint salad follows, and the main course is penne rustica, paired with a Rosemount shiraz. The dessert for this "see-smell-sample-savor" event is an herbed sorbet; if you guess the herb, you win a prize. The event is presented by the Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food; Robert Del Grande, the chef/owner of Cafe Annie and Rio Ranch, will be the host. Dress is cool and casual for patio seating; reservations are required. 10:301 p.m. Amerigo's Grille, 12250 Grogans Park Drive, The Woodlands, 364-8323. $35.

Gospel celebration Houstonian Yolanda Adams is joined by John P. Kee and Kirk Franklin and the Family for an early evening show in the Southern Star Amphitheatre. Families can spend the day riding AstroWorld rides or splashing at WaterWorld, and then head to the back of the park for the concert at 7 p.m. Six Flags AstroWorld, Kirby at Loop 610, 799-8404. Park admission $32.42; $20.50, children under 48 inches. Lawn seating is free with park admission; reserved seating is $3 with park admission.

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