Press Picks

august 4
Schlitterbahn Some Texas rivers are not exactly white-water this summer, but at the not-entirely-natural Schlitterbahn, there's always tubing fun and more -- and now, with raised speed limits, a day trip to New Braunfels is quick and easy. An all-new, all-wet four-acre addition to the Schlitterbahn Waterpark features four thrill rides and a big beach with waves. Dunk the kids in sunscreen, and head out for a day on such water coasters as the Dragon Blaster, the Family Blaster and the new Master Blaster. Open daily through August 18. The park opens daily at 10 a.m.; closing time varies from 6 to 8 p.m. $21.95, adult all-day pass (12 and older); $17.95, child all-day pass (three-11 years); $15.50, adult midday pass (12 and older; 3:30 p.m. to closing); $12.50, child midday pass. Children under three are admitted free and there is no charge for parking, inner tubes, life vests or bodyboards. 305 West Austin, New Braunfels, (210) 625-2351, http://www.

Family Day Summer Sampler African, Asian and American deserts are all explored in this wide-open MFA family day. The whole crew can tour the desert with "Crimes and Splendors: The Desert Cantos of Richard Misrach," a photography exhibit, and then, at a drop-in workshop, kids can make their own desert cantos with a little help from artist Marsha Dorsey-Outlaw. African art is on the agenda in a postcard tour of the Glassell Collection of African Gold. (You really ought to see this; the craftwork is amazing.) Also on the African angle, Kuumba House presents Tripping with Fudugazi, a performance a 2:30 p.m. Fudugazi the tortoise is a South African character. Inspired kids can then make their own African mask at a drop-in workshop. Asia? A postcard tour covers art from China, India and Japan. 12:154 p.m. Museum of Fine Art, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7300. Free.

august 5
Puss 'n' Boots The Children's Theatre Festival concludes with a well-costumed production of this classic tale, one of the few cat-centric children's stories. Instead of a loyal dog, our hero has a clever cat, Anne (Gwendolyn McLarty). Thanks to Anne, Stu (George Parker III) ends up with wealth and fame. 10:30 a.m. weekdays through August 11 and then some. (Other shows listed in Thrills, Kids, On-Stage.) Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre, University of Houston (entrance no. 16 off Cullen), 743-2929. $5.50; $4.50, children; group rates available.

august 6
National Night Out Here's the poop, if you haven't already gotten it from McGruff on TV: National Night Out is an evening when almost 9,000 communities in all 50 states, the U.S. territories and Canada take time for crime-prevention awareness, to bolster grassroots anti-crime efforts, to build neighborhood spirit and police-community relations and send a message to criminals. It's all done via block parties, cookouts, parades and rallies. For more information or a schedule of events in our town, call the Houston Police Department's Community Services Division, 247-8941.

Absolut Art Guitar Auction Thanks to Swedish vodka producers, artists from all over and the Velvet Elvis, you and yours can party and bid on art guitars. (Proceeds benefit DiverseWorks.) Don't drink vodka? Don't worry: other spirits and sodas will be served, and snacks, too. Party, 69; auction begins, 7:30 p.m. Velvet Elvis, 3033 Richmond. For more information, call 223-8346 or e-mail $35.

Grease! Fans of touring Broadway musicals are sure to turn out en masse for this production of the sock-hop extravaganza starring legends of the small screen. Internationally known comic, General Nutrition Centers spokesdude and friend of Mattress Mac Joe Piscopo stars as Vince Fontaine, and Mackenzie "One Day at a Time and precious little else" Phillips has the coveted role of Rizzo, leader of the Pink Ladies gang. Opening tonight, 8 p.m. (Other shows listed in Thrills, Theater.) Wortham Center, Brown Theater, Texas at Smith, 629-3700. $38$44.

august 7
Anteater If your ant awareness has recently been raised by those cute fire-ant insecticide commercial on the radio, or by the presence of actual fire ants on your property, then perhaps you'd like to gaze upon a creature who can eat, with impunity, 30,000 ants a day. Our zoo has recently introduced an anteater, Jatai. Of course, as a zoo creature, she eats a special mash of cat food and ground biscuits, but still, you can stroll by the cage and take a good long look at her impressive claws, and from then on imagine those same claws ripping open every ant home you see, imagine Jatai destroying the work of worker ants and eating all of them, and their queen and larva, too. This won't get the ants out of your yard, but it might make you feel better. The Houston Zoological Gardens is open daily, 10 a.m.6 p.m. Hermann Park, 1513 North MacGregor, 523-5888. $2.50; $2, seniors; 50 cents, children three - 12; free, children under three.

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