Houston's Epicurean Evening The Houston Restaurant Association offers a "100-course meal" for $20. Food samples ranging from the four-star to fast food will be proffered as restaurateurs from the Rainbow Lodge and Taco Bell serve snacks from fancy booths. While foodies enjoy the varied fare, food booths will be judged in three categories: most extravagant, best execution of restaurant design (that is, how well a booth echoes the restaurant's theme) and most original. Foodies can also enjoy live and silent auctions throughout the evening. 59 p.m. (A portion of the proceeds goes to the Texas Special Olympics and to scholarship funds for the UH Hilton College.) George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For more information, call 802-1200. $20; free, children under six. (Advance tickets at Randall's stores.)
The Spin Doctors My, how time flies: the Spin Doctors are already making a comeback. After selling six million copies of their debut album and having the number one most-played song on American radio, the Doctors come to Party on the Plaza. The opening act is power-pop band Lustre. From after work until after dark. Jones Plaza, 600 Louisiana. Free.
Sugimoto: Photography, Buddhism and Time Peter Jay Zweig, UH prof, award-winning architect and author, has been chosen to give a gallery talk on Hiroshi Sugimoto's photography. I couldn't tell you anything about Sugimoto's work except that it is solemn and soothing and that he imbues images of seascapes and Buddhas with a dignity that makes one feel small. But no doubt Zweig can explain all this in a detailed, rigorous way. 7 p.m. Contemporary Arts Museum, 5216 Montrose, 526-0773. Free.
Oliver! "Consider yourself... invited!" to the ninth production from Bach to Broadway, the music ministry of South Main Baptist Church. This year, the summer show is Oliver!, the six-Oscar-winning musical by Lionel Bart. The can-I-have-another-bowl-of-gruel-please-sir tale will be presented in "dessert theatre format." 7:30 p.m. tonight and Friday. South Main Baptist Church, Fellowship Hall, 4100 Main, 529-4167. $6. Tickets must be reserved in advance; no tickets will be sold at the door. Childcare available for children under four.
Camelot In its "20th year of making musical magic," the Lone Star Performing Arts Association presents Lerner and Lowe's King Arthur story. Just like the duo's My Fair Lady, Camelot is full of memorable songs. The talented Lone Star cast will sing classics such as "C'est Moi," "How to Handle a Woman," "If Ever I Would Leave You," and the title number. (Which should not be confused with the Monty Python version; the lyrics of this one contain no reference to having to push the pram a lot.) The Lone Star cast, it should be noted, is not all Texan -- Ben George, an English actor who's performed both in London's West End and on Broadway, is here in the role of the good King. 8 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday. Galveston Island Outdoor Musicals, Mary Moody Northen Amphitheatre, Galveston Island State Park, Galveston, (800) 54-SHOWS. $19$29.
Darden Smith Ooh, he's such a pretty thing, and yet his songs have such an attitude -- not a surly attitude, mind you; just a spirited, greedy "All I Want Is Everything" attitude. The country singer plays two shows, 8 (smoke-free) and 10 p.m. McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk, 528-5999. $10.
The Stories of I.C. Eason, King of the Dog People Houston-based photographer Blair Pittman's new book covers the life of a Big Thicket civic leader and poacher. Even more of Eason's life will be revealed in tonight's multimedia presentation. 810 p.m. Greenway Plaza. To register, call Leisure Learning Unlimited, 877-1981, and ask for class number 1810. $25.
Visions: The Women's Expo The third annual for-women expo is all over the Astrohall for no purpose other than the entertainment, inspiration and education of women (and their families). Speakers will speak (including Olympic speed skater Bonnie Blair, at 2 p.m. Saturday), cooking will be demonstrated and booths will offer information on children's health, careers and environmental issues. Noon6 p.m. today; 10 a.m.6 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.6 p.m. Sunday. Each day, free two-hour childcare for kids ages three through eight and out of diapers. Astrohall, Astrodomain. For more information, call 521-4392. $6; $5, seniors.
The Wild Party Another new theater company debuts, and the first production from Shirk Workers Union is "a happening" based on Joseph Moncure March's jazz-age poem. (You know, it's the one that begins: "Queenie was a blonde and her age stood still / And she danced twice a day in Vaudeville.") Director Vicki Weathersby immodestly describes the evening as "an hysterical, sexy, postmodern Gatsby-affair-cum-urban rave." 9 p.m. tonight and Saturday, and Thursday through Saturday next weekend. Curtain preceded by live jazz and other performances. Union Headquarters, 2500 Summer Street, 788-0671. $5.99.
Bobby Bland Enjoy the Memphis blues stylings of blues legend Bobby "Blue" Bland, who isn't called Bobby "Blue" Bland so much anymore, and who doesn't sport the swooping pompadour of days gone by. But he still croons blues like "I Pity the Fool," "That's the Way Love Is" and "Who Will Be the Next Fool." Two shows, 8 and 11 p.m. Rockefeller's, 3620 Washington. $17.50, $25 and $30.
Fogerty-free Creedence Original CCR members Doug Clifford and Stu Cook are touring the country for Creedence Clearwater Revisited concerts. Former Cars guitarist Elliot Easton and frontman John Tristao, advertised as "Fogerty-sounding," are also with the show. 8 p.m. Westpark Entertainment Center, Highway 59 at Loop 610, 629-3700. $22.50 and $32.50.
Back-to-school health fair The Houston Department of Health and Human Services offers Fifth Ward children a day of lead screening, baby shots, health screenings, eye checks and free school supplies. 10 a.m.4 p.m. Swiney Park, 2812 Cline. For more information, call 798-0824.
Bookstore opens The whole family, and maybe some neighborhood kids who you let tag along, can enjoy book signings, giveaways and costumed storybook characters at the grand opening of the Lantern Lane Super Crown Bookstore. Begins at 9 a.m.today;10a.m.Sunday.12520 Memorial Drive, 973-1115.
Christian rock festival Whiteheart headlines SplashTown's "Rock on the Waters" fest, and Rhythm Circus and Wayne Kerr will also play at the Wild Wave concert stage. Plus, this Christian rock concert is opened by Christian comedian Chuck Montgomery. SplashTown gates open at 10 a.m.; the concert starts at 8 p.m. Getting to SplashTown is easy: take the Louetta Road or FM 2920 exit off I-45 North. For more information, call 355-3300. $16.95; $10.95, children 48 inches and under; free for children three and under; after 4:30 p.m., $8.95 plus tax for everyone. Concert included in waterpark admission.
Ty Herndon Woo-hoo, country fans, it's Ty Herndon, although not with the backup talents from his recent recording What Mattered Most. Without Joe Diffe, Vince Gill and Blue Miller, Herndon will croon country tunes such as "Summer Was a Bummer." 7:30 p.m. Six Flags AstroWorld, Southern Star Amphitheatre, Kirby at Loop 610. For tickets, call Ticketmaster, 629-3700. Concert tickets are $3 with park admission.
The Back Doors Elvis impersonators are a dime a dozen, but fully leather-clad productions reliving the glory that was the Lizard King and his band don't come around every day. The Back Doors are here, for one show only, and they've earned rave reviews all over the country. Danny Kresky, of Danny Kresky Enterprises, says, "I thought they were damned good!" 9:30 p.m. The Fabulous Satellite Lounge, 3616 Washington, 869-COOL. $7.
Rita Mae Brown Novelist, mild-mannered humorist and well-known lesbian Rita Mae Brown will speak at a brunch benefiting An Uncommon Legacy. The foundation provides support (including financial) to organizations that address lesbian issues. Comedian Vickie Shaw will entertain prior to Rita's talk. Doors open at 11; brunch at 11:30 a.m. Four Seasons Hotel, 1300 Lamar. For more information on the few remaining tickets, call 520-1142. $50 and $100. Brunch and bottomless mimosas or bloody marys included.
Oldies in the park The Godfather of Motor City Rock and Roll, Mitch Ryder, and the Mamas and the Papas will perform hits from the sixties. The songs remain the same, but only one of the Papas is a vintage original. 7:30 p.m. Six Flags AstroWorld, Southern Star Amphitheatre, Kirby at Loop 610. For tickets, call Ticketmaster, 629-3700. Concert tickets $3 with park admission.
Cleo Laine Because she'd rather stay in her native England than perform here, the Queen of Jazz is not as well-known as she ought to be -- which is all the more reason to catch this show. Lane has performed with everyone, really: Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Toot Theilemans ... the list goes on and on. And she's been honored with Grammy nominations in several categories, and honored by the Queen. Two shows, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Rockefeller's, 3620 Washington, 869-5483. $20, $45 and $60.
All new morning TV In times past, it was housewives who stayed home and watched morning TV. Nowadays, married women go off to work, but computer wonks of various stripes, highly paid consultants and graduate students are at home watching morning TV. To address this changing audience, morning TV is changing. This morning brings two debuts. The Spirit of Texas This Morning is a two-hour show with local news, CBS network news and talk with community leaders, artists and whatever other local folk they can coax into the studio at dawn. Rolanda Watts' new, less trashy show appears to be much like her old, more trashy show, but she's hoping to have serious, responsible discussions that won't show up on Talk Soup -- especially not in the "clip of the week" segment. Morning show, 7 a.m.; respectable Rolanda, 9 a.m. KHOU/Channel 11. (Rolanda will discuss family issues at the Women's Expo in the Astrohall, 3 p.m. Sunday.)
Lives Remembered "Lives Remembered: Photographs of a Small Town in Poland" are photographer Zalman Kaplan's chronicle of Szczuczyn, Poland, from 1897 to 1939, and are rich with images of daily life. The collection is especially poignant because in two days in 1939, more than 300 of Szczuczyn's Jews were murdered. Within two years, 3,000 more had been killed, victims of the Holocaust. The photographs will be on display through the fall, and the exhibition opens today with a reception, 68 p.m. Holocaust Museum, 5401 Caroline, 942-8000. Free.
Give Blood Once again, the blood bank sends out an urgent call for donors. It is true that the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is drawing 9 percent more than last year, but it's having trouble keeping pace with demand for blood and plasma. You can give blood weekdays throughout the summer, 7 a.m.4 p.m. at the Blood Center's Exxon facility, 701 Leeland, Suite 116. For more information on the whole "give blood, give life" thing, call 656-0444.