On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family Lisa See has written a long and detailed (if not particularly elegant) book telling the story of her family. One ancestor emigrated from China in 1867, and his story is one of missionaries, concubines, nightclubs and illegal marriages between Chinese and Caucasians. The book is full of haunting old photos and a handful of silly letters sent between young lovers. See will talk about her book and the immigrant experience in America. 7 p.m. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet, 523-0701.
Joe's Digital Diner Bay Area multimedia artists Joe Lambert and Nina Mullen invite everyone for a heaping helping of spaghetti and cyberstuff. While spaghetti is slurped, Lambert and Mullen will present a theatrical event explaining and illustrating their brand of storytelling. The pair's experience in theater, visual arts and computer tomfoolery are all brought to bear. 7 p.m. (Information about Digital Diner workshops in Thrills, Classes & Workshops.) DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway, 223-8346. $10.
Taking the Info Highway off the Beaten Path More cyberstuff, this from video artist Philip Mallory Jones. Jones was a video artist before video art was cool, and he now has his video images digitized and on-line. Tonight, DiverseWorks, Prairie View A&M University and the Southwest Alternative Media Project presents a lecture by Jones. He'll talk about the on-line art and interactive CD-ROMs that are part of his First World Order project, a study of Africans and African-Americans and especially of symbols and cultural practices. 7:30 p.m. Rice Media Center, Rice University (entrance no. 8 off University), 223-8346. $4.50.
An Ideal Husband Recently, we received some Internet junk mail attributing to Oscar Wilde the line "Bigamy is having one wife too many; monogamy is the same." That attribution may or may not be accurate, but it's certainly likely, because Wilde was one of the wittiest writers ever to walk the earth. This play is about wicked women, foolish wives and insider trading; to say the 100-year-old work has aged well would be an understatement. Opening tonight, 7:30 p.m. (Other shows listed in Thrills, Theater.) Main Street Theater, Chelsea Market, 4617 Montrose, 524-6706. $10-$15.
Laugh for AIDS Tonight's appearance by Jason Stuart is a benefit for AIDS Foundation Houston. Stuart is not only a very out comic, he's also a film and TV star with a role in the soon-to-be-released National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation and the television show Fire Co. 132. 8 p.m. The Laff Stop, 1952 West Gray, 524-2333. $7.
Flora, the Red Menace The best way to explain this Depression-era musical is to quote a note director Charlene Hudgins penned to explain a photograph: "Basically the same description as the other photo -- Harry and Flora are about to get seriously romantic when they discover Charlotte has been lying in wait for Harry under his bed." Sounds like fun, eh? 8 p.m. tonight. (Other showtimes listed in Thrills, Theater.) HCCS, Central Campus, Theatre One, 3517 Austin at Holman, 718-6570. $5; $3, students.
Itzhak Perlman and Samuel Sanders Even people who know nothing about classical music know of Itzhak Perlman, although they're maybe not familiar with his frequent accompanist, pianist Samuel Sanders. The program for this recital includes such showboating works as Beethoven's Sonata in D Major, op. 12, no. 1 for Violin and Piano and Grieg's Sonata in C Minor for Violin and Piano, op. 45. Curtain talk, 7:30; music, 8 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-ARTS. $12-$45.
Miracle on Main Street If watching Weather Channel news of the frosty misfortunes of our northern brethren has you itching to enjoy real winter sports, then lace up your skates for a spin around the ice downtown. As of today, Houston's one and only outdoor ice rink is open for business. This year, the rink is bigger (60 feet by 120 feet), has longer hours and is open (every day except Christmas) through January 5. Noon11 p.m. 1000 block of Main, 654-8900. Skating, $5 weekdays and $6 weekends and holidays. Skate rental, $2.
FUN The London Guardian calls it "A chilling halfway house between Kids and La Heine (Hate)"; we'd add that it's a little like Heavenly Creatures, except that the protagonists aren't so sympathetic. If those references mean nothing to you, then this story of young girls on a pointless crime spree (because it's "fun") is probably not your cup of tea. If, on the other hand, you're snobby enough to sneer because we gave the English translation of La Heine, you can't afford to miss this Houston premiere. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. tonight; 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Rice Media Center,Rice University (entrance no. 8 off University), 223-8346. $5.
Beyond Therapy Paula McCrae, the HCCS Southwest director of this production, has a theory about the appeal of Christopher Durang's comedy about love, happiness and psychotherapy. "I think Durang's message throughout the play," she says, "is that if you look at psychological suffering in the right frame of mind, you can usually find the humor in it." This is the last weekend, and tonight's show is at 8 p.m. (Other times in Thrills, Theater.) HCCS Stafford Campus, 9910 Cash Road, 261-5424. $5; $4, students.
Any Saturday Night in Texas Chris Wall and his band, Cowboy Nation, have chosen Blanco's for the release party of their new CD -- a good choice, since the bartenders at this inside-the-Loop kicker bar love Wall's honky-tonk ballads. 9 p.m. Blanco's Bar & Grill, 3406 West Alabama, 439-0072. $5.