Press Picks

Dance Video Drive-In This week, the fine folks of the Zocalo present a retrospective of Houston dance projects on video, including a film from a 1980s workshop. Well-known Houston dancers such as Sarah Irwin, Kelly Scott Kelley and Farrell Dyde are part of all this, and "surprises," not-necessarily-dance surprises, are promised. A genial social hour follows the show. 8 p.m. Zocalo Theater, 5223 Feagan, 861-2442. $5 per person; $10 per carload.

december 1
The Age of Discretion The High School for Performing and Visual Arts will present an original play about AIDS, specifically a play about youth in the era of HIV. Part-time HISD teacher Sharon Ferranti and her brother Jay, who's a composer, are the authors of this theatrical work. 2 p.m. today, World AIDS Day. Museum of Health & Medical Science, 1515 Hermann Drive, 521-1515, extension 124. The play is free, but reservations are required.

december 2
Se Habla Santa Sharpstown Center has a Santa on the payroll through the holiday shopping season, and because one of the traditions in our town is the Spanish language, a bilingual Santa will be in the center court today, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and subsequent Mondays, noon-6 p.m. Sharpstown Center, Southwest Freeway at Bellaire Boulevard, 777-1111. Free.

december 3
Casual Classics The Houston Symphony, perhaps eager to loosen up while the other musical groups in town are caroling like mad, presents a special show designed to put the fun back in fundamental compositions. Or something like that. In any case, conductor-in-residence and Woodlands fixture Stephen Stein is the host. Today's program features Christoph Eschenbach performing and conducting Beethoven's First Piano Concerto and Ravel's saucy Bolero, a musical work that became a Carole Lombard movie. 6:30 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-ARTS. $22.

Todd Rundgren Hello, it's him -- Rock Gsd, geek and tireless composer Todd Rundgren will be in Houston for one show only. He may perform works from his new release, The Individualist, an enhanced CD; he may sing novelty songs and talk about his pal Dr. Demento; he may even sing oldies. He has one of the most melodic voices in pop music and is a true digital pioneer, so his show could focus on any number of talents. With Todd, one can never be sure of anything except his ability to be interesting and thoughtful, and weird. As they say on the Internet, "Todd is Godd." 9 p.m. Rockefeller's, 3620 Washington Avenue, 869-8427. $19 and $37.50.

Don't Mess with XMAS Video artist and underground filmmaker Ralf Armin presents a holiday showcase of unlikely films such as St. Louis Shoppers, Holiday and Don't Mess with Xmas. The program soundtrack comes from Ralph's latest musical project, Truth Decay. (Ralph was formerly with the Pain Teens and Culturcide.) 10 p.m. Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe, 413 20th Street, Galveston, (409) 762-9199. $2.

december 4
Death Trip Across Texas Certain Press writers (and Thrills editors) have long planned a book along this theme, with a full-color photo spread of the mangy chihuahua named Queenie that one would no doubt meet on such a journey, but novelist James Crumley has a more organized and successful approach to celebrating the freakish bloodshed of this great state. Crumley, a Texas native, has written four novels and won prestigious awards such as the Dashiell Hammett Award for Best Literary Crime Novel, and now he's got a new book. Bordersnakes features beloved, and infamous, characters from his first four books, and is full of sassy prose and snappy plotting. Crumley signs Bordersnakes, 5-6:30 p.m. Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonnet, 529-CLUE, e-mail mrdrbybkoNEOSOFT.COM, WWW.NEOSOFT.COM/~MRDRBYBK.

Teddy Bear Crusade Sammie Relford and the Friends Band will play and free snacks will be served as good people donate teddy bears and other toys for the Texas Children's Hospital crusade. All the toys will be given to sick children during the holidays. Collection, 611 p.m. Fiamma Bar and Grill, 8503 Westheimer. For more information, call 790-5006. Admission is one bear; cash bar.

A Holiday Christmas Concert Opera in the Heights is having its holiday music tonight. The Chamber Singers will perform "I Wander as I Wonder, " "The First Noel" and other beloved carols and the San Jacinto College North Chorale and Camerata Chamber orchestra will perform Bach's Cantata No. 61, Now Come, the Savior of the Heathen and other great music in the fine acoustics of the newly restored Lambert Hall. There will be a benefit auction for Opera in the Heights before the concert, and silent auction bids can also be placed at intermission and just after the show. 8 p.m. Lambert Hall, Heights Christian Church, 1703 Heights Boulevard (at 17th Street), 880-3619. $12 and $15; discounts for seniors and children.

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