Press Picks

thursday
december 26
Family Fun at the MFA At this familycentric event, you can not only see art, you can hear art, you can make art, heck, you can be art. In the same environs as Albert Einstein's scratchings ("Masterpieces from the Pierpont Morgan Library"), 6,000-year-old antiquities ("Splendors of Ancient Egypt") and pan-Asian works of spiritual and historical import ("An Enduring Legacy"), artists of another variety will provide holiday face painting. Plus, there'll be workshops and musical concerts. Today, from 2:303:30 p.m., the Heads-up jazz ensemble performs. (Saturday afternoon, get down with the sounds of the Chinese Senior Citizens Association.) Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-3700. Family Fun activities are free with museum admission: $3, adults; $1.50 seniors, students and children ages sixeight. Free, children five and under.

L5: First City in Space It's not L5: Space City, because, well, Houston has the Space City name all tied up. Creator Pat Rawlings was well aware of that when he made his film, because he's from Space City. Rawlings, a Houston artist and aerospace designer, spent two decades at the Johnson Space Center, which led him to create this "glimpse of the future where the development of space isn't limited by government budgets." He's got some imagination, and with it he's managed to develop a believable tale of the future. The year is 2096, and 10,000 Earthlings representing every nation have colonized L5, a Lagrange Point between the Earth and the moon where "everything placed stays put." Alas, however: The life-support systems have reached their limits. So a couple of brainiacs develop a plan to catch a comet to replenish L5's water supply, setting up a roller-coaster action sequence. Documented on the IMAX 3D format, the film includes real images and actual data collected from NASA's Viking space probe; some scenes were actually filmed in orbit. The show opens today, with showtimes at 10 and 11 a.m. and 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m. Moody Gardens, 1 Hope Boulevard, (800) 582-4673. $6.

Hair The last time a local professional company presented this generation-defining musical, twentysomethings of the time were lining up behind George Bush, and the folks who would become today's twentysomethings still thought of rent in terms of household chores. Now that the nation has spawned another generation of pacific youths, the timing seems right for another production of Hair -- "the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical," in case you didn't know. Presented by Empire Productions, complete with a few groovy activities scattered throughout the run (check out the "be-in" on New Year's Eve). Opens tonight, 8 p.m. Performances continue through December 31 (see Thrills, Theater for additional times). University of Houston, Cullen Hall (entrance number one off Cullen). For tickets, call Ticketmaster at 629-3700. $13.69-$35 (the two front rows have been set aside for students; tickets are $19.68 -- get it? Heh-heh.).

friday
december 27
"Houston! Christmas Trees Return to Earth" No, these trees have not been away on some intergalactic diplomatic mission; they've been yanked from their natural setting, adorned with baubles of various manmade substances and lit up brighter than an upstart country singer with a down-and-out mentality. They've served their purpose well, and now they're ready to be ground into mulch so that they can do their part to continue the cycle. The city has designated six spots, including the Consumer Recycling Center at the Southwest Freeway and Westpark and the Memorial Park ballfields (the ones off Memorial Drive across from the golf course), as its official tree recycling drop-off sites. Plus, the city will chip in a free seedling in exchange for each recycled tree. Today through January 5, excepting New Year's Day. For additional locations or more information, call 845-1111 or 865-4201.

Beatle Bugs on ice Maybe we Houstonians aren't hockey purists. I mean, how many times have fans here rooted for a tie just so they could get to see a nail-biting shootout? And maybe we are still trying to learn the one or two rules actually enforced on the ice. No matter. The name of the game at any Houston Aeros matchup is fun. What's most fun is that they win frequently -- nowadays, they really do! -- but the topnotch sideshows rule, too. Between periods at tonight's contest with the Milwaukee Admirals, the cast of Beatlemania will perform and KLDE will premiere a quartet of VW Beetles painted to honor each of the Fab Four. 7 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-3700, www.aeros.com. $7-$40.

saturday
december 28
End of the Year Life Review Attain all the benefits that come with having your life pass before your eyes without all the pain and expense that's so often associated with having a near-death experience. Choose to review your life and "experience a powerful inner light, know your judgments and move into acceptance and change"; see, feel and know the impact you've had on others. Sandy Penny has done all this, and her inner guides have encouraged her to bring this opportunity to the masses. 7:30-9:30 p.m. CenterPoint, 7621 Westview, 688-7224. $15.

sunday
december 29
Microsoft Discovery Bus The first thing you'll want to know is that, yes, the Discovery Bus is climate-controlled -- a fact that's not necessarily a given on a public school bus that's almost midway through a yearlong tour that reaches from Montreal to San Antonio. The second thing you'll want to know is that though some serious miles have been put on this bus, the point of the exhibit is to show how, through the magic of technology, one can travel the globe without ever leaving home. The bus is equipped with ten workstations and five laptops on which visitors can play games, learn to surf the net and use basic business programs, and take historical/geographical adventures. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Today and Monday. Houston Museum of Natural Science, 1 Hermann Circle Drive, Hermann Park, 639-IMAX. Bus tours are free. Museum admission is $3; $2, children under 12.

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