Press Picks

thursday
january 23
Houston Job Expo Looking for work? Or already working, but dreaming of something better? Today, more than 50 Houston companies are scouting for employees. Advertising agencies, accounting departments, marketing firms, airlines and more -- the most interesting "more" being the Houston Police Department and the Armed Services -- will conduct interviews. See if you can be among the proud, the few, the employed. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. J.W. Marriott Exhibition Center, 5150 Westheimer (at Sage), 867-8977. Free.

Good Luck Launch of Ubitout Records If someone told you she was starting a record company here, you might reply "good luck." Apparently aware of the local clime, Elise Degraye has dubbed the debut party for her new indie label "with a taste for the bizarre" the Good Luck Launch. For the inaugural festivities, she's enlisted the help of homeboys Project Grimm and Rubbur, plus the Necro Tonz, a low-down lounge act from Dallas, Diamond Shamrock, noise scammers from Austin, and others. More highlights: male and female alternative belly dancing and the chance to wish Elise a happy birthday. Nibbling of complimentary grub, 9:30-10:30 p.m.; music till 2 a.m. Emo's Alternative Lounge, 2900 Albany, 523-8503. Free, 21 and over; $7, everyone too young to drink.

Grandpa Hasn't Moved in Days Could it be that he's mesmerized by TNN's Dallas? By the Hee-Haw reruns? By a Mattress Mac commercial? No, he's just dead. (Grandpa, that is, not Mattress Mac). Being that Grandpa was a Fertle, his funeral is no solemn matter. The Singing Fertle Family returns to Dumpster in this new Radio Music Theatre comedy, wherein big brother Lou -- a big liar, too -- fudges Grandpa's dying wish in order to wring money out of his rich relatives and laughs from the audience. Subtle it ain't, but call ahead to reserve a seat. These shows always sell out -- perhaps because the Fertles are like family for many of us, or perhaps because you can drink beer and eat spicy peanuts during the performance. Opens 8:30 p.m. tonight. Through May 3 (see Thrills, Comedy for additional showtimes). Radio Music Theatre, 2623 Colquitt, 522-7722. $14.

Salome Opera goes to the movies, finds a bright young director and, just maybe, a new audience as well. Atom Egoyan, whose Exotica earned an International Critics Prize at Cannes, makes his operatic debut with Salome, the tale of a family whose dysfunction runs to biblical proportions. Egoyan has experience with the themes of voyeurism and sexual obsession, and to this Houston Grand Opera production's vaguely contemporary setting he adds film clips and surveillance cameras. But psychoses make up only part of the operatic equation; you also need a soprano with strong pipes. To meet that requirement, Houston Grand Opera celebrates the return of the highly regarded Hildegard Behrens as the princess with a lethal yen for a certain Baptist. Opens 7:30 p.m. tonight. Through February 7 (see Thrills, Theater for additional showtimes). Wortham Center, Brown Theater, 500 Texas Avenue, 227-ARTS. $16-$175.

friday
january 24
Dom Irrera Irrera, host of Showtime's Full Frontal Comedy, is one of those rare comedians who's recognizable even to those without cable. (He's the guy who imitates his Philly cousin Johnny, who says things such as, "That guy is a lowlife little fat rat weasel ... and I don't mean that in a bad way.") Despite his mainstream name recognition, Mr. "Badda boom, badda bing!" is full-on and relentless -- and I don't mean that in a bad way. 8 and 10:30 p.m. The Laff Stop, 1952-A West Gray, 524-2333. $12.50.

Ciao Marcello The Rice Media Center starts its spring season off with a tribute to the late Marcello Mastroianni, who amassed more than 130 film credits over 40 years. The first presentation in Rice's short retrospective is the Houston premiere of Mastroianni's final film, Three Lives and Only One Death, in which he shows off his considerable diversity by assuming four different roles: a wayward husband, a distinguished professor, a sinister butler and a businessman who scams on his taxes. The film also stars Chiara Mastroianni, his daughter with Catherine Deneuve. (Subtitled) 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Rice Media Center, Rice University (entrance no. 8 off University Boulevard), 527-4853. $5.

The Cherry Orchard The folks at Infernal Bridegroom have gone out on another limb here, staging a production that requires a low-key acting style rooted in realism. Yowie! Andy Nelson, Tamarie Cooper, Celia Montgomery and their cohorts have proven themselves capable in past productions, so the prospects of them rising to the challenge of convention in this spare production of Anton Chekhov's masterwork about the problems of being human seem promising. 8 p.m., with an opening reception after the show at the Palace Cafe, 401 Louisiana. Through February 15 (see Thrills, Theater for additional showtimes). Commerce Street Art Warehouse, 2315 Commerce Street, 935-2008. Play and reception, $9.99; reception only, $5.

Joyce Pensato Pensato's creations look like the hellish alter egos of the animated characters we've come to know on a first name basis -- Mickey, Donald, Bart, etc. -- but her works aren't scary. In fact, Pensato's representations confirm our suspicion about what's really been going on beneath those little cartoon facades, and the result is comforting. This Guggenheim-winning artist has been in residence at DiverseWorks drawing her enormous charcoal figures right onto the studio's 14-foot walls, and tonight her first exhibition in the Southwest is unveiled. Opening reception, 7-9 p.m. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway, 223-8346. Free.

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