Press Picks

thursday
february 6
Vintage poster art Back when advertising was still in its infancy and the poster was the prevailing promotional medium, serious artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, he of small stature and large appetites, sold their talents on behalf of nightclubs, spirits, cigarette papers and other products. The new Retro Gallery specializes in vintage posters, especially European works from the first part of this century; come out to the grand opening and view works that put modern billboards to shame. Bonuses: Free hors d'oeuvres courtesy of Regine's, and a portion of all sales benefit Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA). 5:30-10 p.m. Retro Gallery, 1839 West Alabama, 522-7074 (or visit www.retrogallery.com). Free.

Introduction to Tequila You've probably already made its acquaintance (though you may have no memory of having done so; tequila can do that to you), but here's betting you don't know tequila the way Ricardo Cisneros does. He lives in Cancun, where he works for the Ritz-Carlton and goes by the title of tequiliere, a designation created for him by the Tequila Producers Association of Mexico. He's in town tonight to talk up he subject of the agave-based liquor and lead folks on a tasting spree. The PR material suggests that tequila makers are trying to upscale the image of their product, so bringing a funnel to place in your mouth while you lie on your back and ask Cisneros to pour away would probably be frowned upon. The seminar is limited to 100, and reservations are required. 5 p.m. La Valerosa, 1800 Post Oak Boulevard, 965-9600. Free.

friday
february 7
Freshly Hatched Salon gatherings might be lost on this generation, but when dance patrons are invited to partake of a little wine before, during and after a show and are encouraged to stick around and mingle afterward, well, then it starts to sound like a party -- and that's an idea we can all comprehend. Freshly Hatched includes Nancy Galeota-Wozny's "To/With/ For Gertrude Stein," a piece that investigates the pleasures and challenges of dancing and listening to Stein's "The Making of Americans," plus Laura Hope Steckler's "Blue," which she performs in her wedding dress, Kathy Woods's "Hippies Standing on a Corner," as interpreted by an all-male urban dance group, and more. If you've any experience at all with marriage, sex, other forms of human interaction, the ozone layer or early 20th-century literature, you'll be able to add to the post-dance chitchat. If not, check Thrills, Classes and Workshops; there may be a Leisure Learning course more suited for you. 8 p.m. tonight, Saturday and February 14 and 15. The Duplex, 1924 Brun, 521-4560. $8.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Breathing: It's one thing we're born doing, but even after a lifetime we still may not be getting it right. Fear not: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is here to teach us how to breathe in vital life energy as well as oxygen. Specifically, Shankar's workshop focuses on sudarshan kriya, or "that action which gives one a proper vision of oneself," a healing breath that uproots and flushes out negative emotion. Kinda makes you feel like panting, doesn't it? Shankar has been doing this since he was a tot, just sitting there rapt for hours. You don't have to go to that extreme; a four-day workshop and a commitment to practice for a few minutes each day is all it takes to get rapt your ownself. 7-9:30 p.m. February 7 and 10; 9:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m. February 8 and 9. Mission Bend Civic Association, 15234 Corona Del Mar (near Bellaire Boulevard and Highway 6), 564-2216. $200 (includes lunch).

Houston Safari Club's Silver Anniversary Celebration Then again, if your idea of a good time is focused less on your own breathing than on stopping the breathing of something else, you might want to hie on down to the Galleria Marriott for a weekend of seminars and vendor displays on taxidermy, custom rifles, exotic furnishings and more. All paying visitors are entered into a drawing for a dream hunt at the world-famous Sanctuary, and if that means something to you, then you ought to know that, yes, trophy mounting is part of the prize. Tonight's lecture, set for 5 p.m., is "What You Need to Know Before You Book a Hunt in a Foreign Country"; tomorrow's full slate includes "Gourmet Cooking of Wild Game." 1-6 p.m. today; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. JW Marriott, 5150 Westheimer, 666-7171. Exhibition, $5; seminars, free.

A Soldier's Story HCC celebrates Black History Month with a lineup of free screenings highlighting the serious achievements of African-American actors. Serious, we say, because there's not a comedy in the lot. Tonight's feature is A Soldier's Story, in which a black officer is murdered at a Southern military post in the 1940s. Denzel Washington, Howard Rollins, Adolph Caesar, Patti LaBelle and David Alan Grier (who's had lighter moments) star. 7 p.m. Houston Community College System, Stafford campus, Building B, Room 117, 9910 Cash Road, 718-7791. Free admission, free popcorn, free lively discussion following the flick.

An African Gift This children's theatrical piece is composed of three African folk tales, and the gift is valuable life lessons that come wrapped in a night of humor and entertainment. The narratives come from Cameroon, Liberia and Zimbabwe, where communities often rely on such virtues as honesty and cooperation for mere survival, and they explore what happens when greed and distrust rear their heads. Houston's own Y.A. Bagersh is responsible for the concept, and he also directs this world premiere production. 7 p.m. Children's Museum, 1500 Binz, 759-1314. $5.

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