Press Picks

Jews/America/A Representation Art folk at Congregation Emanu El and Congregation Beth Israel have collected 40 or so of French photographer Frederic Brenner's works, and have divided them equally between their galleries for a special shared exhibition. Brenner's photographs show the diversity of Jewish life across America, from small towns to big cities; the Frenchman traveled the nation seeking to break stereotypes, and in his quest he photographed the famous -- Estee Lauder, Barbra Streisand -- and the not-so-famous -- Nice Jewish Boy movers and Jews with Hogs (Harleys, that is). Exhibition shows through April 9. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Kahn Gallery, Congregation Emanu El, 1500 Sunset Boulevard, 529-5771; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Margolis Gallery, Congregation Beth Israel, 5600 North Braeswood, 771-6221.

february 8
Conoco 10K Rodeo Run Tired of running in circles? The Rodeo Run takes you point-to-point, from the downtown arts district west to Main, under the gnarled Pierce Elevated, past New Orleans Original Po Boy and the Museum District, skirting a couple of nice neighborhoods and the Medical Center on the way to the Astrodome. Shuttles will operate between the starting and finishing points, just in case you don't want to run all the way back to get your car (and if you do, we'd rather not hear about it). You're free to park at either location. Okay, free and the Astrodome are words that don't jibe -- if you exercise your free will to park at the Astrodome lot, you'll have to pay the $4 parking fee. Procrastinators beware: There is no packet pickup on race day; the final registration session is from 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, February 7, at Conoco Center, 600 North Dairy Ashford, Gate C. Wheelchair race, 9:45 a.m.; 10K, 9:50 a.m.; post-race party, 10:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. For more information, visit, or call the race hotline at (281) 293-2447. $18.

Fishing with Mark Mark Chestnutt, that is. The Beaumont native who tore up the country charts with "Bubba Shot the Jukebox" and "Too Cold At Home" is promoting a line of fishing gear. Stop by and have him sign your tackle box while you're hearing about the big one that got away. Noon-4 p.m. Academy, 2404 Southwest Freeway, 520-1795. Free.

Sisters: Reflection in a Mirror The MFA's series of films by Russian women continues with Svetlana Proskurina's 1992 look at a famous stage actor who loses his sense of identity, failing to even recognize his own reflection. Here, the contemporary filmmaker examines the post-Soviet "lost generation" while dealing intimately with loneliness and human connectedness. 9 p.m. tonight; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7515. $5.

february 9
Tet Festival In case you missed New Year's in January, here's another, courtesy Houston's Asian population. Usher in the Year of the Ox by immersing yourself in everything Far Eastern -- from the dragon dance to Vietnamese vocalists to ancestral remembrance ceremonies to basketball tournaments. That's right, basketball tournaments; cultural exchange works both ways. Presented by the Vietnamese American Youth Organization. The fairgrounds open at 10 a.m. Pasadena Convention Center and Municipal Fairgrounds, 7902 Fairmont Parkway, 759-9161. $5.

Between the Covers That's what Cris Williamson and Tret Fure are calling their latest release, and they're making a stop in Houston to promote it. Bonnie Raitt has compared Williamson's voice to "honey dripped on a cello" -- obviously she means this as a good thing, more figuratively than literally; Raitt's gone on to refer to the couple's work on Between the Covers as an "inspiration." The sound is a combination of guitar rock, folk and women's music, whatever that is. 7 p.m. Heinen Theater, 3517 Austin, 630-1113. $14 in advance (available at Inklings Bookshop and Crossroads Market); $15 at the door.

John McLaughlin: Western Modernism/Eastern Thought MFA curator Alison de Lima Greene describes McLaughlin's work as "deceptively simple"; he was heavily influenced by the Zen concept of Ma ("marvelous void"), and his paintings have become increasingly spare over time. That may sound like we're being set up for an exhibition of blank canvases, but actually, McLaughlin's works sought to reconcile the geometric harmonies of abstract art with Zen ideas. Opens today, 12:15-6 p.m. Through April 20. Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7300. $3; $1.50, seniors and children ages six-18.

february 10
Ceoltori The word is Gaelic for "musicians," and refers here to Sue Richards and Karen Ashbrook. Both are held in high esteem in Celtic harp circles: Richards is a four-time American Scottish Harp champion and WAMMIE winner, and Ashbrook is responsible for advancing the reputation of the hammered dulcimer through her many books and recordings. Tonight they play for a number of worthy causes: the Lever Harp Preservation Society, which is sponsoring the concert; the Homeless Pets Placement League, which will rake in a portion of the proceeds; and our own good sense of fun. 8 p.m. Ovations, 2536-B Times Boulevard, 522-9801. $8 in advance; $10 at the door.

february 11
Ghana Dance Ensemble More Black History Month education disguised as entertainment. The 25 members of the Ghana Dance Ensemble, who've traveled here from Accra, will don colorful costumes and introduce patrons to traditional ceremonial, ritual and religious dances during a two-hour-long program. West African percussionists provide the beat, and judging from the company they keep, the performance is sure to be topnotch: The troupe is here under the direction of Babatunde Olatunji, master of drums, who's helped to score such films as Raisin in the Sun and She's Gotta Have It and was a major influence on Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart. 8 p.m. Music Hall, 810 Bagby, 629-3700. $17.50-$25.

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