Press Picks

thursday
february 27
The Rite of Spring and Elite Syncopations "Wow, he's in great shape" is the polite response when viewing the publicity photos of Houston Ballet principal dancer Carlos Acosta in The Rite of Spring, but an emphatic "Damn!" would be more in line with the score's explosive history. In 1913, choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky teamed up with composer Igor Stravinsky; the piece's radical music incited some in the audience to throw fruit at the stage, and the police were called in. Choreographer Glen Tetley offers a more modern take on the now-classic score, with a male dancer -- Acosta -- as the Chosen One. The second half of the program, Elite Syncopations, showcases choreographer Kenneth MacMillan's not-oft-seen lighter side. Through March 9. (See Thrills, Dance for additional showtimes.) 7:30 p.m. Wortham Center, Brown Theater, 500 Texas, 227-ARTS. $10-$80.

Alexandra Nechita Eleven-year-old Alexandra likes teddy bears, roller rinks and malls and finds inspiration in an old pair of flowered slippers; she also sells abstract paintings in the $140,000 range to people who ought to know what talent is worth. This sweet wunderkind, who's been dubbed "the petite Picasso," is now out to raise $1.5 million for Special Olympics through the sale of signed and numbered hand-pulled stone lithographs from her "Winning Together" series. Two works in the series make their Houston debut tonight. Opening reception with Special Olympians, 5-9 p.m. Perimeter Art Gallery, 2365-E Rice Boulevard, 521-5928. No charge to ogle the art.

Schoolhouse Rock Live! When all the slackers out there were but little kids, they didn't waste their time in front of the TV watching entertaining trash such as Melrose Place and Singled Out. No, they were productive: They wasted their time in front of the TV watching educational trash such as Schoolhouse Rock, which came mixed with the Saturday morning cartoons. Now that those Gen Xers are all grown up, the mini-lessons are calling once more -- this time from the stage. An ensemble cast that includes Anne Quackenbush and Stacey Quebodeaux will recreate "I'm Just a Bill," "Conjunction Junction" and 19 more. Through March 23. (See Thrills, Theater for additional showtimes.) 7:30 p.m. Main Street Theater, Chelsea Market location, 4617 Montrose Boulevard, 524-6706. $10; $7, seniors and students.

friday
february 28
The Glenn Miller Orchestra Glenn Miller won't be there; he hasn't wrapped his lips around a trombone in 52 years -- not that we know of, anyway. He left England in a single-engine plane headed for France in 1944, and was never heard from again. But this 19-member dance band continues in the band leader's tradition. Trombonist/bandleader Larry O'Brien previously played for the orchestra under the direction of Ray McKinley, who actually played for Miller. O'Brien's a self-described purist, and is inclined to present "In the Mood" and other classics in a way sure to have Miller resting comfortably in his grave, or wherever he is. 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday; 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-ARTS. $21-$56.

Women's Month The monthlong celebration of women is really a March happening, but when you're taking on a topic as large as "Mothers to Daughters," starting a day early seems prudent. UH-Downtown has invited Pinkie Gordon Lane, the first black poet laureate of Louisiana, to start the series with a reading on familycentric themes, followed by a chamber music faculty recital featuring Yvonne Kendall. Step next door before or after the program to view the mixed-media exhibition "Questions" by Ann Trask; her works are supposed to make you wonder about missing people, and she bluntly says she offers no answers. Opening, 6-9 p.m.; program, 7 p.m. University of Houston-Downtown, Student Lounge, rooms 323 and 324 South, 1 Main Street, 221-8000. Free.

The Greeks The Greeks goes back to theater's roots -- way, way back, to the stories that practically all great theater (and a lot of bad theater as well) emerged from, the stories of Euripides, Sophocles, Aeschylus and Homer. (Euripides has been credited with saying "there is no evil as terrible as a woman," so you can probably count Married with Children among his scions.) The Greeks has been put together by Alley artistic director Gregory Boyd to encapsulate the world of Greek tragedy, history and myth in ten plays. It's quite a project, and will be presented as a two-part epic, with previews of part one, The War and the Murders, beginning tonight. Boyd insists this is not for intellectuals; anyone who can enjoy Star Wars, he's said, can enjoy The Greeks. Does that mean in 20 years we can expect The Greeks Special Edition? Through May 4. (See Thrills, Theatre for additional showtimes.) 7:30 p.m. The Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue, 228-8421. Preview prices, $17-$29.

saturday
march 1
His Name Is Ron The story with no apparent end makes its way to Houston this afternoon as the Goldman family -- Fred, Kim and Patty -- stop at Super Crown to promote their book, His Name Is Ron. Let's hope that afterward, we can all move on. 1-3 p.m. Tanglewood Super Crown, 6570 Woodway Drive, 465-7278. Free; list price for the book is $24.95.

Stories and Artifacts from the Evil Empire Houston artist Kelly Klaasmeyer speaks really bad Russian, but she moved to the former Soviet Union anyway. She found that Russians have pop-tops, too, they just put vodka in the cans; that truckers there print "King of Road" on their rigs, just as ours do; and that, yep, they've already got infomercials. In this multimedia installation, she shares cultural observations and funny tales from the road. Opening reception, 6-9 p.m. Purse Building Studios, 1701 Commerce, 228-0635, or visit www.pursebuilding.com. No charge to ogle the art.

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