Press Picks

Take a Walk on the Wild Side Explore Hermann Park, an underworld teeming with all manner of creatures. On this organized 10K stroll, you'll learn about the native inhabitants of our lovely inner-Houston park -- plants, bats, bugs and birds. Afterward, once the kids are tuckered out, hie over to the Bayou Parkland part of Hermann Park for Saturday Afternoon Adventures, a mini-festival combining science and safari. Sponsored by Friends of Hermann Park, the city's parks and rec departments and Houston Happy Hikers. 8 a.m.noon. Hermann Park, Rose Garden, 524-5876. Free.

Ben Vereen and Leslie Uggams The endlessly energetic Ben Vereen and the equally upbeat Leslie Uggams take the stage for a night of old-fashioned song and dance. 8 p.m. tonight; 3 p.m. Sunday. The Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice, (800) 821-2894. $14.50-$47.50.

Texas Brewers Festival It's time again for the event that cuts the ancillary crap and gets to the heart of any good festival: beer and music, mostly beer. Craftsmen from across the eastern half of the great state of Texas will sell their wares through booths set up all around Market Square. Unless you hit the local pub circuit hard, there'll probably be something new for you to try, maybe the Texas Brewing Co.'s Cowboy Lager, plus beloved standbys such as Spoetzl Brewing's Shiner Bock. The Zydeco Dots, Gingbreadmen, Hush and others will play throughout the festival. Noon10 p.m. today; 1-8 p.m. Sunday. On Market Square, (800) BREW-FEST. Admission, free; festival mug, $3; drink tickets, $2.50.

Channel 8 membership drive Here's a reason to stay inside and watch television: The fabulous restaurateur Jim Goode -- head of the Goode Co. empire -- will be live, in the studio, kicking off the PBS fund drive and sharing a bit of his grilling wisdom. That's at 10 a.m., and his demonstrations and pleas for pledges will be interspersed with four episodes of Grilling with Chef George. Another highlight of this two-week fund drive is a replay of the Three Tenors' 1996 performance at Giants Stadium. Will this inspire folks to buy the remaining tickets for the upcoming Astrodome extravaganza, or will the sweet sounds of Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti coming through TV speakers draw dollars to Channel 8 instead? For more information, call 748-8888.

sunday
march 9
Leftovers Houstonian Carol Younkin and her college pal Christine Cosentino crafted a musical about the lives of street people in downtown Houston. Leftovers, the second in Country Playhouse's New Play Reading Series, will be presented on the stage as a radio play would be -- read aloud by actors, with music. 7 p.m. Country Playhouse, 12802 Queensbury (Town and Country Village), 467-4497. Free.

Felix Pitre This folk-art performance includes stories such as "Juan Bobo and the Pig" and "Paco and the Witch," mixed with song and dance native Puerto Rico. In "Cuentos de la Abuela," or "Stories from the Grandmother," Pitre performs in English spiked with Spanish. 2 p.m. The Children's Museum, 1500 Binz, 522-1138. Free.

K-9 Fun Run Take your dog where he's not normally welcome -- out in public. This 16th annual Houston Humane Society IAMS K-9 Fun Run encourages humans and their pets to get out and run in the company of other pairs just like them. Festivities include a costume contest and the naming of the new HHS spokesdog and spokescat. (Pity the cat, the lone feline at this event.) The one-mile run starts at 8 a.m., followed by the dog jog at 8:30 a.m. and the walk at 9 a.m. Sam Houston Park, 1100 Bagby, 433-6421. $15 per pet.

Celebrate Wallace Stevens U.S. poet laureate Robert Hass is doing so, as are his highly regarded colleagues Brenda Hillman, Edward Hirsch and Cynthia McDonald. All four will read and interpret Stevens's work, which often addressed the notion of order in a chaotic world. 5:30 p.m. The Children's Museum, 1500 Binz, 521-2026. $7; $5, seniors and students.

monday
march 10
Bernstein to Broadway A giddy night of musical fun, with 140 proud voices belting out American classics. Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and songs from Candide are mixed with sing-along favorites from West Side Story and Oklahoma. But don't sing along, please. Conductor Robert Brewer will have his hands full just trying to keep all the Houston Masterwork Chorus's exuberant voices in line. 8 p.m. Rice University, Stude Concert Hall, 529-8900. $15-$25.

tuesday
march 11
Need a Room? Wayne Duddlesten is banking that the answer is yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Why? Because he's the guy who's heading the development of the Hilton Convention Center Hotel. Hear what he has to say about it, then ask questions of your own, at today's Downtown Forum luncheon. Noon. Two Houston Center auditorium, Level P-2, 909 Fannin (at McKinney), 658-8938. $6, including brown bag lunch. Call for reservations.

wednesday
march 12
First Lady Suite Four suites, really: a quartet of chamber-music suites concerning presidents' wives. A ghostly Jacqueline Kennedy and Lady Bird Johnson consider that ill-fated parade through Dallas; Mamie Eisenhower takes an imaginary journey to Algiers; Bess Truman upstages her daughter, Margaret; and Eleanor Roosevelt works out her relationship with her husband's secretary/mistress, while Amelia Earhart flies the pair over Washington. This is the Southwest premiere of Michael John LaChuisa's sometimes funny, sometimes haunting work. Through April 20. (See Thrills, Theater for additional showtimes.) 8 p.m. Theater LaB, 1706 Alamo, 868-7516. $18.

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