Our Ireland "Our" Ireland, because the folks whose photographs make up this exhibition were born and raised on the Emerald Isle. Now John Freeland, Harry Hilton, Rosemary Lloyd and Denis Lloyd live here, and in celebration of St. Patrick's Day, they're sharing Ireland the way they see it -- which is surely nothing like the way you've imagined it through the bottom of a pint of Guinness. Artist's reception, 4-6 p.m. 1100 Louisiana, lobby gallery, 664-7621. Free.
Dracula It's not much of a stretch to present ballerinas as vampires: After all, the dancers are already ghostly white and deathly thin. The trick is in transforming Bram Stoker's gruesome 100-year-old tale into a successful story ballet. Houston Ballet choreographer Ben Stevenson says he wanted to convey the story's haunting darkness and sensuality (hence the 18 young brides in sheer gowns). Judge for yourself whether all this adds up to a night of good dance: The world premiere of Stevenson's work is 7:30 p.m. tonight. Through March 23. (For additional showtimes, see Thrills, Dance.) Wortham Center, Brown Theater, 500 Texas, 227-ARTS. $10-$80.
The God We Never Knew Dr. Marcus J. Borg is here to discuss a topic George Burns covered fairly thoroughly: God. Presumably Borg, the author of Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, won't be playing for laughs. Presented by the Foundation for Contemporary Theology. Check in, 6:30-7; lecture, "Meeting God Again, Then and Now," 7-8:30 p.m. The lectures continue Saturday, from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Avenue, 666-0051. $35.
Celebrate Texas Attention, secessionist nuts: Here's your chance to celebrate Texas's brief, shining moment as an independent nation. San Jacinto College students modeling 19th-century garb will serve the dinner part of a dinner/revue. Brisket, King Ranch-style beans and Stephen F. Austin's banana pudding are followed by character enactments of Governor Sam Houston, the Widow Brown and other Republic of Texas luminaries. The Don Sanders Western Trio plays, too. Dinner, 7; show, 8:15 p.m. San Jacinto College Central, 8060 Spencer Highway, (281) 476-1850. Dinner and show, $20; show only, $10 or $5 for students.
Houston Auto Show charity preview The Houston Auto Show is back with more than 650 models (some human, most fiberglass and metal). Ogle the long-awaited restyled Corvette, a 345 horsepower V-8 number that'll hit 60 from a dead stop in only 4.7 seconds; and caress the Porsche Boxster, that company's first new vehicle in nearly two decades. The show opens for public consumption at 10 a.m. Saturday and continues daily through March 23 at the Astrohall, Kirby at Loop 6-10; from 7-9:30 p.m. tonight, get a sneak peek at the cars, chow down on Mediterranean foods, watch belly dancers wiggle and help raise money for Earning by Learning of Houston. Call 799-9500 for general information, or (281) 980-3434 for benefit tickets. Benefit admission, $75; regular admission, $6 (children 12 and under are admitted free).
Galveston SpringFest Galveston's hardly let the buzz subside from Mardi Gras, but already folks there have moved to the next big thing: SpringFest, a celebration of the pre-summer season. Kicking off SpringFest is Kitefest '97; professionals (who knew?) and regular joes are both welcome. The pros will offer special performances, including one by kite buggiers -- kite-powered three-wheelers that can reach speeds of 40 miles per hour. Around 2 p.m., walk a couple of blocks down the sand to witness the dedication of the See-Wall mural. This 2.5-mile stretch of public art, which the Guinness book deems the world's longest mural, was created by local and regional artists, 14,000 volunteers and 8,500 school kids. If only the artists show up, expect a crowd. See-Wall dedication, 2 p.m., 49th Street and Seawall Boulevard; Kitefest, 9 a.m.-dusk, 47th and Seawall. For more info, call (800) 351-4237. Free.
Home & Garden Show of Galveston Before you return to Houston, dust the sand off your feet and take a gander at home and garden accessories, purveyed by a whopping 185 exhibitors. If you're lucky, you can quiz KTRH's superhandyman Tom Tynan about the most mundane household concerns, and ask that station's "Garden Line" guys, John Burrow and Randy Lemmon, how to combat the black spots on your roses. Proceeds benefit the Galveston Animal Shelter. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. today; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Moody Gardens Convention Center, 1 Hope Boulevard, (409) 744-4673. $4; $3, seniors and students; free, children under 12.
Neil Sedaka SpringFest's piece de resistance: a performance by Neil Sedaka. (No, really.) The relentless creative force behind "Calendar Girl," "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" and "Love Will Keep Us Together" will perform live at 8 p.m. In the lovely Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice Street, Galveston, (800) 821-1894. $14.50-$45.50.
Blarney and Blather Could it be that we're so eager to kiss the Irish each March mainly because we're even more ready to kiss off winter? Celebrate both Irish culture and the arrival of spring with an afternoon of storytelling. Bring a blanket or chairs for the kids, and bask in the blarney of the Houston Storytellers Guild. Presented by the Houston Heights Association. 2 p.m. Marmion Park, Heights Boulevard at 18th Street, 523-3289. Free.