Press Picks

Driver Excellence Contest At noon today, teen drivers are gathering to show off their driving skills -- but drag racing, this ain't. Attitude, auto maintenance and knowledge of the rules of the road will help students who've passed driver's ed and have clean driving records to score trophies and free pizza. Houston Community College Northwest, Westgate Center, 1550 Foxlake Drive, 718-5262. Free.

Twilight Zone Cabaret The Orange Show is peeling back its doors for another season, and kicks off 1997 in a spooky-groovy way -- with the eerily pleasant sounds of Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks wafting through the moonlight. The music, described by New York magazine as "Kurt Weill for the Tarantino age" and featuring a tuba, provides only the first odd turn for this night. Dress is Twilight Zone/cabaret wear. 7:30 p.m. The Orange Show, 2402 Munger, 926-6368. $8.

Test your Star Wars trivia George "Doc" Burt, who wrote The Ultimate Unauthorized Star Wars Trilogy Trivia Challenge, is ready to take on all comers, and Jedi Masters of trivia will leave with prizes. We suggest you ask Burt just how long it would take to gain entry into the Emperor's inner circle, and once there, how long one should wait before suggesting the Emperor get a facelift. Who knows? It might lighten up his dark side. Come in costume to improve your chances of leaving with a prize. 3-5 p.m. Barnes & Noble, 3003 West Holcombe, 349-0050. Free; the book is $14.

High Impact Squad acrodunkers AstroWorld takes spring break to the extreme, as in MTV-style extreme sports: Freestyle skateboarders, in-line skaters, BMX bikers and our own slam-dunk heroes, the High Impact Squad, will offer thrills on par with riding the Texas Cyclone. And yes, you do know the High Impact Squad. Their leader, FX, is sort of the Racer X to the Rockets' unfuzzy mascot, hiding his true identity behind a mask; one peek at his thrusting hips and power dunks, though, and you'll know his pedigree. He and the rest of the team -- Ozone, C-4, Eclipse, Reflex and DK -- may dress like Power Rangers, but they know all about athleticism, music and humor. 10 a.m.8 p.m. today; EXTREME festivities continue daily through March 31. AstroWorld, 9001 Kirby Drive, 799-1234. $30.95; $19.95, children under 48 inches tall; $14.98, seniors; free, children under three.

Winefest VII Wine is what you get at Stages's annual fundraiser -- wine, plus foods from various restaurants and a chance to bid on items such as a Hill Country tour of Texas wineries. You'll leave knowing that you had the good taste to support local theater, if not the taste to distinguish between the vintages you gulped down. 7 p.m. Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Parkway, 527-0220. $75-$500.

march 23
Women's Challenger tennis finals The contest's final match is today, and if the story plays out as a sports fairy tale should,27-year-old Helen Kelesi will be among the competitors. Kelesi was ranked 13th in the world when she underwent emergency brain surgery in 1995; this tournament marks her return to professional sports. Tennis buffs take note: This is the only women's professional tournament we get this year. Singles final starts at noon, with the doubles final immediately after. The Woodlands Executive Conference Center Resort and Country Club, 2301 North Millbend, The Woodlands, (281) 364-6236. Free.

Czech SpringFest What's not to love about accordions, kolaches, gingerbread decorating, folk dancing and jolly Czechs who believe Mlcak is a viable name? Noon5 p.m., St. Christopher's Parish Hall, 8150 Park Place Boulevard. For more information, call Lillian Pivonka at 861-7403. $6.50; $4.50, children under 12.

march 24
Gaylapalooza It's the Gay Comedy Jam team plus two, the biggest gay comedy event ever, and its world tour is making a two-night stop here in Houston. For three of the four comedians, the show will be something of a homecoming. Kevin Maye and Scott Kennedy, the Comedy Jam couple, live in Houston, and Georgia Ragsdale (seen on PBS and HBO) grew up here. The odd man out, Bob Smith, was the first gay comic on The Tonight Show. As those mainstream credentials imply, this is comedy even straight folks can enjoy. 8 p.m. tonight and Tuesday. Laff Stop, 1952-A West Gray, 524-2333. $15, with proceeds going to Q-Patrol.

march 25
March Madness "Final Four" Don't worry, this has nothing to do with the dullest of sports -- college basketball. The folks at Gulf Greyhound Park just "borrowed" the name for their own seeded elimination tournament. The field has been narrowed to four dogs; drop your dollars on your favorite. 6:30 p.m. Gulf Greyhound Park, I-45 at exit 15, La Marque, (800) ASK-2WIN. $1-$4.

march 26
Creating the Wealth Corner As readers of last April's Press story "A Sense of Placement" may recall, feng shui is an ancient Chinese discipline concerned with the spirituality rightness of how things are positioned around us. Of course we Americans have now turned that into the interior design du jour. But hey, that's what's great about this country: We get down to the nitty-gritty. Today, Johndennis Govert, author of Feng Shui: Art and Harmony of Place, will visit the Decorative Center Houston to explain exactly where red flowers should be positioned in a room to help a relationship flourish, and also to describe the "wealth corner," the center of energy for the whole family. 10 a.m. Decorative Center Houston, 5120 Woodway, 961-9292. Free; copies of the book sell for about $20.

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