1997 Hair Ball Gala Lawndale's Hair Ball, the annual charity gala praised by both People magazine and the Houston Press, returns with the theme "American Classics." To highlight the roots of big hair, partygoers are asked to don the 'dos of the '40s, '50s and '60s. (In the absence of inspiration, black tie is an acceptable substitute.) Conrad Johnson and the Big Blue Sound perform. Proceeds benefit the Lawndale Art and Performance Center. 8 p.m.-midnight. Two Houston Center, 909 Fannin (at McKinney), 528-5858. $150.
11th Annual AIA Sandcastle Competition Twelve hundred architects and engineers, buckets in hand, are headed to Galveston to build strip centers, castles, cars -- whatever they want, right on the beach. The 65 crews are limited only by time (five hours), space (22 by 25 feet, max) and their own imaginations. Previous entries have included a skillet with two fried eggs, and four Volkswagens (a Beetles reunion -- get it?). The Convictions perform. Sandcastle building, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; judging, 4-5:30 p.m.; awards ceremony, 5:30-6 p.m. East Beach, Galveston, 622-2081. Free to watch; parking on East Beach is $5.
Third Annual Island Art Festival Not all the art on the Island today will be destroyed by wind and tide. More than 100 artists from Gal-veston and beyond have set up shop on Pier 21 to sell their original -- and permanent -- creations: paintings, sculptures, drawings, photography, jewelry, glasswork, carvings and such. Live music competes with the chattering of seagulls, and the art of the grape receives its due with a tasting of Texas wines. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. today; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Pier 21, Galveston, 521-0133. $5; free, children 12 and under.
An Evening of Opera Favorites Too impatient for Carmen? Not enough time for Faust and Figaro? Tonight, for busy people like you, opera cuts to the chase. Soloists from the Houston Opera Studio, the acclaimed training program of the Houston Grand Opera, perform some of the best-beloved arias and scenes -- and none of the troublesome introductory matter. Louis Salemno guest-conducts the evening of operatic Cliffs Notes. Picnics are welcome; beverages are not. 8 p.m. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, 629-3700. $7-$10.
Reprogram Hip-Hop Venue Presents: Battledrill Every Saturday night for the last two years, Reprogram has organized a hip-hop culture happening -- and in hip-hop time, two years is an eternity. The group of local DJs and performers aims to advance street culture by exposing ever more people to East Coast-style, roots-oriented hip-hop with positive rhymes and jazzy beats. The Mathematech DJs -- Kool DJ Cee, Witnes and Comp One -- and special guest DJ Baby C spin, and local hip-hop acts Ie. (Example) and Rock 1 Cession perform. All styles of street dance are welcome in the dance competition. Doors open at 9 p.m.; contest starts promptly at 10 p.m. Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, 862-7580. (To secure a slot in the contest, call 770-9778 ASAP). $5, 21 and up; $7, minors.
Aura photography Yeah, Glamour Shots could make you look sexy, but what would that photo say about the real, inner you? Kathy Martin offers an alternative: a photo of your aura. Her Polaroid-like mug shot, she says, will reveal all the invisible colors of your energy field. For an extra fee, Martin and her associates will tell you what the pretty colors mean. 1-5 p.m. today, and the first Sunday of every month. Body, Mind & Soul, 4386 Westheimer, 993-0550. $25, photo only; $35, photo and reading.
Portrait of a Decade: David Alfaro Siqueiros 1930-1940 Siqueiros -- along with Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco -- was one of the top painters in the Mexican Renaissance. During the decade examined, the artist faced imprisonment and exile because of his political beliefs, and still produced his most famous paintings, from images of peasant life to a portrait of George Gershwin in concert. Some people work best under pressure. Through July 20. Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7300. $3; $1.50, children ages six-18 and seniors; free, children under six.
A Decade of Expression Access Houston Community Television is celebrating its tenth anniversary, and tonight the best of the past year will be honored Oscar-style at the Alley Theatre. Producers submitted 101 entries for 15 categories (comedy, cultural arts, sports, etc.), and prominent Houstonians will be on hand to tear open the envelopes. Among the big names: Buzz Aldrin, Brian Black and Kevin Black, restaurateur Ghulam Bombaywala, Wayne Dolcefino, Eddie Corral, Lee P. Brown, and Warren and Felicia Moon. Organizers have even lined up a couple of star-types to play the Billy Crystal role: film director Peter Masterson, father of Mary Stuart, and his actress wife Carlin Glynn. Cal Jones, the former news director credited with discovering Dan Rather, receives the Lifetime Achievement Award; Rather will appear via videotape to talk about his mentor. The whole shebang will be taped and -- of course -- shown later on Access Houston. 6:30 p.m., cocktail reception; 8 p.m., awards ceremony. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue, (800) 766-6048. Ticket prices start at $35.
1997 Tour of World Figure Skating Champions Tiny hometown hero Tara Lipinski -- the youngest Ladies World Figure Skating Champion in history -- is skating, and that alone justifies a crowd. She'll Lutz and axel and all that jazz, but if she's got a trick that'll beat her outstanding triple-loop, triple-loop combination jump, she's probably saving it for the Olympics. This is only an exhibition, after all. Baytown's Andrea Gardiner, the first African-American Junior Ladies champion, is on the bill, as are Michelle Kwan, Dorothy Hamill, Brian Boitano, Oksana Baiul, Victor Petrenko, Elvis Stojko and a slew of slightly lesser known talents. 7:30 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-3700. $30 and $45.