Press Picks

thursday
may 29
The Biggest Romance Spring Celebration Several hundred singles will vie for each other's attention at this oversize Houston Press Romance happening. You might get lucky, or you might get really lucky: The grand prize winner takes home four VIP tickets to the Beach Boys and Chicago's June 8 show in The Woodlands. Free buffet, and music by Ezra Charles and the Works. 7-11 p.m. The Wyndham Warwick, 5701 Main Street, 526-1991. For more info, call the Romance department at 624-1414. Admission is the submission of one free 40-word Romance ad; cash bar.

Land, Touch and Company B Bruce, political commentary and dancing in the dark -- could it be Springsteen? Nope, it's the Houston Ballet's spring program. The Bruce is choreographer Christopher Bruce, whose Land makes its American debut. His lament for the havoc wreaked by war is followed by the lighter Touch, Trey McIntyre's piece set to the cool jazz of Dave Brubeck and performed partially in the dark with flashlights. Paul Taylor's boogie-woogie Company B -- one of the Houston Ballet's signature pieces -- closes the evening. 7:30 p.m. Through June 8. (See Thrills, Dance for additional performance times.) Wortham Center, Brown Theater, 500 Texas Avenue, 227-2787, www.neosoft.com/~ballet. $10-$80.

The Vagina Monologues Eve Ensler -- director, actress, Obie Award-winning playwright and grandmother -- interviewed more than 200 women about their vaginas, and retells their stories in her one-woman show. Last year, The Vagina Monologues was the hottest off-Broadway show in New York; now it closes the first Houston Fringe Theater Festival. Men are welcome, and may even learn something. 8 p.m. tonight; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Theater LaB Houston, 1706 Alamo (off Houston Avenue), 868-7516. $18.

friday
may 30
Accordion Kings VIII Few people today think of the accordion in terms of Lawrence Welk, perhaps because few people today think of Lawrence Welk. While that's not good news for Mr. Wunnafulwunnaful, it is gratifying that the squeezebox is finally receiving its due respect. This weekend, pay your respects to the kings of squeeze, as they take over Miller Outdoor Theatre. Tonight's headliners are Rounder recording artists Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys of south Louisiana; Nick Villarreal y Su Conjunto, noted for their musical satires ("El Mayor Henry Cisneros") and polka purveyors Central Texas Sounds open the show. Tomorrow night's equally eclectic lineup shimmies with Angel Flores y Su Conjunto, Touch of Cajun, the Iguanas and Boozoo Chavis. Presented by Texas Folklife Resources. 7:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday. Miller Outdoor Theatre, Hermann Park, 100 Concert Drive, 520-3290. Free.

Seaspace '97 Seaspace is the largest dive-stuff show in North America, and it's held right here in Houston. Learn how to capture your underwater experiences on film, or how American Sign Language can help you communicate with fellow divers; listen to reports on dive sites everywhere from our own murky Gulf Coast to Thailand; and explore other topics close to divers' hearts. (Besides a slew of environmental talks, there are two seminars on Caribbean cuisine.) The convention includes two full days of workshops and seminars, with 150 exhibitors touting their wares, their resorts and even their environmental concerns. Tonight's festivities conclude with a benefit performance by country stars Little Texas. Workshops, 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m.; seminars, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; music, 8-11:30 p.m. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana. For info, call John Ringrose at 774-7600 or 981-5458. Exhibits, free; workshops, $30-$40; seminars, $5 each; concert, $20. Package deals are available.

ABC: Artist Board Chooses Forget teamwork. DiverseWorks's artist advisory board, the collective mind behind the art space, usually acts as a unit in selecting artists for exhibition, but for this show, the individual members indulged themselves: Each board member picked one artist. No arguments. No compromises. Board member Kim O'Grady picked Patrick Phipps, she says, because "I heard he was good in bed." Board member Laurie MacDonald chose Beth Secor, who says her performance art "will be about my cousin Danice, who was my best friend when I was a kid. I will show slides from my childhood. It sounds boring, but it will be funny." Opening, 7-9 p.m. The visual works will be on display through July 12. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway, 223-8346. Free.

Susan McDonald It's five full months into 1997 and classical guitarist Susan McDonald only now is performing the year's first gig in her hometown. What's she been doing instead? Oh, you know: touring the U.S. promoting her latest recording, Tico-Tico, a collection of her Latin-American favorites. She's been lauded in Europe and earned rave reviews for her work at Carnegie Hall, but she's had to work even harder for respect here at home, where she's used to being booked into shopping malls and churches. Tonight she'll play her favorite classical and Latin American numbers. 8 p.m. University of St. Thomas, 3914 Yoakum, (800) 562-1904. $12.

saturday
may 31
Dr. Joycelyn Elders African art gallery La Mere et L'Enfant Gallery opens its doors with the help of special guest Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. surgeon general and butt of a thousand masturbation jokes. She'll sign copies of her recent autobiography From Sharecropper's Daughter to Surgeon General of the United States of America. Noon. La Mere et L'Enfant Gallery, 14925 Bellaire Boulevard, (281) 568-6373. The book costs $25.95. (Elders will attend a benefit reception for JASA House and Kid Care at 7 p.m. Friday at the Adam's Mark Hotel. Tickets are $100; for more information, call 795-0505.)

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.

sunday
june 1
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.

monday
june 2
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.

tuesday
june 3
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.

wednesday
june 4
X Is for X-ray If you had Superman's X-ray vision, you could peek at Lois Lane's undies. If you had true X-ray vision, you could use your powers to diagnose illnesses and make a ton of money. Live the fantasy at the Museum of Health and Medical Science's new exhibition -- and while you're there, catch snippets of films such as Giant Monsters Eat New York, whose science is even shakier than Superman's. The traveling exhibit, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of radiology, starts its tour in Texas today and continues through August 24. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Museum of Health and Medical Science, 1515 Hermann Drive, 521-1515. $4; $3, seniors, children and students with

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