Gimme 5 Your offspring refuse to eat their veggies? M.D. Anderson feels your pain. Gimme 5, a hospital-sponsored "interactive" lesson, encourages kids to play with their food -- so long as it's the healthful kind, of course. 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. The Museum of Health & Medical Science, 1515 Hermann Drive, 521-1515. Both the lesson and museum admission are free.
Runaways Houston thespians have cause for celebration. A new theater has opened in our city, and it has opened with an exciting and energetic choice: the youthful, streetwise musical Runaways by Elizabeth Swados. In 1978, when the play landed on Broadway, there was quite a to-do over Swados's grim depiction of American runaways in trouble. Almost 20 years later, her dramatic vision seems poetically prescient. The play is gritty, moving and perfect for a young company of actors working out of a small storefront makeshift theater. 8 p.m. Each night through July 12. Masquerade Theatre, 720 West 11th Street (between Yale and Shepherd), 861-7045. $15; $12, seniors and students.
Doug Supernaw There's a lot to do at the race park besides drinking beer while watching animals run in circles -- and for starters, you can enjoy the free concerts offered this summer. Country star Doug Supernaw kicks off the series with his wild and woolly act. He's been known to descend via wire to the Astrodome stage far below, and to swan dive into a Canadian crowd. And (oh, yeah) he sings hits like "Not Enough Hours in the Night," "I Don't Call Him Daddy" and "Time off from Good Behavior." Races begin at 7 p.m.; Supernaw starts at 10:30. Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West, between Highway 290 and I-45 North. Admission to the race park is $3; no extra charge for the concert, but for $5, you can sit up close in the paddock ring.
StreetWise Houston car wash and rummage sale Any rummage sale promising "exotic furniture" is worth a look-see. And when you can shop in the name of help-ing homeless adolescents, no excuse for self-indulgence is necessary. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. StreetWise, 202 Tuam. Another opportunity to help the kids and yourself arrives Saturday, at the Wendy's located at 1303 Westheimer; from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., you can get your car washed for a paltry $3 donation.
Mohsen Makhmalbaf film series Iranian films have been enjoying popularity in the U.S. lately, and they deserve it. The country's filmmakers scrape by on an average $150,000 per film, and are subjected to a rigorous four-tiered censorship process. Love stories are especially hard to make: Female actors must adhere to strict Islamic codes requiring that their hair be covered at all times; and since women are not allowed to touch anyone except a family member, on-screen couples cannot even hold hands. And forget action movies: Gratuitous violence is strictly forbidden. Working within those boundaries, director Mohsen Makhmalbaf has been making acclaimed films since 1982. Over the years he has moved from didactic Islamic themes to more complicated dilemmas, revealing in the process his disenchantment with the censorship codes that have made it difficult, indeed at times impossible, to get his films shown in his own country. Thankfully, our only difficulty in seeing his films is finding parking at the museum. The Mohsen Makhmalbaf series starts at 7:30 p.m. with Stardust Stricken: Mohsen Makhmalbaf, a 70-minute subtitled documentary about the director's life. See Film Capsules, Repertory, for information on other movies in the series. At the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7515. Free.
The King and I More politically incorrect than ever, Rodgers and Hammerstein's old-fashioned musical is about an English schoolteacher who travels to Siam (modern-day Thailand) to be a governess and finds herself teaching good English manners to an intimidating Eastern king. Of course, she falls in love with him in that opposites-always-attract way. Ethnocentrism aside, the music is gorgeous and the story sweet and gentle enough for the kids; in fact, a number of children are in the cast. 8 p.m. (Runs through August 16; see Thrills, Theater, for other showtimes.) The Country Playhouse, 12802 Queensbury (south of Town and Country Mall), 467-4497. $15; seniors and students, $13.
Introductions '97 For the last 18 years, the Houston Art Dealers Association has set aside a time during our slow and sweltering southern summer to introduce Houstonians to new artists. Every medium is represented, from sculpture to photography, and the work is "priced modestly" to encourage first-time (or just plain poor) buyers. In addition to promoting the visual arts, HADA, a nonprofit membership organization, is also supporting the Houston READ Commission by collecting books and magazines throughout the Introduction '97 exhibitions. Today, the first day of the exhibit, shows will run 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Archway Gallery, Barnes-Blackman Galleries, Brent Gallery, John Cleary Gallery, Lowell Collins Gallery, Dean Day Gallery, Harris Gallery, Meredith Long & Company, Robert McClain & Company, Nolan-Rankin Galleries, Thomas V. Robinson/Robinson Galleries and Sicardi-Sanders Gallery. See Thrills, Art Exhibits, Opening, for more details.
Museum District Free Day Ten Rice University-area museums have teamed up with Channel 11, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and METRO to immerse Houstonians in culture. See the lyrical beauty of a Matisse painting at the Museum of Fine Arts, listen to the moving and chilling testimony of local Holocaust survivors at the Holocaust Museum, smell the odoriferous splendor of a hot hippo in July at the zoo. Something for everyone, and today, all for free. Buses will circulate all day to provide some rest for the weary. Participants include the Children's Museum of Houston, 1500 Binz, 522-1138; the Contemporary Arts Museum, 5216 Montrose Blvd., 284-8250; the C.G. Jung Center, 5200 Montrose Blvd., 524-8253; the Holocaust Museum Houston, 5401 Caroline, 942-8000; the Houston Mu-seum of Natural Science, One Hermann Circle Drive (in Hermann Park), 639-4629; the Houston Zoo, 1513 N. MacGregor in Hermann Park, 520-3200; Lawndale Art and Performance Center, 4912 Main Street, 528-5858; the Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross, 525-9400; the Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7300; and the Museum of Health and Medical Science, 1515 Hermann Drive, 521-1515.
Summer in the South Dance New Directions Singles will host an old-fashioned dance way down south in the Clear Lake area. Don your favorite blue jeans, pinch your cheeks pink or shine up your shoes, and get ready to dance your heart out to the beat of Fabulous Sounds. But goodness gracious, don't spike the punch! No BYOB allowed at this squeaky-clean function. And the truly evil will have to smoke outside. 8 p.m.-midnight. Beck Hall in St. Paul's Catholic Church, 18223 Point Lookout Drive in Nassau Bay. For more information, call Alicia at (281) 488-8148 or Jean at (281) 474-2649. A $6 donation is requested.
Roar Tour Driving long distances outside the Loop can be worth it at times. Today, when you have a chance to see 11 bands in seven hours, might be one of those times -- especially when the acts include Sponge, the Nixons, the Reverend Horton Heat and the Bloodhound Gang. Not to mention the scatological humor of Jimmy Pop. 3 p.m.-10 p.m. Clear Lake Beach Club, 3813 NASA Road 1, (281) 326-3066. $27.50.
Monday night folk dancers Before Billy Ray Cyrus and his achy breaky heart got hold of it, the term "line dancing" conjured images of Greek grandfathers and ecstatic family gatherings. If you've been craving that original delirious thrill, check out this regular gathering. Beginners can learn line dances from Greece, Bulgaria, Hungry -- all places Balkan -- from lead instructor Bud Bearce and his compadre Ada Young. And they'll enjoy the company of other dancers, some experienced, some brand-new to the fancy footwork. 7:3010 p.m. In the building at River Oaks Park, 3600 Locke Lane (near Edloe and Westheimer). $3. Call 723-6332 for more information.
Boat Show Could there be a more lovely way to spend a summer afternoon than drifting on a balmy bay in your very own yacht? Unfortunately, the closest most Houstonians will ever come to that fantasy is drifting through the George R. Brown Convention Center, ogling all the seaworthy beauties on display during the annual Houston Summer Boat Show. Luxury is not all that's featured: Besides the offshore cruisers, there'll be homelier canoes and runabouts. Shop for trailers and surfboards, or check out the varieties of marine insurance on the market these days. 1-10 p.m. today through Saturday; Sunday, July 20, noon-6 p.m. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Convention Center Blvd., 526-6361. $4.95; $2 for children under 12.
Notary Public Think of the places you could go, the things you could do if you were a notary. Okay, so it wouldn't change your life that much -- but you would become very popular in the neighborhood and your office-mates would be ever so grateful. Universal Notary Training is offering a one-day, six-hour class to teach you everything you need to become certified. After that, your legal seal and signature will be worth something, literally. Registration, 7:30-8 a.m.; class, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Holiday Inn Select, 2712 Southwest Freeway. $139; price breaks available for multiple registrations. Call (800) 466-8051 for information, instructions and a confirmation number.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth In case you're tired of the same old ferocious tigers, trick elephants, hilarious clowns and astonishing jugglers that the Greatest Show on Earth always brings to town, this year Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey debuts new offerings. First, there is the beautiful blue-eyed Airiana, human arrow extraordinaire. See her launched nightly across the Summit from the "world's largest crossbow." Second, the circus has become interactive. All those holding tickets can come one hour early and try their hands at juggling the balls, swinging on the trapeze and donning a clown suit. More timid ticket holders can simply meet some of the performers. The fun starts tonight at 7:30 and runs through July 27 with 17 action-packed shows. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza. $10-$16.50. For information, call Ticketmaster, 629-3700.