Fly by Night Here's a test. What do Bizet's Carmen, Buckwheat Zydeco's "Sitting in My Ya Ya" and Bobby McFerrin's "Spain" have in common? Absolutely nothing -- except that they all accompany new dances created by the Duplex's resident dance company, Fly. The dancers are all male and completely urban, and they know how to sashay and hip-hop and muscle themselves across the floor like no la-di-da ballerina can. Enjoy a glass of free wine while you sit and chat with the choreographers and performers after the show. 8 p.m. tonight thru July 26. The Duplex, 1924 Brun. Call for reservations at 521-4560. $8.
Success with Less: Starting a Business with $300 or Less Aren't most millionaires in this country self-employed entrepreneurs? After all, this is the land of Horatio Alger's dreamy myth, where all smart, hard-working boys and girls can grow up to be rich. If you still believe in this quintessential American illusion, College of the Mainland says it has the course for you. In this short seminar led by Cathy Stucker, learn to "start small and build big" and to "use what you have and what you know," along with many other tricks of the entrepreneurial trade. 6:30-9:30 p.m. College of the Mainland, 1200 Amburn Road, Texas City. Call to register: (281) 280-3991, ext. 373; or (409) 938-1211, ext. 373. $26, residents of Texas City, La Marque, Dickinson, Hitchcock or Santa Fe school districts; $31, non-residents.
SAM Fest '97 The dulcimer and the lonely-sounding music it makes have been around since the 15th century. Today, it's associated with Appalachian folk music that's hard to find in almost any commercial venue. This weekend, hear all the dulcimer music you want at the Summer Acoustic Music Festival. Besides performances, the festival will offer a series of classes and workshops on a number of instruments including the dulcimer, autoharp, fiddle and guitar. Contests abound, and some of the prizes offered are handcrafted instruments. The whole thing starts this evening with a covered-dish supper and jam session. (See Thrills, Music, for more times and dates.) 6 p.m. St. Mark Lutheran Church, 1515 Hillendahl, (281) 370-8993. In-towners need only bring a covered dish to get in; out-of-towners are asked to make a donation.
Poo Giveaway For all you serious gardeners out there, here it is: head-high piles of life-giving dung, ready for the taking. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is oh-so-generously giving away its hay-eating creatures' "pure and unadulterated" poo, mineral-rich and chemical-free; get it while it lasts. Bring a shovel and a container, and don't forget to let it age several months before you use it. And offer some to the neighbors. That way they can't complain about the smell. Noon-1 p.m., The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza.
Rudz! Opening Okay, so Rudyard's sign has blazed RUDZ in red neon for a way long time; and yes, the new space upstairs has been the home of some raucous good times for at least a month already. But tonight is the real, official and true-blue opening of the new club up there entitled, as you have probably intuited, Rudz! And what an opening it will be. That vagabond theater company Infernal Bridegroom is premiering its latest show, Cowboy Mouth, written by Sam Shepard and Patti Smith, a play that seems absolutely right for such a scungy theatrical venue. It's about Shepard's low-down, hard-drinking, drug-reveling days and the kind of cooked-up love that only that kind of self-abuse can make. Later in the night, around 10, listen to "willful child" Mary Cutrufello tease musical magic from her guitar as she sings her strange country lyrics about love in the days of the dysfunctional family. And at the witching hour, Texas Guinness Lovers and their Irishy-folkly rock and roll will take center stage. It all starts at 8 p.m. Rudyard's Pub, 2010 Waugh Drive, 521-0521. Tickets for Cowboy Mouth, $6.99; all the rest is free.
A Celebration of Hip-Hop Culture For those of you completely out of the know, a b-boy is a breaker and a breaker is a breakdancer. Want to learn more? The Orange Show offers an opportunity no pop-culture nitwit should pass up, a chance to discover that hip-hop isn't all about gangsta rap and death. Come and be introduced to what the Orange Show has conveniently categorized as "the four basic elements of hip-hop": 1) DJs, those folks who produce weirdly musical noise by mixing and scratching records on turntables; 2) MCs, or rappers; 3) b-boys and b-girls, flying, leaping, spinning street dancers; and 4) writers, also called taggers and graffiti artists, people who have managed to turn the spray can into an artist's tool. Those of you who have found this whole explanation tediously old news may recognize the performers: among them, lyrical groups THENOMAD and Imphatigo; DJs Baby C. and Baby Roo and the Mathematechs DJs; plus dance crews K.O.R.O., Dynamics and Action Figgaz. 7 p.m.-11 p.m. The Orange Show, 2401 Munger, 926-6368. $5.
Sweet Success You've seen them on TV, those lithe little girls triple-salchowing through the air, more birdlike than human with their ribbony arms and legs and flouncy flapping skirts. The Ice Skating Institute is now affording you an opportunity to see figure skaters in person without traveling all the way to Nagano, Japan, (which is where the 1998 Winter Olympics will be held). This third annual "Sweet Success" challenge features exhibits and competitions in 30 individual and team events at a range of skill levels. 5-8 p.m. (See Thrills, Sports, for other dates and times.) Aerodrome, 16225 Lexington Blvd., Sugar Land, (281) 265-7465. Free.