Press Picks

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saturday
August 9

Bowling for Rhinos Oh those rhinos, so humongously bovine, so bullheadedly ornery and so, well, downright ugly. But by golly, they need your help. Once there were over 100 species of rhino; now only five remain. And the measly five still lumbering the earth are always in danger from poachers unless the big beasts are contained on protected wildlife sanctuaries. The American Association of Zoo Keepers asks you to come out and bowl a few games to fund the animals' sanctuaries and help stop the poaching. 6:30 p.m., registration; 7 p.m., games start. Fair Lanes, 8180 S. Gessner, Highway 59 at Gessner. Call 529-2632, ext. 100 to preregister. $12 with preregistration; $15 at the door. Fee includes three games, shoe rental and entry in the door-prize drawing.

Great American Train Show Even children get it, that wistful pang of longing brought about by the sound of a distant train whistle. Most all Americans have imagined, if only for a moment, hopping a far-off locomotive and leaving behind all responsibility. Maybe that's why model trains are so mesmerizing, so delightful: Our wild dreams of escape are all right there before us, in innocent, controllable, miniaturized packages. Or maybe we just like making the tiny choo-choos crash gloriously into each other. Whether it's violence or escape that appeals to you, the toy trains are here. The Great American Train Show features 550 tables of them, with 17 operating model railroad layouts. There is even a huge four-track railroad that all comers, pintsize or grown-up, can operate. Both new state-of-the-art trains and old Lionel and American Flyer trains will be on display. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. today and Sunday. The Astrodome/Astroarena, 8400 Kirby. $5; kids under 12 get in free with an adult.

Philippine Cultural Night Traditional music and dances from the Philippines are featured at this evening marking the country's centennial anniversary. The Philippines Performing Arts Company, a national touring group, will dance the dances that reveal the many cultures that have influenced and colonized the islands. Indigenous dances such the Tinikling, which depicts the Tinikling bird as it hops to escape bamboo traps, will be performed. See the beautiful costumes and listen to the native language of Tagalog, one of the few languages we don't hear all that often here in Houston. 7 p.m. University of Houston's Cullen Performance Hall, 4800 Calhoun, entrance one, 524-6929. $15.

sunday
August 10
Tejano Festival It's gonna be hot today, but if you can stand the heat, you might want to make your way to Six Flags AstroWorld for a daylong party. A mariachi band and local Tejano bands La Traicion and Divino will perform throughout the day. Folklorico dancers will kick up their heels (hope they don't faint dead away while doing so from heat prostration), and in the evening, at the theme park's Southern Star Amphitheatre, you can see Emilio in concert at 7 p.m. Park hours, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Six Flags AstroWorld, 9001 Kirby, 799-1234. $31.95, those 48 inches or taller; $20.95, those under 48 inches; free, two and under.

monday
August 11
Group Rebirthing To all you nonbelievers who run around pooh-poohing the energy-breathing, rebirthing, touchy-feely, aromatherapy, crystal-carrying, tarot-card-reading mystic stuff as just a bunch of folderol and claptrap: This class is absolutely not for you. But if you do not fall into the above category, CenterPoint Project might be offering the class that will start you down the road to New Age, inner-child, past-life, astral-plane self-discovery. Susan Shorr and Bruce Hurta, who, we're assured, "have both explored many enlightenment disciplines and practices," will lead a class in a breathing technique that promises "beneficial effects on the mental, spiritual and emotional" self. They advise all comers to be ready for "surprises." Bring a blanket and wear comfortable clothing. 7 p.m., registration; 7:15-8:45 p.m., class. No latecomers allowed in. CenterPoint Project, 7621 Westview Drive, 528-1529. $10.

tuesday
August 12
Communications and the Comets The Association for Women in Communications Houston Professional Chapter is offering a close-up look at the Houston Comets, the Women's National Basketball Association team, on and off the court. The AWC monthly meeting will focus on the marketing of the team and the future of the WNBA and provide an opportunity to see the team play. John Thomas, senior executive vice president of business for the Houston Rockets, will be the guest speaker at a social prior to the Houston Comets vs. Utah Starzz game. 5 p.m., pre-game social, Houston City Club, 9 Greenway Plaza; 6:30 p.m., game time, the Summit; Call Sarah Harvision to RSVP at 665-2963. $35; $30, members and students -- includes Comets ticket, parking fees, food and beverage.

wednesday
August 13
Downtown Educational Fair Are you a bookkeeper adding up the columns of all your CPA boss's audits but making only half his salary? Or a self-taught computer geek writing just as many programs as the engineers but not getting close to their wages? Do you find yourself muttering how different things would be if only you had a degree? It doesn't matter how old you are, how bad your high school grades were, what your work hours are or how much money you don't have, you can go to college if you really want to. To prove it, the University of Houston-Downtown will have representatives available to answer all your back-to-college questions. Four years from now, you'll be four years older whether or not you go to college. Why not be four years older with a college degree? 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tunnel below Texas Commerce Tower, 600 Travis, 221-8522. Free.

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