Press Picks

Eighth Annual Fiesta de la Hispanidad Sexy, slow and tightly wound, the tango offers some of the most provocative and visceral, in-your-body music coming from Latin America. On the other hand, jazz, which sounds so free, loose and coolly North American, is also terribly sexy in an entirely in-your-head sort of way. Pianist, composer and nuevo tango specialist Pablo Ziegler draws from both worlds, mixing traditional tango music with jazz-like improvisations and acoustic piano melodies to create his "evolution of Argentine music." He replaces the traditional violin with a piano, guitar and bandoneon, and the sound that results is hot and loose, with all the frisson of cultures in collision. 8:30 p.m. Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park, 520-3290. Free advance tickets for covered seating are available at the box office today from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

August 24
Fourth Annual Theater District Open House One of the best things about the theater is the strangely ordinary otherworldliness of backstage. Actors trimming their toenails in the dressing rooms, wearing nothing but pancake makeup and boxer shorts; sweat-dripping dancers limping up a long staircase to the bathroom; a union stagehand reading Ann Landers, deaf to the tragic cries from La Boheme's Mimi as she dies her consumptive death one more time: All these images are kept from the audience in the name of art. Art, however, doesn't just happen; art is made. And that is perhaps the most glorious thing about it, that out of ordinary lives can come the extraordinary moments that make theater, dance or opera so deeply moving. Today, the residents of Houston's theater district are opening the doors to their backstages, allowing peeks at some of the work that goes on there. See sets that aren't set up and costumes hanging on the rack, as well as slide shows and live entertainment. There will even be food, and kids are most definitely encouraged to attend. They, more than anyone, want to know where all the pretty men and women on stage go when the curtain comes down. Participating groups include the Alley Theatre, Da Camera, Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, Society for the Performing Arts and Theatre Under the Stars. 1-6 p.m. Start your tour at any of the following addresses: Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Ave.; Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana; the Music Hall, 810 Bagby; Wortham Theater Center, 500 Texas. For information, call 853-8039. Free.

August 25
Big Brothers Big Sisters Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner So you're one of those altruistic folks who have often thought that being a Big Brother or Sister would be incredibly fulfilling. But it's kind of scary getting into something that you don't know anything about, especially something as involved as helping a child in need. Tonight, the gods of volunteerism are smiling on you. Each year BBBS hosts this awards evening to recognize volunteers who have made an outstanding contribution to the agency and, for the first time, the event is open to the public. One of the evening's highlights will be testimonials from program participants, allowing you to hear the story straight from those who have volunteered before you. The rhythm-and-blues horn band Ezra Charles and the Works will perform after the program, and there will be dinner, of course. 6 p.m., music and mingling; 7 p.m., seated dinner and awards, Houston Marriott Westside, 13210 Katy Freeway, 271-5683. $45.

August 26
Greater Tuna If you missed the show when it was first performed over a decade ago, you can see it now with the original stars who made it so funny. Joe Sears and Jaston Williams portray 20 different characters, all of whom hail from the tiny fictional town of Tuna, Texas. It's a place so conservative that residents believe the Lions Club is too liberal. Meet Vera Carp, who leads the Smut Snatchers of the New Order, biddies who clear library shelves of offensive works such as Romeo and Juliet. UFOs are sighted, animal rights are discussed and everyone but everyone is gossiping about a celebrity murder. The show is both timely social satire and very, very funny. 8 p.m. The Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice, Galveston (see Thrills, Theater for other dates and times), (409) 765-1894. $10$24.

August 27
Eating Disorder Screening Eating disorders are more than the subject of countless bad TV movies. Real girls and women (and in smaller numbers, real boys and men) get them, and if you suspect you or someone you love needs help, Baylor College of Medicine will help you find out. Today the school offers an eating disorder screening test for adolescents and adults. Participants will hear a brief talk on the causes, symptoms and treatments of anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating, and will discuss the results of the test with a mental health professional. Registration is limited and necessary. 1-4 p.m. Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza at the corner of Moursund and Bertner, 798-4896. Free.

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