Press Picks

Gail Donahue Storey Way before publishing her first novel, The Lord's Motel, Houston writer Gail Donahue Storey was gathering her students into a big circle and imparting to them all her wisdom about the craft of writing. Back then, in the late '80s, she was known to her University of Houston progeny as patient, wise and, most of all, kind. Her take on humanity and its foibles is loving: In her books, outlandish characters find themselves in preposterous situations -- a librarian, for instance, discovers that she has become the unwitting star of a bachelor party. This weekend, Storey shares her good heart and big brain in a three-hour writing workshop. Its very timely subject: "the power of memoir to help revitalize ourselves." 9 a.m.-noon. Spiritual Heights Wellness Center, 508 Pecore, 864-4325. $35.

Power of Houston Houston Industries has been putting on the granddaddy of festivals to beat out all festivals this week, covering more than 12 downtown city blocks with five separate stages. Today enjoy more than 25 bands and performing events, including such diverse groups as the Zydeco Dots, the Hollisters, Vince Vance and the Valiants, and the Righteous Brothers. It all culminates at 10 p.m. with a fireworks display that's said to include "thousands of pyrotechnic effects," "12 tons of explosives" and laser lights. All this excitement will originate from over 60 sites, including building rooftops and ground locations. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Downtown Houston between Dallas, Milam, Rusk and Bagby, 684-6465. $5, adults; $2, children under 12; free, children under three.

september 21
Walk for Diabetes Sixteen million Americans, including 200,000 in Harris County, have diabetes. It's the fourth-largest cause of death in this country, killing more folks than AIDS or breast cancer. And if it doesn't kill, the complications that come from the disease, including loss of limbs and blindness, are devastating. Coerce, badger and beg your neighbors, friends and enemies to pledge some pennies for every mile you walk, and join the more than 2,000 others who are trying to raise funds for diabetes research. 7 a.m., check-in; 8 a.m., walk begins, Meyerland Plaza at Loop 610 and Beechnut, (800) 254-WALK.

A Plethora of Peppers for Purposes Practical and Peculiar Today local chefs will gather together and peel, pan-fry, parboil, poach and otherwise prepare plenty of peppers, producing a plentiful, palatable paradise of pepper dishes. The public is invited to partake; proceeds will permit Urban Harvest to pursue its pledge to plant organic produce. 47 p.m. Rainbow Lodge, #1 Birdsall, 880-5540. $25.

september 22
Live Looking back, '95 was a magical year for Live. The band lunged dramatically from a promising "Buzz Bin" phenomenon into the multi-platinum stratosphere a bit sooner than anyone could've imagined. During the lengthy Throwing Copper tour, the group's live show has all the gusty force of U2's super-earnest productions circa War, minus the quasi-militant overtones. Today the intense, teeth-grinding shtick of bandleader Ed Kowalczyk has a tendency to wear an audience down, but there's no denying the power of the band's pummeling rhythm section. And in a year defined by ditzy No Doubt disposability and electronica's faceless synthetic gurgles and farts, there's always room for a little ferocity. Luscious Jackson and Manbreak open. 7 p.m. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Dr., The Woodlands, 629-3700. $15-$30.

september 23
Thom Gunn The Margarett Root Brown Houston Reading Series is the best in the city, featuring some of the most famous, erudite and even controversial writers committing their ideas to paper. Thom Gunn, a poet and recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, opens the program this year reading from his latest book, Collected Poems; perhaps he'll share with the audience some poems that have yet to be published. 8 p.m. Brown Auditorium of the Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 734-3013. Free.

september 24
Finding the Love of Your Life Now that's a title that promises all sorts of interesting workshop mates. Carl Hamilton, the singles pastor at First Presbyterian Church, suggests that there is a much sounder way to find your one-and-only than by listening to your woefully wrong-headed heart. Instead, Hamilton urges that you follow the "ten proven principles for choosing a companion" and discover the "seven premarital danger signs." He'll explain those precepts in a free series of eight classes, open to singles in their twenties, thirties and forties. The workshop literature promises "plenty of opportunities for class participation." No preregistration is required, and child care is provided. 7-8:30 p.m. First Presbyterian Church, 5300 Main, 526-2525. Free.

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