Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller's tragedy traces Willie Loman's descent into despair and madness as the American dream eludes him. Loman, truly a low man, is one of American literature's saddest and most compelling characters. Through him, Miller personifies everything he believes wrong with an American moral system that values the dollar above all else. Ralph Waite, most famous for playing John Boy's dad on The Waltons, plays Willie in this production -- a must-see for theater lovers. 7:30 p.m. (See Thrills, Theater for other dates and times.) Alley Theatre, 615 Texas, 228-8421. $31-$46.
Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival Conroe, that little town just outside of Houston where everyone still talks with a twang, holds one of its biggest festivals of the year this weekend. At it, find food such as funnel cake, fried alligator, Cajun "burriteaux" and ostrich on a stick. More than the peculiar food, the music -- both Cajun and otherwise -- ought to get you up and out of Inner Loopdom. This evening, Ezra Charles, Johnny Reno, Waylon Thibodeaux, Joe Douglas and Billy Joe Shaver are all playing. Tomorrow's highlights include Miss Molly, Trish Murphy, Jack Ingram, Chubby Carrier and accordion-playing Hunter Hayes, a young Cajun who's shared the stage with the likes of Hank Williams Jr. Also on Saturday, songwriter Guy Clark ("L.A. Freeway," "Desperadoes Waiting for a Train") plays at 6:30 p.m. at the Crighton Theatre (234 North Main Street, (409) 756-1226; tickets for his performance are $15, and if purchased in advance, include admission to the festival. The festival runs 6 p.m.-midnight tonight; 11 a.m.-midnight Oct. 11.; noon-6 p.m. Oct. 13. Corner of Highway 105 East and North Thompson (park at the old Doctor's Hospital at 3205 West Davis and shuttle to the festival). For information, call (800) 324-2604. Festival tickets, $6; $2, kids 12 and under; free, seniors and kids under six.
Ballet Folklorico de Mexico The New York Times called them "Joyous! Exhilarating!" That's what folk dance at its best can make you feel as you laugh, clap your hands and burn to get up and dance. Ballet Folklorico was founded in 1952 by Amalia Hernandez, and has since become the premier Mexican folkloric dance company. One hundred and fifty performers bring more than ten dances and ballets to the stage. See stories of beautiful women and dashing cowboys, not to mention the devil. Plus the Yaqui people, untouched by Spanish influence, bring their "Deer Dance" to the stage. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10 and 11; 2 p.m. Oct. 12. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, (800) 828-ARTS. $12$40.
Dracula This weekend, yet another theater group is putting up its shingle or swinging wide its doors or hanging curtains -- whatever it is that theaters do to signify that they're opening. Atomic Cafe opens with a Halloween-timed Dracula. This musical production promises to be "spooky, scary, silly, sexy" -- and Tod Waters and Meat Unit will show "horror art" in the gallery. Don't bring the kids; the show contains "adult themes." 8 p.m. Fri. and Sat, thru Nov. 1. Atomic Cafe, 1320 Nance, 222-ATOM. $8.
Mediterranean Festival For 16 years, the Mediterranean Festival has served your favorite foods from Middle Eastern and Slavic countries. Lebanon, Syria, Greece, Italy -- they're all represented in the stuffed grape leaves, pizza, falafel and baklava being served at this festival. The festival includes the requisite petting zoo, and kids can also ride Habebee the Camel. In St. George Orthodox Church, hear lectures on the Orthodox faith or just tromp around spending your nickels on all the little festival doodads for sale, some of them imported. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 10 and 11; noon-6 p.m. Oct. 12. St. George Orthodox Church, 3505 Bissonnet, 665-5252. $2 donation or two canned goods for the Houston Food Bank.
Children's Festival Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion presents this festival for the third year in a row. Hear music and storytelling, play games and sports or try your hand at crafts all for the little people among us. Among the goings-on, there will be sign language set to music, Chinese tales and theatrical performances of historical events; see the Hastey Pudding Puppet Co., and Cello Man. 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Drive, (281) 363-3300. $4.
Arena Dancing Farrell Dyde has been bringing new ideas to Houston dance for quite a few years. Tonight's performance promises to be just as offbeat and risky as those of the past. The "experimental" dance will take place in an informal setting with seating in the round and no special lighting. But don't worry that it'll be a highbrow confounding spectacle of folks moving strangely about the stage. Dyde has put together what he calls a "postmodern vaudeville show," a compilation from many dance companies and choreographers, all selected in the name of defining dance. Among the participants: the male urban dance group Fly, the all-female group Weave, "Tag Team dancing," "Kids Only" dancing and even "Dancers over Forty." 8 p.m. Houston Metropolitan Dance Center, 1202 Calumet, 942-9553. $12.