Press Picks

"Sacred Places" tour Galveston, the elegantly faded "Queen of the Gulf," is perhaps best known for its tan beaches, hurricanes, oil slicks and Portuguese man-of-war armadas, but we Texans also treasure it as a showplace for Victorian architecture. Sponsored by the Galveston Historical Foundation, this annual, self-guided tour of 19th-century churches includes stops at nine of the city's most venerable sites, including the Nicholas Clayton-designed First Presbyterian Church, 1903 Church; Trinity Episcopal Church, 22nd and Winnie; and St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, 1410 41st. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. today and 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Related events: a concert by the Macedonia Baptist Church choir at 6 this evening at First Presby and guided tours of the Hebrew Benevolent Society Cemetery, 43rd and Avenue L, from 2 to 5 Sunday afternoon. Info: (409) 765-7834, (281) 280-3907. $8; $7 for GHF members.

Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme Along with just about everything else from the Rat Pack era, these long-unhep cats have acquired a new cachet in the waning days of the millennium. Some -- Sinatra, for instance -- have never wavered in their insistence that Steve and Eydie swing, baby; admittedly, we've wavered countless times re: the merits of these Pepsodent swingers, but given the correct dosage of martinis, crafted with care and applied liberally.... Lawrence and Gorme, backed by a 31-piece orchestra, headline a fundraiser for the Houston chapter of Hadassah, an organization supporting various Jewish causes, at 8 p.m. Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Freeway, 988-1020. $50 (tix: 728-5553).

The Daughter of the Regiment The New York City Opera National Company, which specializes in touring interpretations of repertory classics, presents Donizetti's broadly comic concoction about the "darling of Napoleon's 21st Regiment" -- a poor orphan girl who's really of royal lineage. The show is sung in French with English surtitles; it starts at 8 p.m. The Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice Road in Galveston, (800) 821-1894 or (409) 765-1894. $14.50-$53.

february 1
Oasis Every now and then, an act emerges that pushes the outside of rock's envelope -- think Led Zeppelin, Iggy's Stooges, golden-era Stones, Talking Heads, the Smiths at their short-lived but shining summit. The fraternal order of acts displaying such defining/redefining otherness -- the right stuff -- is exclusive, but Oasis might well be invited to join one day if the band can keep from imploding amid the screaming emotional shrapnel and acidic acrimony of the relationship between brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher (lead vocals and guitar, respectively). On the other hand, some of the best rock has come to us as a byproduct of such conflict -- this is one of the qualities that sets the form apart from most other styles of music -- and Oasis has, in its brief tenure, produced some of the best envelope-pushing, return-to-form stuff of the past two decades. Touring behind its third album, Be Here Now, the group performs a rare Houston concert tonight. The opener is Cornershop (see the story on page 63). The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and it's officially sold out. Aerial Theater at Bayou Place, 520 Texas, 230-1600.

Eswari Raja The choreographer/instructor/ performer, who studied under Houston's Rathna Kumar before pursuing a higher level of training in India, performs the Bhagavata Mela Natakam of Andhra Pradesh -- more informally known as the Kuchipudi -- this afternoon. The Sanskrit dance drama is billed as a combination of "fast rhythms and fluid movements [blending] control and abandon, strength and delicacy." The show starts at 4. The Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts (MECA) Auditorium, 1900 Kane, 802-9370. Free.

february 2
Luis Miguel Speaking of hubris and Sinatra, as we were elsewhere in this week's column, this Latino megastar takes the cake: Addressing the topic of Miguel's 1996 awarding of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, an entry on the crooner's World Wide Web site ( -- a pretty telling techno-suffix) crows, " ... the event places him on the same level of stars such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley." While that's true in a technical sense -- they share the level of the cement in front of Grauman's Chinese -- it's an artistic reach if ever there was one. Still, Miguel is a multiplatinum stallion of long standing; sort of a younger, slicker Julio Iglesias, Luis began his highly profitable career at the age of 12 back in '82, and his numerous credits include three Grammys (as ever, more a barometer of sales than skills), numerous ballads for numerous movie soundtracks (including the Alan Menken/Stephen Schwartz tune "Suena (Dream)" for Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame) and, certainly not least, a version of "Come Fly with Me" with Ol' Blue Eyes himself that was included on the 1994 compilation Duets II. Showtime is 8 p.m. Compaq Center, 10 Greenway Plaza, 961-9003. $25-$75 (Ticketmaster: 629-3700).

february 3
"Microcosm: Views of Microscopic Forms" This exhibit of color and black-and-white photos -- actually, photomicrographs, the proper term for images taken with a scanning electron microscope -- includes extreme close-ups of itsy-bitsy stuff like liquid crystalline DNA, human blood cells, mosquito antennae, hormones, vitamin crystals and the various faunas that lurk in the subworlds beyond our senses. Curated by the University of Hawaii's Dr. Dennis Kunkel and held in conjunction with the upcoming FotoFest '98, "Microcosm" includes 60 works by 19 photomicrographers; the pieces were selected by a jury of scientists and artists based on "artistic composition, originality, tonal balance and photographic quality." The exhibit opens today -- viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. -- and continues through April 26 (see Thrills for more info). The Museum of Health & Medical Science, 1515 Hermann Drive, 521-1515. $4; $3 for students, seniors and kids ages four to 12.

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