California comic Rob Becker spent three years studying furrowed-brow topics like prehistory, sociology and psych as a prelude to writing the lightweight if light-hearted Defending the Caveman, his long-running paean to heterosexual love and the whimsical notion that guys aren't really the troglodytes they seem to be. (That, plus the fact that almost every review uses the word "sweet" or "sentimental," plus the fact that Becker recently performed Caveman for a couple of thousand counselors at the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy conference, dates this piece -- if not back to the Stone Age, then at least to the Hugh Beaumont/ Robert Young era. Can you say "yuppie crowd"?) The touring show opens with performances at 8 tonight and Wednesday; it continues through March 29. The Brown Theater at Wortham Center, 500 Texas, 237-1439. $34 to $40 (Ticketmaster: 629-3700).
It was the Two Johns of They Might Be Giants who sang "If the pup-pup-puppet head / Was only buh-buh-busted in / It would be a better thing for everyone involved." The song of origin was "Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head," and TMBG's comically aggressive and typically gibberish-filled little ditty would be a perfect theme song for Houston's Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theatre. BPT is not your garden-variety puppet troupe; that sort, targeted at little kids and little minds, makes us want to pick up one of Punch and Judy's tiny battering rams and break all of the small bones in the offending puppeteers' hands. No, Bobbindoctrin, too, is about gibberish-filled art with a wide streak of comic malevolence, but there's a foundation of solemn gravity to BPT's work, and an honest love for the form. That commitment shows up in "Puppet-Infested Planet" -- a co-production of BPT and its usual-suspect partner, Zocalo Theatre. The video fest presents an overview of some of the earnest work being done today in the realm of puppetry, as well as various historical precedents. It continues with a program titled "Puppetry of Asia," including screenings of Lovers Exile: Banraku, Yang Feng: Chinese Puppet Master and Wayangkulit: Java Shadow Puppetry. 8 p.m. NO TSU OH, 314 Main, 222-0443. Free.