Here's another worthy fundraiser: the Blues Is a Feeling benefit/book-release party features a signing by Chicago photographer/author James Fraher (The Blues Is a Feeling: Voices & Visions of African-American Blues Musicians), a display of Fraher's stills for the Houston Blues Project and a performance by Houston's Milton Hopkins, the former leader of B.B. King's band. Proceeds go to the Musicians Benevolent Society of Houston. 2 to 5 p.m. Butera's on Montrose, 4621 Montrose, 523-0722.
The Houston Zoological Gardens continues its commendable custom of offering gratis admission on city holidays with today's Memorial Day commemoration. Zoo hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1513 North MacGregor in Hermann Park, 523-5888.
Michael Frayn's Noises Off is to backstage farce what, say, Anthony Shaffer's Sleuth is to the diabolical thriller -- a sly, knowing, wink-wink/nudge-nudge exercise in genre deconstruction. Well, that makes Noises sound pretentious, which it's not. Frayn's play is fast-paced and fun, a sublimely ridiculous slapstick throwback that offers a behind-the-scenes look at a traveling theater troupe bumbling its way through a "witless sex farce" titled Nothing On. (P.S. The term "noises off" is British theatrical slang for "quiet on the set.") Tonight's show starts at 7:30 (for info about the rest of this week's performances, see page 44). The Large Stage at the Alley Theatre, 615 Texas, 228-9341. $31 to $46.
Salvadoran writer Contreras y Tobar (El Salvador: Light at the End of the Tunnel, the upcoming El Bilinguismo y Pobre el Discriminador) is the featured reader at this month's Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, a Hispanic literary forum scheduled every fourth Wednesday. Tony Diaz (The Aztec Love God), KXLN Channel 45 reporter Antonio Hernandez and journalist Russell Contreras are also scheduled to participate. 7 p.m. Chapultapec, 813 Richmond. Info: 867-8943. Free.