You don't really want to go see some silly shoot-'em-up at the nearest crusty-floored, smelly, hyper-expensive megaplex, do you? No, you want to see some real films, made with the blood, sweat and tears of hard-working artists and students. Tonight, you have the choice of two independent film series. First, the Rice Media Center, in conjunction with the South West Alternate Media Project, presents the Young Filmmakers' Showcase, a screening of the best Texas student films around. Entries include the bizarre Macarakeybrakeyhumptyhump, a post-apocalyptic music video. Next, Cinemati GoGo brings you San Franciscan Dave Krysik's Brainwash Short Film Festival. Featured films include Converse -- Mel the Monster and Excerpts, winner of the 1995 Charles Manson Loose Eyeball award. Uh-huh. The Young Filmmakers' Showcase starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Rice Media Center, Rice University campus, entrance no. 8. Cinemati GoGo starts at 10:30 p.m. at TemplO, 5223 Feagan. For more information on Cinemati GoGo, call 880-0653 or e-mail ZooStories@juno.com.
Calling all women! Ditch the high heels and skirts, don some Birkenstocks and get thee to the Fourth Annual Houston Women's Festival! This year's festival boasts an embarrassment of female musical riches; featured acts include Dublin's duo Zrazy, Austin's Sara Hickman and Houston's own Cowboy's Nightmare. Local actress and "TV Montrose" host Kim Sevier emcees the day stage, and at 6:15, comedienne Vickie Shaw takes over and heads up the evening activities. Add to that the varied merchants and vendors present (read: art, food and beer) and a multimedia show, and you've got a regular She-In. The Women's Festival runs 1 p.m.midnight tonight at Garden in the Heights, 3926 Feagan. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, and can be purchased at Lobo, Toopee's and Lucia's Garden. For more information, call 861-3316.
We in the 20th century are pretty lucky folks. Technology has given us incredible advances in medicine, most of us have the benefit of education on our side, not to mention the added perk of art and music to expand our perspective and enhance our personal growth. Six centuries ago, though, most of these luxuries were not available to people, and they had to muddle through such nasty events as the Bubonic Plague. In Europe, the church developed morality plays to give people hope -- and to teach them how to behave. The Houston Community College Drama Department brings us a rare performance of one of these plays, Everyman, the story of a man who is summoned by Death and must choose companions for the journey. Surprise: Hardly anybody wants to join him. Today at 2:30 p.m., Central College's Theatre One, 3517 Austin (at Holman). Tickets: $3 students; $5 general public. For reservations, call 718-6570.
Hillary Clinton would say yes. Newt Gingrich would probably say no. The question: Can Women Save Politics? Julie Mason, a political reporter for the Houston Chronicle, moderates the Federation of Houston Professional Women's Politithon. Ironically enough, professors Richard Stein of Rice University and Richard Murray of the University of Houston (men!) discuss the electorate's changing perception of women leaders. Representatives from the New White House Project -- a group that aims to elect a woman president by 2008 -- will be in attendance, as well as local candidates for political office. 5:15 p.m. Admission is $32. Red Lion Hotel, 2525 West Loop South. For reservations, call Elizabeth Asher at 974-0650 or visit www.fhpw.org.
What do naked women, birds, checkerboards and "magic sticks" have in common? No, you dirty-minded little readers, it's not some weird sex thing: They're all elements in the lively and colorful art of Roberta Harris. More than 30 of her collage paintings and steel-and-mixed-media sculptures will be on display at the Goldesberry Gallery through November 28. "My art is about being up, it's about life, and I like colors that are bright, exuberant and playful," Harris says. And at least one familiar client agrees -- the MTV Corporation -- has enough of Harris's works in its collection to mount its own exhibit. (Cross your fingers that they'll put Kurt Loder into storage to make room for a Harris sculpture in their lobby; after all, the VJ and the metal object are about equally animated.) 2625 Colquitt, 528-0405. (Bob Ruggiero)
Reading one's poems to a large group of people can be frightening and humbling. Without the support of a good crowd, your best poem can go over like a lead balloon. That's why we so admire the folks who have the guts to share their deeply personal work at Nuestra Palabra. Founder Tony Diaz co-hosts tonight's reading, and Channel 45's Antonio Hernandez guest-hosts, and will read some of his own writing as well. The Theater Spotlight falls upon playwright Diego Garcia, and Alejandro Morúa is the featured poet. This month's "Nuestro Discovery" is Tina Cordona, who reads poetry from her thesis. Nuestra Palabra is tonight at 7 p.m. at Chapultepec, 813 Richmond. Admission is free. For more information, call 867-8943.