Enough with the patches, the pills, the nicotine gum and those weird little contraptions that punch air holes in your filters. The American Cancer Society claims you can quit cold turkey if you can just get through one day -- the 22nd annual Great American Smokeout -- without a puff. Some 11,280,000 people participated last year, and nearly 20 percent claimed they were smoking less or not at all up to five days later. Call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or check out www.cancer.org for quit tips, success stories, facts on cigar smoking and more.
Of course, once you get out, the Philip Morris company will pull you right back in with the Virginia Slims Dueling Divas competition finals. Four female-fronted local bands -- Liviya Compean, Zero Gravity, Under the Sun and Hi-Rize -- will perform half-hour sets (order to be determined) while fans enjoy promo packs of cigarettes and cast their votes for the best girl group. Anxious not to be misinterpreted as a threat to public health, Virginia Slims will donate $5 per vote to Houston's Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS. The sisters will be smoking up the stage starting at 10 p.m. Outback Pub, 3100 Fountainview, 780-2392. Free.
Every non-self-respecting dog owner has at one time or another taken the pooch's front paws in hand, swayed back and forth, and called out something like, "Hey, look. Fido's dancing." But the folks involved in the Nature's Recipe Footloose Freestyle Fantasy Event have taken the dog dance several steps further. Their version, called "canine freestyle," is a kind of choreography created by musical interpretation, standard obedience tricks and nonstandard moves like leg weaving, spinning and backing. The performances of both dog and handler are judged by an international panel of experts (including HSPVA dance department head Lou Ann Carter) on the basis of artistry, teamwork, athleticism and style. Performers are automatically eliminated if they "foul the ring." 5:30 p.m. The Braeswood Hotel & Convention Center, 2100 S. Braeswood, 797-9000. Audience tickets are available at the door for $3.
It's not too late to get in on the Houston Press Dome Run -- you can register for today's races right before you run them. Take a leisurely 5K Fitness Run or Walk or compete for age-group awards in the Dome Run 10K. Houston's best runners will be vying for the $750 first prize in the Houston Press Championship 10K, and kids can do a 1K run on the Astrodome's 50-yard line. All races begin near the parking lot's north entrance between 7:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. and end on the Dome floor. The postrace party will feature the Auchan Hypermarket Food Village, an awards ceremony, live music and Diamond Vision coverage of the championship. Register on race day near the starting line between 6:30 and 9 a.m. Call 280-2400 for more information. $22.
If running's not your speed, try meandering through rarely open studio spaces at the Sixth Annual Warehouse Art Crawl. Over 90 Houston artists will show their works at Benner Studios, Commerce Street Art Warehouse, Wagon Works, East Freeway Studios, Erie City Ironworks, Mother Dog Studios, Francisco Studios, Vine Street Studios, No Tsu Oh and 2220 Commerce. Almost all of the art is for sale and more than 30 pieces will be given away through drawings. 2-9 p.m. Park at any of the garages or lots near Market Square, Milam at Congress, and three shuttles will take you to the various studios. For more information, call 225-0993. Free.
The George R. Brown is masquerading as a giant fantasy playground this weekend with the 104 KRBE/BMC Software Interactive Expo. In the Sports Zone, you can jump on a trampoline, climb a rock wall, putt-putt, play laser tag or watch the pros on BMX bikes and rollerblades. In the Virtual Reality Zone, you can get inside games like Pac-Man. There'll be gooey science experiments for kids, some 80 computers equipped with web access or new computer games, and of course autographing celebs like the Houston Comets' Kim Perot and "Austin Reed" from Days of Our Lives. Saturday, Nov. 21, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and today, noon to 6 p.m. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Convention Center Blvd. For information call 954-2361. $6 adults; $3 kids under 12.
Check out the pre-up-and-comers of the art world at the Glassell Junior School of Art Annual Holiday Exhibition. Paintings, drawings and ceramics created by four- to eighteen-year-old students will be displayed through January 4. The opening reception is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Regular hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 5100 Montrose Blvd., 639-7700. Free.
The Houston Composer's Alliance presents a CD release party like nothing you'll find in a nightclub. "Multiplicities" is a collection of commissioned compositions by Houston Symphony clarinetist Richard Nunemaker, and you can get it tonight, along with a concert of original works by local composers at the Museum of Fine Arts. Artists from the Houston Symphony, Orchestra X, the Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Ballet will perform works by Robert Nelson, Carl Schaer, Reynaldo Ochoa, Stuart Hinds and Anthony Brandt. 8 p.m. 1001 Bissonnet. Call 521-7062 for more information. $6; "Multiplicities" is $15 or free with a Houston Composer's Alliance annual membership.
Sixties industrial artist Dan Flavin's last finished work was also Houston icon Dominique de Menil's final commission for the Menil Collection. The installation of Flavin's signature fluorescent light fixtures was designed specifically for Richmond Hall -- an alternative exhibition annex built as Weingarten's grocery store in 1930 and later renovated by the Menil. With an exterior frieze of green fluorescent light, the building -- two blocks south of the museum proper -- won't be hard to find. The interior features two 125-foot-long, parallel walls covered in grids of fluorescent blue, green, pink, yellow and UV light. As the Cy Twombly Gallery and the Rothko Chapel do for their namesakes, Richmond Hall will serve as a long-term home for Flavin's major installation. The Menil Collection exhibits more of Flavin's light fixture work alongside the structures of another industrial artist with "Dan Flavin/Donald Judd: Aspects of Color," through January 24. Both exhibits are open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. 1500 Richmond Ave., and the Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross. For more information call 525-9400 or go to www.menil.org. Free.