New Year's Eve Picks

Charity Ball
Rub elbows with the Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan and King Kong at the Houstonian's "Hooray for Hollywood" black tie optional benefit gala. The party features three bands and a DJ in four ballrooms, plus an open bar, a live auction, casino gambling, champagne, party favors and a breakfast buffet. 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m.; $110 per person. Add a seated dinner at 7 p.m.; $150 per person. Overnight accommodations are $75 per person. Childcare overnight party for ages 3-12, $25 per child. Tickets are sold at the door. Benefits D.E.B.R.A. of America, call (281)565-3743. The Houstonian Hotel Club & Spa, 111 North Post Oak Lane.

Dine Early
Celebrate the coming of 1999 when the Spaniards do, at 5 p.m. Houston time. Early revelers at Mi Luna will feast on four courses and toast with champagne sangria. $40 per person. Later meals with half-hourly seatings from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. are $50 per person. Mi Luna Tapas Restaurant & Bar, 2441 University, 520-5025.

Dine Late
Diners at Tasca's last seating at 9:30 p.m. will enjoy three courses of luxury choices -- Gravad lox and caviar, lobster mushroom risotto, rack of lamb or Chilean sea bass, to name a few -- and will hear the giant Market Square clock outside ring in the New Year. Champagne toast at midnight. $75 per person; other beverages, tip and tax extra. Tasca Kitchen & Wine Bar, 908 Congress, 225-9100.

Entertainment
Most of the live music in the city will be concentrated in a few downtown blocks. New Year's Eve Houston (co-sponsored by the Houston Press) features Chuck Berry, Dishwalla, Fastball, The Reverend Horton Heat, Little Richard, Jim Belushi & the Sacred Hearts, Dr. John, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Joe "King" Carrasco, Fabulous Thunderbirds, the Suspects, TKoh! and El Vez. 7:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Call Ticketmaster at 629-3700. Tickets are $50 before Dec. 25 and $60 after.

Kids Only
The Downtown YMCA sponsors a lock-in party for kids ages 5-14, from 6 p.m. Thursday, December 31, to 8 a.m. Friday, January 1. $25 per child includes dinner, snacks and breakfast, plus crafts, sports, movies, video games, a DJ and a view of the midnight fireworks from the roof. Call Mike Brown, 758-9242. Downtown YMCA, 1600 Louisiana.

Family Fun
"Om" in the New Year at a mostly-in-English mantra chanting workshop sponsored by the First Unitarian Universalist Church from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Board games and rockabilly dancing follow, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. All ages welcome, $5 per person or $10 per family. Call Bill Wallauer, 661-9916. First Unitarian Universalist Church, 5200 Fannin.

-- Margaret L. Briggs

 
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