If you keep anything long enough, it becomes fine art. In the 1950s, when hand-drawn animation was in a Mickey-Mouse-Peter-Pan-Cinderella-Lady-and-the-Tramp frenzy, studio parking lots were filled with so many discarded cels that children could "ski" down the piles. If you were smart enough to hold on to a cel or two, get it appraised at Fine Toon Animation Art Gallery with visiting experts John Cairns and Wanda Lunn. If you weren't that smart (or weren't born yet), you can still get retro by checking out the gallery's rare collection of vintage animation artwork. The exhibit is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through May 31. Illustrated lectures and appraisal sessions are Friday, May 21, at 4 p.m. and Saturday, May 22, at 1 p.m. Fine Toon Animation Art Gallery, 2427 Bissonnet, (713)522-6499. Free.
May 26 Tom Stoppard has written some great plays -- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Arcadia, The Invention of Love -- but sadly most of us now know him as the Oscar-winning co-author of the Hollywood movie Shakespeare In Love. But relax: The Alley is offering a remedial chance to see Stoppard's work on stage. Travesties is the fictional encounter of three historical figures in Zurich in 1917: novelist James Joyce, dadaist Tristan Tzara and the man who needs no introduction, V.I. Lenin. The revolutionaries' historical roles are extravagantly rewritten in the slightly boggled mind of one of Stoppard's best comedic characters, Henry Carr. Alley Theatre Artistic Director Gregory Boyd returns from The Civil War on Broadway to direct. Travesties opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. and runs Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2:30 and 8:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. through June 13. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas, (713)228-8421. $36-$40.