Friday, March 28
If you're torn by guilt for wanting a little entertainment in these troubled times, we have the perfect solution for you: a play that will remind you at every turn that you're scared shitless. Cat's-Paw purports to break down "the incestuous relationship between terrorism and the media." In the play, an EPA official is kidnapped when Washington, D.C., newspapers decline to publish a radical group's tract about water pollution. After the government refuses to negotiate, and the media starts to forget about the story, a suicide driver explodes a bomb in the middle of the city. You'll probably need to go out for a few drinks after seeing Cat's-Paw -- that is, unless you're too freaked out to be in public. 8 p.m. today and tomorrow; 7 p.m. Sunday. Midtown Arts Center, 3414 La Branch. For information, call 281-412-9482. $5.
Saturday, March 29
If you're pumped up with patriotism, here's an all-American activity for you: the American Motorcycle Association Supercross Series. According to a spokesman from Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki, stadiums around the country are selling out for these bike-racing events. Organizers will be hauling dirt into Reliant Park for the races, making steep hills for riders to jump -- soaring as high as three stories into the air. Aside from these Evel Knievel antics, viewers will get to watch racers crash into each other at high speeds. Now that's entertainment. 7 p.m. 1 Reliant Park. For information, call 832-667-1400 or visit www.ama-cycle.org. $10 to $40.
Sunday, March 30
And while we're on the subject of racing, at today's Houston Children's Festival, you can encourage your child to one day drive like a maniac at the "Racing for Children Grand Prix," where kids get to maneuver miniature replicas of real race cars. They'll also get to throw basketballs in the "sports zone," boogie at the "techno stage" and jump around in the "inflatable forest." Worn-out youngsters can sit back and watch wiener dog races (3 p.m. today) and BMX extreme sport tricks and exhibitions (ongoing). Mary Lou Retton puts in an appearance Saturday at 1 p.m. to promote her Flip Flop Shop exercise video for kids. The festival runs 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and today in front of City Hall at 901 Bagby. For information, call 713-220-2000 or visit www.festivalsofhouston.com. $6; free for children three and under.
Monday, March 31
Remember the Israel problem? It hasn't gone away; it's just been obscured by the Saddam problem. Ishai Menuchin, a major in the Israeli Defense Forces, is a refusenik, meaning he selectively refuses to follow military orders he considers to be too aggressive. In an effort to work toward a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, he won't occupy territories outside the pre-1967 borders between Israel and Palestine. Nor will he, for example, follow orders to fire into a civilian demonstration. Menuchin, who founded Yesh Gvul ("There Is a Limit"), the oldest refusal group in Israel, received 35 days in jail in 1983 for refusing occupation orders. He also received this year's Oscar Romero Award for Commitment to Truth and Freedom from the Rothko Chapel. Today Menuchin speaks about "Selective Refusal: Towards a More Secure and Democratic Israel." 7:30 p.m. Jewish Community Center, 5601 South Braeswood. For information, call 713-334-3192 or visit www.btvshalom.org. Free.
Tuesday, April 1
No one on the show Survivor is sweet, and yet Elisabeth Filarski, the cutie from Survivor: The Australian Outback, has been called America's sweetheart. True, that lasted for only a couple of weeks after the show ended, but still. Now Filarksi hosts the Style Network's The Look for Less, a show that makes a game of bargain-hunting (for the record, her lovely blond hair, which famously started to fall out in clumps in the outback, has grown back nicely). As part of the program, Filarski has challenged celebs to find stylin' outfits for -- gasp! -- under $100. Today she makes an appearance at the Galleria's grand opening of more than 50 new stores, including Houston's first Nordstrom. Filarski will accompany one lucky shopper on a $2,500 shopping spree, giving advice on how to find deals. Question: Why scrimp when you've got a couple grand? 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Main Stage Expansion, between Nordstrom and Foley's, 5075 Westheimer. For information, call 713-622-0663. Free.
Tuesday, April 2
Here's a sure way to turn people off sex: Make it mandatory. In Gary Hardwick's new novel, Sex Life, set in New York in 2268, humans who don't have sex five times each day will die. That sure sounds erotic; folks would have to schedule sex like they do dental appointments. Not that there are no benefits to living in the future. Joe, the protagonist, gets to fly to work in the subway. And when he gains a couple of pounds, a trip to the doc takes them off in minutes. Today Hardwick, who wrote the screenplays for The Brothers and Deliver Us from Eva, reads at Shrine Bookstore and Cultural Center. 5:30 p.m. 5309 Martin Luther King Boulevard. For information, call 713-645-1071. Free.