Friday, May 30
There's nothing like a death threat to make life interesting. In Elio Petri's Good News (1979), a nameless media executive spends his days watching violent TV on six different screens and ignoring his wife. But when he meets an old buddy who's terrified someone's going to kill him -- and the guy's fascinating nympho wife -- things pick up. The Italian director's film is supposed to comment on the barrenness of a media-dominated world (think how disgusted he'd be with the Information Age). As a result, the urban setting is bleak, and the sex is even bleaker. 7 p.m. Brown Theater, Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-629-7515 or visit www.mfah.org. $5 to $6.
Saturday, May 31
In the big city, it never really gets dark, and silence is hard to come by. That's why city slickers are always thrilled, and slightly disconcerted, when they visit the countryside. Today, if you find yourself itching to get away but lacking your own jet plane, head to the Katy Prairie Conservancy. The organization is teaming up with the Houston Astronomical Society for its Katy Prairie stargazing event. There's also a chance you'll glimpse some coyotes, frogs and other nocturnal creatures. 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Katy Prairie Conservancy Field Office, 31950 Hebert Road, Waller. For information, call 713-523-6135.
Sunday, June 1
If you still think Pokémon rules, then get with the program. Yu-Gi-Oh! is even more popular, so if you haven't purchased the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, software and toys, then get thee to the Galleria for today's Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Mall Tour. Duelist leaders -- that's Yu-Gi-Oh!-speak for gaming experts -- will be on hand to share secret hints about the card-battling game, in which players pit mystical creatures against each other in duels. Experienced players can enter the King of Games Challenge tournament or, if they're brave, enter the Millennium Puzzle and try to take those Duelist leaders down a notch. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and Saturday, May 31. Galleria IV, 5075 Westheimer. For information, call 713-621-1907 or visit www.yugioh-card.com. Free.
Monday, June 2
A teacher with a sense of humor makes class bearable. In the description for his fiction class at Inprint, Murray Farish, who just graduated from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, writes, "In this class, we will come together to present the pure products of our weirdness. We'll cast our weird eyes on these products, as well as those from otherweirdos, living and dead." If you're weird -- meaning, you're a writer -- you'll be among your own kind in Farish's class. Remember, though: "This is not a course in sci-fi, horror, fantasy, etc. Real life is weird enough." The class starts today at 6 p.m. and runs for eight weeks. The Inprint House, 1524 Sul Ross. For information and a full schedule of courses, call 713-521-2026 or visit www.inprint-inc.org. $275.
Tuesday, June 3
Folks suffering from coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, are everywhere, and they have the right idea. After all, what's not to fear? The honker nose, sheet-white skin, creepy smile and invariably sad eyes combine for a terrifying package. Still, attending classes at the Cheerful Clown Alley No. 166 would serve you in more than one way. On the one hand, you can make a buck entertaining clowneys -- that is, people who love clowns. On the other, you can send the rest of humanity in the opposite direction without even using a dangerous weapon. The season's first class takes place today from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. 10221 Ella Lee Lane. For information, call 281-634-3373 or visit www.cheerfulclowns.com. $195.
Wednesday, June 4
Anthony Bourdain is the executive chef at New York's Brasserie Les Halles and has his own show on the Food Network. He also wrote the best-selling Kitchen Confidential, an exposé about the restaurant biz, and justpublished his third crime book, The Bobby Gold Stories. When the novel starts, Gold's just been sprung after serving time on a cocaine conviction, and he runs straight back to his old turf: the club and restaurant scene. Bourdain is clearly borrowing from his own experiences here; he himself developed a taste for cocaine and heroin working in New York restaurants in the late '70s. (The lesson: Dabbling in dangerous drugs at a young age will eventually propel you to stardom.) Bourdain signs and discusses The Bobby Gold Stories at 6:30 p.m. at Murder by the Book, 2432 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-524-8597 or visit www.murderbooks.com. Free.