Thanks to a new local company, the president of the United States may find himself hanging out in your child's bedroom, hitting the beach with G.I. Joe or taking Barbie out on a Saturday night. Toypresidents, Inc. has released a George W. Bush action figure just in time for the holiday season. Bush comes with a fabulous wardrobe and accessories. He stands over a foot tall, wearing a blue business suit and red power tie. And no wing tips here: Mr. Bush wears realistic black cowboy boots bearing the presidential seal. For those who are curious about what lies beneath: socks under the boots, and under the trousers, jaunty American-flag boxers.
The doll talks, too. Company president Jesse Combs downloaded speeches from www.whitehouse.gov and chose 25 quotations. "We didn't want Bushisms or misquotes, and we didn't want all war or terrorism quotes," says Combs. "They're positive statements, and yet they reflect the time. If you take only a minute of what anybody says, you can make them sound as dumb or as smart as you want."
The Bush doll is only the first in a series. Toypresidents is taking votes on its Web site to determine who will be the next plasticized president. Right now, Clinton's in the lead. When he emerges from the assembly line, will the Clinton doll speak those immortal words, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman"? Says Combs: "Maybe we could just have him admitting he misled the public." To buy a President George W. Bush talking action figure, call 877-TOY-PREZ or visit www.toypresidents.com. $29.95. - Lisa Simon
Word of Mouth
Even if we're no longer foraging through the undergrowth, food is still a crucial part of our daily lives. Appetites shape communal interactions and worldviews, to say nothing of bellies. So Press food writer Robb Walsh went on a mission "to explore the world -- its cultures, its history, its emotions -- through food." He's traveled the globe with his backpack and his palate, bringing back flavorful tales of community and hospitality in Are You Really Going to Eat That? Reflections of a Culinary Thrill Seeker. Even if Walsh panned one of your favorite restaurants, he still has a thing or two to teach you about the stomachs of the world. Autographed copies are available at local Barnes & Noble stores. $25. -- Keith Plocek
The everyday finds a place in the art world
Farm tools. An ironing board. Discarded bottles. A goat carcass. Drive through the rural South, and these funky items might litter the highway. But walk into the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's striking exhibit "The Passionate Adventure of the Real," and you'll find the same stuff on a seven-foot-tall collage of found objects by Alabama-born artist Thornton Dial Sr. The exhibit focuses on the advent of assemblage, a phrase first used by French artist Jean Dubuffet in 1953 to describe how artists were introducing real objects and more common materials into their works. "The Passionate Adventure of the Real: Collage, Assemblage and the Object in 20th Century Art" is on display from Friday, October 17, through February 8 at the Caroline Wiess Law Building, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7300. $7; $3.50 for kids, seniors and students. -- Greg Barr
À la Mode
Haute or not, we're all slaves to fashion. Even more-alternative-than-thou types who craft their wardrobes around what isn't in style are still victims of the very fashions they're trying to avoid. So we might as well admit our fashion-victimhood and head to the Poissant O'Neal Gallery. At its annual "Fashionistas" show, a Houston-based collaboration between seven visual artists and four designers, catwalking waifs will strut their stuff around ironic art installations. These include a mock closet full of cardboard Manolo Blahnik heels and several sculptures made from purses and gloves that are meant to serve as stand-ins for classic queens of the silver screen. The show opens at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 17, and runs through Saturday, November 15. 5102 Center Street. For more information, call 713-868-9337. Free. -- Keith Plocek
Asia is freakin' huge. From the steppes of Turkey to the towers of Singapore, the East is a study in geographic and cultural diversity. The Asian American Festival will celebrate the sprawling continent with music, dance, food and ass-kicking martial arts from at least a dozen Asian nations. It's happening this weekend at Miller Outdoor Theatre, the only venue in town big enough to handle such a span of cultures. Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, October 18, and Sunday, October 19. 100 Concert Drive in Hermann Park. For information, call 713-861-8270. Free. -- Keith Plocek