Ask any band geek, jock or bleacher-dweller -- nothing froths up team spirit quite like an old-fashioned march. It's something just about everybody agrees on. Even folks who'd normally walk a mile in the summer to steer clear of Fleetwood Mac can get off on the group's brassy, booming, USC marching band-backed "Tusk." Today, Houston Symphony's principal pops conductor Michael Krajewski will get the audience stomping along at Mike's March Mania. Featuring the usual Sousa and Strauss, the program will also include John Williams's "Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme)" and a "Texas version" of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," which will replace the non-Jones Hall-friendly cannons with something more appropriate to the room -- but don't worry, it still should please the gun-happy among us. As for why the program is called March Mania and not the more mellifluous-sounding March Madness, Art Kent of the Houston Symphony says, "It turns out March Madness is a very heavily copyrighted term." Go, team! 7:30 p.m. 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit www.houstonsymphony.org. $10 to $45.
Friday, March 5
Attention all bonny lasses: Even if your red tresses are a gift from Herbal Essences and not nature, you still can shake them for all they're worth in the Miss Brian O'Neill's Contest. Fill out an entry form at the bar or on its Web site (www.brianoneills.com) by midnight today for a chance to win the $500 grand prize at tomorrow's contest. The winner, along with the belles of other Irish watering holes, will compete in the Miss St. Patrick's Day Parade-Houston Contest at Griff's. But consider yourselves warned: Intoxicated participants will be disqualified and sent home by Yellow Cab. So pick a talent that doesn't require Dutch courage to pull off. Brian O'Neill's contest: 9 p.m. Saturday, March 6, 5555 Morningside. For information, call 713-522-2603. $1 cover on Saturday. Miss St. Patrick's Day Parade-Houston Contest: 7 p.m. Thursday, March 11, at Griff's, 3416 Roseland, 713-528-9912, www.griffshouston.com.
Saturday, March 6
It may be a little early yet for bikinis and bare feet, but the beach community at Port Bolivar is getting a head start on summer anyway. Today is the Volunteer Fire Department's annual Oyster Fest, where you can stuff yourself to the gills with tasty bottom-feeders. Last year, more than 1,000 people showed up to chow down and check out the finest Gulf vistas within a 50-mile radius. "We got more oysters this year," says fire chief C.W. Kahla. "Two hundred and thirty gallons, all fried." Will there be a Beach Blanket Bingo-style atmosphere with music and dancing? Kahla says that if you want that kind of fun, you'll have to make it yourself. "We've got too much cooking to do to worry about that," he says, adding, "We don't cook 'em until the people get here, 'cause there's nothing worse than a cold oyster." 4 p.m. Port Bolivar Fire Station, 1806 Broadway, 409-684-8696. $10, all you can eat.
Termites, like ants and bees, are eusocial, meaning that only a select few of their number are reproductively capable, leaving most of the colony free to focus on other pursuits (like role-playing games). So you can be fairly certain that the 20-foot-high, 60-foot-long Towering Termite on display today at Space Center Houston won't be showing off any outsized gonads to impressionable youths (or curious adults). Instead, you and yours will see a live termite colony making short work of a paper house, and all kinds of household items bearing serious termite damage. All in the name of keeping the queen happy and fed, people. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Friday and Saturday, March 5 and 6. 1601 NASA Road 1, 281-244-2100, www.toweringtermitetour.com. $17.95; $13.95 for kids.
Monday, March 8
Have you got a scorching case of the Mondays? You can replace your Office Space worries with some spaced-out musical artistry at today's Trade and Medicine Show gigs. In addition to their usual set, the Trade is holding an open jazz jam, so feel free to put some fresh strings on your ukulele and join in. And the bluegrass/roots outfit the Medicine Show offers something completely different. "They do their own thing," says Helios owner Mariana Lemesoff. "Sometimes they bring voodoo dolls and skeletons and dance with them. They dance on the bar, in the bathrooms and sometimes out on the street." Anyone can fly a freak flag on Friday, but it takes a dedicated freedom fighter to unfurl it first thing in the week. 10 p.m. Helios, 411 Westheimer, 713-526-4648, www.heliosrising.org. $5.
Tuesday, March 9
While Comedy Central continues to push the potty-mouth limits of basic cable, Al Fike of today's Christian Comedy Night is going in another direction altogether. But that doesn't mean you won't get a giggle, or a subtle secular frisson, from the show. "My son, being curious about religious denominations at age ten, asked, 'Mom, are we Catholic?' " says Fike, giving an example of Christian humor. "She told him, 'No, son, we're not.' Then he asked, 'Well, are we prostitutes then?' " Good one. Yeah, so no challenges will be offered to Eric Cartman's throne, but if anything in the Bible is fair game, that'll leave Fike and his friends Jinny Henson, Cleto Rodriguez and Tim Hawkins with plenty of material to work with. The Improv will serve liquor, but the normal two-drink minimum has been cleaned up to a two-item minimum. When placing your order, don't forget to ask yourself, "What would Jesus do?" 8 p.m. Marq*E Center, 7620 Katy Freeway, 713-333-8800. $12.