After seven years and two billion miles, the spacecraft Cassini-Huygens completes its journey to Saturn today. Now it's time for it to start collecting data -- a task, no doubt, which will take a long time. If you can't stand the wait, head over to the Houston Museum of Natural Science for "Saturn, the Ring World" at the Burke Baker Dome Theater. You can follow a re-creation of a flight through Saturn's rings and a close-up of some of its moons. Granted, all of our conceptions of the ringed planet might change once Cassini-Huygens starts pumping back stats, but, hey, science has always been a work in progress. 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. today. One Hermann Circle Drive. For a schedule of future showings, call 713-639-4629 or visit www.hmns.org. $3.50 to $5.
While you're on the science tip, head over to Murder by the Book for an appearance by Kathy Reichs, who's in town promoting her new tome, Monday Mourning. Reichs is a forensic anthropologist by day, so the CSI-style ramblings of her master detective, Temperance Brennan, are as accurate as all get-out. Find out how to kill someone and get away with it at 6:30 p.m. 2342 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-524-8597 or visit www.murderbooks.com. Free.
Friday, July 2
We miss the days when porno filmmakers really tried to make movies with plots. You can relive the days of hairy mustaches and even hairier genitalia tonight at the Landmark River Oaks Theatre, where there's a midnight showing of The Lollipop Girls in Hard Candy. This campy 3-D flick claims John Holmes as one of its stars, even though he makes only a small appearance. (Yep, we used "John Holmes" and "small" in the same sentence.) And the plot? Basically, these three anachronistic Greek dudes wash up on a California shore in search of Troy. They somehow end up at a candy factory, where one of them inadvertently taints a bunch of lollipops. Those suckers then become powerful aphrodisiacs and, come on, you know what happens next. Today and Saturday, July 3. 2009 West Gray. For information, call 713-866-8881 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com. $6 to $8.
Saturday, July 3
When radio stations broadcast live from a club, you usually get some loud-mouthed disc jockey hyping the hell out of clunky mixes of Top 40 songs. The club is usually somewhere down on the Richmond Strip, and no doubt it's a lot emptier than it sounds on the radio. Leave it to KPFT, H-town's on-air love-in, to keep it legit. Tonight at Dean's Credit Clothing, KPFT presents a live, remote edition of DJ Sun's weekly show, Soular Grooves. Sun steps it up with soul, jazz and groove every Saturday, but this week he's spinning where he belongs: in a crisp downtown nightspot with, one hopes, throngs of people bumpin' to the beat. 9 p.m. to midnight. 316 Main. For information, call 713-526-4000 or visit www.deanscreditclothing.com. Free.
Sunday, July 4
O say, can you see how many frickin' Fourth of July celebrations are going down today? Down in Baytown at Bicentennial Park (2407 Market, 281-420-6597), there's a daylong celebration with bands, food and fireworks. Out in The Woodlands there's a Red, Hot and Blue Festival -- whatever that means -- at the Woodlands Waterway (2005 Lake Robbins, 281-363-3300). Bands, food and -- you guessed it -- fireworks are promised, as well as a flyover by Wings of Houston. And then you've got another extravaganza over at Sam Houston Race Park (7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West, 281-807-8700), where you can exercise your God-given -- and state-sanctioned -- right to gamble. Meanwhile, back at the George Ranch (10215 FM 762, 281-343-0218), they're hosting an old-timey celebration with re-enactments of pioneer life and historic houses. Wait a minute -- isn't that what you can expect any weekend at the George Ranch? Talk about hopping on the red, white and blue bandwagon.
Monday, July 5
We hope your corneas aren't too damaged from staring at all those fireworks, 'cause you've got some reading to do. Today the Houston Great Books Council is meeting at Central Market to discuss Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran. The memoir chronicles how Nafisi and several of her friends met in secrecy to read books banned by the Iranian government. These once-shy women used the discussions as a springboard to talk about the ills of living in a fundamentalist society. Now, if only their discussions were held in a tony grocery store, your "meta" moment would be complete. The group meets from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays. 3815 Westheimer. For information, call 713-523-3652 or visit www.houstongreatbooks.org. Free.
Tuesday, July 6
Drummer Bubbha Thomas has been a fixture on the H-town jazz scene for years. The man can flick the sticks like no other. So it's no surprise that his performance at the Red Cat Jazz Café tonight is being billed as a prelim for the Houston International Jazz Festival. Check out this Fourth Ward-bred master of the skins from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. today and every Tuesday in July. 924 Congress. For information, call 713-227-2200. $10.