When you're trying to make a point (or thousands of them), sometimes you have to devote your body to the cause. "I wear three different arm braces. I've got to wear an eye patch now, 'cause I gave myself such bad eye strain," says artist Laura Lark, commenting on the physical ailments she's incurred while creating her vast pointillist compositions. Hand- rendered on Tyvek material, the works are exquisite in their details, depicting visions of women's heads and, most recently, a fit lady in a bikini. As a recipient of a fellowship from the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County, Lark is displaying her work here with that of the two other recipients at the "Tracings" exhibition. One is Hillevi Baar, who describes her work as "very elaborately detailed patterns drawn on Mylar and then cut and formed into sculptural shapes." The other is Teresa O'Connor, who's presenting a small sculptural installation. "The work deals somewhat with the mythology of the West," she says. "I've been using the rabbit, the snake and the horse as sort of icons directing a narrative."
Yes, rabbits, snakes and horses definitely represent the West, but, if you ask us, they also pop up quite often in metaphors about something else. (Here's a hint: It starts with s and ends with x.) Judge for yourself at the opening reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, July 16. Through September 3. Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Space 125 Gallery at the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County, 3201 Allen Parkway. For information, call 713-527-9330 or visit www.cachh.org. Free. -- Keith Plocek
Did ya hear the one about Dick Cheney and Halliburton? How about the one about James Baker and Enron? They may sound like the latest political one-liners, but flip through Robert Bryce's Cronies and you may not be laughing. Bryce, an Austin-based writer, scored major accolades with his first book, Pipe Dreams, which details the debacle at Enron. In his new book, he fans the flames of the "war for oil" premise, tracing the relationship between big oil and Texas politicos -- from LBJ all the way through Dubya. Bryce discusses and signs Cronies at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 21. Borders, 9633-A Westheimer. For information, call 713-782-6066 or visit www.bordersstores.com. Free. -- Steven Devadanam
Forgive our small talk about the weather, but when it's hotter than hell outside, we know you're a tad pickier about your outdoor entertainment. The folks at the Aurora Picture Show have figured out that as the heat and humidity increase, people's attention spans decrease, so they won't be playing any three-hour epics at Cinema Al Fresco. Instead, "Best of Aurora Picture Show, Vol. 2," which will be screened outdoors at the Orange Show, is a series of shorts (none longer than 15 minutes). Just when you're about to get distracted by the shirt sticking to your back, a new film begins. 8 p.m. Saturday, July 17. 2401 Munger. For information, call 713-868-2101 or visit www.aurorapictureshow.org. $5. -- Steven Devadanam
Bello of the Ball
The circus -- and America's Favorite Clown -- hit town
Bello may be a clown, but he's not a scary one -- which may be why he was named America's Favorite Clown by Time magazine. He'll be appearing in Houston with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, performing alongside the requisite five dudes on motorcycles inside of a sphere, as well as elephants and lion tamers (pour some out for Roy, though, yo). But this isn't your parents' circus -- the show also features the Survivors, a gang of lunatics who hurl each other five stories in the air like human boomerangs, and what's known as Bailey's Comet, a trippy light show that may recall that one time in Amsterdam. Plus, before the show, there's an animal open house, where you just might get the chance to grope a pachyderm. 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 16. Through July 25. Reliant Stadium, One Reliant Park. For a full schedule, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.ringling.com. $10 to $50. -- Tyler Smith
Do you bomb at trivia games because you had your nose in a book while the other kids were learning the name of the actor who played Aunt Esther on Sanford and Son? Fear not, bibliophiles! To celebrate the release of a new "Booklover's Edition" of Trivial Pursuit, Barnes & Noble is hosting a trivia night. "We'll be tackling lots of different literary genres, from classics to children's books," says the bookstore's Thuy Hoang. And if a question stumps you, you can always sneak off to the racks and look up the answer. 6 p.m. 12850 Memorial. For information, call 713-465-5616. Free. -- Bob Ruggiero