This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, August 5

When she was with the Groobees, Susan Gibson penned "Wide Open Spaces," which the Dixie Chicks recorded and rode to stardom. Now Gibson is in town promoting her solo debut, Chin Up, a collection of songs that manage to be heartfelt without straying too far into sentimentality. This singer-songwriter-guitarist-banjoist-harmonicist is definitely worth a listen. And no, Gibson didn't write Natalie Maines's comments about Dubya. 8:30 p.m. McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk. For information, call 713-528-5999 or visit www.mcgonigels.com. $10.

Friday, August 6

We love Fred Savage. Okay, so we don't really love Fred Savage, but we do love The Princess Bride and can't help but feel fondly toward anyone who was a part of it. In the film, Savage plays a sick boy whose grandfather (Peter Falk) reads him a story about pirates, princes, swordsmen, sorcerers and giants. Acted by Cary Elwes, Robin Wright Penn, Wallace Shawn, Carol Kane, Billy Crystal, Andre the Giant and a slew of others, the fable has become a classic tale of true love -- and rodents of unusual size. Midnight. Today and Saturday, August 7. Landmark River Oaks Theatre, 2009 West Gray. For information, call 713-866-8881 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com. $6 to $8.

Saturday, August 7

Artist Chris Menconi creates kitschy animals out of clay. Some of the little suckers are so damn whimsical they wouldn't look out of place having tea with Wallace and Gromit. Menconi's solo show at Archway Gallery is titled "Dogs, Frogs, Hogs and Logs." One can only assume all the pollywogs out there are totally pissed off about not being included. Watch out for their little picket signs at the opening today from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Through September 11. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. 2013 West Gray. For information, call 713-522-2409 or visit ww.archwaygallery.com. Free.

Or maybe you're tired of hearing about how little animals are socute. Put on some camo and head over to the Hunters Extravaganza, where you can learn all about killing 'em. Featuring vendors, seminars and trophies, this show is the place to be for lovers of all things dead. And if you're not sure about going, just ask yourself this question, taken directly from the event's Web site: "Do big whitetail deer heads excite you?" Yeah, that's what we thought. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today; 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, August 6; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, August 8. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, call 713-853-8500 or visit www.ttha.com. $4 to $8.

Sunday, August 8

Set at a sketchy late-night coffee shop in New York, Landford Wilson's Balm in Gilead features a cast of bums, druggies, pimps and prostitutes. The play's story line is about as aimless as the souls who inhabit it, making for a euphonious cacophony of overlapping dialogue. This production is by the Back Porch Players, a troupe devoted to making theater a place of learning. Learn all about being a loud-mouthed miscreant at 8 p.m. today and Friday, August 6; and 10:30 p.m. Saturday, August 7. Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex, 2201 Preston. For information, call 713-528-7461 or visit www.barnevelder.org. $10 to $15.

Monday, August 9

Billboards are normally a blight on the urban landscape. Ron Carter here, Mattress Mac there, Clear Channel everywhere. But thanks to the folks at Lawndale Art Center, there's one big-ass rectangle on a pole in the Montrose that features art instead of pure advertisement. Part of Lawndale's Billboard Series, Fannie Tapper's Trust depicts a tender moment between a child and her hedgehog. Tapper believes the image is "the very picture of love and trust." The hedgehog isn't digging into the little girl with its teeth, and the girl isn't crushing the prickly fellow with her hand. As far as trust goes, we're not exactly talking about someone sticking his head in a lion's mouth here, but, hey, after Roy's unfortunate accident, an image of that would be better called Insanity. Tapper's work is up today and runs through September 4 at the northeast corner of U.S. 59 and Montrose Boulevard. For information, call 713-528-5858 or visit www.lawndaleartcenter.org. Free.

Tuesday, August 10

Sure, San Antonio has the Alamo, but that thing doesn't even have a basement. (Thanks, Pee-wee.) We've got a whole subterranean tunnel system running underneath our downtown, so there. You can check it out today during the Tunnels, Trolleys and Trains Tour, presented by Discover Houston Tours. You'll journey through and under downtown, with stops at City Hall, Hermann Square Park and Main Street Square. The whole thing is a three-hour tour, so we suggest you hum the Gilligan's Islandtheme song throughout. We're sure your guide will appreciate it. 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in August. Meet at the information desk in the food court at the Shops at Houston Center, 909 Fannin. For information, call 713-222-9255 or visit www.discoverhoustontours.com. $9 to $16.

Wednesday, August 11

Two-drink minimums are the hidden service charge of live comedy. There ain't no joke about being forced to buy a couple of overpriced drinks when you hadn't planned on it. But the folks at Helios keep it real with Lo-Fi Comedy. Founded and produced by Eric Dieckman (who also contributes to the Houston Press), this weekly happening is completely free -- no cover, no drink minimum, no need to cancel at any time. But be forewarned: If Dieckman and his cohorts are really in the groove, there's a small chance you'll have to purchase a new pair of underwear. 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays. 411 Westheimer. For information, call 713-526-4648 or visit www.heliosrising.org. Free.

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