Tuesday, September 21

Today we suggest a night of classical music by the Tokyo String Quartet, regulars at Rice University's Stude Hall. As the season opener for Houston Friends of Music, the group will perform selections from Beethoven, Haydn and Janácek -- you are brushed up on your Janácek, aren't you? The quartet's been hailed by the London Times for "playing of the highest order," which should satisfy the stuffiest classical music snob out there. 8 p.m. Entrance No. 8 (off University Boulevard). For information, call 713-348-5400 or visit www.rice.edu. $35 to $52.

Wednesday, September 22

It's no secret that sports is a metaphor for life, which is why we suffer through endless "dropping the ball" and "run the extra mile" clichés at meetings. Playwright Alonzo D. LaMont Jr. has used this connection to explore how black men deal with each other in That Serious He-Man Ball, which is set on a basketball court. Three men -- Twin, Sky and Jello -- share their experiences while they trade stories and hoops. Ballers, shot callers and general theater fans can check it out at 7:30 p.m. today. Through October 17. Ensemble Theatre, 3535 Main, 713-520-0055. $18 to $27.

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