This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, October 28

Hopefully, you've come out of your funk over the Astros' playoff run. It's time to turn your attention elsewhere -- namely, to that little upcoming presidential election. At tonight's "Electronic Voting" discussion, Congressman Chris Bell of the 25th District, Rice University professor Dan Wallach and Tony J. Sirvello III, former administrator of elections for Harris County, will speak. Scientists warn that despite advancements in record keeping, the security risks involved with electronic voting could cause the same kind of bumbling that happened in Florida four years ago. Voice your concerns, get the skinny on e-voting, and sip a latte at Salento Coffee House from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. 2407 Rice. For information, call 832-971-3068 or visit www.sciencecafe.net. Free.

Friday, October 29

Although Elvis may have left the building, he lives on -- as a Halloween costume staple. Hail the King tonight at the Houston PressSecond Annual Halloween Parade and Party at the Main Event. We suggest you throw on your flared white pants, sequined cape and puffy wig (but if you're not feeling the blue suede, throw on any costume) and preregister for the parade at the Hotel Icon, where you'll be serenaded by Molly & the Ringwalds. At 8 p.m., strut your stuff along the downtown parade route. Check out the costume contest at 9 p.m. at Main and Prairie, where they'll be handing out more than $10,000 in cash and prizes. At 9:30 p.m., Elvis impersonators of every kind will perform his greatest hits from the balconies, rooftops and patios of the entertainment district. Get all shook up at 7 p.m. at Congress and Main. For information, call 713-223-9500 or visit www.deda.org. Free.

Since you may have trouble hailing a cab dressed as a fat, dead pop icon, stick around downtown for the Race Car Club Halloween Ballat the Rice Lofts. The parade postparty includes more tunes from Molly & the Ringwalds, the El Orbits and a couple of DJs. Get your drink on, as your admission includes beer, wine, cocktails and food, plus reduced cover for other bars in the area (if you can make it out, that is). The ball starts immediately after the Halloween Parade. For information, call 713-223-9500 or visit www.racecarclub.com. $40 to $50.

Saturday, October 30

If this weekend's Halloween debauchery leaves you feeling a bit guilty, party for a good cause at Scary-Oke, a karaoke party benefiting local Pacifica radio station KPFT/90.1 FM and the Aurora Picture Show. We like that there'll be plenty of family fun for costumed folks young and old. We also like that there'll be grub from Whole Foods Market and brew from Saint Arnold Brewing Company. What has us shuddering is the thought of some KPFT personality crooning Joni Mitchell tunes. Join the party at KPFT's backyard from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. 419 Lovett Boulevard. For information, call 713-526-5738 or visit www.kpft.org. $5 suggested donation.

Sunday, October 31

Ever had that talk with your grandmother where she offers up too many details? Such is the chat that Rosita has with the audience in Rosita's Day of the Dead. In the one-woman show starring Ruby Nelda Perez, Rosita dishes gossip as she dishes comida, sharing secrets of family infidelity and murder. Get the dirt at 8 p.m. today and Saturday. 1900 Kane. For information, call 713-802-9370 or visit www.meca-houston.org. $5 to $7.50.

Here's something scary for Halloween: Laura's Bush. Playwright Jane Martin is offering up a sort of political vagina dialogue in her latest show, which finds a secret meaning in the always peppy first lady's frozen smile and nonstop blinking. In her comedy, Dody, a bookish librarian with "pre-lesbian tendencies" has discovered that Mrs. Bush is blinking "H-E-L-P M-E" in Morse code during her public appearances. With the help of Desiree, a narcoleptic prostitute, Dody kidnaps the first lady during a library dedication and uncovers a nefarious right-wing plot to take over America that, according to Mrs. Bush, makes the Kennedy assassination "look like a speed bump." Will Dody and the first lady get cozy? Will Dubya and Co. be toppled? Will Desiree stay awake? Find out when you check out Laura's Bush today at 8 p.m. Through November 21 at Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Parkway. For information, call 713-527-0123 or visit www.laurasbush.com. $15 to $20.

Monday, November 1

Without question, Muhammad Ali deserves all the run he gets for being "The Greatest." But long before Ali, there was Jack Johnson, America's first black heavyweight boxing champ. He fought for credibility -- in the ring and out -- in the early 1900s. In the biography Unforgivable Blackness, author Geoffrey C. Ward follows Johnson's life as he regularly dispatched white opponents such as Jim Jeffries, a heavyweight dubbed "The Great White Hope." Johnson dated and married white women, drawing the ire of contemporary journalists (who regularly referred to him using the N-word in the press). A documentary on Johnson, an unabashed mauler who died in 1946, is planned for next year, but you can learn more about the bruiser today at 7 p.m. Midsummer Books, 2309 Mechanic Street in Galveston. For information, call 409-765-6956. Free.

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