Block Party

The Third Ward gets down and artsy with the "48 Hours" fest

Bronzed breast implants, plastic totem poles and a dirt trampoline are taking center stage this weekend at "48 Hours," the annual festival of the Third Ward's venerable Project Row Houses. The off-kilter shindig celebrates the nongentrified charm of the Third Ward through quirky art installations by more than 30 local artists. Activities will be happening in a three-block radius surrounding Project Row Houses in the Third Ward. In the Project Row Houses space, resident artists will be showing their latest installations. Follow the markers from there, and you'll (literally) run into what Fletcher Mackey of Project Row Houses calls a "sod trampoline," dug into the ground near a bike shop, as well as artist Michelle Barnes's quilts on a clothesline.

You'll also pass Third Ward fixture Navy Seafood, its sign adorned with Aimee Jones's multicolored streamers. Nearby, artist Aaron Higdon offers bronze prosthetics -- hands, hearing aids, crutches, breast implants and more -- inside the Midtown Medical Supply store, appropriately enough. There's also a plastic totem pole from Mark Monroe, and nearby, Michelle Chen will be serenading the boxers with -- you guessed it -- Bach at the Progressive Amateur Boxing Association.

Speaking of music, Rachel Cook "will just be walking around with a boom box getting people to dance," says Mackey. There'll also be blues, zydeco, jazz, R&B and rock shows -- make sure you're ready to tear up a dance floor Saturday night at 8 p.m., as Sherman Robertson and Dora & the Zydeco Badboyz hit the El Dorado Ballroom (2310 Elgin). The festival runs 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, November 13, and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, November 14. 2500 block of Holman. For information, call 713-526-7662 or visit www.ProjectRowHouses.org. Free; $10 for Sherman Robertson concert. -- Steven Devadanam

Kiss Off

SAT 11/13

Purse, release. Pucker, release. Repeat. Congratulations! You just burned one calorie, and you're ready to compete in this weekend's "Read Our Lips" contest, which will determine which area seductress has the most perfect pout. Romance novelist Lisa Kleypas will be on hand to judge which lips are Houston's finest, judging smackers on the basis of symmetry, shape, size and visual appeal. Prizes include a year's supply of City Lips' lip-boosting treatment, signed copies of Kleypas's latest book, Secrets of a Summer Night, and a lip-print reading by a psychic. See if Fabio's in your future from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, November 13. Sephora in the Galleria, 5015 Westheimer, suite 2380. For information, call 713-961-3580. Free. -- Julia Ramey

Cool Kats

WED 11/17

They eat scorpions. A group of them is called a mob. And they're sexually mature at one year of age. With that, meerkats win the "coolness" contest, edging out professional athletes. During a talk this weekend at the Houston Zoo, Peter Borchert, editor in chief of two Cape Town-based wildlife magazines, will talk about these small upright-standing carnivores. "Meerkats: Little People of the Kalahari" will examine the creatures' habits and explain how they survive in southern Africa with all those hyenas running around. The Houston Zoo's new small mammal building, Natural Encounters, will be home to several meerkats when it opens in early 2005. A reception will follow the presentation, which begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 17. Houston Zoo's Brown Education Center, 1513 North MacGregor (enter by gate No. 5 from the parking lot). For information, call 713-533-6713 or visit www.houstonzoo.org. $5 to $15. -- Julia Ramey

Stomping Grounds
Native Americans in buckskin and beadwork bust a move

Dignity can come in the oddest places. This weekend, one of the nation's most neglected cultures will be celebrated at, ironically, a flea market. At the 15th annual Texas Championship Pow Wow, several hundred Native Americans from across the country will gather for a festival of dancing, arts and crafts, and food. Each day starts with a dance competition and a performance by Native American flutist Terry Tsotigh. Then, participants ranging from toddlers to senior citizens -- decked out in buckskins and beadwork -- will compete in 18 different dance categories. Shop for authentic Native American wares in the Red Expo, wander through a tepee village and chow down on Native American fry bread and Indian tacos at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, November 13 and 14. Traders Village, 7979 North Eldridge. For information, call 281-890-5500 or visit www.tradersvillage.com. Free; $2 for parking. -- Steven Devadanam

Hog Wild

SAT 11/13

Running low on chopped-up chrome? Then smoke your tires on over to the Easyriders Bike Tour. The massive show features appearances by many of the country's best-known custom-bike gurus, including Kim Suter, Paul Yaffe, Kendall Johnson and the tattooed Billy Lane from the Discovery Channel's Great Biker Build-Off program. There's also some jiggle to go along with the rumble: an appearance by the silicone-enhanced, seat-straddling Purrfect Angelz. The girls say their major turnoffs include "cocky, egotistical 'players' who smell bad and don't like foreplay." Imagine -- guys like that showing up at a biker show? 10 a.m. Saturday, November 13. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, call 713-853-8000 or visit www.easyridersevents.com. $7 to $16. -- Greg Barr

 
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