This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, November 18

Yep, it's holiday season. Time to pat your fellow man on the back and spread goodwill to all. Unless, of course, you're Carlos Mencia. The native Honduran, who grew up in East L.A., has garnered a reputation for being one of the most bitingly racist/un-PC comics out there. His take on sending "special" kids to "regular" schools? "This is real life, not Forrest Gump." Or air travel with a dark-skinned fellow passenger? "If I say, 'Hola, cómo estás,' and he doesn't answer, I run off the plane." His venom, real or contrived, has garnered some vicious hate mail on his Web site. "If I see you in the street," says one e-mailer, "I can and will kick your ass." Yet Mencia received a standing ovation on The Tonight Show -- a milestone for most comedians -- and he's developing a network TV show. So is the guy a jerk or a genius? Find out at 8:30 p.m. Through Sunday, November 21. The Improv, 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit www.improv.com. $22.

Too hot to Handel: Bond brings sexy classical sounds 
to the Hobby Center. See Wednesday.
Kristian Schuller/Decca
Too hot to Handel: Bond brings sexy classical sounds to the Hobby Center. See Wednesday.

Friday, November 19

Not that we have anything against cats (see "Fancy Felines," page 40). But we have to say: Cats are bastards. They don't come when you call them. They rub on your legs only when they're hungry. They wait until you vacuum to cough up hair balls. And yet we love them. Courtney Davis expounds on the abusive human-cat relationship with Milton Is a Shitbag, a film about a cat who, er, works for Pat Buchanan. (He must be a shitbag.) As part of the Texas Filmmakers Showcase, Milton will screen tonight, along with short films including Doki-Doki, shot in Tokyo by former Rice student Chris Eska; Scott Rice's Perils in Nude Modeling (recently nominated for a student Academy Award); and The 72-Ounce Steakby Mike Woolf. The annual film screening is a can't-miss snapshot of hot Texas film talent. Some of the filmmakers are slated to attend (no word on a Milton live appearance), so take a seat at 7:30 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Brown Auditorium, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit www.mfah.org. $5 to $6.

Saturday, November 20

Bible-thumpers know Baal as a bullish Canaanite god. Fans of Bertolt Brecht, however, recognize Baal as the playwright's first work. The tale follows the exploits of a ruthless, self-absorbed young poet-singer who nails his best friend's virgin fiancée in his quest for the really good life. It's almost autobiographical -- Brecht was a young, bisexual libertine who lived in 1920s Berlin before fleeing to America during the Nazi uprising. Now Infernal Bridegroom Productions updates the show with IBP veteran Kyle Sturdivant playing the lead. Have a Baal at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The Axiom, 2524 McKinney. For information, call 713-522-8443 or visit www.infernalbridegroom.com. $5.99 opening weekend; $12 to $15 thereafter.

Sunday, November 21

Yeah, bumpin' it at hip-hop joints is chill and all. But there's something damned sex-ay about a night of tango. Done well, it leaves the ladies breathless and makes the guys want to grow a thin little mustache and change their names to Don Juan. If you've ever strutted the Argentine art form, head to the Continental Club tonight for Tango Houston's 2004 Tango Fall Milonga. It's essentially a big dance party, with local band Glovertango serenading. Not a dancer? Several teachers will be in attendance, so see if you can nab an impromptu lesson in the back room next to the pool tables. Throw on something black and show up with rose in mouth at 8 p.m. 3700 Main. For information, call 281-731-5237 or visit www.tangohouston.org. $10.

Monday, November 22

We at Night & Day haven't exactly minced words on the "renovation" of Cecil's Tavern after a fire consumed part of the pub in January (see "We Want the Funk," April 22). But like a beer-soaked phoenix, Cecil's has risen from the proverbial ashes. So whether you cherish the new digs or long for the old days, you can toast the return of the pool table and dartboards tonight at the Cecil's "We're Back" party. "When we reopened, people came, but they didn't hang out for very long," says owner Kimberly Blythe. "But now that we have the table and dartboards back, we feel like we're back to Cecil's again." Consider the shindig a coming-out party, with $1 well drinks and domestic beer all day, as well as an appearance by the nearly legendary "fajita man," who'll be serving up chicken, beef and sausage. Arrive early and drink your fill (we suggest throwing darts before you drink). 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. 600 West Gray. For information, call 713-527-9101. Free.

Tuesday, November 23

At first glance, a title like "Home and Garden" suggests a Tim Allen-inspired house improvement fest at the George R. Brown, chock-full of marble tiles and sleek toilets. Thankfully, this show is FotoFest's fall exhibition. Spotlighting eight Texas-based artists, the show is a humorous (if not macabre) examination of pop culture and family life in the USA. In one of Marc Montoya's stirring photographic pieces, a Christmas scene of a boy unwrapping a present turns into a still from a terrorist's video. And Michele Grinstead's surreal take on suburbia imposes bright blue skies and fluffy summer clouds onto a kitchen countertop, wall and light switch. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Through February 5. 1113 Vine. For information, call 713-223-5522 or visit www.fotofest.org. Free.

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