Here's to Hope

Houston artists light up the Illumination Project 2004

WED 12/1

Jane Weiner of Hope Stone Dance remembers a time when red ribbons were everywhere; nowadays, they seem positively retro. AIDS, unfortunately, is not. So on World AIDS Day, Weiner is joining nine other area groups for Illumination Project 2004, which she calls "a little bit of a memorial service and also a service of hope." The performance features a veritable who's who of Houston acts, ranging from Houston Ballet and Stages Repertory Theatre to the Houston Gay Men's Choir and Dominic Walsh Dance Theater. Contemporary ballet will blend into song, performance art will give way to modern dance, and the show will culminate in a candle-lighting ceremony to honor those lost to AIDS.

This is the event's third year, and its first at the Hobby Center, which donated everything from the stage to printed invitations, leaving the proceeds to the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative and Bering Omega Community Services. Light a candle for the cause at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 1. Zilkha Hall at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-315-2525 or visit www.thehobbycenter.org. $35 to $60 per couple; $25 donation for memory candles. -- Julia Ramey

Paint Your Cranberries Blue

THU 11/25

The folks at Dan Electro's Guitar Bar know it's tryptophan -- the chemical in turkey -- that brings most folks down on Thanksgiving. But a certain section of the population was born with the blues, and ain't nothing gonna cure 'em. And so each year, the venerable Dan Electro Thursday Night Turkey Jam continues. In case you've somehow managed to avoid getting stuffed fuller than B.B. King, there's even a buffet. Hell, only a stodgy Puritan would cluck in disapproval as the hot, wailing licks of Houston's least family-oriented bluesmen and women take their place alongside cranberry sauce and other pilgrim-esque delights. Consider tonight your best chance to simultaneously count your blessings and wallow in self-pity. 9:30 p.m. Thursday, November 25. 1031 East 24th Street. For information, call 713-862-8707 or visit www.danelectrosguitarbar.com. Free. -- Scott Faingold

Holiday Debt

It's the only holiday story as familiar as the one about the birth of that Christ kid. Seeing the Alley Theatre's annual lavish production of A Christmas Carol is practically a Houston rite of passage. But when the 32-year-old Charles Dickens published the original story in 1843, it wasn't necessarily to create a major literary legacy -- the author essentially tossed off the story to help repay his growing debt. If necessity is the mother of invention, those Victorian loan sharks can claim parentage to Humbuggers as diverse as George C. Scott, Michael Caine and Mr. Magoo. Opens Friday, November 26, and runs through December 26. 615 Texas. For information, call 713-228-8421 or visit www.alleytheatre.org. $37 to $50. -- Bob Ruggiero

Party Animal

What does one do when anointed the No. 1 Partier in the Nation by Rolling Stone? After the lifetime supply of free Jell-O shots, perhaps nothing. But in 1997, Bert Kreischer, whom RS discovered while covering Florida State University's party scene, parlayed his buzz into a respectable comedy career. Will he go frat boy and run naked onstage at his shows? Take a peek from Thursday, November 25, through Saturday, November 27. The Laff Stop, 1952 West Gray. For information and showtimes, call 713-524-2333 or visit www.laffstop.com. $15 to $19. -- Steven Devadanam

 
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