This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

 Thursday, December 16

If we at Night & Day knew that you could drink your way to a better society, then by our math, we would've already found a cure for cancer, homelessness and Ashlee Simpson. The folks at the Houston Margarita Society have been getting elegantly wasted for a good cause for 25 years. You can join these tipsy philanthropists today at their annual Margarita Christmas Mixer. Discuss your favorite charity as you nibble free appetizers and sip $2.75 "low-carb" margaritas (since when was salt a carb?) and $3 fruity blends. The cover benefits Children's Charity Assistance of Houston, so arrive early and reserve a cab at 6 p.m. Cafe Adobe, Marq*E Center, 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-688-1700 or visit www.houstonmargaritasociety.org. $5 donation.

Friday, December 17

Tired of whoring, Wanda Sykes is trying out some new 
material on her "Cotton T-Shirt" tour. See Friday.
Jim Wright
Tired of whoring, Wanda Sykes is trying out some new material on her "Cotton T-Shirt" tour. See Friday.

When she was last in town in June, comedian Wanda Sykes was whispering about a possible reality TV show and a new book. Since then, she has landed the show, released the book and kicked off a new tour. Sykes, who's everywhere these days (she's even starring in the new Jennifer Lopez movie Monster-in-Law), can be seen on Comedy Central's Wanda Does It, where she picks a professional task and -- yep -- does it herself (she's already tried out whoring, but she's still waiting for someone to let her perform surgery). The delightful smartass penned Yeah I Said It in between her touring and shooting schedules. "It was the hardest thing in the world writing a book," she tells us, "but the beauty of it is I have hours' worth of material." You can sample some of that material tonight when Sykes stops by for her "Cotton T-Shirt" tour. Watch Wanda do it at 8 p.m. Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas. For information, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.comedycentral.com. $32.

Saturday, December 18

First Ward artist Tami Merrick was inspired to create her latest work when she was visited by an inquisitive neighborhood girl who wanted to know why Merrick had so many colorful images in her home. "I told her it was an art studio," she says. "She didn't know what an art studio was." Seeing a need for arts education, Merrick and friend Charles Collette created Luminario, an 11-foot lantern made of steel and rubber and accented by an ink stain, designed to illuminate the streets of the First Ward. Merrick and Collette received grants for the work, but city bureaucracy has kept the installation from its intended location on the Houston Avenue bridge. Tonight, you can see the work at its temporary home at De Zeta Art Gallery and attend the reception for the new space's concurrent show, "Art by Architects," featuring artists Mark Atkins, Yota Papadopulos, Mark Schatz and Chris Royster. 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. 4200 North Main. For information, call 832-213-6349. Free.

Sunday, December 19

When we first heard about "Teddy Bear Teas," we immediately pictured an ursine pole-dance move. You can imagine our relief when we found out it's actually a children's event (phew!) at the St. Regis. In true highfalutin style, you and your kids (or just you, if you don't mind the weird looks) can sip on fine teas and nibble on scones, tea sandwiches and fruit tarts in the hotel ballroom. The little ones can decorate cookies and play while storybook-themed characters including an ice princess and a nearly seven-foot teddy bear come by to visit and play. In keeping with the season, you're asked to bring a new teddy bear to be donated to Houston Children's Charity. Reservations are required, so grab the kiddies and grin and bear it from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 1919 Briar Oaks Lane. For information, call 713-403-2754. $43.

Monday, December 20

If you like retro music -- or if you're just old -- and you long for the gritty, legit days of New York's underground during the '70s and early '80s, revisit them at Aurora Picture Show's December film series, "Synthesia: Interviews on Rock & Art," screening Mondays at Dean's Credit Clothing. In the films, legendary players in NYC's music, art and performance scenes talk about crossing genres, selling out and influencing new generations. This week's screening centers on performance artist Genesis P-Orridge, long considered to be the leading pioneer of industrial music. Following the screenings, at around 10 p.m., DJs K-Maculent and Miguel Pantalones (we're down with any guy named "Michael Pants") will spin tunes from P-Orridge's bands Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. 316 Main. For information, call 713-868-2101 or visit www.aurorapictureshow.org. $5.

Tuesday, December 21

It takes your computer 11 minutes to boot up. As you type the last word of your thesis, your screen freezes. You lift your head and scream, "*@#$&%$## Microsoft!" Can you imagine a whole house full of this company's stuff? Well, Microsoft can, which is why they've unleashed their touring "Windows on Wheels" showcase. According to the MS folks, there you can "get a glimpse of today's digital home, showcasing the latest technology from Microsoft Corp." The 50-foot home is chock-full of essentially every digital toy the evil empire could muster up. Yeah, this may not be your first choice for a romantic date, but we bet your IT guy has already made reservations. Drop by and see if you catch a virus at 3 p.m. Army and Air Force Exchange Service, 14657 Sneider Street, suite 1363. For information, visit www.windows-experience.com. Free.

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