No doubt, today you'll be throwing down at one of the numerous St. Paddy's Day events taking place around town (see See/Be Seen, page 38). But should you opt for something a tad more cerebral than green brew, old House of Pain tunes and a lot of puking, we suggest heading to Rice Gallery for "Jacob Hashimoto: Superabundant Atmosphere." Hashimoto, a Colorado native who now lives in Brooklyn and Verona, Italy, will unveil an installation of 9,000 tiny white kites, each made from silk glued over a tied bamboo frame. The kites will be strung together and suspended from the gallery ceiling to create a sculptural "cloud," a fluid form made out of thousands of tiny forms. The installation promises to be visually stunning -- and it should make for one hell of a kite-themed drinking story. Opening reception: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Remarks by the artist at 6 p.m.) Exhibit runs through April 17. Rice University, 6100 Main. For information, call 713-348-6069 or visit www.ricegallery.org. Free.
Friday, March 18
If you're smart, you've called in sick today (hey, alcohol poisoning can be serious). Time to venture back out into the world -- but gently. Grab some dinner and take in a show. Main Street Theater's Morning Star follows Becky Felderman, who has brought her four children from Russia to America for a better life. Though one of her children dies in a factory fire, Becky exudes that can-do, go-get-'em spirit that characterized so many early-1900s immigrants. The show intersperses fiction with historical events, all tinged with Becky's optimistic lines, such as, "Everybody can be somebody, and only good can come to us." In your crusty, hungover state, that should be a real pick-me-up. 8 p.m. today; show runs through April 17. 2540 Times Boulevard. For tickets, information and showtimes, call 713-524-6706, or visit www.mainstreettheater.com. $20 to $30.
Saturday, March 19
If you're up for more artsy happenings Š la Thursday's reception, check out the Lawndale Art Center's 20th Century Modern Market. You can peruse furniture, glass, ceramics, metalwork and threads produced by some of the hippest, most hoity-toity manufacturers from around the state and country. Prowl with and for the fabulously chic from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday, March 20. At 6 p.m. Friday, March 18, there'll be a special preview party, where for $35 ($25 for Lawndale members) you can shop for modern art goods before the masses descend. 4912 Main. For information, call 713-528-5858 or visit www.lawndaleartcenter.com.
Now that your inner shopper has awakened, head to Club 1415 for the Houston GLBT Community Center's fund-raising benefit, dubbed An Art Affair. More than 30 local artists will contribute work for both a live and silent auction, and entertainment comes courtesy of VocalEase, the small ensemble group from Gay Men's Chorus of Houston. Also, watch for comedian Nancy Ford (a regular at the club with her "Dyke Show" each Saturday night), who'll serve as an auctioneer. Chuckle at Ford and enjoy hors d'oeuvres and cocktails from the cash bar from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. 1415 California. For information, call 713-524-3818 www.houstonglbtcommunitycenter.org. Free.
Sunday, March 20
From the looks of it, the Drifting Auto Show at HUSH is worth risking a cruise down the hellish I-10. There will be mad rides on display, entertainment featuring Sect of Fate, Jimmy Boi, Pay Lay V, Wickett Crickett, C.A.P. and O.N.E. and -- oh, yeah -- a Bikini USA Contest. For those unfamiliar with drifting, imagine the most tricked-out import or badass American muscle car skidding at high speeds with car-commercial precision. Catch the drift from noon to 7 p.m. 15625 Katy Freeway. For information, call 832-444-8590 or visit www.transitshow.com. $15 in advance.
Monday, March 21
This week, Space Center Houston wins our community service award for doing its part to keep spring-breaking kids out of the malls (and our hair). Rugrats and the older siblings who abuse them can delight to the Purina Incredible Dog Team, which features 20 high-flying, back-vaulting mutts. There'll also be visits from live cartoon characters like Scooby-Doo, Pikachu and the Power Puff Girls. That, plus the "Engineer It" exhibits, oughta hold their attention -- for now. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 1601 NASA Parkway. For information, call 281-244-2100 or visit www.spacecenter.org. $13.95 for kids; $17.95 for adults.
Tuesday, March 22
Leave it to the ultramod record label Astralwerks to deliver us the hippest thing from France since Air (which, coincidentally, is also on said label). If you've been watching The O.C., or AMC, chances are you've heard the effortlessly cool "Run, Run, Run" by the Parisian group Phoenix. You also may have heard their single "Too Young" in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation. While their labelmates Air are decidedly, well, French, Phoenix puts out a brand of head-bobbing, hum-along pop of the Gap-commercial variety. In fact, if it weren't for lead singer Thomas Mars's faint French accent, you'd never know that these guys weren't from New York or L.A. 8 p.m. Meridian, 1503 Chartres. For information, call 713-225-1717 or visit www.meridianhouston.com. $12.50 in advance; $14 at the door.
Wednesday, March 23
Green booze, art shows, drifting Hondas and French dudes: Quite the week for diverse activities, huh? Cuban author Himilce Novas can relate. In her latest tome, Princess Papaya, readers jump from 9/11 in NYC to the political dungeons in Cuba to vineyards in Santa Monica, all while dealing with issues of the occult, politics and transgender sexuality. (How's that for diverse?) Novas and local author Loida Ruiz will read from their works today at the first event of the new season of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say. Ruiz's book, about three cousins and their mothers, is a work in progress and still untitled. Help her name it from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. MECA, 1900 Kane. For information, call 713-867-8943. $5; free for students.