Today, that beacon of learning, University of Houston, turns into a carnival. At Frontier Fiesta, the Tejano group Solido performs at a free concert, while country crooner Robert Earl Keen takes the stage Friday night, with rapper T.I. following on Saturday. Parts of the campus will host Broadway-style shows, carnival booths, art exhibits, cultural and educational performances and even a cook-off featuring such categories as fajitas, gumbo, chicken, ribs, brisket and more. The event's been going on since the '40s and was once dubbed "The Greatest College Show on Earth" by Life magazine. Join the carnies from 5 p.m. to midnight. Event continues 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2. UH's Robertson Stadium, Scott at Holman. For information, visit www.uh.edu/fiesta. Free.
Friday, April 1
If your intellect wasn't so challenged by yesterday's cook-offs and carnies, head to DiverseWorks today for the opening of "Thought Crimes: The Art of Subversion," a collection of works by 18 artists examining the post-9/11 new world order. Look for Patrick Lichty's airport countersurveillance photographs, or video recordings of the Yes Men's impersonations of the suits at Dow Chemical. The artists, which include the folks from Aerosol Warfare and I Love You Baby, as well as other edgy locals, have one thing in common: sticking it to big business and the Man. Also opening today is San Antonio artist Zane Lewis's "Pink Lemonade: The Procession," a multisensory installation that's part science, part science fiction. Opening receptions for both shows are from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. today. Exhibits run through May 28. 1117 East Freeway. For information, call 713-223-8346 or visit www.diverseworks.org. Free.
Saturday, April 2
Mike Brady was a cool cat with his sideburns and plaid pants. Even cooler, the dude designed the late-'60s modern house that he, wife Carol and the rest of the Bradys lived in. Houston has some impressive examples of this style of architecture -- which hit its peak in the late '50s and '60s -- and the Rice Design Alliance and Houston Mod want to show them off at "Modern Mode: Houston Architecture at Mid-Century." Several homes, in spots like River Oaks and Bellaire, will be open for self-guided tours. Take a walk through these abodes, and you'll be whisked back to Houston's Space City heyday of the late '60s. And who knows, maybe you'll meet a like-minded architectural enthusiast. Then you two will know it's much more than a hunch...well, you know the rest. 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday, April 3. For information and a list of homes and locations, call 713-348-4876 or visit www.rice.edu/projects/RDA. $10 to $15 for RDA members; $35 memberships available at each location include complimentary tickets.
Sunday, April 3
Ordinarily, people's interest in birds begins around age three or four, dies for about, oh, 65 years, and picks up again as they become elderly. But there are folks outside those demographics who enjoy stalking our feathered friends, and for them, there's Galveston's Featherfest. Birders from all around will flock to the island and bay to watch coastal fowl eat, fly, poop and sit around. (Let's just call it what it is, shall we?) Activities start at 5 a.m. (!) today and run through noon. Festival also runs Thursday, March 31, through Saturday, April 2, at various locations in Galveston. For tickets, a schedule of events and a list of locations, call 888-425-4753 or visit www.galvestonfeatherfest.com. Admission ranges from free to $50.
Monday, April 4
Odds are you'll hear more bad jokes this week than you will all year, as today kicks off the weeklong Houston Comedy Festival. Comedians both big-time and up-and-coming will descend on our fair town to laff it up at venues like the Laff Stop, the Laff Spot, the Comedy Showcase and others. Festival highlights include the Bayou City Babes of Comedy, a Gay Comedy Jam, a David Letterman Comedy Search hosted by comedian Eddie Brill and a "Midnight Blue" (read: dirty) show featuring big guy Joey Diaz, Rob Mungle and Sean Rouse. (And should you feel the desire to heckle Press scribe Eric Dieckman at the Laff Stop, well, who are we to stop you?) Hop on stage and tell your bluest bird jokes at 8 p.m. 1952 West Gray. Festival runs through April 10 at various locations. For tickets, a schedule and a list of venues, visit www.houstoncomedyfestival.com. Admission ranges from free to $50.
Tuesday, April 5
Your belly's had quite the workout from all that chuckling last night (though yes, we know, nothing was as funny as your woodpecker joke). Time to watch some other bellies at work. Head to Helios for the Etoile Arabesque Belly Dance Cabaret. Four ladies (and occasionally their guests) will don traditional Middle Eastern costumes -- replete with beads, coins and zills (the little cymbals on their fingers) -- and perform traditional and modern Middle Eastern/Mediterranean dance for your pleasure. And we do mean pleasure: "Belly dancing has always been very erotic," says Mariana Lemesoff, who puts on the shows each week. "In Egypt, where it started, good families would never let their daughters become belly dancers." Enjoy a live drum intermission and watch these ladies get jiggy at 8 p.m. 411 Westheimer. For information, call 713-526-4648. $4.
Wednesday, April 6
This week has brought you carnies (or "students" -- they're all the same), comedians, beach birds and bellies gyrating. Time to get some perspective. Today at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, the Houston Symphony is partnering with the Red Cross for "Cause & Effect: A Night of Musical Relief." The bigwigs from each group are donating all the services for the performance to raise funds for the Red Cross's tsunami relief. Houston Symphony musicians will play four different orchestral pieces, including a world-premiere arrangement of a Brahms piece. 7:30 p.m. 800 Bagby. For tickets and information, call 713-315-2525 or visit www.thehobbycenter.org. Minimum donation of $25.