Imagine what will happen when little Tyler from Odessa meets a male Cher. The folks at Rice University's GLBT group GATHER are throwing a little shindig to coincide with the school's annual Owl Weekend, which welcomes prospective students to the campus. At today's Drag Queen and King Show, students and local performers will strut their fabulous stuff on a catwalk during a party open to anyone who's up for seeing some divas in action. "We want to show students interested in coming here that Rice is an open and accepting campus," says Christel Miller of GATHER. Enjoy food and drink, dancing and live music by local musicians. The party starts at 8 p.m. Willy's Pub in the Rice University Memorial Center, entrance No. 8 (off University Boulevard). For information, call 713-348-3884 or visit www.rice.edu/gather. Free; donations encouraged.
Friday, April 15
Each year Houstonian and former NFL star Santana Dotson hosts his Santana Dotson Celebrity Weekend to benefit his scholarship foundation, offering some of the best pro-athlete-watching this side of the Super Bowl. Hordes of sports celebs will descend on Houston today, and you can rub elbows and call shots with them at the celebrity pool tournament and auction at Slick Willie's Pool Hall (3895 Southwest Freeway, 713-960-1128), which starts at 7 p.m. Then, on Saturday, April 16, throw on some black for the weekend gala "Chic and Sexy: An Exquisite Affair," which starts at 8 p.m. at Hotel Derek (2525 West Loop South, 713-961-3000). And to help you recover on Sunday, the event closes with the "Heads or Tails" crawfish festival at Boudreaux's Cajun Kitchen (6300 West Loop South, 713-838-2200) at 3 p.m., and features free crawdads and tunes from Def Jam Blaster and DJ Aggravated. For tickets and information, call 713-827-7202 or visit www.santanadotson.com. Tickets start at $15 for the pool tournament, $25 for the gala, and $20 for the crawfish festival.
Saturday, April 16
Say what you want about Ashlee Simpson; she's got good hair. So if you've been jonesing to shed your winter tresses and look more like her -- or, say, anyone from Will & Grace, for that matter -- head to the Blue Mambo Salon for Locks of Love. Participants must donate at least ten inches of hair (a cinch if you're planning a summer chop anyway) to be used to make wigs for children who suffer from long-term hair loss as a result of medical treatment. Aside from the new do, you'll get a chance to win free tix to Ashlee's show on Sunday, April 17, hang with her backstage and get your hair done by her glamorous celeb stylist, Luke O'Connor (who happens to also work on Will & Grace and with stars like Lucy Liu and Brooke Shields). Lose your shag and see if you'll score a date with Ashlee from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. 2727 Kirby, suite G3. For information or to book an appointment, call 713-522-4044.
Sunday, April 17
You're just itching to get out today to show off your new Luke O'Connor cut, but you don't want to actually mess it up, right? (We get it.) You're in luck. Hop in your ride, roll up your windows and take part in the annual Susan Roberson Wade Memorial Car Rally. It's a three-hour, motorized scavenger hunt that starts you off at the Cadillac Bar (1802 Shepherd), and with nothing but cryptic descriptions and directions, steers you to some of the most unusual spots in town. Be the first to cross the finish line at the Post Oak Grill (1415 South Post Oak Lane), and you'll be toasted at the race afterparty and awarded a trophy. The event, which has raised more than a million dollars for breast cancer research, honors Houstonian Susan Roberson Wade, who died from the disease in 1993. Show up to pay homage and show off your driving skills (and heck, that new do, too) at noon. For information, call 713-526-2747 or visit www.susansrally.net. $25 donation.
Monday, April 18
Anyone who doubts the ability of art to bring people together should take a long gander at "Coexistence," a new exhibition of giant visual art comprising 39 works up on the lawn at City Hall. Brought to town in part by the Holocaust Museum of Houston, the traveling show examines the meaning of coexistence and human cooperation. As the collection travels the world, new local artists are added to each exhibit. This month, you can see Houstonian J. Antonio Farfán's piece Look Closer, which displays a hidden message about making a difference within a painting depicting milk and cookies. The exhibit promises to be stunning and thought-provoking, so stop by and coexist with your fellow man at the Reflection Pond on the lawn of City Hall. Exhibit runs through May 7. 900 Bagby. For information, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org. Free.
Tuesday, April 19
As a socialist activist, Tariq Ali has never minced words about his distrust for capitalist societies and big governments that push wars. (He recently accused the British government of compiling a "dung-heap of facts" to support its war with Iraq.) Once a young Marxist who took to the streets in protest, he's now a revered author and commentator, and has penned two new books, Street Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties and Speaking of Empire and Resistance. His works tell of his days in the "Power to the People" '60s and of his meetings with such icons as Malcolm X, Marlon Brando, Jean-Paul Sartre and Mick Jagger. Today, Ali will discuss his books and life along with Laura Flanders, author of BushWomen: Tales of a Cynical Species, in a program sponsored by Voices Breaking Boundaries. Meet Ali and Flanders at 7:30 p.m. Grand Hall, Ley Student Center at Rice University, entrance No. 13 (off Rice Boulevard). For information, call 713-524-7821 or visit www.voicesbreakingboundaries.org. $5 to $10.
Wednesday, April 20
We'll admit to getting a bit excited when we saw mention of a "panhandler" event at Helios this week, our thoughts quickly turning to a convention of hobos featuring lectures like "Constructing the Perfect Cardboard Sign." But the Panhandler Quarterly release party actually celebrates the launch of Panhandler Quarterly, a new poetry journal that highlights new, fresh poets from around the country. Stop by today and you'll receive a free copy of the journal, meet the staff of PQ and catch live performances by some of the publication's featured artists. Afterward, mix and mingle with the wordsmiths at the open-mike, and should you feel the urge to share a verse on train-ridin', corner-cash-collectin' or window-washin', well, knock yourself out. 8 p.m. 411 Westheimer. For information, visit www.thepanhandler.org. Free.