This weekend, thousands of motorheads from around town and even the country will descend on Allen Parkway for the annual Art Car Parade. But those in the know are well aware that parade events start today with CARnavel - the 2005 Art Car Ball at the Meridian. The official pre-party for the festivities, the event features more than 100 art cars and a variety of entertainment, including belly dancers and a fashion show by Erotic Cabaret. Also watch for local artist Reverend Butter, who will be creating a sculpture out of a 300-pound block of ice. It's your chance to meet some of the kooky minds behind art cars like "Roachster" and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Car." Don some funky, art-car-inspired duds and hit the ball at 7 p.m. 1503 Chartres. For information, call 713-225-1717 or visit www.meridianhouston.com. $20; $15 in advance.
Friday, May 13
Amy Meyers of Sippora Gallery is obsessed with "form and color, sound, odors, softness, warmth and orgasm." Whoa there, Amy! If this kind of talk turns your, er, head, visit Sippora tonight for the opening of EROTICA: 3rd Annual Art Benefit for Breast Cancer Research and Awareness. Artists such as Gabrielle Faust, Earl Staley, Holly Denslow, Kermit Eisenhut and Santosh Varughese will gather to share their mixed media, paintings, sculpture and other works, all of which celebrate the human body and the randiness in us all. "Some of the stuff is a little abstract," says Meyers, "but most of it is in-your-face." Throw down some cash for door prizes and you can score art pieces, gym memberships, makeovers and -- surprise -- erotic toys. Feel the good vibrations from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. 234 West Gray. For information, call 713-520-1085 or visit www.sippora.com. $12.
Saturday, May 14
There's no better way of raising money to fight inflammatory bowel disease than scaring the living crap out of yourself. This Saturday, during the second annual "Jumping Blue Beans Jump Across America," charitable daredevils will be leaping from planes in five American cities, including Houston, all to help out the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. Just what is a Jumping Blue Bean, anyway? We're not sure, but Mr. Blue Bean, the event's official plush mascot, is awfully cute. For a squatting cyclops, that is. Prepare to you know your pants at noon, Saturday, May 14. Skydive Spaceland, 16111 FM 521. For information and to preregister, call 281-369-3337or visit www.ccfa.org. Free.
Survive the jump? Great! Celebrate by rocking out today. There might be a band somewhere out there sillier than Glass Candy & the Shattered Theatre, but we wouldn't wanna take bets. The Portland glam-cum-electro-cum-no-wavers are storming the Proletariat, bringing their Kill Rock Stars indie cred, Blondie-esque visual stylings and just-short-of-hilarious pseudonyms. ("What's your name, young lady?" "Ida No." Seriously, the singer's name is Ida No.) A stellar support bill includes Austin's Zom Zoms, Florida's Yip Yip and our very own Dead Roses. 9 p.m. Saturday, May 14. 903 Richmond, 713-523-1199, www.theproletariathouston.com. $7.
Sunday, May 15
As anyone who hawks real estate knows, you gotta have an angle. Is your house a one-of-a-kind? Was it designed by a famous architect? Was it the site of a famous murder? If so, your crib could be worth some mad green. Get the scoop on some historic properties today at the Alpha Gamma Delta Home Tour. You'll visit six homes, two churches and two office buildings designed by one of Houston's foremost architecture firms, MacKie & Kamrath. The homes represent the team's "organic architecture" approach; several of them are built around and into the wooded areas of Buffalo Bayou. They also reflect the style of über-architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who was a friend of the firm and gave his blessing to many of the structures. 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. today and Saturday, May 14. For a list of homes and locations, call 713-868-1018 or visit www.americanheritage.org. $15. Event benefits the AGD Foundation Leadership Institute and other charities.
Monday, May 16
Kids insinuate the darnedest things -- like "Those two ladies are lezzies!" Today, a vindictive youngster decides to bring down a few prominent members of her community with vicious and unfounded charges of sexual impropriety. The Children's Hour, a film originally released in 1961, was made at a time when such claims were still shocking. It's running as part of Stages Repertory Theatre's "Making Headway: The 2005 Surround Film Series," about the way women are portrayed in theater and film. Today's film boasts Audrey Hepburn and a pre-reincarnated Shirley MacLaine as the maligned schoolteachers, and child actress Karen Balkin as the accuser who dares to call out the ladies' "affair." Scandalous! 7 p.m. Monday, May 16. Series runs through June 13. 3201 Allen Parkway, 713-527-0123, www.stagestheatre.com. Free.
Tuesday, May 17
Calling all rabid literature fans! Put down that purloined letter, kick aside that oblong box and head over to the second annual Edgar party benefiting the local lit-and-photography quarterly named after everyone's favorite troubled 19th-century genius. Expect mingling, door prizes and a silent auction (just don't be too surprised if a hideously loud beating heart interrupts the proceedings). All in all, it's a great excuse to break open a cask of Amontillado with like-minded, um, poetasters. Hell, maybe you could do it Poe-style and end up drunk and in the street. Quoth the raven, "Party on!" 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, at -- where else? -- Tequila Willie's, 1055 Bay Area Boulevard in Clear Lake. For information, call 281-770-8989 or visit www.edgarliterarymagazine.com. Free.