Another hectic work week, another excuse for you to get crunk today and call in sick tomorrow. But if you're looking for something a little more -- gasp! -- chill to start off the weekend, head to Dean's Credit Clothing, where hipsters in the know have been in a trance with Thrift Thursdays. DJ Matthew Dunn, a veteran of the Tranceision trance collective and Chemistry Records, has taken up shop at Joia Lounge and, most recently, at Dean's. He and resident Niki Angelo, along with a regular slew of guest spinsters, combine to deliver the phattest house, trance and progressive. Get thrifty with Dunn and crew at 9 p.m. 316 Main. For information, call 713-227-3326 or visit www.djmatthewdunn.com. Free.
Friday, May 20
Sitting through an opera in a crowded music hall can be a little stuffy. But watching opera while lounging on the grass enjoying the evening air? A breeze. If you're up for a trek north today, you'll be rewarded with a free outdoor performance of Houston Grand Opera's Madame Butterfly. Puccini's classic tale follows Cio-Cio-San, a young naive Japanese geisha -- known as Butterfly -- and her marriage to an American naval officer, Lieutenant Pinkerton, which causes her subsequent downward spiral. Meet the charming, delicate Madame at 8 p.m. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands. For information, call 713-284-8350 or visit www.milleroutdoortheatre.com. Free.
Or, spend your Friday night with a lady who's a little less, um, delicate. If you've ever cringed while watching the unfortunate schlubs get dissed on Showtime at the Apollo, you know how ruthless the hefty host Mo'Nique can be. The Baltimore native, a veteran of the stand-up circuit and morning radio, has garnered a reputation for dishing some heavy (ha!) smack. She's now hit the big (someone stop us!) time with roles in Soul Plane and Beauty Shop. Watch this lady of laffs live large (we're done, we promise) at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Show continues at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. through Sunday, May 28. Improv, 7620 Katy Freeway, suite 3621. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit www.improv.com. $35.
Saturday, May 21
Today, club kids of every size, shape and drinking age will hit downtown for the grand reopening of Rich's. The fixture of Houston nightlife has seen ownership changes and a name change, and is now back and welcoming the fabulous masses. Brave the lines and check out dance diva Kristine W. Once you've danced your pretty little ass off, roll with the beautiful people to the "Rolls Royce" after-party at the chic Ultra Lounge. NYC DJ Joey Smoke will spin in the main room, while Houstonian Dan Meader takes the tables in the Groove Lounge. Promoters are encouraging folks to pimp out in "auto regalia and paraphernalia." (Here's your chance to throw on that Mercedes medallion necklace. Bling!) Rich's grand reopening starts at 9 p.m. 2401 San Jacinto. For tickets, call 713-759-9606 or visit www.richs-houston.com. $15. "Rolls Royce" gets rollin' at 3:30 a.m. Sunday, May 22. 108 Main. For info, visit www.spoiledboyz.net. $15 advance tickets are available at M2M Fashion, 3400 Montrose, 713-529-9924.
Sunday, May 22
During Red China's cultural revolution in the '60s, pretty much anything that didn't toe the Maoist party line was confiscated and destroyed by the government. The Dai family managed against all odds to preserve its collection of priceless and historically significant un-PC masterpieces through four generations. Now, you can reap the benefits with "Treasures of Chinese Painting." The exhibit showcases some of China's greatest painters of the past 100 years, including Qi Baishi, Zhang Daqian and Fu Baoshi. Also included are rarely seen works by Emperor Dao Guang and Empress Dowager of the Qing dynasty. The combined works are valued at more than $20 million. Catch the exhibition Saturday, May 21, and today. Plaza Ballroom of the Westin Galleria, 5060 West Alabama. For information, call 713-569-6543. Free.
Monday, May 23
We at Night & Day can't help but notice how much more articulate we are when we're completely shitfaced. If you've noticed this too, head to Taco Milagro today for La Mesa Española's Spanish happy hour. The La Mesa folks meet weekly to practice conversational Spanish with readings and interactive games. At 8 p.m. the group mingles at a happy hour where everyone speaks Spanish. "But if people speak English, I'm not gonna throw them out," says organizer Chuck Linton with a laugh. We're sure that the numerous margaritas and cervezas will make you that much more fluent as you chat up your amigos and amigas on the patio. Short on cash? We recommend the phrase No tengo dinero; me puede comprar una bebida, por favor? ("I have no money; could you please buy me a drink?") After that, you're on your own. Group meets from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. 2555 Kirby. For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Free.
Tuesday, May 24
Fresh-faced tennis enthusiasts and shifty-eyed Leg Show subscribers rejoice, for the sun has risen on the Houston Pro Women's Tennis Classic. The $10,000 tourney is Houston's only professional women's tennis event and is considered a major stepping stone for aspiring champeens, so expect to see deadly accuracy and flashing, well-muscled thighs from all over the known racket-wielding world. And be sure to check out Houston's own Laura Ritchey-Thomas, who is currently an impressively satanic No. 666 in the international rankings. Smash! Noon and 6 p.m. today. Tournament continues through Sunday, May 29. Downtown Club at the Met, One Allen Center. For information, call 713-652-0700. Free.
Wednesday, May 25
Still on a sports fix after seeing yesterday's swingin' ladies? The good-ol'-American, win-at-all-costs-even-if-it-means-injecting-toxic-garbage-into-your-veins competitive spirit is given a major shakedown in a new book, co-written by the Houston Chronicle's John McCloskey. In When Winning Costs Too Much: Steroids, Supplements and Scandal in Today's Sports World, McCloskey and co-writer Julian Bailes spare no anecdotal or pharmacological detail in illustrating how the once-proud world of professional sports is threatening to degenerate into a narcotic-stained sinkhole. McCloskey will discuss and sign the book at 7:30 p.m. Borders, 3025 Kirby. For information, call 713-524-0200 or visit www.bordersstores.com. Free.