A cop battles extraterrestrials in the new manga tome Ita: Code of the Dragon
What is it with all these damn space aliens, violently attacking the people of earth all the time? Of course it's never actually happened, but intergalactic predators never seem to go out of style, from radio hoaxes to bubble-gum cards to the odd multimillion-dollar summer blockbuster. And don't forget graphic novels. In the "American manga" story Ita: Code of the Dragon, plucky heroine Ita Otami ("the youngest captain ever to serve the Tokyo Police Department," duh) suddenly finds her job description expanded to include battling marauding aliens-turned-dragons. Oh, yeah, and they killed her fiancé, so this time it's personal. Or something. Regardless, Ita creator Samuel Bohon will be signing his creation at 3 p.m. Sunday, August 14. Borders, 3025 Kirby. For information, call 713-524-0200 or visit www.bordersstores.com. Free. -- Scott Faingold
Tea for Me
This tea-sippin' thing ain't half bad.
It's Saturday afternoon and I'm at Aunt Mike's in the Heights, a cozy store that sells jewelry and knickknacks. I'm chatting with ladies from the Red Hat Club, a social group of women 50 or older who wear red hats and throw parties. They're here for a High Texas Tea -- one-part tea party, one-part book launch for local mystery author Dr. Lois Lawrence, a.k.a. Virginia Lee, author of Aunt Louise's Tea Time Treats: Old Fashioned Recipes for the Modern Woman. In the Aunt Louise series (think Murder She Wrote meets Clue), the grandmotherly protagonist solves crimes and holds teas. Her new book features tea-time recipes, and her signing has drawn an almost all-female group from all over town.
Traditionally, high tea means hot tea. But it's 97 degrees outside, so the tea is iced. The menu is Benedictine sandwiches -- a Kentucky teatime tradition made of pureed cream cheese and cucumbers -- and chicken salad. Decanters of lime-infused water, lemonade and wine and pitchers of lemon tea sit on an antique Asian bar.
I think I'm the only male younger than 40 here, but I'm enjoying sipping tea, mingling and chatting with them. I can't help but get a little sentimental when the very grandmotherly Lawrence tells us to "enjoy a cup of tea, and think of me" when the party ends.
I'm feeling quite genteel as I bid good afternoon to the ladies and promise to attend their next party. And now I'm wondering: How would a Sunday afternoon tea with my buddies go over once football season starts? -- Steven Devadanam
If the recent shuttle hoopla has you jonesing for some astronomical entertainment, the Perseid meteor shower, which looks like a dazzling array of shooting stars, should be a blast (sorry). For a little romance, head to the boonies with a blanket and a picnic basket and, well, you can take it from there. But true astronomy buffs will want to spend the night watching the meteor shower through the George Observatory's mammoth Gueymard telescope. Viewing runs from 10 p.m. Friday, August 12, through dawn Saturday, August 13. George Observatory in Brazos Bend State Park, 21901 FM 762. For information, call 281-242-3055 or visit www.georgeobservatory.org. $3 for park entry; $3 for telescope viewing; free to view from observation deck. -- Steven Devadanam
Dubya of Arabia?
A deluded, egotistical white man forces his way, uninvited, into a bloody fight between warring Arab factions. No, it's not the evening news but rather David Lean's 1962 epic masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia. This ravishing visual feast came in at an impressive No. 5 on the American Film Institute's list of the "100 Greatest Movies of All Time," and it introduced the world to the young Peter O'Toole, in fine, blond fettle here as the charismatic, monomaniacal T.E. Lawrence. 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14. Brown Auditorium, Caroline Wiess Law Building, 1001 Bissonnet. For tickets, call 713-639-7300 or visit www.mfah.org/films. $6. -- Scott Faingold