Tuesday, September 27
If you've ever wandered into Downing Street Pub & Cigar Bar, you know that it can get a little stuffy -- what with all the big money puffing pricey Cubans. But the Blue Monks cut through any pretension with raucous pop and rock tunes, jazzy standards and even a little Johnny Cash. Sip some martinis, work on blowing your perfect smoke ring and enjoy the Blue entertainment from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. 2549 Kirby, 713-523-2291, www.downingstreetpub.com. Free.

Wednesday, September 28
It's Banned Book Week, and today several local groups, in cluding the ACLU and South Texas College of Law, are celebrating free speech and intellectual freedom by inviting a host of performing artists, attorneys and politicians to read passages from infamous tours de force. These days, banned books are about as scandalous as a fourth-grader telling you your epidermis is showing, yet we salute the pioneer spirit that brought us Huck Finn, Lady Chatterley's Lover and even Romeo and Juliet. Determined rebels can attend readings at 12:15 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. South Texas College of Law, 1303 San Jacinto, 713-646-1829. Free.

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