Friday, September 23
If you love to dance, but love watching people dance while you sit and sip a beverage even more, A Weekend of Texas Contemporary Dance is for you. It features several performances of recent works from local dance groups -- including Ad Deum Dance Company, Houston Ballet II, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company and Travesty Dance Group -- set to a mix of sound and video collages, as well as revival and world-premiere pieces. The dancing begins at 8 p.m. today. Show continues at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, September 24. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 100 Concert Drive. For information, call 713-284-8350 or visit www.milleroutdoortheatre.com. Free.
Saturday, September 24
It's her party, and she'll throw poop if she wants to. Celebrate her 25 swingin' (in the trees, that is) years at Kelly the Orangutan's Birthday Party at the Houston Zoo. The event involves a custom-made birthday cake, a giant card, a raffle for an orangutan DVD and free bookmarks for Kelly's first 500 visitors. As if partying with a large hairy simian who's just turned the big two-five weren't enough to drag your ass out of bed, the zoo is offering up free ice pops to beat the heat (woo-hoo!). 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. 1513 North MacGregor. For a full schedule, call 713-533-6500 or visit www.houstonzoo.org. $4 to $8.50; free for kids ages two to 11.
Today, the Art League Houston is hosting Another Damn Gala, a benefit honoring the 2005 Texas Artists of the Year, the Art Guys (Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing). Entertainment by local favorite '80s cover band Molly & the Ringwalds, John "Red" Trower and the Pendulum of Death sounds damn fun. And since the Art League has been honoring Texas artists for their accomplishments and contributions to the community since 1983, we can forgive the ungodly ticket price. Oh, and unlike most of these stuffy galas, at this soiree -- and we quote the invitation -- you can wear "any damn thing you like." 6:30 p.m. Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter Street. For reservations, call 713-523-9530. $150.
Sunday, September 25
The Orange Show is giving a free tour and talk about creator Jeff McKissack's homage to nutrition and oranges in honor of the Houston institution's 23rd anniversary. McKissack died while working on the Orange Show in 1980, but it was reopened as a nonprofit in 1982. Find out what it's like to love a type of food so much that you spend your entire life working in isolation building a shrine to it. 1 p.m. 2401 Munger. For information, call 713-926-6368 or visit www.orangeshow.org. Free.
The horrors inflicted by Hurricane Katrina inspired dance music heavyweight Paul Van Dyk to organize the benefit show Dance Music Cares. The event will feature Van Dyk and, fittingly, a slew of Louisiana talent including Gamma, Paul B Digital, Stephan Rideaux, Candice Elliott and more. All proceeds will go directly to Hurricane Katrina relief -- Van Dyk ain't pocketing a dime (which we think is pretty impressive). Shake it for a good cause at 7 p.m. The Meridian, 1503 Chartres. For tickets and information, call 713-225-1717 or visit www.77002.com. $20 to $25.
Monday, September 26
Mayor Bill White has been getting some fantastic national pub lately. So we wonder what would happen if it came out that Bill's into movies featuring -- gasp! -- topless teen girls. Scandalous! Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but we do know that His Honor is a huge fan of Peter Bogdanovich's 1971 film The Last Picture Show, which features a very young, very cute and very topless Cybill Shepherd. White will host a screening of the film today as part of Movies Houstonians Love, in which local celebs showcase and discuss their favorite flicks at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The series's other upcoming events include former Houston Comet Cynthia Cooper raving over The Shawshank Redemption, Dr. Denton Cooley dissecting Catch-22 and Alley Theatre resident Annalee Jefferies gushing over Barbarella. That's all well and good, but frankly we're still baffled as to why the MFAH never returned our calls to host a screening of Ernest Goes to Camp. Mayor White -- that ol' dawg -- hosts the Picture Show at 7 p.m. Brown Auditorium Theater, 1001 Bissonnet. For tickets and information, call 713-639-7515 or www.mfah.org. $15 per film; series passes $50.
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.