This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, October 20
Artist Fran Padgett was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. Now a survivor, she's putting out the coffee table book Breast Cancer Recovery: No One Wrote a Manual, a collection of the paintings she created after learning she had the disease. She'll be signing the book at this week's Gift of Time Tour, an event that includes bone-density screenings, sign-ups for mammograms, lectures, high tea and a fashion show. With all this activity, there are no more excuses. The festivities kick off with a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today and continue through October 23. Katy Mills Mall, 5000 Katy Mills Circle. For information and a schedule of events, visit www.catalystmoon.com. Donations requested.

Friday, October 21
The Haunting of Hill House, based on Shirley Jackson's terrifying novel of the same name, offers chilling yet subtle psychological terror, neatly packaged as a stage production. The play follows a group of guests -- guinea pigs, really -- visiting a haunted Victorian mansion; they were invited by a man fascinated with the paranormal who hopes that his guests will attract the supernatural. We won't blame you if you want to sleep with the covers over your head tonight. The Haunting begins at 8 p.m. today and continues weekends through November 12. Ace Theatre, 17011 Bamwood. For information and tickets, call 281-587-1020 or visit www.acetheatre.org. $10 to $12.

Saturday, October 22
This show is literally hell on wheels. The recently founded Houston Roller Derby, which consists of four teams of athletic femmes fatales duking it out on skates, offers a preview of their regular season with the Derby de las Muertas exhibition game. Watch these rollergirls jam, pivot, block, and rock and roll to live music by Zipperneck and Tar Baby. Oh, Houston. We have arrived. On skates! 6 p.m. Pasadena Convention Center, 7902 Fairmont Parkway. For information, call 713-528-1492 or visit www.houstonrollerderby.com. $10 in advance; $12 at the door.

Satisfy your yen for yin (and yang) at the opening of artist Suzan Kraus's "Eastern Thought; Western Technique," which encompasses the spirit of nature and Eastern meditations in traditional brush paintings. Kraus calls her interpretations of nature "philosophy in action." Opening reception: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Exhibit runs through November 20. Tansu, 321-B West 19th Street. For information, call 713-880-5100 or visit www.tansustyle.com. Free.

Sunday, October 23
Charitable giving was never so colorful or so fabulous. Desperate Montrose Housewives, this year's song-and-dance extravaganza from local group Halloween Magic, portrays the dizzying life of Fairview's most celebrated hostess, Bree Van de Kamp. Ultra-campy? You bet. The folks at Halloween Magic have been stirring the pot of pop culture for 17 years now, taking famous shows, rewriting their scenes and lyrics, and sprinkling in a bit of disco to create a definitively Houstonian theatrical experience. Proceeds benefit Houston AIDS charities. A reception and silent auction start one hour before curtain for both performances. 8:30 p.m. Saturday, October 22, and 2:30 p.m. today. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For tickets or information, call 713-315-2525 or visit www.halloweenmagic.org. $30 to $250.

When he made his debut into backyards and living rooms everywhere in 1964, he wasn't just crawling. No, G.I. Joe wasn't only crawling but packing heat and 21 moving parts. More than just a doll, this "real American hero" is the beloved icon of Americana who instructed a generation that "knowing is half the battle." He spawned a multibillion-dollar segment of the toy industry, so it was only a matter of time before collectors and fans from around the state put together "The Great Texas G.I. Joe Show" to pay homage to the first ever action figure. The show will regale fans with contests, displays and dioramas, a radio-controlled Tank Rodeo and Combat Course and a G.I. Joe Trading Card Game. All together now: "And now you know, kids." 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hilton NASA Clear Lake, 3000 NASA Parkway. For information, call 713-750-0003 or visit www.texasgijoeshow.com. $10; free for kids 12 and under.

Monday, October 24
The mere mention of the Holocaust elicits no small amount of mourning from survivors and nonsurvivors alike, but in "Lives Remembered: Photographs of a Small Town in Poland 1897-1939," Houston photographer Mike Marvins turns an eye toward a more joyful time. The exhibit celebrates the people of the little town of Szczuczyn, with photos taken before the horrors of the Holocaust dispersed their families. The photographs, taken by Marvins's grandfather Zalman Kaplan, who ran a studio in the Polish hamlet, center on families and daily life. "Lives Remembered" opens at 9 a.m. Friday, October 21, and continues through January 2. Holocaust Museum Houston, 5401 Caroline. For information, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org. Free.

Tuesday, October 25
Holy haddock! Just when you were too tired to go home and fix dinner, it's time for the 34th annual Great Taste of the Gulf, where regional restaurateurs, wineries, hoteliers and dedicated suppliers compete for the coveted Silver Spoon award. But of course, with more than 65 booths serving up a sumptuous selection of Gulf Coast recipes and tasty beverages, the real winner is your stomach. Drooling is a bit gauche, but understandable. Oh, yeah, and there's a silent auction. (Who cares? Mmm, ice cream.) 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Moody Gardens Convention Center, 1 Hope Boulevard. For information or advance tickets, call 877-939-8680 or visit www.galveston.com/epicureanevening. $20 in advance; $30 at the door.

Wednesday, October 26
In honor of Day of the Dead, film producer Patricia Lacy Collins is hosting a viewing of and talk about her film Following the Spirit. The documentary explores how Day of the Dead and other religious holidays survived in Mexico against a backdrop of religious oppression on the part of the government, a fact little known outside the country. The third in Collins's Darkness Into Light series, Following the Spiritdelves into the separation of church and state in Mexico and brings the spiritual journey to the current moment. 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 25. The film continues daily through Thursday, October 27. Houston Institute for Culture, 5555 Morningside, suite 204. For information, call 713-521-3686 or visit www.houstonculture.org. Free.

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