Thursday, November 3
If you're one of those ultra-prepared (ultra-anal) folks who like to have their Christmas shopping done by early November, you'll find nirvana at the Friends of Fondren Library's 2005 Book Sale. For the bookish on your Christmas list, you'll find no shortage of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, mysteries, cookbooks, children's books, gardening books, foreign language books, and architecture and art books. The best part: 50-cent paperbacks, $2 hardbacks and $1 CDs. We suggest you take a cue from us and just shop for yourself. Check out the offerings before the masses at the presale and reception 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. today (your $10 admission -- for today only -- scores you wine and other refreshments). Sale runs 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, November 4; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, November 5. Grand Hall at Rice Memorial Center, Rice University, entrance No. 20 off Rice Boulevard. For information, call 713-348-5157. Free.
Friday, November 4
Though his career has spanned more than 50 years, Tony Bennett, the crooner that Frank Sinatra called "the best singer in the business," has never been far from the hearts of fans in a generation weaned on rock. (Baby boomers, Gen-Xers and twentysomethings so loved the man, they catapulted Bennett to a Grammy win for his MTV Unplugged album.) The man who "left [his] heart in San Francisco" will be stealing the hearts of Houstonians of all ages when he kicks off the Houston Symphony's American Expressions series at 8 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For tickets, call 713-224-7575 or visit www.houstonsymphony.org. $36 and up.
If you like your Fridays a bit hotter, Doña Rosita dishes up spicy stories about her customers and family in the comic tale Doña Rosita's Día de los Muertos, which takes place in Rosita's kitchen on the eve of Día de los Muertos. Acclaimed Chicana actress Ruby Nelda Perez reprises the role she originated in Doña Rosita's Jalapeño Kitchen. 8 p.m. today and tomorrow. Talento Bilingüe de Houston, 333 South Jensen. For tickets or information, call 713-222-1213 or visit www.tbhcenter.org. $10 to $12.
Saturday, November 5
Houstonians Darrel Creacy and Carlito Vicencio feel your pain. What to do if you don't have the coin for a pretty Mac or a Dell? Build it, bro. You can single-handedly build the PC of your dreams thanks to Creacy and Vicencio, authors of Dude, You Can Do It! How to Build a Sweeet PC. The dudes provide step-by-step instructions, making it possible for even the most technologically impaired to customize a box. Finally, you can check e-mail (surf for porn) at home. The authors will lead a computer-building competition with audience members and sign and discuss their book today. 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Fry's Electronics, 10241 North I-45. For information, visit www.dudecomputers.com. Free.
As you've probably heard, it's election week. And the art collective known as the Young Republic has gathered an impressive collection of works commenting on American society for its new exhibit "Election Death Jam 2005" at Dean's Credit Clothing. Offerings include New York artist Peter Caine's animatronic snow yeti robot sculptures. Sounds neat, but it gets darker: Fellow New Yorker Jocelyn Shipley presents window displays of mutilated body parts as consumer goods, while local group ByKini Collaborative spoofs America's drug culture with a series of parody ads featuring "i (heart) druggles." Austinite Hope Perkins paints dead rappers onto thrift-store landscape paintings. And Tom DeLay looks quite dapper in Jenny Schlief's Propaganda. Now there's an upbeat view of the good ol' U.S. of A. We're sure you'll want to get out there and vote, fellow 'merican, after this show. Exhibit runs through November 12. 316 Main. For information, call 713-869-5151. Free.
Sunday, November 6
The nip in the air won't be the only thing sending chills down your spine when Theatre Southwest presents Night Must Fall. The play tells the story of the charming young servant Danny who, under suspicion for the brutal murder of his previous employer, charms his way into the heart of the elderly Mrs. Bransom. Her live-in niece, Olivia, discovers Danny's murdering ways and must alert her aunt before Danny's misdeeds run amok once more. See the matinee today at 3 p.m. or at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through November 19. 8944-A Clarkcrest. For tickets, call 713-661-9505 or visit www.theatresouthwest.org. $12 to $14.
Monday, November 7
What Austin Powers is to the swingin' '60s, Michael Clark is to the post-punk subculture of the '80s. Or at least that's what he is to filmmaker Charles Atlas in his Hail the New Puritan, a fictive "docufantasy" that posits the celebrated London dancer Clark as a physical manifestation of Atlas's nostalgia for the decadence of the fashion, club and music scenes of yesteryear London. Atlas's film screens today at 9 p.m. and continues Mondays through November 30. Dean's Credit Clothing, 316 Main. For information, call 713-868-2101 or visit www.aurorapictureshow.org. $5.
Tuesday, November 8
After casting your own ballot this Election Day, bring the young'uns out for their own civic activities. The Children's Museum of Houston invites your budding politicos to Election Day Fun, where they can create their own candidate election buttons. They can even run mock campaigns, letting fellow would-be voters know who they are and where they stand on important issues like the environment and finger-painting. Kids can simulate running for mayor, Congress and even president. Junior in 2038! 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. 1500 Binz. For information, call 713-522-1138 or visit www.cmhouston.org. $5.
Wednesday, November 9
We all know how anticlimactic it can be to toss your crumpled Halloween costume in the closet. But hey, if you had the foresight to go as Zorro, or as a Catherine Zeta-Jones in The Legend of Zorro (yum!) this year, then get your cape pressed, dig up your mask and head to the "Masquerade Ball," which is being thrown by the well-intentioned folks at the AIDS Foundation Houston, Inc. The masquerade party features dinner, dancing, plenty of free cocktails and door prizes including passes to the new Legend of Zorro flick. The fiesta starts at 7 p.m. InterContinental Hotel, 2222 West Loop South. For tickets and information, call 713-623-6796. Tickets start at $75; proceeds benefit AFH programs.