Night & Day

October 1, 1998
W.S. Merwin wrote, "I want to tell what the forests were like / I will have to speak in a forgotten language." The Orion Society, a nonprofit environmental organization, has taken up the challenge with their Forgotten Language Tour. By dispatching nature writers and poets on a national tour, the group hopes to increase nature literacy and make us think about our relationship with the world around us -- the "web of life," and all that stuff. Tonight, SueEllen Campbell, Gary Nabhan and Janisse Ray read at the Grand Hall, Rice Memorial Center, at 7:30 p.m. Tomorrow, Alison Deming, Richard Nelson and Robert Pyle read following a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Houston Environmental Center, 3015 Richmond, at 6 p.m. For more information, call Walter Isle at 737-5606.

October 2, 1998
One line of thinking holds Pauly Shore single-handedly responsible for the dumbing down of America. How else can you explain the success of Encino Man and In the Army Now? But if the phrases "fresh nugs" and "Aaoouu, Bu-dd-dy" bring back fond teen memories of chilling in front of MTV, then you have something to do tonight. Be warned, though, that you're more likely to hear timely, topical jokes (read: Bill and Hillary and Monica) than Weasel shtick; Shore has apparently retired the tweaked-out California boy. Showtimes are tonight and tomorrow at 8 and 10:30 p.m. at the Laff Spot Willowbrook, 17776 Tomball Parkway, Suite 5A, (281) 955-9200. Tickets are $22.50.

October 3
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and pink ribbons are pinned to lapels far and wide. But able-bodied women across the nation are doing more than just accessorizing: They're lacing up their shoes and running a 5K to help raise funds for breast-cancer research, education, screening and treatment. The Houston Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's Eighth Annual Race for the Cure is today.... Have you been eating your Power Bars, ladies? The 5K Run/Walk begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Galleria, with a One Mile Family Walk at 7:40 a.m. Entry forms are available at Kroger stores, JC Penney, Pier 1 Imports, Columbia-affiliated hospitals and area Ford dealers. The entry fee is $20; $25 on race day (includes a T-shirt). For more information, call 850-9877.

If you haven't been to the Texas Renaissance Festival before, consider yourself seriously deprived. Where else can you see wenches, fairies, gypsies, overfed medieval lords and falconry exhibits? Well, nowhere else in Texas, anyway. Add to that loads and loads of crafts to browse and food from every culture imaginable, and you've got a full day or two of entertainment in the bag. Oh, and did I mention the burly, long-locked men wearing leather pants, strolling the grounds and willing to pose for pictures? How could I forget? Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. till dusk, October 3 through November 15 in Plantersville. Advance tickets are available at Randalls stores. For directions and other information, call (800) 458-3435 or visit their web site:

October 4
If you live in the Heights, you'll want to come out and celebrate your cute, neighborly community at the 21st Annual Heights Festival. If you don't live in the Heights, you can fake it: Just smile and nod at people as though you vaguely remember them from some meeting.... From noon to 6 p.m., the festival's entertainment includes singer/songwriters, choirs, arts and crafts, and food; and there's a noon performance by the Blue Monks, a five-piece swing band. Festivities take place on Heights Boulevard between 14th and 20th streets. Admission is free.

October 5
Abstract art has always pushed the boundaries of what purists call art. Not many people "get" the work of Mark Rothko and the like, and some would say that abstract art in itself has grown stale. The Contemporary Arts Museum's newest exhibit, "Abstract Painting, Once Removed," disputes this sentiment. It features work from the past five years from artists who seek to push the limits of abstraction even further. The exhibit's "paintings" include free-standing panels, floor arrangements, three-dimensional works and the ubiquitous computer-based projects. Regular hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (till 9 p.m. Thursday); Sunday noon to 5 p.m. 5216 Montrose, 284-8250.

October 6
Traditional West African culture holds that pangols, or spirits, control our behavior and fate. Le Ballet National du Senegal's program Pangols is made of traditional West African songs and dances; instruments include the kora, a 21-string harp made from a large gourd. Sponsored by the Society for the Performing Arts. 8 p.m., Jones Hall, Wortham Theater Center (Texas and Smith). Tickets $12$75; call 227-ARTS or (800) 828-ARTS for reservations.

October 7
Sherri Parker Lee, James Black and Elizabeth Heflin star in the Alley's latest production, Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive. It's the story of the forbidden relationship between a young woman named L'il Bit and her Uncle Peck, inspired by Nabokov's Lolita. Winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize, the 1997 New York Drama Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards for Best Play, How I Learned to Drive was described by the New York Times as "a heartbreaking play of damaged lives." Tonight is opening night; curtain is at 7:30 p.m. The Alley Theatre's Neuhaus Arena Stage, 615 Texas. Tickets $15$28. Call 228-8421 to buy tickets by phone.


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