Press Picks

february 27
The Rite of Spring and Elite Syncopations "Wow, he's in great shape" is the polite response when viewing the publicity photos of Houston Ballet principal dancer Carlos Acosta in The Rite of Spring, but an emphatic "Damn!" would be more in line with the score's explosive history. In 1913, choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky teamed up with composer Igor Stravinsky; the piece's radical music incited some in the audience to throw fruit at the stage, and the police were called in. Choreographer Glen Tetley offers a more modern take on the now-classic score, with a male dancer -- Acosta -- as the Chosen One. The second half of the program, Elite Syncopations, showcases choreographer Kenneth MacMillan's not-oft-seen lighter side. Through March 9. (See Thrills, Dance for additional showtimes.) 7:30 p.m. Wortham Center, Brown Theater, 500 Texas, 227-ARTS. $10-$80.

Alexandra Nechita Eleven-year-old Alexandra likes teddy bears, roller rinks and malls and finds inspiration in an old pair of flowered slippers; she also sells abstract paintings in the $140,000 range to people who ought to know what talent is worth. This sweet wunderkind, who's been dubbed "the petite Picasso," is now out to raise $1.5 million for Special Olympics through the sale of signed and numbered hand-pulled stone lithographs from her "Winning Together" series. Two works in the series make their Houston debut tonight. Opening reception with Special Olympians, 5-9 p.m. Perimeter Art Gallery, 2365-E Rice Boulevard, 521-5928. No charge to ogle the art.

Schoolhouse Rock Live! When all the slackers out there were but little kids, they didn't waste their time in front of the TV watching entertaining trash such as Melrose Place and Singled Out. No, they were productive: They wasted their time in front of the TV watching educational trash such as Schoolhouse Rock, which came mixed with the Saturday morning cartoons. Now that those Gen Xers are all grown up, the mini-lessons are calling once more -- this time from the stage. An ensemble cast that includes Anne Quackenbush and Stacey Quebodeaux will recreate "I'm Just a Bill," "Conjunction Junction" and 19 more. Through March 23. (See Thrills, Theater for additional showtimes.) 7:30 p.m. Main Street Theater, Chelsea Market location, 4617 Montrose Boulevard, 524-6706. $10; $7, seniors and students.

february 28
The Glenn Miller Orchestra Glenn Miller won't be there; he hasn't wrapped his lips around a trombone in 52 years -- not that we know of, anyway. He left England in a single-engine plane headed for France in 1944, and was never heard from again. But this 19-member dance band continues in the band leader's tradition. Trombonist/bandleader Larry O'Brien previously played for the orchestra under the direction of Ray McKinley, who actually played for Miller. O'Brien's a self-described purist, and is inclined to present "In the Mood" and other classics in a way sure to have Miller resting comfortably in his grave, or wherever he is. 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday; 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-ARTS. $21-$56.

Women's Month The monthlong celebration of women is really a March happening, but when you're taking on a topic as large as "Mothers to Daughters," starting a day early seems prudent. UH-Downtown has invited Pinkie Gordon Lane, the first black poet laureate of Louisiana, to start the series with a reading on familycentric themes, followed by a chamber music faculty recital featuring Yvonne Kendall. Step next door before or after the program to view the mixed-media exhibition "Questions" by Ann Trask; her works are supposed to make you wonder about missing people, and she bluntly says she offers no answers. Opening, 6-9 p.m.; program, 7 p.m. University of Houston-Downtown, Student Lounge, rooms 323 and 324 South, 1 Main Street, 221-8000. Free.

The Greeks The Greeks goes back to theater's roots -- way, way back, to the stories that practically all great theater (and a lot of bad theater as well) emerged from, the stories of Euripides, Sophocles, Aeschylus and Homer. (Euripides has been credited with saying "there is no evil as terrible as a woman," so you can probably count Married with Children among his scions.) The Greeks has been put together by Alley artistic director Gregory Boyd to encapsulate the world of Greek tragedy, history and myth in ten plays. It's quite a project, and will be presented as a two-part epic, with previews of part one, The War and the Murders, beginning tonight. Boyd insists this is not for intellectuals; anyone who can enjoy Star Wars, he's said, can enjoy The Greeks. Does that mean in 20 years we can expect The Greeks Special Edition? Through May 4. (See Thrills, Theatre for additional showtimes.) 7:30 p.m. The Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue, 228-8421. Preview prices, $17-$29.

march 1
His Name Is Ron The story with no apparent end makes its way to Houston this afternoon as the Goldman family -- Fred, Kim and Patty -- stop at Super Crown to promote their book, His Name Is Ron. Let's hope that afterward, we can all move on. 1-3 p.m. Tanglewood Super Crown, 6570 Woodway Drive, 465-7278. Free; list price for the book is $24.95.

Stories and Artifacts from the Evil Empire Houston artist Kelly Klaasmeyer speaks really bad Russian, but she moved to the former Soviet Union anyway. She found that Russians have pop-tops, too, they just put vodka in the cans; that truckers there print "King of Road" on their rigs, just as ours do; and that, yep, they've already got infomercials. In this multimedia installation, she shares cultural observations and funny tales from the road. Opening reception, 6-9 p.m. Purse Building Studios, 1701 Commerce, 228-0635, or visit No charge to ogle the art.

Azalea Trail On this 62nd go-round, the River Oaks Garden Club offers stops at seven fancy-schmancy homes in River Oaks and Tanglewood, plus tours of Bayou Bend and the American decorative arts collection at the Museum of Fine Arts. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. today, Sunday and March 8-9. For more information, call the River Oaks Garden Club at 523-2483. $15; free, children 12 and under.

Opening weekend at George Ranch Historical Park The historical park is but one feature of the 23,000 acre George Ranch, a working ranch where cowboy traditions continue as they have for generations. Take the story of Josh, a high-school-aged hire. He's so big, notes an older cowboy, that when his saddle came loose and he fell off his horse, he made "a pretty good size indentation in the ground." They also say he's as good with kids as he is with horses ... er, even better. He and his buddies will offer cattle-working demonstrations all weekend. Stop by to see the six new baby pigs, too. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. today and Sunday. George Ranch Historical Park, 10215 FM 762, Richmond, (281) 545-9212. $6; $3, children.

All That Glitters It really is gold. Five gold scholars will share their secrets -- not how to get more gold, nor even how to accessorize with what you've got. Instead, expect a full day of lessons on appreciating gold as art. 1 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7300. Free.

Happy Birthday Peace Corps The Peace Corps is turning 36, and it's looking for fresh meat. Local volunteers will recruit potential overseas do-gooders today at Bookstop. Noon-3 p.m. Bookstop, 2922 South Shepherd, 529-2345.

Time Travels: The Next Generation You might think a gala fundraiser hosted by accountants and lawyers would be dull. But remember, the Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts are the folk who can afford the trappings of success: Expect food from many of Houston's more interesting restaurants, Marcia Ball on piano and an auction featuring BMW's James Bond-esque Roadster 2.8. Black tie or Star Trek attire. 8 p.m. Momentum BMW, 10002 Southwest Freeway, 526-4876. $50, under 35 (the next generation, get it?); $100, over 35.

Bob Marley Festival A celebration of Marley's gentle spirit with -- what else? -- a whole lotta music, mon. Wazobia, Arawak Jah, Ras Bonghi and Liberation are some of the bigger acts taking the stage, but more than 20 bands will play. Reggae rules, but all sorts of music will be embraced ... just as all sorts of people will be embraced. Peace, unity and jerk chicken merge under the theme "Is This Love?" Noon10 p.m. today and Sunday. Buffalo Bayou Park, just west of downtown. For more info, visit Admission is free, but organizers ask that, in the spirit of Bob Marley, you contribute $3-$5 or its equivalent in non-perishable food.

march 2
We Are Patriots with Dark Faces Like Kelly Klaasmeyer and her pop-top cans of vodka, Jose Torres Tama has something to say about techno-pop culture. He calls his performance piece a "poetic bilingual Big Mac attack comedy-drama," and he's got a beef, all right -- it's about TV and the havoc advertising wreaks on our collective psyche. 4 p.m. Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts (MECA), 1900 Kane, 802-9370. Free.

march 3
Patrick Ball Ball, one of the world's top Celtic harpists and storytellers, spends his time traveling, raking in awards, making recordings and -- lucky us -- performing. 8 p.m. Ovations, 2536-B Times Boulevard, (281) 580-HARP. $10, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Homeless Pet Placement League.

march 4
Dick Cheney The former secretary of defense is a natural choice to discuss national security issues in a changing international environment. That's what brings him to Houston, where he'll address a luncheon of the Institute of International Education, the nonprofit organization that administers the Fulbright Scholarships. 11:30 a.m. Westin Oaks Hotel, 5011 Westheimer, 621-6300, extension 25. $45-$150.

Master Class Celebrated soprano Maria Callas abandoned her muse in mid-career for an ill-fated love, then faded away. Late in life, after her voice was wrecked, she took to teaching aspiring opera singers -- and allowing them to experience, firsthand, the fever-pitch emotion that only a diva can inspire. Such is the story of Master Class. Faye Dunaway, extraordinary in her own ways, stars as Callas. Through March 9. (See Thrills, Theater for additional showtimes.) 8 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 629-3700. $40.50-$46.50.

march 5
Randall Onstead honored The local chapter of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs is giving its annual Leadership Award to Randall Onstead, the man behind the grocery store. Steve Forbes, the man behind the magazine, will offer the keynote address. 6 p.m. Westin Galleria Hotel, 5060 West Alabama, 722-7444. $300.

Shelby Foote This Yber history buff has a voice that puts a beating heart back into the past, as he proved in his contributions to Ken Burns's series on the Civil War. Also a novelist, short-story writer and playwright, he'll speak as part of the University of St. Thomas's 50th Anniversary celebration. 7:30 p.m. University of St. Thomas, Jarabeck Center, 4000 Mt. Vernon, 525-3117. Free.


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