The Best Kind of Loving: The Blackwoman's Guide to Finding Intimacy Gwendolyn Goldsby Grant really wants black women to get married, but she's titled her book "finding intimacy" because she's not the type to force anyone into anything. Her golden rule for relationships is "friendship first, love second and honest always," but her book is not a collection of self-help checklists and homilies. Grant has had a long career as a psychologist, lecturer and advice columnist ("Between Us," Essence magazine), and now she brings her training, experience and the common sense she was raised with to a gentle and helpful text. The Best Kind of Loving was written, Grant's publishers say, because even though there are hundreds of relationship books on the market, virtually none have explored the specific circumstances of relationships between African-American men and women. Male-female communication, Grant says, is tricky enough, but African-Americans "carry the added burdens of myths and stereotypes." The handy paperback (handy for men or women) is $13. Grant will be signing copies, 6-8 p.m. Nia Gallery and Bookshop, 7725 West Bellfort, 729-8400.
S, M, L, XL We ordinary squids might have thought that small, medium, large and extra large were only skivvies sizes, but Rem Koolhaas has other ideas, ideas as grand and weird as only an architect's ideas can be. S, M, L, XL is a survey of work arranged by scale (hence the title) produced by Koolhaas' Dutch firm, Office for Metropolitan Architecture. Included are sketches, diary excerpts, fables and fairy tales relating to the work, the task of architects and Koolhaas' own unique world-view. Koolhaas' resume lists a previous book, Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Japan, and important buildings in France, Holland and Japan. Koolhaas is visiting seven cities on his American book tour, Houston among them. Tonight, he lectures at 5 p.m., the Brown Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet; and signs his new book at 7 p.m., Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet, 523-0701. Both events are free and open to the public. The book, all six pounds, 1,376 well-bound pages and 1,500 illustrations of it, is a mere $75.
The Maids Underground art seems to have influenced a university. Not too long after a guerrilla production of Jean Genet's The Maids, the University of Houston School of Theatre announces a production of the play. Director Kimber Cox has cast men in the women's roles, as Genet instructed. Sounds like good, subversive fun. 8 p.m. tonight, Saturday and Sunday; matinee 2 p.m. Sunday. UH, Wortham Theatre, 743-2929. Free.
Neil Sedaka It is not possible to listen to oldies radio for an afternoon without hearing a hit by Neil Sedaka -- in part because Sedaka's hits span decades. Tonight, the author of 1,000 songs appears with the Houston Symphony-Exxon Pops. Along with favorites such as "Calendar Girl" and "Laughter in the Rain," the pianist and composer will perform "Classically Sedaka," a concert of songs with classical melodies, the works of Chopin and Tchaikovsky, for instance, and lyrics by Neil Sedaka. 8 p.m. Tonight and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-ARTS. $15-$60.
Lasers and Holograms: Discovering the Splendid Light Lasers are employed in everything from grocery shopping to neurosurgery, so isn't it about time you took the kids out to learn how these beams of light work? How they overcame their death-ray reputation to become part of everyday life? Lasers and Holograms is an interactive exhibit that shows how lasers work, has some groovy sci-fi special effects and gives everyone a chance to design a laser-light show. This super science show opens today and will continue through June 2. Winter hours: weekdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; weekends, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Space Center Houston, 1601 NASA Road 1 (20 miles south of downtown, on I-45 at the Johnson Space Center), Clear Lake, 244-2100. $11.95; $10.75, seniors; $8.50, children four to 12 years old; free, children under four.
Face to Face What a coup for community theater -- Main Street Theater has outgrown its Times Boulevard building and opened a second space in Chelsea Market. Children's theater, which is often a major moneymaker for local theaters, will be offered for the inaugural production. The brand-spanking-new space, with 250 seats, will be used mostly for children and youth theater programs -- leaving the Times Boulevard building for the quality theater that Main Street fans expect. Face to Face is the first show at Chelsea Market, and it's a fast-paced comedy with a lesson about the folly of judging books by their covers. Opening today, 2 p.m. Through February 24. Main Street Theater at Chelsea Market, 4617 Montrose, 524-6706. $5.
Mardi Gras! Galveston According to the Krew of Spree du Corp., organizers of the Pinstripe Pasquinade, big shots are planning a hostile takeover of Galveston. Island natives will be rooked out of their homes by paraders, who will exchange $24 worth of gaudy beads for the place. The Pinstripe Pasquinade parade, to be held at 2 p.m., is only one event in 12 big days of pre-Lent festivities. Dr. John, the Neville Brothers, Pete Fountain and other major league carnival entertainers will perform, Cajun and Creole cuisine will be served and many revelers will need designated drivers. One of the big parties today is the Mystic Krewe of Aquarius Coronation Ball and Royal Pageant, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., at Moody Gardens. The attire is after-five, and tickets are $40 (drinks not included). Another party is the Seventh Annual King Gambrinas Coronation Ball, a black-tie and costume celebration, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., Tremont House Hotel, $200 per couple. But the biggest party, or "Z biggest party," as they say, is the Z Ball, the coronation of King and Queen Zany II. 7 p.m.-1 a.m. At the South Shore Harbor Hotel. Not one but two elaborate buffets and open bar for $75 per person. This weekend and next, and some weekdays, also feature events for families and kids. For more information on the joy, the laughter and the loving that is Mardi Gras! Galveston, call (800) 351-4237.
Spot Your Valentine at the Zoo The spots are on cheetahs, giraffes, a jaguar and a snow leopard, and you can adopt these animals as a valentine, or maybe meet a valentine at the Houston Press romance event. All of the 2,500 animals at the zoo are adoptable, so if, for instance, you'd like to write a check to help the slow loris, that would be okay. However, adopting animals included in the zoo's Adopt-an-Animal Packages ($30 or more) entitles adopters to a Zoovenir kit and photo of the animal. Spotted animals are being pushed at this party, as are animal couples -- Hernando and Angeline, the Mexican wolves, and Romeo and Juliet, the Egyptian fruit bats. The wolf couple is $50 (stuffed toy wolf included in Zoovenir kit), and the bats are half that. Parents can spend money and look for dates, while kids can enjoy cheetah safaris, mask making, music and refreshments. 3:30-5 p.m. The main party will be at the Brown Education Center, the Houston Press romance event will be held near the cage of the cheetah bachelor brothers. Hermann Park, 1513 North MacGregor, 529-2632. $2.50; $2, seniors; 50 cents, children three-12; free, children under three. For this party, one child free with each paying adult.
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Tracks in the Wilderness of Dreaming The Greeks believed that Sleep was a brother to Death, that both lived in the underworld, and that dreams rose up through two portals. True dreams came through the humble gate of horn, while false dreams wafted through an ivory gate. Centuries later, despite much work by Freud, Jung and Shirley MacLaine, we know no more about dreams. Robert Bosnak, author of A Little Course in Dreams, makes another effort to roll back the tide of ignorance in his text, Tracks in the Wilderness of Dreaming. I am not sure on what Bosnak is basing his exploration of the "interior landscape through practical dreamwork," but he's read Jung and studied dreamwork with a spirit-doctor in the Australian outback. He has a five-step checklist for working on individual dreams, and a lighthearted attitude toward the business of writing. The end of chapter three, "While Dreaming and Upon Waking," is a comment on the tools of his trade: "My laptop quacks wistfully, starving for juice." Jung or no, Bosnak is a big believer in the poetic eye. Bosnak's presentation, 3-5 p.m.; book signing and reception, 5-5:30 p.m. C.J. Jung Educational Center, 5200 Montrose, 524-8253. $5.
Lincoln's birthday Today is Lincoln's birthday, and Charles Darwin's, too. Both men grew beards, did significant, even remarkable things, and both were revered and despised for their contributions. Doing remarkable things doesn't always work out well -- people are as likely to hate you as love you for grand and noble work. Today's birthday boys tried not to spend too much time mucking about with their detractors; they kept at their work. Usually it's the people who have a desperate, vested interest in the status quo who despise conscientious and original thinkers. Keep that in mind while you're out celebrating Lincoln's birthday, and Darwin's, too.
Boston Pops The original pops orchestra, the Boston Pops, comes to Houston for a benefit concert. The hard-working students of the University of Houston Moores School of Music will benefit, and so will concert audiences. Keith Lockhart will lead the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in "A Tribute to Frank Sinatra," a medley of swing tunes and selected compositions from Americans such as Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. A gala, with dance music from the Ned Battista Orchestra, follows the concert. 7:30 p.m. Concert, Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana; gala, Hyatt Regency downtown. For reservations or information, call 529-7800 or 497-7668. Concert, $25-$100; gala, $175.
Valentine's Day Yep, it's rolled around again to make millions for Hallmark and ruin the lives of thousands. Any way you slice it, Valentine's is a horrible day. If you're a living American past puberty, Valentine's Day is horrible because a) you're unhappy because you don't have a sweetie; b) you're unhappy not because you don't have a sweetie but because well-meaning family and friends think you're unhappy about not having a sweetie; c) you have a sweetie, but it's too soon to be celebrating Valentine's together; d) you have a sweetie, but it's too late, as far as you're concerned, to be celebrating Valentine's together; or e) you have more than one sweetie and will have to celebrate Valentine's by coming up with an excuse to be out of town. And what if you're married? For couples, this day is a minefield. If you celebrate lavishly, then your significant other might assume you're compensating for some guilty secret. On the other hand, if you celebrate with not enough hearts and flowers, then your SO might decide the thrill is gone. There's no way to win. We suggest sending cards and flowers to elderly relatives, teddy bears to kids in children's wards or maybe a check to an animal shelter.