Jack Daniel's at the rodeo Today at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Jimmy Bedford, master distiller, will be in the Jack Daniel booth to talk about his life's work. Bedford is one of the six master distillers in the 129-year history of the Jack Daniel Distillery. He'll talk about Tennessee whiskey, explain his job and how he got it and autograph bottles of Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey. Bedford will be in the booth at various times throughout the day through March 2. Tickets for just the Livestock Show can be purchased at the Dome and are $5; $2, children. Tickets for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo are available through Ticketmaster, 629-3700. A note from Miss Manners: it's considered bad form to open the bottle and chug it immediately following the autographing.
Video Postcards from the Edge: Views of Life and Art from East End/Third Ward Teens Under the tutelage of Houston artist Karen Sanders, students from Jackson Middle School and Yates and Austin high schools have spent six weeks creating video postcards. For two weeks, they had to suffer through classroom learning about video and video production. Then they were set loose to videotape their neighborhoods, and after a month of shooting and editing, the results are ready to be seen. The videos, from a joint project by UHReach and the Southwest Alternative Media Project, will have their premiere at 7 p.m. tonight at Dudley Hall and then go on to be part of the "1996 Houston Area Exhibition" in the Blaffer Gallery. University of Houston (entrance no. 16 off Cullen), 743-9530.
Fire Eyes The title of Somali filmmaker Soraya Mire's documentary is a reference to the repressed rage in the eyes of African women who are victims of genital mutilation. The phrase "female genital mutilation" is a blanket term that covers clitoridectomies and other practices that, according to the World Health Organization, are a leading cause of health problems among Third World women. These practices are not history; they're still common in much of Africa and parts of the Middle East and India. Mire introduces her film, which presents interviews with both those who have been mutilated and those who still defend the practice, at the opening of Women's Month at UH-Downtown. In the days and weeks to come, Women's Month programs will address such topics as birth, breast cancer, eating disorders, feminist sex therapy and women in prison. Mire presents her documentary and gives a lecture at 7 p.m. University of Houston-Downtown, 1 Main Street, student lounge, 221-8093. Free.
Anne-Sophie Mutter Sultry babes seem to be taking over classical music. Although her pipes aren't fully developed, singer Cecilia Bartoli is earning raves coast to coast, and Da Camera's Sarah Rothenberg is no slouch in the looks or the music department either. And then there's Anne-Sophie Mutter. Mutter has been famous since 1977, when she soloed with the Berlin Philharmonic. She was sort of glamorous even then (or at least as glamorous as a 13-year-old can be). Since, Mutter has grown up in more ways than one. The German violinist has earned a slew of international awards, and now, after nearly 20 years of touring North America, Mutter finally brings what the San Francisco Chronicle called her "remarkable mixture of tenderness, subtlety and dramatic assurance" to Houston. Mutter will play a program of Bartók, Debussy and Mozart sonatas, along with Brahms' Sonatensatz scherzo, 8 p.m.; KUHF's Betty Morgan and Rick Walter give a concert talk, 7:30 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-ARTS. $10-$42.
From the 1690s to the 1990s -- Old instruments, new voices The Houston Harpsichord Society insists that harpsichords are a viable part of the music scene. To prove that point, the society presents a concert of baroque and modern music. The featured modern music is "The Peace of Wild Things," by Houston composer David Ashley White. The text of "Wild Things" is from a poem by Wendell Berry and will be sung by renowned mezzo-soprano Katherine Ciesinski. White will discuss his work before the concert. 8 p.m. Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas, 497-7382. $15; $12, seniors and students.
Plantationland Putting Gulf Coast swampland to good use, Houston-based performance artist Kelli Scott Kelley has created a video fairy tale with a marsh and a Spanish moss backdrop. The gothic setting is the burned shell of an antebellum mansion in Breaux Bridge, and the story is a tale of spirits and mysterious rituals. Kelley's 45-minute video was shot without dialogue, but the narrative is enhanced by Sara Irwin's choreography and William D. Kelley Jr.'s soundtrack. The filmmaker will be present at the showing. 8 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, Brown Auditorium, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7515. $5; $4, seniors and students.
Suicide in B-Flat This is not like Sam Shepard's popular plays. For one thing, Suicide is without ill-fated lovers. Also, it's funny. Infernal Bridegroom Productions, a group that has previously done well with the blackest of comedy, is presenting Suicide in B-Flat this weekend. At some point, most of the characters throw their hands up and shriek, "I gotta get out of here; I can't take it E," but the silliness, it's hoped, includes some critical commentary. 8 p.m., today and Saturday. Commerce Street Arts Warehouse, 2315 Commerce, 523-4531. $5.99.
STOMP This free-wheeling percussion dance ensemble goes through 20 brooms, seven mop heads, ten garbage can lids and five Sunday New York Times each week -- and during the tour the troupe has suffered five smashed knuckles, three damaged kneecaps and one poor STOMPer had a hand punctured by a match stick. However, the destruction and carnage, appealing as those aspects may be, are not the appeal of the show. STOMP, whose troupe has been seen recently cracking ice rhythmically for Coca-Cola, is an ingenious, energetic, intense study of sound and play. Everyone, at every age, occasionally taps, rattles or bangs on things, and STOMP creators Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas have taken that impulse and developed an evening of brilliantly orchestrated entertainment. Most of the shows are sold out; in fact, most sold out right away. However, the Society for the Performing Arts set up a midnight show with KRBE/104 FM. Tickets to that show are still available -- and 104 cards get you a 20 percent discount. Midnight. Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center, 500 Texas, 227ARTS. $22-$32.
Jackson Pollock: Defining the Heroic Pollock is best known for his dripped and splattered canvases, and serious art people hate that. Pollock, serious art people like to point out, was more than "Jack the Dripper"; he was a key figure in the abstract expressionist movement and, according to serious art person Barry Walker, "the greatest American painter of the 20th century." This revealing Pollock show opens today. Through June 30. Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 526-1361. $3; $1.50, students, children six-18 and seniors; free, children under five and everyone on Thursdays.
Our Kids camp fair Representatives from more than 20 sleep-away camps and a number of day camps will be at this fair, explaining how (and for how much) you can get the kids out from underfoot this summer. The summer activity planning extravaganza is brought to you by Our Kids magazine. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, 4501 Woodway, 681-8433. Free.
Delta Burke Design Why slim down for summer when you can slip into Delta Burke's new line of plus-size clothes? Delta, looking slimmer than she did on her last Designing Women season, will introduce her collection at two fashion shows at two JC Penney stores today. Noon, Almeda Mall; 3:30 p.m., Northwest Mall.
DiverseWorks 1996 Gala Missed the Hair Ball? Not to worry, there's another fundraising gala with a performance art theme that you can hit. While dressing for the Hair Ball requires theater, or at least making a statement with one's hairstyle, the DiverseWorks gala has hired someone to make a spectacle of herself. Performance artist Pat Oleszko promises to present a unique show for the gala. The self-described "extremely punny" New York artist plans to let loose 20-foot-tall inflatable sculptures and otherwise alter the interior of Innova. Dress is anything but black. 7, bubbly and hors d'oeuvres, silent auction; 8, seated dinner; 9, performance and dessert; 10, party animals (those in the cheap seats) let in, music from Grady Gaines; 11 p.m., silent auction ends. Innova, 20 Greenway Plaza, 223-8346. $150-$1,000; $25, party animal tickets for admission at 10 p.m.
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Holocaust Museum A number of educational and memorial events are planned for spring, but the most important is the ribbon cutting and dedication this afternoon. The stated purpose of the museum is "to be a living testimonial to those who died, a place to honor those who survived and a source from which the vital education of our own and future generations can begin." Dedication ceremonies, 2 p.m. The Holocaust Museum, 5401 Caroline, 942-8000. Free.
A Month of Texas Writers One hears a lot about what we can do with the World Wide Web, but did you know it's possible to write a book on it in 30 days? Maybe not a good book, but a book nonetheless. Texas Monthly has shanghaied 30 notable Texas (or Texas-based) writers, each of whom is scheduled to produce one chapter of the total work per day. On March 1, Houston boy Max Apple launched the project with the line, "There were two women in his life, one in San Antonio, the other in Heaven. At the rodeo Walker saw them both." Mystery writers Mary Willis Walker and Kinky Friedman twisted the plot March 2 and 3. Novelist Rosellen Brown, due to post March 6, will probably send the characters to New England. Will essayist Marion Winik, whose chapter goes on-line March 9, introduce drugs and self-absorbed decadence? And what can we expect from science fiction writer Bruce Sterling, contributing March 11, and Molly Ivins, March 23, and will the product of this monthlong, on-line parlor game make any sense at all? Make up your own mind by checking out today's chapter from Glen Rose's John Graves. Point your browser to http://www.texasmonthly.com.
Stars and Spikes Road to Atlanta Volleyball Tour The U.S.A. women's national volleyball team is en route to the Olympics and stopping here for a match against Cuba. The current U.S.A. team is coached by Terry Liskevych, who entered his 12th season with a 314-261 record, and our team has had a bang-up season so far. But the Cuban team is highly ranked, too. Should be an exciting match. 7 p.m. The Summit, 5 Greenway Plaza, 961-9003. $8 and $12.
Gary Paulsen With an aw-shucks grin and a mountain man's beard, children's author Gary Paulsen looks exactly like the grizzled grandpa figure his young readers expect. His books -- Hatchet, The River and Dogsong and his latest, Brian's Winter -- are action-adventure stories about kids stranded and surviving in the wilderness. Like all good writers in the genre, Paulsen keeps increasing the odds against his heroes, and Brian's Winter pits his 13-year-old protagonist against Old Man Winter in the wilds of Canada. 6-7:30 p.m. Barnes and Noble, 7626 Westheimer (at Voss), 783-6016.