Banned Books Week It's winding to a close -- have you read a banned book today? This week? Well, most people who read have read a banned book at some time or other. An astonishing number of books have been banned by some library or school. The Library of Congress, the American Library Association and the American Booksellers Association urge everyone to read a banned book. We would like to remind you, however, that having made some petty little banned list is no sign of a book's quality. Wanking dreck is as likely to be banned as anything else. Pulp romance paperbacks have been banned as "pornographic." Reasons for banning books vary. Dallas ISD school libraries attempted to ban All the King's Men in 1974. One wonders if their objection might have had something to do with the touchy subject of assassinations. Visit your local library, borrow a banned book from a neighbor or buy one.
Doherty Library book sale Guess what. If you are looking to buy a banned book, the Doherty Library at the University of St. Thomas might well have some good ones available cheap. Hardbound books, $1; paperbacks a mere 50 cents. Oh, what a giveaway! The finest in philosophy and theology -- isn't it about time you got a new copy of Husserl's Ideas? Christmas is just around the corner; stuff those stockings with theology -- you can't have too many anti-Pelagian writings. Collect the whole set (On Nature & Grace, On the Proceedings of Pelagius, On the Predestination of the Saints, and On the Gift of Perseverance) or stock up on Agatha Christie mysteries. The University of St. Thomas is only offering bargains, they're not judging anyone's choices. Four exciting days beginning at 8 a.m. Doherty Library, 1100 West Main, 525-3886.
Resurrection: Myth or Reality? Hear an author speak. The Foundation for Contemporary Theology presents Episcopal Bishop John D. Spong. The Foundation is a group that would appreciate Augustine as a party animal. (Ever read about his raucous school days? Toga party? Heck, he was from Carthage!) The Bishop, while his life and times are less tempestuous, says he would also look to the scriptures and documents, rather than prevailing cultural mores, for his theology. The lectures on his book take place over two days. This evening he presents "Jewish View of the Easter Story"; tomorrow he presents "The Drama of the Birth of Christianity" and gives a special noontime lecture for the clergy and special guests. Those interested in attending Spong's talk, "Was Judas a Legendary Creation of the Early Church to Shift the Blame for Jesus' Death from Romans to Jews?" should call the foundation. Tonight's lecture, 7:30 p.m. The Adam's Mark Hotel, 2900 Briar Park at Westheimer, 666-0051. $10.
Aladdin and his Magic Lamp A lavish musicale with women in harem pants and men in turbans. Glittery and festive. Fun for the whole family. Rain or shine! 8 p.m. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2003 Lake Robbins Drive, 364-3010. $5.
Songs of Experience Choreographer Priscilla Nathan-Murphy dances in Charmaine Locke's multimedia theater piece about life, all of life, life from the micro to the macro. Songs and percussion are elements, along with dance, of this "journey through life." Sarah Irwin, Nathan-Murphy and Penny Tschirhart all play the parts of dancers; Charmaine Locke plays the part of a performance/visual artist. Typecasting? Or casting to type? Masks were created by Pat St. John Danko. Songs of Experience premieres tonight and has another performance Saturday. 8 p.m. Surls and Locke Studios, Splendora, one hour north of Houston. For directions, call (713) 592-0425. $9, $7 artists, $5 seniors & students.
Hugh Moffatt Moffatt is a Nashville singer/songwriter -- and Rice graduate -- who's known in certain cliques as a songwriters' songwriter, and would just as soon be known to the general public as a singer. He has penned tunes for Ronnie Milsap, Dolly Parton and Johnny Rodriguez and also for ne'er-do-wells such as Bobby Bare. Moffatt has toured the world and now here he is back in Texas. This show is cheap, cheap, cheap because the folks at the Brazos "don't like to drive our dinner crowd out." 9 p.m. Brazos Bottom Bar & Grill, 7010 FM 762, Richmond, 341-5210. $3. (A reminder for those who forgot last time: if you have to park on the road, and you probably will, be sure that no tires are on the pavement and your parking lights are on. At the Brazos, officers of the law keep taking the stage to explain that this is what it takes to avoid being towed.)
American History through the Collector's Eye The Bayou Bend Lecture Series has five talks today at the Museum of Fine Arts. There will be a lunch break. "Ima Hogg: Profile of a Multifaceted Collector" is the topic at 10 a.m.; "Ima Hogg: The Collector in Her Garden" is set at 11 a.m.; "Alice Morse Earle and the Culture of Collecting" comes next at 1:30 p.m.; "Objects as Intimates: Women, Collecting and Context in the 20th Century" is presented at 2:30 p.m.; "Buying and Selling Half a Century Ago" nearly finishes the day at 3:30 p.m.; and then come closing remarks by David B. Warren, director of Bayou Bend. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. MFA, 1001 Bissonnet, 526-1361. Free.
Blessing of the Animals Don't think animals have souls? Then what about Balaam's donkey? (Numbers 22:23-34) It was the donkey who saw the angel of the Lord, not Balaam or his servants, and when the donkey refused to go forward, Balaam nearly beat her to death. At that point, the Lord intervened and made Balaam sorely ashamed for whomping on a beast. Later in the story, cattle and sheep are sacrificed, but cattle and sheep are furniture, so don't be confused. The Metropolitan Community Church of the Resurrection's blessing of the animals is in celebration of St. Francis Day, October 4. All animals deserve a blessing, but if animals who don't behave in public don't quite deserve a public blessing, then take them to obedience class and try for next year. Well-behaved pets will be blessed at noon. Metropolitan Community Church of the Resurrection, 1919 Decatur, 861-9149. Free.
Aerodrome The grand opening festivities for the Aerodrome Ice Skating Complex continue for a full week. JoJo Starbuck performs at today's kickoff party. The Olympic and Ice Capades star will dazzle young and old alike as she spins on the ice accompanied by her skating costumed characters. Then, everyone skates. The home of the Houston Aeros will be open daily for public skating. Aerodrome, 16225 Lexington Boulevard, Sugar Land (next to Mercer Stadium), 265-RINK. $5 admission, $2.50 skate rental.
Pottery Unplugged Harpy Wilde plays a clay exhibit, the band (that being Harpy) with guest artists and the pottery (that being the clay) with classical ceramics and new stuff hot off the wheel. Judy Adams, John Foelber, Tom Lammons, Monti Mayrend and Michael Under are the featured artists (that being clay, not musical). The reception begins at 6, music at 9 p.m. Foelber Gallery & Studio, 706 Richmond, 524-7211. Free.
Smokers' Night Quiz Show is a basically evil movie, but it does feature some fine cigars. Now, you too can learn about stogies. If you're tired of wine tastings, this is the event to attend. Cigar reps from all over will be displaying, and sharing, their wares. 7 p.m. Carol's Pipe Pub, 19020 Gulf Freeway (take the Friendswood exit and make like you're going to the mall), 488-7300. No charge for admission.
Gridiron Show Gene Peterson, voice of the Houston Rockets, and Mickey Herskowitz, Post columnist and ghostwriter, will emcee this Press Club of Houston wingding. Like so many displays of bad taste and worse puns by otherwise brightish people, this show is all for a good cause. Last year, the Press Club's educational foundation provided $30,000 in school money for 24 college students. The Gridiron show is a collection of vignettes written by media types who are well aware that anything written for a comedy show, especially for a comedy show for a good cause, is unlikely to be held libelous. Much fun is poked. One might say that the gloves are off and the clown shoes and red rubber noses are on. With a cast of a couple dozen or so, cocktails and dinner. 7 p.m. Sheraton Astrodome, 8686 Kirby, 523-2382. $125.
Black, Brown and Beige: The Blues in Jazz The Northwest College of the Houston Community College System has an impressive roster of musicians: Tom Cummings, Dennis Dotson, Joe LoCascio, Warren Sneed, Aubrey Tucker, Mike Sunjka and Lex Valk. Joe LoCascio recently released Silent Motion. These are the featured performers in this jazz concert, and they will play a variety of styles, from bebop to fusion. 4 p.m. Westchester Theater, 901 Yorkchester, 468-0955. Free.
Tammy Gomez con la Palabra Fans of the spoken word should not miss the Houston debut of what is billed as Austin's hottest spoken word band. I suppose they mean band as in "band of gypsies" rather than a band like, oh, a symphony. We have it that a group called Wammo is to blame for this term. Tammy Gomez con la Palabra made quite a splash at the South by Southwest spoken word showcase this year. The Austin Chronicle said, "Gomez makes the most ordinary experiences -- waking up, riding a bus -- surge with electricity and magic." The more staid Austin American Statesman simply called Gomez "a petite package of spunk and fire whose poetry cuts cleanly and precisely to the bone." This performance, and all future performances of the Other Voice series, will be 8 p.m. Brasil, Westheimer at Dunlavy,
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Musical Francophile Perhaps the symphony will settle down later in the season. They are opening with all kinds of sass, though. This week Philippe Entremont, conductor and pianist, leads a program of Satie, Bizet, Debussy (no, really!) and Ravel. Parade, Symphony no. 1, Printemps and Concerto in G major, respectively. As always, this classical concert will be preceded by a "Concertalks." The pre-concert discussion begins 35 minutes prior to the concert and is held in the lobby on the balcony level. 8 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 238-1449. $10-$50.
Diamonds & Jazz This gala is for the Weizmann Institute of Science, a research center in Israel, and features live jazz, a laser show and a reception in the Cullen Gem Room. All the elements fit together neatly. The Weizmann Institute has 800 basic research projects, one of which involves professor Yehiam Prior's diamond-cutting technique. He uses lasers. The Burke Baker Planetarium "Jazz Fantasia" uses lasers, too. This lively evening also serves as a lesson -- lovely luxuries like light shows and jewelry rely completely on science. Houston Museum of Natural Science, Burke Baker Planetarium, 1 Hermann Park, 639-4600. $75.
Variation on a Theme: Herter Brothers and Classicism The Rice Design Alliance (membership is open to the general public and they do have wonderful parties) has "The Classical Idea" as the subject for the fall lecture series. Katherine Howe is tonight's speaker and the curator of decorative arts at the Museum of Fine Arts. She is also co-curator of "Herter Brothers: Furniture and Interiors for a Gilded Age." Howe will speak about the changing interpretations of classical motif in 19th-century design. Attending lectures in a cool, dim auditorium is something everyone should enjoy. You can sit quietly, scribble a few notes if you like and then go out for cocktails. Attending a well-prepared lecture gives you a chance to rest those work-weary bones as well as something to think about. Museum of Fine Arts, Brown Auditorium, 1001 Bissonnet, 526-1361. $10.