Dixie City Jam Edgar Allen Poe Award winner James Lee Burke will be signing his latest, Dixie City Jam. This is another in the distinguished line of mysteries featuring Dave Robicheaux of New Iberia, Louisiana. The Cajun police lieutenant has been the star of The Neon Rain, Heaven's Prisoners, Black Cherry Blues, A Morning for Flamingos, A Stained White Radiance and In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead. The goal of these author appearances is to sell new books, but Burke is not likely to mind slapping his John Hancock on old, treasured volumes of his sleuth-stuff. 6-8 p.m. Murder By The Book, 2342 Bissonnet, 524-8597. Dixie City Jam is $22.95.
Contemporary Handweavers of Houston See how they weave. This membership show is an opportunity to learn what separates the warp from the woof or, for those who can already thread a loom, find out about exotic handspun yarns. Everyone is welcome to ask questions and sign up for workshops and study groups. 7 p.m. Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church Farrish Hall, 6221 Main Street. Free.
Volksfest "Rain or shine!" North Houston will be party-town this weekend.The15thAnnual Volksfest has perennial favorites Pierre and the Zydeco Dots and a healthy list of country & western, polka, Cajun, Tex-Mex, conjunto and Bohemian bands slated to play in two air-conditioned dance halls. "Be sure and come hungry!" The finest examples of any ethnic food you can find across this great state of ours as well as festival faves such as funnel cakes will be sold, as will beer, wine and lemonade to wash it all down. Thru Sunday. Today from 5 p.m.-midnight. Knights of Columbus grounds, 607 E. Whitney Drive, 694-2341. 15 and older $4 for one day, or weekend passes available for $5. Children 14 and under free.
Reynaldo Rey "That old man?" Yes, indeed. The photo and press materials from the Hip-Hop Comedy Stop were delivered by a young man who wanted to know why anyone would be interested in Reynaldo Rey. "Why not Chris Tucker? or Arnez J.," he asked. Because they haven't paid dues like Rey. Why do you think Eddie Murphy always puts that old man in his movies -- so he can steal from him, that's why. Reynaldo Rey was a writer on Sanford and Son, and he'd been around before that. Reynaldo Rey comes from Sequoyah County, Oklahoma, and he's been all over the world and done Vegas and now here he is at Houston's most stylish comedy club. Opening tonight, thru Aug. 21. Fri. & Sat., 8:30 & 10:45 p.m.; Sun., 8:30 p.m. Hip-Hop Comedy Stop, 4816 Main, 437-8444. No discounts or passes. $12.
Bull riding championship Tens of thousands of dollars in prize-money for men (and women) willing to bust their asses in a sport that must have started with a dare -- whoo-ee! that's Texas entertainment. Bull riding doesn't come from the hard work of ranch life; although cattle and oxen have been used as draft animals, there is no reason to break bulls to ride. There is only one original reason for clambering up onto a ton of bucking, gleet-slinging, bellowing beef. The first bull riders did it for fun. Contemporary champs such as Ty Murray, Dennis Morris, Aussie Troy Dunn and Richard "Tuff" Hedeman are in it for kicks, and bucks. In 1986, at the tender age of 23, Hedeman set a world-record for single season bull riding winnings by earning $137,061. He's also done endorsements and been a movie star. Wild ride, eh? While MTV sports shows stick to bungee wimps and lamers who snowboard, check out some real thrills at the Summit. (The program includes Mutton Bustin' -- that's sheep riding to the uninitiated -- by kids.) Action begins at 7:30 p.m. tonight and finishes with the Terminator Round Finals on Saturday night. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza. Tickets at the Summit box office or through Ticketmaster, 629-3700. $12.50, $15, $17.50 & $25, parking included.
Indoor Skate Day Back and bigger than ever -- once again the Astrohall is wide open for in-line and roller skaters. Glide across a silky-smooth concrete floor under the fuzzy, greenish glare of indoor lighting! Feel the frigid breezes from AC units pumping out enough cold to air-condition several small New England states! Test your skating skills on the speed course, the maze course or do tricks in the ramp area! Go ahead, try something new -- they've got a "Skate Great" workshop and a first-aid station. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Astrohall, Astrodomain, Kirby at the Loop, 799-9631. $3, $1 child. (Parking $4 per auto.)
Suzy Bogguss Miss "Just Like the Weather" sings songs from her latest recording, Something Up My Sleeve, and other tunes that led to her getting a nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year from one of those groups that hand out such awards. The pop-country star happens to have a degree in metalsmithing from Illinois State University and is putting out a line of jewelry -- either Joan Rivers will have to make some space on the shopping network or Bogguss will get a talk show. Tonight, the entrepreneur sings at 8 p.m. AstroWorld, Southern Star Amphitheatre. Tickets available through Ticketmaster, 629-3700, and, on the day of the show, at the park. Tickets are $3 general admission and $5 for reserved seats plus park admission.
Austin Lounge Lizards They look more like bar bums, but these guys are likely to be found slouching sullenly on barstools and cracking wise, in a cracker way; and a more accurate name, like "The Austin Old Hippie Beer-slurping Yahoos" would not sound so nice, or fit neatly on CD spines. Moreover, one of their brave warblings is entitled "Old Blevins," a tribute to rummy geezers in every bar. That song shows up on CD number five with Terry Allen's "Truckload of Art" and Emily Kaitz's "Shallow End of the Gene Pool." Obviously, they're continuing with the irreverence their fans have come to know and love. Many otherwise normal people are big Lizard fans because of their frequent shows around our parts, and early CDs such as Paint Me On Velvet, Lizard Vision, Highway Cafe of the Damned and Creature from the Black Saloon. Their musical mastery is such that they could probably make you weep with a straight playing of a genuine, spooky Appalachian folk song. 8 p.m. & 10:15 p.m. McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk, 528-5999. $10.
Distant Relations: The Relationship Between Arabs and Jews in Israel David Wells' photographs are his attempt to show the crux of the troubled relations in the Middle East and were taken during a year-long stay in Jerusalem. The New Jersey photographer was in the Holy Land with his wife, Rabbi Ellen Greenspan. "The relationship between Arabs and Jews," Wells says, "is more complex than that of occupied and occupier. The two people share many aspects of their culture, physical appearance and love of the land, but world attention is usually captured only by their alienation, jealousy and rage." Thru Oct. 15. Mon.-Thu., 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. & Sun., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Deutser Gallery, Jewish Community Center, 5601 S. Braeswood, 729-3200, ext. 3231.
Fabian Worsham poetry reading Friends and former students of the Houston poet and UH-Downtown professor present a tribute. Worsham is the author of The Vulture Woman, The Green Kangaroo, Aunt Erma's Country Kitchen and Bordello and other slender volumes of serious-minded and sincere poetry. Lorenzo Thomas will host the event. All fans of poetry, teaching and meta-feminism are urged to attend. The Harlot's Child, a recent book of Worsham's verse, will be available. Worsham herself may read if she is well enough and she hopes very much to attend this special evening. 5 p.m. River Cafe, 3615 Montrose. No charge.
The Astro Wives Planet Astros Channel 2 sportscaster Lisa Malosky hosts this fourth annual party to raise money for the Houston Area Women's Center. Long before Nicole was knifed, these sports-wives were worried about women's issues -- the Astros' Wives benefit is traditionally the single largest private donor to HAWC. The Astros' Wives have raised more than a quarter of a million dollars for HAWC in the last three years. Planet Astros has music from Duck Soup, much better food than the Dome and a live and silent auction of sports memorabilia, jewelry and trips. The wives promise this féte will go on, strike or shine. 6:30 p.m. Westin Galleria Hotel, 5060 W. Alabama, 799-9877. $250 per couple, $150 per person.
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Vegetarian Society of Houston dinner This doesn't happen every day -- a buffet of Indian vegan specialties. Dishes of dal, puri, eggplant supji, a special savory, and an impressive spread of spicy and mild dishes will be laid out for all to enjoy, with tamarind tea. Krishna Kripa Das is tonight's speaker. "Palatable Purification" is his topic. There is one cost for the entire evening; beverages, tax and tip are all included. Hare Krishna Temple, 1320 W. 34th, 880-1055 for reservations. $11.
Off Limits A PBS documentary about being expected to pee in a cup filled with fun facts like this: "In the 1920s, Henry Ford routinely sent inspectors to his employees' homes to investigate their cleanliness, drinking habits and domestic stability." Did you know Ted Turner flat-out prohibits smoking by Turner employees on Turner time (and even on their own time)? Yep. And if you want some real fun, call AVERT claiming you want a job applicant researched. AVERT has access to motor vehicle records and worker compensation claims. Probably third-grade report cards, too. Where do we draw the line between employers' need-to-know and employees' rights to privacy? 9 p.m. PBS. You see it free, right on your own TV.
Twenty-five years of Houston Ballet Photographs of our finest dancers in fabulous, fantastic costumes will be displayed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the company. Scenes from classics such as Giselle, which premiered in 1979, and the sumptuous 1989 Cinderella will hang next to wild pictures from Prince Igor. Thru Sept. 2 during normal business hours. Pennzoil Building, 711 Louisiana.
From the People Who Brought You Paranoia The Flying Dutchman Writers Troupe celebrates its fifth anniversary of speaking words with a special show at the River Cafe. This show was not announced as a farewell, and I have no reason to believe it is, but really, what is left for them to do? The troupe has staged individual and group readings at every possible alternative venue, done high-brow gigs at Cezanne and the MFA Sculpture Garden, orchestrated a '93 series at Bookstop Galleria featuring 32 writers in 16 readings, and last February their "Caffeine Crawl" tour of coffeehouses ended up with a SRO crowd that drove in a caravan through the rain until every java joint had been hit. What other stunts can they pull? 7:30-10 p.m. River Cafe, 3615 Montrose. For information call 529-0198 or 523-2649. Free.