In our fast-food world, few know anything about cooking anymore, especially not the daylong slow-bake kind of cooking practiced by grandmas around the world. San Antonio playwright Alicia Mena takes on this contemporary conundrum in what promises to be a sweetly kooky comedy, Las Nuevas Tamaleras. The story concerns three 21st-century Chicanas who try to make a batch of festive tamales for the first time. What follows is kitchen mayhem: They blunder their way through the traditional culinary classic as they try to capture the holiday spirit. What they need instead is some spiritual intervention, which they get in the form of two great tamale makers from the past. Ghost tamaleras Doña Juanita and Doña Mercedes arrive, and in the tradition of Scrooge's helpful ghosts, the accomplished cooks try to guide the aspiring chefs. But problems arise when even the great tamaleras can't agree on which recipe makes for the best eating. Smells like a real holiday treat. Opens at 8 p.m. Friday, November 12, and runs through Sunday, November 14, at Talento Bilingue de Houston, 333 Jensen Drive. For information, call 713-222-1213 or visit www.tbhcenter.com. $12 to $25. -- Lee Williams
She was the first person to ever be cast for Saturday Night Live and to mimic Barbara Walters as the character Baba Wawa, now an SNL staple. She's regarded as the one of the greatest comedic minds of the 20th century. And when she was diagnosed with cancer, Gilda Radner literally laughed at it and joked about starring in a show she called The Adventures of the Independent Baldheaded Chemo Patient. Now ComedySportz is paying homage to Radner, who, despite losing her battle with ovarian cancer in 1989, never lost her rapier-sharp humor. ComedySportz's 14th-anniversary event promises to be a raucous night of improvisational mayhem. Enjoy the laughs and a silent auction -- all of which benefit Gilda's Club, the cancer survivors' support homes named for the "baldheaded chemo patient." 7 p.m. Sunday, November 14. The Country Playhouse, 12802 Queensbury Lane. For information, call 713-868-1444 or visit www.comedysportzhouston.com. $12. -- Eric A.T. Dieckman
Gettin' Juggy with It
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Trad washboard-fanatic types might be disappointed to learn that there are no actual jugs involved in the South Austin Jug Band. But we can all take comfort that the name was inspired by that old Muppet TV special Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas rather than, say, everyone's favorite jug-friendly skin mag. Anyway, they are from Austin and they do play what they proudly call "swinging Lone Star beatnik country." This is a band that follows its own cues, mixing offbeat, genre-bending covers (they countrify Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" on their CD) with a few originals and more traditional material. Any chance the guys cover the queen of jugs, Dolly Parton? Find out at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, November 11. McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk. For information, call 713-528-5999 or visit www.mcgonigels.com. $10. -- Scott Faingold
What routinely defies the limits of gravity, energy and the human body? No, not Marge Simpson's hair -- the dancers of the American Ballet Theatre. This weekend, they perform pieces by Jirí Kilián, George Balanchine and Antony Tudor, accompanied by the Houston Symphony Orchestra. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, November 12 and 13. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For tickets, call 713-227-4SPA or visit www.spahouston.org. $25 to $55. -- Julia Ramey