Thursday, January 27
If you're not exactly on board with the religious right and are feeling a little skittish after the recent inauguration, then After Twilight will do little to calm your nerves. The short film, set in a futuristic Texas, follows the bookish Jen as she tries to deliver a mysterious package to an underground resistance group fighting a totalitarian government. The thriller, shot in Houston over seven days, is a cautionary tale about "a future when Texas is ruled by a theocracy," says director Gary L. Watson. "With the increasing influence of the religious right on our government," he says, "I think it's time to consider the dangers of mixing church and state." Watson hosts a Q&A session after the film, which starts at 7 p.m. Rice Media Center, Rice University, entrance No. 8 (University Boulevard at Stockton). For information, call 713-221-1666 or visit www.nu-classicfilms.com. $4 to $5.
Friday, January 28
If all that religious right gloom and doom has got you down, head to the chic Magnolia Hotel, where the Art League of Houston is throwing a party for the Art Guys, whom the group has named "Texas Artist of the Year." It's been a busy year for the Houston duo -- Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing -- as they've recently created a light performance for the Houston Symphony's Duke Bluebeard's Castle and unveiled Video Ring, an 80-monitor, video/sound installation in George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Aside from hanging with the Guys and local art bigwigs, your admission includes entertainment by a sword swallower, a buffet supper (should you still have an appetite after watching said swallower) and one free drink. 7 p.m. Magnolia Ballroom, 715 Franklin (at Milam). For information, call 713-523-9530 or visit www.artleaguehouston.org. $35.
Saturday, January 29
You've been trying to publish your Pulitzer Prize-deserving novel, to no avail. You're in luck, as more than 75 indie publishers will be represented today at the CLMP Southern Literary Magazine and Small Press Fair. Get the skinny on publishing and how literary magazines work at the panel discussions, or scoop up some cheap reading with $2 literary magazines and $4 books. We're sure the editors from Trinity University Press, Arte Pblico, Gulf Coast and others won't mind that we've told you they'll be there. So grab your manuscript and meet the decision makers from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Brazos Bookstore, 2425 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit www.gulfcoastmag.com. Free.
Okay, so those grouchy editors didn't go for your Great American Novel. Cheer yourself up tonight with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. It's a drag show (funny) featuring studly men in ballerina garb (funnier) performing classical dance parody (ding!). The "Trocks," as their fans call them, are made up of professional male dancers with stage names like Fifi Barkova and Vera Namethattunenova. The gents perform a full range of classical ballet repertoire and even some original works. Purists will note that these guys are technically sound. Average joes will laugh at their bulging biceps and bulging...well, you get the idea. We're guessing their version of Swan Lake should be worth the ticket price. Meet the men in tights at 8 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For tickets and information, call 713-227-4772 or visit www.spahouston.org. Tickets start at $18.
Sunday, January 30
Still looking for that killer book idea? How about the epic story of a male ballerina who dances by day and fights crime by night? No? Maybe it would work better as a comic book. Pitch the angle today at the Houston Comic Book Show. Four times a year, comic fans, anime and manga freaks, collectors and dealers gather to buy, sell and trade their favorite vintage and modern comic books (and commiserate about their single status and the frustrations of living in Mom's basement). Gotta have that issue No. 37 of Spider-Man? Need to pawn your X-Men rags for rent money? We're not here to judge. (Just be sure to give us credit for that ballerina idea.) 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hilton Houston Southwest, 6780 Southwest Freeway. For information, visit www.jmventertainment.com. $1.
Monday, January 31
As anyone who has traveled to West Texas knows, the Franklin Mountains cut a striking vista of rust-tinted hues against the big blue Texas sky. Perhaps it's that imagery that influenced the art of Luz Marie Alvarez, who grew up in El Paso near the Mexican border. The young painter mixes bold, striking colors with her sensual imagery; in one work, Balthazar, she melds two nude bodies in a swirl of colors. Alvarez is already being hyped in certain circles as Texas art's next big thing. You can see what colors her world at Talento Bilingue de Houston from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and weekends by appointment. Through March 5. 333 South Jensen. For information, call 713-222-1213 or visit www.tbhcenter.org. Free.
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Tuesday, February 1
Face it: The stress over your failed book deals and your bizarre attraction to men in tights is killing you. You've got to get your life in order. Let Victoria Moran show you how to appreciate yourself, love your life and make people think you're several years younger. Moran has penned Younger by the Day: 365 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body & Revitalize Your Spirit. Now she's pushing a one-year program based on her lessons from the book. (You may have seen her on Oprah. And hey, if Oprah says it's legit...) Moran will be signing Younger and offering a free lecture, so see if you can melt off the years at 7 p.m. Body Mind & Soul, 4344 Westheimer. For information, call 713-993-0550 or visit www.bmshouston.com. Free.
Wednesday, February 2
It's a well-known fact that Grateful Dead guys never really die -- they just get covered. (Or, in the late Jerry Garcia's case, they're immortalized by ties and a Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor.) Case in point: Dark Star Orchestra, the world's foremost Dead cover band. Unlike those drunk, baked copycats who litter lounges and ice houses, the Orchestra is so convincing that members of the Dead, like guitarist Bob Weir and drummer Bill Kreutzmann, have even joined the band on stage during performances. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Dead's forming, the band is hitting the Meridian as part of a national tour. See how many Deadheads show up for this long, strange trip at 7 p.m. 1503 Chartres. For tickets and information, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.meridianhouston.com. $20.