Are you a name-brand shopper? If so, then "5x7/Houston" probably isn't for you. Billed as an "exhibition and art spree," it's an annual fund-raiser for the Austin-based organization Arthouse. The event presents hundreds of small works (they're all five by seven inches), displayed anonymously, by both established and emerging artists from Texas and beyond. Visitors can pick whatever strikes them or try to find works by artists they recognize; when a work is purchased, the artist's true identity is revealed. All of the pieces are $100, so it's a great opportunity to get some amazing art for a low, low price. Participating Houston artists include Danny Yahav Brown, Patrick Phipps and Scott Calhoun. All the proceeds go to Arthouse, which is a nonprofit that organizes exhibitions and programs statewide and promotes contemporary art in Texas. At "5x7/Houston," you'll find suspense and bargain shopping -- all for a good cause. The exhibition opens from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, September 5. You can continue shopping from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, September 6. Mixture Contemporary Art, 1709 Westheimer. For information, call Arthouse at 512-453-5312. -- Kelly Klaasmeyer
The Learning Channel's Trading Spaces has taught us that lots of people are willing to let strangers come in and mess with their castles. But it might be wiser to learn a little something about interior design and then redo your domain yourself. Vern Yip, a designer on the popular program, will make an appearance this weekend at the 2003 Fall Houston House Beautiful show, chatting about Trading Spaces and providing homeowners with tips about interior design. The weekend also features presentations on gardening, cooking and wine. 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, September 5. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, September 6. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, September 7. Yip appears at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Friday and 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday. The Reliant Center, Halls A and B, 8400 Kirby. For information, call 281-277-4040 or visit www.housebeautifulshows.com. $2 to $8.50. -- Cathy Matusow
The Future of Freedom
Bringing world politics to Houston
If you consider yourself a citizen of the world, you'd better know something about it. The Houston World Affairs Council keeps folks up to speed about international events, bringing leaders and politicos to Houston. At HWAC forums, globally minded Houstonians engage in debate and learn about the latest world issues. This week's event features Fareed Zakaria, who will discuss his new book about global political trends called The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad. Future speakers include Paula Dobriansky and Madeleine Albright. Zakaria speaks at noon on Thursday, September 4. Westin Oaks Hotel, 5011 Westheimer. For reservations, call 713-522-7811. For information, visit www.houstonworldaffairs.org. $25 to $40. -- Anthony Nguyen
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Fee, Fi, Fo, Film
They Might Be Giants conquers the big screen
"Don't Let's Start" was the first independent video to make MTV's rotation. Ever since, They Might Be Giants has demanded if not mass reverence then at least great respect. The indie-pop duo gets its due, once again, in the documentary film Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns. The film opens with former U.S. senator Paul Simon telling an amusing anecdote about Abraham Lincoln (TMBG is from Lincoln, Massachusetts), then follows the now-Brooklyn-based Giants (John Flansburgh and John Linnell) through decades of collaboration, which started when they were in grade school. Gigantic includes interviews, animation, concert footage and testimonials from Andy Richter, Janeane Garofalo and Frank Black, to name a few. The film's Houston premiere takes place at 8 p.m. Friday, September 5, and Sunday, September 7; 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday, September 6. Rice Cinema, entrance no. 8 off University Boulevard and Stockton Drive. For information, call 713-348-3138. $5 to $6. --Troy Schulze
Local Pacifica radio station KPFT continues its summer of backyard benefits with a fund-raiser for its Latino programs, which include Proyecto Latino Americano, Sexto Sol, Alternative Scream, Latino Voices and the roster's oldest program, Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say ON THE AIR. Tony Diaz, the latter show's host, thinks a boost in funding would help KPFT's community affairs programs garner more of an audience. Saturday's event, called "Somos KPFT" (translation: "We are KPFT"), features live performances by Houston bands Chango Jackson, Vudu Café, De Sangre, Sister Sister, Capucino and Zaranda. 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, September 6. KPFT's backyard, 419 Lovett Boulevard. For information, call 713-526-4000. $10. -- Troy Schulze