You probably wouldn't guess it, but mild-mannered Mayor Bill White can drop some serious smack. His Honor has been talkin' trash to City Councilmember Ronald Green about an upcoming hoops game. White and Green are slated to go head-to-head Saturday for the Cynthia Cooper Roopster Roux Youth Basketball Tournament, part of this weekend's annual Chocolate Bayou Festival. Of course, there's more to the festival -- which celebrates the heritage and charm of the historically African-American southeast Houston neighborhood -- than hoopin' politicos. You can also expect two days of live music, dance, poetry and theater. Let the kiddos loose on activities like rock-wall climbing, a petting zoo, hoops, face painting, and arts and crafts. Meanwhile, adults can check out a slew of musical acts: Saturday's headliner is Angie Stone, and Sunday's is Lalah Hathaway. (See Playbill, page 78 for the complete lowdown.) There's also a domino tournament hosted by The Breakfast Klub, in which finalists take on owner Marcus Davis for a chance at free wings 'n' waffles for a year. Sounds good, but we're waiting to see Mayor White's wicked crossover. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, September 3 and 4. Sunnyside Park, 3502 Bellfort (parking at St. Agnes Church at Scott and Airport). For information and a schedule, call 713-247-2001 or visit www.chocolatebayoufestival.org. Free. -- Steven Devadanam
Cracking cases CSI-style in Remains Silent
TV shows like CSI have brought the gruesome gallery of the city morgue into the living room. Pop culture seems fixated on the nexus between forensic science and the law. Dr. Michael Baden, former NYC chief medical examiner and host of HBO's Autopsy, and wife Linda Kenney, a civil rights attorney and legal commentator for CNN and Court TV, are tapping into this seemingly insatiable market. In their debut novel, Remains Silent, a medical examiner and a lawyer (sound familiar?) work together to uncover the mystery surrounding a pile of bones found at a mall construction site. Baden and Kenney first met on a "date" at a New York morgue, just like their characters. (Hmm apparently some people can get laid in a morgue after all.) The authors sign Remains Silent at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, September 1. Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-524-8597 or visit www.murderbooks.com. Free. -- Bob Ruggiero
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Instead of some highfalutin, obscure, overly conceptual claptrap, it's nice every once in a while to run across an art exhibit with a practical, easy-to-understand title and theme. Take the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's new "Acquisitions of the Last Five Years: Selections of Modern and Contemporary Art," for example. Cuts right to the chase, eh? Works by such notables as Kenneth Noland, Ettore Sottsass, Anselm Kiefer and the great Jasper Johns are displayed here together for no reason other than the museum got its mitts on them recently. See? Simplicity itself. Check out the new stuff through December 9 at 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit www.mfah.org. $3.50 to $7. -- Scott Faingold
When some folks want a little break from reality, they just head over to their friendly neighborhood pusherman for some chemicals (of course, we're not advocating such stuff, but hey"). Enter renowned abstract painter David Simpson, whose exhibit "Iridescent - Interference" is on display at Gallery Sonja Roesch. His work is done in such a way that the colors actually seem to shift and change while you look at them. Now, if you're still wondering how to spend your Saturday night, just remember: Drugs cost money, but gallery visits are always free. 2309 Caroline. For information, call 713-659-5424 or visit www.gallerysonjaroesch.com. Free. -- Scott Faingold