Walter Cronkite calls him one of the best interviewers he's ever seen. And we'd have to agree with his assessment of Houston's own Ernie Manouse. The familiar host of local PBS news shows is aiming for a more national profile with his new show, InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse. The new series will feature 30-minute unedited talks with authors, artists, performers and news makers -- thankfully, not for the purpose of plugging their latest projects. The format is an ideal match for Manouse's greatest journalistic strength: making the interaction more of a conversation than yet another fawning Q&A. He also doesn't jump on the end of an answer or prod his subject. "It should be as if I happened upon my guest at a dinner or party and we're just talking," he says. "I hope that's what we catch on tape."
As a result, the episodes (eight of 26 have already been shot) will have some interesting turns. "With Anne Rice, I thought it would be more about her characters and the Vampire saga," Manouse says. "But instead, we got into her religion and personal history." Manouse also tells us that Patti Lupone and Frankie Avalon (nabbed while they were in town performing) proved to be great showbiz storytellers.
The series is being offered to PBS stations nationwide, so don't necessarily expect Houston-centric guests (sorry, Mattress Mac). Manouse hopes viewers learn something they haven't heard a thousand times before about his celebrity guests. Possible subject to explore: where Grease's Teen Angel gets his hairpiece styled. InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse premieres on PBS (Channel 8) at 10 p.m. Thursday, January 15. For information, visit www.houstonpbs.org. -- Bob Ruggiero
The Art of the Game
More than most sports, baseball has wormed its way into our culture. Even our language has been permanently affected: Did you hit a home run on your date last night, or did you strike out? And now baseball memorabilia -- the cards, caps and bobble-head dolls -- have moved from kids' bedrooms to hipsters' bookshelves and, finally, into the art museum. Artist Rubén Ortiz Torres modifies collectibles in ways that encourage viewers to consider baseball's place in society -- by adding traditional Hispanic milagros to a San Diego Padres cap, for example. In his Houston show, "The Texas Leaguer," Torres will explore the connection between the Astros and NASA through works made from baseball caps and mission patches. Show opens 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, January 15, and runs through March 7. Glassell School of Art, 5105 Montrose, 713-639-7500, www.mfah.org. Free. -- Lisa Simon
Sisters are not only standing on their own two feet -- they're teaching others how to do it, too. In their new book Girl, Make Your Money Grow!, financial advisers Glinda Bridgforth and Gail Perry-Mason teach readers step by step how to make their money work for them. This week, the authors will be giving a financial seminar and answering questions at the Shrine Bookstore and Cultural Center. While their advice is aimed at African-American women, it holds true for any new investors. "It's a myth that only the rich have money to invest in the stock market," says Perry-Mason. "We talk about how to keep it simple when it comes to investing. Many women own Coach purses," she continues, "but a financially savvy woman owns stock in Coach." 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 20. 5309 Martin Luther King Boulevard. For information, call 713-645-1071 or visit www.shrinebookstore.com. Free. -- Lisa Simon
Sympathy for the Devil
Military doctors heal the wounds of friend and foe alike
In World War I, the U.S. Marines battled the enemy armies so ferociously that the Germans took to calling them Teufelhunden, or "devil dogs." U.S. Navy medical personnel who serve with the marines have appropriated the name, calling themselves the Devil Docs. CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta toured and worked with these crack frontline medical units in Iraq. He'll share the experience in his lecture, "Embedded with the Navy 'Devil Docs': Wartime Experience in Iraq." Among the many things Gupta learned in his travels: In the Persian Gulf, Devil Docs don't treat just U.S. soldiers. In fact, Iraqis, both military and civilian, make up 80 percent of their patients. Reminds us of M*A*S*H. 6 p.m. Friday, January 16. InterContinental Hotel, 2222 West Loop South. For information, call 713-439-0051. $10 to $15; free for students and teachers. -- Eric A.T. Dieckman
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Wish You Were Here
Stoners, if you've got any good stuff set aside, we recommend you wait until Friday before dipping into it. One, it's just better to save it for the weekend. Two, that's when the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular hits town. Next to a Bob Marley festival, nothing gets potheads and tripsters off the couch faster than the promise of a stellar laser light show set to the tunes of one of the most psychedelic rock bands of all time. Now, if only you could smoke inside the Verizon Wireless Theater... 8 p.m. Friday, January 16. 520 Texas. For information, call 713-230-1600 or visit www.verizonwirelesstheater.com. $24 to $27. -- Keith Plocek