Night & Day
The late Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev is best known for his children's suite Peter and the Wolf -- and that's the part of the program being plugged most heavily for the Houston Symphony's outdoor-season premiere. But Prokofiev's finest hour was his swelling Symphony no. 1, op. 25 -- the "Classical" symphony, which soars through the air on winged whole notes. The "Classical" is on the bill along with Beethoven's Symphony no. 1 and Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus. The Alley Theatre's Annalee Jefferies narrates Peter; Christoph Eschenbach conducts. 8 p.m. The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, (281) 363-3300. $8.50 and $10 reserved; $7 lawn (Ticketmaster: 629-3700).
Blue Suede Shoes is a splashy, high-falutin', "full-blown American dance event" with hoofing by the Cleveland San Jose Ballet, costumes and sets by Bob Mackie and a soundtrack featuring the greatest hits of the dead King of Rock and Roll, including an "orchestral mix" of Pelvis smashes by composer William Ross. Final performances are at 8 tonight and Friday, 5 and 9 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-3974. $15 to $50 (Houston Ticket Center: 227-ARTS; Ticketmaster: 629-3700).
Mike Watt is alt's ace of bass; while Mike probably wouldn't appreciate our play on words, he also wouldn't slug us for it. One of the truly decent dudes in rock, the self-taught Watt's also one of its worthiest artists; the DIY guy (the Minutemen, fIREHOSE) is unflinchingly, unapologetically experimental. Mike and his touring band, the Black Gang (guitarist Joe Baiza and drummer Bob Lee), are on the road in support of the recent disc Contemplating the Engine Room, which Watt describes, a bit oxymoronically, as a "punk rock opera." 7 p.m. (doors). Instant Karma, 1617 Richmond, 528-3545. $8 (Ticketmaster: 629-3700).
Man against toilet -- that's the central premise of former Houstonian Randy Cole's debut, Flush. It's a monstrous little movie -- on many levels -- that evokes Eraserhead. Brimming with Lynchian lunacy and non sequiturs, the flick tracks the escalating madness of a technical writer who's foiled at every turn (it's worth noting that filmmaker Cole, now based in Seattle, started writing Flush while doing hard time at the Houston Chronicle as an ad designer). This poor schlep (played by Fred Shipman) is dogged by demons, real and imagined, until he descends into demonhood himself -- sort of a schlemiel version of the Phantom of the Opera in lame promwear. A secondary story line, about a fellow schlemiel (Kevin Jackson) who owns a package that won't allow itself to be discarded, provides Flush's most inspired and effective scene -- the literal unraveling of the geek with the co-dependent parcel. Flush was shot in Houston, except for one Galveston segment involving a beached whale of an astronaut in a comically oversized, shiny silver space suit; this odd filmic interjection calls to mind an outtake from that full-length outtake Robot Monster. Screenings are at 9:30 p.m. and midnight; Cole will be present. NO TSU OH, 314 Main, 222-0443.
Pick your party in the tempest-in-a-teapot turf war pitting the Westheimer Street Festival versus the Houston Downtown Street Festival. The original, the WSF, salutes "the Montrose lifestyle" via people- and pet-watching, slacker-central arts and crafts and live music ranging from classical to Inca (no kidding) to "sacred rap" to thrash. A splinter faction from the WSF is behind the inaugural HDSF, which substitutes an environmental theme for the "Montrose lifestyle" bit, but otherwise sounds pretty similar. WSF: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Sunday. The 100 to 1000 blocks of Westheimer. Info: 522-6548. Admission is free; proceeds from sales go to the "Don't Mess with Montrose" project. HDSF: Noon to 10 p.m. today and Sunday. Market Square, Preston and Travis. Info: 688-3773. Requested donation: $5 or canned goods to benefit the Trinity Life Center of Care for Homeless and Abused Children.
Art cars of another stripe are displayed, along with various watercraft, at the "Wooden Keels and Classic Wheels" Concours d'Elegance. The vehicles at the show include models from the Lamborghini and Maserati factories, plus Mercedes, Rolls-Royces, Caddys and Corvettes. Also, Cliff Robertson (who portrayed young JFK in the '63 movie PT 109) will be at this afternoon's christening of the restored World War II-era PT 309 Oh, Frankie -- named after Frank Sinatra. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The Lakewood Yacht Club, 2425 NASA Road 1, (281) 474-2511. $10 (proceeds: the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation).
Hard-core honky-tonk quintet BR5-49, the former house band at Robert's Western World in Nashville (a pedal-steel factory turned boot shop/beer bar), has created a soft buzz among alt-country fans with its take-no-prisoners traditionalism. While their intentions are admirable, the BR5 have a ways to go before they're mentioned in the same breath with, say, Gram Parsons's Flying Burrito Brothers. Parsons was a songwriter first, a showman second -- Nudie suit notwithstanding. The BR5 have a solid stage show, but their originals need work; still, they do some solid covers. (The band's name, by the way, is the phone number from a Hee Haw skit starring Junior Samples as a car salesman.) The Fabulous Satellite Lounge, 3616 Washington Avenue, 869-COOL. Tix at Ticketmaster (629-3700).
The Hawthorne String Quartet, a subgroup of the Boston Symphony, presents a program titled "Chamber Music from Theresienstadt"; it features works by Pavel Haas, Viktor Ullmann, Hans Krasa and Gideon Klein, written during the composers' incarceration at the Theresienstadt (a.k.a. Terezin) concentration camp before the writers were liquidated as part of Hitler's Final Solution. 7:30 p.m. Congregation Beth Israel, 5600 North Braeswood. Info: 942-8000, extension 108. Public admission starts at $100, which includes two concert tickets and a membership to the Holocaust Museum.
Take a tip from us, gentle reader: Don't chew your rubber chicken with your mouth ajar as you listen to the luncheon lecture by Judith Martin, better known as Miss Manners. The nationally syndicated columnist will view your indiscretion as another sign of the decline of modern culture -- a culture the empress of civility has taken it upon herself to save from itself via her sage advice, understated wit and rigorous enforcement of the rules of etiquette. The River Oaks Country Club, 1600 River Oaks Boulevard. Info: (281) 531-5200. $75 to $150 (proceeds: the scholarship fund at Northwood University, located south of Dallas in Cedar Hill).
New York-based postminimalist DeWitt Godfrey was one of the original "Core Fellows" at the Glassell School of Arts. Houston artist Robert Montgomery leads a "Power Lunch" tour of the recently opened exhibit "DeWitt Godfrey: A Sculpture and Two Drawings"; a discussion follows. Noon. The Contemporary Arts Museum, 5216 Montrose, 284-8250. Free.
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