The women-sucking-cigars fad still smolders in Houston, as evidenced by the Alfred Dunhill "Light My Fire" Ladies Smoker. For the price of a can of dog or cat food for a homeless pet, women can puff a stogie, munch hors d'oeuvres, shop for Christmas presents, and ogle beefy firefighters from the Annual Houston Fireman's Calendar -- on hand just in case somebody ashes on the carpet. The attire? Fire-engine -- and holiday -- red, of course. It's ladies only from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Then confident gentlemen can try to move in on the firemen's action till 9:30 p.m. Alfred Dunhill's, Galleria I, three doors down from Neiman Marcus. Call 961-4661 to RSVP.
Sammo Hung is arguably the most important filmmaker of Hong Kong Cinema's 1980s Golden Age -- he may even be more important than Hollywood hero Jackie Chan. He's starred in, directed, produced and choreographed over 100 films, including Eastern Condors and Once Upon a Time in China and America -- both showing at the Rice Media Center this weekend as part of the "Enter the Fat Dragon" Sammo Hung Film Series. In Condors, Hung leads a pack of Vietnam War commandos sprung from prison on a mission to destroy leftover missiles (and do lots of kung fu). Once Upon a Time, Hung's latest directorial attempt, is a campy "spaghetti eastern" starring Jet Li and was shot on an Alamo set here in Texas. Eastern Condor plays Friday, December 4, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, December 5, at 9:15 p.m. Once Upon a Time in China and America plays Friday, December 4 , at 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, December 5, at 7:30 p.m. Rice University campus, entrance no. 8 (off University). Film information line: 527-4853. $5; $8 for both films.
The Orange Show is going into hibernation, restoration and preservation for the winter, so look now or till March hold your peace. In fact, you can do more than look at The Orange Show's closing party -- you can dance ... on top of the museum, in the pond, everywhere (no wonder this place needs annual restoration). Wayne "the Train" Hancock will be playing his big-band-swing-meets-old-school-country rockabilly music. Self-taught Texas artist Carl Dixon will help you create your own "woodcut" block (really linoleum or Styrofoam) for making multiple holiday greeting cards. And the Art Car Cacophony Society will parade some 20 different dressed-up Santas around the grounds in a fashion show. (You can even get your picture taken with them: $1 per Santa; two-Santa minimum). 7-11 p.m. 2402 Munger St., 926-6368. $10; $8 Orange Show members.
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In the 1920s and 1930s, Brassai (born Gyula Halasz in Brasso, Transylvania) was dubbed "the eye of Paris" by friend and novelist Henry Miller for his studied and deliberate photographs of French culture. Best known for the shots of night workers, bridges and buildings in his Paris at Night series, Brassai photographed everything from high society masquerade balls to raucous working-class carnivals -- he even made formal portraits of contemporary artists like Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Several of these series have neither been exhibited in the last three decades nor published since the 1950s, but the Museum of Fine Arts is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Brassai's birth with a retrospective of 140 photographs from its own collection, plus another 40 collections throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. When "Brassai: The Eye of Paris" leaves the MFA in February, it will travel to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and then to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The exhibit is on view Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Thursdays to 9 p.m.) and Sundays from 12:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. through February 28. 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7300. $3; $1.50 for students, seniors and kids six-18; free for kids 5 and under.
Given the '80s revival that seems to be sweeping Houston this week (cigar parties, Sammo Hung films), it should come as no surprise that World Championship Wrestling's Monday Nitro Live on TNT will be broadcasting from the Astrodome. We all know that the body slams are well choreographed and the outcome is predetermined (the masked macho men have told us so), yet about 34 million people watch wrestling's '90s resurgence each week. In fact, WCW Monday Nitro is basic cable's leading prime-time series. So what's the draw? Many say it's the elaborate stories surrounding the wrestlers' "characters." Each fight is the equivalent of a Days of Our Lives episode, complete with warring factions, relationships, betrayals and, occasionally, tears. Wrestling's suspense isn't in the fight itself, but in the constantly twisting storyline. For instance, at the Astrodome tonight we'll meet Lex Luger, who's traded in his squeaky clean image for that of the wolf, and his close friend Sting, a dark and mysterious warrior who has long loomed at the fringes of an inter-WCW battle between the Wolfpack and the New World Order. What will happen to Lex and Sting? Well, they'll roll around in the ring for a while and take home hefty paychecks. 6:30 p.m. Call 799-9555 for more information and 629-3700 to charge tickets by phone. $35, $25, $20 and $15.
For Houstonians who are holiday hardcore, it's tough when December temperatures hover at 78 degrees, and it's never enough to ice skate in the indoor artificial coolness of the Galleria. So for four years now we've made nature conform to Christmas traditions with the Southwestern Bell Miracle on Main Street outdoor ice rink. The city's promoters can keep a sheet of ice relatively frozen, but, try as they might, they just can't change the weather. So if it feels a bit muggy out, call the Downtown District Hotline at 654-8900 to check ice conditions. Open every day except Christmas through January 3. 1000 Main Street at Lamar. Skating is $6, and skate rental is $2 for a two-hour session. Free parking and trolley service at The Park Shops.
If Brassai was the "eye of Paris," a gentleman named Leo Touchet is the cemetery correspondent of New Orleans. He'll sign copies of his photographic book Rejoice When You Die: The New Orleans Jazz Funerals tonight at Paulie's (amidst his "Desert Sand Dunes" exhibit) and tomorrow night at the Shrine of the Black Madonna bookstore. In 113 black-and-white photos, Touchet captures the elaborately decorated caskets, the solemn, slow-stepping marshals, the curious spectators, the brass bands and the feverish dancing of this dying ritual. 5-7 p.m. Paulie's, 1834 Westheimer, 807-7271. 6:30 p.m. Thursday, December 10, at Shrine of the Black Madonna, 5309 Martin Luther King Blvd., 645-1071.