Picks

Thursday
December 9
Beausoleil Haven't had a chance to see this outfit since they played NYC's Central Park about six years ago, but the group's contemporary Cajun stylings, highlighted by the so-pretty-you-could-cry work of fiddler and vocalist Michael Doucet, are pretty well state-of-the-art in the gumbo-loving world. And since Christmas is sneaking up, you might expect to hear a few of the yuletide ditties that Beausoleil contributed to last year's Alligator Stomp collection on Rhino. It's the sort of music Ñ rare amongst holiday-topical tunes -- that makes you want to not kill yourself. 8 p.m. Rockefeller''s, 3620 Washington Ave., 861-9365. $15. (B.T.)

Dave Alvin Alvin started collecting fans in the roots-rock furnace of the Blasters, and since splitting from that outfit in '86, he's popped up as a member of X and the Pleasure Barons, and as sideman on too many projects to name. Museum of Heart, on Hightone Records, is Alvin's third solo effort, and having already carved out a broad niche for himself exploring what he calls "American music," he''s digging even deeper in the same trough and coming up with treasures. A whole lot of people can make a good record, though, and Alvin's real power is best indicated by the line of people who have seen him before, queuing up at the door for tickets. This many people can be wrong, but this time they're not. 10 p.m. Fabulous Satellite Lounge, 3616 Washington, 869-COOL. (B.T.)

Friday
December 10
Michael Battey's Science Fair This UT grad tended bar, studied computer science, taught English and even slaved a bit here at the Press before finally settling down into the fulfilling career of performance art. In this consciousness-raising piece, Battey plays three whiz kids and their duller counterparts in a grade-school science fair. The contestants are the objects of study, and the audience is treated to a wide spectrum of emotions, from nausea to paranoia. You might want to meet Battey after the show -- he's also been a persuasive environmental activist in Japan and Brazil. 8 p.m. tonight; 9 p.m. Saturday. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway, North Main & Naylor, 223-8346. $10; $9 members; $7 students & seniors. (C.K.)

Crazy Killed Mingus Record Release This damned deadline thing has kept me from hearing an advance of the new disk, Windows, but if it builds anything at all on the promise of the band's taped demo, start saving your allowance. Mingus has steadily turned into one of Houston's best alternative draws, and all those youngsters are crammed up near the stage for a reason: These kids have some genuinely exciting pop craft in them. Steal mom's purse. Buy a ticket. Buy a record. Buy a T-shirt if you don't already have one. And if there's any money left over, save it for a few years and buy yourself a drink. 9 p.m. Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, 862-3838. $7. (B.T.)

Susanna Sharpe and Samba Polic Record Release Sharpe is Austin's answer to south-of-the border specialist Norma Zenteno, more or less, and considering the number of people presently mining this rhythmically rich territory, I'd say there's plenty of room for both, and more. Last time Sharpe was in town she didn't have much in the way of product to hawk, but that didn't stop her and her six-piece band from burning down Latin rhythms -- romantically slow to dizzyingly fast -- with a heavy dose of Russell Scanlon's jazz guitar. The CD being celebrated is A Musica Das Almas, self-produced, and it's an attractive package filled with eleven cuts by other writers (Milton Nascimento stands out) and Scanlon's originals. 9 p.m. McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk, 528-5999. $6. (B.T.)

Saturday
December 11
Houston Rockets vs. Seattle Supersonics In a possible preview of the Western Conference playoff finals, these are two of the hottest teams in the NBA. If it weren't for a series of junk shots -- Sam Perkins' off-balanced turn-around and Derrick McKey's series of prayers -- the Rockets would've advanced to the conference finals. Incidentally, Seattle is the Rockets' playoff nemesis, having defeated Hakeem three times in the Rockets' last six post-season appearances. Despite taking the Suns to seven games in last season's conference finals, the Sonics inexplicably retooled; they traded away McKey and Dana Barros for Detlef Schrempf, and they signed ex-Hornet Kendall Gill. Explosive chemistry among the Seattle players is as frequent as Seattle thunderstorms, but as long as Nate McMillan

-- the biggest Rocket-killer of them all -- wears the green and yellow, expect a tight one. 7:30 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-3700. $11-$150. (A.H.)

Orange Show Closing Party They do this every year, but this time around the theme is a tribute to zydeco master Lonnie Mitchell, with performances by Pierre and the Zydeco Dots (4 p.m.), Willie Davis (5 p.m.), Paul Richards (5:30 p.m.), Lionel Stout (6 p.m.), Wilfred Thibideaux (7:30 p.m.) and Jabo, Texas Prince of Zydeco (8 p.m.). More talent is being added at press time, and at 9 p.m., whatever of the entourage isn't danced out will head to the Continental Zydeco Ballroom to continue the celebration with Wilfred Chevis. 3-8:30 p.m. The Orange Show, 2402 Munger, 926-6368. $3 Orange Show members; $5 non-members.

 

My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult They're camp, they're hip, they're multimedia, and they do everything but shake you're butt for you. I used to think this stuff was just a little on the silly side, but the more I listen, the farther over the edge it slips. Techno meets House meets Dinner Theater meets Chicago Industrial and everyone tangos in triple time, which is almost always at least good fun to watch. Numbers, 300 Westheimer, 526-6551. (B.T.)

Michael Tilson Thomas The director-designate of the San Francisco Symphony conducts from the podium and the keyboard as the Houston Symphony presents a quartet of intriguing, even tantalizing compositions. Claude Debussy noted his Prelude to Afternoon of a Faun as a "very free illustration and in no way a synthesis" of Stephane Mallarme's poem by the same name. And his La Mer evokes impressionist images of sunlight on ocean waves. Other eclectic offerings include Bernstein's Suite from A Quiet Place and Gershwin's Second Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra. 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 11, 2:30 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 12, 8 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-ARTS. $10-$49. (C.K.)

Buzzcocks The Buzzcocks made some great rock singles in the late '70s, no doubt about it, and the way they applied punk rock sound to pop love songs has proved to be a far more enduring influence on American pop and punk than the Sex Pistols ever were. After splitting for nigh on eight years and reuniting in 1989, vocalist Pete Shelley and increasingly visible guitarist/vocalist Steve Diggle are touring again amidst a slight flurry of activity, including a new release on Caroline, Trade Test Transmissions. They don't seem to have lost anything over the years except a favorable musical climate in which to thrive. How else to explain why the band sounds so good, yet just shy of relevant? TheyÕll probably play some hits, but I doubt this show will move anybody but people remembering something else. Doughboys open. 7 p.m. The Asylum, 6134 Airline, 554-9957 or 694-6623. (B.T.)

Sunday
December12
Afro-Dance The Multi-Expressive, Dramatic and Informative Artist networking association hosts this, its first-ever musical-theatre production. Based on the evolution of African-American music, dance and theatre, this show features such local talent as Israel McCloud, Denise McInnis, Phyllis K. Gooden, Samuel Dinkins and Stephanie Aldridge. 7 p.m. Midtown Art Center, 3412 LaBranch, 526-7996. $10 advance; $12 door.

Team USA vs. Team Russia Hockey Game This is the last leg of a seven-game USA-Russia series, and frankly, the players will probably be a bit tired of checking the same faces into the sideboards. But all us Houston hockey fans will be thrilled to see a preview of this '94 Winter Olympics match-up. (Let's hope for a big turnout -- maybe that'll convince the powers that be to bring back the Aeros.) The Americans have a solid record against international competition, and the Russkies are always bad (to the bone), so look for a fair amount of high-stickin', body checkin' and bazooka-style slap shots. 7 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-3700. $18.50-$25. (C.K.)

Monday
December 13
Comedy Time Out Nine of the best comedy actors in Houston have put together a hilarious collection of skits and songs about the local sports scene -- often a joke in itself. Imagine Ross Perot as the new Oilers' coach, sayin' nothing, but sayin' it loudly. Or try a broadcasters' convention that includes such ripe targets as Dick Vitale, Keith Jackson and the Cubs' slobbering Harry Carey. I've heard some of the imitations, and these people have talent and humor. 8 p.m. Laff Stop, 1952a W. Gray, 524-2333. $5. (C.K.)

Vai Focal point Steve Vai is one of the most technically proficient guitarists on the planet. Sure he's played with David Lee Roth, but he also played with Frank Zappa. Most critical, though, is the fact that the poor man canÕt make a peep as a solo artist that doesn't send dogs screaming for the pound. Sex and Religion is the latest tragedy from Vai, the band, and it adds Devin Townsend's histrionic vocals to Vai's histrionic axe whipping for an ugly experiment in excess. But hey, his fingers move really fast. 9 p.m. Rockefeller's West, 6400 Richmond, 977-5495. $18. (B.T.)

Tuesday
December 14
William Bolcom I guess they'll hand out Pulitzers for darn near anything -- Bolcom got his for composition. Da Camera's After 1910 series showcases composers who won The Big One in the last ten years, so Houston is blessed with a visit by this white-hot post-modernist. Bolcom has been honored for his etudes, poetic interpretations and operas (last year's McTeague became fast food for the soul). For this one-night performance he plays a couple of Darius Milhaud's Le Printemps (that's French for spring), while the redoubtable Sergiu Luca heads a corps of Da Camera players for two Bolcom quartets. 8 p.m. Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross, 524-5050. $16. (C.K.)

 

Wednesday
December 15
Houston Blues Society Kids with AIDS Benefit A grandmother, her daughter dead or dying, raising an HIV positive grandchild -- this is AIDS in the mostly black, mostly poor parts of Houston. The Houston Blues Society will host a fundraiser for the families of children with AIDS and the HIV virus. The event features an all-star lineup of local blues treasures who have volunteered their music to help ease the pain of some families that are hurtin' bad and need some help. Among the featured artists are Grady Gaines, Oscar Perry, Joe "Guitar" Hughes and Blues Plus, Luvenia Lewis, Milton Hopkins, Eugene Moody, Sunset Heights, Lightning Red, Professor Blues, Faye Robinson, Rick Lee and the Texas Twister Horns featuring Paul David Roberts. The musicans are donating their talents; fans are requested to donate a minimum of $10. 8 p.m. Rockefeller's, 3620 Washington, 861-9365. (J.S.)

Thursday
December 16
Bob Allen's Tell It Like It Is Channel 13/KTRK's affable sportscaster hosts his weekly sports talk show. Modeled on the "sports reporter" format that's worked so well in other cities, Allen's panel consists of the Chron's senior columnist Ed Fowler, the Post's Kenny Hand and 950 AM/KSEV's Ralph Cooper. Discussions get fairly heated -- especially when the Oilers are losing Ñ and Oiler defensive tackle Ray Childress is usually on hand to offer his insight. The show takes place at the Drive Inn's outdoor patio, which has about twenty tables. Seats start to fill at 4 p.m.; channel 13's live sports broadcast begins around 6:20 p.m.; the show is taped from 7-8 p.m. The Drive Inn, 1503 Post Oak, 623-6060. (A.H.)

Contributions from Alex Hecht (A.H.), Crosby King (C.K.), Jim Sherman (J.S.) and Brad Tyer (B.T.).

Yuletide Spirit
With Christmas just around the corner, Houston folks are getting into the spirit. While the Heights and Post Oak are showcasing their brilliant lights, there's plenty of other ways channel your X-mas energy. Here's but a taste of the activites:

Activism
Sponsor a Family The American Business Women's Association is sponsoring a family for Christmas. The Taylor High School choir will perform holiday music. A non-perishable food item donation is requested. Tue., Dec. 14, 5:30 p.m. Holiday Inn, I-10 and Hwy. 6, 578-5066. Reservations recommended. $15.

Toys for Tots Drive Neiman Marcus will host its annual Christmas is for Kids toy drive. Toys for the drive do not have to be purchased at Neiman Marcus, but must be wrapped and delivered to the Town & Country store. Thru Dec. 18. Neiman Marcus Town & Country, 10615 Town & Country Way, 984-2100.

Children's Theater
All I Want For Christmas Selfish Princess Petunia receives a special gift and a valuable lesson for Christmas. Thu.-Sat., 10:30 a.m.; Fri., 1 p.m. A.D. Players, Rotunda Theater, St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 3471 Westheimer, 526-2721. Thru. Dec. 18. $5.

Frosty the Snowman The snowman we all know and love returns to Houston just in time for the holiday season and cooler temps. Sat., 11:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. The Company OnStage, 536 Westbury Square, 726-1219. Thru Jan. 1. $4.50.

The Toys Take Over Christmas A hard-hearted toymaker learns a lesson about love -- from his toys. Tue.-Fri., 9:30 & 11:30 a.m.; Sat. & Sun., 1 p.m. No performances Dec. 24 & 25. Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Pkwy., 527-8243. Thru Dec. 26. $5.

The Turn-Around Christmas Sonya the Skunk and Calico Kitten track down Willie the Weasel, who has stolen and is selling Santa's toys. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. Kuumba House, 3412 LaBranch, 524-1079. Thru Dec. 23. $4.

Festivals
Houston Healing Artists' Christmas Festival Houston-area artists present their pottery, jewelry, spirit dolls, angels, drums, watercolors and paintings. Sun., Dec. 12, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. 7717 Janak, off of Wirt Road and Westview, 682-6907. Free.

Scandinavian Festival Get in on this two-day festival that includes Scandinavian folkdancing, crafts, food and music. Sat., Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-midnight; Sun., Dec. 12, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. European Tavern and Garden, 3926 Feagan, 868-1084. $5 adults; $2 kids.

Music
A French Renaissance Celebration The Christmas Revels performers present A French Renaissance Celebration. The performance includes a ritual dance and Christmas carol rounds with audience participation. Fri., Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 11, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 12, 1 & 5 p.m. Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas, 802-9474. $18 adults; $15 seniors; $9 children.

 

Holiday Concert
The Space Center Houston and KRTS Radio present this musical that features 18 choirs from area high schools, churches, elementaries and colleges. Dec. 11, 18, 20, 21 & 23. Space Center Houston, 1601 NASA Road 1, 244-2100. $9.95 adults;. $5.95 kids.

Pennzoil Choir The 40-member Pennzoil Choir delivers three 45-minute performances. The choir will sing holiday melodies in this, its 14th annual performance. Tue.-Thu., Dec. 14-16. Pennzoil Place Lobby, 700 Milam. Free.

Theater
Christmas Attitudes The Pasadena Little Theatre presents Christmas Attitudes, a series of short plays about Christmas attitudes. The six comic playlets include a skit about a man who becomes despondent because no one will let him be Santa Claus. Fri. & Sat., Dec. 3-18, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 5, 12 & 19, 3 p.m. The Pasadena Little Theatre, 4318 Allen-Genoa Road, 649-2558. $4.

The Christmas Memory Bettye Fitzpatrick and Beth Sanford present their rendition of this play,.an adaptation of the Truman Capote story that details the way Buddy and Cousin Sook prepare for their unusual Christmas. Christ Church Cathedaral, Latham Auditorium, 1117 Texas, 222-7216. Dec. 11, 17, 18, 21Ð24 & 28, 10 a.m.; Dec. 10, 20, 21, 27 & 28, 12:15 p.m.; Dec. 10, 13, 20, 27, 1:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 18, 11:30 a.m.; Tue., Dec. 14, 6 p.m. $7.

Christmas Present Gary Laird's holiday romantic comedy involves a tangle of gay lovers. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m. Kuumba House, 3414 La Branch, 439-1825. Thru Dec. 18. $12.

Christmas Revels This event combines traditional carols, drama and dance in an homage to international Christmas lore. Fri., Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 11, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 12, 1 & 5 p.m. Rice University, Stude Concert Hall, 629-3700. $9-$18.

Snow Child A Russian toymaker fashions a little girl out of snow, and is delighted when she becomes real. Wed.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; no performances Dec. 24 & 25. Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Pkwy., 527-8243. Thru Jan. 2. $5-$9.

A Tuna Christmas If you've ever lived in a small town, passed through a small town, seen a small town on TV, or realized that the whole world is a small town -- this is your revenge. The boys from Greater Tuna are back, celebrating the country Texas pleasures of gun sales, bouffant hairdos, KKK meetings and of course, the annual yard display contest. If youÕve never seen Tuna, it is an essential Texas experience; if you have, you know why you need to return. Opens Tue., Dec. 14, 8 p.m. Tue.ÐSat., 8 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 2 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. Wortham Center, Cullen Theatre, 500 Texas, 629-3700. Thru Dec. 19. 629-3700. $22-$29.

Twelve Steps to a More Dysfunctional Christmas Rob Nash returns with his one-man holiday sequel to the popular comedy Twelve Steps to a More Dysfunctional You. Tue.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. & 6 p.m. Curtains, 3722 Washington, 862-4548. Thru Dec. 26. $10-$15.

Etcetera
Boat Lane Parade This annual parade has grown to be one of the most spectacular lighted boating events in the nation. This year, boaters will compete for 60 awards. Sat., Dec. 11 & 18, 6 p.m. Clear Lake, I-45 between Houston and Galveston. 488-7676. Free.

Holiday Culinary Delights Join chefs Tim Keating, Andre Daguin and Roger Duffour for the second Christmas culinary exhibition in the Omni Hotel's five-part series. Keating will discuss the wines and foods of the Gascony region of southern France, while Daguin and Duffor explore the mastery of fowl. Sun., Dec. 12, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The Omni Hotel, 4 Riverway, 871-8181. $75.

International Santa Houston's bilingual Santa returns to listen to children's Christmas lists in English or Spanish. Mon., Dec. 13 & 20, 1Ð6 p.m. Sharpstown Center, I-59 and Bellaire Blvd., 777-5391. Free.


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