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December 23
Houston Rockets vs. Denver Nuggets Our magnificent boys in maroon and gold take on the team of the future in the Midwest Division. The Nugs have struggled in recent times, but through a seemingly endless list of lottery picks -- the latest being power forward Rodney Rogers, a self-described cross between Karl Malone and Charles Barkley -- the Mile High bunch is actually worth seeing. But, in all likelihood, most Houston fans won't. 7:30 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-3700. $11-$150. (A.H.)

Sidney, In Focus 'Tis the season to be neurotic, and Houston native Shelley Stolaroff goes full-bore kooky in her one-woman comedy about struggling to find focus amid the myriad of madding issues facing modern women. Delightfully dysfunctional,Sidney, In Focus premiered at the Actor's Festival in San Diego last spring; this is the only night it's playing in Houston. 11 p.m. Curtains Theater, 3722 Washington, 862-4548. $8. (E.S.)

All Things in Moderation Weight Watchers' holiday hotline offers free advice on how to indulge without going overboard. During regular business hours the friendly Weight Watchers operators will be standing by to explain how you can have your cake and eat it too. The free tips designed to help the health-conscious survive the holidays include advice on how to say no to loved ones (an invaluable lesson for family gatherings); how to say no to foods prepared "just for you" (even when the offering in question is a dish you actually like and is, for once, prepared properly); and how to remember that, despite all evidence to the contrary, the holiday season is a celebration of more than just food. That toll-free number is (800) 359-3131. Free. (E.S.)

December 24
Christmas Star Spend Christmas Eve watching the night skies over the hills of Judea -- actually, a glittering recreation thereof, in the solemnly dark and slightly spooky planetarium. The Christmas Star show reviews the astronomical events at the time of Christ's birth and explores theories about the Star of Bethlehem without besmirching the magic of Christmas. 1 & 3 p.m. Burke Baker Planetarium, One Hermann Circle Drive, 639-IMAX. $2; $1.50 children under 12 and seniors (62 and over); $1 museum members. (E.S.)

December 25
Munchies X-mas Party The stocking are hung near the beer mugs with care, and who in the world beat but Sanza will be there. This Friday-night fete is a reggae little Christmas in Munchies' mellow atmosphere, with all kinds of exotic beer on tap and Boar's Head sandwiches to take the taste of too much turkey out of your mouth. Food and drink are a la carte, but Munchies' erudite, pubbish atmosphere has bar stools, a dart board and pool tables for party games, and original artwork on the walls for conversational gambits. Weather permitting, revelers can take some air and enjoy an ale outside on the patio. Sanza plays at 9 p.m., but the doors open at 5. Munchies, 1716 Richmond, 528-3545. $2. (E.S.)

December 26
Charlie Shannon headlines at the Laff Stop. Sans younger brother T. "Baby T" Sean Shannon and various other miscreants from the Shannon Brothers' Christmas Show, Charlie is still a big jolly figure -- in fact, he threatens to continue performing in the familiar red-and-fur-trimmed Kris Kringle suit. This is a surly Santa with exactly the right attitude for post-Christmas kvetching. He sneers, he snarls, he's really sweet as pie. Former Houstonian Brenda Pontiff (smirky, pathetic talk-show hostess Jenny Jones is her devil baby) and E.L. Gibson share the bill with him. Charlie's loud, loutish humor is a sure cure for cloying Christmas spirit and other pitfalls of civilization. 8 p.m. The Laff Stop, 1952A West Gray, 524-2333. $6; two-drink minimum. (E.S.)

December 27
Remembering Myrna Instead of lighting candles, remember Myrna Loy with the flickering pale-blue light of a cathode ray tube: rent a stack of movies and enjoy this classic American movie star's entire career in one long evening. The late actress is best remembered as Nora Charles, she of the classic profile and caustic wit, in the Thin Man movies. That entire set of sleuth films, in glorious black-and-white, is available on tape. Shake up some martinis, settle back and enjoy. Or, check out another erudite screwball so-cool Loy-Powell package, Libeled Lady. Loy also made her mark in such family-style classics as Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House (with Cary Grant and Melvyn Douglas). Too, Loy starred in the powerful and historically significant post-war drama, The Best Years of Our Lives. (E.S.)

December 28
Celebrate Boxing Day The Children's Museum has enlisted a live Brit, Sue Heydon, to lead a fun shop with storytelling, role-playing and British gift cracker-making to celebrate a real English Boxing Day. Have fun and find out what this post-Christmas fest from across the pond is all about. 4-5 p.m. (pre-registration required). The Children's Museum, 1500 Binz, 522-1183. $5; $3 members. (E.S.)

December 29

"Angels From South of the Border" Hurry -- Que Milagro Gallery continues its exhibit of Mexican retablos until the end of the month. These archangels and other mythic figures are quite a surprise for those who've been overdosed and underwhelmed by folk-primitive knockoffs and Frida Kahlo prints. These iconographic pieces were done on tin -- classical-style painting by anonymous painters -- in Mexico, between 1850 and 1900. The works herald two of the seven archangels, San Rafael and San Miguel. 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Que Milagro, 2913 Ferndale St., 521-3591. (


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