Novel Messengers in the Brain That's part one. Part two is "Science Education as a Centerpiece for Educational Reform." The first is a lecture by Dr. Solomon H. Snyder, the second a lecture by Dr. Bruce M. Alberts. They know more than you do. Frankly, we'd be interested in seeing anyone talk hopefully about educational reform. We do agree, however, that if we were lucky enough to have educational improvements, it would be good if science class experiments were tougher than making batteries out of lemons. Snyder directs the Department of Neuroscience and is a professor of pharmacology and psychiatry at Johns Hopkins and probably knows what we'll be chomping when the Zoloft trend fades. Snyder and Alberts speak at the 23rd Annual Verna and Marrs McLean Lectures in Biochemistry. 2 p.m. Cullen Auditorium, Baylor College of Medicine, 1 Baylor Plaza, 798-4712. Free.
Vikram Chandra and the Paris Review The Paris Review is 40 and Chandra is nowhere near that, but tonight they will both be honored at the Brazos Bookstore. The literary magazine will be honored with a display of early issues and posters. Chandra, winner of the 1994 Paris Review Discovery Prize, will read his prize-winning story "Dharma." He'll be able to zip through this quickly; were our brilliant young talent to read his novel, Red Earth and Pouring Rain, we'd be in for an overnight stay. "Dharma," Chandra says, is "my tribute to ghost stories. I love ghost stories so I thought I'd try and write one." Rather straightforward comments from a creative writing program grad, a grad with credentials that include work with John Barth and the late Donald Barthelme (whom Chandra honored with an obit in Texas Monthly). He also studied directing with Brad Dourif, Academy Award nominee and the voice of Chucky in the Child's Play movies. The Bombay wunderkind is hard to pigeonhole. However, one thing we can say for sure is that he's interested in his audience, and this isn't as common in the arts as one might hope. "Dharma," and the other stories in his Tales of Love and Longing collection, have a guy sitting in a bar telling stories as a connecting frame. "The audience," Chandra says, "is a present audience that speaks back and is turbulent and unruly and demanding." In post-game analysis, he cites this device as a way of bringing the audience back, of getting away from post po-mo inbred "I have a whole big bag of tricks from writing workshops but no life experiences or common sense because I was too busy spending daddy's money in grad school" modern fiction. The Paris Review exhibition will be on display in the bookstore through February. Chandra reads tonight, 7:30 p.m. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet, 523-0701. Free.
Buster Williams master class The jazz bassist is not only in town for a concert; Buster is also offering a master class. Free. Show up for the class in the early evening and hang around for the concert. After leading the class, Buster plays with his new quintet, Something More. Billy Childs, piano; Antonio Hart, alto sax; Shunzo Ono, trumpet and flugel; and Yoron Israel, percussion, play with Buster under the auspices of SumArts. Master class, 6:30 p.m. Hamman Hall, Rice University, entrance no. 14 off Rice. For details call 667-8000. The master class is open to the public.
Pass the Blutwurst, Bitte Performance artist John Kelly calls himself a performance artist because that's what other people call him. He'd describe his work as multimedia dance theater if he had to. We'll cut to the chase. His work Pass the Blutwurst, Bitte is fabulous -- in the camp sense of the term, for those who need that sort of protection. "There's always a sarcastic element," Kelly says, "but I try to get beyond that." His homage to Viennese artist Egon Schiele employs a lot of music from the ballet Giselle; Kelly's Egon even twirls. However, Kelly says, "It's not supposed to be a joke, I love that music." This love is not something from the Hallmark card shop. Kelly's unique works have astonished and confounded people, but the most novel aspect is his sincerity. He has conviction and he refuses to pander. Art is not a high priority for most Americans, he says. "We're a lazy culture," notes Kelly. "TV has numbed us. We don't even have the Ed Sullivan Show anymore." The problem for artists, he adds, is that "people don't trust us, they don't know our work. I like to lure people in; it's not an elitist endeavor." Pass the Blutwurst, Bitte (Pass the Blood Sausage, Please) is a fine show for the whole family. 8 p.m. Today, Saturday and Sunday. Alley Theatre, Neuhaus Arena Stage, 615 Texas, 228-ALLE. $15 and $20, $12 students.
Chinese New Year Brad Moore of Keenlies makes like a chunky monkey for the Year of the Boar (that's year 4693 according to our Chinese restaurant sources, though cartoonist Matt Groening has claimed it's year 4632) at Laveau's. Keenlies are joined on the stage by Rugrash and Sasquatch 2000. We hear rumors of pyrotechnic displays and promises that a genuine Chinese dragon made by HSPVA students will wiggle through the crowd. Probably, the evening will look like a tong war, Keystone Cops-style, with cheap beer in plastic cups. Smoking allowed. Late. Laveau's, 321 Alabama, 526-9400. $4.
Keep watching the skies! Flying Elvises -- or Elvi, if your prefer -- and one flying Marilyn will parachute into Rice University stadium today, this display to advertise the opening of "Elvis + Marilyn: 2 X Immortal" at the Contemporary Arts Museum. The skydivers, Paul McGowan's E-Team, will jump in glittering white jumpsuits, except for "Marilyn." She'll be wearing a replica of the white halter-dress from The Seven Year Itch. After landing, the E-Team will take a pink 1957 Cadillac to the museum for an opening ribbon cutting and reception. The E-Team is the only precision skydiving team officially licensed by the Presley estate. Drop at 6 p.m., Rice University Stadium. Opening 7-9 p.m. Contemporary Arts Museum, 5216 Montrose, 526-0773. Free.
Ray Miller, Texas in the 1830s Despite appearances to the contrary, Ray Miller does not have firsthand knowledge of the 1830s. His chat today will be based on research -- Miller does a lot of research in the Texas Room at the downtown library, for instance. Miller's knowledge of Texas history, as all his fans know, is vast. This afternoon, he focuses on life in this corner of the state during the first days of English and Central European settlement. Miller will talk about the daily life of our pioneer forefathers under the Mexican flag, what precipitated the Texas revolution and the founding of Houston in 1836. A tour of the Redbud Hill pioneer homestead is included in the presentation. For ages 12 and older. 10 a.m.--noon. Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center, 20634 Kenswick Drive, Humble, 446-8588. Free.
Mardi Gras Hou-Dah Parade One no longer need drive all the way down I-45 for krewe folderol, cheap plastic beads and silly skits; this year the parade is on the Richmond strip. This year's theme is "Rich Mon!! Pour Mon!!" and is said to be "a spoof of Houston's entertainment and nightclub culture." Hey, I didn't even know we had an entertainment and nightclub culture. Grand Pooh-Bah Dave Ward will oversee the parade and subsequent skit contests and concert. Fifteen or sixteen teams will compete, in bizarre costumes, for cash prizes, which they will then spend on buckets of grain alcohol and shaved ice ... strike that, the Grand Pooh-Bah will ensure that all the money goes to recognized, legit charities. Judges will be from the Pooh-Bah's set -- various broadcast and maybe even print media celebs. Teams compete, and that is the term being used, in three-minute skits. Categories: "On Your Toes," any old routine; "About Your Company," a spoof of the team's company; and "In Your Face," a goof on the strip or a particular club. This all happens in front of Club Blue Planet after the parade. The parade starts at Unity and Richmond, passes the watering holes on both sides of the street, and then lurches to a halt. 4 p.m. After awards are passed out, Fem 2 Fem, Anything Box, Channel 69, The Hunger and Rob Base will entertain in the Blue Planet parking lot. The parade begins at 4 p.m. and is free. The five-act concert is $5. For details, call KRBE/104 FM, 266-1000.
1995 Bass Fishing Techniques Institute Six of America's top pros, really big names from TV fishing shows that have names like, oh, Honey Hole, (or if they don't, they should) will be offering the straight skinny on everything from plain old worms to "establishing multiple patterns within patterns." Fishing school is Saturday and Sunday, but Sunday is the best day for fishing, so go today. Hang with the VanDam of fishing, Kevin. Kevin VanDam is a three-time Bass Master Classic finalist and the 1992 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year. He and other pros share their fishing skills with all comers, playing no favorites. Ramada Hotel, 7787 Katy Freeway. Call HCCS Southwest College to enroll, 662-9220. $74.
Pre-Valentine's Day Hair Cut-A-Thon Why do people do this? Cut their hair, I mean. Men with dashing, Byronesque forelocks have their dark tresses clipped. Men with easily tousled ballplayer curls get buzz-cuts to "be neat." Women whose ends would never split, not in a million years or even with swimming in chlorinated pools, have their shining locks snipped into dorky pageboys. Sometimes one wonders if our primitive ancestors didn't invent sharp tools for the sole purpose of hairstyling. In any case, the Delilahs today will be at La Salon Outre, and the proceeds from the discount haircuts will go to The Arc of Greater Houston, a coalition serving the mentally retarded and those with other developmental disabilities. 11 a.m.4 p.m. La Salon Outre, 5050 FM 1960 West (in Huntwick Village Center). For details, call The Arc, 957-3357. Most cuts $15 today only.
League of Women Voters anniversary It's 8 a.m. on Election Day, you don't know where your polling place is; who you gonna call? The League of Woman Voters. For 75 years the League has been working, tirelessly and with good cheer, to encourage the typical sloth to keep up with the issues, provided information to keep the typical sloth apprised of the issues, and done everything to get the voters out except for actually picking people up at their houses and driving them to polling places. To celebrate their success, and gear up for the rest of the century, the League is having a high tea. Former League presidents will be honored and everyone is invited. 3 p.m. Ritz-Carlton, 1919 Briar Oaks Lane. For reservations, call the League at 784-2923. $10.
Heritage Bridal Collection What a deal! All the pageantry, cake and champagne of a real wedding without the very real expense of gift buying and none of the horror of watching friends destroy their lives. The Galveston Historical Foundation will serve cake and champagne, and present a slide-show lecture about bridal fashions from the Civil War era to the end of World War II. Models and mannequins will display elaborate gowns, but as far as we can tell, few grooms will be on hand. In fact, the guest list is limited, make reservations now. 7 p.m. 1859 Ashton Villa, 2328 Broadway, Galveston, 280-3907. $30 per person.
Molly Ivins Can Say Anything, Can't She? You betcha. She can and will, and if she's said a thing a few times, and it went over well, she might just say it again, in later columns, for better mileage. Today, the best-selling author and nationally syndicated columnist has been invited to speak at Rice. The Department of Sociology has brought the big-boned gal in to talk some trash and do the whole raconteur bit. Ivins will offer pearls of wisdom and folksy aphorisms in Stude Concert Hall, which is not huge. Seating is limited and fans are advised to arrive early. 8 p.m. Stude Concert Hall, Alice Pratt Brown Hall, Rice University, entrance no. 8 off University, 527-8101. Free.
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