Angels in America Tony Kushner's epic of gay life in America -- which has won a Tony, a Pulitzer and a London Evening Standard best play award -- opens in our neck of the woods with a special preview performance for Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA)/Houston. Angels is presented in two parts, and the first, Millennium Approaches, will be performed this evening. The regular run continues through June 11. Alley Theatre, Neuhaus Arena Stage, 615 Texas Avenue, 228-8421. Tickets for tonight's benefit, $150 general admission, $500 VIP tickets. All guests are invited to a post-performance reception in the Alley foyer. For reservations, call DIFFA, 552-9445.
Asian Treasures Hard-working Y. A. Bagersh and his Express Theatre have a new show for children, a quick tour of Asia. In several scenes of story and dance, elegant costumed characters present folk tales from the East. Elements of Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Vietnamese history are portrayed. Cherry Blossom, choreographed by Chizuko Matsumoto uses elements of two ancient Japanese styles, mai and odori. Linda Phenix has prepared a Vietnamese piece about Li' Xi' (Lucky Money), a traditional New Year's gift. These women, and the other choreographers, are all classically trained and use the conventions of cultural form in their dances and costuming. Asian Treasures opens tonight at 7 p.m. Those with special reservations may attend a reception after the show. (Reception catered by Tokyo Gardens, Hunan Restaurant, Minh Foods and Khyber North Indian Grill.) Children's Museum, 1500 Binz, 759-1314. $5.
The track is back A ten-week showcase of cycle races commences tonight. In U.S. Cycling Federation (USCF) races, cyclists will compete in points races, miss and out, and unknown distances. If that's Greek to you, don't worry, as the cyclists whiz by, the hotshot cycling-race announcer will explain it all. 7 p.m. Alkek Velodrome, in Cullen Park, Barker Cypress and Saums Road, 578-0693. Free.
Guns 'N Hoses II Police officers and firefighters slug it out for charity, the Texas Special Olympics and the USA Boxing Gulf Association. Until we have City Council mud wrestling, this is as good as it gets. Buy a blue ticket to sit on the HPD side and root for the peace officers, or buy a red ticket to sit and cheer on the firefighters. 7:30 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-3700. $10, $15, $17.50 and $25.
HSPVA Jazz Festival Highlighting students in the groove, HSPVA directors Bob Morgan and David Caceres -- and student director Joseph Berryman -- present two days of what's red, hot and cool featuring guest artist Larry Slezak. Slezak has performed with Sammy Davis Jr., Bob Hope, Liza with a Z and Tony Bennett, and now he plays with the kids of HSPVA. Today's concert, 7:30 p.m. High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Denney Theater, 4001 Stanford, 522-9289. Saturday concert same time, same place. Advance tickets $5 one night, $8 for both. At door, $6 for a single night, $10 for both performances.
Big Butt Girls, Hard Headed Women Rhodessa Jones' one-woman show celebrates an often unexplored element of sisterhood. The title is taken from two things Jones heard while she was growing up, "Sit your big butt down" and "Don't be so hardheaded." She did not sit her big butt down and she is hardheaded and ended up in prison -- as an instructor, that is, teaching aerobics in a women's correctional facility. To entertain the inmates, she told some stories. Then the prisoners told some stories back. Oddly enough, they all had stories about being told to sit their big butts down. Next thing you know, Big Butt Girls, Hard Headed Women was a successful theater piece. This collection of biographical vignettes has been doing sold-out shows in venues across the country. Meanwhile, Jones set up The Medea Project: Theater For Incarcerated Women. As a commissioned artist-in-residence in San Francisco's city and county jails, Jones has helped women in prison create and perform theater pieces. During her two months in Houston, Jones will perform for the arty crowd and conduct workshops for youth. Two shows, 8 p.m. tonight and tomorrow. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway, 228-0914. $12 adults, $10 DiverseWorks members, $8 seniors and students.
1995 River, Lakes, Bays 'N Bayous Trash Bash Okay, everybody, up and at 'em by 8:30 a.m. Gloves and trash bags will be handed out by Woodsy Owl, Smokey the Bear and Mobius (BFI's mobius-quality recycling character) at seven official Trash Bash sites. This backbreaking, earth-friendly frolic was cooked up by a gang of state and federal agents, city and county agents, and gadfly environmental activist plus a few bandwagon jumpers. Free hot dogs, cooked up by volunteers, will be provided at all cleanup sites, and entertainment will be provided at a select few. Extra entertainment that is, as all volunteers will thrill to the sheer, naked joy of doing right by our waterways. Cleanup begins at 9 a.m. and will cease between 11 and 11:30 a.m. Armand Bayou, Bay Area Park; Lake Conroe, Stow-Away Marina; Houston Bayous, Brays Bayou, Buffalo Bayou, White Oak Bayou; Dickinson Bayou, Highway 3 public boat ramp; Galveston Bay, Texas City Dike; Lake Houston, Deussen Park; and San Jacinto River, Battleground State Park. Call (800) 64-TEXAS for more information.
Houston Children's Festival The big deal this year is the giant POG milk cap tournament. All the kids who enter will be given a POG milk cap and the competition will be an ongoing, round-by-round elimination game. At the end of the festival, one proud local child will be the champion. Kids who wash out in the early rounds will soon forget the agony of defeat. They can express themselves creatively at the Art Park by making toys out of orange juice cans and other household items, or hang out at the Pioneer Days cowboy camp, or simply follow Taz (Warner Bros. Tasmanian Devil) to the Nickelodeon Game Lab. Proceeds from the Children's Festival go to Child Advocates Inc., a organization providing volunteers who speak out on behalf of neglected and abused children. Today, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Greenway Plaza Park, next to The Summit. For details, call 684-6090. Advance discount tickets are available at Kroger stores. Admission at the gate is $5 adults, $3 children, free for children under three.
Love Is All It Takes The Gay Men's Chorus of Houston sings love songs and opera choruses. Plenty of towns have gay men's choruses, and they do that tired old show-tunes thing. The men of our chorus, who can do show tunes to beat the band any time they want, have a broader range. Along with classical selections, the chorus will perform parts of a suite, Though Much Is Taken, Much Abides. This suite is from GMCH's soon-to-be-released recording To Friends and To Life: The Gay Men's Chorus of Houston Celebrates Its Fifteenth Anniversary. That's right, 15 years. The GMCH is an established musical ensemble. 7 p.m. Metropolitan Community Church of the Resurrection, 1919 Decatur. For tickets call 227-2787. $10.
I got the duck right here... His name is Paul Revere... or Bubbles, or whatever. Name your own duck, place your own private bets. Or dress up in elaborate feathered costumes and thrill fellow duck racers with a stirring rendition of "Rubber Ducky, You're the One." Or, bring like-minded neighbors down to the bayou and do the duck dance while accompanying yourselves on harmonica. Anything goes at the Houston Delta Gamma Foundation's seventh annual Great Houston Duck Race. Anything goes on the banks and in Buffalo Bayou as 30,000 bright yellow duckies bob in the muddy waters, racing for cash and prizes, glory, and the benefit of the visually impaired in the greater Houston area. The prizes, including two round-trip tickets to Europe, go to lucky duck sponsors. Ducks are $5 each, and you can buy as many as you like. Duck day fun begins at noon, when the carnival and petting zoo open. An hour later comes the famed "Duck Walk." (Hint: odds favor people with a naturally low center of gravity.) The ducks are loosed at 2:30 p.m. Spectators should line the banks from Lookout Point to Sam Houston Park. If you wanna buy a duck, call 521-DUCK.
BBC Philharmonic Feisty Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, known to all as simply Max, leads his award-winning orchestra in a program of his own works, and well as some Europe-hopping Mendelssohn. The first half of the program has a Scottish air running through it -- with Mendelssohn's The Hebrides overture, for instance -- while the concluding work, Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4 in A Major, op. 90 Italian, is a bit more Mediterranean. When he played portions of op. 90 for friends, Mendelssohn is said to have remarked, "That is a fragment of Italy. Do you not see the moon shining and the pretty girls dancing?" So if you feel like waltzing in the aisles at the end, Mendelssohn would probably approve. As for Sir Max, who knows? The BBC Philharmonic is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a 20-city tour of the colonies. The orchestra is joined by trumpeter Hkan Hardenberger, who will perform Davies' Trumpet Concerto. 8 p.m. Jones Hall, 500 Louisiana, 227ARTS. $8-$40.
Trilateral Business Conference and Super Show Exposition Dust off your "can-do" attitude and come on out to the Super Show, a celebration of products and services and business. Not since the glory days of the Offshore Technology Conference have we seen a celebration of commerce like this one. Representatives from new markets, NAFTA markets and on-line ventures, will be available for schmoozing along with members of the business-as-usual community. Dress for success and carry stacks of business cards. Today, the luncheon topic for the conference is "Toward Borderless Markets," and the Super Show opens with a party at 4:30 p.m. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas, 651-2271. $6 at the door, or pick up tickets at the Greater Houston Partnership, 1200 Smith, Suite 700.
Rockets As the calendar creeps closer and closer to late April, the term "Clutch City" will also crawl back into our minds. We need to have that term stressed rather loudly at the Summit tonight when the Lakers and The Rockets meet for the third time this season. Earlier, when L.A. killed The Rockets on our home court, the Houston team looked a bit different. Otis Thorpe was the big man inside to complement the Dream, and Vernon Maxwell was pleased to be the starting guard for the fourth year in a row. Now, everything has changed. Thorpe is gone. Clyde Drexler has come home for as much basketball and barbecue as any multimillionaire has a right to ask for, Maxwell is unhappy with being a possible sixth man and the crowds are quieter than ever. You'd think a recharged (and rehired) Turbo and a fresh new food court featuring $6 Whataburger Juniors would be enough to make us sweat beads of anticipation for our title-toting team. This isn't playoff time, but, hey, it's getting close, so at least start having slight palpitations. Game time is 7:30 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 961-9003.
JazzFest V The University of Houston and Houston Community College System's central college music departments come together for a musical tribute to the masters of jazz. This collaborative concert covers styles ranging from the music of James Brown (who we always thought was the Godfather of Soul, but maybe his time in that South Carolina lockup a few years back jazzed him a bit) to tunes by Glenn Miller. The UH Jazz Ensemble, led by Mark Holter, plays music by Rob McConnell and Don Menza. Our old buddy Noe Marmolejo directs the UH Jazz Orchestra in what his old buddy Holter calls "some of the finest contemporary big band jazz on the market." 7:30 p.m. HCCS, Heinen Theatre, 3517 Austin, 630-1138. Free. Free parking, too.
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