Press Picks

march 17
Thanks for the Memories A tribute to the late great Shamrock Hotel and the late great Glen McCarthy.
"The Shamrock was not just a hotel, built of steel, mortar and rivets," the press release tells us. "She was a symbol of all Houston was and is: 'The biggest, best, futuristic in her thinking; hospitable and willing to reach for the stars.' " St. Patty's Day begins with former Shamrock staffer Mario Garza laying a wreath on the site and Dick Krueger singing "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" The public is invited to attend. At exactly 9 a.m., organizers tell us. 6900 Main at Holcombe.

Greening of Buffalo Bayou with the Texas Army Local Charm owner Rory Miggins has organized a one-of-a-kind celebration. Early on, enjoy the free and open-to-the-public event to re-green a downtown swamp space at Texas and Commerce, noon. As the sun sets, Irish History Month continues at Houston's oldest lounge. Take a cab (or designated driver) to Local Charm to enjoy Banana Blender Surprise, Houston's original snake races, leprechaun tossing and the Miss Patty O'Furniture pageant. 1501 Telephone Road at Lawndale, 926-0329.

Happy Hour for the Bering Care Center Another HIV/AIDS benefit effort from the Museum Restaurant & Bar. Gift certificates will be sold throughout the day -- said certificates valid for food and drink, lunch or dinner beginning tomorrow. Proceeds will go to the Bering Care Center Kitchen, which serves almost 20,000 meals annually. Celebrate St. Patrick's Day on the patio and raise a glass to the folks at Bering. 5:30-6:30 p.m. 1512 W. Alabama, 529-6071.

Irish Cultural Arts Program The cultural history of Ireland is more than what the promoters of this event call "little green Sambo" (others know him as the Lucky Charms cereal salesman). This event will have seanachie, damhsa and seisun -- that's story, dance and music for you non-Gaelic speakers. 8 p.m. University of St. Thomas, Cullen Music Hall, next to the Doherty Library. Free.

Upcoming Events

Flying Fish Sailors Montrosians know the Fish from their many appearances at music festivals and other chantey venues, or from their appearances at our finer bars. Tonight they perform obscure and delightful tunes from Ireland, Scotland and the Shetland Isles. 7 p.m. Munchies, 1617 Richmond, 528-3545. $4.

march 18
Rice Spring Theater Festival With little or no university support, the students of Rice are producing four plays and a staged reading. Performances will be held this weekend and next at various on-campus sites. Thank the Rice Players, Baker Shakespeare, Will Rice College Theater and the Black Student Association for their hard work by going out to see their efforts. Another Antigone, directed by Amy Hemphill, will be in Hamman Hall at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Baker Shakespeare has selected All's Well that Ends Well for this year. Friday-Sunday at 8 p.m., Baker College commons. With community theater flair, Will Rice College has put up Guys and Dolls, for Thursday and Friday, 8 p.m., in the Will Rice commons. Undaunted by Ntozake Shange's recent direction of her work at the Ensemble, Aaran Green and Rochelle Outlaw have staged a production of For Colored Girls...; we suspect their youthful enthusiasm might add worthy elements. Colored Girls will be presented at 7 p.m. March 25-27, with a 2 p.m. matinee on the 27th. Call for location.

A special event in this year's festival is the Equity New Play Development Workshop's reading of Secrets by Bren Dubay. New York director Terence Lamude lends his hand. Sunday, 2 p.m. Hamman Hall. For more information, directions or reservations, call the festival box office at 527-4040.

march 19
Liza Minnelli and Angela Lansbury Liza with a Z and the little old white lady who keeps tripping over dead bodies are onstage for a gala AmFAR benefit.

AmFAR, founded by another grande dame, Liz Taylor, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of AIDS research, education for AIDS prevention and sound AIDS-related public policy. Houston is very popular with AmFAR -- and with Minnelli, who has been keeping company with former Houstonian Billy Stritch for some years. Stritch will play piano for Liza's nightclub performance. (Lansbury is simply mistress of ceremonies.)

Minnelli and Lansbury have donated their services and will appear at a post-performance reception open to all who buy $500 tickets. 8 p.m. Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Freeway, 629-3700. $50, $100, $250, $500.

march 20
Children's Festival Child Advocates Inc. benefits, and so do Houston kids, who get a chance to see the premiere of the new Dinamation robot exhibit, "Baby Dinosaurs." The exhibit highlights the home life of the thunder lizards -- nesting, early dinosaur development and parental care.

Children at the festival will also enjoy rides, a Velcro wall and space-ball gyro machine. Magicians, clowns and musicians will entertain.

Both children and adults can learn at WhistleStop, a theme town built by 13 of Houston's largest nonprofit organizations to educate Texans about child-abuse prevention and to provide adults with valuable information about parenting.

Child Advocates Inc. is a private, nonprofit organization that defends the rights of abused children in Harris County courts and educational systems.

Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Greenway Plaza Park, across from the Summit. $4 adults, $2 children. (Discount coupons available at Kroger stores and on six-packs of Pepsi.)

march 21
Get out of town Spring is here, so sign up for Far Flung Adventures and Texas Adventures if you haven't already. The former offers travel with country-and-western singers; the latter, courtesy of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, enables laypeople to enjoy the great outdoors with scientists and experts in outdoorsy fields.

Texas Adventures' next outing, March 24-27, is a photo trip to Big Bend with landscape and wildlife photographers Leroy Williamson and Jim Carr. This adventure begins in Fort Leaton. Everything is covered under the cost ($400), including evening critiques and lectures -- but you have to get to Fort Leaton yourself. Contact Tom Harvey at (512) 389-4453 for this and other Parks and Wildlife programs.

Far Flung has campfire concerts and riverside thrills and spills with Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Gilmore provides river music in the Santa Elena Canyon for three days (April 23-25), Far Flung's expert guides take care of business, and you enjoy a truly unique weekend. All things considered, a bargain at $475 per person.

Another flatlander, Butch Hancock, stars on a Far Flung trip in June. Butch is not only a singer and songwriter, but also a folk poet, adventurer and sketch artist. This little outing is a three-day rafting weekend (June 24-26) on the Rio Grande, including the Taos Box in New Mexico. (Butch has completed advanced whitewater school and will be a boatman on the trip, too.) This trip costs $425 per person, which covers equipment and meals.

To participate in a Far Flung adventure, happy campers should be older than ten, in good health and prepared for moderate to strenuous exercise -- hiking and rowing. Call Steve or one of the other fine folks at Far Flung for further information, (800) 359-2627.

march 22
Jesus Christ Superstar An early hit for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, a song source for Helen Reddy and now a vehicle for an otherwise-out-of-work '80s pop star. This roadshow version of the Christ story reunites Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson, who stared in the macram movie version as Jesus and Judas.

When the Broadway show opened, there was some shock value in a rock opera, especially a biblical rock opera. Time has passed and we're all blase about that -- which is nice, as there is some merit in this show. Musically, Jesus Christ Superstar is every bit as rousing as, oh, Oklahoma!. The text is rather nifty, too. Webber and Rice play cat-and-mouse with the issue of divinity, so it's never clear if their Christ is anything more than just a guy who talks a good game.

And in the role of Pilate is the whiny-voiced Dennis DeYoung, who showed a penchant for the overly theatrical in a former life as lead singer for '80s concept band Styx. He penned and sang some of the band's worst greatest hits -- "Mr. Roboto," "The Best of Times," "Babe," "Come Sail Away," the list goes on. Okay, but can he act?

Opens tonight, 8 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Thru March 27. Brown Theater, Wortham Center, 500 Texas Avenue, 629-3700. $36.50-$42.50.

march 23
Book 'im, Dan-o Time again for the American Cancer Society's Jail-N-Bail fundraiser. Over the next three days, happy citizens can have their friends and co-workers "arrested" and tossed in the pokey -- all for a good cause. Once incarcerated, the jailbird has unlimited access to a cellular phone to call friends, relatives and other cash-holders. Minimum bail is $250, but the American Cancer Society suggests bail between $250 and $700. The Society is already planning to bust Doug Dawson, Ninfa Laurenzo, Fran Fawcett, R. C. Rogers and Sam Nuchia. Have your friends arrested, and maybe they'll get you autographs.

Jail-N-Bail cancer cops will be on patrol 9 a.m.-4 p.m. today and tomorrow. (Plus 1-4 p.m. Tue., Mar. 22.) There is a $15 complaint filing fee, but no limit to how many people you can have picked up. Call 266-2877 to order arrests.

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