Luxurious Consumption Once upon a time, people made a social exercise out of drinking tea. Hence, they needed tea-drinking stuff: porcelains, silver, even furniture made for the occasion. Twice tonight, architectural historian John R. Tschirch explains tea's effect on the decorative arts. 6 and 8 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, Brown Auditorium, 1001 Bissonnet, 526-1361. Free, though seating is limited.
Where There's Smoke, There's Fire And where there's women, there's smoke. That's especially true tonight, when the Morton's of Chicago chain hosts its Second Annual Smoke for Women. Last year, our local Morton's was too new to participate; this year, we're right in the thick of it. The evening starts with hors d'oeuvres and martinis, moves to a four-course dinner with wine and continues with dessert and after-dinner cordials. Afterward, ladies can indulge in a selection of Montecristo cigars. Sounds like there's ample opportunity for getting lit in more ways than one. Still, it's for a good cause: Some proceeds benefit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Cocktail reception, 6:30; dinner, 7:30 p.m. Morton's of Chicago, 5000 Westheimer, 629-1946. $125 (reservations required).
Foley's: Retailing in a Changing World Foley's, our beloved homegrown retail chain, is nothing if not dependable, but it takes ingenuity to remain dependable and current in the face of fickle shoppers. Tonight, Linda Knight, senior vice president of marketing for Foley's, shares her experiences as an "agent of change." Part of the Barbara Hurwitz Lecture Series on "Managing in a Changing World." 7 p.m. University of St. Thomas, Cullen Hall, 4001 Mt. Vernon, 525-2100. Free.
Screen Actors Guild archives Even union work is glamorous in Hollywood. In "Moments in Time: Selected Images from the Screen Actors Guild Archives, 19331970," we're shown the beautiful people promoting their unity and their pension fund. This collection of photos and artifacts is making its way across the country for the first time ever, and it starts here in Houston. The exhibit (which, not coincidentally, coincides with tonight's NBC broadcast of the Third Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards) is co-sponsored by the Houston Center for Photography. Through March 8. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. John Cleary Gallery, 2635 Colquitt, 524-5070. Free.
The Formative Years of Philanthropy in Houston Dr. Joseph A. Pratt knows where the money's at in Houston, and today he'll tell all at this luncheon for the National Society of Fundraising Executives. 11:30 a.m. The Junior League, 1811 Briar Oaks, 792-3450. $22 (fax reservations to 780-4802).
The Cattle Mutilation Cowgirl While working on a production crew for a show on paranormal activities, Elizabeth Gray got a good look at cows sucked dry of their blood and guts. This inspired her to write a funny little song. (She can afford to laugh. She's a vegetarian.) Her music video premieres this week at the Texas Film Festival in College Station; tonight, she takes a break from the fanfare to share her humor here. 8 p.m. Spellbinder's Comedy Club, 9801 Westheimer (Carillon Shopping Center), 266-2525. $7.50-$10.
Big Head Gala David Adickes, he who built the giant Sam Houston statue in Huntsville, is turning his newly renovated studio over to DiverseWorks for a night of fundraising. For this event, or perhaps simply for his own amusement, or both, he's strewn the big heads of all 42 U.S. presidents to date throughout the complex. "Big" to the tune of 15 feet. Performance artist Ann Carlson will have her hands full upstaging the things, but she'll alternately don Astroturf and a wedding dress in her attempt. After her act, there'll be dance music from Bert Wills, who probably doesn't have a big head, but certainly has a big beard. 7 p.m.-midnight. David Adickes's studio complex, 2500 Summer Street, 223-8346. $150-$10,000.
Texas State Tomahawk and Knife Throw Championship and Mountain Man Rendezvous This heftily named event includes primitive archery, fire-making and Native American dances -- just your typical family fun circa 1840, plus two full days of tomahawk and knife-throwing by men, women and kids. It might be worth the risk of flying cutlery to catch Bobby Bridger, the balladeer responsible for the Kerrville Folk Festival theme song, "Heal in the Wisdom." He performs at 3 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Sunday. 10 a.m. to dusk, today and Sunday. Traders Village, 7979 North Eldridge Road, (281) 890-5500. Admission, free; parking, $2.
A visit from Cliff Robertson President John F. Kennedy himself picked Cliff Robertson to portray him in the film PT 109. Two hundred patrol torpedo boats later, Robertson is now the official spokesman for the effort to restore PT 309 -- thought to be the only remaining such vessel that saw combat in World War II. It just so happens that during restoration, the sleek boat is docked next to our own battleship Texas. Just so happens, too, that Robertson and a whole slew of PT boat vets are in town this weekend for a symposium titled "At Close Quarters: PT Boats in World War II." Workshops are scheduled throughout the conference at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, but Robertson speaks at 7:30 p.m. tonight on a topic he ought to know something about: "PT Boats in the Movies: An Evening with Cliff Robertson." By the way, once 309 is all fixed up, she's off to the Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredricksburg. 7:309-:30 p.m. Nassau Bay Hilton, 3000 NASA Road 1. For more information, call the Nimitz Museum at (210) 997-8600. $12.
A Black History salute Black History Month's not quite over, certainly not before the Houston Community College System gets its shot at honoring a select few in Houston's African-American community. The main honoree is HPD Chief Clarence Bradford, who doubles this morning as the keynote speaker. Other honorees are FBI special agent Don Clark; KJOJ general manager Kathie Watson; city attorney Gene Locke; and two of HCCS's own -- former chancellor James Harding and Dr. Roger Wood of the central campus English department. Stick around for lunch, the chance to nab a door prize and, most especially, to thank these fine folks for their many fine deeds. 11:30 a.m. Houston Community College Central, third floor, 1300 Holman, 718-6305. $25.
The ADDY Awards Distinguished admen (and no, that is not an oxymoron) from across the nation have weeded through nearly 1,400 entries to pick the best in Houston advertising -- whether print, broadcast, out-of-home, public service advertising or Internet. Find out who our top creative advertising talents are, and do so in the comfort of your own home -- the ceremony will be broadcast live on the Internet. Point your net browser to www. haf.org/addys97/live from 6 to 10 p.m. (Viewing the ceremony on-line will require VDO software, which users may download for free at the site.) Or, of course, you may actually attend the event -- if you're willing to shed your jammies for a tux. Black tie reception, 5:30; awards presentation, 610 p.m. Edwin Hornberger Conference Center, 2151 West Holcombe, 237-9999 or visit www.bvn.com. $75-$120.
Mummenschanz After 25 years of morphing in and out of characters in ways that fairly defy human limitations -- not to mention 25 years of defying economics by making a successful career out of mime -- the dazzling trio prove that they are indeed of this world by announcing their farewell tour. After "Parade, 25 Years: A Retrospective," there'll be no more giant hands, wiggling tubes, fantastical lighting and magical trickery. Sponsored by the Society for the Performing Arts. 7:30 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-ARTS. $10-$40.
A little Las Vegas Thunder Glitz from two of the cities that do it best: Fourteen Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders are going to help excite a readily excitable hockey crowd tonight as the Thunder challenges our Houston Aeros. The cheerleaders will sign autographs starting at 6 p.m., then shake their boogie things during both intermissions. Promoters call this "sports the way it ought to be." That's what they say, and, really, that's fine as long as they keep those girlie girls off the baseball diamond. 7 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-AERO. $7-$40.
Fabulously French: Haute Couture 1897-1997 A fashion show of made-to-order one-of-a-kinds by the best Parisian designers, shown not at Saks, but at the Museum of Fine Arts. You can view the exhibit as the MFA's Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous imitation, or you can view designers such as Cristobal Balenciaga, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior and Emanuel Ungaro as artists. Or you can consider the show as a retrospective of a dying art -- sewing. The exhibit shows through April 20. 12:15-6 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-3700. $3, adults; $1.50, children and seniors.
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Rimshot Ridings passes the crown The time has come for Rimshot Ridings to step down as the Houston Humane Society's spokesdog, and for wannabe spokesdogs (and wannabe spokescats) to send in their applications. In this competition beauty and behavior count, but something else matters as well: money. Specifically, a pet owner's ability to raise pledges for the 16th Annual Houston Humane Society IAMS K-9 Fun Run March 9. Face it, cash talks: The dogs and cats of the top five pledge winners in each pet category are automatically the finalists. After that, the dogs must go through an interview process, while the winning cat will be selected based solely on photos and applications. Entry forms must be submitted no later than March 1. For more information, call 433-6421.
Tino Wallenda The Columbia Bellaire Medical Center has just completed a $5 million renovation of its hospital, and now, in what might look like a blatant attempt to drum up business, they've invited a tightrope walker to help them celebrate the unveiling. Don't worry, though -- the tightrope walker is Tino Wallenda of the world-famous Flying Wallendas, and he's so good he performs without a net. At 7:30 a.m., he'll walk on a rope stretched 55 feet above the ground during a private ribbon-cutting ceremony; at 10:30 a.m., he'll repeat his feat for the public and talk a bit about circus life. The St. Thomas High School Jazz Band performs during both walks. (If it rains, the event will be rescheduled for Wednesday.) Columbia Bellaire Medical Center, 5314 Dashwood, 512-1200. $1, which benefits Gordon Elementary School.
Frank talk The Houston Coalition for the Visual Arts is hosting a discussion of the art of Frank Stella, the man who has designed the $1.5 million, 5,000-square-foot installation of "pictoral architecture" for UH's new Moores School of Music, and the man who has an exhibition right now at UH's Blaffler Gallery. The forum is the first in a series, dubbed Insight/Onsite, for arty intellectual types to chew over arty intellectual topics with other arty intellectual types. 7-8:30 p.m. University of Houston, Blaffer Gallery (entrance no. 16 off Cullen Boulevard), 522-5013. Free.
Northern Lights: New Architecture from Canada Oo, eh, just what are those Canadians up to now? The Rice Design Alliance's spring lecture series tells all, starting tonight with a talk by Phyllis Lambert, director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Apparently, the works of the late German-born American architect Mies van der Rohe, one of the founders of the International style, is all the rage up in the frozen north. Find out how he helped steer the modernist course of Canadian architecture -- geometric spaces, glass walls and all. 8 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, Brown Auditorium, 1001 Bissonnet, 527-4876. $10; $3, students.