Dueling Josephs Joseph shows up pretty early in the Bible (Genesis 30:24) and has only a coat of many colors (not to mention some fairly jealous brothers). He of the boss threads runs around interpreting dreams and saying cryptic things such as "we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, mysheafaroseand also stood upright; and behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf." Later on, he gets chummy with Pharaoh (Genesis41:42) and ends up with a good government job. So far, this story has not been the source for a movie starring Keanu Reeves, but it is the basis for two stage shows currently playing our town. In Jones Hall, we have Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a proto-Andrew Lloyd Webber creation from the time before he was the toast of Broadway, and the time when he was plundering religious texts for inspiration rather than old movies (shortly after Joseph he moved from Old to New Testament for Jesus Christ, Superstar).
Joseph, which we're told is all updated and refurbished, has recording star Sam Harris and songs sung in country and western, Calypso and rock and roll. Meanwhile, for thekids,A.D.Players has Barbara Sundstrom's version of the Biblical story, Joseph and the Madras Plaid Jacket, on-stage in the morning at the Rotunda Theater, St. Luke's United Methodist Church. Same story, two interpretations. Your choice. Call 526-2721 for Madras Plaid Jacket tickets; all tickets are $5. For Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat tickets call Ticketmaster, 629-3700. $36-$42.
I Heard the Shots (Kennedy's Last Visit) Former Houston Chronicle writer Diana Weeks wanted to write "a comedy that takes the glamour out of crime and shows that violence truly stinks like a rotten egg." She's written a play with the Kennedy assassination as her subject and the Houston Police Department pressroom as her setting. Weeks describes her work as an "anti-violence farce," and the world premiere will benefit the Houston Police Department's Explorer Post. Opening Thu., June 15, 7:30 p.m. Thru July 2. Thu., 7:30; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m. Joe Frank Theatre, Jewish Community Center, 5601 South Braeswood. For tickets, all 247-KOPS. $10 opening night; $6-$8 for the rest of the run.
Get your Kix and Trix at Borders Bill Crawford, co-author of Cerealizing America: The Unsweetened Story of American Breakfast Cereal, will be making mischief today, and y'all are all invited to join in. Kids will be supplied with glue, paint and boxes of cereal; the art they come up with may be displayed at the bookstore or, if they wish, taken home by the artists. Adults will go maw to maw in a cereal eating contest; whoever eats the most bowlfuls wins a case of their favorite cereal. In a contest of wits and wills, Crawford will go one-on-one with anyone to debate the nutritive value of cereal. (The breakfast cereal produced annually in America contains enough sugar to sugar coat each American three times over.) Prepare now forthestory contest -- write a one-page story, or poem, using as many cereal brand names as possible and then stuff in a few more. The prize is, natch, cereal.
Crawford, a writer and radio producer in Austin, is also the author of Border Radio: Yodelers, Pitchmen, Psychics and Other Amazing Broadcasters of the American Airwaves. His Cerealizing America co-author, Scott Bruce (who will not, alas, be on hand) is the publisher of Flake, a cereal nostalgia magazine, and was a consultant for The Road to Wellville. Crawford and Bruce's book has been praised by Thurl Ravenscroft, voice of Tony the Tiger, and Chuck McCann, voice of the Cuckoo (for Coco Puffs) Bird. Suggested attire for the book signing: jammies, fuzzy slippers and robes. 8 p.m. Borders Books, 9633 Westheimer, 782-0475.
Elvis Aaron Presley: Revelations from the Memphis Mafia Another co-author who will not be in town is Billy Wayne Smith, whose name comes first on Revelations from the Memphis Mafia. With a name such as Billy Wayne Smith, you might think this particular Mafioso is a serial killer. But nope, he's the first cousin of, and was a close personal friend to, Elvis Aaron Presley, the King of rock and roll. Billy Wayne wrote his book about his cousin with the help of professional writer Alanna Nash and the sure knowledge that the dead can't sue for libel. He also wrote it with the assistance of two other Presley hangers-on, Lamar Fike and Marty Lacker, and Fike and Lacker are in Houston today for a book signing and to let impressionable youths know that toadying up to the rich and powerful is a viable career path. Books signed and your intimate Elvis questions answered. (If you want a little snack to help honor the King, you'll have to bring your own. Barnes & Noble's cafe serves such un-Elvis food as coffee and biscotti; there's nary a fried-peanut-butter- and-banana sandwich to be seen or smelled.) 8-9 p.m. Barnes & Noble, 3003 West Holcombe, 349-0050.
Advanced Relationship Skills John Gray, best-selling author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, infomercial star and living American most resembling a space-creature, invites couples and poor little single people with an (almost) $80 interest in relationship skills to come out and gather his pearls of wisdom. Gray's lesson is that the way to a man's heart is not through his stomach. Gray says that to feel loved and be loving, a man needs sex. He says this makes men different from women. Women, according to Gray, can have perfectly good sex without having or wanting even one orgasm. Gray makes millions of dollars explaining his theories. This could be because he's onto something, or it could be that he's successful because many unhappy couples need a starting point, any starting point, for intimate conversations. Either way, Gray moves into the Sheraton Astrodome Hotel and gives a seminar to benefit the Stehlin Foundation; said foundation is doing cancer research on 9-Nitro-Camptothecin. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tickets available through Ticketmaster, 629-3700, or John Gray Seminars, 528-7040. $79 per person.
Juneteenth at George Ranch The George Ranch Historical Park has planned a bang-up living history program with Buffalo Soldiers, a Freedom Tree reading of the Emancipation Proclamation and pageantry honoring Walter Burton, the first black sheriff in Fort Bend County. All this and a youth rodeo and continuous entertainment from a children's choir, gospel singers and cowboy balladeers. Juneteenth at George Ranch is a family celebration with all the marks of a quaint civic event -- barbecue and school children's art on display. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. George Ranch, take Highway 59 south to Crabb River Road, go south and follow the signs. 545-9212. $5; $4 seniors; $3 children.
Wings of Courage Val "Now I'm Batman" Kilmer is one of the stars of Wings of Courage, the first dramatic motion picture produced in the IMAX format. This picture was directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, who also brought us Quest for Fire and The Bear. Wings of Courage is the true life tale of three pioneer aviators -- among them Antoine de St. Exupery of Little Prince fame -- who made the first airmail flights over the Argentine Andes in the 1930s. But the real thrill of this movie is that, via those nifty polarized glasses the Moody Gardens staff hands out at the door, the stars of the flick (which also features Tom Hulce and Elizabeth McGovern) will practically be sitting in your lap. If the thought of Val Kilmer that close is a little overwhelming, Into the Deep and The Last Buffalo will continue throughout the summer as well. For opening weekend, Moody Gardens is offering rides in a reproduction 1935 Waco or Steerman biplane. 11 a.m., 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m. Moody Gardens, take I-45 to Galveston, exit 61st St., turn right on Seawall Boulevard, then right on 81st Street and left on Hope Boulevard. (800) 582-4673. $6; free for kids under three.
Juneteenth on Buffalo Bayou This weekend-long festival's gospel show is today, and folks are invited to bring out kids and pets and celebrate blues music and black culture. There'll be plenty of activities for the kids and, for the pets, an animal rest stop with drinking and bathing water. There'll be dogs kids love to watch, too. The Space City High Flyers will hold K-9 Frisbee exhibitions today and Saturday. Juneteenth Blues and Heritage Festival, Buffalo Bayou Park, near downtown. Festival hot line: 688-3773. There's no admission charge for the festival, but donations of infant formula with iron, large baby diapers or pediatric medicine are requested.
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Juneteenth celebration on Juneteenth in Galveston At 9:30 a.m., the Reverend James Thomas will read the full text of the Emancipation Proclamation from the balcony of 1859 Ashton Villa (2328 Broadway). This reading will be followed at 11 a.m. by the Galveston NAACP Juneteenth Parade. The route is: west on Broadway from 24th to 29th streets; north on 29th to Ball Avenue; west on Ball to 41st Street. The parade ends in Wright Cuney Park, the site of the Juneteenth Picnic. For info, call Craig Bowie, 762-5906.
A Life Well Lived: Fantasy Coffins of Kane Quaye Ever since Kane Quaye set up his carpenter's shop in Ghana in the early 1960s, the better people of the Ga region of West Africa have had the opportunity to be buried in colorful lobster coffins, or giant wooden chickens -- even outboard motors. After all, when it's your time to go, why not go in style? Currently, the American Funeral Service Museum has 12 whimsical Quaye coffins on display, all of them made by Quaye or his son or his staff at the Quaye Workshop in Teshi, Ghana. The original chicken was built to honor a good wife, the outboard motor for a boatman and the lobster for a fisherman. Alas, Quaye had need of his own coffin in 1992, but his descendants and followers are still crafting stylish ways to cruise into the afterlife. The colorful, carefully crafted coffins are on display through July 31. Daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays noon-4 p.m. American Funeral Service Museum, 415 Barren Springs Drive, 876-3063. $5; $3 over 54 and under 12.
June is cat-cutting time Does that sound cruel? It's not. Houston, like every other American city, has a major pet overpopulation problem. Hundreds of thousands of innocent little cats die horrible deaths, or are picked up and gassed, because irresponsible people let their pets roam free and breed at will. That's cruel. However, the Houston Cat Club has stepped in to help with "Alter-A-Cat-For-Free." Male and female cats can be sterilized, at no cost to their owners, with simple same-day surgery. The Cat Club is also offering $5 rabies vaccinations. For more information about the program, or to schedule an appointment, call 433-6421. Free.
Storyteller's cruise Shove off on the Star Gazer and hear stories told on two decks as the ship sails under dusky skies. The Houston Storyteller's Guild plans stories for young and old alike. 7:30-9:30 p.m. The Star Gazer departs from South Shore Harbor, South Shore Boulevard at Highway 2094. Call 462-2234 for reservations. $16; $8 for children.