Ink Spot Art Huey Long, originally from Sealy, has returned to Texas. The former Ink Spot has settled in the Heights and has put memorabilia, photographs, writings and music from his 70-year career up on display. These cultural and historic artifacts will be on view through the end of August. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday -Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Heights Pavilion, 244 West 19th Street, 861-3411.
Bud invites you The trendy appeal of microbreweries is all well and good, but let's not forget that we have a macrobrewery in town. Budweiser offers tours of their brew hall, packaging lines and carefully landscaped outdoor gardens. And, yes, the sight of hundreds of beer bottles whizzing along the packaging lines may inspire visitors to sing the Laverne & Shirley theme song. This is only natural. Brewery tours also offer a chance to develop a newfound respect for century-old Budweiser traditions and a chance to buy licensed Bud merchandise. (The brewery is conveniently located near another local sight, the burnt rubble from the Houston Distribution Inc. warehouse fire -- a sight that might serve as a useful caution for those who have cookouts planned for the summer.) Tours offered 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, year-round, weather permitting. Budweiser Brewery, 775 Gellhorn, 670-1695. Free.
First Friday 20th Anniversary Many featured poets and spoken word performers from the last two decades -- and new friends, too -- will give poetry readings at this super-special First Friday 20th Anniversary Celebration. First Friday is a poetry reading with a long and colorful history. The readings had been held in soup kitchens and between the hallowed concrete walls of The Orange Show before finally finding a home at the Firehouse Gallery. Typically, on the first Friday of every month, a featured local or traveling poet declaims before the floor is cleared for an open reading. Tonight's is a bigger show, and we expect the atmosphere will be so thick with nostalgia that you could cut it with a knife. 8:30 p.m. The Firehouse Gallery, 1413 Westheimer, 521-3519. Free.
Calling Metropolis A new, highly referential comedy by Houston playwright Sean K. Thompson, presented with a generous supply of ninjas and a special appearance by Bobo the kitten. This satire of superheroes is said to be two hours of wholesome family entertainment. Opening Friday, July 7, and continuing through August 8. Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. Fort Bend Community Theater (which is, in fact, inside the Houston city limits in Westwood Mall), Bissonnet at the Southwest Freeway, 981-1866. $6; $4 for children.
12 Minutes Max DiverseWorks presents a showcase of performance art with none of the acts lasting longer than 12 minutes. The time limit is a tease if any of the performances happen to be intriguing, and a blessed relief if the performances become tedious, obvious or self-indulgent. Ellen Fullman, Michelle Engleman, Teresa O'Conner, Gerald Pennywell, Tina Marsh and a special surprise guest are all on the performance roster. 8 p.m. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway (I-10 at North Main), 223-8346. $10; $5 students.
Ants at a Picnic Most people make every effort to avoid the dreadful insects, but Barbra Taylor would like to have ants at her picnic. The naturalist is giving a talk about carpenter ants, velvet ants, leaf cutter ants and that old Texas nemesis the fire ant, and she would like to have live specimens to display. Really. Unfortunately, the little buggers don't travel well and they don't come cheap. So instead, she'll show slides of ants, at many times their actual size, in the cool nature center. Insect fans and the generally curious ages ten and up are invited to the presentation. 10-11:30 a.m. Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, 20634 Kenswick Drive, Humble, 446-8588.
Neo-Dada: Redefining Art 1958-62 If the kids have been poring over the Fluxus Codex and are ready to learn more about pop, nouveau realisme, happenings and other schools spawned by the Dada works of Marcel Duchamp and Kurt Schwitters, this show is just the ticket. Moreover, Neo-Dada is heavy into found objects, something especially relevant in Houston, where the use of found objects is popular. Today's opening will have a special celebration of Neo-Dadaism, in keeping with what our friends at CAM call "Texans' persistent appreciation for non-conventional attitudes toward art making." The show continues through September 10. Contemporary Arts Museum, 5216 Montrose, 526-0773. This is a free family event.
Introductions '95 The Houston Art Dealers Association has a plot to drag you into the wonderful world of art appreciation, and art buying. Introductions '95 comprises 17 gallery openings (with 28 galleries participating) and a party with entertainment and door prizes donated by the Alley, the Post Oak Grill, Hermes and Aeromexico. The openings focus on artists who haven't had significant exposure in Houston, with "significant" being the key weasel word here. Not all the artists are completely new and unknown. Still, according to HADA, "the art presented ... is moderately priced to encourage potential new collectors to begin building their art collections." For information on participating galleries, see Art Exhibits in Thrills. The post party is 7-10 p.m. HESS Building, 3121 Buffalo Speedway. For advance tickets, visit a participating gallery. $10 per person, cash bar.
Hot Picks for Summer Reading The Houston Public Library is luring in kids with visits from the Coney Man, a walking, talking hot dog from James Coney Island, coupons for pizza and other prizes. Now, to remind adults that reading is fundamental, librarians have prepared a list of popular books for summer reading. For "popular fiction," they suggest John Grisham's The Rainmaker; for "suspense" The Apocalypse Watch, by Robert Ludlum; Mary Higgins Clark's Let Me Call You Sweetheart is considered "romance-mystery"; Dave Barry is, of course, the humor candidate with Dave Barry's Guide to Guys; and business types are encouraged to read How to Argue and Win Every Time by trial lawyer Gerry Spence. For more information, visit your local branch library, call 236-1313, or access the library's DialCat on-line computers, 247-2244.
Polka madness The public is invited to attend the Polka Lovers Klub of America's midyear meeting and public dance. There are those who say that normally brave men hate and fear the polka, that when confronted with that dreaded lilting beat some otherwise stouthearted fellows flee formal dance lessons pale, shaken and trembling. This can't be right. Men who hate and fear the polka should shine their boots, hitch up their trousers and give it one more try. The Henry Tannenberger Orchestra will play live music for the festivities. Free polka and waltz lessons for all. 2 p.m. The Texas Hall of Fame, 2309 South S.M. Road 2818, Bryan. (409) 822-2222. For more information, call 774-5485 or 480-3965. $5.
1995 Galveston Unlimited R/C Air Races and Air Show Hey, nothing says excitement like the description "nitro-burning," and some of this air show's hobby planes are 200 mph nitro-burning Unlimiteds. I have no idea what that means, or how these planes differ from 42 percent Formula Ones, 1/5-scale AT-6s or Thompson Trophy airplanes, but I am sure they go really fast, just buzz like giant mutant wasps. In any case, 200 competitors from all over the country will go radio-controlled wingtip to radio-controlled wingtip, competing for $25,000 in cash prizes. The air show lasts all week and includes a "Big Top" trade show, free tram service between the parking areas and Reno-style closed course air racing. The big finale, Saturday and Sunday, July 15 and 16, will be an air show with aerobatics and actual World War II fighter and bomber planes. This aviation celebration benefits the Galveston Ronald McDonald House. Galveston Airport (Scholes Field), take a right off I-45 on 61st Street, go right on Stewart Road to Jones Road and then right at the airport entrance. For more information, call (800) 741-7058. $5; children under 12 free.
Coffee Talk You'd think the iced tea people would have picked up on this and tried to fight back. Despite the blistering heat of summer in our swampy home, trendy people are spending their leisure time sitting outside and swilling hot liquids, even though most of your better coffeehouses offer iced anything, and frozen Granitas, instead of iced tea. Starbucks, the Seattle-based coffee company, has recently set up shop in our town, and is trying to lure patrons from Cafe Maison, Brasil and the New Orleans-based P.J.'s, among others. The established spots all have their special draws -- poetry readings, game nights, coffee education, lute playing and what have you. For its draw, Starbucks is taking the consumer education tack and offering a soiree with free pastries where, rather than detail the 14 grades of Colombia Supremo or explain why Hawaiian Kona Fancy is finer stuff than any old run-of-the-mill Kona blend, they'll reveal how grinders and brewing equipment work. Add Starbucks' Coffee Talk to the long list of regular events at Houston coffeehouses. Tuesdays, 7-8 p.m. Starbucks, 1655 Voss. For more information, call 975-7667. Free.
Guns, Crime and Freedom That's the title of a book, the author of which is Wayne LaPierre, CEO and chief spokesman for the National Rifle Association. What else do you need to know? In the national media, editorial writers and book reviewers write that the popularity of Guns and other conservative titles indicates that what might be considered propaganda by some is accepted by others as sterling truth. The prevalence of conservative/libertarian/right-wing/Republican truth on the bestseller list these days is indeed overwhelming; meanwhile, Democratic propaganda is about as fashionable as a panhandler at a picnic. A Washington Post article that offered just that observation had a few quotes from LaPierre that outline his stance in a clear, linear, pre-Monroe Doctrine simplicity. "This is about freedom," he declared, "not crime, not hunting, not recreation. Freedom. And people don't want to lose it." LaPierre added that "people are totally fed up with the misreporting of this issue in the national media." So for those people he's written his undoubtedly totally objective, totally true tome. LaPierre will be signing copies of his book and chatting with customers. 6:30-8 p.m. Media Play, 9825 South Post Oak Boulevard (Meyer Park), 723-8575.
The Will Rogers Follies Interestingly, John Schneider, who made a name for himself playing a loutish but charming blond redneck on The Dukes of Hazard, is now starring as Will Rogers, who made a name for himself by ironically playing the wise fool and doing rope tricks on the vaudeville stage. Will Rogers is also largely responsible for the popularity of polo in American, but the musical doesn't much address that side of his life. Showing too much of the comedian's off-stage life as a shrewd player of the stock market and hobnobber with the wealthy and powerful would take the sheen off his folksy stage persona. It's the stage persona that comes out in Follies -- that, plus many glamorous show girls. Preview performances tonight and Thursday, 8:30 p.m. (sundown), with shows through July 22. Presented by Theatre Under the Stars at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park. Call 520-3290 or 520-3292 for details or information on handicapped seating. Free. Tickets for covered amphitheater seats are available, four per person, beginning at noon each day for that evening's performance.
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