Press Picks

may 4
Joe Scruggs Singing star and puppeteer sings hits such as "I'm Too Full for Broccoli (But I've Still Got Room for Some Pie)," "Even Trolls Have Moms (Who Make Them Put Their Dirty Jeans in the Hamper Before They Go Out to Lurk Under Bridges)" and "Refrigerator Picture." Joe Scruggs in Concert was selected as a 1993 Notable Children's Video by the American Library Association, and yet USA Today loves him, too. 7 p.m. Jewish Community Center/West Houston, 1120 Dairy Ashford, 556-5567. $5 advance; $7 at the door.

Meridian Arts Ensemble The group is an unassuming-looking quintet -- band geeks grown up is what they look like. It's what they are, too. Talented, obsessive weirdoes who've been heralded by music critics as a serious chamber ensemble, and for their interpretations of Don van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) and South African traditional music. Yep, they do everything from Baroque (Suite en Sol by Tomaso Albinoni) to Frank Zappa (quite a bit of his work, and some tunes with extra percussion required). The MAE, world travelers, are stopping in Klein for an artists-in-residence gig, at Klein Oak High School, for three days. Today, the Ensemble is presented in a concert for the public. 8 p.m. Klein Oak High School, 22603 Northcrest Drive, Spring, 370-0961. $10.

Life Beyond the Loop Oh no, there's a titty bar in one of Houston's most planned communities, Precious Trees! George and Babs, a televangelist and other zany, wacky characters fight smut in the suburbs in this latest show from Radio Music Theatre. It's another new show -- what's got into writer Steve Farrell? Why's he writing all these new shows? Seems the boy's ambitious. New show, same yummies served during the show. Life Beyond the Loop opens tonight, 8:30 p.m. Through September 2, Friday-Saturday, 8:30 p.m.; and Saturday 10:50 p.m. Radio Music Theatre, 2623 Colquitt, 522-7722. $12, reservations required.

may 5
Women's Professional Billiards Association Classic Tour Event According to our friends at the Texas Pool School, more than 40 million of our fellow Americans shoot pool -- almost twice as many as play golf. Today's tournament is for ladies, and proper attire will be required; rules of etiquette will be strictly enforced. The well-dressed, well-behaved ladies will be playing Nine Ball, on 9-foot tables. Vivian Villarreal, the number one ranked woman player, will compete. 11 a.m. Today, Saturday and Sunday. Westin Galleria, 5060 West Alabama. For details call 621-4342. $5-15.

Solamente en Tejas Pico's Cinco de Mayo festival has live music, skydivers, Mexican arts and crafts and the world's largest margarita. There are always literal-minded folk who wonder who will drink the world's largest margarita. Their numbers are matched by wags who'll answer, "The world's largest drunk." The wags are kidding of course; anyone of legal drinking age with $5 can have a hit off the world's largest 'rita. The giant cocktail will be concocted in a giant refrigerator truck, all 2,000 gallons of it, and will qualify for an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. Bartenders are needed, both to help make this benefit for the Mexican Cultural Institute a success and for reasons of civic pride. Currently, the record-holder in this category is held by a Holiday Inn in Pennsylvania. Imagine! For a mere $25, volunteers get full access to all the festival festivities and a hard-hat. "Only in Texas" runs 4 p.m.-midnight today and Saturday. Pico's Mex-Mex, 4527 Lomitas, 942-9955. $5 admission.

The Ghost of La Llorona Express Theatre brings another ethnic folktale to the children of Houston. La Llorona is the tale of a mother who wakes in the night, a night with a raging storm, to find her son missing. She tries to rescue him from a storm-swollen river but mother and child are never heard from again. In a Tobe Hooper-like twist, The Ghost of La Llorona has a modern-day family meeting centuries-old ghosts. The production is partly in English and partly in Spanish, cleverly designed so that monolingual children can understand the whole thing. The play was written by playwright Rodney Rincon and Sesame Street songwriter Joe Romano, an expert in kid entertainment. Three shows with a gala opening tonight, 7 p.m. The Children's Museum, 1500 Binz, 522-1138. $5; kids under two free.

Salsa de Mayo on Cinco de Mayo KLOL's Dayna Steele and Houston Salsa queen Norma Zenteno will preside over this party and pageant celebrating Cinco de Mayo. This party has salsa dancers, tequila girls and a raffle with a grand prize of round-trip tickets for two to Veracruz. Tickets are on sale now; call AIDS Foundation Houston at 629-9255 for details. 8 p.m. Crystal Niteclub, 6680 Southwest Freeway, 784-7743. $12 standing; $15 floor seating.

may 6
No Diet Day Ah, but there's a catch -- exercise and healthy eating are emphasized. The International No Diet Coalition is more than willing to just say no; it's gone so far as to declare today "No Diet Day" -- cleverly choosing a Saturday, when people are all but required by law to break their diets either at social events or because they're sitting at home uninvited to social events. But don't pop the top on that Blue Bell just yet -- when the No Diet Coalition says no to diets, it means the kind of extreme diets one finds in slick magazines. Shun, we're told, diets like the "mango and bone meal diet," "the oxidized spring water and rhubarb diet" and pills and surgery and experimental electro-chemical treatments. Instead (and this is not difficult, not really, not once one becomes accustomed to the plan), the No Diet Coalition would have us love our bodies, set realistic goals for weight loss, eat healthful foods and be active. We might have some wiggle room within those healthful foods and be active rules -- in some cases, gobbling guacamole is an easy way for the active person to replenish potassium.  

Canine Frisbee Dogs have been domesticated by humans since pre-history, and yet only in the last 20 years did we learn that they'll leap high in the air to catch Frisbees. One wonders what else our canine companions might do, if we only thought to ask. In any case, pro, semi-pro and amateur dogs will compete today in the South Central Regional Finals of the 1995 Friskies Canine Frisbee disc Championships. Teensy bug-eyed Chihuahuas, old English sheepdogs, creatures like the celebrated Ashley Whippet and Frisbee breeds like snaky border collies and hard-headed Aussie cattle dogs can all compete and with Frisbee dogs you see hang time NBA champs can only dream of. Registration begins at 9 (limited to the first 50 dogs), competition at 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Rain date Sunday.) F.U.N. Stadium, Bayland County Park, 6400 Bissonnet, (800) 786-9240. Free.

Dr. I Wonder and His Science Circus Today is the fourth annual Science By Mail Day, and the anniversary of Peter Miniut's purchase of Manhattan from the Native Americans and a good time to see Vega, one of the brightest stars in the sky (northeastern sky, constellation Lyra, rising early), and any of those things are as good an excuse as any for Dr. I Wonder bringing his Science Circus to the Children's Museum. In real life, Dr. Wonder is Michael Firth, a classically trained actor who does vaudeville tricks, walks on stilts and juggles and whatnot to demonstrate scientific principals such as gyroscopic action and conservation of momentum. 1 p.m. Children's Museum, 1500 Binz, 522-1138. $5; kids under two free. Show free with museum admission.

Victory is Mine and Voice Without a Shadow The Seijun Suzuki series begins at the MFA. Beginning with tonight's feature, we've got four Saturday nights of fantastic Japanese mobsters and mavericks ahead of us, mavericks who populate movies made with a sprightliness and irreverence the Hong Kong school of violence never quite copied. 7:30 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7515. Double feature $6.

Mel Torme Velvet Frog on Galveston Island! Stubby but talented vocal superstar Mel Torme will appear in our area for one show only. Get tickets early. 8 p.m. The Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice Road, Galveston, (800) 821-1894. $15-$35.

Hair Ball Lyle Lovett, a man with naturally big hair, is this year's honorary chair, and yet the invite features a photo of Barbie. This is a Barbie oriented ball, a blond-Barbie oriented ball. The weirdness continues: Inka and Dinka, well-known art aficionados, will attend, and the dinner tables will sport spectacular, one-of-a-kind-centerpieces. Yes, as ballgoers enjoy fine foods from a plethora of Houston restaurants, they'll be able to feast their eyes on Hair Ball topiaries -- synthetic hair fashioned by a drove of local artists. Entertainment will be coming at you from all sides. On the walls, video and slide projections of "wild hair throughout the ages" will be flickering, pageants will take place with the contestants riding up and down the escalators, and Banana Blender Surprise will play music. This third annual benefit for the Lawndale Art and Performance Center promises to be as fun as, if not more fun than, its predecessors. 8 p.m.-midnight. Two Houston Center, 909 Fannin, 528-5858. $100 per person.

may 7
Cinco de Mayo Family Festival Traditional Mexican music, ancient Mayan crafts and a tour of the MFA's pre-Columbian collection are presented in this family festival paid for by the A Place for All People war chest. Those ancient Mayan crafts are making sun-prints, beading necklaces, coiling pots, making paper flowers and constructing a temple. This temple will not be an actual, permanent place of worship for Mayas; it's just a fun project for the kids. The festival is free with museum admission. Nachos, hot dogs, raspas and sodas will be sold. 12:15-4 p.m. 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7586. $3 adults; $1.50 seniors, students and children 6-18; free to museum members and kids under 5.  

Achinoam "Noa" Nini Fresh from her Carnegie Hall debut, the Yemenite singer performs jazz, pop and traditional folk music. Noa will be accompanied by guitarist Gil Dor. 7:30 p.m. Congregation Beth Israel, 5600 North Braeswood, 729-3200, ext. 3231. $20 concert and cafe; $15 concert only; $2 discount for seniors and students.

may 8
Sail away If the Monday-morning, back-into-the-work-week blues has got you thinking of chucking it all for a life of adventure, Texas Seaport Museum's director offers a compromise. The tall ship Elissa seeks crew members. Lucky volunteers will attend training classes on Saturdays (every other Saturday, July- October), spend some weekends keeping the Elissa in repair and finally sail a couple of weeks a year. Registration is now under way; deadline is May 28. For details, call Jennifer Ellis or Kurt Voss, (409) 763-1877.

may 9
A Conversation with Scott Cluthe Meet the venerable KENR/1070 AM talk-show host at a bookstore social. Some of Cluthe's regular radio guests will be on hand and everyone will chat and network and opine on various topics. Those uninterested in anything as insubstantial as speech can enter the free drawings for gifts. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Borders Book Store, 9633 Westheimer at Gessner, 272-7711. Free.

may 10
Tejano Party on the Plaza A new and spicy Party on the Plaza, with Elsa Garcia and Oscar G. Bud is, as always, the beer sponsor, but Doneraki is the caterer for this late afternoon dance soiree. No word on whether or not a costumed pepper-character will stroll the plaza, greeting and glad-handing revelers to promote the Rodriguez brothers' chain. 5-10 p.m. Jones Plaza, intersection of Texas, Capitol, Louisiana and Smith streets. Free.

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