Press Picks

thursday
may 11
Marriage licenses available at nine locations Harris County Clerk Beverly B. Kaufman has urged us to remind June brides that, in efforts to improve and increase services at the eight branch offices, the county workers are gearing up for an onslaught of marriage license applications. Licenses are good for 30 days from the date of issue and cost $31. Offices are open weekdays from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The main County Clerk's office is at 1001 Preston, 755-6436. Call that number for other locations or look in the blue pages of the business white pages.

America's most famous other woman Singer, Penthouse photo subject, bleached-blond bimbo and possible Clinton ex Gennifer Flowers will sign copies of her autobiography, Passion & Betrayal. 6-7:30 p.m. River Oaks Bookstore, 3270 Westheimer, 520-0061.

Funny People They've had "Funny Women" and "Funny Men," and now they have "Funny People" -- what might the Houston Area Women's Center do for a fundraiser next year? Maybe they'll call it just plain "Funny." This year's comics are men, Houston's own Billy D., and women, Carol Leifer and Wendy Liebman. Leifer holds the record for most appearances by a standup on Late Night with David Letterman -- who knew? -- while Liebman is more of a Tonight Show with Jay Leno kind of gal. Billy D. hasn't done as much TV, but he did recently complete a prime-time Def Comedy Jam for Fox. There will be a silent auction before the show, and all the money goes for HAWC projects. Black tie optional. 6:30 p.m. Westin Galleria, Grand Ballroom, 5060 Alabama, 528-6798. $125 per person.

Public forum on the omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995 More problems for the prez. Clinton's response to the bombing in Oklahoma has been called by some a threat to the rights we hold dear, and now the Cuba Friendship Committee at the University of Houston and the Militant Labor Forum (of all people) have set up a session for you, the critter on the street, to speak your piece and hear professional speakers speak their's -- all in one frenetic evening. 7 p.m. University of Houston, Embassy Room (entrance no. 1 off Calhoun), 644-9066. Free.

friday
may 12
Casebusters Three-time Edgar Allen Poe Award-winner Joan Lowery Nixon introduces a new children's series, "Casebusters," talks about the fine art of writing suspense for pre-teens and reads from Keeping Secrets, the latest in her "Orphan Train" series. The Orphan Train book is about six orphans, the Kelly children, from the mid-19th century who are sent West when their widowed mother decides that's what's best for her children. Given that Nixon is a suspense writer, we can easily imagine that later in the series the Kelly children and their sacrificing mama are rejoined. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Barnes & Noble, 3003 West Holcombe, Vanderbilt Square, 349-0050. Free.

Just Zoo It! Don't dream it, zoo it, at the Houston Zoo's family night party. All are welcome, and kids of all ages are urged to dress in "cool" attire, party to live music and gobble burgers from Becks Prime. Special for the kids, the Zoo Friends of Houston have set up carnival games, magic shows, ever-popular face-painting booths and a petting zoo. Proceeds from the evening will go toward erecting shade structures for the marine mammals and the Asian elephants. Rain or shine. 7-10 p.m. Houston Zoological Gardens, Hermann Park, 1515 North MacGregor, 525-3300. For tickets or information, call 850-7373. $50; $35 for kids under 21.

Calling Metropolis Want 30 minutes worth of free funny stuff? Then stop by Booktronics while Sean Thompson is taping his new radio show. Yes, a live audience is needed, so come on out, enjoy the fine old art of radio and be lively. (Pick up pre-show snackage at Antone's, in the same strip center.) 7 p.m. Booktronics, 5370 Westheimer, 626-4000. For further details, point your Web browser to http://www.intergate.com/~sean. Free.

Murder in the Sculpture Garden We have some goofy fundraisers in this town -- the Art Car Ball, the duck race, the Hair Ball and now this. Must be because we have some goofy people in this town. Tonight's goofy fundraiser is a murder mystery (with 20 scheming suspects) and a silent auction (with travel packages and restaurant gift certificates). Who benefits? The Museum of Fine Art's not-at-all-goofy Glassell School of Art. Dress code: black. 8 p.m.-midnight. Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden, 5101 Montrose, 639-7538. $115; $100 in advance.

saturday
may 13
Scottish Highland games Eat Scottish meat pies and scones while thrilling to the wheezing of bagpipes at this daylong celebration of Scottish traditions. Serious athletic competitions -- sheaf and caber toss, hammer throw and the putting of the stone -- and Scottish Highland dancing. For more serious Scottophiles, the day's events will include Burns seminars, Gaelic workshops and Scottish Clan gatherings. Games for the kids, too. Hey, Scots, we got one word for you -- sunscreen. Gates open at 8 a.m. Houston Farm and Ranch Club (which has indoor arenas in case of rain), Bear Creek Park, north of the I-10 intersection on Highway 6. Advance tickets through the Houston Highland Games Association, 774-7179. $8; $6 seniors and teens; free for children under 12.  

Fiesta en el Parque A no-alcohol, free, family-fun festival to promote our parks and the wealth of safe and positive family fun they provide, and to raise money for soccer-field lights for Montie Beach Park. The Zoomobile will roll up with animals, games will be played and Mayor Bob has made sure a concession stand is up and serving snacks. At 12:30 p.m., the Police Department Parents and Neighbors Defense Alliance (P.A.N.D.A.) safe house will be officially opened. Festival open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Montie Beach Park, 915 Northwood, 845-1034. No admission charge.

Earthfair Jane Goodall, Medicine Men of the Rainforest and the Palm Beach season opening -- why, it's all almost too much. Moody Gardens steps into the summer season with a full day of Gaia-oriented activities, the most exciting of which is an autograph session with Jane Goodall. She's come a long way since her first base camp on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in 1960, and chimps the world over are grateful. Goodall will appear in the Garden Lobby of the visitor center from 3-4 p.m. Of course, if African primary jungle doesn't flip your switches, you can see the premiere of the new live-theater show, Medicine Men of the Rain Forest. The show is 15 minutes long and begins every half hour. Meanwhile, back at Palm Beach, the grand opening gala includes live music, a yellow submarine for the kids and a giant (35-ton) sand sculpture by world champion sand sculptor Greg Glenn. There's more: dance performances and workshops and seminars on naturey endeavors such as orchid growing will be held all day. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Moody Gardens, take I-45 to Galveston, exit 61st Street, turn right on Seawall Boulevard, then right on 81st Street and left on Hope Boulevard. (800) 582-4773. Some events are free and some cost money. Call for the complicated details or just head on out with a pocketful of cash and hope for the best.

Historic Heights Home Tour "I know I love to snoop through houses for creative ideas and design tips" -- that's the word from a Heights homeowner who's helping to organize the Heights home tour, and the homeowner has a point. The official promo, though, is "Call your mom! Rally your friends! Get out your bowlers and parasols! It's the 17th annual Historic Heights Home Tour!" Tours of six homes and a special "showcase home," noon-6 p.m. today and Sunday. Advance tickets $10 at Yale Pharmacy and Heights Library. Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Boulevard, 868-0170. Tickets $12 the day of the tour at Marmion Park, 18th Street and Heights Boulevard.

sunday
may 14
Women's Day '95 A "give the gift of health" celebration for those who want to give mother something a little different. Oh, it's fun, too. "You might," says M. Claire Rowland of Twelve Oaks Hospital, "be able to feed, entertain and inform your mother at other events, but we have the built-in gift of health." Frankly, we've heard of Mother's Day dinners and fashion shows, but no other single event with food, fashion, information and entertainment. Shern-Min Chow is the mistress of ceremonies. Jane Boucher, author of The Body-Mind Connection and guest speaker for the luncheon, will offer tips on how to achieve the elusive goals of health and happiness. Possible post-luncheon discussions for mom include "Your Cheating Heart," heart health by Dr. Marrie Richards, and "Total Wellness," a discussion of women's health issues by Dr. Jacqueline Hart. While all this is going on, licensed health care professionals will offer various screenings and tests in the foyer. 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Doubletree Post Oak, Ballroom A, 2001 Post Oak Boulevard. For reservations or information, call 964-8865. $30 at the door; $25 advance.

monday
may 15
City Hall horror-story contest The Houston Property Rights Association thinks "power-mad inspectors are terrorizing property owners as they enforce the edicts of City Council." To answer this anti-bureaucrat call to arms, the association asks citizens to take names and send in tales of their woes (500 words or less). First prize is $1,000; second prize is $500 worth of legal services; and third prize is $250 worth of Houston Aeros tickets. Now, despite such prizes, association president Barry Klein says, "participation has been less than expected." The deadline has been extended, and a clause offering confidentiality has been added to the contest rules. "We hope," Klein says, "that people who fear retaliation by City Hall will now step forward." The deadline is May 20. Send stories to: H.P.R.A.,5075 Westheimer, Suite 777, Houston, TX 77056-5606.  

Sex in the '90s: for Women Planned Parenthood's Mondays in May series continues with a facilitated discussion about birds and bees and the medical, social and legal troubles we can get into. Meryl Cohen and Yolanda Alvarado lead the workshop. Feel free to bring a brown-bag dinner. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Planned Parenthood, 3601 Fannin, 831-6557. $5.

tuesday
may 16
Las Manos Magicas "Mothers in Mexican Folk Art," animals and other maternal figures in clay are on display through the month of May to celebrate Mother's Day. Figures include mama rabbits and goats, along with that perennial favorite, the Virgin of Guadalupe. Many of the fanciful clay figures are by Josefina and Guillermina Aguilar, who've dressed their creations in traditional Oaxacan styles. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday. 306 Westcott, 802-2530.

wednesday
may 17
Astros The central fan appreciation day is today! Yes, the first was Tuesday, the last is Thursday and this one is slap-dab in the middle. We love to hate the Mets. (Boo! Hiss!) But what if we haven't the financial means to enter the Dome and hate the Mets live and in person? Well sir, then we might mob the box office beginning at 10 a.m. game day and pick up some of the 3,400 free tickets given away every single fan appreciation day. (Limit four per person.) This game also has deals for students; they get $3 off reserved seat tickets every Wednesday in May. Oh, and today is a "Coke value day," too. With a specially marked label from a two-liter bottle of the fizzy favorite, fans can get four loge-level tickets, four franks, four Cokes and two Astros caps for a mere $35. All this and warm beer. 7:05 p.m. Astrodome, Loop 610 at Kirby, Ticketmaster, 629-3700.


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