Press Picks

january 5
Search & Destroy Theatre LaB's delicious "Sin Theater" continues with the sin of greed, as in, "The road to greed is filled with possibilities.
" Playwright Howard Korder produced this dark comedy at the end of the Reagan-Bush era, and it is clearly an indictment of a style of dealmaking celebrated during that time. Our hero, Martin, is bent on making a movie. The would-be mogul has lifted his story idea from a pseudo-religious television guru and travels across America trying to make a deal. For this play, Theatre LaB has arranged its seating so that the stage area is a road. In the first act alone, this slick, fast-paced show makes nine stops along this road. Later, Martin-the-slime's trip gets really ugly -- he stoops to going Greyhound. Horribly, Search & Destroy is not an opportunity to jeer at and mock S&L bastards and worse. This is because Korder is a fiendish playwright and doesn't let anyone off the hook. Search & Destroy is a terrifically funny play, with some uneasy laughs, because we are, none of us, not greedy. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, through February 4. Theater LaB Houston, 1706 Alamo (off the 2100 block of Houston Avenue), 868-7516. The theater is disabled accessible with secure, lighted parking. $12.

january 6
39th Annual Houston International Boat, Sport and Travel Show Nineteen paved acres of boats, sporting and travel goods on display for ten whole days. There are families, and we won't say whose, where instead of presents around the tree or gifts from Santa, there was a simple announcement: "Instead of a bunch of little gifts ...." Yes, the Astrohall/AstroArena complex of the Astrodomain will be filled with tense fathers and anxious families bent on spending the entire Christmas budget on a family boat. These families will get a gander at everything seaworthy, from one-person kayaks to genuine yachts. We hope that these families take the time -- and seeing everything at the show will take more than one day -- to look carefully at all the boats available. And we hope that these families do not spend the entire boat budget on Dome beer and caramelized nuts while they're looking. No word on whether or not Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel, will make a return appearance, and the heck with that lame rodent -- this show features "the world's only live touring killer shark show" (that was underlined and bold faced in the press kit, so you can be sure it's pretty exciting). So far, Marco and Phillip Peters have not been devoured by their charges, but you never know. The 39th annual opens today at 5 p.m. and continues through the 15th. Astrohall, Loop 610 at Kirby. Call 791-5050 for details. $5, $2 children under 12.

january 7
Houston Audubon Society A rare chance to get cold and muddy in the Gulf Coast area of Texas. P.D. Hulce leads a field trip in Chambers County (which is known as much for its large alligator population as it is for bird watching). Experienced and novice nature hikers are welcome. Novices are reminded to bring a lunch, liquids, binoculars, insect repellent (even though the weather is chilly), rubber boots and maybe a notebook or log or something for taking notes. Reservations are required and only 20 people will be allowed on this trip. Leaving at 7:30 a.m. from the parking lot of Stuckey's at I-10 and Jenkins Road. Call Gretchen Mueller, executive director of the Houston Audubon Society, for reservations, 932-1639.

45th Annual Charity Cat Show See fancy show cats reclining in their carriers! See famous actor felines perform live stunts!! Stock up on everything at the "Kitty Shopping Mall"!!! Yes, the cat show is back and better than ever. As in recent years, Hollywood animal trainer Scott Hart will be on hand with trained cats. And booklets are distributed, booklets that offer tips on training the ordinary house cat to do simple tricks. A good way to have fun at the cat show is to walk about and ask cat owners if they were at last year's show, and then to ask them if they have been able to, in the last year, train their own ordinary house cat to do simple tricks.

Upcoming Events

This year, along with the trained cat show, there will be a live demonstration of how to bathe a cat. (Animatronic cats, designed by the same team of crack scientists and robotics experts responsible for the Disney hall of presidents and the Stepford Wives, will be featured in the "trained cat" exposition, the "live demonstration" of cat bathing and the so-called "local companion cats in costume and trick competition.") The show is open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Through January 8. George R. Brown Convention Center, Hall C, 1001 Convention Center Boulevard. For information, call 468-0409. $5, $3 children under 12.  

Legislative Action Grass Roots Style Bob Kafka, a pioneer in disability rights advocacy, has already done a great deal for people with disabilities in this great state of ours, but he's not resting on his laurels. The purpose of this Kafka klatch is to educate people with disabilities -- to get them up to speed on the issues being addressed by the new Congress and the coming session of the state Legislature. Kafka and the Houston Center for Independent Living see a need for affordable housing, barrier free public transportation and more money for personal assistance services. (Those who have huge trust funds or some other means of almost total independence and don't care a fig for politics can come to swap service-dog stories.) 1-5 p.m. Houston Center for Independent Living, 7000 Regency Square Boulevard, Suite 160, 974-4621 (voice/tty). Free.

january 8
Aliens, cyberspace and a former spy Our happy friends at the Burke Baker Planetarium are surfing the Internet, scrounging up images of outer space for our viewing pleasure. What they're finding can be seen in Connected, an ever changing planetarium show with images of the sun, planets and what scientists call "deep space objects." Observatories all over the globe are connected and can share their images of the skies. Some of these images were collected by Clementine, a former spy. No longer needed in the Cold War, satellite Clementine spent two months mapping the moon and sending faithfully recorded images to databases on Earth. Connected also carries a note of hope for amateur stargazers and fans of aliens. While no photos of little green men are currently planned, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is discussed in the text. Amateur astronomers will thrill to images of a supernova, and for more than one reason. Actual images of a celestial event are thrill enough, but there's more fun in this case -- all the well-funded government and university observatories that collected the images of a nova in the M81 spiral galaxy were tipped off by a Spanish hobbyist who just kept watching the skies. Using e-mail, he alerted astronomers everywhere to tune in their telescopes. Connected continues with several shows daily through May. Houston Museum of Natural Science, Burke Baker Planetarium, 1 Hermann Park, 639-IMAX. $2 adults, $1.50 under 12 and seniors.

january 9
WWF Monday Night Raw Why watch violence on television when you can see it live, up-close and personal with sweat spray flying through the air? Despite the spangles and fancy face-painting, this ain't no disco. This is the World Wrestling Federation. "All the stars are ready to go," the promoters say, "with always dangerous, incredible power and inhumane tactics." Lunatics! Vampires! Choke-holds, the over-head-double-nostril drag slam and worse. Hey, when the WWF advertises inhumane tactics, the WWF delivers inhumane tactics. Check out the superstar lineup: Undertaker will be in the ring with I.R.S. and Lux Luger taking on Tatanka; Razor Ramon defends his Intercontinental title against King Kong Bundy. All this and new food service in The Summit. Opening bell at 7 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 961-9003. $9-$15.

january 10
True Women Janice Woods Windle earned buckets of ink last year when her book was published, and most of the press was positive. The New York Times Book Review said, "The hardship and adventures faced by little Euphemia and her family are so movingly described that by page 44 I was in tears, and I still had another 400 pages to go." Readers of The New York Times Book Review will recognize that tone as unusual for the publication. That's fitting; True Women, a history of Texas as lived by Windle's women relations, is an unusual book. Touted as being based on the true lives of three women in the author's family, True Women covers many seminal events in Texas history. The meat of the text is said to be true, although we assume the mention of an ancestor who was "one of those rare beings" able to travel through time is factitious. We note, though, that Windle meant well, and is very well-connected in Texas politics. Her prose style shows not a trace of Katherine Anne Porter's influence (Ms. Porter was, sometimes, a Texan woman writer; other times she was from Louisiana or worse). It is not vivid, nor startlingly lucid, and Windle is not overly gifted at dialogue. Still, her subject matter means a lot to many people, and Windle is at least in the same neighborhood as Texan romance writer Jan Hudson. Windle signs nearly Stephen King-sized paperbacks 7:30-8:30 p.m. Bookstop, 2501 Post Oak Boulevard, 627-9810.

Opera Night Live Strange, isn't it, the lofty and erudite organizers of the Houston Grand Opera Guild taking the name for this event from a cheap variety show. But we trust that Opera Night Live will not feature a collection of skits, half of which suck. No, this event is planned as a special preview discussion of HGO's upcoming production of Porgy & Bess, an opera that was "popular" and not overweeningly high-toned when it premiered. ONL begins with a reception. Then director Hope Clarke will discuss Porgy & Bess and popular culture and art. 6:30 p.m. Founders Salon, Wortham Theater, 500 Texas Avenue. For reservations call 546-0269. $5.  

Does TV Kill? The statistics say that before the average American child leaves elementary school, that child will have witnessed more than 8,000 murders on the boob tube. What the statistics don't say is what sort of murders. Do demonic dolls murdering middle-aged British men count as murders? What about evil leprechauns killed by children with chain saws? Keeping track of what's on the TeeVee is not an easy task, and certainly neither is keeping track of how what's on TeeVee affects innocent young minds -- and of course, there' s the ugly question of just how innocent young minds are. Tonight, Frontline, a television show, will grapple with the question, Does TV Kill?. Every attempt will be made to present all sides of this issue, what with this being a good PBS program and all. (PBS is the channel known for hyena-on-gnu murders and insect sex. ) 9-10:30 p.m. Channel 8/KUHT. Free, and remember you can pledge at anytime, or send Newt e-mail suggesting the public broadcasting is a good thing and we'd like to keep it, thank you.

january 11
Caregiver seminar There's more to caring for an invalid than making cinnamon toast. A sprained ankle, perhaps, can be cured with a couple of trips to the doctor and a few days on the sofa, and the average good egg is prepared, more or less, to tend for a loved one in sprained ankle straits. This seminar is for those who are in for a longer haul -- those caring for a critically ill child, an aging parent or a spouse with a debilitating illness. "What Every Caregiver Needs to Know," a three-hour session, will have practical tips for caregiving and tips on stress management for overwrought caregivers. 9 a.m.-noon. Wilson Turner Auditorium, Two Memorial Southwest Professional Building, 7600 Beechnut. For details, call 222-CARE. Free.

Tune's Saloon Rod Summers and Will Townsley lack the lisping charm of Roger Rabbit but play a pair of bright purple baby grand pianos that any cartoon character would envy. Summers and Townsley play tunes, do improvisational comedy and encourage audience participation at Houston's newest piano bar. Come on out and embarrass yourself, embarrass your friends and have a loud good time. Larry Moon, who goofs on Mix 96.5, will appear tonight, 6-8 p.m. Tune's Saloon, 2151 Shepherd Plaza, 527-

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