Press Picks

november 17
The Big Bayou City Biceps Bonanza A bevy of buff beefcake for Body Positive.
See studs compete in "Mr. Sexiest Biceps in Houston," "Mr. Arm Wrestling Champion of Houston" and "Mr. Rocky Balboa One-Arm Push-Up Champion." Women will compete in Ms. versions of those contests and also the "Cindy Crawford Makeup Look-A-Like Contest." (We are disappointed there is no Mr. version of the last contest.) The Fitness Exchange is sponsoring this pageant and turning over proceeds to Body Positive, a non-profit organization working to improve the lives of those afflicted with HIV/AIDS and the people close to them. 5:30-8 p.m. Neo China Hunan Restaurant, 3910 Kirby. Call 522-6559 for details. $5 entry fee, $20 tickets.

Patrick Reynolds Out to protect our precious bodily fluids or simply trying to get back at granddaddy? We leave it to you to decide. Patrick Reynolds is the grandson of the late R.J. Reynolds and the co-author of The Guilded Leaf, a story of the Reynolds family, and he's certainly not uninformed when it comes to tobacco. He blames the weed for the death of his father and of his grandfather, and points to it as the source of endless human misery. Patrick is vehemently against smoking, having gone so far as to sell his R.J. Reynolds stock. He's using the money to finance his crusade -- and folks, we are talking about the kind of money that can get you listed in Forbes. The former pack-a-day smoker aims to make the United States a smoke-free society by the millennium. Thanks in part to Patrick's good works, smoking is banned on commercial planes. Now jets are smoke-free, and breathing cabin air is no more unpleasant than sucking oxygen from the nozzle of a blow dryer while an ice pick is lodged between your eyes. Hear Patrick speak about benzene and toluene and other items which may be components of environmental tobacco smoke, or just general ick in the air. Being educated is good because it's so very hard to decide what's right. Banning a simple vice seems to trample on civil rights; on the other hand, such a ban would ensure an end to photos of Rush Limbaugh smugly puffing a stogy. 7 p.m. Paul Revere Center, 10500 Briar Forest. For details, call 661-4589. Free.

november 18
Krassimira Jordan At the tender age of seven, this Bulgarian native gave her first public recital. Since, she has gone on to play in Eastern and Western European capitals, the former U.S.S.R., China, Southeast Asia and the Americas. At one time a professor at the Vienna Academy of Music, Jordan is now with Baylor and giving this piano recital for the students of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. The public is invited to attend and enjoy a program of Slavic works. Bohemian Bedrich Smetana's Dupak and Obkrocak; Bulgarian Pancho Vladigerov's Nocturno, Perpetuum mobile and Prelude; and Russian Rodion Shchedrin's Humoresque and Basso ostinato comprise the program. 11 a.m. HSPVA, 4001 Stanford, Alessandro Recital Hall, 522-9289. Free.

Tatyana's Golden Doe Houston educator, composer and playwright Kate Paxton has created a musical from Slavic folklore. The glacial cold of Russia is the scene for this fairy tale. In the latest offering from Express Theatre, our heroine, Tatyana, is a goodhearted girl whose family falls on hard times -- something that's often the fate of fairy tale families. In the fairy tale tradition, plucky Tatyana prevails. Mystical creatures also figure in the plot. There will be a reception at tonight's opening. 7 p.m. Subsequent performances at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through December 11. The Children's Museum, 1500 Binz, 522-1138.$5. (Notetoparents:a "Children's Theater Pass," which includes 15 ticket vouchers that can be used in any combination at Express Theatre shows at the Children's Museum and provides discounts for Main Street Theater's Young People'sTheatre,StagesandUH Children's Theater Festival, is available. The pass is $50. Call Express Theatre for details, 759-1314.)

Upcoming Events

Roy Blount He's just a bug on the windshield of life, sometime contributor to Spy and cracker deluxe. Blount has, in his career, written about country and western music, what men don't tell women, why Wayne Newton's is bigger than yours, baseball names, gravy and responded to a question posed by Mademoiselle. He began his answer by saying, "I have looked deeply into my heart on this one, and then looked quickly away. I don't like looking deeply into my heart. It's like looking deeply into my filing system. Or my garage. There are interesting things in my garage -- just for starters, three chickens running around loose -- but you wouldn't ever want to go in there and try to sort them all out." This tidbit reveals his special knack for taking the folksy, common sensical approach and employing said approach to reveal that things are far more complex and incomprehensible than we had suspected. It also reveals his fondness for chickens; poultry is ever-present in his prose and poetry. Tonight, Blount signs copies of his latest book, and probably snuffles and is charmingly modest. This book, Roy Blount's Book of Southern Humor, has a $27.50 list price. 8-9 p.m. Bookstop Galleria, 2501 Post Oak Boulevard, 627-9810.  

november 19
Dennis Adams: Selling History Midwesterner Dennis Adams' art has been seen mostly in Europe; this exhibition at the CAM marks the first time his work has been displayed in the Southwest. But wait, there's more. While "Selling History" is at the museum, Adams will install a site-specific bus shelter at a Metro stop in the 1300 block of West Dallas, which is near the Gregory Lincoln Education Center. Students from the school will contribute to this special project. Adams has done bus stop projects as public art fairly often. In fact, his Bus Shelter IV, originally installed in MYnster, Germany, in 1987, will be placed at the Metro stop in front of the CAM. "Selling History" and the bus stops will be on view through February 5. The exhibit opens today, and Adams will participate in a casual discussion of art, politics and public spaces with architect Carlos Jimenez to kick things off. 3 p.m. Contemporary Arts Museum, 5216 Montrose, 526-0773. $3 adults, $1 seniors and students, free for children under 12. Program free with museum admission. Seating is, as regular museum-goers know, limited.

The Unspoken Prayer "O Lord our God / help us to tear their soldiers into bloody shreds with our shells / help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead / help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded writhing in pain / help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire." This poem by Mark Twain is the basis for a dramatic musical performance, designed by Wayne DeHart. Reading from "The War Prayer" is accompanied by a cappella singing by the Community Music Center's vocal ensemble. The performance is presented by the Fellowship of Reconciliation as a fundraiser for its educational programs. For 76 years, the fellowship has been speaking out against war and suggesting non-violent solutions to personal and political problems The Unspoken Prayer will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Central Congregational Church, 1311 Holman (at Austin). For details, call 524-2682. $5-$15 donation requested.

Ford U.S. Hot Rod Red Man Finals The Dome will be thick with diesel fumes for the 16th and final round of the 1994 USHRA All American Pulling Series. And the pulling action is only the half of it. Stock up on Dome nachos for the World Record Monster Truck Jump Off. Giants in the gargantuan world of monster trucks will crush cars and fly far across the field. Bigfoot, the Carolina Crusher, Predator and Equalizer will barrel down a 75-foot ramp building up speed and power, then they'll crunch cars and soar through the air. 7:30 p.m. Astrodome, Kirby at the 610 Loop. Tickets available at the Astrodome box office and through Ticketmaster, 629- 3700. $10, all seats reserved.

november 20
Fearless: The Hunterwali Story Get ready for another movie trend. Jackie Chan is passe, John Woo is old hat and three-hour Indian musicals are not yet a blip on the cultural screen. But here is "Fearless Nadia." In 1935, a sunny lass from down under, Mary Evans, began a strange adventure with Hunterwali. This adventure flick introduced her as "Fearless Nadia," and she quickly became India's whip-cracking, daredeviling sweetheart. This film biography features clips of her amazing stunts, interviews with the star herself, people around her and key players in the Indian movie industry. A fitting matinee at 2 p.m. (Also at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.) Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7515. $5, $4 members.

november 21
Comedy and karaoke You got your A choice and your B choice and continuous beverage service. Monday nights the Laff Stop presents professional comics goofing around, or non-professional singers in serious competition. "Comedy Workout" is no traditional open mike -- only comics who can get work go up. When they go up, what they do is new material, which is frequently more fun, more irreverent, more telling than the polished material they do during regular gigs. However, if cutting-edge comedy tires you, you can retire to the main room for a karaoke competition. The contestants are culled from the amateurs who cut tracks at Houston Live Recording Studio in the Galleria. Tonight is the men's finals. Nine men, just innocent Joes who stopped in to cut a tape for their moms or sweethearts, will sing for $300 in prize money. 8 p.m. Laff Stop, 1952 West Gray, 524-2333. $3 comedy, $5 karaoke.  

november 22
Nutcracker Tea Here's a different idea for holiday photos: snap happy, well-fed kids, glowing with a glucose rush, in a friendly pose with costumed dancers from the Houston Ballet's Nutcracker. This afternoon, the airy Palm Court of the Omni hotel will be the site of a storytime tea party with very serious pastries and very fanciful storytelling by a principal dancer from the ballet. One dancer will read from the Nutcracker story while other costumed characters meet and greet and pose for photos. (We're partial to the rats -- their heads are less scary.) 3:30-5:30 p.m. Omni, 4 Riverway (off Woodway), 871-8181. $12.50.

I Heard the Shots Former Houston Chronicle reporter Diana Weeks has come up with a new angle on the Kennedy assassination. Her comedy/drama is a look at the battle of egos in the Houston Police Department pressroom in the week of the shooting. The work will be presented to the public in a staged reading, with a reception featuring and celebs such as Jane Ely (always an unmistakable face on the editorial page of the Chron), Channel 2's Ron Stone, George McElroy of The Informer and Mr. Jack Cato will attend. Marvin Zindler has been invited, but has yet to confirm. Money from ticket sales benefit the HPD Explorer Scouts scholarship fund. 8 p.m. Jewish Community Center, Kaplan Theater, 5601 South Braeswood, 729-3200. To purchase tickets, call 247-KOPS. $20.

november 23
Picturing Asia America: Communities,Culture, Difference Asian-American artists from a variety of backgrounds present works in a variety of basically photographic media. The artists have cultural backgrounds tracing to China, the Philippines, Japan, Korea and more and hail from everywhere -- including Canada and Connecticut. The works explore how the artists picture themselves, racially and personally, and employee digital imaging, photo-based silk screening, slide projection and Xerox art. Thru December 23. HoustonCenterforPhotography, Wednesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. 1441 West Alabama, 529-4755.

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