Gay Pride Week: Pumped Up on Art Gay Pride Week begins today, and the thing to do is buy shoes. Pumped Up on Art is a preview party to show off shoes that will be auctioned June 9. Celebs, local and otherwise, have donated pairs of pumps (though not necessarily shoes in which their famous tootsies have trod). Shoe donors such as Ann Richards, Elyse Lanier, Carolyn Farb, Janie Parker, Kathy Whitmire, Eleanor Tinsley, Melanie Lawson, Shara Fryer and Lily Tomlin autographed one or both high-heels. Local artists such as Gertrude Barnstone, Ted Estrada, Kermit Eisenhut, Diana Meade, Robert Ramos and Cathie Schneider increased the value of the unsigned shoes by transforming them into works of art, in some cases even pieces of sculpture. Each shoe's signed mate has its own value as a collector's item. Pick your favorite pair tonight and plan to bid furiously during the auction, which will benefit the Bering Community Service Foundation, the Dizinger Foundation and the Pride Committee. The invitation specifies semi-formal attire -- expect special guest Alvin Van Black in a tux. 5:30-8:30 p.m. The Art Gallery on Audubon, 3421 Audubon. Call a Pride Committee volunteer for more information, 523-9398.
Kemah Shrimp Fest Kemah is one of the most heavily visited tourist cities in the state. We think this is because stir-crazy city folks who haven't the time to skip town entirely take treks down I-45 often enough to stave off the over-crowding corporate heebie-jeebies. Kemah is simply a "Mo bettah place!!!," according to the fliers for this Kemah Police Department benefit and (move over mud bugs) shrimp festival. Feast upon decapod crustaceans of the suborder Natantia. Limbo! How low can you go? Test your sacroiliac under the limbo pole, or move to less strenuous calypso dances. The brightly colored band list includes Wazobia, Yard Band, Transit, AYO, Liberation and Caribbean Notes. The family fun and shrimp-dish contests run through the weekend. Gates open 5 p.m. Friday. Kemah's Landing (next to Landing's Restaurant), take I-45 south, exit FM 518, go east (left) to FM 2094, continue east until you cross Highway 146. Voile. $5, kids free, no pets or coolers. For more info call 529-5955.
The Outcast A new opera from an old book. American composer Noa Ain has taken the Old Testament story of Ruth and styled an opera incorporating jazz, gospel and traditional African music. There will be eight performances of this exciting new work. Opens tonight, 8 p.m. Wortham Center, Cullen Theater, 500 Texas Avenue, 227-ARTS. $20-$45.
Webb Wilder The last of the full-grown men is here, and he's going to... he puts it: "I'm going to pop me the top on a tall-boy can of whup-ass." That's the esoteric cracker-boy's way of telling you to get ready for an evening of Swampedelic uneasy listening. Wilder is the kind of guy one can imagine as a bespectacled sprout sprawled on a braided oval rug in the living room of his loving parents, some nice ranch-style house with lovely avocado-colored kitchen appliances, grooving on Clutch Cargo (with Spinner and Paddlefoot!) while listing to the Cowboy Copas and reading Will Cuppy's The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody. Yes, he's probably just the spawn of the suburbs, but the pithy motherfo with the cleft chin would be the first to tell you that he and his band are "the kind of guys who are not afraid to go out on a limb and saw it off, just for a buzz." And, you can dance to it. 9:30 p.m. The Useless Playboys open. The Fabulous Satellite Lounge, 3616 Washington, 869-COOL. $10.
Ray Wylie Hubbard The only two things in life that make it worth living are broken-down country and western singers and revenge. Revenge is hard to come by. So are musical artistes, for that matter, but not so much so. Ray Wylie Hubbard, who made some sort of splash with "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother," spent long years before that and many a night since playing music, most recently with his Vicious Little Band. Revenge is hard to come by, and it's probably what you need (and if you don't, that's probably because right now, as you read this, genuinely good people are plotting just revenge against you). Good luck; we can't tell you how to find justice. Instead, we offer news of a show that will soothe your soul. Brazos Bottom Bar & Grill, 7010 FM 762 in Richmond (which is ten minutes, give or take, down 59 from the Beltway), 341-5210. $7.
Harvey Keitel Retrospective at Rice The Rice Media Center opens its summer film series with the nation's first tribute to Harvey Keitel. People tend not to be blase about Harv. He's either held as a god or considered a scenery-chewing poseur. The method actor's always-controversial image recently got another boost when the aging actor's 'nads were featured in Jane Campion's The Piano. Tonight, you get a chance to see the more subtle methods of evoking passion that Keitel has used (or abused) in his career. The seven-film retrospective, "The Gospel According to Harvey," begins tonight with a double feature. Martin Scorsese's 1973 Mean Streets plays first, and the recent stylish bloodbath Reservoir Dogs finishes off tonight's bill. 7:30 p.m. Rice Media Center, Rice University, entrance 8 off University, 527-4853. $4.-25.
Fifth Annual Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival The festival, which is spread out all over the state for most of the month, is a performance-oriented program for students of orchestral and chamber music. The nascent maestros are led by guest artists such as Maxim Shostakovich, Ruggiero Ricci, Leon Spierer and Jorge Velazco. The students and the professional profs are all set to perform throughout the festival, at venues ranging from the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion to A&M's Rudder Theater. Tonight, the music begins with a violin recital by Ruggiero Ricci. The septuagenarian debuted in New York at age 11. He did well -- according to one critic, "All that great violinists do, he did." The program includes works by Bach, Bartok, Ernst and Paganini. 7:30 p.m. Dudley Recital Hall, University of Houston, entrance 16 off Cullen. For info call 743-3009. $8, $5 seniors & students.
Phantom Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera has won every American and British theater award possible -- just scads of Drama Desk Awards and Tonys and Evening Standard Awards and so on. Now, finally, the roadshow, directed by Harold Prince, is at Jones Hall. Grant Norman is the Phantom on tour, coming directly from the Broadway companies of The Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon. Tonight is the official opening night of this lavish limited engagement. 7 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 629-3700. $26.50-$61.50. (Prices include a $1.50 theater fee to cover the cost of extensive technical tricks used in the show.)
Mientje's birthday The newest coffee generation has no shortage of places to go -- at this point Stop-N-Gos and beaneries are almost equal in number. Mientje's, however, is different. Both of them. The original shop in the Village and the newer lunch spot in the Medical Center were instant hits and have proven staying power. Maybe it's the coloring books and 64-crayon boxes in the reading racks. Maybe it's the lighting. (Mientje's, unlike other swankly dark caffeine huts, actually has lighting.) Maybe it's Mientje Green her own self. (It's certainly not espresso-squirter Jamie Griles, although he puts on a good show when the mood strikes. He's a redhead.)
If you've never been to Mientje's, go now and find out what you've been missing. Tonight, in honor of the coffeehouse's first birthday, Mientje and Jim Green are toasting the event with smooth, iced-coffee favorites -- Tanzanian peaberry, brandy creme decaf and chocolate nut. As always, fine baked goods served up in big portions will be available. The best party is at the original store, 2740 Times Blvd., but during the day you could also stop by the Medical Center location, at 1709 Dryden Street. Call 523-8724 for more information.
"Texas Bound" More of the out-loud stuff called spoken word. The spoken words in question were penned by Lone Star scribes and will be read by Alley actors and a couple of others. James Black, longtime Alley favorite and a high-tech games voice-actor, will read from Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses. The equine theme continues as Hallie Foote reads Six White Horses by Annette Sanford. The lighter side is handled by Randy Moore, reading selections from Joe Bob Briggs and Tom Doyal. 7:30 p.m. Alley Theatre's Neuhaus Stage, 615 Texas Avenue, 228-8421. $6, $4 seniors and students.
Closets The ever-laconic Joe Watts has been doggedly staging gay theater in this town longer and more consistently that anybody else we can think of. Now, for the twelfth Gay Pride Week running, Watts and his theater group called, well, The Group, are presenting Closets: A Stonewall Celebration. Closets, which was created and directed by Watts, consists of nine short pieces by Texas writers talking about lesbian and gay experiences. Opening night tonight, 8 p.m. at Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Parkway. The run skips a month and continues July 830 at the Westheimer Art Bar and Theatre, 1102 1/2 Westheimer. Call 522-2204 for tickets and info.
Other Directions The proposed West Houston Airport has caused a lot of commotion and consternation. This meeting seeks to set up systems for settling the various issues peaceably. A representative from the Audubon Society will speak. Cries of "Get a rope" and hatching of wild-eyed radical schemes will not be tolerated. Soup will be served, though, and guests are invited to bring a sack lunch. This get-the-facts-and-get-sensible meeting will be held from just after noon to 1:30 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian Church, 2525 North Gessner. For information call Other Directions: For Peacemaking, 468-8739. Free.
Get the Things to Do Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly guide to events in Houston, and never be bored again. With suggestions for every day of the week, our recommendations will keep you busy on any budget.