Thursday, May 5
How best to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Throw some African-American comedians together and have them make funny. We're not joking, and apparently neither is the Improv, as it's presenting "Cinco de Soul!" today. Local yuksters Billy D. Washington, Sam Demaris and Al Freemon will take the stage to share some urban insight on the Mexican-American holiday. What Hanukkah Harry was to Christmas, these guys will be to Cinco de Mayo. We guess. 8:30 p.m. 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit www.improv.com. $12.
Friday, May 6
To fans of Indian music -- or just crazy beats -- Zakir Hussain is a household name. The Bombay-born percussionist is widely credited with helping spearhead the modern world-music movement. A touring musician since the age of 12, Hussain is a master of the tabla, or Indian drum, and has collaborated with the likes of George Harrison, Tito Puente and Van Morrison. He also has composed several film soundtracks and is featured in the documentary Zakir and His Friends, which he'll introduce at a special screening today at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He'll also perform at the Wortham Center on Saturday, May 7, but you can meet Zakir and His Friends today at 7 p.m. at the Brown Auditorium Theater, 1001 Bissonnet. For tickets, information and showtimes, call 713-639-7531 or visit www.mfah.org/films or www.iaahouston.com. $6.
Saturday, May 7
If you're looking for your big break into showbiz but still haven't lined up airfare to Hollywood, hit the Inside TV auditions today at the Galleria. Join your fellow hopefuls as you try out for walk-on roles on five network shows, including the NBC series Medium and UPN's Girlfriends. You'll be graded on acting ability, personality and stage presence. Score big and you'll nab a walk-on role in network TV. Score so-so and you'll win a behind-the-scenes tour of network shows like Cold Case. Score lousy and, well, you could always go shopping. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, May 8. 5192 Hidalgo. For information, visit www.insidetv.com. Free.
Speaking of locals making it big in Tinseltown, this week marks the Texas premiere of El Padrino, written by, directed by and starring Damian Chapa, who hails from Robstown, Texas. A sort of modern-day Scarface, the film follows a Latino drug lord's rise to the top and features an impressive cast, including the boob-a-riffic Jennifer Tilly, Faye Dunaway, Robert Wagner and the always-sketchy Gary Busey. You may have seen Chapa in Blood In, Blood Out (which also starred Benjamin Bratt and Billy Bob Thornton), but we suggest catching him in his directorial debut. For tickets, schedule and showtimes, call 713-333-3456 or visit www.moviefone.com. $6 to $8.
Sunday, May 8
Mom jokes aside (and man, we love 'em), your mother's been good to you. And yet today you woke up in a pool of drool (or worse) and realized, once again, that you've forgotten her on Mother's Day. What to get her? You'll have to think on your feet. Do it literally as you and dear ol' mum stroll the Marché Aux Puces, a Parisian-themed outdoor flea market. In the parking lot of the Inner Loop's trendy Madelon Salon, you'll find fresh-roasted coffee beans and coffees, pastries, organic produce, flowers, mod home furnishings and rugs and, of course, arts and crafts. As you shower Mom with gifts, she'll forget about the time you wrecked her car (high school) and stole her wallet (this morning). 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 2521 Hazard. For information, call 713-524-7283. Free.
Monday, May 9
Unless you're a pre-crack-infested Whitney Houston incarnate -- or a bigger bitch than he is -- Simon Cowell ain't got much love for ya. But the American Idol judge/Brit prick loves him some Kelly Clarkson, saying that the 2002 Idol alum was "the only one with talent who ever won." The darlin' from Burleson, Texas, has been a fixture on the pop scene; fans grabbed 236,000 copies of her single "Miss Independent" from her debut CD, Thankful, the week it came out. Now she's touring the country pushing her new album, Breakaway, whose title track and single "Since U Been Gone" are shooting up the charts. Show up at the Verizon Wireless Theater tonight, and Miss Kelly -- who just turned 23 -- may even serenade you with a rocked-out version of the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)." Now that's talent! Worship the idol at 7:30 p.m. 520 Texas. For tickets, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. $35.
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Tuesday, May 10
Betsy Huete appears to have a lot of time on her hands. Recently, she tore a page out of the phone book and proceeded to copy every name from it onto a wall at Rice Gallery. We should point out that her 15-foot-high list -- which is accompanied by an artist's sketchbook filled entirely with handwritten names -- is actually an art installation called PHONE BOOK. Huete says it examines "the disturbing aspects of repetition in art" (no kidding). It's part of "OUTPUT," the annual exhibition of works by graduating Rice visual art students. The show features acrylic paintings, digital and traditional photography, and large and small sculpture by 17 artists. Keep an eye out for Rebecca Villarreal's Rebar: A Study of Texture and Line, a sculpture in which curved pieces of rebar are placed on their tips to create what appears to be a sheath of wheat. And watch for the quirky Snacks, a 20-minute flick shot on 16-millimeter film featuring a soundtrack by the Rice band Christian and the Jews. Exhibit runs through May 13. Rice Gallery, 6100 Main. For information, call 713-348-6069 or visit www.ricegallery.org. Free.
Wednesday, May 11
In an era when Paris's, um, Hilton is all over the Web and Britney's tummy is on the cover of every mag, there's something to be said for a little mystery. So if you're up for a bit of good-natured, horned-up teasing, say hello to the ladies of the Fluffgirl Burlesque Revue. You'll be up to your ears in fishnets, boas and booties, but the clothes (most of them, anyway) will stay on. The ladies have come down all the way from Canada to entertain you, so show 'em that you can respect the three-foot rule at 8 p.m. Engine Room, 1515 Pease. For information, call 713-654-7846 or visit www.engineroomhouston.com. $10.