Thursday, August 19
Texas seen through the eyes of an outsider can be so idyllic. Artist Andrew S. DeJesse is from the Northeast, but his oil and watercolor paintings present colorful images of the Texas landscape. His work makes its debut this week at Gallery 19 with "Visions of Tejas," a solo exhibition. "It's just kind of going though San Antonio and the missions, and just the impressions of what Texas used to be and what it is now," he says. "It's expressive -- a lot of times people think of expressive as abstract -- but it's all photo-realism." See DeJesse express himself from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. Opening reception: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, August 20. Works on view through Sunday, August 22. 327 West 19th Street. For information, call 713-426-2414. Free.
After you're done redefining your vision of Texas, head over to the Groovey Grill Mansion for an event hosted by the African American Wine Tasting Society. On the menu this evening are wines from Paterno Wines International. And don't get intimidated by the thought of accidentally swallowing instead of spitting; the folks of the AAWTS are all about being inclusive and informative. They can teach you a lot about the reds and the whites, even if their understanding of geography is a little sketchy. According to the organization's literature, its "members are interested in learning how wines from different continents differ from other countries throughout the nation." Hmm, we wish them the best of luck with that. 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. 2619 Calumet. For information, call 713-710-0713. $25.
Friday, August 20
You've got a lot going for you: You're successful, attractive, cultured and single. Okay, so maybe you're not too happy about that last part. Find yourself an upwardly mobile sweetie at the Alley Theatre Summer Fling, an evening of drinks, dancing and David de la Garza of La Mafia. While de la Garza performs, you can find yourself a cutie and talk about the arts and how much you're looking for a special someone to share them with. Odds are he or she is looking for the same thing. 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. For information, call 713-228-9341 or visit www.alleytheatre.org. $12.
Saturday, August 21
Today the folks at Sam Houston Race Park are offering up a free educational program for children. Yep, that's right: They're teaching kids all about gambling. Your little addict-to-be can run around the track and breakfast on free donuts -- all while learning about the thrill of betting on the ponies. No word yet when the Tequila for Toddlers seminar will take place. 9:30 a.m. 7575 Sam Houston Parkway West. For information, call 281-807-8700 or visit www.shrp.com. Free.
Once you've put the kids to bed -- after a rousing game of craps, of course -- put on your dancing shoes and head over to Union for a DJ set by Johnny Fiasco. Just like most Chicago DJs, he's got a reputation for being one of the originators of house. See how it's progressed at 9 p.m. Union Bar and Lounge, 202 Tuam. For information, call 713-529-5296 or visit www.unionbarandlounge.com. $10.
Sunday, August 22
Most skydivers will tell you there's no better way to feel alive than to rush toward death. Well, we're perfectly happy plodding along with our feet on the ground, thank you very much. But that doesn't mean we don't get a thrill from watching other people plummet to the earth -- especially a lot of people. This weekend 150 skydivers are gathering in Rosharon to try to break the Texas record for free-fall formation. Every hour and a half, seven perfectly good planes will take off and kick out the participants, who will then swoosh towards each other in hopes of linking up. Food vendors will be available for the spectators. We assume the participants are perfectly happy with their hearts in their throats. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and Friday and Saturday, August 20 and 21. Skydive Spaceland, 16111 FM 521 in Rosharon. For information, call 281-369-3337 or visit www.skydivespaceland.com. Free.
Or maybe you think the prospect of seeing a state skydiving record isn't worth the trip all the way out to Rosharon. Well, you must be quite the homebody. Head over to the Houston Home Show and fix up your little slice of the American pie. Featuring beaucoup vendors hawking everything from furniture to fences, this expo is the perfect chance to find that special tile pattern for your guest bathroom. Also on hand will be the folks from Purina Cat Chow, offering up "purrsonality profiles" for your feline friends. How much you wanna bet they'll determine your cat's personality type is a perfect fit for their product? 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today; 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, August 21; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, August 21. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, call 713-522-2438. $6 to $7.50.
Monday, August 23
Get your week started with Mercury Mondays at, fittingly enough, the Mercury Room. This weekly hip-hop happening features DJ GT. If you're not hyped when you walk through the door, we reckon you will be once the shout-outs have started. Don't forget to throw your hands in the air and wave them like...you know where this is going. 9 p.m. 1008 Prairie. For information, call 713-225-6372 or visit www.mercuryroom.com. $10.
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Tuesday, August 24
We understand that smaller museums usually have limited hours, but the Telephone Museum really takes it to the extreme. Without an appointment, you only can visit this tribute to all things ring three hours a week. That's right: a piddling three hours a week. We've spent longer than that on hold before. Then again, our little handset wasn't anywhere near as cool as some of the old-timey stuff on display here. 9 a.m. to noon. Tuesdays. 1714 Ashland. For information, call 713-861-9784. Free.
Wednesday, August 25
Okay, so you gave that special someone your business card -- complete with gold lettering -- at the Alley function last Friday, but you've still haven't received the promised phone call. Track that liar down tonight at the Houston Symphony's Classical Encounters for Singles Preview Party. Featuring mingling and music by the Blue Monks, this soiree is sure to have a lot the same faces that were at the Alley affair. Hell, the Venn diagram for the two events is probably just a single circle. 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sambuca Jazz Cafe, 909 Texas. For information and reservations, call 713-224-7575 or visit www.houstonsymphony.org. Free.