This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

The Japanese ukulele-strumming duo Petty Booka plays a mean "Born to Be Wild" -- bluegrass-style. See Sunday.

Thursday, March 13:
Ciudad Juárez is a terrifying place for a woman to live, especially if she's young and thin, with big brown eyes and a dark complexion.
In the past ten years, hundreds of women fitting this description, mostly factory workers, have disappeared from the town across the border from El Paso. Somewhere between 90 and 100 bodies have been found; in most cases, the women were sexually assaulted before they were murdered. And though dozens of guys have been arrested over the years, the killings continue. One theory holds that there's not one murderer but many; some even think a corrupt government is involved. For years, activists frustrated by officials' lack of responsiveness to the crimes have been campaigning for justice. Today, Greg Bloom, co-founder of Friends of the Women in Juárez, speaks at La Voz Femenina: Artists Celebrate International Women's Month, a Voices Breaking Boundaries event. Also on the bill: author Graciela Limón, dancer Cougar Salseros and five poets, including Carolina Monsivais and Sehba Sarwar. 6 p.m. Blaffer Gallery, 120 Fine Arts Building, University of Houston. For information, call 713-228-2052. Free.

Horror stories like that make you want to escape? Houston Ballet's Cinderella will carry you to a land where fairy godmothers exist. And we all could use a fairy godmother. Look what she gives Cinderella: a boyfriend, pretty new clothes and, best of all, revenge! By the end of the ballet, her ugly, bitchy stepsisters get what they deserve, while the whole audience has a laugh at their expense. Bring the little ones along -- so they can learn to love the ballet and start developing a taste for vengeance. 7:30 p.m. today, March 15, 21 and 22; 2 p.m. March 16, 22 and 23. Brown Theater, Wortham Theater Center, 500 Texas. For tickets, call 713-227-ARTS or visit $11.50 to $109.50.

Friday, March 14:
Peace activist Arun Gandhi is following in his grandpa's footsteps. The name may help him bring in an audience, but his accomplishments speak for themselves. He's worked as a reporter for Times of India, written eight books and is now a scholar-in-residence at Christian Brothers University in Memphis. Today, Gandhi lectures on "Justice Through the Eyes of My Grandfather" at the University of Houston. George W. Bush is expected to attend -- only he'll be wearing Harry Potter's invisible cloak. 8:30 a.m. Hilton Ballroom, entrance no. 1 (off Calhoun). For information, call 713-743-8143. $40 to $55.

Saturday, March 15:
The Mancuso Harley-Davidson charity benefit is going to extreme lengths to entertain. Someone claiming to be the World's Strongest Man will pound in nails with his hands, rip phone books in half and hold back two motorcycles as their riders try to speed off. Bubba Blackwell will perform stunts like riding on the handlebars of his motorcycle. And a group of dudes called the Extreme Team will climb piles of rocks and boards on their lightweight dirt motorcycles -- almost like acrobats. You can ride your bike in the Poker Run: At each of five stops around town, you'll get a card; the high hand wins $1,000. 9 a.m. Poker Runs today and Sunday, March 16. 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. today and noon to 8:30 p.m. tomorrow. Mancuso Harley-Davidson, 12710 Crossroads. For information, call 713-970-9700 or visit Free; $10 to enter Poker Run. Proceeds benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Self Improvement Through Rider Education.

Upcoming Events

Sunday, March 16:
We challenge you to find someone who won't be charmed by the ukulele-strumming Japanese duo Petty Booka. With a repertoire that includes pop, rock, country and Hawaiian tiki music, these ladies, who look damn cute in their grass skirts and punk rock boots, tend to win over crowds of all stripes. Petty Booka plays bluegrass versions of "Material Girl" and "Born to Be Wild" and a reggae-influenced "These Boots Are Made for Walking." The duo is stopping in Houston after playing at South By Southwest for the second year in a row. Then they'll continue touring the United States to promote their new album, Let's Talk Dirty in Hawaiian -- The Best of Petty Booka. 10 p.m. Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh Drive. For information, call 713-521-0521. $5.

Monday, March 17:
What does the show WKRP in Cincinnati have in common with the movie The First Wives Club? They were both produced by Hugh Wilson. Actually, he created, produced and wrote for WKRP, about radio station workers coping with a change in format from elevator music to rock and roll. The show was based on Wilson's experience working at a station in Atlanta. It sure would be juicy if The First Wives Club, about three women getting revenge on their jerky ex-husbands, was also related to Wilson's life experience, but alas, it's based on Olivia Goldsmith's best-selling novel. Today, Wilson fields questions about his career after a screening of First Wives at Rice Cinema. 7:30 p.m. Entrance no. 8 off University at Stockton Drive. For information, call 713-348-4882. $5 to $6.

Tuesday, March 18:
During the '20s and '30s, skyscrapers invaded the American home. Influenced by the modern city, designers created furniture and household items that reflected its clean lines and industrial feel. "American Modern: 1920s and '30s Design" at the Museum of Fine Arts features artifacts like a cocktail set with a shaker that looks like a tower and Kem Weber's streamlined and aerodynamic airline chair. Other objects on view include coffee tables, flatware, books and pottery. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 12:15 to 7 p.m. Sundays. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit

Wednesday, March 19:
When times are good, people drink to celebrate; when times are bad, well, they drink then, too. You may not find too much happiness at the ACLU Happy Hour, but if you're down about, say, the proposed Patriot II bill, which would increase the government's surveillance powers, head over to Noche Cocina y Bar. You can guzzle spirits in the company of kindred spirits and rant about Ashcroft, Bush and Cheney until you're so drunk you forget all about them. At that point, conversation will probably degenerate into discussions about celebrity gossip, sexual positions and how everyone's getting home. Yep, in troubled times, people still do the nasty. 8:30 p.m. 2409 Montrose, 713-529-8559.

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