Free for All: Art without a Price Tag

Here's a sure bet for Friday: the "Pan y Circos" group exhibit at PC Contemporary. Ten artists, including Mexico native Jorge Galvan and Bogota-born Santiago Forero, present works that are hyper-realistic and centered on the collision of cultures along the American/Mexican border. Dealing with issues of self-identity and feminism, while exploring space and time, the images and objects in the show are range from startling to whimsical. Forero contributes oversized photographs from his The Olympic Games series, in which a little person poses as an athlete .

In case you're wondering, the title for the show refers to ancient Rome, when rulers put on outrageous public displays and entertainment in an effort to keep citizens' minds off of the harsh economic realities of the time. (Hmm, all of that sounds vaguely familiar for some reason.)

There's an opening reception with several of the artists 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday. Regular viewing hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays. Through November 5. PG Contemporary Temporary Annex, 3225 Milam. For information, visit www.pgcontemporary.com or call 713-523-7424. Free.

On Saturday, author Michael Varhola comes to town with his book Texas Confidential: Sex, Scandal, Murder and Mayhem. A chronicle of the Lone Star state's most outlandish scandals, which are most often fueled by a foul-smelling mixture of lust, greed, lawlessness and a need to make everything bigger though not necessarily better. Varhola dishes on the dirt on colorful crazy people, politicians on the take, loose women, mean men, and hell, even a couple of UFO landings.

Varhola will sign and discuss Texas Confidential: Sex, Scandal, Murder and Mayhem. at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Blue Willow Bookshop, 14532 Memorial Drive. For information, visit www.bluewillowbookshop.com or call 281-497-8675. Free.

We suggest ROCO in Concert: Season Opener Encore Performance for Sunday. The River Oaks Chamber Orchestra will be led by guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen. The program includes Let Us Garlands Bring being sung by baritone Timothy Jones, Toccata e Due Canzoni, and Mozart's Symphony No. 40.

Mei-Ann Chen, a noted young conductor, comes to Houston fresh from her first season as music director for the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. And Jones, who perform all around the world, is quickly making a reputation for himself as on of the leading bass-baritones of this generation.

You can see ROCO in Concert: Season Opener Encore Performance at 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Kingwood, 5520 Kingwood Drive. For information, visit www.rocohouston.org or call 713-665-2700. Free.

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