Night & Day

December 31
Not many comedians can include a handwritten thanks-for-the-laughs note from former president George Bush in their press kits, but Vic Henley is one of them. His rich brand of redneck comedy grows from plenty of Southern-good-ol'-boy experience: He grew up in Oxford, Alabama, graduated from Auburn University, co-authored the book Games Rednecks Play with Jeff Foxworthy, and has a look that's been described as "a cross between Opie Taylor and Don Rickles." New Year's Eve shows begin at 7:15 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Also, Wednesday, December 30, at 8:30 p.m. and Friday, January 1, at 9 p.m. The Laff Stop, 1952-A West Gray. Call 524-2333 or go to for more information.

January 1
Don't start the new year off with just a bang -- 1999 deserves the ominous rumble of an imploding building. Luckily, the old, 11-story Buccaneer Hotel on the Seawall in Galveston is going down at noon today. Built in 1929, the hotel became a part of the Edgewater Methodist Retirement Community in 1962, and now Edgewater is imploding the building so its site can become a park for the retired residents. Don't be late: JTB Services' carefully sequenced charges are designed to take the Buccaneer down in only seven seconds. Seawall Boulevard, between 22nd and 23rd streets. Call the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau at (409)765-4386 for more information. Free.

January 2
Based on a real-life, Coca-Cola-sponsored, 11-hour World War II radio program, Swingtime Canteen, now playing at New Heights Theatre, is the story of fading MGM star Marion Ames, her all-girl swing band and their musical efforts to cheer up the troops on Christmas Day, 1944. The vintage revue features some 30 songs such as "Don't Fence Me In," "I'll Be Seeing You," "Sing, Sing, Sing," "How High the Moon" and "Apple Blossom Time." Tonight is the opening of the regular run after a special New Year's Eve gala performance. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through February 13, with 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees on January 31 and February 7. 339 West 19th Street. For more information, call 869-8927. $20; $18, matinees.

January 3
Still writing 1998 on your checks? Perhaps you need to spend some time at the Children's Museum of Houston's "99 and Counting WonderWeekend." There you can work on a "hidden nines" puzzle, create a collage of nine different things and list nine goals for 1999. Don't dress to the nines for the Nines Olympics, where you'll compete in events like nine ball-bounces, 18 toe-touches and the 36-second dash. Bring kids ages two to 12 for cover. Noon to 5 p.m. Also, Saturday, January 2, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 1500 Binz. Call 522-1138 for more information. Free with museum admission of $5.

January 4
Sandy Duncan hasn't always played the mom in Disney movies and sappy sitcoms. In fact, she spent a lot of time on Broadway, starring in everything from Funny Face to Peter Pan. The native Texan is coming home to reprise some of her roles with a little help from her husband, Don Correia, entertainer Guy Stroman and the Houston Symphony. The Exxon Pops Series show will feature Sandy in such numbers as "Gotta Have a Gimmick," "New York, New York" and an exact recreation of Gene Kelly's "Singin' in the Rain." The Houston Symphony, under the direction of guest conductor Lara Webber, will open the program with selections from Carmen, West Side Story and the overture to The Barber of Seville. 8 p.m. Also, Saturday, January 2, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, January 3, at 7:30 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. Call 227-ARTS for more information. $24-$65. $11 tickets are sold, subject to availability, to students and seniors, one hour before the show.

January 5
Tony N' Tina's Wedding is the second longest-running show in off-Broadway history. But it's actually less like a theatrical production than a raucous party you were invited to by mistake. The audience participates in all aspects of the fictitious Italian-American nuptials -- from the ceremony to the reception to a real Italian buffet. Some 30 performers play members of the wedding party, friends, caterers, clergy and family; guests are encouraged to adopt the persona of their choice as well. "The beauty is that the show is different for every person there," explains producer Bradley Broecker. "It just depends on which performers you interact with." Tony N' Tina's Wedding opens tonight at 8 p.m. and runs through February 14. Garden in the Heights, 3926 Feagan. Showtimes: Tuesday-Saturday 8 p.m.; Sunday 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m. matinees. Call Ticketmaster at 629-3700. $49.50.

January 6
There is some debate whether Mark Ravenhill's hit London play, Shopping and Fucking, lives up to its titillating title. Sure, there's the on-stage vomiting, the simulated fellatio and the excruciating moment in which a 14-year-old boy begs to be sodomized with a knife. But a New York Times reviewer claimed that Ravenhill makes sure none of his characters get much joy out of either shopping or fucking, and that the play "emerges as a shrill morality tale." Now that Theater LaB Houston is starting its sixth season with the third U.S. production of the controversial play, you can be the judge. Shopping and Fucking opens tonight at 8 p.m. and runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. through February 14. Additional Thursday performances are February 4 and 11 at 8 p.m. 1706 Alamo. Call 868-7516 for more information. $20-$22.

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Lauren Kern
Contact: Lauren Kern