Oh, Say Can You See

SUN 11/30

The Star Spangles are just begging to be scoffed at. One look at the New York punksters' new CD, Bazooka!!!, and right off the bat, there's fodder in their pretentious, well-slept-in haircuts and their cover mimicking the Rolling Stones' 12 X 5 album shot. Still, as Stones bassist Bill Wyman suggested on Public Radio International this month, all rock riffs -- and styles -- are borrowed. The young bands who wear polka-dot dress shirts or pea jackets and play Hofner violin basses are just taking part in the tried and true practice of rock 'n' roll recycling.The Spangles' influences are more punk and glam anyway, right down to vocalist Ian Wilson's perpetual David Johansen-style sneer and guitarist Tommy Volume's penchant for staying airborne during the show. The Spangles' longevity will depend on whether the band can hurdle its roots. We suggest you spin their cover of Johnny Thunders' "Crime of the Century," with its wonky, shout-out vocals and splashy garage-rock drumming first, and you'll hear that vibe repeatedly on the whole CD. Unlike the Spangles' flashier counterpart, whose name rhymes with "chokes," it's nice to hear from a New York band that prefers spit over polish. 8 p.m. Sunday, November 30. Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh Drive. For information, call 713-521-0521. $8. --Greg Barr

A Freak for All Seasons

WED 12/3

The line between tabloid journalism and fiction has always been thin. The smarter celebrities don't even bother to counter nutty National Enquirer headlines, which often get only the spelling of their names right. But the Weekly World News has always stood in a classless class by itself. Never pretending to be anything but utter fiction, WWN has brought Elvis sightings, cloned Hitlers and shaved-chimp adoptions to supermarkets everywhere. Now one of WWN's most charismatic characters, Bat Boy, has his own musical love story, Bat Boy: The Musical, opening this week at Stages Repertory Theatre. A young creature -- half bat, half boy -- is taken in by a small-town veterinarian. He learns the rules of polite society, but will that society ever accept his romance with the vet's daughter? The show runs from Wednesday, December 3, through January 11. 3201 Allen Parkway. For information and a full schedule, call 713-527-0123 or visit www.stagestheatre.com. $20 to $35. -- Lisa Simon

Better Than Buckwheat

Perhaps Eddie Murphy has been too generous. He's credited with discovering Chris Rock, a comedian with a greater intellect, funnier jokes and more than just Disney flicks keeping him busy these days. On his Black Ambition Tour, Rock picks up where his scathing HBO specials and comedy albums leave off, skewering black and white celebrities and politicians alike. You can catch the riffs that are often banned from TV, like Rock's bit about how Miami Heat coach Pat Riley should become the next Malcolm X, since he's the only guy in America who leads black folks to the promised land. 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, December 2 and 3. Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas. For tickets, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. $37.50 to $59.50. --Greg Barr

Good Gaud

FRI 11/28

Families that would never even consider attending another ballet come out to see The Nutcracker year after year. Why? Because Houston Ballet does it so well, and the show is a highbrow beacon shining through the tinseled fog of holiday gaudiness. 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 28, through December 28. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For tickets and a full schedule, call 713-227-ARTS or visit www.houstonballet.org. $11.50 to $125. -- Keith Plocek

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