December 16
Bob Allen's Tell It Like It Is Channel 13/KTRK's affable sportscaster hosts his weekly sports talk show. Modeled on the "sports reporter" format that's worked so well in other cities, Allen's usual panel consists of Chronicle columnist Ed Fowler, the Post's Kenny Hand and 950 AM/KSEV's Ralph Cooper. Discussions get fairly heated -- especially when the Oilers are losing -- and Oiler defensive tackle Ray Childress is usually on hand to provide insight. The show takes place on the Drive Inn's outdoor patio, which has about 20 tables. Seats start to fill at 4 p.m.; Channel 13's live sports broadcast begins around 6:20 p.m.; the show is taped from 7 to 8 p.m. The Drive Inn, 1503 Post Oak, 623-6060. (A.H.)

Didjits They're still one of the best punk-rock experiences the Midwest has to offer -- four funny guys, raging guitars and enough attitude to choke a horse. Pegboy opens. 9 p.m. Shimmy Shack, 4216 Washington Ave., 863-7383. $5 21-and-ups; $7 minors. (B.T.)

December 17
Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly One of the more enduring bands in contemporary R&B, Maze returns to Houston, touring off Back to Basics., their first album in four years. Over the course of nearly 20 years and eleven albums, Frankie Beverly has remained dedicated to creating sophisticated soul with hits like "Joy and Pain" and "Running Away." Longtime fans and newcomers alike will enjoy this group that dares to be traditional. 8 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-3700. $28.50.

Handel's Messiah After mistletoe, It's a Wonderful Life and shopping malls, Messiah rates as a bona fide Christmas tradition. The Houston Symphony does this production up in style, bringing conductor/harpsichordist Christopher Seaman back to Space City for a weekend of Xmas cheer designed to make your heart sing (but not your voice, please -- leave that to the professionals). The flaming-red-haired Seaman leads the orchestra, four top-notch vocalists and the Houston Symphony Chorus in Handel's dramatic narrative. Today & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-ARTS. $10-$30. (C.K.)

The Art of Beauty and the Beast This fecund fable has given birth to a movie, a TV show, another movie (with matching merchandise), a musical and, finally, a Disney art exhibit. Beast-lovers are drooling over this colorful collection that includes pre-production work used to make the animated film, and hand-painted original cels. Six of the 18 pieces can be taken home, but it would help if that home is a castle -- prices range from $250 to $3,800. Thru Jan. 8. Fine Toon Gallery, 2427 Bissonnet, 522-6499. Hours: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., noonÐ5 p.m. Free. (C.K.)

Lemonheads/Redd Kross Cast aside all the ridiculously irrelevant "alterna-hunk" name tags that have been placed on Lemonheads front-man Evan Dando and you wind up with some mighty tasty pop confections. Supporting their new release, Come on Feel the Lemonheads, Dando and company are sure to have a rougher edge to their live sound than on disk. Maybe they'll even give us a preview of their cover of "Plaster Caster" to be released on the Kiss tribute album next year. L.A. ultra-cool rockers Redd Kross open. 8 p.m. Tower Theatre, 1201 Westheimer, 629-3700. $15.

Fuckemo's Right now, it's the name attracting more buzz in Austin music circles than anything else (guess where this band couldn't get a gig...), but at least one discriminating fan of my acquaint in Austin swears up and down that this is the future of punk rock. Go see for yourselves. 10 p.m. Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh, 521-0521. $3. (B.T.)

Brave Combo It's eight days 'til Christmas, and Denton's polka-masters are the authors of the world's finest Christmas album, It's Christmas, Man. What the hell are you doing reading this? Feo y Loco and Gone Blind open. 9 p.m. Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, 862-3838. $8 21- and-ups; $10 minors. (B.T.)

December 18
Macintosh Experts MacSnobs take note: Two of the hippest techno-gurus in the business take their 60-meg act to the University of Houston. Bob LeVitus -- "Dr. Macintosh," author of Stupid Mac Tricks -- demonstrates his favorite utility software and winds up his MacSpiel with Dr. Macintosh's Top Ten Power User Tips. Mac evangelist Guy Kawasaki discusses life lessons learned through 33 "remarkable people" -- including Apple Computer super-nerd Steve Wozniak, his former workmate. Both experts have written a load of books and will be pushing them heavily at this, the monthly meeting of the Houston Area Apple Users Group. 10 a.m. University Center, UH, 4800 Calhoun, 522-2179. One-day guest passes for non-members available on a limited basis. (C.K.)

Sebastian Whittaker Houston's own bop-influenced jazz drummer hasn't been making much noise lately, but here he is again, setting up shop for a two-day stand at the little jazz bar on Montrose. 8 p.m.-midnight. Cezanne, 4100 Montrose, 522-9621. (B.T.)

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