Press Picks

may 8
Bill Davenport: Recent Work Houston artist Bill Davenport makes starfish out of tinfoil, needlepoints Atari video game motifs and even knits Popsicles. And he's none too neat in creating his cheerful little works; a recent laudatory review in Artforum noted that his out-of-square woodwork would "barely earn a 'C' in shop class." But for Davenport, such sloppiness is the hallmark of the handmade, and evokes the sweetness of kiddie arts 'n' crafts. In the words of Artforum, Davenport's "a true slacker aesthete." Tonight, he'll unveil new works. Artist's reception, 6-8 p.m. Inman Gallery, 1114 Barkdull, 529-9676. Free.

Sinuosity and Elite Syncopations Ballet promoters tout these free, outdoor performances as a chance for non-balletgoers to discover that there's more to the art than women in tutus pretending to be swans. (I'll say -- like young men leaping about in tights, muscles bulging....) For balletomanes, the performances offer a chance to dress down and guzzle wine while the dancers dance. The program includes Sean Kelly's neoclassical Sinuosity, in which 15 dancers flow and groove to the music of Enya, and Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Elite Syncopations, in which 13 dancers let their hair down for dizzying, New Orleans-flavored jubilation. 8 p.m. tonight through Saturday. Miller Outdoor Theatre, Hermann Park, 100 Concert Drive, 520-3290. Free.

Night of Reckoning That's what you get when you see Sling Blade, har har. It's also the theme for a Dead Reckoning records showcase at Rockefeller's tonight. The Dead Reckoners are Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch, Mike Henderson, Harry Stinson and Tammy Rogers, solid musicians all who, two years back, said "no more" to the Nashville machine, started their own label and have since been making cool country music -- a sound camped in the canyon separating commercial country and rough-drivin' alt country. New Reckoners Fats Kaplan and Alison Prestwood are along for the ride as well. 8 p.m. Rockefeller's, 3620 Washington Avenue, 869-TICS. $15.50.

Birthday from Hell Another chapter unfolds in the Fertle clan's continuing saga: Bridgette Fertle is turning 40, gracelessly -- she's got a bad attitude about aging and a worse attitude about no one remembering that it's her birthday. Earl Fertle's too busy with his induction into the High Order of the Little Baby Owls, and Mama Fertle is convinced she's just encountered her late husband Ned. As folks in the audience wait to see if Bridgette gets what's coming to her, they can celebrate the new and improved facilities at Radio Music Theatre: tiered seating, upgraded lighting and better sound. Opens at 8:30 p.m. tonight. Through August 30 (see Thrills, Comedy for additional showtimes). Radio Music Theatre, 2623 Colquitt, 522-7722. $14.

may 9
Draw your mom Today, Randalls invites kiddies to submit drawings of their moms. At each store, winners in three age groups will take home a gift basket of Mother's Day goodies. And if your kiddo's not a winner, he or she can return to concoct an alternate gift: From 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday or 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, kids can decorate a cake or pull together a flower arrangement with their own little fingers. All 52 Houston-area Randalls stores are participating.

Four Million Houseguests The new IMAX 3-D movie at Moody Gardens follows 11-year-old Elly as she explores her eccentric grandfather's house. The houseguests she meets are not cockroaches, fortunately; they are the residents of the microscopic world reflected on a screen that's six stories tall. The fanciful score accompanying this flick is by Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins (Remains of the Day, Howards End), and James Garner provides the grandfather's voice. Showtimes are 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. today (see Thrills, IMAX for additional showtimes). Moody Gardens, 1 Hope Boulevard, Galveston, (800) 582-4673. $6.

Texas Country Roots Texas's Don Walser yodels in one of the finest rooms in town tonight. The equally legendary Johnny Gimble, Don Edwards and Marvin "Smokey" Montgomery join him to play the Western swing music they popularized back in the heyday of Bob Wills. Presented by Texas Folklife Resources. 7:30 p.m. Wortham Center, Cullen Theater, 500 Texas Avenue, 227-ARTS. $20-$30. (Prior to the performance, Gimble and his son Dick Gimble will teach a master class at Sand Mountain Music, 3624 Washington Avenue, 228-2532.)

An Evening of Waltzes In its final performance this season, the Galveston Symphony Orchestra will trot out Johann Strauss's Viennese waltzes -- "Blue Danube," "Roses from the South" -- as well as his "Thunder and Lightning Polka." Patrons don't have to sit back with their hands folded in their laps, though; this gig is in a ballroom, so folks can groove to the tunes. It's a night of classical entertainment without snobbery: The liberal dress code welcomes ball gowns and casual duds with equal zeal. 8 p.m. Davidson Ballroom (across from the Tremont House), 2300 Ship's Mechanic Row, Galveston,

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Betsy Froehlich