Press Picks

february 15
A Tribute to El Vaquero and El Ranchero Casa Ramirez presents its annual rodeo show -- photographs celebrating the dusty history of vaqueros who roped and rode and wrangled and gave us the word rodeo. These original cowboys from Mexico and Spanish Texas also gave us the words bronco, lariat, lasso, ranch, palomino and buckaroo -- which is a corruption of vaquero. Pictures of working cowboys taken during the first half of the century will be on display along with original art by Hispanic schoolchildren. Through March 10. Casa Ramirez FolkArt Gallery, 239 West 19th Street, 880-2420.

february 16
Houston Aeros Rope a Monkee on Ice In perhaps the most bizarre announcement ever sent, our hockey team says, "Now that it's safe to don your tight jeans, chaps, hat and Garth Brooks look-a-like shirt, bring your significant 'monkey' and sing out loud." Davy Jones is the feature attraction at this game. Yes, Davy Jones the Monkee. He will sing the pre-game National Anthem and then, during intermissions, the former Tiger Beat cover boy will sign your treasured posters and albums (his pen-scratches significantly increasing the value of such collectibles). The Aeros are sure this game and will have fans screaming "I'm a Believer." 7 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 627-AERO. $6-$35.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo It begins again.
Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein The average one-person show has a single individual up on-stage, maybe wearing a funny hat or a false nose, rambling on and on. Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein is not like that. Instead, it's a hair's breadth away from being interactive. Set in the intimate Little Room Downstairs theater, the show enables the audience to feel as though they're visiting Gertrude Stein. The room is decorated with Cubist art and other Steinian artifacts to replicate Stein's onetime salon at 27 Rue de Fleurs. The star, Cheryl Croix, moves about the room and even pours tea for members of the audience. The dialogue contains Stein's wit and wisdom, and some dish on the artists she knew. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Through March 2. The Little Room Downstairs, 1108 Peden, 523-0791. Reservations a must. $10.

Vienna Choir Boys Not the Osmonds, not the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; this is the real thing. The Vienna Choir Boys was founded by the imperial decree of Austria's Emperor Maximilian I in 1498, and the great thing about this ensemble, according to those in the know, is that the talented boys bring their own childhood innocence to the music and yet present it with mature artistic mastery. Obviously, the choir's got something going for it; otherwise, it wouldn't have been in demand for 500 years. Works by Franz Schubert (himself a onetime Vienna choirboy), Johann Strauss, Felix Mendelssohn and Aaron Copland are part of the program. The don't-be-afraid-of-classical-music entry on the bill is a one-act comic opera, By Royal Command. Informative curtain talk, 7; concert, 7:30 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-ARTS. $10-$32.

february 17
St. Mary's Mardi Gras Run While others go to Galveston to wreck their health with Mardi Gras merriment, a select group visits the island to show their stuff in 5K and 15K runs. Last year, 5,415 folks laced up their running shoes to celebrate Mardi Gras in a more-than-healthy manner. The 12th annual pre-Fat Tuesday race is set for 8:30 a.m. Run/walk in the morning, and then party with the Momus Night Parade in the evening. St. Mary's Mardi Gras run has a 5K family walk, a Kids-K run, and 5K and 15K runs. The race begins and ends at St. Mary's Hospital, 404 St. Mary's Boulevard, Galveston. For more information or registration forms, call the hot line, (800) 754-0347.

National Black College Expo Black History Month is primarily devoted, of course, to the past accomplishments of African-Americans, but this event focuses on the future. Colleges and companies targeting African-American youth will be represented at the expo. And since you can't plan your future all day, the expo will also feature a fun run, fashion show and gospel concert. Main events, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. today; gospel concert, 3 p.m. Sunday. Westin Galleria Hotel, 5060 West Alabama. For more information, call 488-2946. $3; $2 with donation of canned goods.

Memorable Mardi Gras trip Why run, or fight traffic, when you can ride? The Houston Restaurant Association has a package trip -- one price covers train trips to and from Galveston and a ticket to not only Mardi Gras, but also good bleacher seating for the Momus parade. Mardi Gras has live entertainment; the train has a cash bar. Departing 1 p.m. from Eureka train station, 567 T.C. Jester (just north of I-10), and arriving from Galveston around midnight. To purchase tickets, call 802-1200. $75. Cash bar on the Texas Limited.

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Edith Sorenson