Press Picks

january 19
The United Nations: A New Humanitarian Order Stop watching so much CNN! That's no way to learn anything, except maybe how many ties Judge Ito owns. For a detailed update on the United Nations, check with Erskine Childers. Given the UN's financial difficulties and recent ineffectual responses to flagrant violations of international law, one might well wonder what is to become of the organization. Childers is no longer with the UN, but after 22 years there, he knows a thing or two about international peacekeeping. Childers' lecture is free; however, a limited number of seats are available. 5:30 p.m. Rothko Chapel, 1409 Sul Ross. For reservations call 524-9839.

Health Shots: A Wayward Glance The wayward glance is not at the issue of health and health care. In this zesty production, VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) leaves behind the traditional standards of health-care programming and opts for a variety show, the Houston premiere of which is tonight. Health care for humans, and what we ought to do for our home planet, is the subject, and zany is the style. See jokes about gang violence and condoms while getting the straight skinny about prenatal nutrition, childhood immunizations and community resources. Four shows, opening tonight with an 8 p.m. performance. Other shows Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m., and Sunday, 2 p.m. Hamman Hall, Rice University, entrance no. 14 off Rice Boulevard. Free parking in Lot F. For tickets, call 521-4462 or 439-6253. $5.

january 20
Anderson Fair They're baaack! Tonight, Anderson Fair opens for its 25th year, completing a quarter-century as purveyors of fine folk tunes, cold beer and live music as it was meant to be -- in an intimate setting. Buddy Mondlock, who has never before played Anderson Fair, is on the stage tonight. Shall we run through a roster of entertainers who played Anderson Fair, way back when, and are now big stars? No, you know who they are. And maybe Buddy Mondlock is a really big star waiting to happen. Anderson Fair, 2007 Grant (at Welch, kind of behind Texas Art Supply), 528-8576. $5.

january 21
Falconer Blase Dragna will demonstrate the ancient art of falconry. Ancient? I bet the Pharaohs trained raptors. Dragna will demonstrate with a live hawk. 1 p.m. Bookstop, 2215 FM 1960, 580-0195. Free.

Tony Bennett What is all this talk about a comeback? Tony Bennett's star never faded. Tony, legendary star, recent MTV icon and hunk of decades comes to the Houston Arena Theatre for one amazing show. Guess why the crooner is in town. Because women want him: the 375,000 women of the Hadassah, the largest women's organization in the world. The Houston chapter arranged this concert for their annual fundraiser. Their recent good works include citywide breast cancer screenings and helping the Hadassah's medical complex in Jerusalem. Of course, with Tony Bennett on-stage singing a string of standards, who cares? The stellar program includes "Fly Me to the Moon," "Steppin' Out" and, of course, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." This is a not-to-be-missed event, but if you have to miss it, you can still contribute to Hadassah. 8 p.m. Houston Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Freeway (at Fondren). For tickets, or information on Hadassah, call 728-9172. $50 and $75; $250-$999 (per couple) patron tickets include a post-concert reception, $1,000-$5,000 small-group patron tickets include even more.

Three Minute Stories A good friend of mine once said, "There are a million sentence fragments in the naked city," and I knew exactly what he meant. Your friends, too, oh humble Picks reader, probably pop off with pithy, idiosyncratic remarks all the time. Round 'em up -- your friends, not the remarks -- and come on out for a casual evening of storytelling. Those mutants from Zocalo Theater offer this invite: "Please don't leave this important cultural event in the mouths of those performers who want to hog the mike. Join the famous and infamous and take your turn in a warm, shared community experience of oral history." Professionals and semi-pros at this speaking biz, local spoken words lights like Stephanie Holder, Luis Lemus, Elizabeth McBride and Randy Watson, will be limited to three minutes. In fact, all storytellers will be limited to three minutes, so there'll be plenty of time left for your time on-stage. When not telling stories, everyone will sit quietly, listening attentively and drinking cider. S'mores may be made! 9 p.m. Zocalo Theater and Performance Company, 5223 Feagan, 666-3479. $5.

january 22
Old Turtle is coming! No need to fear, Old Turtle is no giant, mutant terrapin on a killing spree. Old Turtle is, in fact, an art car. An art car with a mission. The converted Volkswagen Beetle was designed after the heroine of Old Turtle, an award-winning story preaching about peace and environmental issues. Old Turtle is lumbering through all 50 states (we assume there's a boat or plane involved in the trip to Hawaii) to encourage children and adults to write to members of the UN, offering their ideas about world peace. (I'd like to start a rumor, right now, that Old Turtle is based on my beloved Gamera, who is a friend to all children and has rocket jets in his carapace and would have no trouble getting from Plano to Paauhau. When you see Old Turtle driving by, join with your neighbors and co-workers and the homeless and sing the Gamera song. Sing-alongs are as likely to bring about peace as anything.) Today, Old Turtle will be in Friendswood, which is fitting. 1-3 p.m. Jem Books, 3224 FM 528 (at Bay Area Boulevard), 996-9918. Free, and all are welcome.

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Edith Sorenson