Press Picks

march 10
Free Your Mind MTV Spoken Word Tour MTV is all over this spoken word, back-to-the-coffeehouse, skinny-cigarette, finger-snapping thing, shrewdly making money from a performance style spawned by kids who were fed up with talking heads and wanted to talk to each other.

Maggie Estep, Reg E. Gaines and John S. Hall are the main speakers this time out. Hall, frontman for King Missile, is perhaps the best-known among the great unwashed. In faux beat circles, though, Gains and Estep are big dogs whose bad attitudes and bare-bones soul-searching spoken word performances are hep as all get-out. Gains is a canny social critic whose anger is obviously the product of compassion. Estep, the current High Times cover girl, is more concerned with celebrity than with artistry, but she's got some stuff and could be a real poet some day. 8 p.m. University of Houston, University Hilton Grand Ballroom, 741-2447. $5, free for students with ID.

march 11
When Dinosaurs Ruled the World According to EarlyStages, when dinosaurs ruled the world life was one long party with singing, dancing, romping stomping thunder lizards like the meat-eating Tyrannosaurus Rox (Rox, as in "rock and roll") and the yodeling Alamo-saurus (a down-home dino with a heart as big as Texas). EarlyStages favorite Glen Ray Little is suited up as Mr. W.E., the egg-sucking weasel. Local cartoonist, rock-and-roll performance artist and all-around swell guy Beans Barton makes his EarlyStages debut, playing the Stenonychosaurus (a real creature, found just below "raptors on the evolutionary ladder).

The show has an environmental message, probably something more positive than no matter what you do or how you live, eventually something will wipe you out. This morning at 9:30 a.m. Tue.ÐFri., 9:30 & 11:30 a.m.; Sat. & Sun., 1 p.m. Thru April 17. Stages, 3201 Allen Parkway, 52-STAGE. $5.

march 12
Korean Festival This one-day program sponsored by the Asia Society combines lectures, open discussions, a film and a performance. The goal is to address issues facing Korean-Americans and Asian-Americans. Promoters hope to see Koreans, Asians and standard mutt-Americans in the audience.

This event is part of the Festival of Korea, a year-long nationwide celebration. Asian Communities in America: The Korean-American Experience, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Innova Bldg., 20 Greenway Plaza, 629-9316. $12, includes lunch and parking.

Orange Show season begins There is opera season, and there's hunting season (to hounds, of course), but hereabouts the only season that really matters is the Orange Show's. The opening gala is a sideshow bonanza.

For those few not in the know, postman Jeff McKissack obtained a permit for a beauty parlor in 1956. (Whether he knew diddly about doing hair is unclear.) What we do know is that he amended the permit later, writing on it, "Beauty parlors going out of style -- have a better idea-- 'The Orange Show.'" For 25 years he built, plastered, sculpted and incorporated found objects creating his own passionate, personal, citrus-inspired art. McKissack is gone, but the Orange Show lives on. Every spring, the foundation repaints and reopens for another glorious season (Memorial Day to Labor Day).

Tonight's sideshow bonanza features death-defying stunts, fertility dances and the music of Little Jack Melody and his Young Turks. Little Jack and his Turks are from Denton. Whatever got into polka kings (and fellow Denton denizens) Brave Combo also affected the Turks. Little Jack bangs his cymbals out of shape and claims to be in touch with the ghost of Kurt Weill.

The Orange Show Foundation informs us that the Houston Men of Morris Dancers "will gently wake spring from its slumber and start this night off on the right foot" with Celtic fertility dances. And stuntpeople Alexandria and Red Trower will play with knives and fire and other dangerous toys.

Season Opening Celebration and Sideshow Bonanza, 7-11 p.m. The Orange Show, 2401 Munger, 926-6368. (Rain location: Old Oak Farms Dairy, 2000 Westheimer.) $5, $3 members.

march 13
Smothers Brothers The Smos Bros -- folk-playing fuddy-duddies banned on prime time in the sixties, last year's rerun heroes on E! Entertainment Channel and currently shills for some restaurant chain -- perform with Houston Symphony Pops. Tom and Dick (Mom always liked him best) will demonstrate their daring skills with a yo-yo in "Just Say Yo." Pianist and conductor Michael Preddy composed "Just Say Yo" and will lead the Houston Symphony in this performance.

In addition to this original composition for strings, the Smothers Brothers will perform folk tunes and musical oddities in their own carefully scripted and delightful way.

Houston Symphony conductor-in-residence Stephen Stein will open the show with a Pops presentation featuring comedy tunes.

Houston Symphony-Exxon Pops and the Smothers Brothers: Comic Genius Set to Music, 7:30 p.m. (Also 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., March 11 & 12.) Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 227-ARTS. $12-$49.

march 14
Voice of the Turtle The turtle here is a dove -- the turtle dove, a sign of spring in The Song of Solomon: "The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land." "Our land" would be the dicey issue. Musical group Flowers of Change, in costume, presents the little-known music of the Sephardic Jews of Spain. The four-member troupe plays 15 instruments, mostly medieval ones such as the rebec, shawm and curtel.

The music of the Sephardic Jews reflects the groups history: after being expelled in 1492 from Spain, where they had lived for centuries, many settled in North Africa, Turkey and Greece. And their language, Ladino, is a mixture of Hebrew, Spanish, Latin and Arabic.

Further Voice of the Turtle events include an outreach performance at the Jewish Community Center, Tue., Mar. 15, 11 a.m. & 1 p.m. Tonight's performance is presented in conjunction with the Houston Harpsichord Society. 8 p.m. Temple Emanu El, 1500 Sunset Blvd., 497-7382. $15, $8 seniors & students.

march 15
The White Rose Why did no one oppose Hitler in his Germany? Why did no one speak, raise a voice of dissent? Those are common historical questions with at least one easy answer: a group of students at the University of Munich did. Although comfortable students at universities were the first to jump on the Nazi bandwagon, the academic climate also produced the first group to suggest opposing the Fuhrer.

Franz Joseph Mueller was a member of the German anti-Nazi movement The White Rose. Most of his fellow protesters were executed. Mueller will speak in public forums today and tomorrow.

The Goethe-Institute of German Culture, the Jewish Community Center and the Honors College of the University of Houston present this dialogue between Mueller and UH professor Michael Wyschogrod. A historical exhibit will also be on view, and tomorrow's program includes a screening of a 1983 film telling the story of the group's resistance to the Hitler regime. (Wed., March 16, University of Houston College of Architecture, entrances 16 & 17, 743-9010.)

The White Rose, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jewish Community Center, 5601 South Braeswood, 729-3200. Free.

march 16
Fred Greenlee This Houston comic has long been on the road, but that don't mean "The Nickel Guy" hasn't got a personal invite for us: "I've achieved some notoriety in Hollywood over the past couple of years. I've done every television show that has comedy in its name, but just doing television isn't enough. I want to bring people back into the clubs, I want to get people back out to see comedy the way it should be seen -- live, spontaneous, unpredictable, a party.

"Are you tired of watching television? I guarantee you, you won't get, you can't get from television the same feeling you'll get when you come see me live. Live is what it's all about.

"We've all ridden on roller coasters; scares you, doesn't it? Television can't capture the feeling of a roller coaster. It's impossible. TV can't capture me either.

"People laugh when they come to see me. I'm not bragging; I've seen it. I've hurt people. I have to stop to let them catch their breath, wipe their eyes, smear their mascara."

Greenlee is lying -- he doesn't stop. Get yourself off the sofa and see some real comedy. Fred Greenlee opens tonight at the Laff Stop and goes straight through until March 20. Tonight, 8 p.m. The Laff Stop, 1952-A West Gray, 524-2333. $7.04.

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Edith Sorenson