Press Picks

january 8
"Classical Sensibilities: Images by Alain Gerard Clement and George Dureau" These two contemporary photographers use classicism as a springboard for their photography. Classical themes ground Clement's experimentation with a cameraless photographic process. After creating multilayered drawings on translucent paper, he lays the drawings over a large sheet of silver chloride-treated paper and exposes them to natural sunlight. Dureau, on the other hand, shoots classical portraits of male friends and acquaintances who live in his New Orleans neighborhood. His subjects range from athletes to dwarves to physically challenged individuals. He sees them all as ideals of the human form, and the direct gazes of his subjects challenge the viewer to disagree. 9 a.m.-10 p.m. today. (See Thrills for other dates and times.) The Glassell School of Art, 5101 Montrose, 639-7500. Free.

Weave Dance Company mixer The dancers will perform excerpts from two new works at tonight's mixer, and will show videos of some of their past modern-dance works. But the evening is about schmoozing for a good cause as well as about dance: The "Weavers," as they call themselves, will mingle with the crowd in an effort to support the Houston Area Women's Center. Come and meet this eclectic group of women who dance, and be sure to bring clothing, food and baby items for the women's shelter. Ken Mondshine will provide the music. 6-9 p.m., Cody's Jazz Bar and Grill, 2540 University Boulevard, 526-6884 to RSVP. Free; cash bar.

january 9
The Great Houston Golf Show Spring is a couple of months away, but any devoted golfer wants to be ready for the first dry day she or he can get out on the course. Now's your chance to see what's new in the way of golf accouterments. For the next three days, the convention center will offer everything from clubs to personalized video lessons to the World's Longest Putt Competition. And the nationally renowned Paul Hahn Jr. will entertain audiences with his amazing trick shots. 2-8 p.m. today (see Thrills for other dates and times). George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Convention Center Boulevard. For information, call (800) 221-1280. $8; $7, seniors; $5, kids 13-19; $3, kids six-12; free, kids five and under.

Tri-Star Beanie Expo They're everywhere these days; in fact, there may be a couple sprawled across your Nissan's dashboard at this very moment. And who knows how many Santa stuffed in the stockings of your little loved ones? Alas, those Beanie Baby specimens probably aren't the rarities worth over $2,500. But if you've a hankering to see those collector's items -- or if your own pint-sized collector wants to case the market -- head to the convention center this weekend. The expo runs 3-8 p.m. today (see Thrills for other dates and times). George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Convention Center Boulevard, 840-7827. $7.50, $4.99, kids six-12; free, kids five and under.

Towards Zero Towards Zero is considered one of Agatha Christie's best murder mysteries, replete with Dame Agatha's usual odd assortment of clues and red herrings. Now, for your post-holiday delectation (isn't this the time of year when the mind turns to murder?), Theatre Suburbia presents a stage version. Opens tonight at 8:30 p.m. (see Thrills for other dates and times). Theatre Suburbia, 1410 West 43rd, 682-3525. $8; $7, seniors and students.

Z Director Constantin Costa-Gavras's 1969 film, originally subtitled "The Anatomy of a Political Assassination," is based on the real-life 1963 killing of Gregorios Lambrakis, a Greek liberal whose extreme popularity and advocacy of peace shook the stability of the government in power. Costa-Gavras, the son of a Greek Resistance fighter, took the incidents in his film from the actual trial; thus, the film is charged with true-to-life facts and with the rage of a man on a mission. Not surprisingly, the film -- which won numerous awards at Cannes, at the Academy Awards and from New York Film Critics --was banned in Greece until the military government was deposed in 1974. In the U.S., a less dramatic (but sadder) fate befell the film: Though Costa-Gavras has gone on to direct mainstream commercial successes (including the current Mad City, with John Travolta and Dustin Hoffman), his masterpiece has been out of release for more than a decade. For the next three nights, the Museum of Fine Arts rides to the rescue. The film shows at 7:30 p.m. tonight and tomorrow; and at 1 p.m. Sunday. Museum of Fine Arts, Brown Auditorium, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7515. $5; $4, matinee.

"Yishai Jusidman: Pictorial InVEstigations" This show marks the first museum survey of this young Mexican artist's work in the United States. The exhibition features 30 large-scale paintings and beautiful spherical painted sculptures, some of which are suspended or mounted at eye level on rodlike pedestals. Jusidman, who still lives and works in his homeland, does not use the exotic imagery that Americans often associate with Latin American art; instead, he's more interested in the issues now beguiling the international scene. 7-9 p.m. opening reception (see Thrills for other dates and times). Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston, entrance no. 16, 743-9528. Free.

january 10
Hal Holbrook in Mark Twain Tonight Even after 40 years of portraying Mark Twain, Hal Holbrook describes his production as a "work in progress." And in fact, the show, composed solely of Twain's own writings, is always changing. Holbrook, who now knows more than 12 hours of Twain's work, chooses what he's going to perform as he goes along, so the show is constantly morphing into whatever it wants to be on any given night. The Washington Post pronounced Holbrook's "transformation [into Twain] so complete as to be almost unsettling at times." See him, tonight only, at 8 p.m. The Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice Road, 480-1894, (409) 765-1894. $14.50-$53.

Da Camera Goes to the Zoo Da Camera, Houston's innovative producer and presenter of ensemble music, starts its series of family concerts this year at the Houston Zoo. Pianist Pedja Muzijevic will play in concert following a musical-instrument "petting zoo" that allows kids to touch, strum, bang and blow on many types of instruments. And they can ask the musicians any questions their inquisitive brains can come up with. 3-4 p.m., musical-instrument petting zoo; 4-5 p.m., concert. The Houston Zoo, 1513 North MacGregor Drive in Hermann Park, 524-5050, 525-3365. Concert is free with zoo admission: $2.50, adults; $.50, kids three-12; free, kids under three.

Basic literacy training workshop Image how your world would be if you couldn't decipher a street sign, a menu, an overdue bill. Of course, it's impossible for a reader to truly understand how the world would be without written language, but anyone who can read and has a heart has the potential to help another person into the world of the written word. The folks at Literacy Advance will show you everything you need to get you started volunteering to teach illiterate adults how to read and write English. 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Jan. 10 and 17, The Museum of Printing, 1324 West Clay, 266-8777. Free.

Blues at the brewery Save up all your beer drinking for the late afternoon and then drive out to the Saint Arnold Brewery. After paying your ten-dollar cover, enjoy all the Amber Ale or Kristall Weizen or Brown Ale this microbrewery can pour down you as you listen to the tunes of blues artists such as Gloria Edwards and Nelson Mill III. Just please, for goodness sake, make sure you don't drive yourself home. 4-7 p.m., Saint Arnold Brewery, 2522 Fairway Park Drive, (281) 820-6976. $10.

january 11
Traditional Andean folk music This diverse program features Kjatari, a band that plays traditional folk music from the Andes. The South American group is joined by a host of gifted local nonprofessionals performing everything from classical music to modern dance. 4 p.m., MECA Auditorium, 900 Kane, 802-9370. Free.

Family International Dance The Hellenic Folk Dancing Group of Houston, the Heritage of Thailand, the Houston International Folk Dancers and the Shalom Israeli Dancers will all be kicking up their folk heels during this afternoon of international dance. Adults, teens and kids will all be on stage. And after the show, the entire audience is invited to a party where each company will teach a short dance from its culture. 3p.m., Jewish Community Center of Houston, Kaplan Theatre, 5601 South Braeswood, 729-3200, ext. 3275. $8; $5, members. No experience necessary, but participants are advised to wear rubber-soled shoes.

january 12
Tradition and Transformation With this 13-part course, the Jewish Community Center invites you to explore the world of Jewish art and architecture. Each class (which will meet every other Monday through June 29) will consist of two half-hour videos followed by a lecture and discussion. 7:30-9:30 p.m., Jewish Community Center of Houston, 5601 South Braeswood, 729-3200, ext. 3269. $120 for the whole course; $10 for one class.

The neighborhood/magnet/Vanguard decision Getting your kiddo off to school is no longer as simple as packing her lunch and pointing her toward the school down the road. Nowadays there are science magnet schools, gifted and talented programs, performing arts schools, graduate-early high schools, work-while-you-go-to-school schools, a school for pregnant girls and schools for just about every gift and woe in the book. And figuring it all out is a huge headache. Tonight, HISD wants to provide you with enough information to make your decision a little easier. Find out the advantages of attending a neighborhood school, what "gifted" means, what the new Vanguard/ magnet criteria are, what the Stanford test is, what the Naglieri test is and so on. The Parents for Public Schools of Houston will present a panel of HISD staff and volunteers to answer parents' questions about how to "navigate the changing waters of the HISD Vanguard/magnet programs." 7:30 p.m., HISD Board Auditorium, 3830 Richmond. For information, call 892-6763. Free.

january 13
Inprint course sign-up For all of you with a manuscript in your attic, a stack of poems in your desk drawer or just a desire to try writing because you've always wanted to, here's the nudge you've been waiting for. Inprint, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the literary arts, is offering four writers' workshops. You can study story-writing, poetry, the personal essay or something as erudite as Fiction, Politics and the Latino Aesthetic if you're so inclined. The classes are small -- no more than 12 students. And best of all, no grades! All workshops held at Inprint House, 1524 Sul Ross, 521-2026. $275 per ten-week course.

january 14
Fine gardening in the South When you consider horticulture, Disney World probably doesn't spring to mind. But if you really think about it, theme parks -- especially Disney theme parks -- are some of the most attentively manicured grounds in the world. Katy Moss Warner, the head honcho of horticulture at Disney World, speaks to the Garden Club of Houston. And with all those gargantuan gardens to tend, she probably has a lot to say. 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., Houston Museum of Natural Science, 1 Hermann Circle Drive in Hermann Park. For information, call 626-7908. Free.

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Lee Williams