Press Picks

july 10
Bummed? According to the Baylor College of Medicine, depression strikes 15 million Americans each year, but only a quarter of those people seek medical help. If you're in the unmedicated, sad-sack majority, here's your chance to join the Prozac Nation on the cheap: Today, Baylor's psychiatry clinic offers a free depression screening -- including a lecture, questionnaire and interview with a therapist -- to the first 35 people who reserve spots. Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza (in the Texas Medical Center). To reserve a spot, call Mary Ford, 798-4896.

Gimme 5 Your offspring refuse to eat their veggies? M.D. Anderson feels your pain. Gimme 5, a hospital-sponsored "interactive" lesson, encourages kids to play with their food -- so long as it's the healthful kind, of course. 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. The Museum of Health & Medical Science, 1515 Hermann Drive, 521-1515. Both the lesson and museum admission are free.

Runaways Houston thespians have cause for celebration. A new theater has opened in our city, and it has opened with an exciting and energetic choice: the youthful, streetwise musical Runaways by Elizabeth Swados. In 1978, when the play landed on Broadway, there was quite a to-do over Swados's grim depiction of American runaways in trouble. Almost 20 years later, her dramatic vision seems poetically prescient. The play is gritty, moving and perfect for a young company of actors working out of a small storefront makeshift theater. 8 p.m. Each night through July 12. Masquerade Theatre, 720 West 11th Street (between Yale and Shepherd), 861-7045. $15; $12, seniors and students.

july 11
Doug Supernaw There's a lot to do at the race park besides drinking beer while watching animals run in circles -- and for starters, you can enjoy the free concerts offered this summer. Country star Doug Supernaw kicks off the series with his wild and woolly act. He's been known to descend via wire to the Astrodome stage far below, and to swan dive into a Canadian crowd. And (oh, yeah) he sings hits like "Not Enough Hours in the Night," "I Don't Call Him Daddy" and "Time off from Good Behavior." Races begin at 7 p.m.; Supernaw starts at 10:30. Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West, between Highway 290 and I-45 North. Admission to the race park is $3; no extra charge for the concert, but for $5, you can sit up close in the paddock ring.

StreetWise Houston car wash and rummage sale Any rummage sale promising "exotic furniture" is worth a look-see. And when you can shop in the name of help-ing homeless adolescents, no excuse for self-indulgence is necessary. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. StreetWise, 202 Tuam. Another opportunity to help the kids and yourself arrives Saturday, at the Wendy's located at 1303 Westheimer; from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., you can get your car washed for a paltry $3 donation.

Mohsen Makhmalbaf film series Iranian films have been enjoying popularity in the U.S. lately, and they deserve it. The country's filmmakers scrape by on an average $150,000 per film, and are subjected to a rigorous four-tiered censorship process. Love stories are especially hard to make: Female actors must adhere to strict Islamic codes requiring that their hair be covered at all times; and since women are not allowed to touch anyone except a family member, on-screen couples cannot even hold hands. And forget action movies: Gratuitous violence is strictly forbidden. Working within those boundaries, director Mohsen Makhmalbaf has been making acclaimed films since 1982. Over the years he has moved from didactic Islamic themes to more complicated dilemmas, revealing in the process his disenchantment with the censorship codes that have made it difficult, indeed at times impossible, to get his films shown in his own country. Thankfully, our only difficulty in seeing his films is finding parking at the museum. The Mohsen Makhmalbaf series starts at 7:30 p.m. with Stardust Stricken: Mohsen Makhmalbaf, a 70-minute subtitled documentary about the director's life. See Film Capsules, Repertory, for information on other movies in the series. At the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7515. Free.

The King and I More politically incorrect than ever, Rodgers and Hammerstein's old-fashioned musical is about an English schoolteacher who travels to Siam (modern-day Thailand) to be a governess and finds herself teaching good English manners to an intimidating Eastern king. Of course, she falls in love with him in that opposites-always-attract way. Ethnocentrism aside, the music is gorgeous and the story sweet and gentle enough for the kids; in fact, a number of children are in the cast. 8 p.m. (Runs through August 16; see Thrills, Theater, for other showtimes.) The Country Playhouse, 12802 Queensbury (south of Town and Country Mall), 467-4497. $15; seniors and students, $13.

july 12
Introductions '97 For the last 18 years, the Houston Art Dealers Association has set aside a time during our slow and sweltering southern summer to introduce Houstonians to new artists. Every medium is represented, from sculpture to photography, and the work is "priced modestly" to encourage first-time (or just plain poor) buyers. In addition to promoting the visual arts, HADA, a nonprofit membership organization, is also supporting the Houston READ Commission by collecting books and magazines throughout the Introduction '97 exhibitions. Today, the first day of the exhibit, shows will run 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Archway Gallery, Barnes-Blackman Galleries, Brent Gallery, John Cleary Gallery, Lowell Collins Gallery, Dean Day Gallery, Harris Gallery, Meredith Long & Company, Robert McClain & Company, Nolan-Rankin Galleries, Thomas V. Robinson/Robinson Galleries and Sicardi-Sanders Gallery. See Thrills, Art Exhibits, Opening, for more details.

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Lee Williams