Press Picks

may 29
The Biggest Romance Spring Celebration Several hundred singles will vie for each other's attention at this oversize Houston Press Romance happening. You might get lucky, or you might get really lucky: The grand prize winner takes home four VIP tickets to the Beach Boys and Chicago's June 8 show in The Woodlands. Free buffet, and music by Ezra Charles and the Works. 7-11 p.m. The Wyndham Warwick, 5701 Main Street, 526-1991. For more info, call the Romance department at 624-1414. Admission is the submission of one free 40-word Romance ad; cash bar.

Land, Touch and Company B Bruce, political commentary and dancing in the dark -- could it be Springsteen? Nope, it's the Houston Ballet's spring program. The Bruce is choreographer Christopher Bruce, whose Land makes its American debut. His lament for the havoc wreaked by war is followed by the lighter Touch, Trey McIntyre's piece set to the cool jazz of Dave Brubeck and performed partially in the dark with flashlights. Paul Taylor's boogie-woogie Company B -- one of the Houston Ballet's signature pieces -- closes the evening. 7:30 p.m. Through June 8. (See Thrills, Dance for additional performance times.) Wortham Center, Brown Theater, 500 Texas Avenue, 227-2787, $10-$80.

The Vagina Monologues Eve Ensler -- director, actress, Obie Award-winning playwright and grandmother -- interviewed more than 200 women about their vaginas, and retells their stories in her one-woman show. Last year, The Vagina Monologues was the hottest off-Broadway show in New York; now it closes the first Houston Fringe Theater Festival. Men are welcome, and may even learn something. 8 p.m. tonight; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Theater LaB Houston, 1706 Alamo (off Houston Avenue), 868-7516. $18.

may 30
Accordion Kings VIII Few people today think of the accordion in terms of Lawrence Welk, perhaps because few people today think of Lawrence Welk. While that's not good news for Mr. Wunnafulwunnaful, it is gratifying that the squeezebox is finally receiving its due respect. This weekend, pay your respects to the kings of squeeze, as they take over Miller Outdoor Theatre. Tonight's headliners are Rounder recording artists Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys of south Louisiana; Nick Villarreal y Su Conjunto, noted for their musical satires ("El Mayor Henry Cisneros") and polka purveyors Central Texas Sounds open the show. Tomorrow night's equally eclectic lineup shimmies with Angel Flores y Su Conjunto, Touch of Cajun, the Iguanas and Boozoo Chavis. Presented by Texas Folklife Resources. 7:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday. Miller Outdoor Theatre, Hermann Park, 100 Concert Drive, 520-3290. Free.

Seaspace '97 Seaspace is the largest dive-stuff show in North America, and it's held right here in Houston. Learn how to capture your underwater experiences on film, or how American Sign Language can help you communicate with fellow divers; listen to reports on dive sites everywhere from our own murky Gulf Coast to Thailand; and explore other topics close to divers' hearts. (Besides a slew of environmental talks, there are two seminars on Caribbean cuisine.) The convention includes two full days of workshops and seminars, with 150 exhibitors touting their wares, their resorts and even their environmental concerns. Tonight's festivities conclude with a benefit performance by country stars Little Texas. Workshops, 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m.; seminars, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; music, 8-11:30 p.m. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana. For info, call John Ringrose at 774-7600 or 981-5458. Exhibits, free; workshops, $30-$40; seminars, $5 each; concert, $20. Package deals are available.

ABC: Artist Board Chooses Forget teamwork. DiverseWorks's artist advisory board, the collective mind behind the art space, usually acts as a unit in selecting artists for exhibition, but for this show, the individual members indulged themselves: Each board member picked one artist. No arguments. No compromises. Board member Kim O'Grady picked Patrick Phipps, she says, because "I heard he was good in bed." Board member Laurie MacDonald chose Beth Secor, who says her performance art "will be about my cousin Danice, who was my best friend when I was a kid. I will show slides from my childhood. It sounds boring, but it will be funny." Opening, 7-9 p.m. The visual works will be on display through July 12. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway, 223-8346. Free.

Susan McDonald It's five full months into 1997 and classical guitarist Susan McDonald only now is performing the year's first gig in her hometown. What's she been doing instead? Oh, you know: touring the U.S. promoting her latest recording, Tico-Tico, a collection of her Latin-American favorites. She's been lauded in Europe and earned rave reviews for her work at Carnegie Hall, but she's had to work even harder for respect here at home, where she's used to being booked into shopping malls and churches. Tonight she'll play her favorite classical and Latin American numbers. 8 p.m. University of St. Thomas, 3914 Yoakum, (800) 562-1904. $12.

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Betsy Froehlich