Press Picks

april 10
Makeup artist to the stars Laura Mercier, crafter of mama Madonna's look du jour, is in town to spread a little Evita-style glamour. Today and tomorrow, the artiste (whose clientele also includes Lisa Marie Presley and Isabella Rossellini) will command a team of cosmeticians offering free makeup consultations. At the Neiman Marcus counter selling Mercier's line, Classique. (Classique, by the way, is based right here in Houston.) 11 a.m.-7 p.m. today and Friday. Neiman Marcus, the Galleria, 2600 Post Oak Boulevard, 621-7100. Free; reservations required.

Makeup artists for the city Houston's image is the topic du jour for today's Downtown Houston Association luncheon. To discuss "Perception vs. Reality," the association has lined up a panel that includes Elyse Lanier (Mrs. Mayor, and head of the Image Group), Tim Relyea (Cushman Realty), Eddie Webster (Greater Houston Convention and Visitors' Bureau) and Luli Heras (Greater Houston Partnership, economic development). Bill Balleza moderates, lest the praise of our fair city (make that "our world-class city") gets out of hand. 11:30 a.m. Four Seasons Hotel, 1300 Lamar, 658-8938. $45.

MFA spring clearance The Museum of Fine Arts is clearing out its leftovers. Not the Egyptian stuff -- that's been packed up and shipped home -- but rather nifty items from the MFA Stores, including handmade jewelry, toys, contemporary products and tribal artifacts. Thousands of items are on sale for as much as 75 percent off, and the bargains include even those sweet terra cotta frogs that look like pygmy hedgehogs. Noon-9 p.m. today; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7300. No admission to get into the stores.

The Honeydogs The boys in this Minneapolis quartet are a long way from home, but then, they usually are. The Levy brothers (Adam and Noah), Trent Norton and Tommy Borscheid tour zealously, tightening their twang-free alt-country pop act at every stop. They've pumped their Americana sound into two CDs -- a self-titled debut in 1995 and the recent follow-up, Everything, I Bet You. They've also eked out time for side projects; most notably, Noah Levy was Golden Smog's drummer (recording Down by the Old Mainstream with players from Soul Asylum, the Jayhawks, Wilco and Run Westy Run). 9 p.m. The Fabulous Satellite Lounge, 3616 Washington Avenue, 869-COOL. $5.

The Uninvited: Dance and dinner at DiverseWorks You are invited to eat, but not to dance. That activity is left to a pair of choreographing sisters who call themselves 33 Fainting Spells (after the number of fainting spells they counted in several Chekhov plays). Have a few cocktails; witness Dayna and Gaelen Hanson's dance-theater piece The Uninvited, which has been described as "terrifying" in the Hitchcock sense of the word; then, if your stomach's up to it, nosh on food provided by DaCapo's Cafe. 7 p.m. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway, 223-8346. $75. (Performances sans dinner are scheduled for Friday and Saturday; call 228-0914 for tickets, which are $15.)

april 11
La Boheme The New York City Opera brings Puccini's classic to the island city, thus capping the Grand 1894 Opera House's 1996-97 performing arts season. La Boheme is one of the most familiar and pleasing operas around. In it, four poor but spirited Parisians share the best and worst that life has to offer. 8 p.m. The Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice Street, Galveston, (800) 821-1894. $14.50-$53.

No Boundaries Zocalo Theater unleashes six local artists for two nights of dance/performance in which there are no boundaries -- save, perhaps, gravity and the imagination. Amanda Knox journeys through scaffolding using a sound collage; Sophia Torres presents a new work created and designed with a suspended tire; Sandy Marcello introduces short performance visuals and wig sightings; and that's only half the show. Even Zocalo says to "expect the unexpected." 8:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday. Zocalo Theater, 5223 Feagan, 802-2516. $7.

EDS Track Cup This cycling series attracts the best in the U.S., so naturally the competition is intense. Along with bragging rights, a hefty hunk of prize money's on the line: $6,000 divvied up among the top finishers. Mainly, though, these world-class athletes are in our world-class city to promote their sport, and to dazzle spectators with speeds sometimes reaching 45 miles per hour. Of the 12 events this weekend -- five men's, four women's, three team -- the keirin, which starts with racers drafting behind a motorcycle and ends with a high-speed sprint, sounds the most purely entertaining. (Those wild 'n' crazy Japanese wager on keirin like we bet on greyhounds.) Everybody who's anybody in cycling will be here, including current world keirin champ and 1996 Olympic silver medalist Marty Nothstein. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 7:30-10:30 p.m. today and Saturday; 10 a.m.-noon and 12:30 p.m.-6 p.m. Sunday (keirin day!). Alkek Velodrome, 19008 Saums Road, (281) 578-0693. Free for spectators.

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Betsy Froehlich