Press Picks

november 14
Up from the Underground -- From the Streets to the Stage After the Extreme Games skateboard events on ESPN2, this is your best chance to see teenage boys doing something difficult and interesting. Hip Hop Arts, an urban dance group, features dancers who work to hip-hop and house, plus traditional jazz and even classical music. Tonight, Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. Lamar Dance Theater, 3325 Westheimer, 521-4560. $8.

Jesse Amado: Renascence The work of San Antonio artist Jesse Amado will be featured in the last Perspectives series show of the year. Recent large sculptures and drawings will be shown along with groovy assemblages. Whether the main of Amado's style comes from working as a fireman or from his fine arts training is for you to decide, but he does like to fool around with household objects -- bars of soap, for instance -- and heavy industrial materials like rebar. Susan Schmaeling of CAM says his works "are suggestive of abstract narratives, hidden history and forgotten memories." Today's opening features a gallery talk by Amado, 6:30, then a reception, 79 p.m. Contemporary Arts Museum, 5216 Montrose, 526-0773,

november 15
Chastity Bono The November Lesbians in Business meeting features star speaker Chastity Bono, the daughter of California Republican congressman Sonny Bono and tattooed professional famous person Cher. Despite her famous parents, Chastity seems like an easygoing, well-adjusted type, and her work for the National Coming Out Project is more gay and lesbian politics (and personal politics) than just the attention-desperate yammering of some celebrity kid. At the LiB meeting, Chas will talk about being out as both a personal and social act. 7 p.m. Innova Building, 20 Greenway Plaza (corner of Portsmith). For more information, call the LiB Line, 529-0077. $20. (Most monthly meetings are $5.)

The Dream Maker's Daughter Express Theatre begins its holiday season with this musical comedy about a toy maker, his lovely dolls and his jealous daughter. Opening with a benefit reception, 7 p.m. tonight. The catered food for this theater benefit is stuff kids will eat -- pizza and the like instead of raw-cauliflower crudites. (Subsequent shows listed in Thrills, Kids, On-Stage.) Children's Museum, 1500 Binz, 759-1314. $20.

Watch the skies! For Benevolent Aliens Night, the Rice Media Center screens a pair of sci-fi classics. There's The Day the Earth Stood Still. Then, don your way poppin' 3-D glasses for It Came from Outer Space -- a cinematic experience that you just can't get at home. Gee, wow! there are two showtimes for It Came From Outer Space, 9:15 and 11 p.m. The Day the Earth Stood Still in all its Theremin-scored glory plays just once, 7:30 p.m. Rice Media Center, Rice University (entrance no. 8 off University), 527-4853. $5 (for single, double or triple feature).

HPSVA Fall Jazz Festival The special guest artist at this concert will be John Twomey, a world-renowned "manualist." Discovered by Johnny Carson, Twomey posses a unique talent: By squeezing air through his hands, he can play even rather complex jazz tunes. Sure, any school kid can make obscene noises by squeezing air through his hands, but Twomey can make art. His music-making has previously been accompanied by Les Brown (Twomey was standing in for the Band of Renown), Doc Severinsen and the Montreal Symphony; tonight, he plays with the HSPVA Jazz Ensemble (both no. 1 and no. 2, as directed by Robert Morgan) and with the HSPVA Jazz Octet (directed by Mike Moreno). 7:30 p.m. High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Denney Theatre, 4001 Stanford, 942-1967. $6.

november 16
Great Houston Coverup The seventh annual Star of Hope blanket drive has begun in earnest. Blankets for the homeless may be dropped off at any Houston-area Marriott hotel. You can also drop off other cold-weather gear such as sweaters and coats, too. 9 a.m.5 p.m. today and Sunday. For more information, call 443-5242.

Texas Mennonite Relief Sale and Quilt Auction All the Mennonite churches of Texas have joined together in this craft sale to benefit the charitable works of the Mennonite Central Committee worldwide. Not only folksy Mennonite craftworks and quilts, but also trinkets and whatnots from more than 30 countries will be sold. Bring the kids, shop for a long time, refresh yourself with baked goods and hot dishes, shop some more and then line up for the handmade quilt auction at noon. Whole shebang, 9 a.m.4 p.m. Houston Mennonite Church, 1231 Wirt Road, 464-4865. Free.

Sandra Brue's Sandicasts We've bought Sandicast creatures as grandparents' gifts, and so have you if you've got any sense. Sandy's animal sculptures land on the line between realistic and Hummel figurine, and are durable enough to survive mild teething by real pets (or small children). She does all the breeds favored by the types who sport "I [heart] My Vizsla" bumper stickers, and even variations on popular breeds (for instance, she offers several sizes of both sable and tricolor shelties); plus she sculpts zoo inhabitants, especially the cute baby animals. Those who don't go for cheerful art objects might enjoy torturing a live dog with one of Sandy's amazingly lifelike, realistically posed cats; just plonk one down between the dog and its food bowl. Sandy will be in town to meet fans, sign her works and tell happy-fun stories about pets and figurine collectors. Noon4 p.m. Ashley Avery's, 1218 Willowbrook Mall, (281) 894-5449.

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Edith Sorenson