Press Picks

october 17
Strictly Business Computer Expo '96 Get on the bus -- the Silicon Graphics Magic Bus, that is -- at this huge event devoted to the latest and greatest in hardware and software. See it all now -- after all, it'll be obsolete in 18 months. 10 a.m.6 p.m. Astrohall, Astrodomain, Kirby at Loop 610. For more information, call 894-8007. $20.

Le Guignol de Lyon The French puppet-theater troupe makes its first Houston appearance and performs La Fontaine's Animals (Les Animaux de la Fontaine). It's in French, but don't worry if you're not fluent. Puppetry is like silent movies: dialogue is incidental. Presented by L'Alliance Francaise at the University of St. Thomas, Jones Hall, near the intersection of West Alabama and Yoakum. For more information or reservations, call 526-1121. $10; $5, students.

All in the Timing This witty, fast-paced production is actually an evening of six short comedies by David Ives, who worries about language, modern problems and first-year philosophy-student issues. Oh, and adult issues -- this show is not for kids. Opening tonight, 8 p.m. (Further showtimes listed in Thrills, Theater.) Strand Theatre, 2317 Ships Mechanic Row, Galveston, (409) 763-4591. $12.

october 18
Women's Interest Network monthly breakfast meeting Meet Pamela Yip! Yes, the Chronicle's perky and informed Money Matters columnist will be the featured speaker. She'll talk about women in the workplace and smart ways to accrue assets. 7 a.m. University of Houston Hilton, 4800 Calhoun, 743-9550. $15.

Harriet the Spy So that impressionable young minds won't have to rot their brains in front of the TV, Sony Theatres offer kids a chance to rot their brains at the movies. The Kids Film Series presents after-school and weekend shows of recent hits. This week, Harriet the Spy. Next week, Flipper. For more information, call the Sony Theatre in your neighborhood. Free for kids 12 and under; $1, adults with kids.

12 Minutes Max! The extra two minutes, that's what gets me. When this type of performance-art smorgasbord originally appeared, they were for ten-minute acts. Did DiverseWorks add the extra two minutes to stand out? For the benefit of the performers? Because they enjoyed the syllabic music of the number 12? Or was it just a whim? In any case, this episode of 12 Minutes Max! features dance works, many by young artists. 8 p.m. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway, 228-0914, [email protected]. $12; $7, students.

Haunted Hotels 'Tis the season for spooks: if the presence of Frankenweenie on cable doesn't convince you, then perhaps the bumper crop of haunted houses will -- not to mention Haunted Hotels. Haunted Hotels I and II will have lines around the block by next week, so see them now. 8 p.m.midnight tonight ; 8 p.m.10:30 p.m. Sunday and then weekdays starting Monday. 2803 and 2817 Fannin, 267-7800. $7, one house; $10, both houses.

Tosca Yee-haw! It's opera time again, ma! Come on out for Puccini's dark, dramatic tale of lust, art and death. Australian Michael Blakemore, a director well-known for his work on the West End and Broadway, makes his Houston debut with this Houston Grand Opera production. His Tosca is Kirov Opera prima donna Galina Gorchakova. Opening tonight, 8 p.m. (Other performances listed in Thrills, Theater.) Wortham Center, Brown Theater, Texas Avenue at Smith, 227-ARTS. $20$175.

Opera gala A black-tie event after the opening of Tosca, this fundraiser takes place in the Founders Salon with a late supper on the Brown stage. For gala invitations, call Judy Waters, 546-0242. $250, single tickets; $3,000$10,000, tables.

Hermann benefit concert Harry Connick Jr., Chaka Khan and Dana Carvey will perform at a benefit for Hermann Life Flight. The helicopter-to-hospital program -- which, by the way, receives no public funding -- is celebrating its 20th anniversary. 7:30 p.m. The Summit, 10 Greenway Plaza, 629-3700. $30$50. For special Gold or Platinum Circle seating, call Hermann, 704-4800.

october 19
Hope Therapy horse show See disabled kids who've improved their muscle tone, range of motion and balance through hippotherapy -- that is, therapeutic horse riding. Their show demonstrates the value of such programs and, the Hope people hope, will move you to contribute some money to the cause. Along with the riding kids, today's fundraiser features a dancing Arabian, the Chambers County Drill Team, carnival games and concessions. 8:45 a.m.3:30 p.m. Moody Gardens, One Hope Boulevard, Galveston, (409) 744-1745. Bring money for the silent auction.

Circus Flora For the third glorious year, the Children's Museum's annual fundraiser brings Circus Flora to town. Ivor David Balding's one-ring show is part of the New American Circus movement, an anti-Ringling, neo-traditionalist trend. Circus Flora is a steadfastly simple show (Balding calls it "pure") with one elephant (Flora), a couple of horse acts and a Wallenda (Tino) on the high wire. Today's show is part of a family day circus party; family day begins with a show at 9:45 a.m. and continues till 1 p.m. Regular circus shows in the 1,500-seat tent through October 27. The Children's Museum, 1500 Binz, 227-ARTS. Tonight, $35 adults, $25 kids. (Other nights, tickets are $8$25. See Thrills, Kids, All Over.)

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Edith Sorenson