Press Picks

august 1
Shirley Hemphill You probably remember this comedienne as Shirley the waitress on What's Happening, yet her career encompasses far more. When Moms Mabley passed in 1975, Jet magazine ran an article on "Who will succeed Moms Mabley as the top X-rated comedienne?" Hemphill was a contender -- and, for what it's worth, she told the first gynecologist joke I ever heard on TV. (She was on Mike Douglas or something similarly '70s, and she said that the doctor was casting his hand around down there as though he were fishing for bus change.) Hemphill, part of any number of proud and noble comedy traditions (African-American, female and sitcom survivor, for instance) performs five shows. 8 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday; and late shows, 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Laff Stop, 1952 West Gray, 524-2333. $8.50, Thursday; $12.50, Friday and Saturday.

The Seven Deadly Virtues Bering and Friends presents another theatrical to benefit the Bering Support Network. This year's production is a really big show -- 30 people affiliated with the HIV/AIDS charity are in the all-singing, all-dancing cast. Musical numbers from Broadway shows and big movies have been appropriated for The Seven Deadly Virtues, a look at the age-old battle between good and evil, and at how dat ol' debbil human spirit will beat out both every time. Gala, black-tie opening with a bit of the bubbly and hors d'oeuvres tonight. Reception, 7; curtain, 8:30 p.m. Subsequent shows are at 8:30 p.m. Friday; 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Parkway. For tickets, call 526-5846 or e-mail [email protected]. Advance tickets are also available at Basic Brothers Clothing and Uniglobe First Choice Travel. $50, gala opening; $15, other shows; $12, seniors.

august 2
Shakespeare in The Woodlands The drive doesn't seem so far when you consider that the performers for this production of Julius Caesar came all the way across the Atlantic. The Anglian Open Air Shakespeare Company has been imported for tonight's evening of drama, intrigue and dirty politics as writ by the bard. Our friends at the pavilion say, "With its 27-member cast and massive stage set, this English production is one not to be missed." Friends, Romans, countrymen, pass me the bug spray. 8 p.m. rain or shine. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, 629-3700. $10 and $8.50, reserved seating; $7, lawn seating.

august 3
The AIDS army wants you Or at least your rummage-shopping dollars. AIDS Housing Coalition Houston (AHCH) is selling donated goods to raise money for housing and shelter programs for HIV/AIDS patients. They got it all -- household goods, objets d'art, jewelry, things printed and recorded, gadgets, clothes, electronics, baby items, sports equipment, toys and other stuff that people donated to this worthy cause. The Summer Rummage-A-Rama is one day only, and it's like a whole neighborhood's worth of garage sales right in one place. 8 a.m.3 p.m. AHCH volunteer center, 117 Tuam (at the end of Fairview at Helena Street). For more information, call 521-1613.

Holistic Exposition 1996 Why stay home and watch Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers when you can seek "physical, mental and spiritual answers for today" in the company of live humans? More than 16 speakers and empowerers will be present, all professionals who've had "aha" experiences or used mandalas or other modalities. 10 a.m.5 p.m. today and Sunday. Presented by the Houston Search for God Council at the University of Houston, Hilton Hotel (entrance no. 1 off Calhoun). For more information, call 893-4540. $49.50, all presentation and exhibits and Saturday night dinner with Charles Thomas Cayce, Edgar's grandson; $19.95, everything except the dinner.

Bellaire Coin Show The 31st annual Bellaire Coin Club show features a wide variety of old and rare coins (and paper money) for sale and trade. This collector's festival also offers an event to lure new enthusiasts: a children's auction. Kids (17 and under) are given play money, but can bid on real items such as proof sets and silver dollars and other entry-level numismatic paraphernalia. Auctions for the kids are at noon and 4 today; 2 p.m. Sunday. Show hours, 10 a.m.6 p.m. today; 10 a.m.5 p.m. Sunday. Bellaire Civic Center, 7000 South Rice, Bellaire. For more information, call 439-4335 or e-mail [email protected]. Admission and parking are free.

South Asia Friendship Fest '96 How many of us are up to speed on Bhutan and Mauritius? Sure, we all know a thing or two about Nepal and Madagascar, but the less flashy countries and islands of southern Asia don't get much attention. Happily, lesser known neighborhoods and big players such as Afghanistan, India and Nepal will all be celebrated with food, games and craft booths. Also, cultural information booths staffed with the culturally informed will be scattered among the food and craft booths so festivalgoers can be edified as well as entertained. 6 p.m.midnight. Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 North Sam Houston Tollway (Fallbrook-Windfern exit). For more information, call 367-1395. Regular admission, $3; children under 12, free. Parking, $2.

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Edith Sorenson