Press Picks

august 22
America "I been through the desert on a song with three chords ...." Sit outside, hear the Houston Symphony perform Copland's Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo and flashback thrills as original America duo Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell belt out such pop hits as "Horse with No Name," "Sister Golden Hair" and "You Can Do Magic." All of these radio memories will be sung with the Houston Symphony as the backup band. 8 p.m. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, 629-3700. $10$30.

august 23
A Running Start Get ready for the October 5 Race for the Cure at this promotional party. The Race for the Cure is a Breast Cancer Foundation run, and this party is the first benefit event held in conjunction with the sixth annual race. The evening has horse racing, dinner, a raffle -- and a chance to learn about the Breast Cancer Foundation and the good works of Houston's Susan G. Komen chapter. 6:30 p.m. Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West. For more information on the party or the charity run, call 850-9877. $50 per person.

Alternative Music The Little Room Downstairs begins the new season with an alternative comedy developed by the Michigan Artists Performers Initiative. You, the ticket buyer, sit barstool-by-barstool with the actors for a night at Scooter's, a fictional beer joint, in this comedy about barflies and lounge lizards. Think of it as a particularly witty episode of Cheers, and think of yourself along for the ride. Opening tonight, 8 p.m. Through September 14. The Little Room Downstairs, 1108 Peden, 523-0791. Seating is limited; reservations suggested. $15.

Sol LeWitt Prints 19701995 This collection of geometric graphics begins a nationwide tour right here at our own university, and then goes on to wow art fans in snobbish galleries around the country. LeWitt is a conceptual art founder, and along with getting the whole conceptual art thing cooking, he came up with new and nifty printmaking techniques. Lines -- the angles and shapes of his works -- are talked about plenty. The New York Times said that with these geometric shapes, "LeWitt does little more than show that by repeating them carefully and in various combinations he can create visual edifices as complex as they are understandable." But only a goon would ignore his use of color. Primary, complex, pastel -- he used 'em all, and black and white, too. Workshops and a gallery talk are planned for this show, and it opens today with a reception, 79 p.m. Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston (entrance no. 16 off Cullen), 743-9530. Free.

Shouts from the Outfield QuAC (Queer Artists Collective) is a group of men and women of many races and ages, and not one a straight white-bread heterosexual. Seven twentysomethings -- gay, lesbian or bisexual -- and their four artistic mentors -- all gay, lesbian or bisexual -- present this evening of issue-oriented theater and "OUT-rageous" entertainment. 8 p.m. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway, 223-8346. $7 and $10.

Bobby Collins Certs pitchman and VH1's Stand Up Spotlight host Bobby Collins (no relation to Barnabas) will be in town for four shows. Sample joke: "You know the relationship is going bad when they stop wearing those sexy black panties and start pullin' out the 100 percent all-white cotton bloomers. I go, 'Honey, what are you doing? I was going to use that to cover the car.' " 8 and 10:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday. The Laff Stop, 1952-A West Gray, 524-3435. $18.

august 24
You've come a long way, baby! Culture is a wonderful thing: in these anti-tobacco days, a cigarette ad slogan has a resonance that carries even when the tag line's used for an athletic event wholly unconnected to carcinogens. The baby who's come a long way in this case isn't a suffragette who can smoke in public, but a runner who'll take part in the Women's 100 by One Mile Relay Challenge. The relay was last in Houston two decades ago, and the race is back to promote women's health, and to establish a world record. Promoting women's health will be easy -- the race-side entertainment includes a health fair, and the relay itself was designed to get women runners out, and to get women runners together. Today, three teams of 100 women, each of whom will run one mile, will compete; spectators can settle in for 12 hours of watching the relay and other live entertainment. From 6:30 a.m.6:30 p.m., or until the last runner finishes. Memorial Park, 440-yard track. For more information, or to see if there are any team spots open, call Chiquita Taylor, 680-6022 or 484-5740.

Pony rides Before adults watch the racehorses, children can ride around on Shetlands at the track's Super Sunrise program. Thoroughbreds will gallop around the track while an announcer talks about the training of racehorses, then the kids can see grooms and blacksmiths demonstrate their arts. After the program, kids 14 and under run 70-yard races competing for souvenir horseshoes. Gates open, 8:30 a.m.; Super Sunrise, 9 a.m.11 a.m., rain or shine. Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway, 807-8700. $3; $1, seniors; free, children under three.

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Edith Sorenson