Press Picks

february 22
Camp de Thiaroye Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene, who has been called the grand old man of African cinema, will attend a screening and discussion of his film Camp de Thiaroye. Sembene began his career in the arts as a writer; living in France during the '50s, he wrote novels, among them the acclaimed God's Bits of Wood, which was based on a strike on the Dakar-Niger railroad. Returning to Africa in the '60s, Sembene decided that film, rather than literature, was the way to reach people. Since, he has written and directed 11 movies. One of the most admired is Camp de Thiaroye, a fact-based drama about African soldiers and how little interest they had in allowing the French to reinstitute the colonial power structure that had been disrupted by WWII. Sembene has won a slew of awards, but he's still willing to come to Houston for the Houston Pan-Cultural Film Festival and to speak to students. Screening, 1 p.m.; reception, 3 p.m. Houston Community College System, Stafford Campus, Forum Theatre, 9910 Cash Road, 718-7768. Parking, admission and popcorn are free.

The African Company Presents Richard III In the 1820s, the black theater company at the African Grove in New York was so successful and popular that nearby white theaters on Broadway had the Grove shut down. So the Grove actors, rugged artists all, put on a production of Shakespeare in a Broadway hotel. Carlyle Brown's play is a celebration of the company, of Shakespeare and of black history. The Ensemble Theatre and HCCS worked together on this production. Opening, 8 p.m. This weekend only. Houston Community College, Heinen Theatre, 3517 Austin, 630-1138. $5; $3, students and seniors.

february 23
Lunar New Year Festival The five Asian student organizations at Rice University have organized a pan-Asian Lunar New Year Festival. The Chinese, Korean, South Asian, Taiwanese and Vietnamese students will present a dragon dance, folk dances, a tae kwon do demonstration and a fashion show. Martha Wong will be a guest speaker, and others important in the community, namely restaurateurs, will have food booths set up. Last year, the event drew 3,000 visitors. 3-6 p.m. Rice University, Rice Memorial Center, Grand Hall. Free admission; bring cash for food.

TTouch We've all seen the infomercials on late-night TV, and now we can see animal behavior expert Linda Tellington-Jones demonstrate her animal behavior modification technique in a live seminar. The seminar is in the same price range as the TTouch tapes sold on TV; however, the admission charge benefits the Homeless Pet Placement League, so the first $25, at least, goes to a good cause. The TTouch, as channel surfers know, seems to be some sort of massage. Massage -- some people call it petting or stroking -- can be helpful in training animals. TTouch boosters swear it cures hostility, whimpering, chewing and a host of other neurotic behaviors. 7-9 p.m. Stouffer Renaissance Hotel, Azalea Room, 6 Greenway Plaza, 862-PETS. $25 admission. Don't bring your pets; you'll have to wait to do your actual TTouching once you get home.

Old Times Producing Harold Pinter is a dicey proposition -- his absurdist plays have no plot to speak of, and so if one second of timing or a single line reading is off, the whole production becomes a clown act. However, in Houston, schools tend to do well with Pinter. HCCS Southwest has a production of Old Times ready for a festival in San Antonio, and before going off to compete, the play will be shown here. Opening, 8 p.m. Two hours before the actors take the stage, a collection of art, prints, paintings and sculpture will go on view at the Stafford Forum Gallery. Houston Community College System, Stafford Campus, Forum Theatre, 9910 Cash Road, 261-5424. $4; $3, seniors and students.

february 24
Houston Hispanic Forum career day The tenth annual Career and Education Day offers Hispanic middle school and high school students and their families an opportunity to visit with representatives from colleges, trade schools, local companies and community leaders. Information about financial aid and scholarships will be available. And perhaps most important, families will have a chance to get involved in their children's futures. Opens 8 a.m. George R. Brown Convention Center, downtown. For more information, call 522-8077. Free.

Compaq SCI://TECH 96 Far be it from us to suggest that Compaq's purpose here is to introduce kids to computers so that they'll demand their parents buy them Presarios. No, we're sure the education of tomorrow's youth is as much Compaq's goal as it is the goal of Montgomery College. In any case, the science fair, a prelim for the Houston Science Fair, integrates general science and technology with Internet and computer technology. Some 1,500 kids from Conroe ISD and John Cooper School in The Woodlands are expected to display their projects and compete in an Internet scavenger hunt. The highlight of the fair may be Humpty's Revenge, a project competition that involves building elevated railways that can carry an egg safely and quickly over the heads of the assembled multitude. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Montgomery College, 3200 Highway 242, Conroe, (409) 273-7257.

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Edith Sorenson