Press Picks

june 29
Texas Music Festival Four weeks of feverish, yet fun, study by earnest young professionals and advanced students of music wraps up tonight with a gala concert for the public. The sixth annual Immanual and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival Orchestra closes with a free concert. Ned Battista conducts a program of Bizet, Elgar, Gershwin, Glinka, Katchaturian and Tiomkin. There's a midmorning show for out-of-school kids. 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, 363-3300. Free.

A Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet The eighth annual Shakespeare by the Book Festival presents two classic plays, one of them not exactly by the book. Though Kate Pogue has directed her Hamlet in the traditional manner -- adhering to the traditions of Shakespeare's day by making Hamlet a fast-paced story of murder and revenge and leaving all the long dark night of the Prince's soul stuff in the background -- John Corley has taken a different tack with A Midsummer Night's Dream, putting Oberon at a sock hop, with adult characters such as Theseus and Hippolyta as chaperoning gym teacher and principals. Why not? After all, as Corley says, "Midsummer is about puppy love, silly, obsessive, very innocent." The two plays alternate this weekend at HCCS and then move to the George Memorial Amphitheatre in Richmond, where they'll continue through July 16. Hamlet tonight and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Midsummer Friday, 8 p.m. HCCS, Heinen Theatre, 3517 Austin, 630-1138. $5; $3 students.

Dead Before It's probably worth the price of admission just to see an industrial band who did their eight-by-ten promo shots in a natural, woodsy setting. Although the five-member band crows about being likened to a cross between White Zombie and Helmet, the group doesn't seem to be overweeningly image conscious, and for that they deserves a listen. Catch the "industrial groove" tonight with additional acts Mudshow and Nesga. Show begins at 9 p.m. Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, 862-3838. $5.

june 30
Free to Give A terrible milestone in many women's lives is finally weighing enough to give blood. Once you tip the scales at 110, it's time to line up for civic duty. Giving blood is quick (30 minutes) and easy (you won't feel a thing), and with another bloody highway holiday on the way, quality plasma is needed. All medically able bodies older than 17 and weighing more than 110 pounds are urged to come and give a pint. Be sure to eat at least four hours before donating blood and bring some I.D. 7 a.m.-7 p.m. KTRK/ Channel 13, 3310 Bissonnet. For more information, call the St. Luke's Blood Donor Center, 791-4483.

Butterflies are freed You don't see animal action like this every day -- 365 new butterflies will be loosed into the Cockrell Butterfly Center, to make their home amidst the many butterflies and four free-roaming tropical lizards of the glass cone. This is just one of the many events planned in celebration of the one-year anniversary of the tropical rain forest environment at the Museum of Natural Science. Kids can stop by the butterfly station and make an origami butterfly to take home, or learn about attracting butterflies with plants. Kids who prefer the large and obvious scales of reptiles to the soft and not-really-visible-to-the-naked-eye scales of lepidoptera can participate in a "Name the Iguana" contest. The creature in question is three-feet long. Butterflies flutter into their new home at 10 a.m. sharp; poison dart frogs on display all day. Houston Museum of Natural Science, 1 Hermann Circle Drive, Hermann Park, 639-4600. $3; $2 kids. (Educational exhibits in the Grand Hall free of charge.)

july 1
Treasure Island Thanks to industrious night-before digging by a KRBE/104 FM crew, Galveston has buried treasure. A volleyball tournament and the search for buried certificates, both co-sponsored by the radio station, will give Stewart Beach that extra touch of the festive needed for a holiday weekend. The Evian Beach Volleyball Open begins at 9 a.m.; digging commences at noon. Stewart Beach, Galveston. To have a chance at unburying treasure, call Clint Wright, 266-1000; to register for volleyball, call Spike Sports, 699-1990.

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show John Howell, executive producer for Wild West Productions, has it sussed out thusly: "When visitors come to Texas, Houston in particular, they expect to see cowboys and Indians like in the movies. And many are disappointed when they don't. This show will give them a chance to see some of the Old West while visiting Houston." Moreover, "the show's engagement in Houston sprang from a need we recognized for great family entertainment of a historical nature during a family-oriented patriotic holiday." Annie Oakley will not appear, but the show does have thoroughly modern sharpshooters, trick riders, Native American dances and live buffalo. Showtimes for this "rip-roarin', whip-poppin', shoot-'em-up" are 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. today; 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Houston Farm and Ranch Club, on Highway 6 just north of I-10. For tickets, call Ticketmaster, 629-3700. Discount coupons are available at all Luther's Bar-B-Q stores. For more info, call Wild West Productions, 376-1343. $12; $7 children. (Plus Ticketmaster surcharge for phone sales.)

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Edith Sorenson