Press Picks

may 4
Joe Scruggs Singing star and puppeteer sings hits such as "I'm Too Full for Broccoli (But I've Still Got Room for Some Pie)," "Even Trolls Have Moms (Who Make Them Put Their Dirty Jeans in the Hamper Before They Go Out to Lurk Under Bridges)" and "Refrigerator Picture." Joe Scruggs in Concert was selected as a 1993 Notable Children's Video by the American Library Association, and yet USA Today loves him, too. 7 p.m. Jewish Community Center/West Houston, 1120 Dairy Ashford, 556-5567. $5 advance; $7 at the door.

Meridian Arts Ensemble The group is an unassuming-looking quintet -- band geeks grown up is what they look like. It's what they are, too. Talented, obsessive weirdoes who've been heralded by music critics as a serious chamber ensemble, and for their interpretations of Don van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) and South African traditional music. Yep, they do everything from Baroque (Suite en Sol by Tomaso Albinoni) to Frank Zappa (quite a bit of his work, and some tunes with extra percussion required). The MAE, world travelers, are stopping in Klein for an artists-in-residence gig, at Klein Oak High School, for three days. Today, the Ensemble is presented in a concert for the public. 8 p.m. Klein Oak High School, 22603 Northcrest Drive, Spring, 370-0961. $10.

Life Beyond the Loop Oh no, there's a titty bar in one of Houston's most planned communities, Precious Trees! George and Babs, a televangelist and other zany, wacky characters fight smut in the suburbs in this latest show from Radio Music Theatre. It's another new show -- what's got into writer Steve Farrell? Why's he writing all these new shows? Seems the boy's ambitious. New show, same yummies served during the show. Life Beyond the Loop opens tonight, 8:30 p.m. Through September 2, Friday-Saturday, 8:30 p.m.; and Saturday 10:50 p.m. Radio Music Theatre, 2623 Colquitt, 522-7722. $12, reservations required.

may 5
Women's Professional Billiards Association Classic Tour Event According to our friends at the Texas Pool School, more than 40 million of our fellow Americans shoot pool -- almost twice as many as play golf. Today's tournament is for ladies, and proper attire will be required; rules of etiquette will be strictly enforced. The well-dressed, well-behaved ladies will be playing Nine Ball, on 9-foot tables. Vivian Villarreal, the number one ranked woman player, will compete. 11 a.m. Today, Saturday and Sunday. Westin Galleria, 5060 West Alabama. For details call 621-4342. $5-15.

Solamente en Tejas Pico's Cinco de Mayo festival has live music, skydivers, Mexican arts and crafts and the world's largest margarita. There are always literal-minded folk who wonder who will drink the world's largest margarita. Their numbers are matched by wags who'll answer, "The world's largest drunk." The wags are kidding of course; anyone of legal drinking age with $5 can have a hit off the world's largest 'rita. The giant cocktail will be concocted in a giant refrigerator truck, all 2,000 gallons of it, and will qualify for an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. Bartenders are needed, both to help make this benefit for the Mexican Cultural Institute a success and for reasons of civic pride. Currently, the record-holder in this category is held by a Holiday Inn in Pennsylvania. Imagine! For a mere $25, volunteers get full access to all the festival festivities and a hard-hat. "Only in Texas" runs 4 p.m.-midnight today and Saturday. Pico's Mex-Mex, 4527 Lomitas, 942-9955. $5 admission.

The Ghost of La Llorona Express Theatre brings another ethnic folktale to the children of Houston. La Llorona is the tale of a mother who wakes in the night, a night with a raging storm, to find her son missing. She tries to rescue him from a storm-swollen river but mother and child are never heard from again. In a Tobe Hooper-like twist, The Ghost of La Llorona has a modern-day family meeting centuries-old ghosts. The production is partly in English and partly in Spanish, cleverly designed so that monolingual children can understand the whole thing. The play was written by playwright Rodney Rincon and Sesame Street songwriter Joe Romano, an expert in kid entertainment. Three shows with a gala opening tonight, 7 p.m. The Children's Museum, 1500 Binz, 522-1138. $5; kids under two free.

Salsa de Mayo on Cinco de Mayo KLOL's Dayna Steele and Houston Salsa queen Norma Zenteno will preside over this party and pageant celebrating Cinco de Mayo. This party has salsa dancers, tequila girls and a raffle with a grand prize of round-trip tickets for two to Veracruz. Tickets are on sale now; call AIDS Foundation Houston at 629-9255 for details. 8 p.m. Crystal Niteclub, 6680 Southwest Freeway, 784-7743. $12 standing; $15 floor seating.

may 6
No Diet Day Ah, but there's a catch -- exercise and healthy eating are emphasized. The International No Diet Coalition is more than willing to just say no; it's gone so far as to declare today "No Diet Day" -- cleverly choosing a Saturday, when people are all but required by law to break their diets either at social events or because they're sitting at home uninvited to social events. But don't pop the top on that Blue Bell just yet -- when the No Diet Coalition says no to diets, it means the kind of extreme diets one finds in slick magazines. Shun, we're told, diets like the "mango and bone meal diet," "the oxidized spring water and rhubarb diet" and pills and surgery and experimental electro-chemical treatments. Instead (and this is not difficult, not really, not once one becomes accustomed to the plan), the No Diet Coalition would have us love our bodies, set realistic goals for weight loss, eat healthful foods and be active. We might have some wiggle room within those healthful foods and be active rules -- in some cases, gobbling guacamole is an easy way for the active person to replenish potassium.

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Edith Sorenson