This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, September 4
"You're suspended!" isn't a phrase that members of CoRE Suspension would find too punishing. They like being suspended, hanging in the air by pieces of metal inserted into their skin. If you're squeamish, we'd suggest skipping CoRE's show today at Numbers. The group will be performing what CoRE musical director Spike the Percussionist calls an "interpretive circus." He continues: "The strongman will be lifting his weights via suspension by being pierced. Trapeze artists will be one with the trapeze itself." There will also be a "pincushion man." Spike has put together the accompanying music, which will combine traditional circus tunes with original compositions written just for the show. Doors open at 9 p.m. 300 Westheimer. For information, call 713-526-6551 or visit $8.

Friday, September 5
Gone is the time when families gathered around the dinner table to break bread and discuss their days together. Folks are just too damn busy. San Antonio artist Rolando Briseño reflects on the lapsed tradition in Tablescapes. The work features a table setting that reminds viewers of an intimate, conversational meal -- except for the distracting cell phones and remote controls that move across place mats. The piece is part of the new exhibition at Lawndale Art Center, "Layered Evidence," which opens today. Also on view are Tonya Gregg's Elusive Quest of Freedom, a look at Black Bike Week in Atlantic Beach, South Carolina, and Greg Rubio's Thirteen Movements, a book of drawings in which each page represents a movement of a symphony. Opening: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. today. Gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. 4912 Main Street. For information, call 713-528-5858 or visit Free.

Saturday, September 6
Be prepared to bow low: The kings of Austin alternative country are making a good-will visit to Houston. Since the Gourds' inception in 1994, the band has garnered fans across America and Europe and heaps of critical acclaim. In 1999 the group was named Best Live Act by the Austin-American Statesman. At today's performance at the Continental Club, the Gourds will be playing songs from their new album, Cow, Fish, Fowl or Pig. And if fans are sweet to them, they just might play their twangy version of Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice" -- always a crowd-pleaser. The Weary Boys open at 10 p.m.; the Gourds play at 11:30 p.m. 3700 Main Street. For information, call 713-529-9899 or visit $10.

Sunday, September 7
The human fascination with snakes is a mystery; it's also often short-lived, despite the fact that the cold-blooded, phallic creatures can live for quite some time. So think long and hard before making a purchase at today's Texas Herpetological Society Expo. No venomous snakes will be available; this is to protect the lives of the complete idiots who would buy them. But you will find captive-bred king snakes, milk snakes, boas, corn snakes, rat snakes, pythons, bearded dragons, chameleons, geckos, tortoises, turtles, iguanas and tegu lizards. In conjunction with the expo, the weekend also brings the International Herpetological Symposium. Several interesting talks are planned, among them, "Why Snakes Are Resistant to Their Own Venom" and "The Sexual Adventures of the Tropical Treefrogs of the Genus Smilisca." If only we could all be getting off up in the trees. Expo: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today ($2 to $5). Symposium: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, September 4, through Saturday, September 6 ($165). Crowne Plaza Resort Hotel, 12801 Northwest Freeway. For information, call 281-367-4963 or visit

Monday, September 8
How can an artist tell when he's arrived? After being included in a show at the Whitney? After being featured in a PBS series about modern art? Trenton Doyle Hancock of Paris, Texas, has both credentials under his belt, and he's not even 30. His surreal, personal paintings depict recurring characters that he's been exploring since elementary school. The former Glassell School of Art Core artist will appear on Art: 21 - Art in the Twenty-First Century at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 10. But the Glassell School is so proud of Hancock's success that it will host an advance screening of the show today at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. 5101 Montrose Boulevard. For information, call 713-639-7500. Free.

Tuesday, September 9
Remember hand-drawn animation? It's not completely dead. Don Hertzfeldt (Billy's Balloon, Rejected) and Mike Judge (Beavis and Butt-head, King of the Hill) have teamed up to bring us The Animated Show, a collection of comic animated shorts. Among them are a tribute to Ward Kimball, a Disney animator from the old days, and Rejected, Hertzfeldt's Oscar-nominated short featuring a group of puffy characters (most of the time he draws stick figures). Both Hertzfeldt and Judge hope The Animated Show earns hand-drawn animation some much-deserved respect; their goal is to screen it in as many states as possible. The movie opens at the Alamo Drafthouse on Friday, September 5. Hertzfeldt and Judge will be in attendance at screenings on Wednesday and Thursday, September 17 and 18. West Oaks Mall, Westheimer at State Highway 6. For information, call 281-556-0204 or visit $7.

Wednesday, September 10
Drawing usually produces visual art, but in the case of Christine Olejniczak and Electric Dirt, it produces music. Olejniczak herself produced and built instruments that create the rhythmic drawing sounds, which fall somewhere in between tribal drumming and electronic trance music. Joining Olejniczak and Electric Dirt at a performance today at St. Pete's Dancing Marlin are Alex Garza and members of Big Green Machine, who recently put out the album and accompanying video Duet for Pen and Pencil. They'll play live music to accompany the 35-minute video. 7:15 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. 300 Main Street. For reservations, call 713-227-1511.

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