Even highfalutin classical musicians are not immune to the charms of indie rock. Acclaimed pianist Christopher O'Riley found a new obsession the first time he heard the spacy, experimental alt-pop of Radiohead. He turned his professional ear to everything by the band he could get his hands on and then set about transcribing its moody, complex songs for the piano. The result was his highly praised album True Love Waits (see page 81 for the full review). Tonight he plays his favorite tunes at the Mercury Room. 7 p.m. 1008 Prairie. For information, call 713-225-6372 or visit truelovewaits.cc. $15 in advance from www.houstonsymphony.org, $20 cash only at the door.
Friday, September 19
They spin right round, like a record, baby. The Whirling Dervish Order will be communing with the divine through music and dance tonight at the Cullen Performance Center at the University of Houston. The order was founded in the 13th century by the mystical poet Mevlana Rumi, who recognized that music is uplifting, and that dance connects people to music. (Disco pasha Steve Rubell found that the same held true late in our last century.) The revolving dance of the dervishes will be accompanied by Sufi music performed live on traditional instruments. And remember: No parking on the dance floor. 8 p.m. 4800 Calhoun. For information, call 713-743-5186. $18.
Saturday, September 20
Before you show up to the fifth annual Infertility and Adoption Symposium, you'd better make sure you're interested in the door prize. The educational program for men and women struggling with infertility will cover a wide range of topics, including "Treating Infertility in Men and Women Over 35," "Donor and Surrogacy Options," "Alternative Therapies" and "How to Choose an Adoption Agency." One lucky attendee will be selected by random drawing to receive a full in-vitro fertilization cycle, including medications, valued at $10,000 and generously donated by the Center of Reproductive Medicine. We're hoping a similar drawing will be held the next time a plastic surgery convention is in town. 8 a.m. Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1700 Smith. For information, call 713-975-5324 or visit www.resolveofhouston.org. $90 individuals, $110 couples.
Sunday, September 21
Here's a film that made entertainment history for more reasons than one. Today, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston kicks off the "MoMA Film: Masterworks from the Archive" series with the family-friendly Meet Me in St. Louis, the 1944 MGM musical classic directed by Vincent Minnelli and starring Judy Garland. It was on this movie set that the two lovebirds first met. If the camera loves Ms. Garland here, it's perhaps because the man behind the camera couldn't keep his own eyes off her. As Liza herself has pointed out, if it weren't for this film, she wouldn't have been born, and our world would be a very different place. Fair warning: This is also the film that gave us the infectious musical number "The Trolley Song" ("Clang, clang, clang went the trolleeeeey"), so be prepared to carry that tune around with you for the next week or so. 2 p.m. Brown Auditorium, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org. $2.
Monday, September 22
Even Republicans deserve to get lei-d. Tonight, the Northwest Forest Republican Women are hosting a Republican luau and fund-raiser. Republican elected officials and community leaders will be in attendance, pressing the flesh and chowing down roast pig and tropical fruits. Also on the docket is an auction benefiting the Republican women's group. Come and see the finest available Hawaiian togs, as these ladies have surely spent hours combing Ralph Lauren and Talbots for just the right outfits. Or perhaps they jetted off to the Big Island just to pick up something suitably authentic. 5:30 p.m. Shirley Acres, 217 Woerner Road in Spring. For information, call 281-537-1428. $25.
Tuesday, September 23
Don't throw away those worn-out black jeans just yet. Slash them up, safety-pin them back together, sew a couple of Misfits patches on them, and haul yourself to Rudyard's for punk rock karaoke tonight. They've got a live house band to back you up and a playlist of all the three-chord classics you can barely remember. Lyric sheets and provided, or you can do it yourself and belt out your personal rebellious anthem, even if you have to reach back in time to find it. Relive your snotty teenage dreams of anarcho-stardom in a friendly bar where no one will laugh at you. 9 p.m. 2010 Waugh Drive. For information, call 713-521-0521. Free.
Wednesday, September 24
Club music can be so predictable. Thump-thump, oop-oop, raise your hands in the air, yawn. Tonight, Rich's kicks off a Wednesday-night experiment, suggested to the management over the last several years by its own clientele, who have been known to holler "Freebird!" to the DJ. At "FUBAR" (an old military acronym for "fucked up beyond all repair"), you'll hear all rock and roll, all night long. DJ Shawn Byrne will spin everything from the classics to modern rock, providing an excellent change of pace for the disco-weary. Don't go expecting trippy acid-rock bands or fancy prog rock with lots of time-signature changes, though. Rich's main concern was how to keep the dance floor cooking without the explicit enticement of dance music to get down and boogie. The club's been working closely with Byrne for several months to fine-tune his playlist, so you can still expect a bitchin' beat. It'll just be more bang your head than shake your rump. 9 p.m. 2401 San Jacinto. For information, call 713-759-9606 or visit www.richs-houston.com. Free, $5 after 11 p.m.