This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, September 25
The '60s and '70s were a time when worldwide revolution seemed imminent. It was a time of grand ideals and protests against unfair and unpopular orders, and many people were swept up in the change. New leaders emerged, and the idealists on the ground were often manipulated into pursuing the goals of the charismatic ones at the top. And there was violence. French filmmaker Chris Marker set out to document what he called "scenes from the Third World War" in his 1977 film A Grin Without a Cat (Le fond de l'air est rouge), screening today at Rice Cinema. The film, which was updated to address the fall of the Soviet Union in 1993, is a history of radical politics and its fallout, covering Vietnam, South America, Cuba and civilian-police battles throughout Europe. Viewers will witness the earnestness of a not-so-distant era, a time before we all started shopping at The Gap. 8 p.m. Rice Cinema, entrance no. 8 (off University Boulevard at Stockton Drive). For information, call 713-348-3138 or visit $6.

Friday, Septemeber 26
It's late September: The kids are back in school, the humidity is dropping, and thoughts have turned to what costume could possibly top last year's Britney Spears. We're coming up fast on that greatest of all non-gift-giving holidays, Halloween. Time to get your scream on. Two of Houston's haunted houses are opening for previews today. The Crypt of Fear is offering 20,000 square feet of terrifying special effects, plus snacks and drinks prepared by Bloody Mary herself. And Scream World has high-tech animatronics, robotics and digital sound -- and organizers want you to know that their scary scenes and kid-friendly surprises are strictly nonsatanic. Scream World: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; 7 p.m. to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays. 2225 North Sam Houston Parkway (Beltway 8). For information, call 713-914-1313 or visit $17 adults; $10 kids. Crypt of Fear: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays. 610 Arena, 5515 1/2 South Loop East. For information, call 713-830-8416. $15.

Saturday, September 27
It's a shame that only a chosen few get to interact with you when you're in your nightgown and slippers. You are at your repose, a comfortable, rumpled beauty -- the princess of your palace. Tonight, you can take that private outfit out on the town and show your inner princess to the world. At the second annual Texas Pajama Princess Cotillion, guests will wear outfits lacy and racy (or comfy and cozy), perch glittering tiaras atop their heads and flounce around drinking specially created "Pink Princess" cocktails. Pajama Princess founders insist there's a connection between going out in your sleepwear and feeling like a perfectly pampered princess, and that this lasting feeling can carry you through your workaday life with a sense of flirty fun. Take this opportunity to recapture a moment from childhood, when any nightgown could be a beautiful designer ball gown, and that Burger King crown fit you just right. 6 p.m. Ramada Inn, I-10 at Silber. For information, call 281-459-9158. $25.

Sunday, September 28
Midtown has a history that goes deeper than new lofts and cheap eats. At today's Midtown Architecture Tour, you can take a 90-minute guided stroll through this changing but well-preserved urban neighborhood. You'll get an up-close look at the former San Jacinto High School (alma mater of Denton Cooley and Walter Cronkite), the gigantic Houston Light Guard Armory and the newly restored neo-Gothic Trinity Episcopal Church. The tour also provides an opportunity to take part in Houston's newest trend: walking. 2 p.m. 1300 block of Holman. For information, call 713-216-5000 or visit $10; $7 for Greater Houston Preservation Alliance members and students.

Monday, September 29
Immigration has changed the face of many a country. After studying photography in the United States, artist María Zorzon traveled back to her home in the small farming village near Reconquista, Argentina, which is peopled by descendents of immigrants from Friuli, Italy. She photographed members of this community, documenting their daily lives. "I belonged to a community with a strong identity," she says. In the collection "Portraits," Zorzon offers a look at a piece of the mosaic of Hispanic culture. "Portraits" opens tonight with a cocktail reception and a performance by the Mercury Baroque Ensemble and runs through the end of October. 5:30 p.m. Heritage Hall at JP Morgan Chase, 707 Travis. For information, call 713-523-9530 or visit Free.

Tuesday, September 30
If it weren't for bad luck, cheating lovers and no money in the bank, the whole history of rock and roll would collapse. Follow us here: Blues music, that deep-down, pain-in-your-soul expression of everything that's done you wrong, directly influenced the early giants of rock. It's hard to imagine what Elvis or the Stones would have come up without it (some takeoff on baroque?). Tonight, PBS's the connection is celebrating Houston's own rich blues history. The show will feature a look at the historic Eldorado Ballroom's influence on the Third Ward, a talk with Roger Wood, author of the recent Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues, and storytelling by local blues artists Jewel Brown, Trudy Lynn, Texas Johnny Brown and former B.B. King musical director Calvin Owens. There will be in-studio performances by Grady Gaines and the Texas Upsetters, Jimmy "T-99" Nelson and Calvin Owens and his Blues Orchestra. Also, local DJs will be recommending their favorite blues CDs by Houston artists, so that you too can get the blues and bring it on home. 10 p.m. Show repeats 5 p.m. Sunday, October 5. Channel 8. For information, visit Free.

Wednesday, October 1
What comes from the Texas border, the heart of Central America, the streets of New York and is funky all over? South By Southwest favorites Grupo Fantasma are turning on the genre blender and bringing their mix of salsa, cumbia, corrido, Afro-Cuban funk and dancehall to the stage at the Continental Club. The group's been packing venues all over North America in classic DIY style: no label, no booking agent, just old-fashioned word of mouth. Los Lobos, Flaco Jimenez and KRS-One have all happily shared the stage with these guys, who very well may be the next thing to break out of the Latin music explosion. Wear something you can shake in, because this groove doesn't take any prisoners. 10 p.m. 3700 Main. For information, call 713-529-9899 or visit $5.

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Lisa Simon