For a second consecutive year, Houston hosts the GOODE Water Ski National Championships, and in this heat, you'll want to get as close to the wet-and-wild action as possible in the hopes one of the competitors soaks you with a giant rooster-tail plume of water. Born at Jones Beach in Long Island, NY, these championships mark the 61st birthday of the event, held every year since 1939 (except for three years during WWII). On Thursday, catch men's and women's slalom, lake jumping and trick skiing. The boats hit the water at 8 a.m., Lago Santa Fe, one mile south of FM 517 on Cemetery Road. For information and directions, call 863-324-4341.
Saturday, August 15
Against an urban background of poverty and within a social system that exerts extraordinary pressure, New York's Hazzard family was perhaps doomed to live out its unfortunate namesake. After teenage daughter Love Hazzard and her siblings were taken from their crack-addict mother Diane, the children moved from various institutions and into foster homes, haunted by their mother's memory. When the family is reunited, Diane is recovering, but Love is 18 years old, HIV-positive, and struggling to care for her own infant son. The acclaimed documentary Love and Diane chronicles Diane's attempt to reconstruct her family and future in the months before Love's baby boy receives his own HIV-test results. 7 p.m., Brown Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515. $6.
Saturday, August 16
To Jamaicans, the man who arrived penniless in the United States in 1916 and then built the first large-scale black nationalist movement isn't known simply by his given name. His accomplishments require modifiers. "The Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey" will be honored at the Marcus Garvey Day Celebration (strangely, sans modifiers), benefiting KPFT Radio's Rastaman Vibrations Caribbean Show. The event promises to bring together some of Houston's hottest reggae bands along with exotic foods and art vendors. The "Caribbean experience" theme is emphasized by the inclusion of historians and poets sharing words about Garvey's accomplishments and legacy and the importance of Caribbean culture. Noon -- 10 p.m., KPFT Radio backyard stage, 419 Lovett. For information, call 713-526-4000. $10.
Sunday, August 17
If it happens you're anywhere near Amarillo, it's your last chance to catch Lone Star Rising, a Musical Celebration of the Lone Star State. The show won't play again until next June when the kids are home from school again. Created by the same team that gave us the tourist-oriented musical Texas, which is presented in the Panhandle's Palo Duro Canyon, Lone Star Rising depicts Native American, Spanish and cowboy cultures of the Old West. It's Branson, Missouri-type entertainment, so don't expect anything too provocative or challenging. What may be worth a look though, is how the frothy, outdoor show comes off juxtaposed with the High Plains landscape of the Panhandle. If you think such a thing might ruin your appreciation for nature, you're safe staying right here in a muggy, chemical fog. The show starts promptly at 8:15 p.m. Fritch Fortress Amphitheatre, Hwy 136, Lake Meredith (30 miles north of Amarillo). For information and directions, visit www.lonestarrising.com. $15.
Monday, August 18
Every time you flee from bees and wasps, you imagine how nice it would be if the little bastards didn't even exist. You just may be getting what you wished for. Nearly 80 percent of flowering agricultural and ornamental plant species depend on insects for reproduction, and every year research shows a decline in populations of pollinating insects, including butterflies. It's time to reacquaint yourself with these important insects. The exhibit Vanishing Pollinators reveals the colorful world of moths, bees and other pollinators through digital fine-art photography. 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Houston Museum of Natural Science, One Hermann Circle. For information, call 713-639-4629. $5.
Tuesday, August 18
The alternative bar/theater/artspace Helios is currently seeking models for its annual "Body Painting Runway" event on Saturday, August 30. Obviously, models should be comfortable being practically naked in front of drunken crowds. Also, models should be comfortable having paint applied to their naked bodies in front of drunken crowds. At a recent Helios event, revelers received body art while fully-clothed onlookers lounged around, smoking, swilling bottled beer and sneaking peeks at soon-to-be-painted, exposed flesh. How Roman. To apply, call 713-526-4648.
Wednesday, August 19
What's the point of a contest if, when it's over, everybody wins? Cultural irrelevance aside, the Pop-Tarts Presents American Idols Live! Tour should be good for a few uncomfortable laughs, and it might even induce uncontrollable anger toward the entertainment industry. It's hard to find another example of mediocrity rewarded so fiercely. Sure, the hulking Ruben Studdard and creepy Clay Aiken sing just fine, but the others were voted off. They shouldn't be allowed to profit (Al Gore must be hopping mad). So if you voted loser Charles Grigsby off the show, here's your chance to muscle your way to the front of the stage and loudly bellow "you suck!" when Grigsby (or any of the other exiles) step into the spotlight. 7 p.m., Compaq Center, 10 Greenway Plaza. For tickets, call 713-629-3700. $26.35 -- $46.36.