This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, July 31
It probably wouldn't be a good idea to stare at a Roberto Matta painting after taking a hit of acid. The Chilean artist moved to Paris in the '30s and hooked up with Federico García Lorca and Pablo Neruda, who introduced him to Salvador Dalí and André Breton. Matta joined the surrealists and took up automatic drawing, tapping into his unconscious to create forms -- usually scary, otherworldly shapes in weird colors. Creepy, robotlike figures are a recurring motif in Matta's works, which the de Menils began collecting in the '50s. Now his paintings, drawings and sculptures, as well as letters, drawings and photos, are on view at the Menil Collection in "Roberto Matta: Cosmic Terrains." 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, through September 4. 1515 Sul Ross. For information, call 713-525-9400 or visit Free.

Friday, August 1
In the oft-produced A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a clever slave, Pseudolus, tries to make a beautiful, stupid courtesan, Philia, fall for his master, Hero. If Pseudolus is successful, he wins his freedom. But there are challenges: Philia's a virgin from Crete who's already been sold -- that's right, sold -- to another man. The musical combines the 2,000-year-old comedies of Roman playwright Plautus with the energy of classic vaudeville. Expect plenty of misunderstandings and double entendres. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Saturday, August 9; 2:30 p.m. matinee Sunday, August 3. Country Playhouse, 12802 Queensbury. For information, call 713-467-4497 or visit $17 to $22.

Saturday, August 2
It's bad enough to have to compete with another man for your lady's affection, but when you're up against Krishna himself, you're bound to lose. That's what someone should have told Bhojraj, husband of the devoted title character in the Indian ballet Meera. Bhojraj tries to appease his wife by building a temple to Krishna but ends up getting pissed off and telling her to go jump in the river (literally). Krishna saves the day, though, and Meera gives up her posh royal life in favor of singing and chanting. The work, which will be performed by 20 dancers from the Shakti Dance Company of Los Angeles, combines the two most popular forms of Indian dance: the Bharatnatyam and the Kathak. 8 p.m. Wortham Theater Center, 500 Texas Avenue. For tickets, call 281-648-0422 or visit $20 to $50.

Sunday, August 3
You won't get too many chances to see Big Walter "The Thunderbird" Price, so today, head to the Continental Club for his 89th birthday party. Price is the oldest surviving headliner from Houston's Peacock Records empire and one of the last barrelhouse-style piano players around. To celebrate his B-day, Eugene Moody, Larry Guy, Dino Deloney and other performers from Houston's blues community will take the stage; the El Orbits will open the show. Note: Don't be afraid to wish Price a happy birthday and ask for an autograph. 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. 3700 Main. For information, call 713-529-9899 or visit $10.

Monday, August 4
The ancient Egyptians had the right idea about death: Be prepared. After all, on the other side you might get bored or hungry for a snack. That's why they packed food, drink, jewelry, cosmetics and games into their tombs. The Houston Museum of Natural Science exhibit "Searching for Eternity: Life and Death in Ancient Egypt" spans 4,000 years of Egyptian history and features hundreds of ancient artifacts. You can meet Ankh-hap, whose mummy and coffin are on display. Ankh-hap walked the earth about 2,000 years ago, and it's safe to say he never dreamed he'd visit Houston. Eternal life, indeed. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. One Hermann Circle Drive. For information, call 713-639-4629 or visit $3.50 to $6.

Tuesday, August 5
Close your eyes and think about the Super Bowl. What do you see? If it's big piles of money instead of big piles of people, consider attending today's networking luncheon at the University of Houston Small Business Development Center: "Get Into the Game with Super Bowl XXXVIII." Super Bowl Host Committee board chairman Chuck Watson will be speaking about the financial opportunities that next year's event will bring to the local economy. For example, now might be a good time to start hoarding face paint -- and beer. 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. University of Houston Hilton Hotel, 4800 Calhoun, entrance no. 1. For information or to register, call 713-0752-8488.

Wednesday, August 6
Sports Illustrated for Kids
' No Limits RoadTrip 2003 Tour stops in Houston today. See airborne tricks performed on halfpipes and jumpboxes by BMX bike and skate professionals. Participating athletes include vertical BMX riders Joe Tecca and Rob Nolli, flatlander Ruben Castillo and vertical skateboarder Benji Galloway. Kids will get the chance to win prizes, talk to the pros and get autographs. They can also embark on an Agent Cody Banks-style spy action adventure in an inflatable obstacle course. The stars themselves must surely despise one aspect of the event: the unofficial "dance off with the athletes" under the VERB tent. Kids will join them in playing "Dance Dance Revolution," an interactive video game that guides your feet, teaches you dance moves and -- here's the kicker -- gets the old heart a-pumpin'. It's a good idea, but it just sounds embarrassing. Showtimes: 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. today and Thursday, August 7. AstroWorld, 9001 Kirby Drive. For information, call 713-799-1234 or visit Free with park admission ($24.99 to $39.99).

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