This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, April 24
It's pretty hard to keep an art collective alive. As every Real World viewer knows, when you put a bunch of creative, passionate people together, things will eventually explode. The high-energy collective Forcefield was founded in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1997. Members were known for donning tight, brightly colored knit costumes and playing psychedelic music or making video art. But alas, not long after Forcefield was written up in The New York Times and featured at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the group broke up. The reason? "Personal differences," according to Mixture Contemporary Art director Lisa Cooley. At today's Milhaus vs. Forcefield event at Mixture, you can see video works by both Forcefield and Milwaukee-based collective Milhaus, which is still together. For now. 9 p.m. 1709 Westheimer. For information, call 713-520-6809 or visit $5.

Friday, April 25
Unemployment is way up, and it doesn't look like the economy's gonna recover anytime soon. But there are still a few organizations with plenty of opportunities: the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. If you're unemployed and sick of sitting on the couch watching reruns of Blind Date, find out how to become a special agent (!), a canine enforcement officer or an immigration inspector at today's open house. As long as you hold U.S. citizenship, a bachelor's degree, a few years' experience and the belief that our nation should be enclosed by a giant wall, you're in business. Oh, and the canine job also requires that the applicant have the ability to "make decision (sic)" and "communicate with others effectively, both orally and in writing." 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ramada Plaza Hotel, 2828 Southwest Freeway. For information visit or call 1-800-944-7725.

Saturday, April 26
Today, watch bikers go round and round in circles at the Alkek Velodrome's weekend races. If you're over the age of eight, you won't be able to join in unless you've got a U.S. Cycling Federation license. But if you've got a kid between the ages of four and eight, he can ride in the "peewee pedalers" races. All he needs is a bike and a helmet. Built in 1986 for the U.S. Olympic Festival, Alkek is one of only 21 velodromes in the country. The public can ride there on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. But under no circumstances are skateboards allowed. Ever. In fact, don't even skate past the place. See the races at 6 p.m. today or 7 p.m. Friday, April 25. 19008 Saums Road. For information, call 281-578-0693 or visit Free.

Sunday, April 27
The filmmakers featured in "Single Channel: Collaborating with the Moving Image" take the term "do it yourself" to a new level. With a few exceptions, each of the short films and videos screening at the Blaffer Gallery was produced, written, shot, scored and edited by one person. The films will be looping continuously at the gallery, with formal screenings on weekends. Microcinema International's Patrick Kwiatkowski, who curated the show along with Joel Bachar, will introduce the films. Today's selection includes the animated film Scapegoat, in which the filmmaker (known only as Lev) gives a firsthand account of being bullied in grade school and trying to fit in in high school. And in another short, Abba Mao, filmmaker Pascal Lievre lip-syncs Abba's "Hasta Mao" in front of a red background while covering his face in red makeup. The formal screenings are at 2 p.m. today; Saturday, April 26; Saturday, May 3; and Sunday, May 4; with a 7 p.m. reception and screening Friday, April 25. University of Houston Blaffer Gallery, 120 Fine Arts Building (entrance no. 16 off Cullen Boulevard). For information, call 713-743-9530 or visit Free.

Monday, April 28
Though Ann Beattie has been called the "guru of the baby boomers," you don't have to be one to appreciate her. The author's spare stories about relationships, tradition and the minutiae of daily life have made her a favorite with just about anybody who's got a love for language. In her latest group of stories, Perfect Recall, Beattie sticks to what she knows: urban professionals dealing with unexpected circumstances, like divorce or illness. The author reads today in the season's last Inprint/Margarett Root Brown Reading Series event. 7:30 p.m., doors open at 6:45 p.m. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue. For information, call 713-521-2026 or visit $5.

Tuesday, April 29
If you feel like eating out but can't decide between Vietnamese, Mediterranean or plain old American, you're in luck. At today's Houston Press Menu of Menus Party, you can fill your plate with grub from Kim Son, Niko Niko's, the Hard Rock Cafe, Prime Time Steakhouse, Ouisie's Table and other restaurants. There will also be live music by Yvonne Washington and the Mix and a beer and wine tasting. If you try a drink and just can't decide whether it suits your palate, go ahead and sample it again. And, if necessary, a third time. (You might as well get your money's worth.) 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The Metropolitan, 1801 Main. For information, call 713-280-2490 or visit $25.

Wednesday, April 30
If you're one of those idiots who's decided to boycott French wine, we don't know what you should do today. You certainly shouldn't head to the Museum of Fine Arts to see "Paris in the Age of Impressionism: Masterworks from the Musée d'Orsay." Consistency is everything. If no Bordeaux, then no Claude Monet, Gustave Caillebotte, Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne or Paul Gauguin. The exhibition highlights the life and culture of those pompous Parisians during the second half of the 19th century. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 12:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. 5601 Main. For information, call 713-639-7540 or visit $5 to $10; $3.75 to $7.50 on Thursdays.

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