Aged Peppers

SAT 6/14
Now known as the Red Mild Chili Peppers, the band that ignited the funk-rock explosion of the late '80s has ceased to be spicy. The heat has been replaced with sophistication, which is ironic for a group that used to perform wearing nothing but gym socks over their one-eyed trouser snakes. The band's 2002 album, By the Way, features string arrangements and harmonies, proof that the Chili Peppers may now be exploring the sunny compositions of Brian Wilson (without giving up their seats in George Clinton's Parliament, of course). It's an inevitable transition. If anything, though, the boys finally seem locked in as an entity. By the Way confirmed that Flea, Anthony Kiedis, John Frusciante and Chad Smith (the same lineup that delivered the landmarks Mother's Milk and Blood Sugar Sex Magik) could keep it together after the Dave Navarro debacle. That, in itself, is applaudable. And even if the Red Hot Chili Peppers have mellowed with age, the band's maturity can only enhance its musical flavor.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers perform with Snoop Dogg and the Mars Volta at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 14. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands. For information, call 281-363-3300. $36 to $46. -- Troy Schulze


THU 6/12
Rumor Has It
From the insular city of Galveston, where spreading wacky rumors about local politicians and aspiring social climbers has become a devilish art form, comes Island etc's production of Neil Simon's modern farce Rumors. The fast-paced plot is typically Simonian: Eight well-to-do guests arrive at a posh home to celebrate a wedding anniversary only to find that the husband, Charlie, who's a politician, has been shot. Complicating matters further, his wife, Vivian, and the servants are missing. The dinner guests, who have their own scandals to hide, fear the police might implicate them and thus make up all kinds of outlandish tales to prove they weren't involved in the murder. This is the fourth production of the premiere season for the fledgling, intimate (105 seats) Island etc. 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, from June 12 through June 21; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees on June 15 and June 22. 2001 Postoffice, Galveston. For information, call 409-762-3556. $17 to $22. -- Greg Barr


SAT 6/14
Bye-Bye, Ben
Houston Ballet fetes Ben Stevenson
How do you say adios to a man known for big-time ballets? With a big-time gala, of course. Houston Ballet sends off artistic director Ben Stevenson with a retrospective of his amazing 27 years at the helm of the company. The event includes excerpts from his most famous ballets, guest appearances by past stars, a photomontage of his years with Houston Ballet and a champagne reception. This is a tribute to a man who has given his life (about half of it, anyway) to making Houston Ballet an internationally recognized company. Dress is to the nines; hankies are mandatory. "Thanks for the Memories: A Tribute to Ben Stevenson" takes place at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 15. Wortham Theater Center's Brown Theater, 500 Texas Avenue. For tickets, call 713-227-2787 or visit $13.50 to $200. -- Marene Gustin


FRI 6/13
Do the Mambo
Equal parts Mexican soap opera and I Love Lucy highlight reel, Mambo Girl is set in Rio de la Plata, the fictional capital of a South American country, where larger-than-life characters steal each others' lovers and try to bump each other off. Highlights include a flock of pink flamingos, a cross-eyed stewardess and a ten-year-old girl portrayed by a grown man. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through July 12. Stargaze Theatre, 3722 Washington Avenue. For information, call 713-426-2626. $20 to $26. -- Greg Barr