If an elderly gentleman approaches you in a bar and offers to bet the price of an evening’s drink that there is a connection between the surface temperature of Venus and Noah’s ark, you might be inclined to make the wager. But do not bet, my child, for as surely as wild bears breathe in the woods, you will find yourself paying for the old codger’s evening while he bends your ear with the theories of Immanuel Velikovsky.

You can avoid this contretemps by reading Velikovsky’s book Worlds in Collision and by taking Dr. C. J. Ransom’s course of the same title. Velikovsky believes that Venus is a relatively new planet which split off from Jupiter and almost collided with both the Earth and Mars before settling into its present orbit. Venus’ wanderings are supposed to have caused cataclysms on Earth, among them the flood recorded in the Bible.

Dr. Ransom’s course will explain Dr. Velikovskys theories in detail and just might set you up with a few barroom propositions of your own.

Worlds in Collision/ Tarrant County Junior College, Northeast Campus (281-7860)/ Six Tuesdays beginning Feb 6/ $12


There are a few excellent ballet companies in America, but most aficionados would agree that the American Ballet Theater is the best, mixing the traditional and contemporary in choreography and program. The ABT comes to Houston this month—the only Southwest stop for the 150-member company—with a strikingly varied program, ranging from “Swan Lake” and “Coppelia” to Alvin Ailey’s new “Sea Change.”

The four day series opens with a benefit performance of “Swan Lake,” Wednesday, Feb. 7, with proceeds going to the Texas Institute of Child Psychiatry, and ends on the following Saturday with a matinee performance of “Coppelia,” and an evening performance of “Les Sylphides,” “Sea Change,” and Jerome Robbin’s “Fancy Free.”

Twelve of ABT’s principal dancers will appear in Houston, including Cynthia Gregory, Eleanor D’Antuono, Ivan Nagy and Ted Kivitt.

See listing for ticket prices and times.


Treasures are found in the most unlikely spots. Within the walls of an unpretentious (to say the least) cottage on a side street about twenty miles from urbane, sophisticated downtown Houston is a cache of high-powered, famous name, top quality art and craftwork. Mary Dale Swan, a fifth generation Texan, has garnered into this frame building the works of award-winning professional jewelers, sculpturers, potters, weavers, knotters, glass designers, stitchers, woodcarvers, painters, et al. The signatures are those of professionals from throughout Texas, not hobbyists: Jean Buchanan, Madge Donalson, Johnnie Mae Houchins, the Perretts, Louise Robbins, Carolyn Thomas, Susan Underwood, Hilda Walton, Bill Zant and Phyllis Tucker and more.

The Swan Galleries is a relative newcomer, although Mrs. Swan has been active in the art community for years. It has already made a dent in the art market and will probably not be so unlikely for long. Hurry down while the pickin’s are good and the prices right. Mrs. Swan furnishes an interesting resume on the artist with each purchase.

The Swan Gallery/210 N. Houston St./Webster, Texas/713-923-6516.

Caruso was in San Francisco when the great earthquake came. Hopefully, the visit of Luciano Pavarotti, billed as “today’s Caruso”, does not portend a similar disaster for Dallas.

Pavarotti is compared with Caruso because of his astonishing volume and range. In a recent role at the Met he achieved a string of nine high C’s all of which could be heard in obscure parts of eastern Canada. No less an authority than Time (and many greater authorities) have said that he is the finest tenor in the world, perhaps one of the greatest ever. He will appear in Dallas for one night only.

Luciano Pavarotti/Feb 3 at 8:15/McFarlin Auditorium, SMU/ Dallas Civic Music Association Series/ $3-8/ for tickets write 7612 Bryn Marr, Dallas, 75225.


Diana Kennedy’s The Cuisines of Mexico could well do for Mexican cooking what Julia Child did for French cooking. Mrs. Kennedy is not content merely to list recipes; instead she garnishes her pages with anecdotes of Mexican life, frequently describing the obscure provincial cooks and kitchens where she first tasted her favorite dishes. These are made much less mysterious, but no less exotic, by her detailed information on the methods, ingredients, and utensils of Mexican cooks. For the Yanqui chef, Mrs. Kennedy lists ingredients stocked in American supermarkets which may be substituted for foods and spices impossible to find outside Mexico. This is not Mexican cooking made easy—chilaquiles will always take longer than frito pie—but it is Mexican cooking made practical and enjoyable with its authenticity and uniqueness intact.

The Cuisines of Mexico by Diana Kennedy/ Harper & Row/ $12.50


Into a neighborhood being reincarnated by ambitious and talented property owners was recently born the Ferndale Pottery Workshop, Inc. The project of Gary Gerhart, potter, and Flo Rice, his assistant, the workshop exudes industry, substance and independence evidenced in the pre-revolutionary Williamsburg shops. The young potters, just out of the University of Houston, mix the clay, throw the pots, fire the kiln and sell the products on the premises. They have filled the gallery with stoneware plates, birdfeeders, weed pots, bowls, planters and things ceramic. Besides these, they have metal castings and the highly desirable weavings of Fay Evans. Drop in and see the action, meet the young and enthusiastic potters and take home a sample of their trade.

If you’d like to get behind the wheel yourself, sign up for instruction. For $40.00 per month, you are provided with know how, clay and wheeltime.

The Ferndale Pottery Workshop/ 2902 Ferndale, Houston/ 713-528- 2796.