Sporting the motto "Beer Before Breakfast...Death Before Dishonor," the Montrose Beer and Gun Club boasts more than 400 members across the country, including Second Amendment supporter Charlton Heston and local celebrity Dr. Red Duke. Wait a second. Beer and guns? Together in a club?
"To question the existence of the MBGC is like asking if there is a Santa Claus...or if dreams really do come true," says the group's ambiguous Web site.
Started in 1999 by Fred Turton, a recently retired Rudyard's bartender (who, by the way, was named Bartender of the Year by the Houston Press in 2001), the club has T-shirts, members and an annual party benefiting children with cancer. But an air of mystery surrounds a weekly chronicle about the group's adventures, written by Turton's alter ego, Helga Biermeister, club "secretary."
When asked if any of his stories are based on real events, Turton goes mum. But he will say this: The chronicles "are a primer for what not to do. A lot of the members shoot guns, a lot of them drink beer, none of them do it together." He continues: "There're injuries in football. There're injuries in baseball. When you drink beer and shoot guns, things happen." Most of the stories highlight humorous mishaps stemming from the unwise mixture of -- you guessed it -- beer and guns.
For the past year, Drew Bradley, another alter ego of Turton's, has read the MBGC chronicles on Spare Change, the KPFT folk music show (noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays). They're also posted on the group's Web site. For information, visit www.montrosebeerandgunclub.com. $16 gets you a T-shirt and a lifetime membership card. But a straight answer from Turton? Not happening. -- Mary Specht
Forget the old disco ball that graced the Pride Parade in previous years. This year's 25th Anniversary "Silver Celebration" Pride Parade features a 20-foot, 1,000-pound silver chandelier at the corner of Westheimer and Montrose. It should set the stage nicely for an over-the-top evening. Not to be missed are a fireworks show and a performance by the Strangerettes, a 42-member, all-drag drill team from Dallas. Other Pride events include a concert by Dutch dance diva Amber (1 a.m. at Rich's, 2401 San Jacinto) and an appearance by Robert Gant from Queer As Folk(9 p.m. to 2 a.m. South Beach Night Club, 810 Pacific). The parade kicks off at 8:45 p.m. Saturday, June 28, and runs along Westheimer from Woodhead to Whitney. For information, call 713-529-6979 or visit www.pridehouston.org. -- Cathy Matusow
The Heinrich Lagerbürger Literary Society is not, strictly speaking, a literary society. And Mr. Lagerbürger doesn't even exist. But an interesting group of writers by that name gets together to discuss their fiction and poetry each week at Helios. The group was founded by students from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. The name's inspiration: a know-it-all peer who dominates class discussions, ruining them for everyone else. Last semester, a few students decided to teach the guy a cruel but necessary lesson. They raved about the life and work of Lagerbürger, supposedly an obscure German poet who fled Nazi Germany in the late '30s. Guess who was soon leading the discussion? The society meets at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. All are welcome (except for one guy, and you know who you are). Helios, 411 Westheimer. For information, call 281-785-1110. -- Scott Nowell
What Would Jesus Eat?
Ex-cons and organic veggies at His Soils
Tired of paying $4 for three organically grown tomatoes? You can name your price and pick them right off the vine at His Soils. Dell York, or one of the seven ex-convicts who lives in a halfway house he runs next to the acre-plus garden, will lend you a pair of shears for cutting organic squash, eggplant, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, okra and zucchini. Mulch and compost are also available. The cost: whatever you want to donate to York's nonprofit project. "Most people can't afford organic food," says York. "Our vision is to make it affordable." If you're broke and hungry, you're more than welcome to what they have, but for those of you who aren't, York quotes Proverbs 28:27: "He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but if you close your eyes to them, you receive many curses." 8855 Gulf Freeway (right under the 70-foot-tall "Is Jesus Your Lord?" sign). For information, call 713-941-8000. -- Scott Nowell
In what looks like an attempt to map the universe, artist-astronomer Russell Crotty has created an alternate one. Crotty, in his self-built observatory, views heavenly bodies (constellations, globular clusters) and draws them using a black ballpoint pen. Then he stretches the drawings over Lucite globes, literally turning space inside out. Also on view are Crotty's oversize, journal-like renderings of the Malibu nighttime landscape, accompanied by written anecdotes and poetry. The exhibit runs from Friday, June 27, through September 7. Contemporary Arts Museum, 5216 Montrose, 713-284-8265. Free. -- Troy Schulze