Here's a not-so-little-known fact: Houston has a thriving bhangra and Asian-massive music scene. Desis have been throwing bhangra parties in this city for years, and the way things are going now, it's set to really blow up. With the success of Punjabi MC and Jay-Z's recent collaboration, and with the arsenal of Asian-tinged Timbaland beats running the airwaves, mainstream America is only just beginning to pick up on what some have known for years: There's a whole other universe of beats and rhythms out there made for body-movin'.
This Friday, Houston's own Dhol Beat International will host the fifth of its increasingly popular Bayou Bhangra parties. Expect to hear thick, funky beats -- whether it's the latest hip-hop bangers, punchy dancehall riddims or liquid bhangra breaks. DJ Impact will be playing a wide selection of vinyl, while DJ Dholi Raja and DJ Dholi Deep, two award-winning dhol players, will up the excitement level with live, thunderous drumming.
Doors open at 10 p.m. Friday, July 25. Lotus Lounge, 412 Main. For information, call 713-222-1022 or visit www.bayoubhangra.com. $10; no cover before 10:30 p.m. Free for ladies before 11 p.m. -- Anthony Nguyen
The Crucible's Calypso Cooler
After spending a week with my elderly, Dr. Phil-watching grandmother, I needed a diversion. I found it at The Crucible, the NASCAR-themed sports bar tucked inside the Wyndham Hotel (12400 Greenspoint, 281-875-2222). The place has all the trappings of a sports bar, with the requisite beer signs and enough racing paraphernalia to make you want to roll your cigarettes into the sleeve of your T-shirt. I ordered a Calypso Cooler, dived into a basket of popcorn and struck up a conversation with Ginny the bartender. Traveling businessmen started streaming in by the droves, and the jukebox cranked up out of nowhere -- Journey and Styx were obviously someone's favorite bands. The drink was well made but would have tasted better under a thatched hut on a quiet Caribbean island. An ad on the TV flashed Dr. Phil's face. I felt a sick urge to torment myself by imitating his long drawl and turned to Ginny to recite his infamous mantra: "If you doo what you've always donnnnne, you're gonna continue to get the same results." She didn't seem amused.
1-1/2 ounces Captain Morgan's
3/4 ounce DeKuyper Peachtree Schnapps
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce Rose's lime juice
1/2 ounce Bacardi 8 rum
In a drink mixer filled with ice, measure out all the ingredients but the Bacardi 8. Shake well and pour into large glass. Float Bacardi 8 on top of mixture and garnish with the orange slice. -- J.W. Crooker
If Bill Callahan -- who goes by the name (Smog) -- were a character in a Cormac McCarthy novel, he'd be a sad cowboy with a warped guitar singing regretful songs about his abandoned music career. Luckily, the guy's real, and his career is thriving. Callahan's sing-speak vocal style falls halfway between Lou Reed and the Silver Jews' David Berman (one of Callahan's Drag City labelmates), and his music is countrified art-rock: wide open, epic and somber one minute; droning and rocking the next. Lyrically, Callahan spins intimate and ironic tales of longing and loneliness, perfectly balancing his sparse arrangements. He's touring behind his 2003 album, Supper. 10 p.m. Friday, July 25. Fat Cat's, 4216 Washington Avenue. For information, call 713-869-5263. $8. -- Troy Schulze
Happy B-day, Ken
You are hereby invited to Ken Wiatrek's 28th birthday party, even if you have no idea who he is. The party is doubling as a OneTen Gallery "Happening," the gallery's biweekly gathering featuring alternative art, music and entertainment. This weekend's event includes live performances by the SugarBeats, Killing Meg, Casio Nova and the DJ Ceeplus-DJ Samplistik side project Lights Out on Sound, as well as a film and video presentation by artist Robert Deeds. Don't worry, you don't have to bring a gift for Wiatrek, but you should have a dollar to pin to his shirt. Doors will open at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 26. 110 Jackson. For information, call 713-224-0988 or visit www.oneten.org. Free, but donations are requested. -- Craig D. Lindsey