Phony aesthetes might want to take a pass on the Downtown Stomp Around. Featuring eight gallery openings at five stops, this mother of all openings will belie any poseur's pretense of artistic expertise. After all, how many times can someone stroke his goatee and mutter the same polysyllabic comments before everyone around realizes he's nothing but a postmodern parrot? For those who genuinely dig the visual arts, the Stomp Around is a wonderful opportunity to hit the streets and check out some downtown galleries. The party starts off at DiverseWorks; the gallery's exhibition, The Paper Sculpture Show, is a work in progress to which gallery visitors can contribute, creating original paper creations via instructions from various artists. Also opening at DiverseWorks is Andy Coolquitt's funky multimedia installation, Trim.
Vine Street Studios, home of FotoFest and ArtScan/Rudolph Projects, is the event's next stop; the work of Kimberly Gremillion will be exhibited at FotoFest. Stompers also can see works by Candace Briceño at O'Kane Gallery, a group show at Inman Gallery and new constructions by Miguel Angel Morales Saenz at Joan Wich & Co. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, September 10. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. For information, call 713-223-8346 or visit www.diverseworks.org. Free. -- Keith Plocek
STIRRED AND SHAKEN
Brennan's Mint Julep
I had just passed the mouthwatering plate of pralines inside the front door of Brennan's (3300 Smith, 713-522-9711) when the sound of an exploding bottle rocket left me wondering if I should leap under the hostess station for cover. As things turned out, it was only the bartender, Aaron, showing off (you too can have the sound of the Fourth of July by simply dropping a lit match into an empty bottle of Grand Marnier). I ordered the mandatory mint julep and immediately took a liking to the curly-haired prankster behind the bar. He placed an ice-cold metal cup in front of me, and I stared in amazement. No ordinary mixed drink, it had perfectly crushed ice, and a miniature bouquet of mint leaves was even dusted with powdered sugar. After laughing for a few minutes about the bottle trick, I learned that Aaron is both a master pyrotechnician and a master storyteller. He seemed able to hold three conversations at once, never letting anyone's glass go empty. In between, he even managed to run back to the kitchen, returning with a custom-made plate packed with pâtés, pickles and cheese. I couldn't have been happier -- that is, until a well-to-do businessman offered me a cigar an hour later.
1-1/2 ounces Maker's Mark Bourbon
3 ounces simple syrup
3 or 4 sprigs of fresh mint
Place two scoops of ice into blender and crush until medium consistency. Tear up half a dozen mint leaves and place them in a metal glass, along with half an ounce of simple syrup and a squeeze of lime. Muddle until leaves and syrup have had enough time to get to know each other, then fill the glass halfway with ice. Measure out bourbon and remainder of syrup and then stir. Garnish with sprigs of mint, and dust with powdered sugar. Great for horse racing, divorces or when the daughter you never knew you had shows up at your doorstep. -- J.W. Crooker
Talk about ear candy: If the Denver-based quartet Dressy Bessy really cranked up its amps, Willy Wonka might dig through your garbage in search of used Q-Tips. It's ridiculously catchy, fuzzy, three-chord indie pop -- but smart, not syrupy or cheesy. Guitarist-singer Tammy Ealom looks cute in her go-go boots and retro outfits, but she projects a ripened, sometimes sour, outlook on sexual politics. The band's first album, Pink Hearts Yellow Moons (1999), was a practically perfect debut, and both Sound Go Round (2002) and the band's self-titled 2003 release prove that Dressy Bessy has stayed sweet. 10 p.m. Friday, September 5. Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh Drive. For information, call 713-521-0521. $8. -- Troy Schulze
Like bitching about the way things are? You don't have a right to if you don't even bother to vote. At this weekend's "Walk This Way and Vote!" event at Jones Plaza, you can speak with local government officials and nonprofit organizations about issues affecting young folks and learn how to take part in the political process. If that doesn't reel you in, how about these incentives: performances by Phuz, Paris Green, spoken word artists, break-dancers and capoeiristas. The shows should help the civic medicine go down. Best of all, once you're registered, you can rant and rave without hypocrisy. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, September 6. 601 Louisiana. For information, call 713-247-2046. Free. -- Cathy Matusow