You'd figure Houston would have a bigger dancehall scene than it does. Hell, with all this tropical foliage and sweltering heat, we might as well be in the Caribbean. Maybe we get our fill of skanking guitar from all the Tejano bands around town -- or maybe not enough of us have heard of Sasha. Sasha is hot. Known as Sexy Body in the reggae community, she's been making waves in Florida with her deft fusion of dancehall and hip-hop. (It's a natural blend, really, when you consider that hip-hop is to R&B what dancehall is to reggae.) And now that she's cut a track with Sean Paul ("I'm Still in Love with You"), she's poised to bust out nationwide. "The studio experience was something else," she has said. "When you're an up-and-coming artist, you sometimes think that however you sound is correct. But when you go into the studio, and they tell you, 'No, that's not the right key,' then the knees start shaking." When she toasts the mike this Friday at the Dancehall Reggae Jam, many a knee (and butt) will be shaking to her upbeat grooves.
Also on the bill are Lexxus, Papa Reu, 45, Ashaki, Big Murda, Bigga Boss and Ward 21, the four-man group that's apparently big in Europe, the Caribbean and Canada. That's right: Canada. You'd better get out there and support, 'cause we'd hate to think that a bunch of frostbitten Canucks have got us beat on the Jamaican tip. 8 p.m. Friday, April 2. 610 Arena, 5515 1/2 South Loop East. For information, call 713-266-1115 or visit www.610arena.com. $25. --Keith Plocek
MARK'S AMERICAN CUISINE'S AMARETTO STONE SOUR
I'd always contended that singles ads were for helpless freakazoids, but then last week I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. After years of seeing what seemed like the same ad in the back pages of the Houston Press, I decided I would be lonely no more. So, loaded with a bottle in my hand and a head full of sarcastic wit, I called a singles phone line. And lo and behold, on about my seventh attempt, I met a gal who I thought could be my soul mate (or at least could fill the role until my real soul mate would return to her senses). She claimed to be a trust-fund baby whose dead Merle Haggard of a father had oil wells in their backyard. And she was offering to take me out to dinner. I went to bed horny as a farmboy and dreamed of a free meal. We decided to meet at Mark's American Cuisine (1658 Westheimer, 713-523-3800). She had a thirst for amaretto stone sours like I've never seen, and I went along for the ride with a wicked little smile and a swelling crotch. Her hair was so big I was scared she would knock half the plates off the table every time she swung her head. But what frightened me most was when she whipped out the torch she called a lighter. At the end of the evening, as the chef watched in horror, she frantically looked for her credit card. I knew I'd be paying for this night in more ways than one.
2 ounces Amaretto di Sorona
1 ounce fresh lemon juice (or sour mix)
1/2 ounce orange juice
Measure out liquid ingredients into blender with a few scoops of ice. Push every button once, returning to the first one you hit. Pour into sexy cocktail glass and garnish with orange. Great for first dates, last dates and welcoming lost soul mates back into your life. -- J.W. Crooker
"Ladies Night" is a wonderful concept. Problem is, most of the time it ends up being "Dudes-Looking-For-Ladies Night." No worries at Opus Club's Femmes Fatales Night, where the owners have taken proactive steps to avoid a sausage-fest. Basically, they've hired a crew of hotties to mingle about the club, thus ensuring, well, that a bunch of dudes will show up. But at least it won't be all dudes. And if there are any gals out there who think they can handle the competition, we guarantee there'll be plenty of dudes-looking-for-ladies on the dance floor. 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays. 412 Main. For information, call 713-222-6787 or visit www.opusclub.com. Free for ladies; $10 for gentlemen. -- Keith Plocek
Who would've thought that a Tex-Mex eatery in the middle of a strip center could become the hottest gay scene in town? Philip Wattel apparently did, because he's turned his Berryhill franchise into the place to be for the Sunday brunch set. Lured by the turntable stylings of Little Martin and DJ Surain (pictured here), gay and straight folk alike flock to this Montrose hot spot to slurp down mimosas and shake their asses until the sun, um, goes down. Brunch: 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. DJs: 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. Berryhill Baja Grill, 3407 Montrose. For information, call 713-523-8226 or visit www.berryhillbajagrill.com. Free admission; $18.95 brunch. -- Keith Plocek