SAT 6/12 Out of all the über-stylish cast members on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Jai Rodriguez seems to have the most thrown-together range of skills. The other guys are seasoned, polished professionals. But 24-year-old Rodriguez earns his keep by busting out impromptu dance moves, quirky date ideas and romantic CDs. As Queer Eye's culture expert, Rodriguez coaches bumbling straight guys on how to be Renaissance men. Wondering how to pull off a romantic gesture after 18 years of marriage? Debating what to bring to a dinner party? Rodriguez is your guy. "Men know what they want, and, being gay, I think that sensitivity and details can help the straight guy to give something extra," he says during a break from filming QE in New York. Trust him: Rodriguez has obviously done something right -- he starred in Rent on Broadway and is now putting the final touches on his new CD.
But don't come expecting him to critique your handshake when he hits Houston this weekend. Rodriguez is the guest emcee at Lift-Off, the opening party for the GLBT Empower Business Expo and the 2004 Pride Parade. He'll be performing his single "Love Is Good" at the shindig, where you can dance, mingle and maybe even catch Rodriguez's attention. "It's all in the eyes," he says about flirting. "Beyond that, well, I guess you'll have to wait to see." 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, June 12. George R. Brown Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, call 713-529-6979 or visit www.ghglcc.org. $50. -- Steven Devadanam
My obsession with food and drink was out of control. A friend casually mentioned that I looked like Elvis -- during the later years. I went on a crash diet to avoid looking like a beached whale around the ol' swimming pool, and it was a bitch. One day, as I waddled around downtown in the heat, I decided that I could live without the drive-up windows, midnight gorging and all the other bad habits, but I sure as hell wasn't going to give up my real demon: alcohol. The sweat was pouring off me as I ducked inside Live Sports Cafe (407 Main, 713-228-LIVE) to grab some cool air and a strong adult beverage. Julie behind the bar approached me, and in no time I had a refreshing rum and Coke in front of me. It was a typical sports bar environment, with the guys outnumbering the gals ten to one, but I had my drink -- that's all that really mattered. The women's pool tournament on the TV was an absolute bore, so I turned my attention to the babes behind the bar. They were cool and attractive, and they knew it. I felt like every other jerk sitting alone at a bar, trying to start a conversation with a bartender that couldn't give a flying rat's ass. My cell phone rang -- the obesity clinic was ready to start me on their program. I shook my head in disgust, finished my drink and headed back into the Houston heat.
2 ounces Myers's dark rum
2-1/2 ounces Coke Fill a large glass with ice and measure out the rum. Top off with Coke -- no Pepsi. Great for depression, low self-esteem and general aches and pains. -- J.W. Crooker
The Upscale Gawker
Barely open for a few months, the Standard Lounge seems to be a hot spot for augmented women and the men who love them. Seriously, folks: Some of these jobs are egregious. See for yourself this weekend at the Standard's grand opening party, where there'll be DJs and drink specials all night long (and even free drinks from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday). The VIP room boasts a one-way mirror, so serious people-watchers can check out the action in private. Think of it as Very Important Peeping. 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday through Sunday, June 11 through 13. 2707 Fountain View. For information, call 832-252-1400 or visit www.thestandardlounge.com. Free. -- Keith Plocek
Those poor old saints. Always wearing the same robes, strumming the same harps, hanging out at the gates of heaven. Sure, they've got the ultimate hookup -- hanging out with God and all -- but they have to know that they're not nearly as sexy as those sinners burning down below. No, sinners are generally a sexy lot, and to prove it, Jones Bar is hosting Saints and Sinners - the Party. Goodly saint types should show up in black and white attire, while sinners are encouraged to wear black and red. We have a feeling more sinners than saints are going to show up for this shindig -- after all, along with blonds, they just have more fun. 9 p.m. Saturday, June 12. 401 Main, 713-225-6637. $10. -- Steven Devadanam