Believe the hype: Dutch decknician Armin van Buuren is the third most popular DJ in the world. Yep, that's right: in the world. Van Buuren came in third behind Tiësto and Paul van Dyk in DJ Mag's Top 100 DJs Poll. More than 60,000 mixaholics cast their votes, and you gotta figure at least some of them know what the hell they're talking about. But just who is this Armin van Buuren? Born on Christmas Day in Holland, van Buuren gave the world the gift of trance at the tender age of 19. His track "Blue Fear" is widely considered to be the canon of the genre. But van Buuren's version of trance isn't the hippified gunk you hear in clubs these days. His is an elegant layering of sounds and driving beats.
"I was playing proper trance before it became diluted and commercialized, before it became a dirty word," says the DJ on his Web site. "Trance for me as a genre refers to the old [Paul] Oakenfold sound, the warm melodic driving music, not the euphoric cheese with vocals, predictable breaks and drumrolls that you hear now in the charts. There are a lot of different definitions of the genre, but to me it's just warm electronic dance music, anything from progressive to techno." Van Buuren warms up the dance floor this Saturday at the Gatsby, where Sean Carnahan is slated to open. 10 p.m. Saturday, June 19. 2450 University. For information, call 713-874-1310 or visit www.spundae.com. $25. -- Keith Plocek
Velvet Melvin's J&B and Water
It was a graduation party like I had never seen. At the tender age of 26, my sister finally received her GED. After years of rehab, family counseling and enough rebounds to make Clyde Drexler's mama proud, the girl had finally gotten her act together. The ceremony itself was a little awkward, especially when sis and her current gal pal exchanged a rather intimate congratulatory kiss in front of my aunt and granny. Fortunately, dear old Dad had enough cheap liquor to keep the party rolling for hours back at his dumpy house. My favorite part of the evening, however, was when we burned the motor out of the blender and decided to take the party over to Velvet Melvin's (3303 Richmond, 713-522-6798). I ordered a J&B and water and hung out with my father, watching my sister and her girlfriend make numerous trips to the ladies' room. I couldn't remember seeing the old man so happy. When the two girls came out of the bathroom for the hundredth time, laughing uncontrollably and professing their love for each other, Pa finished his Scotch, slammed his empty glass down and then proceeded to bear-hug his only daughter. I raised my glass and made a toast to my future sister-in-law.
2 ounces J&B Scotch
1-1/2 ounces water
Fill a clean but sturdy old-fashioned glass with ice and measure out the Scotch. Top off with water. Perfect after gum surgery, rectal exams and coming-out parties. -- J.W. Crooker
You've watched the cuties on MTV's reality shows -- Amaya from Real World: Hawaii, Ace from Paris, Katie from Road Rules -- take on one another on Real World/Road Rules Inferno. Wouldn't you just love to talk hookups, bug-eating, rope-climbing and getting naked with a reality "star"? When the Reality Bar Crawl Spring 2004 Tour stops at BAR Houston, a couple of MTV characters will be on hand filming the Reality Bar Crawl: Season 2 series, as well as partying, starting some trouble and trash-talking -- you know, doing what reality stars do best. 9 p.m. Thursday, June 17. 534 Texas. For information, call 713-227-5516 or visit www.barhouston.com. $10. -- Steven Devadanam
Pornette XXX, one of the tattooed, power-tool- wielding chicks of Bozo Porno Circus, says the fourth annual Industrial Underground Flesh Fest will continue to push the sensory envelope. Besides two bands (BPC and Nocturne), the show features two DJs and the Austin S&M troupe Flesh Assembly. Each year, Flesh Fest attracts a mix of gothsters, leather freaks and really horny guys excited about seeing the likes of Pornette, who says she digs "piercing rituals with dull needles." If you too get your steel-toed kicks from pain, you'll love BPC's creepy "military interrogation" theme. 9 p.m. Saturday, June 19. Numbers, 300 Westheimer. For information, call 713-526-6551. $13 to $15. -- Greg Barr