The Oscars are like Funyuns: stale, flimsy, not too nutritious. But once you have a taste, you're committed to finishing them off. Before you know it, it's midnight, you're still on the futon, and you keep flinching thinking you've seen Gary Busey at the window. Yes, dredging through the endless mire of dedications, editing awards and commercials can induce nausea if you're sitting at home, but not if you're at the Landmark River Oaks Theatre, watching the fanfare on the big screen. This Sunday, PBS's Ernie Manouse hosts the seventh annual Academy Awards Viewing Party, which benefits the Houston Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Hundreds of celebrity-philes will gather to discuss Leo's chances, Hilary's Calvin Klein and, of course, Halle's cleavage.
Before the show, attendees can strut down a (real) red carpet in their own couture. "You'd be amazed at some of the outfits people come up with," Manouse says, "from big Southern belles with hoop skirts to things that would actually be worn at the Oscars." Formal attire isn't required, but it's encouraged and will be rewarded with a free Landmark movie ticket. Once inside, guests can enjoy free hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar and contests. During commercial breaks, Manouse will lead an Oscar-related trivia contest to reward the night-owl award addicts of yesteryear; the rest can bone up for next time at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, February 27. 2009 West Gray. For information, call 713- 465-4572 or visit www.hglff.org. $10 donation. – Julia Ramey
STIRRED AND SHAKEN
Café Le Jadeite's Jadeite Martini
It was just after four in the afternoon. With my old dog fed, my laundry done and my teeth flossed, I had nothing left to do but go boozing. I was nearly rear-ended as I tried to get to Café Le Jadeite (1952 West Gray, 713-528-4288), but I managed to avoid injury. Inside, I sat at the bar and took in my surroundings. Allen the bartender, I noticed, could both hold a conversation and make a drink at the same time. When I ordered the house martini, he sprung to attention. "Well, no, the pineapple-infused vodka you see listed on the menu is, well, gone, sir," he said, "but I can make the drink a slightly different way. Let me show you." The way he responded, I thought someone had broken in during the night and stolen the vodka. But soon the bottles were flying faster than I could read the labels, and a minute later he put a drink in front of me that was just gorgeous. Frothy, perfectly garnished and in a stylish glass to boot. Half of me wanted to stand up and salute. "Take a big sip," he said, "then I can pour you the rest." What a guy. I finished the first, ordered another and went back home to check on the dog.
1-1/2 ounces Ketel One vodka
1/4 ounce De Kuyper Sour Apple Pucker
1/4 ounce Midori
1/4 ounce Malibu rum
Splash of pineapple juice
Wedge of pineapple
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, measure out above ingredients. Shake well, and strain into a chilled and fashionable martini glass. Garnish with pineapple wedge. Perfect pick-me-up for late afternoons. – J.W. Crooker
Before and After Parties
Oh, Sunday through Wednesday -- the nadir of the hip young thang's existence! Granted, it's nice to have four days to "get your life in order" or "get sober" or whatever, but we'd guess that given the option, Houston's finest (and we mean finest) would party seven nights a week. Thanks are due, then, to DJ Little Martin (of "Rent" fame), who's organized two new recurring parties to bookmark the weekend: Wednesday's "Avant" and Sunday's "Aprés" at brand-new hot spot Joia. Jenny Green and DJ Surain join Martin in inducing unproductive tomorrows at 9 p.m. Sundays and Wednesdays. 2511 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-521-9928 or visit www.upsidedownhouse.com. Free. – Julia Ramey
We're not sure how they'll screen for mass murderers at the door, but put that out of your mind. Tonight, grab a mask and slash up the dance floor at the hip-hoppin,' electro-rockin,' disco-poppin' Killer Masquerade party. DJ Witnes, Stiletto, and Fred of Boys and Girls Club will spin, horror movies will be screened, and burlesque dancer Miss Calla Antoinette will give a special performance. And as for your mask, we say go for mysterious, like Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut, rather than crazed, like Jason from -- what was that little movie called? -- Friday the 13th. 9 p.m. Friday, February 25. 1415 Bar & Grille, 1415 California. For information, call 713-522-7066 or visit www.1415barandgrille.com. $5 to $7. – Travis Ritter