It's possibly the best opportunity in town to people-watch, shake your ass or hook up with someone hot. And the parade is just the icing on the cake of the 27th annual Pride Houston weekend. "I'm excited that we're actually doing an expanded festival," says Pride Houston executive director Jack Valinski. "Most other cities' festivals are larger" than their parades. Local music acts take the stage at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at Westheimer and Yoakum, while DJs spin under the nearby Energy Dance Tent. National act Pansy Division will hit the stage at 5:55 p.m. The San Francisco homo-core pioneers have performed unabashed gay-themed songs like "Cocksucker's Club," "I'm Gonna Be a Slut" and "Fem in a Black Leather Jacket" since 1991, paving the way for openly gay and lesbian punk bands. Sophie B. Hawkins, best known for her '90s radio hit "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover," headlines at 7 p.m.
The parade kicks off at 8:45 p.m., running along Westheimer from Woodhead to Whitney until 11 p.m., when folks can migrate to Rich's (2401 San Jacinto, 713-759-9606) for the official post-parade party. If that's not enough, head over to the Spoiled Boyz after-hours party at Opus (412 Main, 713-222-6787) at 3:30 a.m., in the wee hours of Sunday, June 26. True high-endurance partyers can get an hour or two of shut-eye and then head back to Rich's at 5 p.m. that same day for the official closing party. For a full schedule of events and ticket information, call 713-529-6979 or visit www.pridehouston.org. Festival passes start at $10. -- Travis Ritter
The Thirsty Cactus Cantina's Tijuana Firecracker
The day is windy, and I'm parched. I decide to wet my whistle at the Thirsty Cactus Cantina(2416 Brazos, 713-521-1776), the new kid in Midtown. I blow into their shaded patio to find the place empty and "Benny and the Jets" rocking the house speakers. The waiter directs me to a mind-boggling full page of expensive specialty drinks. I order the Tijuana firecracker at a whopping $10.75 and sit back to admire the Wile E. Coyote mural and the cacti on the bar. As I wait, I can see the bartender, Sara, check the recipe book. Cheater. The drink comes in a grande goblet with a lit sparkler and a lime garnish. I take several big pulls and wait for my Tijuana firecracker to explode inside me, but the tequila's so smooth, there's no flash of light. No, there's just a warm feeling coursing through my body. Boom! Right on target.
6 ounces Sauza gold tequila
2 ounces fresh lime juice
1 ounce triple sec
Mix the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Strain into the largest margarita glass you can find, also filled with ice. Garnish with lime. (Sparkler best left to the professionals.) -- Jason Kerr
Life in the Netherlands often conjures up images of legalized weed and solicited sex. So it makes sense that Dutch DJ Ferry Corsten's trance rhythms are ideal for those interested in, well, puffing and screwing. Corsten, who began deejaying in his teens, became known for mixing Trance Nation, the first release by the legendary Ministry of Sound label in 1999. Since then, he's put out a half-dozen full-length mixes for both MoS and Moonshine; later this month, he'll release Passport: Kingdom of the Netherlands. 9 p.m. Sunday, June 26. M Bar, 402 Main. For tickets and information, call 713-222-1022 or visit www.77002.com. Presale tickets are $10 to $20. -- Travis Ritter
Hotties in the Window
Downtown denizens loitering outside Dean's Credit Clothing will receive a real eyeful Thursday night (well, more so than usual, that is). Hair and makeup stylists from the Arena Salon and Day Spa will make seven luscious models that much more luscious right on the other side of Dean's giant old-fashioned display windows. And that's just the appetizer, 'cause soon these same models will be sashaying around the narrow bar clad in the finest dainties Erotic Cabaret has to offer. The sexy duds are all for sale, and the whole thing benefits the folks at Spacetaker.org. Start drooling at 9 p.m. Thursday, June 23. 316 Main. For information, call 713-227-3326 or visit www.spacetaker.org. $10. -- Scott Faingold