This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, August 11
Few individuals are more reliable than bartenders. They just naturally know to give us a generous pour when we've had an especially crappy day. And they're also the ones who keep us from drunk-dialing our exes (for a few minutes, anyway) as they listen to our inebriated rants. Today, Six Degrees Lounge is paying tribute to sauce-slingers with the Martini Mix-Offcompetition. Contestants will be judged on flair, creativity and, duh, who makes the best damn martini. The top three winners score a slew of prizes, and the first-place winner will have his or her recipe featured on the Six Degrees Fall Martini Menu. (We'll go ahead and call at least six Red Bull permutations.) The slingin' starts at 9 p.m. 911 Franklin. For information or to register, call 713-228-2990 or visit www.sixdl.com. Free.

Friday, August 12
Artist Vicki Fowler has a deer fetish, judging from her new installation, "Validation Feed," one of three new works opening today at the Lawndale Art Center. The piece, which is made up of photos, drawings and intense patterns painted on cloth and paper swatches, will be accompanied by an opening-night performance piece called Deer, Please Feed Me, for which Fowler will sit and drink from a giant deer feeder. Next, check out the Mezzanine Gallery, where Wyatt Nash has created "Images of a Pathetic Youth," an installation of Styrofoam furniture and other household objects that he's paired with big exaggerated, dripping forms. And in the Small Gallery, catch "Reconditioned," for which Jason Makepeace has reconstructed found objects into new pieces and put them on display along with their "before" photos. Opening receptions run 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Exhibits run through September 10. 4912 Main. For information, call 713-528-5858 or visit www.lawndaleartcenter.org. Free.

Still trying to figure out what the hell was going on with that whole deer thing? Mull it over at Sam Houston Race Park, which will close out the Bud Light Texas Music Explosion series today with country singer Neal McCoy. The two-time TNN/Music City News Entertainer of the Year from Longview will perform tunes such as "Billy's Got His Beer Goggles On" from his upcoming album, That's Life. McCoy used to open for Charley Pride, so you know the dude's got flavor. Races start at 7 p.m.; concert starts at 10:30 p.m. 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West. For information, call 281-807-8760 or visit www.shrp.com. $3 to $6.

Saturday, August 13
Each summer, Theatre Suburbia offers up a "mellerdrammer" that mimics old-timey silent movies, the ones where a dastardly villain (twirling his requisite thick, curly mustache) chases a damsel in distress, who's then rescued by a dashing hero. That's the premise of Caught in the Villain's Web or More Sinned Against Than Sinning, a three-act play that features the aforementioned characters. You're encouraged to cheer, boo, hiss and throw popcorn at the players. (Just make sure you toss kernels at the villain.) Runs 8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with 3 p.m. Sunday matinees, through August 27. 1410 West 43rd. For tickets, call 713-682-3525 or visit www.theatresuburbia.com. $8 to $10.

DJ Ian Pooley has earned quite the international following with his deft spinning and production of nü-school beats. The turntablist, who hails from Mainz, Germany, and has remixed for such acts as Daft Punk and the Cardigans, will be manning the decks at Ultra Lounge today. The swank hotspot boasts an impressive assortment of regular hotties and hipsters, so get there early and enjoy the view at 9 p.m. 108 Main.

For tickets, call 713-222-9108 or visit www.groovetickets.com. $5.

Sunday, August 14
You know what's amazing? The goofy stuff people endure in order to get healthy. Today, folks out shopping for a Bowflex or a gym membership should watch for the Got Milk? Moustache Mobile, which is rolling through town this week as part of the Great American Weight Loss Challenge. The mobile weight-loss center offers visitors a general health assessment by a registered dietitian, exercise tips from trainers, samples of milk (natch) and a snapshot with a milk mustache. (Hey, if Dr. Phil can do it, you can, too.) 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. H-E-B Grocers, 4724 Highway 6 in Missouri City. For information, visit www.2424milk.com. Free.

Monday, August 15
Landscape painting has long been considered one of the most traditional (read: boring) genres of Western art. But 13 emerging and established contemporary artists are turning the genre on its ear with "Landscape Confections" at the Contemporary Arts Museum. The 30 large-scale works feature paint, cloth, paper, needlework, metal and other materials splashed with playful, candy-coated colors that create funky images. Get a dose of some serious eye candy through September 11. 5216 Montrose. For information, call 713-284-8250 or visit www.camh.org. Free.

Tuesday, August 16
You dress and act the part, but for some reason your rock stardom just hasn't materialized yet. Take your band outta the garage and into your local Sherlock's Baker St. Pub & Grill for today's Battle of the Bands. Acts from all over the state will compete in the quarterfinals, which will lead to the finals on September 27 in Austin. There, bands will compete to be the VIP openers at the Shiner Bocktoberfest, and to score some recording-session time in a local studio. Fix your do (and maybe work on a song or two) and hit the local quarterfinals, which start today at 9:15 p.m. 228 West First Street in Humble. For information, call 281-446-0407. Free.

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