For the past three years, Charlene "Charlie" Berry, a Rice University junior, has become well known in Houston music circles -- and it's not just because of the cleft in her chin. She's sung backup for the likes of Corey Stoot and Steve Steele and opened up for the Whispers. Now the singer has added a four-piece and found herself a home from which to showcase her vocal stylings. Every Friday, Berry performs on the patio of the newly opened Richmond Strip eatery and live music venue Porky's (formerly Copeland's). It's all part of her plan to get her feet wet regionally before shooting for that big record deal. "Definitely," says Berry. "I'm not trying to rush into anything."
Berry and her crew will unleash both original compositions and cover tunes at Porky's. The originals likely will end up on the albums of other performers who buy her tunes, or on her own album, which she plans to finish at the end of the season. "That's one of the things I'm concentrating on now," says Berry, "getting my band up to the point where we can get stronger so I can have a following here in Houston and then, you know, push for the record deal." Rock steady, my dear. Rock steady till the break of dawn. Doors open at 9 p.m. Fridays at Porky's, 6353 Richmond. For information, call 713-532-4227. Free -- Craig D. Lindsey
Mama Ninfa's O'Mama
It was Saturday night, and some friends and I stopped in the Second Ward to hear some bands. We shared a six-pack in the parking lot before deciding we needed some Mexican food and a professionally poured cocktail. It was still early, and Mama Ninfa's (2704 Navigation, 713-228-1175) was right around the corner. The hood was alive with grit and urban noise. Slow-moving low-riders shook the streets with sonic bass, and a downright awful version of "Sweet Home Alabama" was blasting out of a nearby club. As we turned the corner, a couple of local boys were racing their Impalas down the strip, trying to beat the light. Once inside, I ordered an O'Mama. It was the sweetest-tasting concoction I'd had since breakfast. The place was jumping. The guys in the corner looked like they'd just blown in from a cattle ride and appeared to be ordering everything on the menu. My mumbo-jumbo Spanish amused the busboy, and he had a good time with us. When our sizzling fajitas arrived, the wait was over. "Gracias," I said.
2 ounces Bacardi O
1 ounce Sprite
Splash of orange juice
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Pour ingredients over ice in a rocks or water glass. Stir. Garnish with a short straw. -- J.W. Crooker
Beat It to Lotus
This Friday, Lotus Lounge is throwing a "GLAM" shindig. That means '80s lovers can immerse themselves in retro style without trekking to Polly Esther's on the Richmond Strip and fraternizing with the riffraff. The lounge is aiming for a classy vibe, despite the fact that patrons are encouraged to show up in throwback gear such as Michael Jackson "Beat It" jackets, hot-pink leg warmers and those damn sweatshirts that fall off one shoulder. Spinners Kung Fu Pimp, Kris-a-with-K and DJ Phuel will be on hand kicking the Reagan-era jams. Doors open at 10 p.m. Friday, June 13. Lotus Lounge, 412 Main. For information, call 713-22-LOTUS or visit www.lotushouston.com. $10; $5 for patrons in '80s gear. -- Craig D. Lindsey
Recipe for Fun
At "Feverish Fridays" at the Social in the Heights, Houston DJ veteran Sean Carnahan cooks up sonic spice as eclectic as the neighborhood. What's his recipe? "Three parts house music; soothing, relaxed West Coast flavors; and very select progressive tracks, fresh off the press from the UK." Then add in Carnahan's favorite bands, like the Who, Iggy Pop, Joy Division, White Stripes, Fugazi, classic rockabilly and a zillion others. "But mostly," he says, "the focus is on the people hanging out inside or out on the deck, having a good time." 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays at the Social, 3730 Washington Avenue. For information, call 713-426-5585 or visit www.thesocialinfo.com. -- Eric A.T. Dieckman