The most popular clown in America right now wouldn't be caught dead with oversize shoes and a water-squirting flower. This pot-smoking, tattooed degenerate tosses back more beer than most standing people and taunts danger in the way bullies tease band geeks. His name: Stephen Glover, a.k.a. Steve-O on MTV's Jackass. A graduate of Ringling Brothers clown school, the boy just ain't right. Posing on his Web site with the top half of his penis hanging out of his pants isn't enough for him. Steve-O likes stapling things to his belly, swallowing glass and setting himself on fire, too.Steve-O is bringing his buddies, among them Ryan Dunn, Preston Lacey and Wee-Man, on his Don't Try This at Home World Tour. Parents will be very happy to know that Steve-O gets audience members in on the act, bloodying their noses and so forth, before crowds that mix groans of disgust with screams of approval.-- Eric A.T. Dieckman
The psycho clown's DVD, The Steve-O Video Vol. II: The Tour, shows a young woman being set on fire. Now that's entertainment. Thus far, DVD sales are nearing multiplatinum, and his shows in the UK have all sold out. When it comes to hybridizing gore and goofiness, nobody clowns around like Steve-O and his compadres. Here's your chance to witness the lunacy live, before somebody dies. Steve-O pulls his stunts at 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 12. T-Town, 6400 Richmond Avenue. For information, call 713-783-TOWN. For tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.com. $20.
A MovEable Feast
No one wants to be spotted as a tourist in his own town. It's so uncool. (Seriously, when was the last time you visited the Battleship Texas?) But the Orange Show, Houston's hippest attraction, puts a twist on tourism with its latest Eye Opener Tour: International Food Markets II. The tour turns a bus ride around the city into a trip around the world, complete with informed guides directing you to secret troves of delicacies. As you make the rounds, proprietors from local international markets will peddle their products and provide samples of their cuisines. Tour highlights include the Mexican pastries, breads and cakes at El Bolillo Bakery in the Heights; the robust meats, beverages and communism-era memorabilia at the Russian General Store; and the exotic spices wafting through the peaceful India-Pakistan Market. No Kashmir here. The tour begins at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, March 9, at the Orange Show, 2401 Munger. For reservations, call 713-926-6368. $50. -- Troy Schulze
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Death Becomes Her
Searching for Houston's underworld queen
Is goth on its deathbed? Judging by the kitsch factor of the Fourth Annual Gothic Beauty Pageant, probably. After all, the counterculture that branched out of '80s new wave has almost hit its ten-year mark -- the typical shelf-life of any youth culture movement. But with the help of Grim Kitten and Underworld Productions, goth is going out with a bang instead of a whimper."We have been a very misunderstood group," says pageant co-organizer Carmina Bell, "and this is our way of having fun and enjoying and celebrating all the good and fun aspects of this scene."
Titled "The Tantric Journey," this year's underworld beauty competition will go down at Numbers, home to all things goth. Four judges will pick Miss and Mister Spooky, along with two runners-up, based on originality, beauty and overall appearance. The Kama Sutra dancers will be on hand as well, writhing to the sounds of goth/industrial/darkwave DJs. Doors open at 9 p.m. Thursday, March 6. For more information or to enter the pageant, call 832-566-2962 or visit www.webspawner.com/users/gothicpageant/. $8. -- Eric A.T. Dieckman
Got the Blues
Houston doesn't always get the props it deserves for its contributions to the blues. But after World War II, in the nightspots and barbecue joints of the wards, Frenchtown, Sunnyside and Double Bayou, greats like Lightnin' Hopkins sung their heartache night after night. The form waned in popularity during the disco era, but -- thankfully -- it never died. Today, Houston remains one of the few American cities with a thriving African-American blues community. And now, you can read all about it: HCC professor (and sometime Press contributor) Roger Wood has collaborated with photographer James Fraher on Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues. Wood and Fraher sign copies of their book at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, at Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701. Free. -- Cathy Matusow
Foreign TV commercials are weird, with strange products, odd humor and a special taste for the outrageous. (Forget that American commercials are just as bizarre to foreigners.) For instance, while the United States hawks the hope of sex, beauty and wealth, Britain prefers to pitch cruelty. Call it ingenuity, call it sophistication -- apparently, ads showing people beating each other make the Brits want to buy stuff. Every year the United Kingdom honors its best commercials at the British Television Advertising Awards. Segments of the best ads of 2002 have been collected in a 76-minute film, which includes everything from cynically witty beer commercials (Heineken and Stella Artois) to violent and disturbing public service announcements. One particular PSA about the dangers of speeding is loaded with shock tactics -- including a gruesome car crash. The film is perfectly suited for Anglophiles and those who watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday, March 7. Brown Auditorium at the Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7530. $6. -- Troy Schulze