Joey (Matt Price) and Melvin (Michael Blieden) share a meal and a little too much information in Melvin Goes to Dinner.
Joey (Matt Price) and Melvin (Michael Blieden) share a meal and a little too much information in Melvin Goes to Dinner.
Courtesy of SXSW

Fly South By Southwest

Sick of big-budget Hollywood flicks? You don't have to travel all the way to Cannes or Park City to find out what's happening in the indie film world. Austin's South By Southwest Film Festival will screen 153 films by groundbreaking independent directors. (Oh, and there's also that little matter of the 1,000 bands playing the music side of the event.)Though lots of the films were made in Austin, the festival features movies from around the world. Bollywood/Hollywood was directed by Deepa Mehta, who grew up in New Delhi and lives in Canada. The film's story centers around Rahul Seth, a rich Indian guy who's got a taste for Western women. He drives his mom and grandma crazy by dating a white girl named Kimberly, but a freak accident separates the lovers -- much to the happiness of Rahul's fam. 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8; 10:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 11; 9:45 p.m. Friday, March 14. Regal Westgate 11, 4477 South Lamar Boulevard, 512-899-2717.

There will be some names you recognize at the festival, too. Bob Odenkirk, of Mr. Show fame, makes his directorial debut with Melvin Goes to Dinner. In the film, Melvin (Michael Blieden) sits down to a meal with three complete strangers who proceed to spew a little too much information about the following subjects: ghosts, schizophrenia, masturbation, infidelity, anal fetishes and stewardesses. Odenkirk has assembled a great cast, including Maura Tierney and his Mr. Show partner in crime, David Cross (who has a cameo as a cult leader). 9:30 p.m. Monday, March 10, and 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, at the Paramount, 713 Congress Avenue, 512-472-5470. 8:15 p.m. Saturday, March 15 at the Convention Center, 500 East Cesar Chavez, 512-476-5461. For a complete schedule and more information, visit -- Cathy Matusow

FRI 3/7
Art By Association
Last August, Portland-based artist Harrell Fletcher videotaped different Houston groups doing their thing: A Falun Gong group meditated, a gospel choir sang, and breakdancers"you get the idea. But instead of filming these groups in their usual environments, Fletcher invited them all to DiverseWorks. By bringing nonvisual arts groups into galleries, the artist is attempting to shatter the boundaries between the "art world" and, well, the rest of the world. Now, the tapes from those sessions are on view at DiverseWorks as part of Fletcher's exhibit, "The Sound We Make Together." True to the spirit of Fletcher's work, the show's opening is expected to have a far-from-typical crowd. You just might see elementary school students and Chinese protesters mixing with hipsters and garage rockers. Opening reception: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, March 7. The exhibit runs through April 19. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. For information, call 713-223-8346. Free. -- Troy Schulze

SAT 3/8 Love (and Work) Connections
The economy's crappy and the world's going to hell, but there's still opportunity out there. You've just gotta look for it. This weekend, the folks at i10 Media give young African-American professionals a chance to meet and greet at a Black Exchange Networking Social at Vargo's. You just might chat up the right contact -- and Monday morning be able to tell your boss to take this job and shove it. Business gives way to pleasure later in the evening, with a Singles Mix and Mingle event hosted by And once you've hooked up, there's no need to head off to another bar. Stick around and enjoy drinks and dancing at the second annual Reg Rhodes Pisces Party for Professionals. 7 p.m. networking social; 10 p.m. singles event; 11 p.m. party. Saturday, March 8. 2401 Fondren. For information, call 713-782-4410 or visit Free. -- Cathy Matusow


Trattoria Pasquale's Negroni
My neighbor was a little upset with me -- something about an indiscretion with his wife. I needed a nice quiet place to hang out and drink, I mean hide out and think, so I pulled into Trattoria Pasquale (4412 Montrose, 713-529-2002). "Buon giorno," said a gregarious and stylish Italian man who looked like he spent his whole life greeting people. "Grazie," I mumbled in my best faux Italian accent, trying not to call attention to myself. Trattoria Pasquale makes a killer Negroni with enough alcohol to improve even the worst-case life scenario. It's a beautiful drink, racy in color and potent as the night is long. (Much like"oh, never mind.) I wondered if Count Camillo Negroni had gotten himself into a similar spot when he invented this drink back in his barhopping days in Florence in 1919. No matter. I ordered some fried calamari and settled in for a long evening.

2 ounces Gordon's gin
2 ounces Martini & Rossi
sweet vermouth
1 1/2 ounces Campari
Twist of lemon

In a cocktail shaker half filled with ice, combine liquor and shake until chilled. Strain into large martini glass and garnish with lemon twist. Hide the keys to your Fiat. -- J.W. Crooker

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