Hot-food fanatics, pepper sauce swillers and other gastronomic masochists will assemble this weekend for a gathering of the chilehead cult. The Houston Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show premieres this year in Reliant Center. Its parent, the Albuquerque Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show, is in its 15th year and has long billed itself as the world's largest gathering of hot-food freaks. Given the sparse population of New Mexico, it wouldn't be too surprising if the Houston edition eclipsed the original in its first year. The hot food show's main attractions are cooking demonstrations by featured chefs, chile pepper cookbooks, fiery food products and chile tchotchkes. You'll find chile peppers in the mustard, ketchup, potato chips, salad dressing and even candies, jellies and honeys -- not to mention chile pepper aprons, T-shirts and...unmentionables.
Special guest Kinky Friedman will make an appearance on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. The Texas Jewboy has a new line of salsas called Kinky Friedman's Private Stock (you can get it at Central Market and, soon, other grocery stores). One hundred percent of the profits from the salsa sales will benefit the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch near Medina, which takes in abandoned animals. "Call me the poor man's Paul Newman," says Friedman, who will be giving away free samples of his new salsas and signing his latest book, Kill Two Birds and Get Stoned.
The Houston Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show is open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, August 2 and 3. Reliant Center, Hall A 1, One Reliant Park. For information, visit www.fiery-foods.com. $7, free for kids 12 and under. -- Robb Walsh
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(Lesbian) Action Flick
Want an excuse to check out some hot girl-on-girl action without feeling like a perv? Look no further than Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan, playing this weekend at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Chu Yuan's 1972 martial arts murder mystery boasts the first lesbian scene -- not too explicit, of course -- in the history of the genre. Set in a brothel, the movie features a "master instructor" madam and the prostitute "student" she's in love with -- not to mention the virgins the madam lures into the whorehouse. How's that for dirty? 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, August 2 and 3. Brown Auditorium, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7530 or visit www.mfah.org. $5 to $6. -- Cathy Matusow
Ever bagged a buck? Enjoy killin' stuff, do you? Well, then you won't want to miss the Texas Trophy Hunters Association's Hunters Extravaganza. You'll learn where to kill deer, exotics, coyotes and other animals -- and how to kill 'em, too. Once they're dead, you'll be glad you boned up on the latest taxidermy techniques, so you can decorate your home with carcasses. At the extravaganza, you can also purchase deer-hunting porn like Mike Biggs' Amazing Whitetails Video 2. The VHS tape features "Over one and a half hours of fantastic live whitetail action," with "one unbelievable buck after another," "outrageous antlers" and "ruttin' & rattlin'." Trigger finger itchin' yet? 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, August 1; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, August 2; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, August 3. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de Las Americas. For information, call 713-853-8000. $8. -- Troy Schulze
Dylan's designer sweets
Move over, Willy Wonka. Pull out the drills, Houston dentists. There's a new sweet-pusher in town. Dylan's Candy Bar is already Manhattan's hippest stop for sugar junkies, and owner Dylan Lauren (daughter of fashion, cologne and paint mogul Ralph) has picked Houston as the store's first non-New York location. It will feature an entrance paved with translucent candy-filled bricks, a candy cane wall, an old-fashioned soda fountain, a dessert cafe and a selection of more than 5,000 candies -- including "exclusive" colors of Hershey Kisses, M&Ms and Skittles. "My dad created a lifestyle that he wanted for himself," Lauren told W magazine. "He's inspired me to do that for candy." Dylan's Candy Bar opens Friday, August 1, at the Galleria, 5015 Westheimer. For information, call 713-621-5551 or visit www.dylanscandybar.com. -- Rob Buggiero
Best in Show
Every year, "The Big Show" gives Houston-area artists a big chance. Juried by Abby Messitte of New York's Clementine Gallery, this year's exhibition drew more than 800 submissions from 357 artists, 57 of whom made the cut. The show's first, second and third prizes usually boost a profile or two and generate buzz. Wyatt Nash placed third with his piece Wish It Was Winter Because It's Really Hot, and Betsy Odom's Hot Rod Kittens captured second. Robert Pruitt took the top prize with his painting New Kiddz in tha Hood, which depicts an urban black family moving into suburbia. "The Big Show" is on exhibit through August 23. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Lawndale Art Center, 4912 Main. For information, call 713-528-5858. Free. -- Troy Schuze