Can I Get a Witnes?
Late Nite Snax is the newest late-night hip-hop show on that public-radio love-in known as KPFT, but you may have to guzzle some Folgers and take a few No-Doz just to catch an episode. The show, which airs at 3 a.m. every other Thursday right after Damage Control (the station's most popular hip-hop show, run by Matt Sonzala, who does music listings for the Press), features beats and rhymes of an alternative, underground, independent nature: J-Live, Pete Rock, De La Soul, Madlib -- you know, the good stuff. The Snax creator/head, who goes by the moniker DJ Witnes, says he's just hipping insomniac rap fans to music that deserves radio airplay -- i.e., the complex, cerebral hip-hop that gets overlooked by audiences in favor of mainstream, radio-friendly rap. "It's all hip-hop, but it's just fucked up that it's divided like that," says Witnes. "Because sometimes you just have down-South cats that don't really know the whole breakdown of hip-hop, as far as the culture and the elements."
On Snax, Witnes shares hosting duties with beatnuts Haircut, Mr. Grinch and Freedom Sold front man (and Press contributor) Kwame M. Anderson. Witnes, a longtime member of the Reprogram Music clique and former Montrose Radio DJ, thought the chances of another hip-hop program popping off at KPFT would be slim. But the success of Damage Control helped him convince station programmers.
Witnes is now hoping that listeners will gobble up Snax, and that it will turn into a weekly meal, making the eclectic KPFT an all-night rap-o-rama on Wednesday. "I think it definitely could work," he says. "I think now is the time to change it." Late Nite Snax airs from 3 to 6 a.m. Thursdays on KPFT/90.1 FM. For information, call 713-526-4000 or visit www.kpft.org. -- Craig D. Lindsey
Labor Day Intensive
If you haven't gotten off your ass to plan a Labor Day activity, it's not too late. There's plenty to keep you entertained this weekend in Galveston. East Beach will feature "Band in the Sand," a day of beer-drinking and live music (2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, August 31; for directions, visit www. galveston.com/eastbeach). You could also try your hand at Stewart Beach's Sand Coca-Cola Castle Competition (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, August 30), or check out its Labor Day party, with a performance by the Barry Kaye Band (3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, August 31). And star-fuckers will be out in force when Antonio Banderas, Alan Arkin, Jim Broadbent and Michael McKean hang out at Stewart Beach to promote their new HBO film, And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, August 30). For directions to Stewart Beach, call 1-888-425-4753 or visit www.galveston.com. -- Cathy Matusow
Tales of Tragedy
Two writers explore how families cope with loss
In 1996, the Chávez family of Cherán, Mexico, lost three of its adult sons as they tried to cross the border from Mexico into the United States. Emmy-winning journalist Rubén Martínez spent time with the family's surviving members for his book, Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail, following them from Mexico to California to Arkansas as they try to get ahead. Martínez reads from Crossing Over Wednesday at Brazos Bookstore. Robert Boswell, author of Century's Son, will also read; in his novel, a son's suicide haunts a Midwestern family. The messed-up bunch is roused from its depressed stupor, though, when Grandpa, a Russian political dissident-cum-American cultural critic (and charlatan?), comes to town. Both authors appear at 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 3. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701. Free. -- Cathy Matusow
A Day on Earth
A continent models for a 24-hour photo shoot
Dispelling the stereotypical notion that Africa is a place of constant war and famine is one of the objectives behind "A Day in the Life of Africa," a photo exhibition stopping in Houston as part of a six-city U.S. tour. The project involved almost 100 photojournalists who stationed themselves across Africa and documented a 24-hour period in 53 African nations. From more than 50,000 images, 150 photos were selected for the exhibition. Included are scenes of Pygmies relocating to a new campsite, retro-threaded bar patrons in Sao Tome and a child waiting to be reunited with his family at a Sierra Leone refuge relief camp. A book about the show will be available for sale, with proceeds benefiting the Africa AIDS Education Fund. Wednesday, September 3, through Monday, September 22. The Galleria's Nordstrom/Foley's wing, 5135 West Alabama. For information, call 713-622-0663. Free. -- Troy Schulze
The Fayette County Country Fair draws some world-class talent. Just look at the entertainment lineup for this big-ass hootenanny. Pam Tillis, the '90s country music phenom and daughter of the famous stuttering Mel, is headlining (7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday, August 30, at the main stage). Also, according to the festival's Web site, Terry Fator's ventriloquist act will be "one of the most entertaining shows you will ever see" (7:30 p.m. Friday, August 29, at the main stage). And just between us -- we really don't know how to take this -- there's a performance by "The Velvets" at 7 p.m. on Sunday. No word on whether it's a reunion of the actual, for real, you know, Velvets (all we know is they're playing at the fair's German-Czech Mart). Thursday, August 28, through Sunday, August 31. Fayette County Fairgrounds, 400 West Fairgrounds Road in La Grange. For a full schedule of events, call 979-968-3911 or visit www.fayettecountyfair.com. $8 to $15. -- Troy Schulze
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