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Jhardon Milton, Brandon Delagraentiss, Jia Taylor and 
    Kevin Haliburton
Jhardon Milton, Brandon Delagraentiss, Jia Taylor and Kevin Haliburton
Marsha Jackson-Randolph

Cole Hearted

Tall, dapper, smoother than silk and able to make white America swoon during the segregated '50s, Nat King Cole was a helluva role model for a black kid. That's the premise behind Gregory Porter's Nat King Cole and Me -- A Musical Healing, currently playing at the Ensemble Theatre. The autobiographical, concertlike musical tells the story of how Cole and his velvet-voiced crooning filled the empty spaces in the life of a young boy named Gregory. "He's a boy looking for a father figure, and here was a man who exemplified class and dignity and self-respect," says director Marsha Jackson-Randolph. As the story unfolds, Gregory discovers parallels between his life and Cole's; both, for example, are sons of charismatic preachers who are inattentive fathers. "I like to think of the show as a musical love poem that evokes mood and emotion," says Jackson-Randolph. The story is woven around 20 songs, including "Mona Lisa" and "Straighten Up and Fly Right." And the second act, which is almost all music, ought to soothe whatever ails you. Nat King Cole and Me runs through July 17. 3535 Main. For tickets and showtimes, call 713-520-0055 or visit $25 to $35. -- Lee Williams

Thai It Up

Carabao brings its positive, anti-American rock

SAT 7/2
Quick, name Thailand's hottest band: Ding! Time's up. It's Carabao, often referred to (in its press kit, anyway) as the "Thai Rolling Stones." Hugely, massively, overwhelmingly popular in its native land, the nine-piece group is bringing its overtly Asian yet Santana-flavored country-rock (you heard us right, pal) all the way to Houston this Saturday for a special show. That's all well and good, of course, but we're just wondering if the band will be brandishing any of its anti-U.S. lyrics (two of its CD titles translate as Greedy Americans and, er, Scoundrelly Americans). But whatev. According to Pat Ratan-Apron of the Thai Texas Association, Carabao makes positive music: "It reflects love of life." 8 p.m. Saturday, July 2, at Bella Aida Gardens (you know, where the Stones always play), 9371 Richmond. For tickets and information, call 832-274-6866 or visit $30 to $50. -- Scott Faingold

Taco Hell

FRI 7/1
It's not every day a band called Dog Shit Taco rolls into town, let alone one whose mission statement includes a vow to "find the perfect set of dissonances that will cause a tear in the earth's crust, releasing Satan from his thousand-year prison." A lofty goal indeed, but what instruments do the Los Angeles-based members of DST use to achieve it? At the gig at Southmore House this Saturday, you can expect such esoteric axes as flute, chimes, electric violin and baritone sax. Catch the funky sounds (and the funkier smell) at 8 p.m. Friday, July 1. 3107 Leeland. For tickets and information, call 713-299-4996 or visit $5. -- Scott Faingold

Bob for Laughs

Bob Saget followed up cheesy gigs on TV's Full House and America's Funniest Home Videos by starring as a shlong-sucking cokehead in the pot flick Half Baked. Now, the comedian is sharing stories on divorce and single fatherhood (and hopefully, some real dirt on Mary-Kate and Ashley). 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 30; 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 1 and 2; 8 p.m. Sunday, July 3. 7620 Katy Freeway, suite 3621. For tickets and information, call 713-333-8800 or visit $12 to $20. -- Steven Devadanam


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