Hell to the Chief
For those who voted blue, January 20 will be salt in your November 2 wounds. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and futility will return. You'll fight the urge to reach for a drink, a gun or worse -- a "W" sticker for your car. Don't do it! You can pooh-pooh Dubya's day with Inaugurate Yourself, a local day of protest in the vein of other Inauguration Day rallies taking place around the country. At noon, you can join the Inaugurate group, which will meet at the University of Houston's Lynn Eusan Park (4800 Calhoun) to stage a puppet-led parade throughout the campus (UH students are invited to ditch class -- though we'd never endorse such naughtiness -- and march).
Later, at 7 p.m., the group will meet downtown at Sesquicentennial Park (specifically, at the new statue of Bush Sr.) for a party featuring "music, dance and action," says Scott Parkin of Inaugurate Yourself. "We plan to have a diverse crowd: some Green Party, Mama's Brigade, a radical dancer group, some Progressives," he says, "but no Republicans, though." See who crashes the party at noon, Thursday, January 20. For information, call 832-725-6220 or visit www.houstonglobalawareness.org. Free. - Steven Devadanam
Uncover the mystery of the man behind The Aviator
Sandra Lord has been living with the deceased Howard Hughes for three weeks. "Figuratively, that is," she notes. (Whew.) Lord has been immersed in research to prepare for the "Howard Hughes & The Aviator Tour," a luxury coach tour that will uncover mysteries of the legendary, eccentric Houstonian airline magnate that Leo DiCaprio brought to life in The Aviator. The Discover Houston Tours trip will take you through historic spots like the Post Rice Lofts (where Hughes was honored after flying around the world in three days), the 1940 Air Terminal Museum at Hobby Field and even the Hughes home in Montrose. Lord will offer anecdotes and stories not found in movies or any E! Hollywood special. You'll then touch down at the Angelika Film Center & Cafe for lunch and an optional screening of The Aviator. Registration begins at 9 a.m. at City Hall's Visitors Center, 901 Bagby. For tickets, information and to RSVP, call 713-222-9255 or visit www.DiscoverHoustonTours.com. $32. - Steven Devadanam
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
Queer "I" for the Straight Guy
Standing in the middle of the chic Meteor lounge, Sofonda St. John, dressed in an elegant black evening dress, flips back her long black tresses and holds court over her weekly Tuesday-night drag-bingo crowd.
"How many straight people do we have here tonight?" asks the statuesque drag queen. Three young girls wave from a back booth. I sheepishly raise my hand, too.
"Oh, honey, you're way too cute to be straight," the check-in attendant says to me as I pick up my bingo pieces. Cost: five bucks. Game on.
"B-4," Sofonda calls out as patrons search for a match. Then, strolling past the couches and booths, she adds, "beee-four an hour and a half ago, I was a studly-looking man." A group of peppy men hoot and call out, "Hell, yeah, honey!"
"Who needs an I?" Sofonda asks. "I do!" the crowd yells in unison. I'm starting to get the hang of it as she announces the next number.
"I'm looking for an O..." she starts.
"Ooooohhhhh!" the crowd yells back in anticipation.
"Sixty-nine!" she booms. The crowd shrieks. Drag queens Jackie Evelyn Thorne and Samantha Starr St. John cruise the crowd with trays of shots. An O-69, I learn, means dollar shots for five minutes. The next game is Barnyard Bingo, where people call out matches using their favorite animal noises. As Sofonda cracks a joke about sheep, I realize that between the cheap booze and the drag performance, this is the most fun I've had on a Tuesday night in years. I vow to return next week to play for the prizes, which range from kitsch to high-tech TVs. Winking at me as I'm leaving, the buff Sofonda calls out, "Who needs an I?"
I don't miss a beat as I wink back. "I do!" - Steven Devadanam
Houston is a city full of Artists With Causes, but few have succeeded in combining the two as well as Rick Lowe. More than a dozen years ago, what others saw as a group of dilapidated, ramshackle shotgun houses in the Third Ward, Lowe saw as an important testament to local African-American history. Today, the renovated Project Row Houses is one of the most unique art installation venues in the country. The exhibit "Rick Lowe -- Toward Social Sculpture"presents an intricate look at Lowe's career, as well as the relationship between art and social change. Opens 9 a.m. Thursday, January 20. Through March 6 at the Glassell School of Art, 5601 Main. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit www.mfah.org. Free. - Bob Ruggiero
Return of the Mac
If there's anything that will convince you to get your ass in shape, it's a screening of Morgan Spurlock's 2004 documentary Super Size Me. Spurlock pigs out at McDonald's for 30 days straight while his cholesterol spikes and his vegan girlfriend freaks. As if Spurlock's gut-wrenching experience weren't enough, today's screening will also feature fitness instructor Denise Cazes, who'll explain exactly why habits like eating fries every day can kill you. Calm your nerves beforehand with a free ten-minute massage at 6:30 p.m. Film begins at 7 p.m. Friday, January 21. Room 1100, Student Services and Classroom Building, UH-Clear Lake, 2700 Bay Area Boulevard. For information, call 281-283-2560. $2. - Greg Barr
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