You'd think Natilee Harren was a double agent -- or at least a character out of Mission: Impossible -- judging from her packing list for her September trip to Russia: passport, warm clothes, low-frequency broadcast equipment... She's no spy, though she will be engaging in some covert action. Harren will be operating a pirate radio station and hosting her show The Train Station on the Trans-Siberian Railway, which will take her from Moscow to Beijing. It gets stranger: Harren's project is part of an academic conference called "Capturing the Moving Mind" that also will take place on the train.
"I'm building my own low-frequency transmitter, and I'll be operating The Train Station from our cabin," says the former KTRU promotions director and DJ. On the air, Harren will premiere new tunes from experimental electronic artists and will interview conference participants, traders and tourists aboard the train.
To bankroll her trip, Harren has organized a benefit concert at the Proletariat this weekend, featuring Houston acts the Wiggins, Cee Plus and Go Spread Your Wings. Harren will offer T-shirts and information on The Train Station as well. Plus, musicians can submit their stuff to be played on her show. (Who would turn down the chance to say they've gotten airplay in Russia?)
Obviously, operating an illegal radio station in a former Communist country is a bit risky, but Harren isn't intimidated. "Dealing with the train managers is going to be a bit rough," she says, "but I'm going to do it anyway." All we can say is pump up the volume, Natilee. 9 p.m. Sunday, August 14. 903 Richmond. For information, call 713-523-1199 or visit www.trans-siberianradio.org. $5. -- Travis Ritter
KING BISCUIT'S TEQUILA SUNRISE
I enter the deserted stone patio of the King Biscuit Patio Cafe (1606 White Oak Drive, 713-861-2328) with my faithful drinking companion Sadie. It's twilight, and I feel like taking it in with a tequila sunrise. The kooky server is quick to take our order and even quicker to forget what it was. He's chatty, too. Before the ice even settles in my drink, we've heard all about his theater escapades in New York. But the patio is pleasant. As the Grateful Dead seeps out of nearby speakers, the space begins to fill up with dogs and drunken regulars. The would-be actor replenishes my drink, so I endure his babble. Before long, he's sitting at our table, buying us rounds and talking about doing LSD in high school. And I must admit, the longer I stay here, the better the tequila gets.
4 ounces Jose Cuervo Gold tequila
2 ounces orange juice
1 ounce cranberry juice
Fill a tall glass with ice. Pour in ingredients and stir. Dip a lemon slice in sugar to garnish, and ponder why this is Mel Gibson's favorite drink. -- Jason Kerr
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Dope A>S>H>S Party
Audible stellar hypnotic situations occur wherever A>S>H>S sets up its gear. And when there's a house party at the local psych-trance-turntablist-funk collective's very own studio, expect things to get downright visionary. Add to the bill the exploratory grooves of this year's Houston Press Music Awards Best Jazz and Best Funk/R&B/Reggae winners Drop Trio (featuring Best Keyboardist Ian Varley) -- along with the Eastern-flavored "improv-world-fusion" of Mezclan -- and you're headed for definite sensory overload territory. Oh, and did we mention the free beer and Jell-O shots? Duuuude, we are so there! 9 p.m. Saturday, August 13. A>S>H>S Studio, 2215 Commerce, suite F. For information, visit www.ashs.us. Free. -- Scott Faingold
Hash It Out
You used to have to hike all the way to hash-happy Amsterdam to check out the wonders of WonderJam, but this Friday at the Meridian, that all changes. It'll start out mellow (natch), with singer-songwriter sets by Patrice Pike, Wayne Sutton and Matt Hubbard, but the night gradually will pick up steam with jam bands Groovin' Ground and Larry. And the real payoff will come when the Austin Volunteer Orchestra (i.e., all of the above) takes the stage. Groove to the sounds and bring a bag of Funyuns, should you decide to take the Amsterdam theme of the show literally. 7 p.m. Friday, August 12. 1503 Chartres. For tickets, call 713-225-1717 or visit www.meridianhouston.com. $8. -- Scott Faingold