The Beastie Boys have always been Jewish, but it wasn't until last year's "Right Right Now Now" that they finally rapped about it: "I'm a funky-ass Jew and I'm on my way." If they showed up at the L'Chaim (Hebrew for "To Life") party this weekend at the Meridian, they'd be in good company. The event, which celebrates the Jewish faith and culture, as well as Israeli Independence Day, promises to have both believers and nonbelievers shakin' it. Fittingly, all the performers -- Miami tribal house DJ Hardware, Detroit electronica artist Fuelman, Jerusalem-based Israeli singer Ziva Hadar and local rockers SkyBlue72 -- are Jewish. "We're hoping to get more of a widespread recognition and enjoyment of our culture," says promoter Gabe Sandler.
Revelers needn't be dissuaded by the "faith" or "culture" themes -- the party's open to all, says Sandler. "We want to see people more open-minded," he says. "This is a good opportunity to embrace the cultures of Houston."
Besides, Sandler says, the bigger picture -- beyond religion and ethnicity -- is the music. Given the hip, diverse array of talent, you won't feel like you just stepped into someone's bar mitzvah, or worse, a contrived cultural "festival" full of lame, ethnically specific acts.
"This is a club. We're not trying to put on an International Fest," says Sandler. "We just want to get people dancing." Now that's something everyone can believe in. 8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 14. 1503 Chartres. For information, call 713-225-1717 or visit www.meridianhouston.com. $5 to $8. -- Travis Ritter
Nuthin' But a G-String
What would downtown Houston nightlife be without the occasional bikini contest? Yes, once in a while, a club needs to come with the scantily clad ladies in order to drum up some patronage. New hotspot Club Glo is looking to get some Tuesday-night patrons by holding the Seagram's 2006 Swimsuit Calendar Search Audition. The lucky local who wins this two-week competition (finals will be held the following Tuesday) will fly to an exotic location for her calendar photo shoot, become a spokesmodel for Seagram's and have men from all around drool over her as they get seriously crunk on gin 'n' juice. 10 p.m. Tuesday, May 17. 505 Main. For information, call 281-463-0886 or visit www.shinetuesdays.com. $10 to $15. -- Craig D. Lindsey
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How best to celebrate our local Hispanic population's inexorable climb to utter domination? Rock out, compadre. Do it at the latest incarnation of the H-Town Throwdown, which offers a grande dose of rock en español. Local rockeros Chango Jackson, DeSangre and Cuervo are arguably three of the most exciting bands in town -- regardless of their shared Latino heritage -- and each is more than capable of holding its own with audiences Tex, Mex and in between. What's the Spanish word for crowd-surfing? Also appearing: DJ Suma and DJ Fred C. Doors open at 9 p.m. Saturday, May 14. Rhythm Room, 1815 Washington Avenue. For information, call 713-864-6962 or visit www.rhythmroomhouston.com. $10. -- Scott Faingold
Get Phucked Up
Aimee Jones wants to invite you over for a steamy evening. Happen over to the upstairs galleries of Art Dust Studios for Phashion Phuck, which Jones calls a "haute bed of sweaty musicians, designers and artists dishing out their goods." You'll find clothing by Kunst Fascion and local artists such as Jason Villegas, Andrea Chin, Elisabeth Jackson and Gabriela Galvan. Also look for silk-screened items, jewelry and other offerings from Houstonian artisans, including Jones. "My paintings are called 'Sold Out,' which goes along with the theme of selling stuff," she says. Well, we're sold. Doors open at 9 p.m.; fashion show starts at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, May 14. 121 St. Emanuel. For information, call 832-212-6496. Free. -- Steven Devadanam