SAT 3/19

The chubby, affable guy in the baseball hat and overalls moseys over to the cash register, greenbacks in hand. Behind the counter, Charlotte Daingerfield and daughter Jackie Spears smile big at him. "Okay, a hand job -- that'll be $3," says Daingerfield.

"We've been waiting for you guys to open for weeks," the burly gent says gleefully. As he leaves, he chuckles at the cans of Lick-a-Pussy erotic gel on the shelves.

You'd expect this kind of customer-proprietor exchange at any sex shop in Montrose. But this isn't Montrose. This little establishment is nestled in a quiet strip center off Highway 6 in Tom DeLay's Sugar Land. And it's not a sex shop -- it's a bakery.

Daingerfield and Spears started Nooky's Erotic Bakery to fill a niche. "We're the fourth-largest city in the country, and there wasn't one erotic bakery in town," says Spears incredulously. After a year of research, Spears, a baker, and her mom, a former accountant, have unveiled Nooky's to a curious, if not frantic, Sugar Land community. It's somewhat surprising, but the suburban folks have flooded in for Jackie's custom cakes, which depict things like three-dimensional boobs, a "coochie cake" (think about it), a smiling schlong wearing a crown ("King of the Dickheads") and even a "trannie" cake, which features -- you guessed it -- the anatomically correct organs of both genders.

There are also white chocolate "spermie" candies, chocolate Viagra pills and even a "Big Louie" phallus -- in either white or dark chocolate, natch -- that would make any guy feel inadequate. Throw in some X-rated fortune cookies and hordes of naughty gag gifts, and you've got bachelorette-party central. The ladies will host a grand-opening party this weekend to welcome the hungry, horny and curious. "One guy just saw the word 'bakery' and came in," recalls Spears. "He left really embarrassed." Get some Nooky at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 19. 10140-C Highway 6 South, Sugar Land. For information, call 281-568-4800 or visit Free. Steven Devadanam


Body Shots

"So, do Polaroids chafe?" I ask Jim, who's wearing what seems to be absolutely nothing but a tiny dress made from Polaroid photos -- of nude body parts, no less -- with gold Converse sneakers. "Oh, hell yeah, they do," he exclaims. "Thank God for boxers!" (Thank God, indeed.) Jeff's girlfriend, Kasi, is looking quite elegant with her stylish bob and a dress made completely of glued-on googly eyes.

"She's got her eyes on you," a guy at the bar says to me. I can't help but roll my own at him.

We're at the DiverseWorks annual gala, an extravaganza of artsy hipsters, collectors and Paper City socialites. On a whim, I've decided to crash the party, as word has it this is the anti-gala -- where even the stuffiest of folks let it all hang out.

Literally. My discomfort at seeing sixtysomethings in see-through clothing is eased by the attractive women dressed as naughty flies, angels and devils. The theme for this party is "Voyeur," so folks have dressed to see (wearing press hats and badges) and be seen (like Lester Marks, who's known as a major player in the art scene, strolling around wearing a tie but no shirt).

But Jim and Kasi, who've let me pal around with them, are getting all the attention. Before long I'm hanging with folks who ordinarily wouldn't give me the time of day (other than to hand me their coats). I chat with fashion designer Vanessa Riley about her stint on the Bravo series The Runway and shake it on the dance floor with society-type guys in drag while models get body-painted. The moral: When attending an artsy gala and confronted with people who look like your parents in S&M ware, find the nearly naked dude covered in Polaroids. You won't be disappointed. -- Steven Devadanam

Bayou Beauty

FRI 3/18

Purple skies, golden arches and glittering SUVs aren't Houston's only sources of beauty. The Bayou City Art Festival is a colorful biannual spectacle exhibiting the work of more than 300 artists. Art made of clay, paint, wood, jewels, glass, metal and more will be displayed on a loop path in the heart of Memorial Park. Guests also can enjoy a "creative zone" for children and performances from the likes of Several Dancers Core, Mariachi MECA and Texas Mime Theatre. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, March 18, through Sunday, March 20. 6501 Memorial Drive. For information, call 713-521-0133 or visit $8. - Julia Ramey

Riot Acts

THU 3/17

The ragtag, Philadelphia-based Lost Film Fest is screening subversive -- and mostly amateur -- film and video shorts. One features humorous potshots at the president interspersed with footage of riot cops taking potshots at protesters. Some follow those global bands of culture jammers who stage costumed sit-ins or throw cream pies at corporate bigwigs. And others find subversive meanings behind pop-culture icons, as in our favorite LFF title, Fellowship of the Ring of Free Trade. Audience participation is encouraged. 8 p.m. Thursday, March 17. Rice University campus, entrance No. 8 (off University Boulevard). For information, call 713-348-3138 or visit $5 suggested donation. - Greg Barr

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