Belly of the Beat

Miles Copeland is a big shot. Considering he's the man who managed the Police, Sting and the Bangles, it's safe to say he knows what the public wants. So when he told us he expects his newest project, the Bellydance Superstars, to be the next Riverdance, we just didn't have the heart to tell him that Riverdance sucks. Besides, we wouldn't want to hold anything against a guy who's bringing a posse of hotties to town. "If somebody went around and said, 'We've got a great Irish music show,' people would think it's obscure," Copeland says of Riverdance. "But when you put it with dancers, it became a major mainstream show. So I started thinking, 'Why couldn't it be the same with Middle Eastern dance?' The music is just as exciting, if not more so, and the dance is actually more interesting. Belly dancers can use their entire body, and it's sexier." Well, we can't argue with that.

Hoping to ride the Riverdance wave, Copeland put together the Bellydance Superstars and set off on a nationwide tour with the Desert Roses (another belly dance troupe). These ladies will be shaking their groove things at the Engine Room this weekend, where the scene won't be as full of leering men as you might expect.

"Belly dance is a women's dance," says Copeland. "About 70 percent of our audiences are women. One of my dancers told me it's the only dance form created by women for women, and men like it, too." Yes, they do, Mr. Copeland. They certainly do. 9 p.m. Sunday, February 22. 1515 Pease. For information, call 713-654-7846 or visit $18 to $20. -- Keith Plocek

Cabo's Bacardi Light Pia Colada

A friend from up north came to visit, and we were out seeing the sights of downtown Houston. The scene of Enron excess and JFK's final night's sleep -- not to mention a brand-spanking-new rail system -- might have impressed anyone else, but what she really wanted to see was Texas flesh. I promised to take her to a fashion show after lunch, but first I needed a drink. We stopped in at Cabo (419 Travis, 713-225-2060) and sat down near the back. We barely had the first round of piña coladas down when a couple walked in looking like they'd just walked off the set of 21 Grams. The Sean Penn-looking guy wasn't doing a whole lot of talking. The gal, on the other hand, wouldn't stop squirming. She was a sight to be seen. While her top kept riding farther and farther up her back, her hip-hugging jeans were practically halfway down her ass. Businessmen on their way out of the restaurant kept dropping Palm Pilots and cell phones as they tried to get a closer look. And the guy she was with appeared to be getting off. It was the perfect day for a nooner. We paid the check and went back to my place.

1-1/2 ounces Bacardi Light rum
1-3/4 ounces Finest Call piña colada mix
Splash of pineapple juice
Crushed ice

Fill a blender with two scoops of ice. Measure out above ingredients and blend for a good 15 seconds. Pour into a plastic cup. Repeat as necessary. -- J.W. Crooker

Get Down Underground

FRI 2/20

It's Friday night and you're low on funds. Think you'll be stuck at home scratching your own mixes? Think again, sucka. Local promoters Project Hip Hop host a rotating showcase of Houston's best underground turntablists and MCs every Friday at 804 Underground. This week, catch two Press "best of" performers, Studemont Project (Best Hip-hop) and scratchadelics Giant and Danny of the Truth (Best Turntablists), as well as Notes, a Houston MC who's just released a record on UK independent hip-hop label Manna Records. Get there by 11 p.m.: Ladies get in free, and guys pay only five bucks. 9 p.m. Fridays. 804 Underground Lounge, 804 Fannin. For information, call 713-225-0948 or visit $5. -- Travis P. Ritter

Can You Spare a Nickel?

TUE 2/24

A music critic at the Boston Herald recently wrote that Cast Iron Filter "sounds at times like a hayseed Nickelback." Huh? Anyone who's ever heard CIF live knows this phenomenal bluegrass jam band sounds nothing like post-Bush (the band, not the prez) alterna-crap. We can only wonder how many neo-alternative tools showed up at the show that night in Boston. But you won't have to worry about them coming to CIF's show at the Continental Club, where you'll be far more likely to see a bunch of hula-hooping hippies than a bunch of twentysomethings who just can't let go of their teen angst. 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 24. 3700 Main. For information, call 713-529-9899 or visit $6. -- Keith Plocek

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