Caribbean Cabaret

What if all the best acts in Houston got shipwrecked in the Bermuda Triangle? Would they simply vanish off the face of the earth, or would they be transported to some foggy state of limbo where they can entertain crowds of party-hearty sailors? Theatre Illuminata imagines that it's the latter, so it's throwing a giant tropical tiki party, "X-Treme Cabaret: Supersized," where the only limbo these lost travelers have to worry about is of the how-low-can-you-go variety. Various acts are slated to provide the entertainment. Molly and the Ringwalds (2003 Press Music Awards winners for Best Cover Band) will play their infectious renditions of Reagan-era favorites. The Nadira Nar Dance Company will perform a variety of Persian dances centered around one of this country's most underrated parts of the female anatomy: the belly. Members of Planet Funk Academy also will be on hand to shake their groove things. And, of course, no cabaret show would be complete without a little bit of burlesque, which will come courtesy of Anglo Pussyhawk, the Tejano drag sensation.

Food will be provided by local restaurants and groceries including Whole Foods, Acadian Bakers, the Hobbit Cafe and Jenni's Noodle House. No word yet if there will be a pig roasting on a spit, but be sure to wear your favorite tropical shirt. 7:45 p.m. Saturday, September 27. Commerce Street Artists Warehouse, 2315 Commerce. For more information, call 832-216-3916 or visit $20 to $50. -- Keith Plocek

Stirred and Shaken
Hotel Derek'S Room Service

It was well past midnight when I stumbled through the bar at the Hotel Derek (2525 West Loop South, 713-961-3000). The wired-up bartender with the flailing arms was going on and on to a group of tourists about Houston's reputation for world-class valet. When he finally finished his Shakespearean endorsement, he noticed me sitting there quietly trying to get the attention of a couple of hot-looking Filipino babes. "Ya know, I tend to agree with you about Houston's valet," I mumbled. "Why, right when I pulled up to the hotel, a guy opened my door, handed me a ticket and drove off with my car." The barman gave me a weird look. "I was talking about Houston's ballet, funny boy. Now what can I get you to drink?" I settled for a beverage called Room Service, all the while making eyes at the ladies sitting two seats down. Before the drink was even placed in front of me, one of them motioned for me to come over. "So far so good," I thought to myself. Then it started: The talkative one had a serious bone to pick about how her no-good ex-husband had left her for some girl half her age. It was a sad story, but one I'd heard at least 100 times before. She'd given her husband everything, including a $100,000 Mercedes, and on her trips back to the homeland, he drove his little plaything around in it. What I really wanted to know was the phone number of the quiet one sitting next to me, but after three rounds of drinks all I wound up with was that damn story -- repeated a dozen times.

1-1/4 ounces Southern Comfort
1-1/4 ounces Amaretto di Saronno
1-1/4 ounces Absolut Vodka
1/2 ounce pineapple juice
1/2 ounce orange juice
1/2 ounce grenadine
1/2 ounce Rose's Lime Juice
Wedge of lime

Measure out ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Give it a good shake and pour into a standard highball glass. Garnish with lime. -- J. W. Crooker

Turn Your Amp Down, Mom

The Stone Coyotes are a hard-rocking Partridge Family, only with more parents and just one kid. But singer/guitarist mom (Barbara Keith), drummer dad (Doug Tibbles) and bassist son (John Tibbles) are garnering notice for their music, not just their novelty. The band's latest album, Rise from the Ashes, highlights Keith's love of ZZ Top and Stones riffs, but it's her skitterish vocals and more consistent lyrics that grab our attention this time out -- not the fact that Doug used to be a scriptwriter for The Munsters. 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday, September 27. McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk. For information, call 713-528-5999. $15. In-store performance 5 p.m. Friday, September 26, at Cactus Music & Records, 2930 South Shepherd. For information, call 713-526-9272. Free. -- Greg Barr

Taco Bueno

Houstonians eat out 4.7 times a week, more than folks in any other city in the world. Are you meeting your quota? If not, come out to the opening of the new Cabo Mix-Mex Grill in Montrose. You can lounge beneath 12-foot chrome palm trees and a ceiling-mounted mermaid mural as you sip on an early-evening margarita. If you want to figure out where to eat during the rest of the year, H Texas Magazine will be revealing the winners of its annual Best Chefs of Houston competition. Oh, and to eat? We have two words for you: fish tacos. 5 p.m. Thursday, September 25. 1111 Westheimer. For information, call 713-225-2774. Free. -- Margaret Winchell Miller

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