THU 8/28
If you don't know Lenin from Lennon, you're in luck. Red Star Night Club and Martini Lounge, the Russian-themed Midtown joint named for the familiar Russian symbol, will give you a sense of world history that 12 years of grade school never could. Or, at least, allow you to glimpse plenty of fetching servers clad in white fur bikini tops. At an opening party this Thursday, guests can dance upstairs in a cool blue-and-steel grotto decorated with authentic posters of Russian cosmonauts from the cold war "space race" era. Cool kids will want to hang out in Siberia, an icy VIP room designed by the same mastermind who conceived and created the lair for Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin.

Grab a comrade and join the revolution at the opening party, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday, August 28. 2606 Fannin. For information, call 713-655-7827 or visit Free. Regular Red Star hours: 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. -- Margaret Winchell Miller


Stirred and Shaken
Hunan River's Harvey Wallbanger

I was walking out of the Erotic Cabaret with a bulging bag of naughty goodies for my girlfriend when I ran into my ex. Knowing how to make an offer I couldn't refuse, she insisted on a drink. So we jumped in her car and headed over to Hunan River/Back Door Sushi (2015 West Gray, 713-527-0200) for some raw fish and a couple of cold cocktails. The place was quiet -- in fact, perfect for an affair -- but before long I started to feel trapped by her bedroom eyes. The TV crackled with some obnoxious beauty pageant, and the couple next to us asked the man behind the counter to change the channel. I was already on my second Harvey Wallbanger when my ex started to get a little too close. I resisted her advances and tried to explain that I was much happier now, yada yada yada, and maybe she should just settle for some more tuna and another screwdriver. An hour later, we were the only customers in the joint, and it was time to go. We walked outside, and I kissed her goodnight and watched her drive off. I was halfway home when I realized what I had left in the backseat of her car.

2 ounces Heaven Hill Vodka
1 ounce orange juice

3/4 ounce Galliano

In a rocks glass filled with ice, measure out the vodka and orange juice. Float the Galliano on top, add straw and serve immediately. Goes great with fish, fast food and raging hormones. -- J.W. Crooker

FRI 8/29
The Lion in Summer
Still riding the acclaim for his 2002 album, Ash Wednesday, Greg Wood is a rare breed of songwriter. The former Horseshoe leader is already a legend among local lovers of country and roots rock. And he's still playing the hits -- just with a different backing band. A follow-up album might be in the works; Wood regularly debuts new material live. Actually, the man should be in bed. It's been about a month since he was released from the hospital after his second heart attack. But as he said from the stage at a recent gig, "You only live once. If that much." 10 p.m. Friday, August 29. Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh Drive. For information, call 713-521-0521. $6. -- Troy Schulze

SUN 8/31
Labor Parties
This Labor Day weekend boasts a couple of groovalicious parties. Saturday the Underground Lounge brings "Home Bass," featuring 16 DJs, including Paul Barces, Ben Clark, Nathan Stewart and Dave Arbiter. The next day, you can skip over to Rich's for "Work," an all-night party where deep-house DJs Hipp-E and Halo, of the H-Foundation, will be the headlining spinners. Patrons, even folks who don't work their fingers to the bone, are encouraged to dress in "blue-collar" work attire. "Home Bass": Doors open at 10 p.m. Saturday, August 30. Underground Lounge, 804 Fannin. $10 to $12. "Work": Doors open at 9 p.m. Sunday, August 31. Rich's, 2401 San Jacinto. $10 to $15. -- Craig D. Lindsey

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J.W. Crooker
Craig D. Lindsey
Contact: Craig D. Lindsey
Margeret Winchell Miller
Troy Schulze
Contact: Troy Schulze