Salsa gets hot in Houston. Almost every club in town these days features "Salsa Night," where the scene is set and the floor is full. Some are new; others have a past. Downtown has entered the fray, with Prague on Tuesdays and Sambuca on Thursdays. The draw is big, but is it just the latest promotion to keep the drinks flowing? Saturday night on the Richmond Strip, up-and-comer Metropolis sports a long line at the door and a longer parade of rims and music awaiting the valet. Some "disco" in the mix, the dance floor is more rush-hour subway. But how do you want your salsa? For the traditional experience, Club Salsero plays the standards and doesn't encourage pretension; do your thing, and don't make a scene. Salsa deserves some show and good music with the energy of live entertainment on occasion. An escape from the dance floor either to romance or to observe is a necessity. Tropicana Nite Club offers an intimate old-world ambience, with energy both on and off the floor. Some dancers have flare, but most of all, the music is right on. That's how we like our salsa.
On Sundays, some people go to church. But who says church has to mean uncomfortable pews, a minister and communion wafers? Couldn't it also be a back room, Grady Gaines and a cold bottle of Schlitz? We say yes, it can. If you agree, then there is no better place to worship than the Third Ward institution that is Etta's Lounge. When local legends and Sunday-night regulars Grady Gaines and his Texas Upsetters take the stage for a long night of blues and soul, dancing is practically required. It only costs $3 to get in (c'mon, we know you usually have to put more than that in the collection plate), and the beer is cheap and cold. But the best thing about Etta's? The crowd. Well-dressed, older African-American regulars and young UH kids of every color mix easily together in a friendly, laid-back setting. Hey, we're not knocking kneelers and pulpits. We're just asking you to consider coming to St. Etta's this Sunday night. Now can we get an "amen"?
Etta's Lounge
On Sundays, some people go to church. But who says church has to mean uncomfortable pews, a minister and communion wafers? Couldn't it also be a back room, Grady Gaines and a cold bottle of Schlitz? We say yes, it can. If you agree, then there is no better place to worship than the Third Ward institution that is Etta's Lounge. When local legends and Sunday-night regulars Grady Gaines and his Texas Upsetters take the stage for a long night of blues and soul, dancing is practically required. It only costs $3 to get in (c'mon, we know you usually have to put more than that in the collection plate), and the beer is cheap and cold. But the best thing about Etta's? The crowd. Well-dressed, older African-American regulars and young UH kids of every color mix easily together in a friendly, laid-back setting. Hey, we're not knocking kneelers and pulpits. We're just asking you to consider coming to St. Etta's this Sunday night. Now can we get an "amen"?
This is a city that doesn't use the term "oddity" lightly. There's a pretty high hurdle you've got to jump before you can be mentioned in the same breath as the Orange Show, the Art Car Museum or the Beer Can House. So when the mind behind "scar art," Dolan Smith, had the gall to call his new project Museum of the Weird, we were a bit skeptical. Have no fear. A quick glance at the place is all you need to see that Smith's work abounds in weirdness. The "museum," in actuality, is Smith's home, which displays a lot of Smith's oft-banned artwork and strange creations. There are hair sculptures, a tire Christmas tree, an army tank and a champagne baptismal. There's even an in-service pet crematorium around back. What it doesn't have is normal hours of operation. To see it, you've got to call Smith for a personal tour.

This is a city that doesn't use the term "oddity" lightly. There's a pretty high hurdle you've got to jump before you can be mentioned in the same breath as the Orange Show, the Art Car Museum or the Beer Can House. So when the mind behind "scar art," Dolan Smith, had the gall to call his new project Museum of the Weird, we were a bit skeptical. Have no fear. A quick glance at the place is all you need to see that Smith's work abounds in weirdness. The "museum," in actuality, is Smith's home, which displays a lot of Smith's oft-banned artwork and strange creations. There are hair sculptures, a tire Christmas tree, an army tank and a champagne baptismal. There's even an in-service pet crematorium around back. What it doesn't have is normal hours of operation. To see it, you've got to call Smith for a personal tour.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but we don't have that much space here, and frankly we're not sure what the words would be (though a few squeamish types have suggested "ick"). Oh, yeah, the music's pretty great, too.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but we don't have that much space here, and frankly we're not sure what the words would be (though a few squeamish types have suggested "ick"). Oh, yeah, the music's pretty great, too.

Rap-A-Lot Records founder James Prince enjoys the limelight but not the microscope. A 12-year DEA and HPD investigation, which Prince attributes to the fact that cops hate rap music, has resulted in drug seizures as far away as Oklahoma City and in more than 20 convictions against Prince's associates, including a Houston police officer. Prince told reporters, and California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, that he was afraid for his life because the lead DEA agent on the case had killed six suspects in the line of duty. Waters wrote a letter to Janet Reno; Al Gore made a campaign stop at a Houston church with financial ties to Prince; the lead agent was transferred off the case; another DEA agent complained in leaked e-mails about political pressure ending the investigation; Congress examined the allegations of political interference; and finally new FBI and DEA agents were brought in to continue the investigation. There are enough twists and turns in this controversial case to make your head spin. At least it makes for some lyrical fodder. In his 2000 CD, Last of a Dying Breed, Rap-A-Lot rapper Brad "Scarface" Jordan brags about "the Rap-A-Lot Mafia" and its ability to ruin the careers of DEA agents. Tune in for the next installment.
Rap-A-Lot Records founder James Prince enjoys the limelight but not the microscope. A 12-year DEA and HPD investigation, which Prince attributes to the fact that cops hate rap music, has resulted in drug seizures as far away as Oklahoma City and in more than 20 convictions against Prince's associates, including a Houston police officer. Prince told reporters, and California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, that he was afraid for his life because the lead DEA agent on the case had killed six suspects in the line of duty. Waters wrote a letter to Janet Reno; Al Gore made a campaign stop at a Houston church with financial ties to Prince; the lead agent was transferred off the case; another DEA agent complained in leaked e-mails about political pressure ending the investigation; Congress examined the allegations of political interference; and finally new FBI and DEA agents were brought in to continue the investigation. There are enough twists and turns in this controversial case to make your head spin. At least it makes for some lyrical fodder. In his 2000 CD, Last of a Dying Breed, Rap-A-Lot rapper Brad "Scarface" Jordan brags about "the Rap-A-Lot Mafia" and its ability to ruin the careers of DEA agents. Tune in for the next installment.
Seems like Houston's finest rockabilly band is always either on the verge of great success or on the brink of dissolving. Neither is ever quite true. The Hollisters' last album, Sweet Inspiration, could have been a springboard to national prominence, but a series of personnel changes followed its release. However, anchored by the baritone sounds of lead singer Mike Barfield, who always brings to mind a young Johnny Cash, the Hollisters continue to rock. Hopefully someday Barfield will get the commercial airplay he and his band deserve.

Best Of Houston®

Best Of