Who doesn't like songs about poo? Slump banks on the fact that everybody does. Penises too. Also: yeast infections, anal sex and hamsters. Keith Reynolds and Cathy Power have created a cult of personality around their Slump shows, which usually involve three chords on a guitar and lots of words your mother told you were not meant for polite conversation. Whether it's their lively Christmas pageants (audience members played games for porn tapes and butt plugs) or their spirited sing-alongs ("Life sure does suck it / It's hell in a bucket!"), Slump is nothing but perverted fun. But don't get us wrong. Just because they sing songs about Santa Claus's erection doesn't mean Slump is all naughty. In fact, there's something strangely alluring about a Slump show. Maybe it's the way it appeals to the twisted inner child in all of us. Either that, or the free butt plugs.
Yogi, Webmaster and Gynomite founder (and former Houston Press staffer) Liz Belile has since moved to Austin, and Abram Himelstein, whose New Mouth From the Dirty South published the volume, is living in New Orleans now. But this collection of erotic stories by women features more than a half-dozen local writers -- including Olive Hershey, Michelle Glaw and Press writer Melissa Hung -- and is very much a Houston-based effort. Hailed as "a milestone document to change the world, one orgasm at a time," Gynomite: Fearless, Feminist Porn is a subsidiary of a reading series that Belile started in Los Angeles in 1994. Belile took a rotating group of contributors on the road last year, for a tour that culminated with a documentary film shot by HBO. On the page, something is missing from the live rendering of these musings -- the excerpts from The Starr Report, for example, suffer without Shaila Dewan's breathless recitation. But there are plenty of entertaining, not to mention enlightening, moments. Surprising, perhaps, is the pervasive psychological and physical violence of these stories. Those expecting the subtle sensuality of, say, Anaïs Nin will be taken aback.
Yogi, Webmaster and Gynomite founder (and former Houston Press staffer) Liz Belile has since moved to Austin, and Abram Himelstein, whose New Mouth From the Dirty South published the volume, is living in New Orleans now. But this collection of erotic stories by women features more than a half-dozen local writers -- including Olive Hershey, Michelle Glaw and Press writer Melissa Hung -- and is very much a Houston-based effort. Hailed as "a milestone document to change the world, one orgasm at a time," Gynomite: Fearless, Feminist Porn is a subsidiary of a reading series that Belile started in Los Angeles in 1994. Belile took a rotating group of contributors on the road last year, for a tour that culminated with a documentary film shot by HBO. On the page, something is missing from the live rendering of these musings -- the excerpts from The Starr Report, for example, suffer without Shaila Dewan's breathless recitation. But there are plenty of entertaining, not to mention enlightening, moments. Surprising, perhaps, is the pervasive psychological and physical violence of these stories. Those expecting the subtle sensuality of, say, Anaïs Nin will be taken aback.
Lisa Torres, the hazel-eyed singer of the eponymous Lisa y Aventura, stands a mere four foot ten. Her moving voice and on-stage charisma make her larger than life. Her notes range from sweet, soaring highs to raspy lows, recalling the soulful cantings of Mexican diva Ana Gabriel. The band combines Houston talent (including Torres) with musicians from Mexico, and blurs the distinction between conjunto and Tejano. Unlike traditional four-member conjunto bands, Lisa y Aventura adds keyboards to the accordion, bajo sexto, bass and drums. Since forming three years ago, the band has emerged as one of the hardest-working acts in the business, bringing its highly danceable rhythms to venues all over Houston, the Rio Grande Valley and beyond. The group recently signed with Eagle Records, a small record company out of San Antonio.

Lisa Torres, the hazel-eyed singer of the eponymous Lisa y Aventura, stands a mere four foot ten. Her moving voice and on-stage charisma make her larger than life. Her notes range from sweet, soaring highs to raspy lows, recalling the soulful cantings of Mexican diva Ana Gabriel. The band combines Houston talent (including Torres) with musicians from Mexico, and blurs the distinction between conjunto and Tejano. Unlike traditional four-member conjunto bands, Lisa y Aventura adds keyboards to the accordion, bajo sexto, bass and drums. Since forming three years ago, the band has emerged as one of the hardest-working acts in the business, bringing its highly danceable rhythms to venues all over Houston, the Rio Grande Valley and beyond. The group recently signed with Eagle Records, a small record company out of San Antonio.

Last October, at the age of 18, Brian Enos presented his first major work for Houston Ballet. Tribal and techno, fast and furious, androgynous and sexy, classic and modern, large but with perfectly executed details, Landing was impossible to categorize. And it clearly overwhelmed the works of the other, more experienced choreographers on the Cullen Contemporary Series bill. Enos pushed the boundaries of ballet, making it relevant and exhilarating. He reminded us what dance can do and why we love it. Here's hoping there is much, much more to come from this young star.

Last October, at the age of 18, Brian Enos presented his first major work for Houston Ballet. Tribal and techno, fast and furious, androgynous and sexy, classic and modern, large but with perfectly executed details, Landing was impossible to categorize. And it clearly overwhelmed the works of the other, more experienced choreographers on the Cullen Contemporary Series bill. Enos pushed the boundaries of ballet, making it relevant and exhilarating. He reminded us what dance can do and why we love it. Here's hoping there is much, much more to come from this young star.

Houston's band names are in a rut. Great swaths of them fail to inspire anything at all. Not a smile, not a chuckle, not an appreciative nod -- nada. Instead, all too many bands try to be clever by spelling, capitalizing and punctuating oddly (Soular Slide, dr:op:fr:am+e, 30footFALL). Among our favorites, however, are the history-laden Jimmy Raycraft & The Roaring Calhouns and the euphonious The Fatal Flying Guilloteens. Nods go out to Jug O' Lightnin' and Pure Rubbish for evoking their respective spooky Southern and gutter-punk sounds with resorting to the literal. Which brings us to this year's winner: Lucky Boyd & The Toll Booth Violators, country rockers from down Galveston way. There's something in the mock menace of the name that really makes us smile.

Houston's band names are in a rut. Great swaths of them fail to inspire anything at all. Not a smile, not a chuckle, not an appreciative nod -- nada. Instead, all too many bands try to be clever by spelling, capitalizing and punctuating oddly (Soular Slide, dr:op:fr:am+e, 30footFALL). Among our favorites, however, are the history-laden Jimmy Raycraft & The Roaring Calhouns and the euphonious The Fatal Flying Guilloteens. Nods go out to Jug O' Lightnin' and Pure Rubbish for evoking their respective spooky Southern and gutter-punk sounds with resorting to the literal. Which brings us to this year's winner: Lucky Boyd & The Toll Booth Violators, country rockers from down Galveston way. There's something in the mock menace of the name that really makes us smile.

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.

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