Go West

It's easy to see why director George Stevens picked the mesas of Marfa as the setting for Giant, the epic Western starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean and Dennis Hopper. Only the wide Texas sky could handle so many stars. Artist Donald Judd probably chose the same place for his Chinati Foundation for the same reason. Abstract art was busting out of museum walls, and Judd needed a place that could handle his monumental installations, not to mention his growing ego. "Somewhere a portion of contemporary art has to exist as an example of what the art and its context were meant to be," said Judd about his expansive art compound, which took over a former military base in West Texas. Judd peppered the dusty plains with identical concrete boxes and filled the artillery sheds with rows of aluminum prisms, confident he was creating works that were "neither painting nor sculpture." Other artists soon joined Judd's cult, making Marfa a big dot on the maps of road-tripping art junkies nationwide.

This year's open house at Chinati features an exhibition by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, otherwise known as the dynamic duo of public art installations. "Notebook Pages: A Dialogue," the first exhibition of their sketches, reveals the thoughts behind their monumentally quotidian works. Saturday, October 11 and Sunday, October 12. Marfa is about 600 miles west of Houston. For more information, call 432-729-4362 or visit www.chinati.org. Free. -- Keith Plocek



The night before last, I met with some friends for drinks and dinner at Ibiza Food and Wine Bar (2450 Louisiana, 713-524-0004). The evening was a disaster. Thank God the place makes tasty margaritas. It all started innocently enough, when my date and I invited her upstairs neighbor out for a night on the town. Two beautiful women, a fashionable restaurant...what could be better? The mango ritas started going down like water (very cold water, mind you) and before long our table was ready. All around us were the pretty people, posing, sipping and flipping their dyed blond hair. With all that eye candy, it took an honest effort to stay with the conversation at my own table. Appetizers appeared, and we noshed. Then another round of drinks showed up, paid for by some guy at another table. Ten minutes later I returned from the men's room to find that my date had just left in a cab. My happy-go-lucky buzz turned ugly, and I slumped down in my seat. Was this some kind of weird setup? More food arrived, and her neighbor sat there, saying almost nothing. Not knowing what else to do, I stuffed my face and ordered a double.

1-3/4 ounces Durango Gold Tequila
1/2 ounce Hiram Walker Triple Sec

1/4 cup mango puree (available at www.lafruitiere.com)

Scoop of ice

In a blender, combine ingredients. Blend until smooth. Serve in a frozen cobalt-blue wine goblet. -- J.W. Crooker


MON 10/13
Befriend and Deceive

Too timid to tell a date how you feel about marriage? Or the three qualities you insist on in a partner? Well, loosen up already. Try TableChat, a get-acquainted game where total strangers team up, answer revealing questions and then try to mislead rival teams about who said what. Correct guesses earn players rubber sandwich-building materials. The first team to see through the veil of lies and build a complete sandwich wins. Don't play the game too well, though; skills in the lying department don't always win new friends. 7 p.m. Monday, October 13. Sullivan's Steakhouse, 4608 Westheimer. For information, call 713-494-6996 or visit www.geocities.com/tablechat. $5 -- Margaret Winchell Miller

MON 10/13
A Case of the Mondays

"Of the six years I've been doing this, I've only missed two Mondays," says DJ Sun. Can you say that about your job? Sun's weekly shindig at Cafe Brasil, "Soular Sessions," will turn six this Monday. To celebrate, Houston's most recognizable DJ will welcome New York percussionist/turntablist Nappy G (Turntables on the Hudson, Groove Collective) and D.R.U.M. front man Alafia Gaidi to sit in and riff along with his jazzy-groove soundscapes. Resident co-spinners DJ Melodic and Suma will also be on hand, helping Sun crank up the week on a funked-up note. 9:30 p.m. Monday, October 13. 2604 Dunlavy. For information, call 713-528-1993 or visit www.soulargrooves.com. Free. -- Craig D. Lindsey