On the Surf's Side

Everyone likes an excuse to party, especially when it's for a good cause. The Texas chapter of the Surfriders Foundation is hosting a benefit, Surfstomp, at the Last Concert Cafe to support its work preserving our coast. Revelers will not only dance and booze the day away, they'll contribute to the group's fight against erosion, litter, polluted runoff and other environmental problems. Surfriders' activism is for the good of the planet, yes, but it's also self-serving. Surfers can't surf without beaches. With the Texas legislature in session, the group is fighting to make the government protect the coastline by, for example, more strongly enforcing the Texas Open Beaches Act, established to keep buildings from encroaching upon public beaches. As Ellis Picket, chairman the Texas chapter, says, "Once again we are fighting an uphill battle in Austin."

Of course, the best cure for any problem is money -- hence this weekend's benefit. Partiers can check out bands Los Rauncheros, Shovelhead, Well Inside Out, the Mandy Smith Group, Mike Perkins, Bobby Breaux, Silvertrip, Mono's Jungle and Scattered Pages. Surfriders will be raffling off a nine-foot, eight-inch Henry Fry retro model surfboard, a five-foot-six Yancey Spencer Boardworks surfboard and a Rip Curl Elasto wetsuit. Door prizes include surf memorabilia and skateboard accessories. 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, March 29. Last Concert Cafe, 1403 Nance. For information, call 713-906-3940 or visit www.surfrider.org.texas. $10 -- Cathy Matusow

Home Run
The uninspired red-brick houses and town homes that have come to dominate Houston neighborhoods often obscure the city's more interesting abodes. This weekend, the Rice Design Alliance invites Houstonians to tour seven homes in two Museum District neighborhoods, the NP Turner Addition and West Ranch Estates. One 2001 home, built at 1319 Banks Street by New York architect Francois de Menil, found a clever solution to the problem posed by the less stylish houses surrounding it: the use of indirect sunlight, but few large windows, to brighten the inside. The home may sound claustrophobic, but it's really a breezy oasis. 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 29, and Sunday, March 30. Start at any home on the tour. For information and addresses, call 713-348-4876 or visit www.rda.rice.edu. $10 to $35. -- Cathy Matusow

Spin Art
DJ TrickHips, the artist formerly known as Patrick Phipps, is planning a little night music for his exhibition at Mixture Contemporary Art. To that end, he's created Club Monster Island, an alter ego for Mixture, by hanging up a disco ball and bringing in DJs. On Thursday, March 27, DJ Carole F. Smith will spin "only the best in northern soul, roots, early ska and rocksteady." And Thursday, April 3, brings the "post-punk moodiness" of DJ Grils Baloy. Mixture is located right next to Brasil, so you can get hopped up on caffeine products then hit the dance floor. Both events take place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mixture Gallery, 1709 Westheimer. For information, call 713-520-6809. -- Kelly Klaasmeyer

The Rhythm Room's Green Machine"
God, I feel like I'm living in Twin Peaks," said the guy sitting next to me at the Rhythm Room (1815 Washington, 713-863-0943). The band on stage, Felix Madison (with some assorted hangers-on from the earlier open-mike session), was doing a note-for-note re-creation of "Sidewinders," and I had to admit, the mood was a little creepy. When I asked a bartender named Nicole for a little something different to drink, she batted her eyelashes and proceeded to whip up a Green Machine. The drink wasn't bad, but by the time I got halfway through it the sound guy had picked up a bass guitar and jumped on stage to sing Hall & Oates' "Sarah Smile." This isn't Twin Peaks, I thought; it's a real live nightmare.

1-1/2 ounces McCormick vodka
3/4 ounce Midori melon liquor
3/4 ounce DeKuyper's
Sour Apple Pucker
3/4 ounce sour mix
Wedge of lime

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and measure out above ingredients. Shake lightly and pour into highball glass. Garnish with lime. -- J.W. Crooker