A Bevy of Benefits

'Tis the season for benefits, and if you don't want to be haunted by a bunch of chain-clanking phantoms of your dead mean friends on Christmas Eve, make sure to attend one or more. On Saturday, December 20, there will be three shows featuring almost 20 acts -- with the hungry, the homeless and one sick little girl as the beneficiaries.

Pamland Central is hosting two of them. Fat Cat's is home to the PASAfest Benefit for SEARCH, which features Free Radicals, Nadiri, Salt of the Earth, Sally Tawfik, Dimitri's Rail, Steve Steele, the Quiet Type and JonBenet. The all-ages event is being organized by the Politically Active Students Association, and SEARCH, which, according to its mission statement, "serves Houston by assisting homeless people with dignity." (Shamefaced and timid homeless folks needn't apply, we guess.) The show runs from 4 p.m. to last call, and admission is four bucks for minors, five for adults.

A passel of local and regional MCs and DJs have banded together for a yuletide benefit for an unfortunate child to be held across the street at Walter's. The Tiny Tim in this case is little Morgan Trapp, a six-year-old girl who's being raised by a single mother. While most kids with only one parent probably could use at least a hug at Christmas, Trapp has it worse -- in September of this year, two weeks after her sixth birthday, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Eight of every ten children with ALL are cured, but treating the disease -- which often recurs later in life -- is expensive and painful. Chemotherapy has weakened her immune system immensely; she sometimes has to spend whole weeks at a time under quarantine at Texas Children's Hospital.

Talent on hand will include the Killer For Hire DJs (Ceeplus and Samplistik), local MC VG Skillz, 2003 Press Best Hip-hop award-winners Studemont Project, local hip-hop duo Work, local hip-hop trio Lower Life Form and local hip-hop quartet Southern Intellect, plus a couple of members of the San Antonio rap crew Prhymemates. All of these and more will be at Walter's conjuring up the ghosts of hip-hop future beats and rhymes.

But if your generous Christmas spirit draws you more toward downtown, you'll head over to the Engine Room to hand out cash to panhandlers on Pease Street. (Just kidding.) No, you'll go inside the Engine Room and revel in the positively Malmsteenian unleashed fucking fury of local punk stalwarts Poor Dumb Bastards, progressive rock/Britpoppers Luxurata, wild-ass Austin hard rockers Hobble and three-girls-and-a-guy raunch-punk rockers Slum City as they kick out the jams at the second annual Halt Hunger Extravaganza. Admission is $5 and a can or two of nonperishable chow.

All three of these shows are on December 20. The PASAfest Benefit for SEARCH is at Fat Cat's, 4216 Washington. For information, call 713-869-5263. The Morgan Trapp Benefit is at Walter's on Washington, 4215 Washington. For information, call 713-864-2727. The second annual Halt Hunger Extravaganza is at the Engine Room, 1515 Pease. For information, call 713-654-7846.

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John Nova Lomax
Contact: John Nova Lomax