Things You Can Do Until the Good Shows Come Back

If you reach mid-month and feel the boredom begin to gnaw at your brain like some Lovecraftian monster, get to Reliant Center next weekend (January 18-19) for the America's Got Talent open auditions. You're sure to see something truly nightmarish there - particularly if Howard Stern shows up. Even if he doesn't, there's bound to be thousands of our least talented neighbors on hand, all seeking momentary fame by the most ridiculous means necessary.

 If you're lucky, some of our local music phenoms will show up, too. Wouldn't it be cool to say you saw so-and-so at the local tryouts before so-and-so went onto AGT musical glory?  And, even if we don't have a so-and-so good enough to win right now, we probably have at least one guy who juggles Barbie doll heads while riding a tricycle dressed only in an adult undergarment. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.

Have you done all the things on this list I put out in 2012? You have? Oh bother. Well... in that case... do you have an excess of space where you live? Do you enjoy meeting strangers?

Have you ever wanted the headaches thrill that comes with putting on a show? Well then, why not host a house party? Just because the mainstream headliners aren't on the road doesn't mean there aren't bands looking for places to play. Be a hero and host some live music. We'll all come hang out. It'll be rad. CORY GARCIA

A lot of crappy junk is unique to the holiday season, much of which I could always live without, but thankfully White Elephant parties do not fall into this category. Somehow I managed to miss out on this tradition for the majority of my life, so maybe that is why I love them so much now.

This past year there was some good competition at Griff's, where I discovered my friend Nick to be the Bourbon Whisperer; a friend's party got heated when a butt plug was introduced in the "non-ironic" portion of the game.  With all this fun, it makes me wonder why this phenomenon is saved only for the days of red and green?

This lousy live-music January, I think I'm going to host a White Elephant for swapping some vinyl. Everyone can bring something more coveted and something completely ridiculous, then let the stealing and trading commence. Who doesn't like to open gifts anyway?? SELENA DIERINGER

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I consider myself a person who goes out quite a lot, but the truth is I spend a lot more of my time seeing live music or going to bars than taking in what the city really has to offer. Therefore, one of my New Year's resolutions was to discover some more things to do around town. Here's some ideas I came up with that might also help you deal with the downtime when there's no good concerts.

  • Trivia nights: If you're an obsessive like me, any pop culture trivia night could net you some serious bucks.
  • Hookah lounges: If you enjoy fine tobacco, Houston has some great places to offer for this hobby.
  • Stand-up and open-mikes: Houston used to be a comedy hub, and it still has plenty to check out if you want a good laugh.

Seriously, this city is wide open with ideas, and there's no reason to be stuck indoors just cause all your favorite bands are touring Canada right now. COREY DEITERMAN

Here at the Houston Press, we're always talking about how amazing Houston is and how much fun can be had around the city. Unfortunately, the concert calendar is looking a little bare, and it's hard to find reason to go out when we're getting insane arctic chills every other day. Even so, Houston is open and ready for you.

So here's what I suggest. If you're used to spending, say, $20 or so for a concert ticket, take that money and split it up. Whether you want to go to one of the two food truck parks (Houston Food Park is located downtown, while the Mangum Food Park is closer to Timber Grove and Garden Oaks) or check out one of the new restaurants on our food blog Eating Our Words -- there are so many delicious new places to eat for under $10 dollars a person, and trying new things can actually be really exciting.

Save the leftover $10 dollars and for later, and go grab a few drinks somewhere before hitting up a midnight movie. It might sound boring, but I once saw Labyrinth on the big screen. Let's just say that musical numbers, David Bowie in spandex and the magical brain of Jim Henson mix well with a few drinks. ALYSSA DUPREE

I'm not sure what you're doing with your time off in this chilly live music-free month of January, but I can tell you what I'm doing. I'm playing catch-up on a year's worth of music that somehow slipped under my radar or I just flat-out didn't get a chance to listen to. I feel like I've neglected any form of new recorded music throughout all of 2013, so I'm going to make it up by listening to an album a day that I missed.

First up is Dr. Dog's B-Room. If any of you know me, you'd be ashamed that I haven't even given it a listen yet. They've been one of my favorite bands of the last ten years, and for some reason this one never made it to my earwaves. I mean, I kind of heard it browsing records at Cactus one day, but I haven't given it that turn-it-up-to-38-in-my-car chance. On a side note, how did Jeep come to the decision that 38 was going to be the highest level that its volume went?

Next, even though I think I've been putting off listening to this one for a reason, is the Avett Brothers' Magpie and the Dandelion. They've fallen off a bit on my radar ever since they started employing drums, electric guitars, keyboards and Rick Rubin, but I'll still have to give it a chance. Maybe they'll go back to making fast-paced bluegrass and meaningful crooners like days before. Doubt it, but maybe. JIM BRICKER


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