This week the city of Houston will be pummeled with celebs, reality-show dander, 30K-wannabe socialites and pro athletes in town for the NBA All-Star Game at the Toyota Center.
Though the game isn't until Sunday evening, the parties and madness will begin on Wednesday and run until next Monday morning, or even Tuesday, with NBA events and parties all over the city.
Hell, as long as the celebs are spending money, they can stay until after RodeoHouston season.
(Except for Chris Brown.)
All of the clubbiest and most posh bars and clubs in our city have already been booked up, and if you want a hotel for a few nights, expect to pay ridiculous amounts of money for even the most modest rooms. I have seen hotels in even Clear Lake going for almost 20 percent over their usual nightly rates.
Obviously these people all need somewhere to eat, drink and experience what Houston has to offer, right? As of now, it looks like the weather won't be terrible for exploring, either.
To welcome the Jay-Zs, Ke$shas and the Justin Timberlakes of the world, I have come up with a list of places, people and things for our visiting celebs to eat, drink and throw money at.
And please, do not laugh at the Reliant Astrodome, just sitting there off 610 all gray and gross. We just don't know what to do with the damned thing and we are too sentimental to do anything but stare at it.
Also, what did you think of your mandatory Texas welcome gifts you got at the airport and the hotel? That nickel-plated six-shooter and ten-pound bag of raw beef should tide you over for the duration of your stay, and remember....those calfskin cowboy boots that you were fitted for while you were sleeping on the plane do take a few days to break in. They are actually your size.
9. Beware The METRORail No no, I don't mean do not ride this engineering marvel of human ingenuity and civic unity because it's unsafe, haunted, smelly or because there be zombies afoot. Don't drive into it, dummies. Well, remind your driver not to drive into it. You probably won't be driving around here anyway, so what do you even care.
Note: This doesn't apply to Chris Brown, though. I am sure a swinging dick like him could stop that train by just standing in front of it and looking at it all scary-like.
8. Yelp Houston! Visiting celebs and peanut gallery dignitaries, go to every place that Yelp recommends in Houston. Everyone on there is wise and cultured, and their opinions are ridiculously valid.
Note: Yes, this is a not-so-clever way of funneling some of you to places where us normal people won't have to do deal with your entourages and security details made up of third and fourth cousins.
7. Fuck a Diet You're here in Houston to party and celebrate people voting online for their favorite NBA players on their lunch breaks, not to win a beauty contest. Moon Tower Inn and Hubcap Grill, two of Houston's fattiest and most fabulous eateries, are within just minutes of the downtown area you will be staying in. There's no liquor here, but that's what flasks are for. Ms. Kardashian, the hot dogs at Moon Tower are just the thing for the growing Yeezy in your womb.
Note: Be careful with that random pizza that comes out of the pizza police van outside all the bigger bars. It's good and all, because it is pizza, but you'll only get one slice because drunk folks turn into rabid dogs around square cardboard boxes.
6. Lakewood Church You know Lakewood Church -- located in the former home of the Summit and the Compaq Center -- as Joel Osteen's main gig, when he's not writing books and smilin'. What better way to recharge or sober up after a week's worth of alcoholic activity than taking in an 8:30 or 11:00 church service on Sunday morning before the big game later that night? It's cool, there is a Starbucks there and if you sit close enough to the stage, I hear there is continental breakfast service. 5. OKRA Charity Saloon If Bun B says it's cool, well, I don't know what else to say here. OKRA is a charity bar where part of of the proceeds from each cocktail goes to a charity in Houston. So you can bring your entire entourage and drink the bar dry and write it off as a charitable donation or something. I would ask your lawyer first about that, R. Kelly. I don't want to be the reason you finally go to jail.
4. Syrup Come on, live a little. If someone with a "713" tattooed on their eyelids or hand offers you a cup of the stuff, have a swig. It makes the crowds a little more bearable.
3. Local Music Is Good for You Some of Houston's best local rappers like Killa Kyleon and Doughbeezy will be at Fitz on Thursday night, a haunt in the Heights made of wood. Over at Walter's and the House Of Creeps, like 40 punk and metal bands are playing this thing called Badass Weekend if you wanna hang with real folks and not hangers-on, starfuckers and people whose dads own casinos in Vegas.
There is also A Fistful of Soul at the Big Top off Main if you wanna dance to old soul music 45s with kids dressed like the cast of This Is England. It's free, by the way, and you can get ahhhhthentick Texas tacos next door. Go with the barbacoa, and you'll sleep like a baby.
Note: Neither Walter's nor Fitz has bottle service or a specific VIP area, but I am sure if you are nice to Tobin -- one of the longtime employees there -- he will kindly allow you to have a seat in the balcony if you wish.
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2. Menil Park Drankin' Come drink a warm six-pack of Lone Star -- a foamy Texas delicacy, be sure you get tall boys -- on some half-dead grass with some surly baristas and retail drones as they take foggy Instagram pictures of you from far away and make fun of you. Are you that guy/girl from that one band/show/movie? Probably.
1. The Museum District The Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Health Museum, the Houston Museum of Humidity and Ball Sweat, the Houston Museum of Museum Museums and the Contemporary Arts Museum are all big parts of the museum district here in Houston. Thank God there are bars nearby in the Montrose to help you forget all the arty old shit you have to see and deal with, blech!
Note: But seriously, everything is pretty cool over there. Even the Czech Museum.