APRIL 16, 2007
It’s spring. You should be outdoors. Don’t be a wuss about it, make an Allegra cocktail, grease up with some SPF 45, and find yourself a place in the sun while there’s still enough ozone to keep it from baking you into a corporeal crouton. Soon enough the ice caps are going to melt, and you’ll spend your days on the roof in your sandbag redoubt with an AK-47, picking off Houstonian refugees who appear to be intent on raiding your food supply. After all, everybody knows Houstonians are big feeders. Houston is the only city to threepeat as “Fattest City in America.” That would be all fine and dandy if Houston had spectacular indigenous cuisine like New Orleans or Chicago, but the finest cuisine in Houston can usually be found on an interstate frontage road (not necessarily roadkill) or ordered through a squawk box at a drive-through, so that reasoning doesn’t hold water. What does hold water in Houston is the air, which is why home-cooked meals thereabouts tend to be something marinated – usually in sweat. To be fair, there’s not much worth leaving the air-conditioning for in Houston anyway – food or otherwise. Sure, you can swim in the tepid brown waters of the Gulf or take a careful, meandering stroll along the beach through the dead jellyfish, oil-slick tar, and rusty syringes, but that’s technically only in the resort community of Galveston. In Houston, your best bet for exercise is the mechanical bull at Gilley’s or maybe the stripper pole at Rick’s Cabaret. Outdoor activities are most anaerobic, like smoking. Smoking allows Houstonians to burn up the remaining trace elements of oxygen that the refineries miss. Breathing in a couple packs of Virginia Slims a day is preferable to freebasing refinery emissions. Plus, Virginia Slims have filters. So, if you’re not feeling the urgency to get outside and enjoy what could be the final halcyon days before the apocalypse, sketch up a little mental scenario of hordes of starving, wheezing, sunburned, nicotine-deprived Houstonians thundering toward Austin like buffalo across the prairie, only slower … much, much slower. You may find yourself wanting to stockpile several million rounds of ammo just thinking about it, but you’re probably better off gathering your rosebuds while ye may – sort of like a Hummer owner. Get out there and enjoy Mother Nature while you drive a big rusty metal stake through her heart. One way to that this weekend is to fire up your SUV (the one with the Sierra Club bumper sticker) and four-wheel it down to Auditorium Shores for the Austin Reggae Fest, a two-day event featuring reggae and world music acts from across the US and beyond. Saturday’s lineup features seven bands including Austin’s Grimy Styles and is headlined by the Easy Star All-Stars, a collective of New York musicians responsible for releasing reggae versions of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Radiohead’s OK Computer. Sunday features seven more bands including Austin’s Mau Mau Chaplains and is headlined by Jamaican artists Morgan Heritage. Entrance is $10 plus two donations to the Capital Area Food Bank, which, if nothing else, may buy you a little more time to fortify your redoubt when the ice caps melt.