In the words of Jack Nicholson in The Shining, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." So: Who wants to cut a rug? I like every type of music, and can get my groove on with just about any beat, so I hope to meet your dancing feet needs with the following suggestions while you are here in Houston! These are only places I have personally been, so I welcome other Houstonians to share places and types of music I might have forgotten. Feel free to comment and share your favorite hot spots.
As this is Texas, I must start off with country music. If you've ever seen the movie Urban Cowboy with John Travolta and Debra Winger, you would remember Gilley's Club in Pasadena, Texas—and the leading lady's quest to find a "real cowboy." Gilley's no longer exists here in the Houston area, but there's still a place where cowboy hats and cowboy boots rule the dance floor. If you're in the mood to two-step, it's called Big Texas Dance Hall & Saloon.
(Don't know how to two-step, but have always wanted to learn? You are in luck! Big Texas offers free dance lessons from 6-7 p.m. Need a cowboy hat? They'll be on sale at the Opening Celebration on the Green.)
The seventies, eighties, and nineties
For those of you who remember music that was easy to dance to (Michael Jackson, the Bee Gees, MC Hammer, KC and the Sunshine Band) and would like to revisit those days, look no further than The Hop .
My favorite jazz place is the Red Cat Jazz Café. The environment has an intimate setting, with musicians who will amaze you and food that will tantalize the senses. If you are looking for a laid-back, yet sophisticated setting, be sure to check it out.
If you are not familiar with Tejano music, check out the movie Selena, which should give you a good foundation. But for those of you who miss the sound of a live squeezebox, Tejano plays on at Hallabaloos, where you will entertained by Tejano greats such as Jay Perez, Emilio Navaira, Ruben "El Gato Negro" Ramos, and the "King of the Brown Sound," Little Joe. Ay te watcho! Or, see you later!
We're all aware that NAFSAns have been known to belt out a song or two—so what better place to do it than in Houston's karaoke bars? Check out this list of the top karaoke bars in the city, where you can sing to your heart's content.
If you are planning an overnight stay in nearby Austin, Sixth Street is where it's happening at night. The area's Web site can give you a good overview of what's available. On Sixth Street, you can find just about every type of music. I was able to dance the night away at a techno club on one occasion, and, on another, sit back and relax at a quaint blues lounge—all within a few blocks from each other.
Well that sums it up for me. Now it is your turn, fellow Houstonians. Where do you like to get your groove on?
Toni Rico has worked in international admissions and advising for more than 10 years, starting at Texas Tech University. She has since been at San Jacinto Community College, and is now at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, where she is an international student adviser.