Ice House

The Perfect Party

People we’d most like at our dinner table this month.

By Catherine Matusow March 13, 2013 Published in the April 2013 issue of Houstonia Magazine


We’re definitely inviting the great Lila Downs, and anyway, she’s already coming to town (Apr. 5). The question is, dare we serve the cuisine of her birthplace, Oaxaca? (Maybe some of those fried grasshoppers, er, chapulines from Hugo’s?) And how can we get the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and social activist to dish about dropping out of college to follow the Grateful Dead?

Tiny Tim, everyone’s favorite headline-making cat, resides in the pantry at Southside Place Animal Hospital—he’s too large for their usual cages. The poor guy, who once tipped the scales at 35 pounds, has been on a diet ever since taking up residence at the hospital, losing seven pounds over about a year. But now that he’s been diagnosed with (presumably terminal) cancer, we say let the poor guy eat whatever he wants. Free Tiny! 

When novelist and Mac-Arthur genius type Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn, visits Inprint this month (Apr. 22), he’ll fascinate fans (not to mention fellow dinner party guests) with his big brain and unusual generosity. To wit, Lethem is selling the rights to some of his stories at the bargain basement price of $1 apiece, in hopes of inspiring multiple stage and screen adaptations of his fiction, as well as song lyrics. Who knows, maybe he’ll find a new customer in Lila Downs. 

Nineteen-year-old Rice University history major Zack Kopplin has been called everything from the Antichrist to a godless liberal to the cause of Hurricane Katrina. (Rumor has it that he’s also behind psoriasis.) And why this name-calling, you ask? Because young Zack fought to keep science textbooks discussing evolution and climate change in Louisiana classrooms—also known as real science textbooks—and won.  Bravo, we say. In fact, for his prodigious education activism, we propose a toast to Kopplin. Or we would, if he were old enough to drink.

Jeff Bagwell gets an invitation to the party in honor of Astros Opening Day, yes, but also as a consolation prize for his Hall of Fame snub. After all he’s been through—steroid rumors, rehab, hooking up with the ex-wife of disgraced Houston hand doctor Michael Brown—the man deserves a decent meal. 

Local Twitter comedienne and rabble-rouser Jenny Johnson, best known for goading Chris Brown into quitting Twitter, could certainly inject some drama into our little affair. Will she insult the chapulines? Call Tiny Tim fat to his face? Try to slip Kopplin some vodka? You never know with Johnson, which is why we love her so much.  —C.M.

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