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A friend and I got to talking the other day about communities within communities, like how our little universe is basically restricted to the near West Side and, if we’re feeling adventurous, the scene by Texas Christian University and the bars around the Stockyards.

Meanwhile, as my pal and I somewhat grudgingly conceded, there are dozens of pocket-communities in town just like ours in spirit, with friendly hands-on owners, professional bartenders, (professional?) drunks, social hierarchies, heroes, villains, and rockstars. Really, I can hear friends of mine saying? There are people here as cool as we are?! Yes, kinfolk. Yes, there are.

Case in point: There’s an entire community of DJ/dance people here – here! in the 817! – whose members are probably as reluctant to breach our turf as we are theirs, maybe because we have dissimilar interests, or come from different backgrounds, or simply can’t rationalize driving across town and blowing money on gas that could be used on booze. Plus, as the old saying goes, we all wanna go where everybody knows our name, and not just sometimes, but all the time – or at least on the one or two nights a week we get to go a-socializin’. We yearn to be embraced by the creature comforts of our homes-away-from-homes, where we don’t have to explain ourselves, which, especially for lazy mo-fos like my buddy and me, keeps the small talk to a minimum and the drinking to the max.

But when summertime and balmy weather roll around, even the staunch Westsider in me gets the urge to bust out, to try new things, to meet new people, and possibly – possibly – to have a good time; perhaps a different good time than what I’m used to, but a good time nonetheless.

I’m not saying I’ll be going to Summer Solstice at Benbrook Lake next Saturday (June 14), or to Deckay Vol. 1 on Boat Club Road this Saturday, or to guitarist Clint Strong’s show in Denton tomorrow (Thursday). But I might, just might, talk myself into going to one or all three, not just because summer’s here and I’m feeling caged in but also because one more lame night on the West Side will really have me itching for some new scenery.

A sk8teboarder party sponsored by a Southlake shop called Collective, the Deckay event will take place at 8529 Boat Club Rd., where paintings on decks will be exhibited, and cool music will be played or performed.

Next Saturday’s Summer Solstice is a mega-party, from 4 a.m. ’til sunrise, with three kegs, several live bands and DJs, horseshoe and washer tourneys, prizes, hotdogs and hamburgers, and Wii. No glass, no one under 21. Partiers are encouraged to bring folding chairs, blankets, tents – basically, your regular outdoor-festival stuff. For more info, visit www.myspace.com/summersolsticeftw.

Guitarist Strong, who’s played with everyone from Willie and Merle to jazzbos Red Garland and Herb Ellis, will be joined onstage by saxman Mario Cruz (Ray Charles, The Boss, Joe Cocker, Jaco) and other jammers. Visit www.clintstrong.net. For more on Deckay, visit www.collectiveboardshop.com. – Anthony Mariani

Texas-Sized Special
I’m not so much a bar connoisseur as something of a functioning alcoholic. I’m not only constantly on the lookout for new places in which to get sloshed but also for any extra excuse to do so, such as an awesome (read: quick) bartender or, even better, a mind-erasingly great drink special. The Ginger Man Pub is a regular haunt of mine, for several excellent reasons: an astounding, massive beer selection, good pub food, and a comfortable wood-paneled interior that brings out the mountain man in me. I also go there a lot ’cause, well, it’s close to my house.

My Ginger Man visits have mostly been weekenders – and I’m a little pissed about that, because I just found out that, every Monday, the Cultural District pub serves up all Texas draught beers for $3. True, there are cheaper Monday-night specials out there, but usually the fare is not of the caliber of, say, (the very tasty) Live Oak’s Big Bark and Hefeweizen, Real Ale’s Fireman’s Four and Devil’s Backbone, St. Arnold’s Lawnmower, Summer Pils, and IPA, and just about everything from the Shiner brewery as well as Fort Worth’s own Rahr. And that’s only a part of the list. See you Monday. – Joshua Loewen

Contact Last Call at lastcall@fwweekly.com.

The Collective
1234 Main St, Southlake. 817-488-9602.

The Ginger Man Pub
3716 Camp Bowie Blvd, FW. 817-886-2327

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