Miss Rockefeller's? Marcia Ball and Texas Johnny Brown Headline iFest Benefit February 12

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Like many of you - we're guessing, anyway - Rocks Off never saw a show at Rockefeller's. We didn't get inside the Loop much during high school (too busy checking groceries) and, although we managed to go to Mary Jane's, the Satellite Lounge and maybe the Abyss (it's a little fuzzy) on various trips home from Austin, never made it to the venue known as "The Granddaddy of Houston Nightclubs" during its generation-long run from the late '70s to the late '90s.

We were always kind of sad about that, but now it looks like we're going to get a chance after all. Unlike most of its Washington Avenue brethren, Rockefeller's didn't become a pizza-joint parking lot, thin-walled townhomes or valet-swarmed Ed Hardy refuge. Now it's a private-events hall, which means it still hosts the occasional concert provided the price is right. It didn't even change its name much - it's now known as Rockefeller Hall.

Monday afternoon, the Houston International Festival announced that two performers no stranger to either Rockefeller's or iFest, Louisiana-born piano queen Marcia Ball and 81-year-old Houston blues icon Texas Johnny Brown, would play a benefit for iFest's education programs at Rockefeller Hall Friday, February 12 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $38, or half-price with an advance purchase of a four-day iFest pass for $114.

Speaking of Houston's two-weekend spring party - whose "spotlight country" is more of a spotlight region this year, namely the Caribbean - is scheduled for April 17-18 and 24-25 in the area surrounding City Hall and Tranquility Park. No 2010 performers have been officially announced, but Pollstar lists Ball playing the first weekend alongside Brave Combo, the Sisters Morales and Tab Benoit, while George Clinton & the P-Funk All-Stars, juju master (the Nigerian-born Western pop/traditional African hybrid) King Sunny Ade and acclaimed blues belter Janiva Magness are down for the second.

For ticket information and anything else iFest-related, see www.ifest.org. Expect an official lineup announcement soon.

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