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Maller, Shot Caller

CONXTION 2000 is hippin' and hoppin' despite its mall address

In the Almeda Mall parking lot, right across from JCPenney, is CONXTION 2000. The club is nowhere near NoDo, but it's getting by all right. Consider this a case study in serendipity.

CONXTION 2000 has some things working for and against it. First, the locale: no competition, but no surrounding nightlife to spur interest. To nightflies who like buzzing from club to club, CONXTION 2000 looks just plain lonesome out there in the middle of mall-land. Second, the clientele: The club's busiest night is Sunday, when the Box (97.9 FM) sets up shop in the parking lot. Some see CONXTION 2000 as a last resort -- especially on God's day of rest. One CONXTION 2000 patron says she goes to the place because, basically, she has "no choice."

The best things about CONXTION 2000 are its atmosphere and eclectic programming. Its lights, sound system and hardwood floors -- vital necessities that some of the higher-profile hangouts don't even have -- give the club its class and warmth, like your single uncle's bachelor pad (replete with Guy and Luther Vandross CDs all over the place). "The downtown scene is overrated," says John Tran, the Friday-night resident DJ who goes by the name Kung Fu Pimp. "It's more of a meat market down there. People don't appreciate the music because they're too busy figuring out who they're gonna go home with. The people who attend CONXTION know the music and appreciate the music and have a good time."

CONXTION also has multiple-personality disorder, which is a good thing, since it attracts a different group of regulars depending on the day of the week. On Thursday, when the club's name is shortened to "C2K," Latino rap and dance is served up. On Friday, the club gets transformed into an underground DJ lair called "Karma," and on Saturdays, the place is dubbed "Club P.L.U.R.," which spins techno and some mainstream dance. The club truly collects its loot on Sunday when it reverts to its complete name. Think heavy-rotation rap. Over and over and over "This was something that everybody used to do in the late '80s and early '90s," says owner Anthony Montoya of his club's multiple special nights. "We're just trying to bring that back a little bit, to let everybody know, you know, that it's different."

Eight years ago Montoya opened an earlier incarnation of CONXTION in Clear Lake. When the club's lease was up in December 1998, Montoya moved the party over to a place in Webster, which was a little small. Last December he found the current spot (formerly a Tejano nightclub and a movie theater).

By the looks of things, CONXTION has been meeting its goals. It's the open, unpretentious nature of the club that makes customers, as well as contributing talent, willing to venture out to the Almeda-Genoa area. "You just like the people that work there," says the Box's Madd Hatta. "These are kind of like your family members, you know. We know everybody here. We're comfortable with 'em. And you can't really say that about every club you go to."

CONXTION 2000 is open from 9 p.m. till 2 a.m. Thursdays, 9 p.m. till 4 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 9 p.m. till 3 a.m. Sundays. Admission is $7 (over 21) or $10 (under 21). Attire is casual.

Last Call

As is the case with many holidays, people forget why we celebrate Labor Day. It's not to strike up a barbecue or stop wearing white or take in another cheesy Jerry Lewis telethon. Instead, it's a day to pay tribute to the American workers who have bled (and continue to bleed) to make this country what it is today. On Saturday, September 2, local party union the Scooby-Doo Crew will have a Labor Day celebration of its own called Operation Boom. It takes place at Club Diesel (5851 Southwest Freeway). Some of the city's finest DJs and PA talents (Cee-Plus, Ethan Klein, Akshun Kid, Chicken George) will be bringing entertainment to the stressfully employed. For more details, call (713)935-2093.

The next night, Motivation Productions will launch the debut of its purportedly monthly event called Welcome to Our House at Hyperia (2001 Commerce). Along with local turntablists like Zakaos, DJ Call and Baby Cee, this gathering will also feature two hardworking stars of techno, Andy Hughes, the UK producer/remixer best known for his work with the Orb, and Deee-Lite's Super DJ Dmitry, who will be performing as well as promoting his upcoming solo album. For more data, you can call (713)866-6504 or check out the company's Web site, www.motivationproductions.com.

 
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