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Beat-niks

Two DJ crews refuse to conform to standard rave procedures

The flyers suck you in.

Since last July, flyers have been circulating around town for Starlight, a monthly party that takes place inside the confines of Club Waxx (1601 Leeland). The advertisements feature exotic, scantily clad women in photos that look like they were taken for Vogue back in 1968. According to Joe B., event organizer and one of the founding members of the long-running Houston DJ clique Rebel Crew, the funky flyers are a part of the night's aesthetic. The sexy photos "all come from Latin records," confirms Joe B.

Starlight, which goes down once again on Saturday at Club Waxx, is the sonic equivalent of those voluptuous gals from old Latin album covers. Every month Joe B. and an assemblage of local DJs -- Cipher, Reko Trill, Love Sun and Soul Free, among others -- come together to create a retro-nightlife experience with a tinge of Latin flavor. As a vet of Houston's nocturnal club scene, Joe B. wanted to bring back the feeling he used to get over at Rehab (709 Franklin), back when it was called Power Tools. "We try to adapt a small period of time in my life, down to just the classic elements," believes Joe B.

The Fly Girls: Diva Karina (left) and Sarah Fern accent Joe B.'s old-school beats with some old-fashioned sex appeal.
Laura Chiles
The Fly Girls: Diva Karina (left) and Sarah Fern accent Joe B.'s old-school beats with some old-fashioned sex appeal.
The Fly Girls: Diva Karina (left) and Sarah Fern accent Joe B.'s old-school beats with some old-fashioned sex appeal.
Laura Chiles
The Fly Girls: Diva Karina (left) and Sarah Fern accent Joe B.'s old-school beats with some old-fashioned sex appeal.
The Fly Girls: Diva Karina (left) and Sarah Fern accent Joe B.'s old-school beats with some old-fashioned sex appeal.
Laura Chiles
The Fly Girls: Diva Karina (left) and Sarah Fern accent Joe B.'s old-school beats with some old-fashioned sex appeal.

Joe B.'s old-school beats are accented by what he calls the Fly Girls, a couple of manic dancers whose job it is to get the crowd hyped and out on the dance floor. "Joe B. has been on the club scene for years," says Diva Karina, who shares go-go duties with Sarah Fern. "And he has been watching girls come in and out of the scene, and I guess he picked the best two candidates [who] really love and feel the music."

But Starlight is not alone in this business of alternative DJ bashes. Last month it faced competition from a new periodic party over at Valentino's (3704 Fannin; see "That '70s Place," by Margaret L. Briggs, December 12, 1999). Dubbed RhythmFresh, this evening of multifaceted house music is thrown together by another local unit of close-knit DJs. "We'd been discussing different ideals about the rave scene," says Michael King, who held the prototype RhythmFresh party in Hawaii in 1998. King is one of the many talents, including Sista Stroke (see "Spin Sisters," by Craig D. Lindsey, February 8), Kung Fu Pimp, Brotha Jibril and Jermaine Flowers, who have formed a collective to provide an antidote to the overinflated, overpriced raves filled with spaced-out, passed-out patrons. "We all had different things that we were fed up with," says King.

King says he wasn't aware of the other monthly gig on the same night. "I apologize to those people," says King, maybe too nice for his own good. "I had no idea until five minutes ago that they'd ever had anything going on." King and his crew aren't looking to step on any more toes. This Friday they'll hold a fund-raiser at CONXTION 2000 (800 Almeda Mall), where the gang will raise money to put on their next party, scheduled for Saturday, March 10.

King hopes his crew can someday collaborate with Joe B. and his people, but it looks like Joe B. is too busy turning Starlight into a cottage industry. After all, that is the name of his upstart record label, which is looking to drop some dance compilations in the coming year. Another Starlight-sponsored night, Joy Ride, which launched earlier this month and features the little-known dance genre "two-step," also plays monthly at Club Waxx. And starting in March, the whole Starlight crew will bring some much-needed looseness to Main Street on Tuesday nights, as Joe B. does a residency over at Prague (402 Main), while the rest of the team spins records across the street at Club 511 (511 Main).

And as for the flyers featuring those fine, fine ladies: As soon as Starlight reaches its one-year anniversary this summer, the crew will host an exhibit of all the flyers from parties past at its July show. Trust us, it'll suck you in.

Last Call

It looks like the big party this week is Absolute Battle III, going down at Valentino's on Saturday. This event features some of the city's top underground dance DJs laying down the smackdown on each other, as well as some visiting turntable terrorists. Local boy BMC will be on hand to spin circles -- literally -- around San Francisco vet DJ Flux. The natives will be even more restless: Audio 3 will face off against Comp One; Kung Fu Pimp will go toe-to-toe with Kid Rhythm; DJ Mir and DJ Fusion will lock horns in a duel to the death. All these fightin' words are to be taken figuratively, of course. But with the way the XFL has been putting folks to sleep on Saturday nights, this showdown should at least have a smidgen of action.

 
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