By Chris Lane
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By Aaron Reiss
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Purple and teal lights splash against the facade of the Audrey Jones Beck Building, drawing scenesters like mosquitoes to a backyard zapper. I'm trudging behind a couple of cute girls, and in crossing the intersection of Binz and Main, we're halting cars, causing the traffic cop to lose his shit and mutter something about "all these damn kids." Yeah, the kids are definitely out tonight for the Mixed Media Series at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Word about this party has been buzzing for weeks. Everyone knows that the pairing of the MFAH and Starbucks created the kickin' Beats of Basquiat music series. We all remember the hype of the first one with DJ Spooky, and the congested, pretty-people-packed pandemonium for the last show, which boasted the almighty Grand Master Flash. It was off the chain. It was a security guard's nightmare. It was, in short, hard to follow.
"Well, this ain't Beats," says a media pal, strolling out as I'm walking in. But the minute I'm through the doors, an emo couple who're aggressively making out nearly plow me over. The music's loud and the club kids are everywhere; I can't see for all the hairdos. At the museum gift shop, kids flip through art books while others dance. Heck, sure seems like Beats to me.
The party is more intimate, split among several areas. Some people are packed in a main room; others are checking out the exhibit "Gee's Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt." My friends and I visit the downstairs VIP room, where people stare at each other blankly while noshing free food and cocktails. Where Beats was one large mass of people, this joint has a lot more circulation. But we definitely need the circulation, since there's a rogue farter who seems to be following us (my friends swear it's not them).
Not a killer scene -- yet. So far, it feels like a chill house party. Just after 11 p.m., after Zin, Joe B. and Ceeplus drop their sets, headliner Breakestra take the outside stage. The minute the band goes into a rendition of Jurassic 5's "The Influence," folks inside start charging for the doors. The L.A. funk group is the consummate party band, dropping riffs from the DOC's "It's Funky Enough" ("It's getting funk-ay, it's getting funk-ay!") and the Roots' "Hot Hot Music." Now that people are tipsy and sweaty, it's starting to feel like the kind of big summer house party that you remember all week. As bandleader Miles Tackett leads us in "Fuck Bush!" and Busta Rhymes-inspired "Yaw-yaw-yaw, yah-yah!" chants, I realize that this may not be Beats, but I'll most def be back.