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Numbers Game

Of hell spawns, dinner theater and a venue actually old enough to have traditions.

Maybe Wikipedia isn't this generation's great beacon of truths after all.

Here's a piece of how they summarize the existence of Pinhead, the guy from that horror movie franchise Hellraiser:

"Pinhead is the leader of the cenobites, formerly human creatures from an extradimensional realm who travel to Earth through the Lament Configuration, and harvest human souls."

Not sure what, like, 60 percent of that means, but it sounds very unsettling, and kind of like Pinhead might be a bit of a prick. And that's why we are questioning Wikipedia's validity, because here's something else you maybe didn't know about Pinhead: He's a pretty sweet guy. And he'll totally pose for pictures if you ask him to.

It's a little before midnight on the Saturday before Halloween, and Numbers (300 Westheimer), one of Houston's most important, wonderfully bizarre nightclubs, is nearing the thick of its annual Halloween party. 

Pinhead is here. Pee-wee Herman is here. Thor is here. A bloodied bride is here. A maid (probably French) and some witches (probably not French) are here. A guy that looks like he did a gross amount of cardio just so he could take his shirt off on Halloween and impress everyone with his abs is here.  

Before the end of the evening, 600 or so people will be here, crammed together, dancing and drinking and sweating and sporadically popping outside to smoke. The big Halloween party has become a tradition at Numbers, because it's a venue old enough to actually have traditions.

Numbers originally opened up in the late '70s as a dinner theater called Million Dollar City Dump (whoops). Shortly thereafter, the owner realized that maybe that wasn't the best idea and changed it into a gay club called Numbers. Following that, it was remodeled and rebranded as a gay club called Babylon. (There was a lot of competition among gay clubs in the area back then, so the "close the club, open it up under a different name" thing happened a lot)

After that, it became "#'s 2" (the marquee from that time period is still up). And finally, in 1987, it reopened again as the Numbers everyone adores today, the live music venue and "progressive dance music" club that's become one of the most meaningful parts of Houston nightlife lore.

Rolling StoneSpinDetails and others have written about it.

"It's classic," says Ben Vallanfant, a 33-year-old writer. "I started coming here 13 years ago, and it hasn't changed. It's not just a trend or a fad. You don't have to be self-conscious. You can be goth, prep, it doesn't matter. I come dressed preppy all the time."

The nonjudgmental thing, it's a common theme when talking to Numbers patrons.

"I've only been in Houston about five months, and I've been here every Friday night," says Katie Tong, 31. "I look forward to coming here because you don't have to try to fit in."

Note: Friday night is '80s Night. The astounding Wes Wallace is the DJ. There are few theme nights as sturdy and enjoyable.

Most have known Numbers as a live-music venue. They've booked more than 6,000,000 bands (estimating) since their opening, and have entertained a wide cast of acts, ranging from local underground hip-hop showcases to The Cranberries. It's slowed recently, as the booking company they were working with was taken over and is now affiliated with the House of Blues camp, but they still on average host live music three or so times a month.

"It's a great place to people-watch," says Rudy, the manager, standing outside the club answering questions. He is dressed head-to-toe like a mummy. "I've been here a long time. It's just a really great place." Almost on cue, someone in a group of people shouts his name as they walk inside.

Rudy's right — Numbers is a great place. Even the cenobites are cordial.
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LAST CALL

Two things: First, were you to rank Excellent Nightlife Moments, there would not be many higher than Standing In The Middle Of A Dance Floor Packed With People Wearing Costumes When The DJ Decides To Play The Wicked Electronica Of Orgy's Redub Of Blue Monday. It is a worthy amount of fun. Second, one of the regular running events at Numbers is called Underworld, a goth/industrial theme night. It's basically like if a bunch of characters from Tim Burton's brain came to life. It will take place again Saturday, November 12 (DJ Mina, Vampire James and The Dead Bang). To learn more about Underworld, which you pretty much should feel compelled to do, visit www.underworldnightclub.com. There are pictures.

 
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1 comments
Cmfwyp
Cmfwyp

You know that wasn't really Pinhead right? It was probably just someone in a costume. And wikipedia is right that he's the leader of the Cenobites.

 
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