For quite some time now, the A>S>H>S Warehouse (2805 Pease) has been a hotbed of alternative entertainment in central Houston. Every Monday, Thursday and Friday, Audible Stellar Hypnotic Situations, or A>S>H>S, a sextet that dabbles in genre-tripping percussion pieces, records and rehearses in the upstairs studio. In a large open space next door, the performance artists of CoRE (another acronym, meaning Constructs of Ritual Evolution) often practice the art of dangling from the ceiling by virtue of the salmon and shark hooks piercing their flesh.
Recently A>S>H>S and CoRE have been banding together to throw, shall we say, interesting public exhibitions. But a few months ago, the authorities made sure these groups would not be doing their shows -- well, at least not at their near-eastside warehouse.
It all started on Saturday, August 25, when the warehouse was home to an event called "Fuck This Rave." The cops and a couple of fire marshals shut the place down an hour and a half before the event, which was to be hosted by a group of experimental electronic-noise mavens known as the Briokids.
"They ended up harassing a whole bunch of people later on that night," says Briokids co-founder Spencer "Ickoo" Smith, referring to the would-be attendees who arrived unaware of the cancellation. "A number of people ended up receiving tickets for things that weren't even pertaining to the party. A guy got a ticket for throwing a beer can. Another guy got a ticket for riding his bike down the street." Even the members of the CoRE group, who were practicing in their space next door at the time, were told to beat it by a befuddled fire marshal, who perhaps thought they were putting on some kind of drug orgy/sex show. "I don't know what they were thinking," says CoRE creator/director Steve Joyner, chuckling.
The authorities deemed the venue unfit for public gatherings because building owners did not have the proper occupancy permits. A>S>H>S percussionist/ producer Jason Williams, who leases the warehouse but was not present during the raid, speculates that this was the work of a tip-off from another party crew. "Somebody had to say, 'Oh, why don't you fuck with A>S>H>S -- they don't have permits,' " says Williams. Although he isn't pointing any fingers, it's worth noting that on that same evening, an oft-delayed party called "Damn That DJ Made My Day," organized by the Dance Junkies crew, also was shut down by authorities.
The warehouse ban couldn't have come at a worse time. At the end of September, Williams and his A>S>H>S team were scheduled to celebrate their one-year anniversary at the venue, but that party has been put on the back burner. And since A>S>H>S has gained a reputation for being "extreme" entertainers (which they aren't), it has been difficult for them to find a temporary home for their nighttime endeavors. Fortunately, they have found safety in Numbers (300 Westheimer). There, last Thursday, A>S>H>S and CoRE were together again for an evening called "Balancing the Scales."
Despite the fact that Thursdays at Numbers are associated with goths, A>S>H>S is not an outfit for those who have a taste for the black arts. "We don't play gothic music," says Williams. The same thing goes for their CoRE collaborators. "We don't necessarily follow the gothic thing," says Joyner. "I wanna get into more respectable places, 'cause what we do is performance art. We don't belong in venues like clubs. We're not a rock band, we're a performance art group, and we're very serious about what we believe in."
Williams is working to get the warehouse up and running again, so you can hear "tribal and ambient noiz" while watching people hang on hooks the way it oughta be -- in a big-ass warehouse.
Bobby Rodriguez, head of the nighttime event team Bigtyme Productionz, is fed up with his massive get-togethers being called, well, the R-word. So, he has decided to come up with a name all his own. "Are you ready for this?" he asks. "I've already trademarked this term. It's called hip-tronica."
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Yes indeedy. From now on, Rodriguez would like all his grand shindigs to be known as hip-tronica events. And this Saturday, October 27, he will unload "Fun House 2001," the first of his many hip-tronic gatherings, over at Texas Southern University's Health & Physical Education Arena (3100 Cleburne). A sequel to last year's "Fun House" party with headliners Cypress Hill, this nonrave will continue the hip-hop-meets-techno vibe by bringing down popular MCs Busta Rhymes and Dilated Peoples to perform alongside such local spinners as Jonathan Youmans, Bruno B and Johnny J. But if you're looking for a more fancy-dress type of evening to match this time of year, the folks at vinylPimp.com are throwing their first annual Pimps, Hoes, Vamps and Vixens Ball this Friday, October 26, at Prague (402 Main Street). This is not to be confused with the Pimp-n-Prostitute Ball happening the following night at the R&R Lounge (3512 Main Street).
"I love Halloween and have heard of other pimp-and-ho balls in the past," says vinylPimp event organizer Joe Applewhite. "Vamps and vixens tend to bring out a sexy crowd too, so why not put them together."
So, does this mean that actual pimps and hoes are invited to this ball?
Says Applewhite, "Not by me."