Black Barbie Decides to Pack It In

Black Barbie's Beth Howl and Lou Miller wanted to offer Houston “a place where alternative musical ideas can blossom,” Miller told us in November 2015.
Black Barbie's Beth Howl and Lou Miller wanted to offer Houston “a place where alternative musical ideas can blossom,” Miller told us in November 2015.
Photo by Marco Torres

Black Barbie, the former taqueria on Canal Street that over the past two years has become a haven for a wide swath of anti-pop musicians, many of them local, will cease operations after tomorrow night. According to a message on the club's Facebook page earlier this afternoon, unspecified “recent events” are behind the club's closure.


I will be coordinating with outside promoters to get the remaining shows moved elsewhere. We're still going to book shows whenever possible but not there. It's been a good run, we love Houston and being part of the "golden age" of live music here has been an honor. Check out the photos at black barbie album, it's interesting to see 2 years of hipsters and punks being drunk and goofy and free.

We're going to focus on bands and raising kids now, have fun Houston, if you need help setting up a show, you know who to call!!


Black Barbie had been run by Lou Miller, of the local space-rock band Auto-Fellatio Dreams, and his partner, Beth Howl. Bookings really started to pick up after Mango's, which welcomed a similar cross-section of underground-oriented music, closed last March. Earlier this month, Black Barbie hosted its two-night "Retro Death" festival, with performers including Pfaffenberg, Cop Warmth, Glasgow Smile, Pleasure 2, Fantasy Ritual, Existencia, Forced Fem and Talk Sick Brats.

“In a little more than a year, Black Barbie has quickly become a crucial Houston venue, home to the kind of shows and events that struggle to find a place in more uptight and commercially oriented clubs,” the Houston Press's Tex Kerschen wrote in our November 2015 cover story, “The Eastside Sound System.” Kerschen is also a member of Pleasure 2.

It's a sad day for both the players and fans of the kind of local musicians who have always found a way to, if not exactly thrive, but survive at a reasonable level of comfort thanks to venues like Black Barbie. If there's any consolation to be found this evening, it's that they don't have to look very far to find a similarly open-minded stage a few miles away over at Satellite Bar.

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