Breakdancing, Beer and General Gnarliness at Neopopstreetfunk 3

Neopopstreetfunk 3 further solidified our belief that if you're living on a budget -- and in this economy, who isn't? -- weekend gallery openings are the way to go. Hot music, a lively crowd, plenty of thought-provoking visual stimulation, and last but certainly not least, beer, all for the bargain price of absolutely free.

The aforementioned beer was a-flowin' in the Heights on Friday night for the third installment of the Best of Houston Award-winning Neopopstreetfunk, founded and organized by Kevin Sechelski and Nicky Davis. Their idea to create a showcase incorporating work from both nationally acclaimed and burgeoning local artists was born a few years back in a garage over "a large quantity" of Lone Star beer and has since evolved into one of the most dynamic and well-attended art shows in Houston.

The party was well underway by the time we arrived at Gallery M Squared a little past 8 p.m., and the dimly lit 7,000 square-foot space once home to the Heights Theater pulsed with energy and music. The place was teeming with people, a large number of whom were gathered in circular formation to watch a kid no older than five perform an enthusiastic break dance routine on the floor in front of the DJ booth (he was still dancing when we left an hour and a half later).

We found Sechelski near the back wall, onto which a video of Davis and himself meticulously hanging art work was projected at high speed. "We like to do one of these at every event," he told us, gesturing to the rapidly moving images behind him, adding, "Just to give people a glimpse at what goes into the preparation process."

He asked if we had any favorites, and then laughed when we made reference to a Tim Burton-esque wall-mounted statue at the front entrance and a gigantic piece of popcorn hanging overhead, as both are part of the gallery's permanent collection. But there was a lot to love about Neopopstreetfunk 3 as well, particularly Coolidge's pop-culture-infused street art, Paul Horn's richly detailed, three-dimensional collages, and a lifelike portrayal of beauty, innocence and urban decay by Kevin Peterson, one of a series of paintings featuring children juxtaposed with graffiti-laden industrial material.

All in all, the evening is best summed up with a line from the Neopopstreetfunk Web site, simply stated: "We host some gnarly shows."

Neopopstreetfunk 3 is on view at Gallery M Squared through August 28, featuring original works from the Houston-based Bamm Collective (comprised of artists ACK!, Brisa Jimenez, Eric Castorena, EYESORE, Michael C. and Molly Rodriguez), Roberto Del Rio, Dual, Dallas artist Hatziel Flores, Graham Franciose, Olga Galindo, Paul Horn, Nosego, Kevin Peterson, Jessica Rice, and organizers Nicky Davis and Kevin Sechelski.

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