Concerts

Read My Lips: No "New Slaves" For Houston

For the past couple of weeks, the suddenly punk Kanye West has been promoting his forthcoming album "Yeezus" by projecting the video for the single "New Slaves" on 66 buildings across the globe, from Chicago to Berlin. On Friday, the word came down that Houston was next on the list: "New Slaves" would be projected on to the sides of three buildings inside the Loop, including a delicious locale for the final screening of the night: the George Bush monument on Buffalo Bayou.

A Kanye takeover of our civic tribute to 41, the Presidential papa of the guy Yeezy so famously asserted did not care about black people? Come on. Who could miss that?

Well... everybody, as it turned out. The promotors behind West's planned projections in H-Town finished Friday oh-for-three on the screenings, thanks to an impressive shutout from HPD.

The most spectacular flameout occurred at the Rothko Chapel in Montrose, where "New Slaves" was scheduled to be shown at 9:45 p.m. A crowd gathered to witness the spectacle, only to be tossed by the fuzz, who pulled their squad cars right on to the grass and ordered people to disperse or be charged with trespassing. Despite the presence of flashing lights and a multitude of electronic bloops and bleeps, performance art this was not.

At 11 p.m., I headed over to the Bush monument, where a small group of people gathered near the statue of James A. Baker. There was no evidence of any projector, promoter or punk-rap prophet anywhere in the vicinity. Damn. Strike two.

Finally, a ray of hope: Press photographer Marco Torres called me up and told me that a projector was present and accounted for at the Central Library on McKinney, along with a P.A. and promotional staff. Game on.

After hustling a few blocks over to the library, I discovered that the first screening of the night had been delayed by technical difficulties since 9 p.m. Rumor had it among the gathering of 50 people or so that a cable was missing, or maybe defective. Or maybe just cursed. We were all assured that new equipment was en route, and that we should just stay put.

Hey, why not? How long does it take to fix a cable? Well, it takes a really long-ass time, as it turned out. The crowd swelled as we waited -- word had evidently gotten out that if you wanted to check out "New Slaves," the library was the place to do it.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Nathan Smith
Contact: Nathan Smith