Night Life

The Dynasty

Standing along the railing inside Club Roxy (5351 W. Alabama), an exotic dancer — here in an entirely non-stripping capacity — calls into question the taste of another female club-goer's attire. "I can't believe she wore that," that sort of thing.

As far as irony goes, a stripper calling out a non-stripper on her tacky wardrobe might be the best example of all time.

Save the mockery, our friend is actually a nice gal. But she's in full-on preening mode because in about an hour or so, nationally recognized rappers Trae, Hurricane Chris, Rich Boy, Shawty Lo and their gaggle of ­hangers-on will spill in from the Trae Day block party celebration that happened earlier in the day in the TSU Stadium parking lot.

By the time this column is printed, the shootings that happened immediately following Trae Day will have been covered in-depth. Our initial reaction is to launch into some sort of rousing diatribe about how race, music and nightlife in general are parallels of society's waning morality.

Six people were just shot! How can people dance at a time like this?!

But really — really — it was just some unfortunate, ignorant shit that happened. That's what it felt like. (We were about 100 feet away from the gunshots.) And that's what it feels like afterwards.

Talking to numerous people in the club only confirms this. Most are either unaware of or unaffected by the situation. Almost nobody is eager to get his photo taken or attach his name to quotes.

One pleasant enough woman who offered an alias and then let us take her picture — she had cut out on work to come to the party — captured the general sentiment. "It was a peaceful event with innocent kids out there, and then that happened," she said. "It happens too much."

"That's why we can't have nothing nice," she added with a half-laugh.

Somehow, that about wraps it up.

Now, as far as nightclubs are concerned, Club Roxy is an interesting story in and of itself. It's been open in some form or fashion since the '70s — a scene from Urban Cowboy was shot there back when it was called Cowboy's — and has changed its name no less than four times.

People are quick to argue the idiosyncratic merit of places like Gallant Knight (2511 Bissonnet) and Last Concert Cafe (1403 Nance). Many are even quicker to dismiss Roxy with a sideways glance and derogatory remark about young, stabby Asians. But like it or not, it's a nightlife institution.

The venue reopened as Club Roxy way back in 1994, which means it has lasted about seven times longer than the typical Houston nightclub.

It's fairly simple to unravel exactly what's made the venue so long-lived. The easy answer is that there are always 18-year-olds looking for a place to go, but that doesn't explain why 4,000 other 18-and-up clubs have come and gone since Roxy first opened.

Roxy plays a steady mix of Top 40, hip-hop and dance. There are three different bars, so the wait, even at the venue's 800-person capacity, is never long. And there's a great big dance floor that eats up most of the floor space. You could say the same thing about, oh, at least two dozen other clubs in Houston.

But the reason Roxy has been around for so long, and likely will continue to be, is that the management is made up of smart businesspeople who seem to know exactly what their customers want.

A lot of clubs that let 18-year-olds in once or twice a week try to downplay that. Roxy embraces it, designating the holiest days of the nightlife week — Friday and Saturday — to welcome the under-21 crowd.

And with the exception of maybe one or two places, nearly every owner/manager we've ever asked about their clientele's general makeup responds with something like, "We have a really diverse crowd" as 118 white people and nine black people dance around us.

Roxy's crowd really is. Thursdays and Saturdays, the crowd is about 70 percent Asian. Wednesdays and Fridays, it's a little more evened out.

So how about that? A club regularly derided as being for posers has lasted longer than almost all the others.

Actually, forget that stripper. This may be the best example of irony of all time.


One of Houston's finest indie/prog bands, Spain Colored Orange, is in action two times this weekend. Make sure you take advantage of the opportunity to see SCO in all their synthy glory — they've actually got a guy listed as playing "space-echo sweeps and electronic beeps." ­Either swing by their show at Montrose live-music beacon Boondocks (1417 Westheimer) Thursday, or show how super, super cool you are and catch them at the Contemporary Arts Museum (5216 Montrose) Friday. See more at

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Shea Serrano