Hitting this scene is a sure sign of intelligence!

mixers19Mixers & Elixirs is back and it’s my pleasure to announce the return of one of the most well-attended events in Houston.  Every Friday night from June through August an average of eleven-hundred people come to HMNS to start the weekend off right!  That’s right, the summer’s biggest parties happen at the largest educational institution in Houston. Why? HMNS wants to invite you to experience the Museum in a relaxed atmosphere. 

Let loose by taking your sweetie for a spin or meeting someone special under the dinosaurs. Try wandering our world- class Gem & Mineral Hall with a drink in your hand and good music in your ear…Check out our 2009 lineup for bands that’ sure to please every musical taste.

June 5 – Grady Gaines & the Texas Upsetters

June 12 – TropiCrew 

June 19  – The Handsomes

June 26 – Molly & the Ringwalds


mixers87July 10 – The Fab 5

July 17 – Mango Punch

July 24 – Mambo Jazz Kings

July 31 – The Chromatics

August 7 – Commercial Art

August 14 – Grupo Batacha

August 21 – Yvonne Washington & the Mix

August 28 – Grupo Ka-Che

So how do you get into this awesome party where you can have a cool drink, listen to awesome music, check out the dinosaurs, and meet someone who’s as interested in the exhibits as they are in the party? Click here! Your ticket into the biggest party in Houston goes for just $15 or you can purchase a membership and get in all summer long for only $13. See you Friday, June 5!

The science of salsa

This Friday, July 18th, is our second salsa night of the Mixers, Elixirs, & IMAX season – and we are so excited to have Grupo Batacha back this year to set the Museum en fuego with their crazy latin beats!

I know the concept of “Salsa Night” can be intimidating for some people, but please believe me when I say these are our most popular nights at Mixers. Don’t worry about your two left feet because HMNS has brought in an expert that will get you stepping in the right direction. Raul Orlando Edwards brings over 30 years of experience in Salsa, Classical Music, Argentine Tango, African Dances, Ballet, Jazz, and Modern. And here are some reasons why you should get up and get moving…

Jamie: What are the benefits of learning to salsa dance?

Raul: Among the many benefits of learning to salsa dance are:

  • The opportunity of social interaction with friends and/or strangers in a non-intimidating atmosphere.
  • Exposure to cultural elements found in the music, dance, and people from all over the world.
  • An activity that provides a way to remain active for the rest of one’s life.
  • If done continuously, a way to lose weight or stay in shape.

J: Where are the best salsa spots in the city?

R: Depending on the day of the week, the best Salsa spots in Houston are currently Club Tropicana, Sky Bar, and Taco Milagro. A full listing of places to dance salsa can be found here.

J: What’s the history of salsa?

R: As we all know, salsa is the reflection of the fusion of cultures, music and dance that spawns over 500 years where African, Spanish (mostly in the form of flamenco and/or gypsy) and European found a common ground in the new world.

Creative Commons License photo credit:

Though a small island in the Caribbean, Cuba was the most important country in the development of salsa and of the majority of other styles in the American continent. Right before the turn of the 20th century, this fusion began to resemble the dances we see today, beginning with the rumba, danzon (Cuba’s national dance), son, mambo, cha-cha-cha and others. When you watch old movies of the 40s through the 60s you can see how many of these dances dominated the famous New York venues such as the Palladium, Copacabana and other legendary night spots.

An important event in the history of the United States and Cuba, the missile crisis of the 1960’s, interrupted this free-flowing exchange of musical ideas between New York and the island of Cuba and it is here that Latinos in New York (predominantly Puerto Ricans) began to experiment with the Cuban music they knew and got from their parents. As we saw in the 60’s and 70’s, people were involved in discovering new things and enjoying themselves and this carried over to Latin music. Nuances from disco, funk, bossa-nova (Brazil), bomba and plena (Puerto Rico), and others were added to the popular Cuban music whose name literally reflected the blend of sounds and styles.

J: Are other Latin dances easier or more difficult than salsa?

R: For the most part, other popular Latin dances such as merengue, bachata, cha-cha-cha and others are easier to dance than salsa. Salsa’s rhythm can be tricky at first but once the ‘beat’ hurdle is passed, it becomes easier and a lot of fun.