Mixers, Elixirs, & IMAX 2008 – tell us what you think!

Dance like no one's watchin...
Salsa with 1700 at the
last Mixers of the season
on Aug. 29.
Creative Commons License photo credit: antkriz

As we wind down Mixers, Elixirs, & IMAX in 2008 I’m finding it hard to believe that three months have all but flown by! Before it’s over we’ve got two amazing Houston groups coming your way: Yvonne Washington & the Mix and Grupo Ka-Che.

This Friday, Yvonne Washington & The Mix will be gracing the stage at Mixers, Elixirs, & IMAX. The sultry vocals of Ms. Washington are frequently compared to Aretha Franklin’s and in my honest opinion, that comparison is dead on. Neither can you ignore the fact that Ms. Washington has sung with Stevie Wonder and Calvin Owens, two of the most notable musicians in contemporary history.

On Aug. 29, Grupo Ka-Che is going to be the crown on the Mixers 2008 season. Believe it or not, the last Mixer of the season in 2007 brought over 1,700 Houstonians together! When was the last time you went to a club with a party that big? Mixers, Elixirs, & IMAX is one of the most unusual parties in Houston – and one of the most popular. And I want to hear about what you are thinking!

What did you like this season? What did you not? What do you want to see next year? Take this opportunity to tell me – how would you plan this party? As we begin planning the 2009 season (yup, we’re going to planning for next year as soon as the last band rolls out) I want to incorporate your suggestions – so leave a comment and let me know what we can do to make Mixers even more of a blast next year.

Historias de la Música Cubano

Join HMNS this Friday from 6 – 10pm at Mixers, Elixirs, & IMAX while we experience the latest in latin music with Siakara, Houston’s premiere Cuban band.  

There is no melody like the layered music of Cuba; it is organic and natural like stalks of sugar cane growing steady and tall in the sunlight. Several instruments make this music unique and traditional: the bata, the cajon, the conga, the marimbula, and the tres.

Creative Commons License photo credit: ghostdad

The cajon is a box-shaped instrument made out of thin plywood that has a hole cut out of the front face; the cajon is played by slapping hands on the front face which creates a drum sound. This instrument is most commonly used to play the Afro-Cuban dance/songs of the rumba, but has also been incorporated into dance music such as the flamenco.

The bata actually consists of three tapered cylindrical drums of various sizes. The largest is lya, the middle is itotele, and the smallest is onkonkolo. These drums are often used for sacred religious rituals if they are created, blessed, and “introduced” to an older set of bata. When used for religious purposes and treated as such, the drums are believed to carry the spirit of Ana – a living deity – and much care must be used in how they are treated and what music can be played upon them. The first public broadcast of the drums being utilized in music other than for religious purposes was in 1935 – they were used to play traditional Cuban folkloric music. Having crossed that barrier, the drums today are used in Cuban timba, jazz, and hip hop.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Näystin

The marimbula consists of springy metal plates attached to a resonating box; the sound of which is layered into a band by playing the role of the bass guitar. The marimbula provides rythmic and harmonic support. The instrument goes by many names and can be augmented by adding more “keys” or metal plates and also by changing the size of the attached resonating box. This instrument is integral in playing changui or son music which is rapidly gaining popularity across the US.

The Cuban tres is a combination instrument that borrows elements from the guitar, tiple and/or bandola. This three course (or group), six-stringed instrument might look like a guitar but is never played like one. You will never hear the tres being strummed and you’ll rarely hear chords being played – you will hear this plucked instrument acting as a drum within a song. Popular in changui, son, nengon, and kiriba – this instrument has earned its way into the hearts of musicians with its convenience, practicality, and the rhythmic complements it provides to its counterpart instruments.

Click on the video below to listen to the sounds of Siakara, and see them live this Friday night at the museum.

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Take a step back in time with The Chromatics

Creative Commons License photo credit: Eurritimia

I am a child of the Eighties. We are the children who played with Lego Building Blocks when they were just square building blocks and gave Malibu Barbie crew cuts with safety scissors that never really cut. We collected Garbage Pail Kids, Cabbage Patch Kids, My Little Ponies, Hot Wheels, He-Man action figures and thought She-Ra looked just a bit like I would when I got older. Big Wheels and bicycles with streamers were the way to go and sidewalk chalk was all you needed to build a city.

Ghostbusters Squircle
Creative Commons License photo credit: Xurble

With your pink portable tape player, Debbie Gibson sang backup to you and everyone wanted a skirt like the Material Girl and a glove just like Michael Jackson’s. Today, we are the ones who sing along with Bruce Springsteen and The Bangles perfectly. We recite lines with the Ghostbusters and still look to the Goonies for a great adventure. We flip through TV stations and stop at the A Team, Knight Rider and Fame. We laugh with the Cosby show, Family Ties, Punky Brewster, and Different Strokes (“What you talkin’ bout Willis?“) We are the ones who read Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, Beverly Cleary, Richard Scary and the Electric Company.

Frienship bracelets were ties you couldn’t break and friendship pins went on shoes – preferably hightop Velcro Reebox – and pegged jeans were in, as were Units belts, layered socks, jean jackets, charm necklaces, side ponytails and just tails. Rave was a girl’s best friend; braces with rubber bands made you cool. The backdoor was always open and Mom only served red Kool-Aid to the neighborhood kids.

Entertainment was cheap and lasted for hours…

Come and relive the Eighties this Friday night from 6 – 10pm for just $15/ticket as we get radical with The Chromatics, cool out in the IMAX, explore the rocks and geodes of Geopalooza, and be the boss on the dance floor. Don’t miss out on the best dance party in Houston with a ticket price straight out of another decade.  Mixers, Elixirs, & IMAX is the Jam!

Mambo at Mixers!

Bell and Howell Regent 8mm
Creative Commons License photo credit: aka Kath

I know that for a lot of my friends and co-workers this tends to be their busiest time of year and everyone is craving those lost summer days when they were able to forget about their troubles and play outside, lay on the beach, or catch the latest flick at the movie theater.

It just so happens that we have the best movie theatre in town -because our movie theatre is bigger than your house. I’m talking about 6 stories of in-your-face action with surround sound so sharp you’ll feel it vibrating your chair. 

We wouldn’t take pride in our movie theatre without bringing you the latest flicks, either. And I’m not talking about Hollywood starlets, fake explosions, and trailers so long that you realize that it’s been a full hour since you sat down and the movie still hasn’t begun. When you get to HMNS you have several 3D movies to choose from. Trailers? What are those? We get straight down to business in IMAX by showing you the film and nothing more. All that’s left is what movie to pick!

Here’s a little preview…

Dinosaurs 3D: Giants of Patagonia is an amazing film that follows a real explorer on the frontier of the field of paleontology. A true adventurer, Rodolfo Coria won’t let anything stand in the way of his curiosity while he pieces together the mysterious lives of creatures who have long been extinct. Watch as he reveals the dynamic between the two largest dinosaurs who have ever lived – Argentinosaurus and Giganotosaurus – and what life was like in Patagonia when giants roamed the Earth.

Galapagos 3D explores the volcanic archaepelago of the Galapagos Islands of Darwin fame. One of the most unique environments on the Earth, this area has a wealth of fantastical creatures you would never believe unless you saw them. Dive deep with researchers to discover these incredulous life forms with technology that Darwin could only dream about.

Grand Canyon 3D: River at Risk is an action packed adventure as two father/daughter teams tame the rapids of the mighty Colorado. Portraying the importance of the river and all that it provides to those around it from start to finish, this film is the perfect marriage of education and entertainment.

Mixers, Elixirs, & IMAX provides you with an opportunity to see any one of these films. Did you come in to see an IMAX film for $10? Why not pay $15 for your Mixers, Elixirs, & IMAX ticket? You get hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, a DJ, a live band, and dancing all night.

So if you’re really looking to unwind, get your weekend started off right. Kick back with a cocktail, money in your pocket, and your favorite dancing shoes at Mixers Elixirs, & IMAX. This week get down with the band who put the capital “S” in Soul. The Mambo Jazz Kings are bringing down the house this Friday at the Houston Museum of Natural Science from 6 to 10 p.m.