6.10.2012

Musings from H-Town: The 429

So my friend from work and I have decided to spend this summer enjoying all that Houston has to offer.  Tonight, she introduced me to the 429.

The 429 is a weekly Houston event of music, mingling, and coffee bar, beginning at 8 p.m. on Saturdays (try to get there by 7:30, though).  It is a Christian event (hence the name derived from Deuteronomy 4:29), with the focus people in their 20s and 30s.  Daycare is provided, so folks can enjoy their Saturday night out and know their children are safe nearby.  Not my usual scene, but I kept an open mind.

The church is a renovated movie theater, with the signs, lights, ticket booth and the theater itself all still intact.  When we first arrived, very pleasant and polite folks greeted us (no cover charge, of course), and took our picture.  Newcomers get a free coffee at the coffee bar, and they serve it whatever way you want in whichever flavor you want - hot, iced, whipped, blended, mocha, vanilla, caramel - you name it.  Hot teas and bottled waters are also available; no alcohol is permitted, of course.

There's a social justice table, where attendants of the 429 can sign up for various community service projects, from feeding and clothing the homeless to painting people's houses.  The cute gentleman who explained the project to us was the Native American version of actor Edward Hong.  Seriously.  It took me a while to concentrate on what he was actually saying...he was that cute.  And since he's what Hong would consider a true activist - as in, one who actually goes out and serves the people - it made him all that much hotter.

After the social justice table, we went into the theater itself, where drinks aren't allowed and seats fill up quick.  The music is always live; tonight we enjoyed some beautifully composed and performed rock music.  We're talking a full band - piano, bass guitar, acoustic, rhythm, electric, drums, and four vocalists.  Everyone on stage was nerd chic.

The music is different each night, so it'll be interesting to see what next Saturday has to offer.

June is Battle of the Sexes month at the 429, with men vs. women games.  Tonight was a hilarious game of charades.  After the music and charades, one of the pastors continued with the current running series on (heterosexual) relationships, with a lot of rational, common sense, almost clinical advice for married and single people.  The jeans-clad pastor was hilarious, using a comedic style to communicate with the audience.  And here's where I noticed the 429 is very Christianity 2.0; everyone is clearly a member of the 21st Century, with realistic expectations and insightful observations about society, gender, and relationships.

There's a very good racial mix at the 429; there's an abundance of Black, Latino, and whites.  However, I promptly noted the minor Asian presence and thus strongly encourage any Asian Houstonians of the Christian persuasion to head out there.  They're still trying to get the word out, and when I mentioned I would do a piece on the Narrative, they got excited.  Everyone is in their 20s to 30s, professional, very welcoming, very positive and supportive, and very good-looking.  Seriously.  I saw men and women of various shades and sizes and they all looked good.  Which reminds me: so many gorgeous Black women blessed us with an array of natural hairstyles that were no less than stunning.  It's like this laidback, unpretentious environment is having a profound physical effect on the people.  Even the lighting in the spotless, remodeled bathrooms made me look like a movie star.  While washing my hands, I actually did a double take.

Which is another point; for all you germaphobes and architectural critics, the 429 is a very clean, upscale joint equipped with the latest technology.  The floors are polished tiles, the coffee bar is sanitary, and the theater is quite clean.  At the 429, they podcast, do live streaming, and when the musicians perform, their lyrics appear on a big screen karaoke-style so the whole audience can sing along. For example, this was tonight's performance:


See what I mean?

So...let's go over the final results:

Pros

  • Safe, clean environment with a place to put your kids.
  • Inexpensive night out; a blended iced coffee with whipped cream was just $3.00.
  • Friendly, welcoming people
  • Humorous, laidback setting
  • Social justice involvement
  • Month-long series dedicated to improving gender relations, with advice for married and single people

Cons

Needs to be more inclusive to our LGBTQ siblings.  The 429 may very well be, but tonight I got the feeling they were really into the hetero thing.  Which is a shame, because it has the potential to be an excellent safe space for LGBTQs.

Final Verdict

I highly recommend the 429.  If you're a young professional on a budget and you'd like to have a fun night in a safe, positive place (where you don't have to worry about what to do with your kids), the 429 is where to be Saturday night.

If you like bars and clubs, that's what Friday night is for.

So...Houstonians: where else do you think my friend and I should go this summer?  I plan to hit up various spots (preferably the Blasian-friendly ones) and report back to the Narrative.  Any tips?  Hints?  Recommendations?

6 comments:

  1. If only I lived down the street.

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    1. I told my friends who live in Houston (he's a principal, she's an accountant) to try and find me a gig for my particular skill set with a excellent benefits package. They informed there was nothing available. *sigh*

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  2. Thank you for checking it out and sharing this.

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  3. Sounds like a great place to frequent!

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  4. The used to hold an event like this once a month in the student union at Ohio State University. They called it Acts Cafe, sorta of a Christian themed talent show.

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