A Love Letter To Numbers
Photo: Rene Fernandez
The music landscape is one that changes faster than pretty much any other form of entertainment. If you think about it, the last buddy cop movie you saw wasn’t much different than the first one you saw, and the same could be said about television shows. However, no matter how those mediums change or stay the same, there aren’t too many times when you can hear hundreds of artists alongside thousands of patrons emote actual heartfelt feelings for the places they saw those art forms in. But, with the case of Houston’s Numbers, pretty much everyone you meet has a story about the iconic nightclub. One of those people, is director Marcus Pontello. Marcus has been feverishly compiling footage of the club for the last three years, and has since partnered with local production company DinoLion to make the documentary a reality. The end result will be “Friday I’m In Love: Numbers The Documentary.” This partnership has lead the group to the fact that, to put the music in the film, the rights would have to be acquired. That factor of music rights and the costs associated with it, is a big deal for a film based about a dance club/live music venue. The high cost of obtaining those rights, lead the project to a kickstarter campaign that’s in its home stretch. Friday at 9:00 pm, Houston will have either far exceeded the amount that those making the film are seeking, or it won’t.
For me, Numbers is as important to the landscape of Houston’s music scene as any festival or movement happening today. For anyone who wasn’t aware, it should be noted that Numbers was bringing in artists that no one else was booking at the time, sometimes not being booked anywhere else. Acts like My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, and many more, all played there before they broke in the industry. For Numbers to come in and book these unknown acts in the eighties and to in turn; create a coup in Houston’s music scene and book the bulk of relevant bands here for the next fifteen years is a little insane. Believe it or not, in the nineties, being different, being creative, or even being gay or trans; wasn’t really accepted outside of places like Numbers. Throughout Houston in that time, you would hear all kinds of stories about people being bullied, beat up, or even people being killed; because of being different. I always feel like, “if only they went to Numbers, maybe they would be more accepting.” Because at Numbers, you could go see a great band or dance with friends, alongside someone in a bunny outfit, or someone who was trans; and none of that mattered. We all grew up going to Numbers because no matter how different we all felt for whatever reason; it was a place where everyone belonged. For me, being a kid who loved music and who always had friends who were considered “different,” Numbers was a place where we were all one. Away from the confines of an upper middle class suburban high school, where most of my friends were made fun of; Numbers was there for us. The club has served as such for countless people before me and will after me as well.
My favorite time, and possibly the best shows I’ve ever seen, was British pop group Blur at Numbers. To put the magnitude of that show into perspective, this was on the self-titled album, “blur” with the giant hit on it, “Song 2.” This is late nineties when the montrose was still rather slummy, and for that show to happen in that part of town was a true feat. The jerks who do terrible things to people because they’re different, have always existed at concerts when a band gets big. Those of us who love, truly love music and bands; have always had to deal with those people who laughed at us for liking some music, and then championed that music when it got popular. Seeing those types of people at a concert where there was also trans people, gay people, and the slew of the club’s regulars just enjoying the show; still blows me away to this day. It speaks volumes to what music does, where it brings people together, and where they can all co-exist peacefully. For me, that’s what Numbers is all about. Numbers is acceptance, it’s culture, and ultimately, it’s fun.
At the time of typing this, the kickstarter campaign is reaching its’ goal. However, that amount is a ballpark figure, and even if the amount is reached; it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t donate to the cause. What would really be great, would be if the amount far exceeds the goal, and went closer to fifty or sixty thousand dollars. This documentary needs to be made for all of us who have enjoyed the club and for future generations who will enjoy the club. The fact that it’s even still standing there in a time where landmarks are being torn down left and right, it’s a testament to how important Numbers is to the city of Houston. You can donate to the campaign here, or you can go to one of two fundraising events here in town. The first, is at Grand Prize Bar on Thursday March 5th from 8:00 pm to close. The second is at Numbers itself for a very special edition of Grown Up Storytime from 7:00 to 9:00. Just because the initial goal has been met, it’s still great to donate because “everything counts in large amounts,” when it comes to making this film a reality.