Review: One Step Beyond with Stretch Armstrong & Dj. Quik @ the Natural History Museum Friday 4/8/16

Event: Stretch Armstrong and DJ Quik rocked it at last week’s One Step Beyond after hours party @ The American Museum of Natural History


No doubt this event sold out! (c) AMNH/R. Mickens

The Bottom Line:  Can anything really compare to AMNH‘s One Step Beyond monthly parties? Oh yeah, this month’s show at the museum could.  It was truly a spectacular evening with a great crowd and a treat of old school hip hop from two DJs who kept it going. My only regret is that music had to stop.

DJ Quik brings down the house (c) AMNH/R. Mickens

DJ Quik brings down the house  (c) AMNH/R. Mickens

Review:  The AMNH has some amazing after hours parties, but One Step Beyond @ the Hayden Planetarium is one of the best. Guests were even allowed to view the four-minute Big Bang video upstairs until 11pm. Downstairs by the DJs, the party-goers queued up to purchase drinks and tickets for upcoming events. Yes, you can do that too!

Stretch Armstrong and DJ Quik

Stretch Armstrong and DJ Quik (c) AMNH/R. Mickens

This month’s feature was legendary hip hop producer and DJ Stretch Armstrong and DJ Quik. The two really knew how to keep the crowd going.

(c) AMNH/R. Mickens

(c) AMNH/R. Mickens

First, Stretch kicked things off with some 80s classics including Sade, Madonna and half way through Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy, everything changed. Tribe Called Quest suddenly erupted like thunder across the speakers and the crowd went wild. Track after track, Stretch didn’t stop.

Stretch Armstrong kicked things off. (c) AMNH/R. Mickens

Can I check my E-mail on this? Stretch Armstrong kicked things off. (c) AMNH/R. Mickens

My personal favorite was DJ Quik who also paid homage to artists who recently passed away like David Bowie. His transitions were flawless between tracks, and we didn’t even realize it was 1am when everything had to stop. Damn.

DJ Quik, man of the turntables

DJ Quik, man of the turntables (c) AMNH/R. Mickens

The music is not the only star of the show. I chatted with Benton from Moving Pictures Gallery, who has been working with One Step Beyond since its inception nearly a decade ago. His team includes final year students at the School of Visual Arts, where Benton teaches “New Forms in Media” at the MFA Computer Art department.

(c) AMNH/R. Mickens

Buy us a drink? (c) AMNH/R. Mickens

He later wrote back to me and told me a bit more about the history of One Step Beyond.
I was invited by Flavorpill to create and curate the visuals for the monthly event. The series has mostly sold out every month after Kanye West jumped up on stage to perform with A-Trak and Kid Sister in the first show of 2008.
What makes One Step Beyond unique ?
The only constant you can expect every month is transformation; One Step Beyond is the only late night museum series that remaps a cultural institution with electronic light. American Museum of Natural History has been visionary – only rarely have other museums transformed themselves for a late night event.
(c) AMNH/R. Mickens

Hiphopped out (c) AMNH/R. Mickens

I asked him where he got his inspiration for the images and light show.

Many of the images for the light show mirror stars and planets to keep in line with the planetarium. Other lighting devices match the rhythm of the music from the speakers. Most interesting was the little mirror ball, that randomly reflecting the lights on the ceiling.

If you  still don’t why One Step Beyond is so popular, I think Benton summed it up accurately.

We love our crowd! I see regulars and new faces each month.  
One Step Beyond has featured Moby, Questlove, Cool Kids, Simian Mobile Disco, Animal Collective, Four Tet, DJ Khaled, Scissor Sisters, Dirty Projectors, and Dan Deacon along with many other performers.

How do I keep my trousers on? (c) AMNH/R. Mickens

Get in on the action on the upcoming One Step Beyond party on Friday May 6, 2016. Stay tuned for the WhereNYC preview.


(c) AMNH/R. Mickens