By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
A holy place: You were never supposed to hear about Sanctuary Studios. The DIY space was designed from the ground up as an entirely atypical music venue because, well, it wasn't technically a music venue to begin with.
"It was a living situation-type thing," co-owner Aaron Gonzalez says. He and six friends needed a place to live last year; after finding an abandoned church for lease just off Maple Avenue, they pooled their cash together and made it their own. But when you have seven young, artistically minded guys living in a huge space--particularly Gonzalez, who has booked local DIY concerts at unusual venues like Rito's Restaurant (Set List, August 19, 2004)--the music is bound to show up.
"Musicians who live here can use this as a practice space, artists can use it as an art studio and we know bands of all different genres that are underrepresented in the Dallas scene," Gonzalez says. "Hey, we could use this space for shows."
And that they did, relying solely on word-of-mouth and donation jars to throw punk, noise-rock and jazz concerts for nearly a year. But the venue's secrecy was breached two weeks ago when local heavyweight the pAper chAse played a special acoustic show, drawing the space's biggest crowd ever. Seems like too little, too late, though, as the lease runs out next week, and some of the roommates are moving to separate cities and houses. That means Saturday's show, with Ghostcar and Gonzalez's own Unconscious Collective, is the Sanctuary's last.
Shame, really, because the teen-friendly space is as cool as DIY gets, packed with art murals, underground literature and even a video-art installation. But Gonzalez isn't upset--he'll continue booking at unusual venues to support up-and-coming bands (including his own) and believes that the next cool, atypical venue will come along soon.
"In a place like Dallas, [the music scene] can suck from time to time. Don't give up hope. If you know bands around here and can't get them booked...DIY. Do it yourself."
Stuff like that gets us excited about a unique Theater Fire show on Saturday, as the group will provide backing music for SOUND + PICTURE's live performance at Fair Park's Magnolia Lounge on Saturday. The group will basically react to on-the-spot video footage at the 7 p.m. performance; I can't think of a better band to pull off such improvised atmosphere. See ya there.