By Jeremy Hallock
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Meeting with Matthew and The Arrogant Sea's Matthew Gray to chat about the new artists' collective he's put together in Denton, the last thing I thought was that he'd be asking the first question of the interview.
"So...I'm curious," Gray offers, before I can pose my first query, "how did you hear about Bee's Fifth?"
A surprising question—because, in its two months of existence, The Bee's Fifth Collective has already done a brilliant job of producing its own, um, buzz. What with fliers posted around the square in downtown, pages on both MySpace and Facebook, as well as a separate blog, it's a wonder more people haven't already heard of the blossoming group.
"Right now, Denton is a hot spot for underground art," Gray says. "And the idea for Bee's Fifth was born from a desire to provide an outlet for all the unsung bands, musicians, artists, filmmakers and photographers in Denton. We want to promote underground artists that are doing something unique or different. Something we maybe haven't seen or heard before." He laughs, and then adds, "I know that may sound a bit elitist, but I really feel there needs to be an outlet for people who are creating that kind of work."
But more than being just an encouraging group for artists to create and display their work, the plan is for Bee's Fifth to eventually be solidified as a music venue as well. And, what's more, the collective will have its own self-named record label (the first release, a compilation of local musicians, is due out late spring).
Though, as much as Bee's Fifth is about fostering Denton's arts community, Gray stresses that the collective's motives won't just be Denton-centric. If everything goes according to plan, soon the colony will have a large enough building space for artists from all over the area. Naturally, the collective won't be about making a profit, but Gray says it does need to raise approximately $1,500 to get into the building that they're looking at on Oak Street. Formerly an antique store, once the group does move into its hive, it'll take plenty of help to get the joint ready—which shouldn't be difficult, Gray says: "We've already been hearing from a lot of people in the community who are wanting to help out, wanting to be involved in any way that they can."
The group's first proper event on March 20 will be hosted at J & J's Pizza. The affair will feature the art of Fort Worth's David Mayer and the bedroom-y My Bloody Valentine sounds of Denton's Nana & Popo.
"There's been a void in the community since Art Prostitute left Denton," Gray says. "And there hasn't been anything quite like it But I drink enough, and I've got the motivation to make it work." —Daniel Rodrigue