By Jim Schutze
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Until now, Mable Peabody's has been the only venue in Denton that caters to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersexed (LGBTQI) community. The second addition to that list is Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios and its inauguration of Denton Is Burning, an inclusive weekly Monday dance night that reaches out not only to the LGBTQIs of North Texas but also the community of underground electronic music lovers.
Hosted by Oleg Belogorsky and Tiago Varjao, the night's name is based on "Paris Is Burning," a voguing event that took place in the '80s. The pair says it will feature almost exclusively all-vinyl sets of predominantly house and techno from the '80s and '90s.
"Oleg has deep crates, and so do I," Varjao says. "I'm on the Ron Hardy box and loft part of things, but I also love to spin everything from hyper minimalism to abstract funk."
Belogorsky, who often delved into Detroit techno, industrial, Chicago house and EBM in his tenure as co-host of WHATEVER WEDNESDAYS, says he will keep the music strictly "dance-floor oriented" for Denton Is Burning.
"I am trying to, I guess, have a similar music vibe to predominantly gay clubs such as Paradise Garage, Shelter, Warehouse, Starck Club — clubs which were not necessarily labeled as gay, but were in a huge part 'gay scenes,'" Belogorksy says.
Admitting that the Mable Peabody's crowd seems to be more interested in newer and more popular music, the two aim to capture an audience that is not just LGBTQI, but open-minded and inclusive, musically or otherwise.
"I want people to understand that the party is for everyone ... not just the gay community," Varjao says.
Both hosts say the night is very much centered around dancing, with strobe lights, fog machines and even perhaps a slight reconfiguration of Rubber Gloves' seating, all in an effort to have a DJ weekly that is centered on dancing.
"We want to support the gay community. They have historically been the drivers of creativity and many dance scenes, and the community deserves it," Belogorsky says. "Besides, all the gay nights I've ever been to, people are actually partying and dancing, which is what I want: a party."
That Belogorsky is straight and Varjao is gay may help explain the philosophy behind the night and the aura of acceptance the two intend to build.
The main goal for Varjao, though, is to do away with the self-consciousness commonly associated with dancing in public.
"I want to create an environment that does away with a false sense of a hyped-up elite," he says. "I just want people to have a good time and listen to some slammin' tracks."