The Bizarre Life and Troubling Death of DarkSide, the Dallas Rave Church That Never Was

For over a year, a registered "spiritual organization" was the hottest after-hours spot in Dallas. Then it all came crashing down.

Things got off to a slow start; the cops at the Verandah had created some wariness among the EDM crowd. By October, the club, which didn't serve alcohol, was experimenting with its hours. At first it was open from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m., then from 10 p.m. to 7 the next morning. Both arrangements were illegal: Clubs in Dallas, even those licensed to stay open late, can't have dancing past 4 a.m. DarkSide needed a dance-hall license and a late-hours permit. It had neither.

Around the same time, Eppelsheimer also experimented with whom to let in. Specifically, he decided to bring the entrance age down from 18 to 17. "We'd push for 18 and up, but he'd always argue for 17," John Wayne says. "He'd say there's more clients that way."

To go with its spotty electricity and ramshackle sound system, DarkSide didn't even have an in-house sound guy. One night, Styx showed up to check out the club. Someone tripped over an amp and unplugged something important, causing a massive sound failure. After 10 long minutes of silence, he stalked back to the sound booth, pissed off.

John Wayne and Lacey Jayne. "This was our life," John says.
Roderick Pullum
John Wayne and Lacey Jayne. "This was our life," John says.
Danny "Danny Boy" Hundley, a former security guard at the club. "I knew someone there was gonna put a smile on my damn face."
Bianca R. Montes
Danny "Danny Boy" Hundley, a former security guard at the club. "I knew someone there was gonna put a smile on my damn face."

Details

Scenes from DarkSide on Youtube:

"Aren't you guys able to do anything?" he asked. He started checking the sound equipment, unplugging and re-plugging cables. "I had three guys grabbing onto me, thinking I was intoxicated and being retarded," he says. As they were pulling him away, he reached out and flipped a switch. The sound came back on.

Eppelsheimer, one of the guys who'd been grabbing Styx, stood him up and brushed him off. "Can you do that all the time?" he asked.

Styx became a full-time employee. "Anything that lit up or made noise, I was responsible for it being there and working properly," he says. He and the others fixed the lights, arranged furniture and built stages and DJ booths. He even made one booth out of a glass door that used to be part of a walk-in freezer.

"We built most of DarkSide out of what was already there," he says.

Danny "Danny Boy" Hundley worked security at the club. He'd never been much of an EDM guy, but he found he loved coming to work. "After you became part of the DarkSide family, it wasn't just about going to a club," says Danny Boy, who's now 20. "I knew somebody there was gonna put a smile on my damn face." He'd watch, fascinated, as the crowds on the darkened floor danced and did elaborate light shows with glow sticks and LED-studded rave gloves. Many clubs ban the gloves because they're supposedly an accessory to getting high on Ecstasy, but they were a common sight on the DarkSide floor.

The DarkSiders don't dispute that there were drugs in the club, like any other nightclub in the city. But they say they tried to be proactive about getting rid of the drugs, and often called police to report drug activity, a claim somewhat backed up by police reports. They were strict about checking bags and pockets, Styx says, but drugs were ferried in people's underwear. Small amounts of confiscated drugs were put into a drop safe for the night. After the club closed, they'd call the police to come pick them up. If they confiscated a large amount, he says, they'd call them to come over right away.

"We had a real good relationship with the police," Styx says. "They never said anything to us about drugs."

The staffers themselves filed a number of police reports over the year the club was open, two of them drug-related. According to one, on July 16, 2011, a girl from Lewisville had taken two hits of acid and "was having a negative reaction to the drug." She was taken by ambulance to Parkland. Two weeks later, a staffer reported that while she was searching the bags of people entering the club, she found "a large plastic baggie containing what is believed to be hallucinogenic mushrooms."

The would-be mushroom-taker told the staff "he forgot he had them." He grabbed his bag and fled westbound on Northwest Highway. He was riding a green motorcycle and wearing a Superman costume.


Although most DarkSiders didn't know it, their club savior, AB, is actually a failed businessman named Wyakie Glenn Hudson. He's a slim black man with a trim goatee and a shiny, bald dome, and, according to an interview he did with The Dallas Morning News, he grew up near Denver, raised by a strict Baptist grandmother. (Emails and calls to Hudson went unanswered.)

Hudson tried to open a few restaurants in the Denver area, he said, all of which failed, before moving to Dallas 15 years ago. Records show that he filed a few assumed business names here, but none of the ventures seem to have ever gotten off the ground. He earned three misdemeanor criminal convictions in 2007 and 2008, two for marijuana possession and one for unlawfully carrying a handgun.

About five years ago, when he was 34, Hudson married a 19-year-old Dallas woman. She filed for divorce five months later, but the divorce wasn't granted until this year because she had some trouble locating Hudson. Another marriage license a few years later expired without Hudson marrying the woman. He told the Morning News he was engaged and had a 9-year-old son.

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22 comments
BarackObummmer
BarackObummmer

As long as Sandra Fluke gets her free birth control pills what difference does it make?

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

what a classy expose of what the Observer loves the most...trashy people doing trashy things with other trash.

cantkeepthetruthdown
cantkeepthetruthdown

Bigmac Tony

Jul 25, 2011

Like I said before... Garbage culture for garbage people

ShareFlagLikeReplyKeepingitrealJul 25, 2011

Yea and your culture isn't garbage at all networks dont mind takeing money from calvin klien for exploiting under age kids in sickening ads , the mainstreme media doesn't point out that massive amounts of drugs are sold at topless clubs which stay open afterhours and allow the "rave" scene in after. Do you want your kid at the topless club at five am or in a club that atleast calls it self a church ? I dont know ? This is the same mainstreme media that blast out music lauding the merits of being a drug dealer "balling" hanging with your fellow gang members or being a "hoe" to those guys , all I can tell you is that kids are going out you cant stop it , they are either at a club with a cop at the door or a house party getting beaten , drugged , assulted , or initiated into a gang. Isnt bob johnson the ceo of black entertainment television friend of and investment partner of george bush in the caryle group ? And the carlyle group and haliburton are the primary owners of the private prision system that locks up these same young people suckered in to the very same "dope slanging, gang banging" life style they promote with the average 17 year old haveing seen 17,000 simulated murders on the networks they own. You have the garbage culture sir and before you tell us to clean our house........ you better clean up yours...... or should I say ours.... youre lucky if your kid becomes a raver until he or she grows out of it , the rave scene is the anti-violence antidote to your garbage culture at least our motto is peace , love , unity and respect whats the mainstreme medias motto , poverty , death , destruction , inequality , cast systems , addictions , murder and any mayhem to keep people divided and conqured. Turn off fox news and crack a book or something ! or just put a big mac in it and shut up..... like a heart attack billion calaorie burger and edible polymer aka "plastic" shake is gonna help you..... That's why there is a real symble on dairy products by the way......... our culture has a real symbole yours is plastic !!!!!!

cantkeepthetruthdown
cantkeepthetruthdown

Garbage culture for garbage people is a much more concise way of stating what took Anna 7 pages.

JustSaying
JustSaying

Great job on the cover story, Anna. Its not often that there is a lengthy article in my weekly Observer that is worthy of letting one or both of my feet fall asleep when I am reading it on the shitter. Not only was your story worth the pins and needles I felt in my feet, it was also worthy of the semi-paralysis I felt while balancing against the wall of my shower..

darlaj72
darlaj72

BEST QUOTE EVER!!! "The media made it out to be a sex-infested, drug-infested underground rave club that was run by a pedophile and raver kids who didn't give a damn," he says now. His voice rises a little. "That's bullshit. Yes, there were drugs. Yes, Tommy is a pedophile. But there was a deeper purpose, a deeper meaning, a deeper connection.

Bwahahaha f'n idiots!

Ricky_Hollywood
Ricky_Hollywood

"she filed one against the Playground, accusing it of providing a place for people to find 'random consensual sexual activities.'"

The horror.

Danny Ybarra
Danny Ybarra

I promise you "Darkside" was a fart in the Dallas Rave scene. Union Bower,IceHouse,Major Theater,Club Canie, just to name a few

RoaminCadillac
RoaminCadillac

"The media made it out to be a sex-infested, drug-infested underground rave club that was run by a pedophile and raver kids who didn't give a damn,...Yes, there were drugs. Yes, Tommy is a pedophile..."


Ok...that made me laugh out loud.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

I believe this can be rated on the Vagina system since it touches on sex right?  If so 5/5 Vaginas, I love Anna long reads.

UniversalLifeChurch
UniversalLifeChurch

This individual was never ordained by the one and only faith based Universal Life Church World Headquarters of Carrabelle, FL., nor was this establishment in congregation affiliation with us. Obviously this individual was ordained by the non-Christian, no doctrine universal life church of Modesto, CA., started by the self proclaimed Modesto Messiah Kirby Hensley. Universal Life Church World Headquarters, http://www.ulcnetwork.com

gbdinelli
gbdinelli

@cantkeepthetruthdown "[...] crack a book or something ! [...]"
I recommend you do it yourself, as it was difficult for me to read your text, due to so many errors. Your opinion is valid, though.

joe.tone
joe.tone moderator

@RoaminCadillac I've read this story nine times and laughed every time I read that line.

jswilliams86
jswilliams86

@UniversalLifeChurch Off topic but I helped in the starting of the Carrabelle Speed Festival just down the road from you.  Funny to see that city on a Texas site.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Anna_Merlan Yeah, I hadnt commented on a cover story or anything outside of UP or CoA in a while, and I know we get different commenters here than in the blog so I figured I'd try to confuse readers more than I already do.

UniversalLifeChurch
UniversalLifeChurch

@jswilliams86 @UniversalLifeChurch

I can't say that I've ever heard of it, but that does not say it does not exist, it is just not my cup of tea. But Carrabelle, Florida is a great city in a great state, as is Texas. Carrabelle truly has a lot to offer thanks to folks such as yourself who have blessed our community with their presence. The seafood is fantastic.

jswilliams86
jswilliams86

@UniversalLifeChurch It happens twice a year and is just about 3 years old so it is pretty new.  It takes place on the Carrabelle-Thompson airport.  Whenever you see all of the fast cars in town that si where they are going.  Actually had the event last weekend.  Carrabelle is a great city.  I am from Destin.

 
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