Seems like Art Peña is having one hell of a week. Yesterday we reported that he's going to get $5,000 from the city of Dallas to start his own record label. That, as it turns up, is merely a bonus to the party that he's throwing this weekend in honor of the one-year anniversary of his roving do-it-yourself venture, Vice Palace. But the point of this party isn't to celebrate Peña, or even Vice Palace: all of the proceeds from the $15 door price go directly to the artists. "Year One is about giving hundreds of dollars back to local musicians," Peña says.
Vice Palace, if you aren't familiar, is a do-it-yourself show that's a rolling stone; wherever it lays its hat is its home. It's used roughly 10 spaces in its first year here in Dallas. Most of the acts playing the shows have a dark element with an electronic edge that aesthetically pair well with an underground, independent show like iill or George Quartz, who last year did a triptych of themed shows in collaboration with Vice Palace.
While Vice Palace has no fixed address, its locations often make for an integral part of the show-going experience. The final installment of Quartz's triptych, for instance, was in a huge, darkened warehouse in West Dallas. This weekend's show will be in another warehouse, but it's one with a surfeit of character: warped floors, machinery overhead, rusted walls and broken windows. Peña's plan is to leave as much of it untouched as possible.
From a musical standpoint, the anniversary show is set to give off a different feel from other Vice Palace shows. This one aims to be truly representative of the independent scene in Dallas, as opposed to being representative solely of Peña's. He asked a few Dallas entities he felt were culturally relevant to the city and know their music to nominate acts. Among the those entities, he says, were Central Track, Dallas Distortion Music, Crown and Harp, Dallas Distortion Music, King Camel and THRWD.
Peña sings the praise of all of these places, especially, Dallas Distortion Music, whose teenage founder Evan Henry he calls, "The future of Dallas." The result of their picks, which not only cover a wide swath of genres, but of gender and race as well, excited Peña. The musicians playing on Saturday include Lily Taylor and Sean Miller, iill, Rat Rios, $kaduf, and Tony Q and Plain Jane.
In Peña's previous incarnations as a promoter, such as with his old venue WARE:WOLF:HAUS, he focused on other areas of art and performance outside of simply music. For the anniversary party, he's bringing fashion into mix with Dallas designers Charles Smith II and Jim Duran.
On adding a fashion show, Peña says that one of the goals here is to expose the creative work of one aspect of the city with another that may not normally interact. And besides, "it's not a bougie-ass fashion show, it's a Vice Palace fashion show," he says.
Though Peña is incredibly forthright with his love of DIY, he said he's going all-out, and jokes that the budget for this show isn't a DIY budget. But, in the end, the "whole idea for it was to recognize musicians and creatives in the city."
A year in, it's done a pretty good job.
The Vice Palace Year One Party takes place at 2516 N. Beckley Ave. in a warehouse located in West Dallas. The door is $15, the fashion show is from 7 pm-9pm, and the bands are from 9 pm-2am.
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