Although it has already been posted elsewhere, after the jump, you'll see a press release from the folks at Etc. Etc., detailing their stance and thoughts on why their Saturday night party at the 1800 Lear St. warehouse was busted up by the Dallas Police Department and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Heading in, the event had a lot of potential. Held in a out-of-the-way, private spot, the Etc. Etc. people hoped to bring crowds from various walks of Dallas life together for a night filled with an impressive cast of local DJs, as well as hip-hop acts galleryCat and Damaged Good$. And while neither of those two acts played--seeing the cops as they approached the venue, they'd assume the whole event was kaput, according to Etc. Etc. promoter Taylor Phillips--the DJs (Blake Ward, Keith P, Justin Bell, DJ Select) still did their thing for those who stuck around.
Fact of the matter, though, is this: Add in the Good Records celebration shut-down and the Rec Shop bust-up, and this party's brush with the police marks the third time that "the man" has tried to shut down a local music event in the past month and a half.
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What gives? Not a hundred percent sure yet, but I'll be trying to get to the bottom of it over the next few days, as I prepare to write next week's column on the matter. But, either way, I think it's fair to say that, from a local music fan's perspective, these events being shut down is discouraging, at best.
The real question, I think, is: Where do we go from here?
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There are people who have big ideas and leave these ideas inside their head, never to be seen to completion. Then there are people who dream big and make every effort to see their dreams come to reality. As the Etc, Etc! girls, we chose to fall into the latter category of people. We see the incredible potential for various groups, styles, and types of people to all come together for the single purpose of having a good time. In every different group of people contains amazing individuals who, we feel, deserve the right and opportunity to meet and connect with one another. We also desire to promote talented musicians, artists, photographers, etc who deserve attention for their abilities. One of the best ways for this to happen is in the social setting that is known as a "party."
Last Saturday, Etc, Etc! decided to create an event on a large scale that would bring people from different groups around Dallas together for an evening of pure fun. When coming up for the concept behind our party, the theme "RIOT" was derived mainly from breaking our limits within the social ties that have been placed around each different group. It was an opportunity for people who would otherwise never venture to the same bars, shows, restaurants, and other sources of entertainment to come together and experience something out of the ordinary. The more publicity this party received, the more buzz of the party quickly spread around Dallas in many different groups of people.
Our intentions were never to undermine authority, nor to ignore laws that have been set in place. We truly wanted to bring people together in a setting out of the norm in order to have a good time and put on display our talented friends in whom we have so much faith. We contacted numerous companies, authorities, and people with history of event planning to ensure that we had everything lined up in a legitimate manner. We even brought in a team of TABC Certified bartenders to distribute the alcohol. Time and time again we received recognition for our efforts and encouragement behind the idea.
We received zero red flags of warning to what might occur. So we blazed on even harder and the attention to our event grew more and more. As a result, we were able to obtain donated alcohol from various sources, thus allowing us to charge a minimal entry donation to pay DJs, bands, workers, warehouse rent, and pay for cups, mixers, toilet paper, sound equipment, and so many other little "things." The companies who supported the event were just as excited about our concepts as we were.
The party began at 11:00PM and at exactly 11:50PM a thick crowd of Dallas police officers and TABC officials burst into the warehouse and, without explaining what laws we had broken, immediately began to "seize" all of the alcohol. (By "seizing" the alcohol, we mean to say
that everyone with a badge simply started pouring bottle after bottle out on the streets.) We approached the angry TABC officials (we were not approached by them) and were immediately escorted to a back room. Before anything was explained to us as to what we'd done wrong, they simply started pouring out the alcohol and began threatening to send us to jail.
During the hour and half it took them to pour out all the thousands of dollars of donated alcohol, the TABC officials revealed several key things about this invasion. One of which was that some anonymous person had literally mailed one of our flyers to the TABC in an attempt to sabotage the party. The TABC had planned on "busting" this party at least four days prior to the event. Instead of making a simple phone call to let us know that we were illegally throwing this party, the TABC and Dallas Police force found it necessary to bring dozens of authorities and spend time destroying alcohol. Our contact information is posted everywhere, a simple phone call could have avoided this entire catastrophe. They did not issue any tickets nor were any of us fined for throwing the party. We received only a "warning," for which we are VERY thankful. Everyone involved in this party lost a TON of money, even the DPD and TABC. They wasted their time and our time pouring out all of the alcohol bottle by bottle when they just could have called us. We tried desperately to reason with them and even offered to return all the money to the already 150 people in attendance and allow everyone else in for free, if they would just let us keep the alcohol. They refused saying that "the
damage has already been done."
The TABC and DPD changed their minds several times about this party saying at first that if we had contacted them before hand, they would have worked with us to legally throw this party, and then later changed their statements to say that there was no way they would have
worked with us to make this party happen the way we had intended it to happen. We would have liked to think that with over sixty murders in this city and the prostitutes soliciting right outside the warehouse, the police would have better things to do on a Saturday night than
smash thousands of jello shots.
The day after the warehouse party, we researched the laws that the TABC said we had broken and found that there literally is NO way parties can be thrown legally in Dallas if there is ANY exchange of money. Even house parties who have a keg are not legally allowed to request money towards the keg. Even when your hairdresser gives you a free glass of wine, it is considered illegal. Any event that provides alcohol and asks for some type of "donation," even if it does not go towards the cost of alcohol is illegal. This could have happened to anyone in Dallas. We believe that we were targeted and that this bust was ultimately a power trip. The TABC laws are very much up for interpretation by the figures of authority and can be twisted any way the authorities see fit.
Basically, because there was SO much buzz about this party, the cops decided to make an example out of us. (Good job Dallas!) When the DPD and TABC finally left, we heard word that there were a lot of people that still wanted to come to the warehouse and party. Even
though we couldn't pay anyone to DJ, the DJs still wanted to play the tracks they had prepared. So we spread the word as quickly and effectively that the party was now free and BYOB. We were incredibly shocked when a enormously supportive 300 people showed up and partied with us.
We would like to encourage everyone to read, learn, and question these laws. We are so thankful that no further legal action is being carried against Etc, Etc! but we would encourage every single one of you to protect yourselves. As far as the future of Etc, Etc! we will continue to do what we love doing. Our success of this party was not completely experienced but we did receive a glimpse of our talents as party throwers and are excited to see how our next party develops.