Originally created by Joey Liechty (DJ Yeahdef), Dentonpalooza was an internet joke, a meme celebrating the college town's best-known characters, such as Denton Spiderman and "Tiger Head Keyboard Dude." Eventually, the "lineup" on the meme became real, with a show that took place in December at Rubber Gloves.
Now Dentonpalooza Inc. is an officially recognized nonprofit organization with beneficiaries including The Art Room and the Denton Music and Arts Collaborative. The event poster’s second iteration, which debuted on Facebook last Friday, includes laughable references to the college town, such as “Honest Hard-Working Weed Dealer” and “Upset Scott Brown Tenant.” And while the show will likely include several of the acts on the poster, confirmed acts and appearances include a drag show by Glitterbomb, a hot dog-eating contest hosted by local Twitter icon Megan Bitchell, a snowball fight provided by Gnome Cones, headliner Deep Blue Something and more.
“We want to lean into the variety show format. I want to be Ed Sullivan,” Liechty says.
He's careful not to promote the event as strictly a music fest (although it does also feature acts Kind Creatures, Final Broadcast, Juicy the Emissary and others), and says locking in a lineup was relatively easy thanks to last year’s show.
“Last year, we thought of so many things that could go wrong, and none of them did," he says. "Everything just kind of fell into place. And that's kind of how I feel it’s going to happen this year, just because everyone I've approached to be involved [wants] to be involved, just for the sake of ‘Oh, I love Denton.’”
Even after just one year, Dentonpalooza has become a big part of Denton's subculture, with Liechty recalling a specific incident that made him realize how big it had become. He says a musician in town had a shirt made with a screenshot of a comment from somebody accusing the musician, who Liechty says wears a mask and has a unique look, of just wanting to end up on the next Dentonpalooza lineup.
"He sent me a message, he tagged me or something, and was like, 'What do you think of this?'... So it's kind of this weird, meta thing," Liechty says.
Others scheduled to appear at the show are local vendors selling Denton-specific goodies, including specialty cookie-maker Mandy Metts, and Detail Junkees, a miniature model-making company. Also on site will be an instant film photo booth by the Denton-based Instant Film Society. More vendors will be announced in the coming days, which Liechty says excites him almost as much as the show itself.
Dentonpalooza Twoza takes place at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios on Oct. 22. Liechty says he hopes to have a link available for purchasing tickets ($20) and T-shirts by the end of the month, as well as a complete schedule of events.
For those unfamiliar with the poster’s unique characters and jokes, here's a rundown:
Mission: Impossible Skateboard Thief
In February, somebody broke into Denton Skate Supply and stole a few decks and a longboard, which they used as a getaway “vehicle.” With only a few small items snatched (no money was stolen), this situation was puzzling enough. But it was the burglar’s cinematic entrance into the building that landed this story on a Dentonpalooza poster. Fancying himself a movie star, the suspect cut a hole in the roof and inched his or her way down to the floor in true Mission: Impossible style. The story was so incredible, the skate shop created a special-edition board featuring an illustration by designer Bufillustrated depicting the burglary.
Psychedelic Toad Venom Pamphlet
In 1983, Dentonite Ken Nelson released a pamphlet on the psychedelic venom of the bufo alvarius toad found in the Sonoran Desert. Under the pseudonym Albert Most, he explained in detail how to extract the venom, laid out his research on the toads and where to find them, how to smoke the venom and described the psychedelic experience and molecular structure of the venom. The updated version of the pamphlet has instructions on how to synthesize it. Gail Patterson, co-owner of Big Fatty’s Spanking Shack, illustrated the pamphlet with original designs.
MILF Kroger Mommy
Denton has three Krogers: “Murder” Kroger, “Cheese” Kroger and “MILF” Kroger. Locals use these titles in conversation as if they’re the official names, which confuses outsiders. Last year’s Dentonpalooza highlighted Murder Kroger, the one where a murder occurred in the parking lot some years ago. This year, MILF Kroger takes the spotlight. As one can easily deduce, it’s considered the best for scoping out hot moms buying diapers and juice boxes.
Laundromat That Served Alcohol
This Suds For You was a laundromat near the University of North Texas that, well, served booze. Liechty recalls a visit there: “One time I went there and listened to some old electrician linemen talking about an old colleague who died from electrocution — they were not doing laundry, just drinking.”
Entertaining Denton Record-Chronicle Crime Blotter
“Nice, leisurely crime research,” as Liechty describes it, the Denton Record-Chronicle’s crime blotter is a rabbit hole into some of the weirdest crimes and goings-on in Denton. Stories range from adults fighting over whether Sonic Drive-In is any good to someone slapping a taco from someone else’s hand on the downtown square to a woman attacking her husband with a straightening iron.
The Chairy Orchard
Nestled in a small North Denton neighborhood is a collection of old chairs of almost every style. The Chairy Orchard is filled with an assortment of chairs found in garage sales, thrift stores, dumpsters, flea markets and on sidewalks throughout town. It even has some chairs screwed into trees. It's a wonderful portrait of the weirdness that makes Denton what it is, and is a perfect backdrop for photos.