Blake Baker's Blog
By Blake Baker
Photo at left: Blake Baker and his mom
August 23, 2012
Hey, y'all! I hope everyone is enjoying the summer as much as I am. Over the past few weeks, events in Dallas have exploded! This is a great sign. It means people are ready to get off their asses and get out and have some fun. The newest gem in Dallas is QUEEN! My friend Russ is really giving it to us at his monthly parties at the new hot spot, It'll Do Club. His first event was a total blast, and there are many more events in the works.
As summer is starting to wind down, we are revving up for Dallas Pride in just a few weeks. There is so much going on this year, it's really hard to keep track of everything. If you don't live in Dallas, you better make your travel plans ASAP. This is going to be an incredible weekend! There's lots
going on, but here's the events you don't want to miss:
Thursday, September 13
Queen w/ Special Guests: Cazwell & Amanda Lepore
DJs Redeye & Paul Kraft
It'll Do Club
Friday, September 14
Let's Have a Kiki - Pride launch party of Dick's Night Out
DJ Casey Alva (LA)
Ku De Ta
RSVP at: www.letshaveakiki.eventbrite.com
The Red Party
DJs: Joe Gauthreaux (LA), Gabriel Marestein (Dallas), Chris Rodriquez (Dallas)
The Lizard Lounge
9:00pm–4:00am $15 advance, $20 at the door
Saturday, September 15
Nighthawks Happy Hour presented by Stoli Vodka & Out Magazine
Featuring local event promoter Blake Baker
DJs: Roland Belmares (LA) and Bryan Konrad (Austin)
9:00pm–4:00am $20 advance, $25 before midnight
Sunday, September 16
Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade
Along Cedar Springs to Lee Park
SPECTRUM - Dallas Pride Tea Dance, Presented by Purple Foundation
DJs: Michael Tank (FLL) and Ronnie Bruno (Dallas)
$15 advance, $20 at the door
Lots to do, plan accordingly!
August 10, 2012
Hey, Nighthawk readers! Well I FINALLY recovered from San Diego Pride! Wow, what an incredible weekend. We had so much fun, I really didn't want to come home. We had such a great time, the weather was perfect, all the parties were amazing, and the men were HOT! Seriously, I haven't seen that many hot men in one place, ever. Musical standouts for the weekend were DJ Pagano, Rosabel, and the very best was Danny Verde. Danny headlined the Saturday-night party and he absolutely blew me away. From his opening song, a rework of "Shiny Disco Balls," you knew you were in for a musical treat. You felt like every song he played had his stamp on it. Each song was better than the one before it. It was one night I didn't want to end. I see big things in the future for Danny Verde. Overall it was really a fun weekend. Bill Hardt produces fantastic events; we will be back next year for sure!
Hopefully you checked out my last blog posting where I recapped Purple Party Weekend 2012. One thing I didn't really talk about was all the amazingly dedicated people who help make the weekend happen. I'm sure by now you know that Purple Foundation is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that benefits local HIV/AIDS charities. Most people don't realize what it takes to produce a weekend of events like Purple Party Weekend. Most people think you just hire a few DJs, book a few venues, and then magically you have a fierce party. And that couldn't be further from the truth. We actually start planning the next year's events right after the current year's events are finished. Yes, it takes an entire year—mostly because we all have real jobs, and the stuff we do for Purple Foundation is done in our "spare time," something I have less and less of these days. Our board consists of about a dozen people, and on top of that we have over a hundred volunteers working week after week to make sure the events go on without a hitch.
I wanted to share some of the backstage and behind-the-scenes photos from Purple Party Weekend 2012. I think these photos really capture the spirit and energy of what it takes to make the weekend a success—and all for a great cause. Check them out here.
July 26, 2012
Welcome back, friends! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. Dallas is crazy-hot, so...to beat the heat we are heading out of town. I'm writing this on the plane to San Diego. My partner, Mark, and I are heading there for pride with a few thousand of our closest friends. I haven't been to San Diego since I was a kid, and this will be my first time at their gay-pride celebration. I'm so excited! In addition to all the weekend's antics, I'm looking forward to hearing some great dance music by some of my favorite DJs and some new ones too, like Danny Verde and Cahill. Danny Verde is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after talents in the U.S. and around the world. I've been a big fan of his remixes and podcasts, so I'm excited to hear him play live. Can't wait to see Wayne G., and Rosabel never disappoints. I'll have a full report after the weekend...once I catch up on sleep ;-)
We've got some great things going on in Dallas the next few months leading up to our Dallas Gay Pride Weekend in September. My friend Russ is starting a new monthly party on Thursday nights called "Queen" at It'll Do, a brand-new club in town. This is going to be so much fun, and I hear he has some really cool things planned for some upcoming events. Dallas Gay Pride Weekend is shaping up to be the biggest in years! Next week I'll have a full schedule of events, so make your plans to be in Dallas September 14–17. It's going to be a blast!
That's all for now. We're about to land in San Diego and get this party started!
July 13, 2012
Hey, Nighthawk readers! Welcome back. Things are strangely quiet here in Dallas -- the perfect time to recap Purple Party Weekend 2012! It's been two months since the big weekend, and the dust has finally settled. We had such an incredible year. I am still in awe that we are able to grow year after year. We had record turn-out at each event!
The weekend started out at our opening party, called Ignite on Friday night with DJ Joe Gauthreaux (LA) headlining the party and DJ Paul McElroy opening the night and running the lighting production. This event was extra special because we made our much anticipated return to Cedar Springs (commonly known as "The Strip"). Purple Party Weekend had been absent from having a strong presence on The Strip for many years and we felt that needed to change. The party was held at the mega dance club Station 4, one of Caven Enterprises' venues. We were very excited to be working with Caven Enterprises again and having our opening party on The Strip definitely helped increase our attendance. We wanted to make the club look extra special, particularly for Dallas residents. So, our event design director, Kris Hobson, came up with an awesome flame decor and we brought in extra low-lying fog machines. The place looked amazing! Having our event at Station 4 meant we had the ability to use the world-famous Rose Room Theatre which is connected to the dance club. We brought in RuPaul's Drag Race superstars Manila Luzon and Sahara Davenport in addition to the very talented Rose Room cast. By midnight we had a line to the end of the block waiting to get into the party and it stayed packed all night! It's crazy to think that in 2007 our opening party was a small cocktail party. Now we are packing well over 1000 people into a major dance event! You can see photos from Ignite here.
Back in 2011 we produced our first official Saturday pool party, and it was a huge hit. So, for 2012 we made our pool party, Rise, even bigger and better. Former Dallas resident, DJ Corey Craig (NYC), rocked the scenic rooftop deck of our host hotel, and local DJ Adam Metts opened. Dallas is known for crazy, unpredictable weather, but the party gods were looking out for us and the weather was absolutely perfect. When the party came to an end at 6:00 p.m., the place was still at capacity. We considered extending the hours, but decided to let people rest—there was a long night ahead! One of the best moments was getting to meet Corey Craig's mom and family who came to hear him DJ a big party for the first time. It was very cool to see Corey having fun and getting to show off to his family. You can check out photos from Rise here.
The most anticipated event for Purple Party Weekend is always the main event, aptly named The Purple Party. The Purple Party has undergone some significant changes over the years. Each year we try to change it up, do something fun and different. This year was no exception. Our main event used to feature big vocal performers as the main attraction. But, what we found after each year was that most people really just wanted an amazing DJ, lighting, sound, and great visuals (dancers, video screens, etc.). So, this year we really stepped up the lighting and visual productions, and people seemed to love it. After hearing Wayne G. play on the Atlantis Allure cruise in 2011 we knew he would be perfect to headline our main event and he did not disappoint. To start off the night, local favorite and rising talent DJ Brandon Moses played an absolutely perfect warm-up set. This was our first time to hold our main event at the South Side Music Hall, and it turned out to be a great venue. It was big enough to hold everyone, but still felt intimate. This party could have easily lasted until the wee hours of the morning, but due to dance permit issues with the venue it had to end at 2:00 a.m. Thankfully we had Alyson Calagna to look forward to at the after-party! You can see the photos from The Purple Party here.
Resurrection, the after-party, was quite an experience to say the least. It was the first time we decided to tackle producing the event in a hotel ballroom, seeing as after-hours venues in Dallas are very hard to come by. Hotel ballrooms usually get a bad wrap, but we did our best to make it look more like a nightclub and less like a hotel ballroom. For our first try I think we did pretty damn good and the music of Alyson Calagna is always an incredible experience. We opened the event with Texas DJ, Gabriel Marestein who did a great job of transitioning the energy from the main event. Producing the party in a hotel ballroom presented many challenges, but it was a great learning experience for us all. One really cool part of having the party in the host hotel is it gave you that feeling of being on a gay cruise where you could take breaks from all the craziness. We have lots to consider when planning our format for 2013. It might be time for a big change! You can check out photos from Resurrection here.
The weekend closed out with one of my favorite venues in the world and two of my favorite DJs. Club Plush + Michael Tank + DJ Paulo = AMAZING! Plush is hands-down one of the best nightclubs in the country. It is a multi-level club complete with liquid nitrogen blasters, 2-story LED screens, and a Funktion One sound system. To make the night feel extra special we added full-spectrum lasers by Laseronics. The night started out like a true tea dance. Michael Tank played the first half of the party and he knew exactly what songs to play and when to play them. By the time DJ Paulo came on, the club was at full capacity on both floors and you could feel the energy building and building. His set was so hot that it set the fire alarms off, literally! But that didn't stop the party one bit. In fact, most people thought it was part of the show! It was a perfect way to close out a spectacular weekend. Photos from Glow, the closing party, can be seen here.
So, that was Purple Party Weekend 2012 in a nutshell. We've already started planning 2013, and we have lots of exciting things in store. You do not want to miss it!
You can sign up for our email newsletters to stay informed of all the event announcements here.
June, 21. 2012
Hey, readers, welcome back to my Nighthawks blog! Here I am writing this on the last official day of spring, but it's felt like summer here for months now. From what I hear it's been the hottest spring on record and, although I love summertime, this year is going to be rough. Bring on the pool parties!
This past weekend was the annual dance benefit "One Night in Bangkok" produced by Dannee Phann, one of our local promotional partners. This year it had a great turn-out and hopefully raised a lot of money for its beneficiaries: AIDS Resource Center of Dallas and the Turtle Creek Chorale. DJ Phil B was the headliner for the event, and local favorite DJ Brandon Moses played on the patio. Phil B has been one of my longtime favorite DJs. I've had the pleasure to work with him on several occasions, and he always turns it out. DJ Brandon Moses is a rising star on the national dance scene. Look for his Top 10 Lists on the Nighthawks: Dallas page very soon.
We've got some exciting things coming up for Dallas Gay Pride the weekend of September 14-16, including Spectrum, the annual Sunday Tea Dance produced by Purple Foundation. This event has gotten bigger and bigger every year and provides much needed seed money for the following year's events. Confirmed talent is DJ Michael Tank and others to be announced in a few weeks.
Check back with me next week when I'll recap Purple Party Weekend 2012 events and discuss a little more about our organization. Until then, stay cool!
June 1, 2012
Hey, everyone, thanks for checking out the Nighthawks: Dallas page! I'm Blake Baker, executive director for Purple Foundation, the organization that produces the annual dance benefit, Dallas Purple Party. We are very excited and honored to be included in the 2012 Nighthawks summer series. This is my first official blog ever, so we will see how it goes! My postings are going to be a bit different than some of the other Nighthawks. I don't produce weekly (or monthly) events in Dallas–actually nobody really does. I do have a few things in the works for late summer/early fall, just not exactly sure when we'll start promoting them. One of the biggest and best things we are proud to have is our charity weekend, Dallas Purple Party. It's an exciting weekend of dance parties and social events benefiting local charities. It has seen tremendous growth over the last few years and we couldn't be happier. Our organization itself has grown from only three board members just a few years ago to over a dozen today!
For my postings, I'll be giving a little insight as to what goes on in the early stages of planning Dallas Purple Party in addition to some exciting things coming up for Dallas Gay Pride in September. I'll also be discussing music, DJs, club/bar events, and other social gatherings in and around Dallas.
If you care to send me an email, you can reach me at [email protected] or find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/blakebakertx. Please take a moment to check out the Purple Foundation website at www.dallaspurpleparty.org, "like" our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dallaspurpleparty, and learn more about our current beneficiary, AIDS Services of Dallas, at www.aidsdallas.org. Don't forget my other events at www.blakemarkevents.com.
Thanks and see y'all next time!