North Texas Daily

How some DAM Awards affect the community

How some DAM Awards affect the community

How some DAM Awards affect the community
February 13
14:31 2017

The inaugural Denton Arts and Music Awards were held Saturday night by local blogsite The Dentonite. The idea for the DAM Awards – a convenient acronym for a place like Denton – was drawn from the city itself and The Dentonite’s mission to give a platform to local artists and musicians the best way they knew how.

With attempts to pump out content every day, The Dentonite birthed this idea and ran with it, dedicating only 3 months to the project. The outcome was more than they could have asked for as the Denton Community Theatre, where the event was held, filled to capacity this weekend.

Like any award show, there were skeptics. Sara Button, the founder and editor-in-chief of The Dentonite, responded to the flak by saying, “We made this with the understanding that not everyone would be into it.”

Sara Button, editor-in-chief of The Dentonite, along with digital editor Kristen Watson and arts director Brittany Keeton, who all helped organize the awards show. Watson and Keeton acted as stage managers on Saturday night. Gaby Perez

As many know, the closure of beloved venues such as Rubber Gloves and J&J’s Old Dirty Basement issued some blows to our music scene. These venues were more friendly in booking the “weirdo” musicians, so these closures fractured the subculture in a big way.

Mateo Granados, arts editor of The Dentonite, said, “The beauty of Denton is if there’s something you think the scene is missing, then you have the ability to create that opportunity for yourself,” which is exactly what they did. The rise of the DIY scene, or anti-venues in Denton, has become the new outlet for these musicians.

Some people felt The Dentonite may need to be careful with their awards.

“They run the risk of pushing an image on the Denton music scene that doesn’t accurately fit it,” jazz studies junior Mills Chaiken said. Although not completely negative, Chaiken does see the opportunity it provides. “I think it legitimizes the Denton music scene and puts us in competition [with] other big Texas scenes.”

The night was filled with constant digs at the process and The Dentonite itself, which was fully welcomed by their team. Some presenters noted how they weren’t nominated, and comedians made fun of categories. The Dentonite team was open to this, knowing that they couldn’t have possibly gotten everything right.

One thing on every teammate’s mind was how they can be more inclusive to all genres in the future. In addition, Button wants to make the process more transparent and ensure people have a real part.

“It’s fresh, you never know how it’s going to catch on, they’ll refine selections and figure it out more and more,” said Cody Cantu, the drummer and vocalist of local favorite Sexual Jeremy. Cantu sees the ability to bridge a gap between the different pockets. “If people aren’t too sour to it, it could be a really cool thing.”

Button and Brittany Keeton, arts director of the Dentonite, worked tirelessly for the show in order to cover all of their bases. These include: getting a venue, getting sponsors, being able to pay the performers and filling all the technical jobs. They didn’t put this on trying to patch anything, but instead to allow everyone, in Keeton’s words, “to have their craft recognized or adequately recognize the craft of others.”

Their goal was to bring all local artists, musicians and fans together, giving them opportunities to appreciate one another and possibly see how they could all help their future endeavors.

The 2017 DAM Awards may have missed some categories or awarded something wrongly, but it is obvious they want to honor all who take part in Denton’s expressive fabric. They didn’t feel like they had the authority to be absolutely correct, but knew as citizens of Denton, who are all artists or work closely with artists, that this could be something really special. They saw a way to inject positivity, friendship and networking into these scenes so everyone may build up one another.

Denton may be kooky, but The Dentonite is fighting the good fight for our happy, family portrait to exist.

Editor’s Note: To check out the winners and nominees, here is a link to the official page.

Featured Image: The Denton Community Theatre fills to capacity before the DAM Awards begin. Gaby Perez

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Tori Falcon

Tori Falcon

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