North Texas Daily

Spiderwebs in the SilverLeaf

Spiderwebs in the SilverLeaf

Spiderweb Salon's 2018 Winter Formal featured a lineup of musicians, films and poets in an 80s throwback style.

Spiderwebs in the SilverLeaf
January 23
00:08 2018

Matthew Sallack takes the stage at Dan’s SilverLeaf on Saturday night, surrounded by pastel balloons and silver hanging stars that could easily be found in one of The Cure’s music videos. Couples shuffle away from the decorative prom archway as the singer begins to play a song commemorating his horrors of 2017. 

As the last lyrics fade away, the audience cheers for the end of the year and the beginning of Spiderweb Salon’s ’80s-themed 2018 Winter Formal .

Spiderweb Salon is a collaborative community of writers and artists in the Denton and DFW areas. For five years, the group has worked together to create more than 70 showcases and dozens of zines, which are small, independent books of writing and artwork that are meant to be copied and distributed.

“Many of us were in art disciplines and working with art mediums that there wasn’t an outlet for,” said Courtney Marie, co-founder and director of operations at Spiderweb Salon. “Denton is a music town foremost, and everybody gets real excited about going out to see the bands, but as a writer, you are kind of feeling left out.”

The ’80s-themed Winter Formal was inspired by the show “Stranger Things” and marked the release of Spiderweb Salon’s first zine of the new year.

Participants and audience members were encouraged to dress in their best ’80s-themed prom attire. Both the event and zine were created in collaboration with KUZU 92.9 FM, a local Denton radio station that plays a variety of music and is what is considered a low power station.

While it is no secret Denton is known for its thriving music scene, Spiderweb Salon’s events are unique in the sense that they focus on spoken word poetry and collaborations more than solely music.

On Saturday night, poets poured their hearts out, some of which performed solo, while others collaborated with musicians and beat boxers.

“I really like to hear the poets,” said Charlie Moore, a barista at Aura Coffee. “I’ve been writing poetry for years, so I love to hear what other people do with it. I love to see the collaborations, honestly. I love to see people who are great at art doing art together and what they produce out of that.”

The poetry aspect of Spiderweb Salon is a fan favorite for many of the audience members and provides a niche attraction for its events, which has grown in recent years.

“I used to write poetry and getting to see it performed is something that doesn’t happen often,” said Alisha Pennington, the lead singer of the band Felt and Fur. “The first Spiderweb Salon I went to was years ago and it was in somebody’s back yard, so seeing it here has been really great. I really liked watching people be vulnerable and hearing a lot of good material. It’s inspiring.”

With a growing community, Spiderweb Salon has collaborated with around 300 members over the past five years.

“We have our storytellers, we have a lot of poetry, we have a ton of comedians,” Marie said. “You know, people that kind of walk the cusp of all of those things. We have had bakers, dance performance art and video poems. If you can find a way to collaborate with us, then you can be a part of what we are doing.”

With a focus on creating a space for creative line-blurring, collaborations between artists of different mediums are frequent within the Salon, and itsWinter Formal was no exception.

“There are a lot of writers that read for us that are also musicians,” said Misti Morrison, an executive editor of Spiderweb Salon. “And there are a lot of comedians who dabble in different physical art mediums. I think Spiderweb gives them a way to express different aspects of their creativity. I really enjoy seeing that come out of people.”                                                                                                  

Both Denton and UNT are known for its abundance of creative individuals, and Spiderweb Salon simply provides a network for them to work through and express their artistry. 

“I mean, when I went to UNT, that’s what Denton was supposed to be: this big artist thing,” said Sean Enfield, an executive editor of Spiderweb Salon. “When I first got here, it didn’t seem like that, but slowly I found it.”

Not only does Spiderweb Salon provide a platform for writers and artists to present their work through showcases and zines, it also provides a welcoming support system for fellow creatives in the community. 

“Being a writer is like such a solitary thing,” said Bonnie Stufflebeam, the art editor for Spiderweb Salon. “You sit, and you write words on your computer by yourself in your house, and then eventually you start to feel like, you know, you’re not interacting with anyone. It’s nice to have a community where everyone is interacting all the time.”

Though Spiderweb Salon will be planning more showcases and zines in the coming months, for now, the organization leaves the community with an improvised mission statement of sorts.

The point of Spiderweb Salon’s mission was made clear several times during the show, which was emceed by Marie, in a bright pink tutu.

Spiderweb Salon is a safe and supportive space for local artists of all mediums, backgrounds, genders, sexualities, ethnicities and religions, both on and off stage.

“…and if you have a problem with that,” Marie said, “you can get the f— out.”

Featured Image: Spiderweb Salon’s 2018 Winter Formal featured a lineup of musicians, films and poets in an 80s throwback style.  Mark Baldwin

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Slade Meadows

Slade Meadows

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