The past year with its pandemic fears and restrictions was not a time in which many would choose to open a new venue. All the unsettling news aside, three Houstonians decided to go ahead and open Red Dwarf in Midtown.
This Saturday, August 6, Red Dwarf will celebrate its one year anniversary with a full day of events featuring pop up vendors, DJ sets, live music and flash tattoos from White Hart Tattoo Co.
The festivities will begin at noon and run until 2 a.m. with the event being all ages until 7:00 p.m. Attendance is free throughout the day.
“We have DJs doing punk music, R&B, hip hop and then cumbia at night and a really, really great range of bands performing as well.” The evening is headlined by Houston’s king and queen of underground music Studded Left and will also feature performances by The Ghost party, Mature Dream and Attxla.
The free celebration will kick off the night before with the opening of a new show featuring local artists curated by Houston art dealer, Higham and Associates. Red Dwarf will have all of its food and drink menus available during these events.
“Honestly, every month was a struggle but somehow we were able to make everything come together and meet,” says Shan Pasha who started Red Dwarf with his sister Sarina and their partner James Koby Boren.
“It all really comes down to the community of Houston which has been nothing but supportive and we are just so grateful to everyone for trusting us and coming and frequenting us. We feel nothing but grateful to everyone.”
When Red Dwarf opened, the owners adapted their original business model to be a cafe and art gallery by day and music venue by night to only offer to-go orders to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and city ordinances at the beginning of the pandemic.
Despite the hurdles, Red Dwarf never let go of the owners' original vision to include local artists in the venue providing DJ sets while patrons got their to-go orders to keep the energy light.
“We’ve definitely had a lot of recurring guests thankfully and random people who just hear about us and come through. It’s been a really diverse group of people and it’s really awesome,” says Pasha.
Due to financial hardships, in November of last year Red Dwarf was forced to ask for help from the same community they are serving and launched a successful GoFundMe campaign which helped them keep the lights on.
“It was a scary little bit of time but thankfully we are focusing on live music and art at the moment and we are doing alright,” says Pasha.
Since businesses were able to open back up at reduced capacity and later full capacity, Red Dwarf only continued to be one of the few local places where bands and DJs could perform.
They have quickly become a beloved and appreciated staple for Houston's independent music scene of and really helped to maintain a platform for our city’s creative community.
“As of recently, after people have been getting vaccinated, we started transitioning towards live music but seated and now we are doing full live music again and it feels really nice to be back to where our original vision was with the venue,” says Pasha.
Red Dwarf is always open to submissions from artists and bands for consideration to be featured inside their beautiful space which has some of the most amazing woodwork and detailing inside. Pasha says the response has been consistently busy from locals hoping to secure a space or date in their venue.
“Next year we are going to really focus on more live music, more art shows and just kind of really stay true to what our original vision was,” says Pasha. He and his crew also plan on continuing to roll out new food and drink options in the future.
Red Dwarf, 1011 McGowen, will host an Art Show with Higham and Associates on Friday, August 6 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Free
It will celebrate its one year anniversary on Saturday, August 7 from noon to 2 a.m. Free
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Gladys Fuentes is a first generation Houstonian whose obsession with music began with being glued to KLDE oldies on the radio as a young girl. She is a freelance music writer for the Houston Press, contributing articles since early 2017.