Jessi Pereira has always dreamed of throwing parties. Not the sort of gaudy parties sponsored by corporations that plaster their names across the venue’s walls to sneak into an influencer’s Instagram story while a DJ plays repetitive top 40 hits.
No, Pereira dreams of the parties of old: underground havens where artists, fashionistas, hustlers, and fly people coexist under the comfort of a house party, where all cultures, races, and identities are welcomed. She’s dedicated to the revival of the house party scene in Dallas, and brought DJ Sober along to curate Paradise, a monthly dance party series at Tiny Victories in Oak Cliff.
Paradise is the name Pereira gave to her birthday zine. It has a special meaning to her. “I chose the name because it encompassed everything that I felt,” she says. “In 2020, I fell in love with another artist who helped me see color and things in focus. It was a year where I was surrounded by incredible opportunities and amazing people. It was the moment where I really felt like an artist. To me, that’s paradise.”
After a year of tragic losses and closures in the city’s nightlife scene, it’s refreshing to witness the emergence of Paradise and weekly and monthly dance parties that are cropping up across the city. Nightlife is more than overpriced drinks, unwanted remarks from strangers, and hangovers. It’s a communal celebration among friends, people who could be your friends, and people you’ve never met, all singing and dancing together. These are the physical spaces where music and culture are born.
I went by myself to Pereira’s birthday zine release/the “unofficial” start of Paradise on May 2. Understandably, I was nervous; the only person I knew was DJ Kimblee of The Chopstars. But I trusted that Pereira, a young woman of color with over 10 years of experience in the city’s nightlife and a former Central Track editor, knew how to curate an event where I felt accepted and comfortable.
By the end of night, I felt like I was in Pereira’s home. I talked with her mother. I laughed with DJ Kimblee. I rapped every word of “Southside Da Realist” with attendees while in line for a tequila and soda. And I witnessed Pereira’s genuine appreciation for life and good people.
Whether you have a roster of friends or live by yourself, Paradise makes you feel like you belong in Dallas. Which you do. We all do. Also, you might see everyone in Dallas at this weekend’s celebration at Tiny Victories from 10 p.m to 2 a.m., so dress to impress. Photographer Oscar Lozada is taking pictures of attendees for Paradise’s yearbook, an archival piece filled with photos for attendees to take home with them within a year.
Support Pereira’s dreams. Tell DJ Sober happy birthday. Buy me a drink.