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Oak Cliff’s Paradise monthly dance party is like nowhere else in Dallas

DJ Sober at Paradise monthly dance party in Oak Cliff bar Tiny Victories on April 23, 2023.
Mark Elizondo/The Dallas Morning News
DJ Sober at Paradise monthly dance party in Oak Cliff bar Tiny Victories on April 23, 2023.

Paradise is like no other place in Dallas.

For the past two years, it has taken over the Oak Cliff bar Tiny Victories once a month with eclectic music and Dallas icons. It’s a place where partygoers — including local legends, musicians and visual artists — come together under one glistening disco ball for a night of dancing and good vibes.

But Paradise isn’t just a party. It’s a celebration of history in the making and a love letter to Dallas.

Launched by illustrator Jessi Pereira and DJ Sober in May 2021, Paradise is far from the cliquish events elsewhere in Dallas. It welcomes everyone with a love for the city and has become a hub for local creatives to be noticed.

“[Paradise] really was 10 years of dedicating myself to appreciating Dallas and to appreciating the people that have made it,” said Pereira, who began writing about Dallas nightlife at the age of 15. “The meaning behind it was always appreciating what we have here and giving people that night, just a moment in that night, to celebrate it or to feel important, acknowledged or a star.”

At Paradise, people show up and show out. Locals dance to R&B, soul and house music, drinks in hand. Photographers flash their cameras and Polaroids and scan the room with retro camcorders. People who would otherwise never be in the same room chat it up.

Patygoers at Paradise monthly dance party in Oak Cliff bar Tiny Victories on April 23, 2023.
Mark Elizondo/The Dallas Morning News
Patygoers at Paradise monthly dance party in Oak Cliff bar Tiny Victories on April 23, 2023.

Paradise marked its second anniversary April 23 with a themed party called “A Journey Through Time.” It was inspired by the power of preservation, Pereira said, and the cultural history of Dallas. The night paid homage to DJ Sober’s legendary Dallas parties and guest DJ Tim Funatik, the historian behind the online house party archive House Funatik.

“Paradise sort of provides this panoramic view of themes that gives you a clear understanding I think of what Dallas is,” Pereira said. “This isn’t a project that happened overnight. This was years of building relationships, creating community and acknowledging community.”

The first Paradise party celebrated Pereira’s 25th birthday, her zine release and a return to nightlife after the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines. A big turnout generated $10,000 and inspired the creators to continue the parties with eclectic guest DJs and small business vendors.

Paradise has featured numerous local DJs, including Kimblee, Boyblk, Rizkilla, Christy Ray, Kmor, Mutemor and Storm of the Faded Deejays collective. Local food vendors like Gustos Burgers, Lord of the Wings, Tacos La Gloria, Empanadas Medallo and more have set up outside the bar.

Paradise has stretched beyond Dallas, hosting parties in Miami and other Texas cities. With a livestream run by DJ Junk Food, people across the world can connect and experience Paradise too.

What started as a need to rebuild the nightlife community a year after the pandemic hit has turned into a Dallas cultural experience.

Arts Access is an arts journalism collaboration powered by The Dallas Morning News and KERA.

This community-funded journalism initiative is funded by the Better Together Fund, Carol & Don Glendenning, city of Dallas OAC, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Eugene McDermott Foundation, James & Gayle Halperin Foundation, Jennifer & Peter Altabef and The Meadows Foundation. The News and KERA retain full editorial control of Arts Access’ journalism.