Badass Women/Femmes of Denton
March has been observed as National Women's Month since 1987 to recognize all the contributions women have made to society. In the spirit of this, we wanted to mark the end of March with a list of some of the total badass women/femmes who contribute music, art, culture, and change to this town and those who are actively making Denton a great place to be. There are so many dope, diverse women/femmes changing the game in town, it was hard to narrow our list down to 23. In no particular order, here are 23 amazing women/femmes making change in Denton.
Linda is the DIrector of Programming for the Denton Black Film Festival, an annual film festival that aims to share Black Culture through film, art, music, spoken word, comedy, and food. The festival, which just finished its 4th year, is an extended weekend’s worth of inclusive music, poetry, art, and cinematic performances, and Eaddy's work is instrumental in the programming and coordination of these diverse events. Eaddy is also the board president of the Greater Denton Arts Council, which supports many artists and arts organizations in town through programming and grants.
- Linda Smith
Regina Bugarin is a local booker and promoter breaking the glass ceiling of the Denton house show scene. She is an advocate for maintaining safe venues and has a no-tolerance policy on abusers and those with violent behaviors. Her venue, The Space Station, is open to touring bands who need a place to stay, courtesy of Bugarin's big heart and open arms.
The town's current Mayor Pro Tem and city council member has been admired for her time within Denton politics. She is also a founding board member of the Denton Community Market, has interned with the Denton County Master Gardeners, and has otherwise contributed a whole lot to Denton. When she announced she would be stepping down at the end of her term, many had heavy hearts as her tenure has been viewed as invaluable to treating corruption and making real change in local government. But, above all else, because so many admire her work, the town sends her well wishes and thanks her for the time she has spent on council.
- Tori Falcon
Fondly known as "BeBe", she is a jill of all trades with a passion for her students, volunteering, and film. She is the Living Learning Community Mentor for the Media Arts Program at UNT, as well as the Student and Program Assistant, Media Arts Ambassador Coordinator, and Social Media and Event Coordinator and the Department Photographer/Projectionist. Carpanzano is the Staff Advisor for several student organizations. When she isn't working with her students in the Media Arts Department, she is running the UNT Feral Cat Rescue Group as a Board Member and Volunteer coordinator providing food and shelter for the feral cats on the UNT Campus. She serves as the Fundraiser Coordinator for Friends with Benefits and the Volunteer Coordinator for Thin Line Film Festival, in addition to serving as a committee member and volunteer for other film festivals across the metroplex. Her energy and uplifting spirit is a true inspiration to those around her.
Performer. Ceramist. Barista. Bartender. Organizer. Friend. Supporter. Musician. We could probably write a novel of words to describe this amazing person. From UNT GreenTones to The Mothers to Glitterbomb, it seems that Naomi’s extent of reach as a creative is near endless. Her bedside manner is as smooth as her performance moniker’s origin — Tulla Moore — Tullamore Whiskey. Hire her to organize your house, host your show, or just ask her for coffee. You’ll gain a great friend.
- Danielle Longueville
Ngozi recently earned the title of Executive Director of the Greater Denton Arts Council this past September, and it’s going fabulously so far. With about 20 years of experience under her belt, from being the President at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and previously holding executive director positions at both Apple Arts in New York and at the Bastrop County Historical Society Museum, Denton is lucky to have Ngozi engaging our community while uplifting and celebrating all the talent within our town through GDAC.
Tanya Darby is a professor of jazz trumpet at the University of North Texas. Aside from being a current member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Darby has toured with critically-acclaimed groups such as The Count Basie Orchestra and the Duke Ellington Orchestra; she also performed with Aretha Franklin during an NBC special. Professor Darby continues to be a strong female figure in a heavily male-dominated field - she can be seen briefly in the documentary “Girls in the Band” while performing with the all-female DIVA Jazz Orchestra.
Dr. Anjelita Cadena
Dr. Anjelita Badass Cadena is a dedicated activist, spokesperson, UNT professor, and newly elected Denton County Chairperson for the Democratic party. Dr. Cadena’s journey into politics began with her presence in civil rights activism in high school. From there she became particularly active in the Democratic party and focused on her belief of creating a more accessible higher education and opportunity. Cadena moved to Denton in 2015, joined House District 64 Democratic Club, and became treasurer for Democrat Clubs. As the Vice-President for Latino Democrats, Cadena helped write the bylaws, focused on candidate recruitment, and training and furthered her efforts for a better quality of life for Texans. Dr. Cadena is a striking symbol for women - and women of color in particular - as she represents why Democratic women in office are fundamental for the health of the community and the nation.
- Maggie Moore
Knowles performs as Lorelei K, bringing dreamy, sultry pop to the stages of Denton and beyond. Knowles has written slam poetry and songs that highlight struggle, humanity, vulnerability, and love, all with eloquent diction and language carefully attuned to imagery and duality. Knowles also works at Davanti Salon, performs as a queerlesque act occasionally, and has gained a load of support from the Denton community for being a loveable Cher-enthusiast and powerhouse talent.
Isabel Crespo is a Costa Rican-born singer who resides in Denton and is a member of an impressive number of eclectic groups. She received a Bachelor of Music at UNT, but also studied at the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rice; currently, Crespo is a teacher at The (Ghost) Note. She fronts Family Tree, Passarinho, and composed for her newer project, For Now.
Dr. Carmen Cruz
Through her activism, Dr. Carmen Cruz has helped change many of the "old ways" in Denton. Cruz is the co-founder of OUTreach Denton, a group providing resources and support for theLGBTQ+ community and is also working on organizing Denton's 2nd annual Pride Denton parade set to take place this summer. This Florida native has brought to our town an enthusiasm and passion to create a difference and hope for everyone to use their own voice to create an even greater change. “Voice is power and it’s normal to be afraid to use your voice," Cruz said, "[but] we have to push through that anxiety and so sometimes it takes us a while to feel and know our power, as women especially.”
- Brenda Hernandez
Serving as a board member of the League of Women Voters in Texas, Briggle has done work creating voter guides to provide more information on candidates in Denton and throughout Texas. Briggle has given speeches on the importance of voting in primaries and its impact. Inspired by her son, she is an activist who has dedicated herself to promoting rights for transgender and gender non-conforming people. She's taken her qualms with the Bathroom Bill to Rep. Michael Burgess and journeyed to Austin to visit Governor Greg Abbott's office to advocate for change. Briggle's activism has even aught national attention resulting in an invitation for her and her family to attend a movie night at the White House.
- Robert Warren
Vega runs the Denton house venue Casa de Monstros and, by her accounts, is the first Latina to do so. Vega sees her casa — whose name translates to “House of Monsters” — as bringing a haven for safety and inclusion into not only the Denton music scene but also the Latinx community. Vega and her partner Dan Ceske ensure they book diverse shows and bands at Casa de Monstros, spanning several genres.
Queen of Photography is her official title but she’s so modest and lets everyone just call her “Ellie.” She is restlessly badass-ing in everything she does. (She made badass a verb, can you believe that?) From making spooky, psych-rock with Sunbuzzed as their dope female drummer, gracing your Instagram and Facebook feeds with her gorgeous show photography which is also published on Austere, to braving the sea of men in concert photography pits, she is really out here, doing the damn thing.
Conner has devoted a bulk of her time in Denton to being a support for women and those in the LGBTQ+ community. She has been the chair for OUTreach Denton for about three years and does amazing and needed work as a social worker, advocate and activist. Along with hosting Denton’s Pride events for the past 2-3 years, being on the board for the national network of abortion funds, and working towards her license for counseling, she has supported and made space for people who need it within this town. With all she contributes to Denton, which requires a whole lot of labor, she is full-heartedly committed saying, “Social work is my passion. Activism is my fuel and service is one of my personal core values."
Mother. Creator. Professional. Friend. Supporter. Activist. Diana Fonner is the Director of Agency Operations at the local brand agency, Swash Labs. She also serves on the Marketing Committee for Denton Main Street Association. Diana’s quick-witted humor and level-headed guidance provides for amicable client engagements and inspiration to kill it in the professional game as a woman/femme. We salute Diana for making moves as a mother, professional, and community member.
Producer. Performer. EmCee. Bartender. Friend. Chloe is a long-time resident of Denton as well as supporter and participant in our local fine arts community. You may find Chloe working with Sundown Collaborative Theatre, hosting Glitterbomb Denton as Milo Cox, or behind the bar at Greenhouse Bar & Grill. Chloe serves our community through her warm, welcoming demeanor and eagerness to share her knowledge with those looking to grow creatively
Allie Toledo is one of Denton’s newest women to join the local business community as owner of Studio One16, formerly known as Lucky Locks Beauty Bar. Allie Toledo is another long-time resident of Denton and lover of our local community. She takes pride in working with awesome organizations/nonprofits such as Keep Denton Beautiful (re: their mural recently completed by Travis Sykes) and finding ways to grow StudioOne16 in the community itself.
We will never not gush over Rachel Weaver. She was one of the 2018 Dentonite of the Year nominees mainly because she is an all-around amazing human being who is incredibly supportive of the arts and music scenes of Denton and is constantly working to make the town a better, more sustainable place. Weaver is a badass woman of many trades ranging from her own musical projects, her environmentally-themed WeaverZines, and putting in hours of work at Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center, KUZU, STEAMgrown Gardens, and the Denton Community Market. Weaver is actively putting in the time and energy all-over town with positivity and a true passion for place we all love and for that we say protect Rachel Weaver at all costs.
Bell and her late husband Harry Dean Bell created Denton’s annual remembrance march for Martin Luther King Jr. The Bells moved to Denton from Clarksville in 1959, a time when the Campus Theatre was whites only and segregation had deep roots in the city. Catherine and Harry were in an interracial fellowship group formed in 1964 that made serious strides in integration in the city. Bell has been instrumental in the march for its entire run—especially with Harry’s passing in June 2014—and in the local NAACP.
Rose Randolph is not only the owner of Scrumpdiliumptious, home to authentically cooked Louisiana cuisine here in Denton, she also describes herself as a doctor, teacher, nurse, everything and anything for her family. Mother of six children, two girls and four boys, Randolph is passing down the recipes her grandmother and mother passed down to her. She started by baking and selling single cakes in high school which later turned into full orders from teachers and friends. Now, she manages to home-school her children and runs their family business, which, since its opening in January, has been widely celebrated. Her message to other women: “Stay consistent, compromise, communicate [with your partner] surround yourself with positivity.”
Courtney Marie is an artist, poet, visionary, writer, and woman in Denton. She is the co-founder and organizer of Spiderweb Salon, founded in 2012, and has collaborated on many other projects including one with the Dallas Museum of Art. Most notably, however, Courtney Marie and Spiderweb Salon have been active in a multitude of fundraisers and protests, such as Friends of the Family and the resistance of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Marie’s footprint in art and politics is celebrated within the Denton community and beyond, as she continues to foster the relationship between art and the public.
Producer. Performer. Creator. Supporter. Pseudo-Mother to the Glitterfam. Lillith Grey is known in the DFW performer community for her work in creating spaces for queer art to be performed and shared with the public. To many, she is a motherly figure, guiding new performers into the world through Glitterbomb’s curtain, or in other productions in the area. Her strength, leadership, and candor create an inspiring energy so grand it fills a room. Find her behind the producer’s table at Glitterbomb Denton, Salted Lady Burlesque, and Texas Queerlesque Festival.
The Dentonite, co-founded by Sara Button and Shaina Sheaff-Swain, has been predominantly run by a female staff since its beginning on Feb. 1, 2016. The current women on the editorial board are as follows: Sara Button; owner, Kristen Watson; managing editor, Tiffany Johnson; digital editor, Mallory Frenza; music editor, Tori Falcon; culture editor, Stephanie Martinez; food editor, Estelle Dailey; photo editor, Ellie Gonzalez; assistant photo editor, Anjelica Fraga; copy editor, Linda Smith; copy editor.
A list of all the women/femmes who have contributed to The Dentonite in alphabetic order:
Jhasmine St. Hilaire
Kylee D. Acoba
Makayla Rene Price
Victoria "Vix" Vickson
Support women. Period.
Header image of TWU Pioneer woman shot by Sierra Taylor
Header image design by Christopher Rogers.