Latinx de Denton: Casa de Monstros
Being Latinx can mean a variety of things. There are about 33 Latinx countries, each with a unique experience. Latinx people make up a significant fraction of the Denton demographic. According to the U.S. Census, nearly 19% of the city's population is of Latinx/Hispanic background. That number is only expected to rise as more people move to Denton. With nearly a quarter of the Denton population being Latinx, it is only fair that their stories and contributions to this town should be represented. There are Latinx restaurant owners, bakers, professors, musicians, and even house show venue owners.
Maritza Vega is a 24-year old Mexican-American. She graduated from the University of North Texas with a B.A. in Journalism, focusing on Public Relations. Currently she resides in Denton and says she is the first Latina to own a house show venue, alongside her partner Dan Ceske.
Vega says she wanted to be a part of the growing house show scene but also trailblaze a path in her own right, so she opened up Casa De Monstros.
“I woke up on a Sunday, and I made a decision that I’d been meditating on for a long time. I would always go to house shows and notice that the majority of the house venue owners would be white and male. I wondered if a girl could be a house venue owner. I mean, could I do that?” Vega says. “I wanted to be a Latina woman who would challenge the norm and create a new narrative for the Denton music scene.”
The name Casa De Monstros means “House of Monsters.” The spooky name is meant to intrigue people and bring them out to shows. Vega’s home was rumored to be haunted by the construction workers who worked on the house. She decided to stick to the authenticity, keep the home’s personality, and give it a spin with her cultural background.
Vega has a passion for music. She says she enjoys everything from Modern Baseball to Jesse & Joy and Natalia Lafourcade, to a large array of punk music. The multi-dimensionality she possesses was influenced by her Latinx roots and her family home in the U.S.
She says she used to feel like she never completely “fit in” to the scene with many of her non-Latinx friends, despite her passion for the scene and the music.
“I want Latinx people to feel like it’s okay to be in the middle. That it’s okay to be a part of both worlds because that is who we are. We are both, ” Vega says.
To Vega, being part of the Denton rock and alternative scene does not mean her Latinx culture is diminished. Casa De Monstros is home to many bands, including their first ever performers, Sad Cops, who have recently gained a lot of popularity. Vega says Casa De Monstros values safety and diversity.
“We want to see more house venues owned by women and people of color. We want to create a safe space for marginalized people and want to make them feel welcome and secure,” Vega says. “No trouble, no negativity, no homophobia, no transphobia, no xenophobia, or anything hindering. Any person is welcome at Casa De Monstros."
The house venue, along with House of God and the Andromeda House, hosted Muchacha Mayhem last year, a festival showcasing women in the Denton music scene. All proceeds went to Denton County Friends of the Family. Vega hopes to be apart of the festival once again this year. Along with this idea, Vega hopes to use Casa de Monstros to help out with other pressing issues.
“We want to focus on getting something done which will help the DACA situation. Raise money to allocate it towards organizations that are pushing for DACA preservation and things of the sort. Nothing clearly planned, but that’s the direction we want to take,” Vega says.
As a member of the Latinx community of Denton, Vega says she sees the importance in giving back and contributing what she can.
Casa De Monstros has an upcoming show next Sunday, featuring Lorelei K and Chase from Strongbad, and Pennsylvania groups Lawn Care and Rue. Ghouls or not, they want their casa to be your casa. Follow their Facebook page for updates on their events or booking inquiries.
Header image by Dan Ceske
Header image layout design by Christopher Rodgers