Downtown Phoenix's overall fun levels have taken a hit, as Obscura dance night at Rips Ales and Cocktails prepares to wind down from a monthly happening to a special event taking place whenever founder Robden Brethauer feels like it.
Brethauer is making the change after nearly eight years of monthly dance nights due to the toll that two car accidents in the past year and a half have taken on his body. According to him, he would have done better to start taking it easy after the first accident but just couldn’t let a concussion stop him from bringing the dance music he loves to his army of regulars in metro Phoenix.
“The main reason I always wanted to do the night was so I always had a place that played the music I wanted to dance to,” Brethauer says. “I’m probably going to do it two or three times a year from now on. There are no set plans. I’ll just do it when something comes up that I want to do and I have a good idea. I just don’t want to be locked into a second Saturday anymore.”
According to Brethauer, the night took its name from one of his favorite bands — Camera Obscura — and because the music he intended to have played was to be a little more obscure than your average dance night. He even took the idea of an obscure music dance night a notch further by incorporating obscure and often critically panned films.
Brethauer says some of the most successful Obscura nights he can remember were the ones in which the evening was themed by a notoriously horrible movie, e.g. Tron night, Lone Ranger Masquerade, their evening dedicated to The Green Hornet, or the Sin City night when he hired Las Vegas-based DJ Allen.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
“The main thing I wanted to accomplish was to have a night I could do a lot of good dancing to music I like. We have had a really good crowd for eight years; not too many go that long. When we started, I don’t think any of the nights were going on that are going on now,” Brethauer says.
Obscura will be going out true to form with a Valentine’s Day party to honor sadness, calling the final monthly installment “Viva Hate: A party for those who love Morrissey but hate Valentine’s Day.”
“I’ve always hated Valentine’s Day, and that’s one thing I hated about second Saturday is that it always fell on Valentine’s Day. So this is an anti-Valentine’s thing. It’s a take on the Morrissey album, too. I love the Smiths, and so much of Morrissey’s music is sad, depressing, lovelorn stuff, so it was great for Valentine’s Day. We did this party three years ago for Valentine’s Day and I wanted to bring it back,” Brethauer says.
The final monthly Obscura is scheduled for Saturday, February 13, at Rips Ales and Cocktails.