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What the Hell's Going on With the Obscura Dance Night at Rips?

What exactly is going on with Rips' monthly Britpop/'80s/new wave event, Obscura Dance Night? The party's official Facebook page has vanished, followed by a flurry of subsequent "new" Obscura Facebook pages, which have all since been taken down. An event page for this month's dance party, which features a live performance by Scottish rockers The View existed through at least Wednesday night, but that event page has also disappeared.

In the short time they did exist, the pages became a digital dumping ground for angry comments directed at promoter Robden Brethauer and former resident DJ Roya (Michele Chinichian). We did did our best to get to the bottom of the confusion and confirm that the Obscura dance night is, indeed, happening this weekend.

As of now, the only remaining proof that Obscura Dance Night is alive is this flier, which appears on the pages of Rips Bar, Robden Brethauer, and Adrian Flanagan, but the multiple deletions and claims of Facebook hacks make the future of the dance party seem uncertain.

The bold, capitalized statement of "this is happening" was substantiated by Brethauer during a Facebook chat Thursday night with Up on the Sun:

"I am still running the Obscura dance night, it is still at Rips, and Adrian Flanagan is the new resident DJ. DJ Roya is no longer involved. Funkfinger has told me he is not interested in DJing Obscura right now, but he is welcome to return in the future. This weekend we have The View and The Echo Bombs playing early before the dancing."

Brethauer says he parted ways with Roya because of a difference in vision.

"She was against bringing in bands and other DJs. She was playing more of a Top 40/cheesy '80s-type of style, which did not match my vision of the night," says Brethauer, who started Obscura Dance Night at the now-defunct Ruby Room in January 2008.

Roya declined to speak with Up on the Sun about the matter.

The two weren't just at odds regarding musical direction; both have registered variations on the name "Obscura" with the State of Arizona. According to business records from the Arizona Secretary of State's office, Roya trademarked and tradenamed "Obscura" in multiple instances in late February, sparking the name dispute between her and Brethauer. On his end, Brethauer also trademarked the name "OBSCURA DANCE NIGHT" in late February. He's sent e-mails to Facebook asking why event pages and new attempts at an Obscura Facebook profile have been removed from the site.

"From the advice I have been given, I have been told it is my intellectual property," Brethauer says. "I created the night before she was involved and I have developed a common-law right to use the name by using it in promotions I have done over the past five years. Rips is in agreement, and that is why I am still doing the night there."

Additional reporting by Benjamin Leatherman.

Obscura will feature live music from The View and The Echobombs as well as a DJ set by Adrian Flanagan at Rips Ales and Cocktails on Saturday, March 9.

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Melissa Fossum
Contact: Melissa Fossum