Latinx dance party kickstarts funds to build community



DURO Chicago hosted their one year anniversary at Berlin Nightclub, 954 W. Belmont Ave. 

By Mackenzie Crosson

A monthly Latinx party that provides hours of club beats, drinks and dance as well as a safe space to uplift and affirm Chicago’s queer people of color recently conducted a Kickstarter campaign to fundraise for expansion.

DURO, which takes place every second Wednesday of the month at Berlin Nightclub, 954 W. Belmont Ave. started as a safe and fun space for the queer Latinx community and quickly grew into a space for all people of color, according to host Gnat Rosa Madrid. The club’s Kickstarter campaign remained open until Oct. 22, seeking expansion funding but did not reach its goal of $2,000, raising only $781.

“It’s a hub for queer people of color to feel safe and feel beautiful,” Madrid said.

According to DURO’s creator Jesus Plaza, known as DJ [X]P, the budget  pays DURO’s photographer and guest performers. Plaza. Madrid and the DURO crew are not paid for their work or preparation for each party.

“I’m in the booth for four hours, the rest of us are running around like crazy for several hours of the night—all just because we want to have this space exist,” Plaza said. “The need for this kind of space is more important than what we can take home in our pockets.”

According to the Kickstarter page, funds raised will go directly toward paying performers and DJs, snacks, supplies for art installations, and promotional materials. Plaza said that regardless of whether they reach the goal, they will continue to work toward building DURO’s scale and community.

Plaza performed at Berlin for two years before the club presented him with the opportunity to lead his own night of performances. DURO celebrated its one-year anniversary Oct. 11, which hailed its largest crowd yet.

“[The turnout] felt like such a dream come true,” Madrid said. “If we can maintain that level, that would be amazing.”

Plaza said his inspiration for DURO was both personal and part of a greater need for a sense of community among the Latinx community. When he came to Chicago about six years ago, he noticed a lack of queer parties for Latinx and people of color communities, especially on Chicago’s North Side.

“Through that time, I was exploring more about my own identity and finding empowerment in the different parts that make up who I am and really embracing my racial identity especially,” Plaza said.

The shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, that occurred in June was a pivotal moment in Plaza’s vision for DURO, he said.

“My first thought was that easily could have been my night,” Plaza said. “That easily could have been here in Chicago.”

According to Madrid, who is Tejana, or a Mexican-American from Texas, one of DURO’s most unique aspects is that it encourages attendees to embrace their background and heritage. Because family histories can often be traumatic for members of the queer community, attendees are encouraged to express themselves and their heritage freely, she added.

Kevin Aveiro, who goes by “xanaxkardashian” while attending and hosting events, said he is a regular attendee who has been attached to DURO since its beginning. He said DURO not only provides a safe space for people of color in the northern areas of Chicago but  is also a fun time to dance with friends and meet new people.

“Even if you don’t know [the people there], you automatically just dance with them; you just feel so comfortable,” Aveiro said. “I’ve made a point to introduce myself every time I go there to new people—not just so they go back, but so they know that they’re comfortable to just do whatever they want there.”

Aveiro said that Plaza combines music he grew up listening to with current remixes, providing a unique club sound that strays from the typical Top 40 hits that are often played at surrounding nightclubs.

“Each time you go it’s so different from the time before,” Aveiro said.