An incredible live music lineup, comedy, an array of food trucks and drinks flowing as steadily as the water streaming down the giant, inflatable water slide. These are only a few of the activities that promise to make Spider House Cafe and Ballroom‘s 20th Anniversary Party an event to remember!
Starting at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 20, you can head over to 2908 Fruth St. and partake in the debaucherously good time that has been this iconic Austin spot’s modus operandi since 1996. The price of admission: FREE.
If you haven’t been to Spider House yet, there’s no better occasion to get acquainted with this uniquely Austin institution. The eclectically-decorated playground that is Spider House Cafe and Ballroom includes an indoor cafe and bar, an expansive patio complete with stage and a variety of food options, and a ballroom that has hosted many of Austin’s best live music and theater acts over the years.
Whether you want to hone your corn hole skills, vibe the poetry slam or tune your ears to sweet sounds from a slew of local bands while munching on vegan comfort food, there’s something to pique everyone’s interest.
–> Scroll down for the live performance lineup
The Spider House Cafe and Ballroom Story
High school friends Conrad Bejarano and John Dorgan of El Paso, Texas, arrived in Austin in the mid-1980’s in an old, beat up Buick with nothing in tow but a U-Haul and their dreams to open a video store.
Together they would open a string of successful video stores, including Austin’s oldest and largest independently owned I Luv Video. In 1995, Bejarano and Dorgan got word of a residential property for sale (formerly Cafe Ro) and saw the potential for a community gathering place.
During my interview with Bejarano, who donned his signature blue-lensed spectacles and pearl snap shirt, I asked, “Why the name ‘Spider House’?” He grinned and told me his partner [Dorgan] had come up with it, explaining, “We knew right away that it was the perfect name because everyone hated it.”
Drawing from his experience living in The Netherlands as a teenager, Bejarano had noticed how European cafes served as cultural centers. His vision, as he put it, was “to create a place where we [he and Dorgan] could bring together different cultures and creative types in a positive environment, where people would feel encouraged to be themselves.”
In 2006, when the plasma donation center across the parking lot from the cafe came up for sale, Bejarano and Dorgan purchased the building with plans to convert it into a video store. After being approached by several artists and musicians to use the space for art shows and performances, they decided to turn it into an event venue. It was known as the United States Art Authority until 2009 when the name was changed to 29th Street Ballroom. In 2013, it became known as Spider House Ballroom. These days, the venue is booked seven nights a week and has seen its fair share of famous faces over the years, including Bill Murray, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Reubens and Danny Trejo.
Since its humble, tchotchke-laden coffee house beginning in 1996, Spider House Cafe and Ballroom has elevated itself to a nationally-recognized hotbed of art, music and culture. It has been through several evolutions over the past 20 years and will continue to evolve, as that is the nature of its existence and the inspiration behind the original concept–to allow the energy of the space to flow freely and develop organically.
Though change is inevitable in this rapidly growing city of ours, you can count on Spider House Cafe and Ballroom to continue delivering Austinites a healthy dose of weird for many years to come.
20th Anniversary Party Live Performance Lineup
2:30 p.m. Doors
3:00 p.m. Poetry Slam
4:00 p.m. Testify
4:45 p.m. Mortified
5:30 p.m. AMX
6:30 p.m. Spider House Comedy
7:30 p.m. Teevee
8:30 p.m. Rose Selavy
9:30 p.m. Methodrone
10:30 p.m. MCG
11:30 p.m. Magic Rockers of Texas
12:30 a.m. Foot Patrol
7:00 p.m. NGHT HCKLRS
8:00 p.m. Wonderbitch
9:00 p.m. The Peach Kings
10:00 p.m. Mobley
11:00 p.m. Octopus Project
12:00 a.m. Dead Music Capital Band
7:15 p.m. Loteria
8:15 p.m. Pleasers
9:15 p.m. The Rotten Mangos
10:15 p.m. Shivery Shakes
11:15 p.m. Ringo Deathstarr
- Lone Star corn hole
- Massive water slide
- Raffle prizes
- Tito’s dunk tank
- Belly Up!
- Cool Beans
- Halal Bros
- Holy Cacao
@theAustinot wants to know:
What’s your favorite memory from Spider House Cafe and Ballroom?