Rose Room redux

Posted on 18 Mar 2016 at 6:45am

Drag show venue inside Caven’s S4 is getting its first upgrade in 12 years

Rose-Room

Willam Belli, above, performs recently in the Rose Room. Casie Nova, below, is the
Rose Room show director.


David Taffet  |  Senior Staff Writer

For the first time since Station 4 opened 12 years ago, the Rose Room — the drag venue on the dance club’s second floor — is undergoing an upgrade.

Show Director Cassie Nova said most of the work will be done Mondays through Thursdays and the main shows will be continue in the space except for two Thursdays in March — March 24 and March 31 — and the weekend of April 7-10.

The shows will move across the hall to the Granite Bar on those dates.

“It’ll look like we’re under construction for a few weeks, but it’s something we gotta do,” Cassie said. “It’s been 12 years since we opened the club. We gotta stay fresh.”

Cassie Nova has been performing in the Rose Room for 23 years. But the iconic show bar has been part of the Cedar Springs strip even longer.

CassieCaven Event Manager Chris Bengston said the Rose Room grew out of the Old Plantation’s tradition of staging shows on the dance floor.

Old Plantation began on Flora Street in downtown Dallas sometime during the 1970s. When the city began acquiring land to move the Dallas Museum of Art downtown, the Old Plantation, which stood approximately where the DMA’s Barrel Vault now stands, relocated to Cedar Springs Road.

The Old Plantation became the Cedar Springs Strip’s anchor disco in the early 1980s, located in part of the building that is now S4. Drag shows continued on the dance floor.

Not until the third Village Station took over the Old Plantation space was a small Rose Room built upstairs. That Rose Room had less space than the Granite Bar has now.

When the current Rose Room opened, it was unequalled anywhere else in the country, Bengston and Cassie Nova said.

Cassie said the Rose Room is “the go-to place for Texas drag.” But it’s well-known well beyond the borders of the Lone Star State, too.

“Girls from all over the country tell me it’s been their lifelong dream to perform here,” Cassie said, adding that after performing, they often tell her, “I’ve officially made it.”

She said Nashville has a show bar called Play and there’s another theater-type bar in Florida. But most bars, even ones with a cabaret room, put on a drag show once a week and use that space for other things most of the time.

Bengston mentioned The Baton in Chicago, as one location for shows. “But,” she added, “it’s not the quality of what we have here.”

A number of things contribute to the Rose Room’s success.

“We’re really lucky to have so many amazing entertainers here,” Cassie said. “And we treat the girls right. You don’t have to be a titleholder to do well here.”

“When people come from elsewhere, they’re taken aback,” Bengston said. “They always comment there’s not this type of facility anywhere else, unless you’re in Las Vegas.”

As far as what’s coming — well, that’s not something anyone at Caven wants to discuss.

Cassie said to look for more productions, noting that “Everything’s going to be upgraded.” And that includes new technology.

Bengston said some things about the room are dated and after thousands and thousands of people have come through in the last dozen years, the Rose Room has seen lots of wear and tear. So furniture will be reupholstered or replaced. Decor will be updated, too.

“And there’s lots of fun things out there to enhance the room,” she said. “Lots of new gadgets.”

And Rose Room will have them.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2016.

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