I recently had the immeasurable privilege to sit down with Bunny Gaubert and Danii Gallegos of the DIY powerhouse, Dreamhouse. After making waves in the Chicago scene, they’ve recently relocated to LA to continue the project. Here’s what they had to say!
To kick it off, I’ll let you introduce yourselves and let you give the good readers a rundown of how Dreamhouse first started.
Bunny: What’s up, I’m Bunny, I live in Los Angeles and I was the founder of Dreamhouse in 2019 in Chicago and now we’re in LA.
Danii: Hey, I’m Danii. I started with Dreamhouse because I had a really off the wall concept for a two-weekend long multimedia experience having to do with the fact that leap year only happens once every four years and then from then on, Bunny was like, “okay, you’re with me forever now”.
Bunny: I wanted to keep her!
Danii: And now I am also in LA.
Bunny: Danii’s event was so cool! My favorite that I tell everybody about was someone’s performance art was they did a strip tease on a chair that had eggs on it and then they bounced up on down on the eggs and they exploded on the audience.
Danii: That performer’s name is Estefani Guzman and they’re still based in Chicago.
Bunny: So Dreamhouse began because I had a basement in Logan Square and lived with two boys at the time - one of them was a carpenter. And I’ve always gone to a lot of DIY shows because Chicago is such a great place for that and we were like, we should have shows! So the same day we went to home depot and we got a bunch of cans of black paint and old posters and glow in the dark stars. Then we painted the basement and literally the next week we had our first show planned. It randomly did really well so we continued to book shows. Our space was cool because we didn’t really book a lot of men or four piece rock bands and it was a lot of queer people. I really like rock n’ roll and country and I feel like there’s a lot of queer spaces for electronic music and dance music, but not a lot of queer, women-based, non-binary-based, POC spaces for those genres. And, historically those genres can be pretty homophobic. Then in 2020, the pandemic hit and on our lease renewal in August 2020, they told us they had to knock the house down because it was asbestos-ridden and unlivable.
Danii: Which, like, isn’t true. They were just saying that because they wanted to build a condo.
Bunny: I mean, maybe somewhat, but it wasn’t gonna kill us. It was a light liability. I will say I probably lost a good 10 years, but I wasn’t needing them anyway. So we had to move out during the pandemic and there were no shows happening, so we started doing Twitch shows where we had people do sets in their living room if they could meet up safely and wear masks. They would send the sets to us and we would stitch them together for these online shows and people could chat. And when bars started to open up and would reach out to us asking if we could book shows for them at their bars and events like saturday markets, vintage markets, because we had a good draw. It was such a strange thing that came about, but I guess people just liked going to our shows, so we started working with venues because they wanted people and we had people. And it went good! I guess I was always kind of wanting to move to LA and I graduated college in the pandemic and you couldn't move during the pandemic. So once the world opened up again and our lease was up, we up and moved out here. And Danii was already in LA.
Danii: Because I was a psychopath and I did move during the pandemic.
Bunny: Danii was brave. So Danii was already in LA and she’s a genius and I LOVE working with her, so I was like, this is sick. And I’m gonna get there and I’m gonna have someone that’s a genius to work with there to continue this project.
Danii: There was a moment though, where Bunny and her husband Laine were going to move to Nashville, and I was going to be devastated. I was like, “No. NO. We have to get Dreamhouse going back again. I need you there. I can’t do Dreamhouse without you. It can’t be a remote thing. I can’t do it. I need you here”. And I didn’t say any of that, I just quietly whispered it to a candle.
Bunny: And then I shot up in bed in the middle of the night.
Danii: So there was this moment where it almost didn’t happen the way it has and that would've been devastating for me because Dreamhouse doesn’t work without Bunny.
Bunny: Tell your story about your roots with comedy!
Danii: I was a stand up comedian in Chicago for almost 8 years and I helped to create this show with two other guys - Dan Sheehan and Tyler Snodgrass, and later on J. Michael Osborn - called We Still Like You. It started in houses so it had a similar beginning. We always wanted it to have a DIY, punk vibe of a house party - and we would throw a house party after the show. So everyone would say all the worst stories about themselves and the worst things they’ve ever done and after each person, everyone has to yell, “We still like you!”. It was just an excuse to get validation and also get drunk. It stayed running up until the pandemic hit. So it ran in Chicago for about 7 years. We also had chapters going in Louisville and Tyler moved to Brooklyn so he was doing it there. When Dan moved out here to LA, he was doing it here for a while, then I ran a few out here. I’m still planning to do more, so it’s a continuing project. For 5 of those 7 years it was also a podcast. So I had a lot of experience in putting together shows that were kind of high-concept in a way, but also still extremely punk or DIY and very, “I don’t know, we have a bunch of chairs and a bunch of people and a microphone, so let’s do something”.
Bunny: I really like that you just said that. That’s DIY.
Danii: Yeah, I mean, you got space, you got friends, you got a party. Why not? Anyway, Bunny and I met working at a horrible bar. Logan Square’s WORST bar.
Danii: I will happily slander the Harding Tavern in Logan Square
Bunny: You can include this.
I will. [I have].
Danii: So we met working together. She was a server and I was a bartender. We only worked maybe two shifts together and we like, “oh, so we’re just… friends forever”. And that was just it. And we stayed friends even after we weren’t working together anymore. I knew that Bunny was running shows out of their basement and it was the leap year. I had this wild concept to do an art gallery where people could sell their art and show off their talents and there would also be performances happening. I also wanted there to be a video component where I would project things on clouds that I made, but that didn’t work out because I didn’t have a connector for the projector. It could’ve been really cool and I worked really hard on all these clouds. I wanted it to be focused on dreams because of Dreamhouse. Well actually, I thought about Bunny when I had the concept because I wanted to call it Dreamland, and what better place to do it than Dreamhouse. Also a dirty basement just seemed like the perfect spot to have an art gallery. I wanted it to all feel like a fever dream. Like the concept of having a day that doesn’t exist show up once every four years. I don’t know. I thought it went really crappy, but other people really liked it and Bunny decided to keep me on.
Bunny: It was so cool!
Danii: Then I moved out here. I left Chicago during the pandemic because I’m a bartender and I have no money by the time March rolled around because everything had slowed down and it was supposed to be the busy season at the hotel I was working at. I was originally going to move to the East Coast, but then decided why not give LA a chance. It’s sunny and at least there I’d have friends that I can hang out with outside.
Well since you’re both here now, why don’t you share a bit about the events you’ve had here and where you see things going in the future and any challenges that might come with that.
Bunny: The first event we had here was crazy. We didnt know if anyone was going to come and I don’t think the poster got much attention at all - you were there, Ben.
[I was]. Yeah, it went really well! Super fun stuff.
Bunny: Yeah we filled up the place and got invited back. We’re doing a show there again on January 14th.
[That’s my birthday and I’m having a little party, but YOU go to the Dreamhouse event at Permanent Records in LA and I would be there had my birthing situation shaked out differently all those many moons ago. I digress]
Bunny: So right now our plan for the next 6 months is to do one show a month so we don’t wast our time and energy on shows that we just don't have the following here yet for. So if we work really hard on just one show a month and make it good and work really hard to get people that align with our values and vision, then it’s gonna be bonkers awesome. So right now we have the show lined up for January 14th.
Bunny: We need a following! But luckily, Permanent Records has been SO nice to us. Lance is so awesome. He believes in the vibe. And then the guy who does El Cid, and then, what else does he do?
Danii: Catch One.
Bunny: Catch One.
YO! I used to live like, right across the street from there. I love that place.
Bunny: Is it cool? Because he was like, it’s the coolest place in the world.
Well, it’s not the coolest place in the WORLD, but I’d say, coolest place in Mid City, for sure. It’s pretty great.
Bunny: Good! Yeah he wanted us to do a DJ night there.
Danii: And then we did a show at Junior High.
Bunny: Which is like a queer art space.
Oh yeah, I love them!
Bunny: Oh yeah, that was two days ago.
How’d that go?
Danii: I would say it was lightly attended, but still, like -
Bunny: Poppin! It was really fun. Melissa Brooks was awesome.
Danii: She was so amazing. She performed like she was at the Forum.
Bunny: This is a room of maybe 20 people, and she got on stage and - so she produces, mixes, does every instrumental on all her songs, AND sings. She masters everything and puts it all out on her own, editing-
[Me rudely interrupting after searching her name] Oh she’s in the Aquadolls! [Fun fact, the first time Bunny and I were ever in the same room was at an Aquadolls show in Chicago]
Bunny: Yeah! So she does EVERYTHING. She’s a one-woman project in her DJ career. She got up there and she goes “What is UP, Los Angeles?!”
Danii: She had her recording playing and in the middle it would go, “Melissa Brooks, biiiiiitch”.
Bunny: And she would go, “Let me see you shake some ASSSSSS!”
Danii: The show itself was just amazing and every performer that we had there really just didn’t give a shit that it was only 20 people and performed like there was 20,000 people. It was amazing.
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Talking with these two incredibly talented and driven women is always such a pleasure. They have a genuine, palpable passion for community, art, and performance and it radiates. If you’re in the area, I urge you to check out their next Dreamhouse event at Permanent Records in LA. Llook forward to seeing Mod Pods, Babe Ruthless, and Dildox kick some ass!
Find them on Instagram @dreamhouse_usa to stay in the loop!
Words by: Ben
Cover Illustration by: Aila