Young Folks

Sarasota Creatrix Launches New Arts and Music Event

Artist and musician Dana Laag wants to foster a creative community for young people.

By Sarafina Murphy-Gibson October 8, 2019

Dana Laag and Alex Alfonso in their band, The Pretty Dirties

Dana Laag lives her life immersed in the arts. A talented painter who specializes in figurative art, Laag is also an accomplished vocalist with operatic training. She's played the clarinet and bass guitar, performed in musical theater, sang in choirs and competed vocally on a national level. These days, she primarily performs as the frontwoman for a pair of bands, The Pretty Dirties and Dream Thing, both of which will perform at Slice, a free arts and music event she is organizing from 6 to 11 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 12.

Laag and her partner, Alex Alfonso, who plays guitar, enjoy creating music together. The catalyst to start forming official bands came when they received an invitation to play Porchfest, a grassroots community music festival. They were impressed by the enthusiasm their performance generated. "It was exciting to see young people up and dancing," Laag says. With both The Pretty Dirties and the more experimental Dream Thing, the pair hopes to create more opportunities to bring young folks together.

The cover of the Pretty Dirties album Red Mirror

The Pretty Dirties are rounded out by Ryan O'Neill on bass and Tim Maryon on drums. Laag describes the band's sound as "thrashy weirdness," with influences ranging from Lou Reed and Iggy Pop to The Beatles. The band has played for crowds at events like Ringling Underground and the Harvey Milk Festival. Dream Thing, meanwhile, is made up of Laag, Alfonso, Joshua Brining, Jay Moreno and Jourdan Betsch. Their sound is a combination of psych-rock, surf and garage rock.

She wants to make Slice into an ongoing, quarterly event. Set in an artist's studio at 1663 11th St., Sarasota, the inaugural party will feature a performance by Glaze, in addition to sets from Laag's two bands. The event will also include film projections, live poetry writing and 15 artistic vendors. Laag hopes to help build "a self-fulfilling cycle of creative community" for Sarasota's younger crowds. All ages are welcome.

Learn more about Slice here.

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