The Dirt Palace is an entertainment venue, home and illicit diner
located in Providence
, Rhode Island
. It is located in Olney Square
. Olney Square, for those who aren't familiar, is the center of Olneyville from which all other streets extend like spokes
The building is two floors. The downstairs is, for the most part, a large empty room that used to be a storefront. It is decorated with whatever garbage has been found and converted into art by the residents. This is where concerts are held. There is a tiny (really tiny) PA and no stage; the bands set up and play on the floor. One wall of this room has old church pews lined up against it, and they curl around into the center of the room, forming a sort of second hallway.
There are two staircases leading upstairs, one at either end of the building. The one near the front of the building is beautiful--wide and all hard woods with sconces on the wall. The one at the back is more utilitarian; when the building served as a shop it was the one the customers would never see, and so it never had to look nice.
Upstairs there is a hall that has been converted into sort of a storage room. It houses shelves filled with books and video cassettes. From this hall there are about six rooms protruding; these are the resident's bedrooms. At one end of the hall (at the front of the building) is a large room that has been converted into a combination living room and kitchen. It has a hardwood floor. A few refrigerators, microwaves and a stove are at one end as well as a dinner table. At the other end are some more industrial strength shelves as well as a few couches and, I believe, a television and VCR.
And that's where the diner part comes in. Occasionally during shows they set up extra tables and chairs in that large room. Anyone who wishes can come upstairs and be served food, mostly vegan, from what they call the Dirty South Diner. There is no doubt in my mind that they don't have a permit for this, just as they don't have a permit for setting up shows.
Some of the more interesting things that have happened to me at the Dirt Palace include: getting my arm burned by fireworks, getting covered in fake blood, getting in cupcake and pillow fights, and seeing some incredible bands. Some of the more notable bands I've seen perform there are Arab on Radar, Pink & Brown, The Flying Luttenbachers, Mr. Quintron, Milemarker and The Rah Brahs. There is a very devoted scene in Providence to the loud and noisy, and the Dirt Palace is one of the chief venues that caters to that scene. And this isn't noise in any sort of figurative sense--it's noise for noise's sake. This can result in all sorts of chaos at shows, including jumping off of amplifiers, piles of bodies on the floor and bleeding musicians.