Black Chamber

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The House concert turned up to eleven

In the heart of Highland Park you’ll find an unassuming white house. Go inside, climb the stairs, and take a seat near the stage. Soon the house lights go down, the curtains draw back and light pours onto the stage. Then the magic begins.

This one-of-a-kind experience can only be found at Topeka’s DIY venue, Black Chamber.
On its intimate stage while surrounded by an atmosphere of panache and charm, you’ll find a myriad of local musical talents, parties, and comedy shows. Black Chamber is Preston Walker’s crowning achievement. Preston is Topeka-born and raised and a longtime member of the music scene, whether that involved being in bands, DJing, or his current role as host of a unique local venue. Preston had nothing but respect for basement shows but, in planning the aesthetic of Black Chamber, sought to offer an alternative where audiences and performers alike could find intimacy and comfort.

He prides himself on offering the venue as a space for artists to perform when they might not have otherwise had the opportunity. He believes that Black Chamber can serve as a stepping stone where performers can hone their craft on their way to performing for audiences of thousands. It’s the kind of intimate venue you’d find in larger urban locales. “If you were doing something in New York, Chicago, California, you’d probably go to a bar or a place that has a setup like this,” Preston says.

Preston hopes Black Chamber will draw in all types of music and fans. His goal is to create a hub within Topeka’s already strong music scene while also drawing crowds from outside the city and even outside the state.

The unassuming white house encompasses both Black Chamber and Preston’s personal space, so the move to host events there required some valiant sacrifice. In the future, though, Black Chamber could be housed at its own independent location.

Preston had ideas for shows in the past and pitched them to other venue owners only to be turned down. Black Chamber, on the other hand, is amenable to all ideas with few exceptions. That even includes a recent idea involving a portal to the underworld opening up onstage, according to Preston.

“Please support your local music and DIY scene,” he urges. “There’s so much talent here in Topeka that goes unseen.”

Preston Walker

Talking with Preston about Black Chamber reveals his sense of obligation to the city and its performers. A unique background in music has afforded him the skills to devote himself to the city he loves and give back to its music community.

“Black Chamber is going to be the new face in music, no matter what. This place is going to hold some history for Topeka’s music scene,” he promises. “I’m grateful to keep up that honor here for the rest of my life.”

Preston Walker

Preston says entry prices are around $10, which goes toward supporting local talent on par with the kinds of big-name performers you’d pay $100 to see in Lawrence or Kansas City.
Black Chamber is unexpected and tucked away, but it’s also a place where you can find local artistry onstage right in your own backyard. That’s especially true in a literal sense if your backyard happens to be in Highland Park.

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Alex Hounchell

Born and raised in small town Kansas, A.M. Hounchell lives with his beautiful wife, a Shiba Inu named Maka, two cats, and a bird. Recently, he's become a homeowner and finished his 21st book.

His work spans several genres including science fiction, absurdism, memoir, and fantasy, but he always has his trademark humor and wit.

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