Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Starry Night, 8 NW Sixth Avenue, Portland, OR


Capacity 967

When first built in 1933, the Apostolic Faith Mission building at the northeast corner of NW 6th and W Burnside extended about 20 feet more to the south than it does today.  Widening of Burnside made it necessary to chop a section of building out, move the face north, and mate the two pieces back together again.(3)

In the heart of the city, in neon, a star, and the words "Jesus The light of the world" shined over Burnside Street, the main drag of Portland, Oregon in 1980.
 Not too long later, the sign came down and the gospel ministry became the downtown nightclub "Starry Night", a warren of twisting back stairwells, dark wood, the sounds of Robert Cray, Emmy Lou Harris, a murder by strangulation, and stale cigarette smoke, beer, and pot.

Brian Treece was the Stage Manager of the Starry Night Club 1979 – 1980 (1 year).
Starry Night, a nightclub/theater now known as Roseland located at 8 NW Sixth Ave in Portland’s Old Town, opened in December, 1982. The Willamette Week announced the opening of this new music venue, saying there was “not a bad seat in the house.” A week later, announcing a concert by local band Nu Shooz, Willamette Week said, “While Starry Night may be a strategic venue for national acts, with its capacity of 967, at the same time it hopes to be a comfortable performance hall for local bands.”

The man behind Starry Night, Larry Hurwitz, who “turned a rundown church in the heart of Portland’s skid road into the city’s largest, most successful concert hall (PDXS 12/10/98)”, has an obscure history. Very little information is available on him before he opened the Starry Night club in 1982, when he was 27 years old.

On January 20, 1990 during a concert at Starry Night by John Lee Hooker, promoters of the concert found 180 counterfeit tickets. Police got involved in the case and soon found that the fakes had all been sold through a neighboring club, Day For Night 135 NW Fifth Ave, which was owned by Larry Hurwitz’s father-in-law. Some concert goers with fake tickets said they had bought them from Hurwitz personally.

When questioned by the police, Hurwitz said he knew nothing of the counterfeiting, but suspected one of his employees. On January 23 the story hit the Oregonian. That night Larry Hurwitz summoned his employee Tim Moreau, 21, to his office.

Hurwitz later claimed that he confronted Moreau about the fake tickets and they had an emotional meeting. Finally Moreau admitted the counterfeiting and agreed to turn over the money. Moreau said he would have to lead Larry to where the money was hidden.

According to Hurwitz’s story, Moreau eluded him at a stoplight and drove off into the night. Police later found Moreau’s car parked at the airport, but Moreau could not be proved to have taken any flight. Tim Moreau was never seen again.

Hurwitz blamed the counterfeiting on Moreau and said the case was closed. Larry’s story didn’t quite add up, though, and many questions remained.(1)

Hurwitz sold the club, which is now home to the Roseland Theater, and moved to Vietnam. There he was arrested in July 1998 and extradited to Portland to face tax-evasion charges.
While Hurwitz was serving his one-year sentence for tax evasion, investigators got their first break in the Moreau case. A former Starry Night employee told investigators Moreau had been murdered. George Castagnola, another former club employee, pleaded guilty in November 1998 to helping Hurwitz garrote Moreau to cover up their involvement in the ticket scam. Castagnola led investigators to the body, buried in a makeshift grave on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.
Initially charged with five counts of aggravated murder, Hurwitz was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading no contest to a single count of murder in August 2000.(2)

Partial 1984 List of Performances
2/25/84 Hot Tuna
3/11/84 The Band
3/18/84 John Lee Hooker
3/29/84-Bon Jovi
4/21/84-The Cramps
4/28/84 The Dinosaurs, with John Cippollina
6/23/84-Albert Collins
8/8/84-Bobby and the Midnights
8/12/84-Psychedelic Furs
10/19/84, Country Joe and the Fish and The Youngbloods
The Ramones played here in late 1984 also.

This one was cancelled in 1988.

Jerry performed here on
12/6/84 JGB
12/7/84 JGB

1.)^Chandler, JG, 2006-05-07, Rock and Roll Homicide Part One, http://portlandcrime.blogspot.com/2006/05/rock-n-roll-homicide-part-one.html
2.)^Pitkin, James, 2008-04-29, Starry Night Killer Larry Hurwitz Released from Prison, http://www.wweek.com/portland/blog-7986-starry_night_killer_larry_hurwitz_released_from_prison.html
3.)^Vintage Portland, http://vintageportland.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/apostolic-faith-mission-1933/

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