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Friday, November 30, 2012

Paramount Northwest (Paramount Theatre), 911 Pine Street, Seattle, WA

Scottish-born Seattle resident Benjamin Marcus “Uncle Benny” Priteca, America’s most celebrated architect of movie palaces in the 1920s, designed the building’s adjacent apartments and office suites.
The Rapp brothers began with a substantial handicap: the land for the new theatre was situated on 9th Avenue, blocks from the center of Seattle’s theatre district, and the land was no more than a ravine with a creek flowing to nearby Lake Union. After filling in the land, Paramount Pictures compensated for its new theatre’s remote location by building the largest, most spectacular, most opulent movie palace Seattle had ever seen.

On March 1, 1928, the Seattle Theatre opened. The Seattle Times heralded the occasion with enthusiasm:

"Never has such a magnificent cathedral of entertainment been given over to the public. Indescribable beauty! Incomparable art! The stage productions will be of the most lavish design, brilliant in their lighting effects and gorgeous in their settings.
ALL SEATTLE WILL BE THERE! Show divine at 9th and Pine … an acre of seats in a palace of splendor. It’s yours . . . you’ll love it . . . Everybody’s welcome, everybody’s wanted . . . Every Washingtonian will be proud of its stately magnificence, its gorgeous decorations, its spacious foyers, its wide aisles, its commodious seats, its symphony of lights. See the Mammoth Show! In all the World no place like this!"

Eager customers responded on opening night, lining up eight abreast outside The Seattle. After paying the 50 cent admission fee, they entered the grand lobby. There patrons encountered a lavish interior decorated in the Beaux Arts (also called French Renaissance) style of the palace in Versailles. They were awed by the four-tiered lobby, French baroque plaster moldings, gold-leaf encrusted wall medallions, rich paint colors, beaded chandeliers, and lacy ironwork. Their feet sank into hand-loomed French carpeting as they walked past walls adorned with delicate tapestries and original paintings in gilded frames. Heavy, expensive draperies fell at the windows, and hand-carved furniture upholstered in the finest fabrics lined the first-floor lobby.

Before entering the auditorium, customers were entertained by the rare gold and ivory Knabe Ampico grand player piano in the lounge area just above the foyer.

Patrons were escorted to their places in the nearly 4,000 seat auditorium by what the program booklet praised as an “alert, tactful, well trained” corps of ushers who provided “courteous, unostentatious service.” The program promised “no fuss, no senseless genuflections, but . . . welcome, quiet, considerate and alert attention on the part of each of these ushers — in other words, a gracious host making you feel that his home is yours, suavely, expeditiously, sincerely and without affectation.”(1)

The house lights dimmed, and the Seattle Grand Concert Orchestra began to play selections from Faust. Then customers watched Memories, a silent film the program touted as a “Technicolor novelty.”  They viewed a newsreel, then enjoyed listening to Renaldo Baggot and Don Moore, “Ron and Don, The Organ Duo,” perform “brilliant organ interludes” from the giant “thousand throated,” custom-built Wurlitzer, “an instrument of enchantment” that could simulate many orchestral instruments, “now reverberating in harmonious thunder, now whispering in gentle melody.” The Wurlitzer performance was followed by “A Merry Widow Review,” a nationally acclaimed stage show from The Paramount Theatre in New York City, accompanied by Jules Buffano and The Seattle Theatre Stage Band. The show featured “catchy songs, tantalizing melody, and snappy and graceful dance steps by a bevy of girls.”
The program booklet explained that the stage show was made possible by an elaborate backstage area, which was equipped with “electric elevators, ample windows, and telephones,” and the “last word” in lighting and “advanced stage inventions and appliances” to produce “startling and beautiful stage effects, almost without limitation.”  These effects could include clouds, stars, rainbows and snow.
The booklet also assured satisfied customers, who typically spent four hours at the theatre, that they could look forward each week to new entertainment in a similar format, including stage shows and movies. The first few motion pictures would feature Lon Chaney, Joan Crawford, and Clara Bow.
The Seattle Theatre offered its first “talkie,” Varsity, in early December of 1928, and Seattle customers responded to the innovation with the same enthusiasm as the rest of the country. The movie industry produced almost no silent films after that time.(1)

On March 14, 1930, The Seattle Theatre changed its name to The Seattle Paramount Theatre, reflecting its connection to The Paramount Theatre chain. Vaudeville acts seen at The Seattle Paramount Theatre originated in New York and appeared at Paramount theatres in many other cities.
Performances at The Paramount followed the format of opening night, offering several shows and movies each day. However, as the Depression deepened, fewer patrons could afford theatre. Beset with financial woes, The Paramount temporarily closed in June 1931, and reopened on October 29, 1932.
Upon reopening, The Paramount hired Gaylord B. Carter as its chief organist. Carter’s performances brought him national acclaim, aided in large part by The Paramount’s outstanding organ. It was the biggest and most impressive orchestra-unit organ built in 1928, and included an entire grand piano and drum set built into the side panels of the auditorium, together with hundreds of pipes, bells, chimes, whistles, and horns. It cost over $100,000 to install (it would cost over $1 million today) – a good investment considering that it was used daily for years.(1)

During one memorable week in April 1935, the Marx Brothers performed their stage version of “A Night at the Opera,” testing jokes on Seattle’s audiences for possible use in the movie, released later that year. Tickets for the Marx Brothers show, which The Paramount presented three times a day, cost 25 to 55 cents. “It was the most delightful thing I ever saw,” says Seattle resident Ben Emerson.

Sometime between 1935 and 1937, the Fox Evergreen Corporation purchased The Paramount and continued to present first-run, full-length films.
The Paramount presented vaudeville shows less frequently as the decade progressed. Patron Mary Bassetti reports that by 1937, customers did not know whether a live show would contribute to an “afternoon of glorious make-believe.”
She tells of a visit to The Paramount one Saturday:
The movies finished, the light came up, and my pal Leona and I started to gather our things for the long trolley ride back to West Seattle.
Suddenly, the lights dimmed, a spotlight exploded center stage, and a flamboyant master of ceremonies announced a vaudeville show!  Oh, delicious surprise! We experienced a moment of unmitigated joy to realize we didn’t have to face reality quite yet. With pokes and giggles, we settled back into the plush seats to be transported by lively tap-dancing, glitzy satin, sappy songs, and high-flying Indian clubs – all dessert to our adolescent sensibilities.

Patricia Scott recalls going to The Theatre see Humphrey Bogart in To Have and Have Not on August 14, 1945. When the Japanese surrendered, the house manager stopped the movie to announce that World War II had ended. He distributed passes for everyone to see the show another time, and Ms. Scott joined downtown workers and shoppers as they rejoiced in the streets outside.

Some of the rare remaining live acts in the 1950s included familiar names. Danny Kaye performed at The Paramount in 1952. In 1953, The Theatre offered a production of “John Brown’s Body,” starring Tyrone Power, Anne Baxter and Raymond Massey. Betty Hutton appeared at The Theatre later that year. Danny Kaye returned in 1955, and Ella Fitzgerald sang there in 1958.

Unfortunately for The Paramount, the trend toward building suburban theatres accelerated during the 1950s, and The Theatre’s financial standing slipped. In an effort to make The Paramount’s entertainment more attractive, Fox Evergreen leased The Theatre to the Stanley Warner Cinerama Corporation. The Theatre began showing “Cinerama” films on September 1, 1956. Sixteen hundred seats were removed to accommodate three projection booths at the rear of the main floor, and The Paramount installed a curved, extra-wide screen to show a 1950s version of an IMAX production. By January 26, 1958, The Theatre had discarded the “Cinerama” format, perhaps because the wide screen tended to cut the movie into thirds, separated by shadows.

Mickey Rooney starred in a comedy show at The Theatre as late as 1961.

The Paramount resumed showing traditional full-length films, although by 1960 they were mostly second-run. Nevertheless, The Theatre tried to retain its dignity, continuing to hire ushers (including 20 year-old Bruce Lee, who later became a martial arts cinema star) and showing new releases whenever it could – notably Psycho in 1960 and all the James Bond adventures of the period. The Paramount closed for long periods in the 1960s, including a time in 1965 during which nine magnificent paintings, still in their original gilded frames, were stolen from the lobby. One Friday night in 1967, only 13 people came to see Gone with the Wind — a poignant demonstration of The Theatre’s decline. However, The Paramount limped along as a movie house until 1971.

In 1971, the Clise Corporation purchased The Paramount and began working with Pine Street, Inc., a production company. Pine Street believed that The Theatre’s acoustics would be perfect for rock, soul, and jazz concerts and brought live music back to The Paramount, renaming it Paramount Northwest.
A Seattle resident remembers that point in The Paramount’s history. “The first time I visited The Paramount was also the night of my first rock concert!  I saw The Guess Who there in 1972. Later I bought the record album, The Guess Who Live at The Paramount, and I could see myself in the crowd shot!”

Although The Paramount Northwest retained little of The Theatre’s original luster, the National Park Service and the United States Department of the Interior recognized the building’s architectural and historical significance, placing it on the National Register of Historic Places on October 9, 1974. A plaque attesting to this honor still hangs at the northwest corner of the façade.

In 1976, West Coast Theatres, Inc. began managing The Paramount and continued to offer live music, primarily geared toward the young people of Seattle. The ongoing concert boom in Seattle benefited The Theatre’s owners, but the building remained in disrepair. As Bruce Brown wrote in Argus Magazine in November 1977, “Electric guitars thunder while The Paramount fades.”

In mid-1981, Volotin Investment Company bought The Paramount.

The Paramount was busy, but touring companies found its facilities inadequate. In spite of the 1981 updates, the sound system and lighting remained deficient, and dressing rooms were dingy. The Theatre lacked simple amenities, such as an adequate number of restrooms, a functioning air conditioning system, and access for disabled patrons. The dilapidated backstage area was too small for storage and had no elevator for transporting equipment to the stage. Maneuvering props and equipment to the stage was dangerous. Crews had to use the steep “Kamikaze” ramp; heavy loads occasionally careened out of control, forcing crews to scatter.

The Theatre slid into debt during the 1980s, making repairs impossible. The Volotin Company began selling off The Paramount’s assets. For example, at one auction The Company sold a significant amount of The Theatre’s furniture and equipment, as well as the Knabe Ampico player piano. Dick Schrum, an accomplished musician who had played the Wurlitzer organ for The Paramount in the 1960s, bought the piano.
These fundraising efforts did not solve The Theater’s financial problems. Volotin therefore initiated a search for someone to buy The Paramount. When no buyer materialized, Volotin filed for bankruptcy protection in late 1987.
In early October 1990, a number of investors stepped forward, leaving Volotin with only a small interest in The Paramount. Despite the influx of cash, The Theatre continued to lose money.
Nevertheless, performances at The Theatre continued.

Ida Cole, then a Microsoft vice-president, heard of The Paramount’s financial difficulties from her friend Chip Wilson. Deeply impressed by The Theatre’s grandeur and concerned about its future, Ms. Cole established the non-profit Seattle Landmark Association in 1992 to save, restore and operate local historical theatres. In February 1993, she bought The Paramount for $9.6 million.

Once Ms. Cole owned The Paramount, she and Mr. Wilson, a former promoter and producer, began planning a major overhaul of the facility. By July of 1993, Ms. Cole had hired the international architectural firm of NBBJ to design the project and Sellen Construction of Seattle to implement it. She applied for the necessary city permits and acquired adjoining property to accommodate the expansion of the stage and backstage areas.

Ida Cole hoped to restore The Paramount to a “kissable” building, one where “everyone was welcome and felt comfortable, the people’s theatre.”  She promised that all work would “be done within the context of protecting the irreplaceable historical aspects of the building,” and she was true to her word.

The Paramount reopened on March 16, 1995, launching the new touring production of “Miss Saigon.” 

Then, in 2001, as a fitting tribute to The Paramount’s restored grandeur, the family of Dick Schrum agreed to display the Knabe Ampico player piano in its original location in the lounge area just above the foyer. The family still owns the piano, but Ida Cole refurbished and agreed to maintain it so long as it remains at The Theatre.

On Friday, December 20, 2002, Ida Cole transferred ownership of The Paramount Theatre to Seattle Theatre Group (STG), the new name for the Seattle Landmark Association. Ms. Cole told The Seattle Times that she had enjoyed restoring the building but wished to divest herself of the enormous responsibility of owning The Paramount. As a parting gift, she personally reduced the mortgage on the building from $14.5 million to a more manageable $8.5 million, bringing the total amount of money she had invested in The Paramount to $30 million. In recognition of her outstanding contribution, the auditorium was officially named after her at The Theatre’s 75th anniversary celebration on March 1, 2003.(1)

Jerry performed here on
7/21/72 Grateful Dead (Paramount Northwest Theater)
7/22/72 Grateful Dead (Paramount Northwest Theater)
9/28/77 Grateful Dead (Paramount Northwest)
9/29/77 Grateful Dead (Paramount Northwest)
10/28/78 Early and late shows Jerry Garcia Band (Paramount Northwest Theater)
1/13/84 Jerry Garcia Band (Paramount Theater)
12/8/84 Jerry Garcia Band (Paramount Theater)

1.)^Peltin, Nina, The Paramount Theatre:"Show Divine at 9th and Pine",

Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA

Capacity 2625

Symphony Hall in Boston, Massachusetts is widely considered to be one of the two or three finest concert halls in the world, alongside Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and Vienna's Großer Musikvereinssaal. All three concert halls are renowned for their exceptional acoustics.
The architects, McKim, Mead & White of New York, engaged Wallace Clement Sabine, a young assistant professor of physics at Harvard, as their acoustical consultant, and Symphony Hall became one of the first auditoria designed in accordance with scientifically derived acoustical principles. Stage walls slope inward to help focus the sound. With the exception of its wooden floors, the Hall is built of brick, steel, and plaster, with modest decoration. Side balconies are very shallow to avoid trapping or muffling sound, and the coffered ceiling and statue-filled niches along three sides help provide excellent acoustics to essentially every seat.

Symphony Hall was inaugurated on October 15, 1900, with an inaugural gala led by music director Wilhelm Gericke, after the Orchestra's original home (the Old Boston Music Hall) was threatened by road-building and subway construction.

In 2006, due to wear and tear, the concert stage floor was replaced at a cost of $250,000. The process used original methods and materials, including hard maple, a compressed wool underlayment and hardened steel cut nails, hammered home by hand. The vertical grain fir subfloor from 1899 was in excellent shape and was left in place. The nails used in the new floor are made using the same equipment that produced the originals. Even the back chanelling on the original maple top boards was replicated to help preserve the acoustics of the Hall. The old floorboards were converted into handcrafted pens that are available to the public on a necessarily limited basis.
The 16 replicas of Greek and Roman statues are related in some way to music, art, or literature. They were placed in the niches as part of an appreciation of the frequently quoted words, "Boston, the Athens of America," written by Bostonian William Tudor in the early 19th century. The Symphony Hall organ, an Aeolian Skinner designed by G. Donald Harrison and installed in 1949, is considered one of the finest concert hall organs in the world.
The hall's leather seats are still original from 1900.

A couple of interesting points for observant concert-goers: Beethoven is the only composer whose name was inscribed on one of the plaques that trim the stage and balconies; the other plaques were left empty since it was felt that only Beethoven's popularity would remain unchanged. The initials "BMH" for "Boston Music Hall", as the building was originally to have been called, appear on the stairwell banisters at the Huntington Avenue side, originally planned as the main entrance. The old Boston Music Hall was gutted only after the new building, Symphony Hall, was opened.(1)

Jerry performed here on
1/26/72 Howard Wales
1/27/72 Howard Wales

1.)^The History of Symphony Hall,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

David McQueen's (David X) other house, Waverly at Channing, East Palo Alto, CA

Also see David McQueen's (David X) other house, Ramona Street, Palo Alto, CA.

Veteran's Memorial Auditorium, 1 Avenue Of The Arts, Providence, RI

Capacity 1931

Veterans Memorial Auditorium (VMA) is a performing arts theater in Providence, Rhode Island.
The Rhode Island Freemasons planned an ambitious complex designed by Osgood & Osgood, one of the era’s noted architectural firms. Work began in 1927, and foundations and building frames were constructed before economic times changed drastically in 1929. Work was halted, and the project lay dormant until the 1940′s.
The State of Rhode Island took over the project in the 1940′s. Near the end of World War II, the community pushed to complete the theater component as Rhode Island’s first professional performing arts venue.

On January 27, 1950 the theater officially opened.
Photo by Gerry D.

It is among the oldest arts venues in Rhode Island and is on the National Register of Historic Places.(1)
The ornately-designed concert hall houses the largest theater stage in Rhode Island and is considered to have some of the best acoustics in New England. The performance space features a gilded proscenium arch, allegorical and heraldic ceiling murals.

The protection of the auditorium's highly acclaimed acoustics, and sound separation of the ballroom from the auditorium above it, were a shared concern in the property development agreement between the non-profit VMA organization and Sage Hospitality Resources, the developers of the Masonic Temple site. Specifications for the acoustic isolation of the auditorium and ballroom were created by the noted acoustic firm Shen Milsom & Wilke, in conjunction with Odeh Engineers, Inc. Shen Milsom & Wilke are well regarded for the results of the sound separation between Carnegie Hall and the new Zankel Hall created beneath it.

Muddy Waters 1969, Vets Memorial

It was completely restored in 1990.

Veterans Memorial Auditorium is managed by Professional Facilities Management, the company that brings you the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC). Under the guidance of the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority and PPAC/PFM team, The Vets will undergo major renovations in the coming months/years to add more patron conveniences and improve the overall theater experience

Ceiling feature with display of flags of RI towns and cities, photo by Gerry D.

Since 1950, when the theater opened, it had begun to fall into disrepair and in the early 1980s the state of Rhode Island was thinking of closing the auditorium and the adjoining Masonic Temple and reducing the complex to a parking lot. In 1983, the Veterans Memorial Auditorium Preservation Association (VMAPA) was formed to try to save the auditorium. They rallied for five years and in 1988 Governor DiPrete awarded the VMAPA with $5 million for the VMA's renovation. Since that time it has been a center for the arts. The Renaissance Providence Hotel, formerly the Masonic Temple, is located directly adjacent to the VMA.(1)

Jerry performed here on
11/29/83 Jerry Garcia Band

1.)^Fernandes, Paul,
2.)^Barbarisi, Daniel (May 20, 2007). "Temple Digs", Providence Journal.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Taft Auditorium, 317 East 5th Street, Cincinnati, OH

Capacity 2500

The building was completed in 1928 from plans by Harry Hake and Charles Kuck.  It replaced the Gothic structure that had been designed by Hamilton and McLaughlin in 1858.

The building is now named the Taft Theater but continues to have live shows including comedian acts, children's shows, musicians, and theater performances.

All seats are unobstructed, giving every seat a clear view of the stage. It is part of the Masonic Temple Building at Fifth and Sycamore streets.[1] It is home to the Cincinnati Children's Theatre. As of 2010, it is operated by Music & Event Management Inc., a subsidiary of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Music & Event Management Inc. also operates Riverbend Music Center and PNC Pavilion. The theatre will undergo up to $3 million worth of upgrades and renovations for air conditioning, seating, restroom improvements and other amenities.
It is used for Broadway shows, concerts, comedy and other special events.

Jerry performed here on
10/30/71 New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Grateful Dead

1.)^Singer 2005, p.70.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Swain's Music Store, 451 University Avenue, Palo Alto, CA

More and more, the band began borrowing their instruments from Swain's House of Music. Pauline Swain, who still works in the music store at 451 University Ave., says she and her husband, Robert, lent instruments to the band "because we liked to help young musicians." Sometimes the band would practice in the store. Other times, they would take the instruments up to La Honda, where they would hang out with Kesey and his Merry Pranksters. More often than not, "when the instruments were returned, they came back looking like they had been in a pig pen," says Swain, making reference to McKernan's nickname.
Swain, who keeps a file of newspaper clippings on the Dead, also remembers when Garcia asked her secretary how to spell "grateful." He didn't know if the word was "greatful" or "grateful."
"All my secretary could say was, 'Jerry, with a name like that, you'll never go anywhere.'"(1)

"Lorna Shashind's parents owned Swain's. Swain's might have been in the same location as Melody Lane in our store's first year or so of business."(2)

In 2012 it's now an Apple Computer Store.

Jerry rehearsed here in

1.)^Palo Alto weekly, 1993-05-12, "Dawn of the Dead- A Tour of the Grateful Dead's Midpeninsula roots"
2.)^Shashinda, Lorna, 2009-01-11,

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Frenchy's, 29097 Mission Blvd., Hayward, CA

Frenchy's dated back to at least 1962.(3)
It "was an oddity, the hippest club in an unhip area."

On May 21, 1966, The Mothers backed Neil Diamond here!

Jerry performed here on
6/18/65 Warlocks (Phil Lesh's first gig)
and three other unknown dates in 1965
"Phil Lesh says, "My first gig was across the bay in Hayward. We had an oral deal for two or three nights, and the first night was my first night in the band.There was nobody there-I guess the guy had expected us to draw automatically or something.
We took all our equipment home with us that night because they wouldn't guarantee security for it, and when we came back the next night there was a saxaphone, accordian, and guitar trio playing. Either we were so bad-which was possible-or the club owner was just desperate, but we had to be replaced."(1)(2)
Phil's first show was at Frenchy's, in Hayward, on June 18, 1965. The band was not invited back.(1)

9/3/79 Reconstruction
"The Grateful Dead played Madison Square Garden from September 4-6, so it's unlikely Garcia was in town. This may have been a show with Jerry Miller. Incidentally, Frenchy's was the very same venue from which the Warlocks were hired for a three day booking and then fired, reputedly on June 18, 1965. A Monday night at Frenchy's would be a good place for the band to try out its "new look" without Garcia. The show was subtitled "Merl Saunders And Friends," I think as an indicator of fans as to what to expect."(4)

1.)^Gans, David, Playin' In The Band, pg. 37.
2.)^McNally, Dennis, Long Strange Trip, pg. 84.
3.)^Arnold, Corry, 2011-09-16, Summer 1965,
4.)^Arnold, Corry, 2012-11-01, Reconstructing Reconstruction,

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ohio Theatre, 39 E. State Street, Columbus, Ohio

Capacity 2770

Originally known as Loew’s Ohio, the Ohio Theater is built atop the site of Columbus’s original city hall, destroyed in a 1921 fire.

The Ohio Theater was designed by the noted theater architect Thomas W. Lamb.

It was furnished by New York decorator Anne Dornan, one of the first women to graduate from the Columbia School of Architecture. Dornan traveled around the world to select art and furnishings, even going on a safari to find appropriate decorations for the "Africa Corner" in the lower lounge of the Ohio. Approximately $1,000,000 was spent on art and furnishings -- more than the cost of the building itself!


Built by the Loew's and United Artists movie theater chains, the Spanish Baroque movie palace opened on March 17, 1928. The first film shown there was The Divine Woman, a silent film with Greta Garbo. Unfortunately, Loew did not get to see the grand opening, having died six months before.

It featured its own orchestra and Robert-Morton theater organ (still in use today). In addition to movies, deluxe variety shows graced the stage, with performers that included Milton Berle, Ray Bolger, Buddy Ebsen, Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers, and Jack Benny.

Regular stage shows were discontinued in 1933 and the orchestra was disbanded. However organist Roger Garrett continued to perform daily at the "Mighty Morton" and occasional live appearances by stars including Judy Garland and Jean Harlow were featured on the stage.

In 1944, when Roger Garrett was inducted into the army, live organ music was discontinued.
In 1966, members of the American Theatre Organ Society began restoring the Robert Morton and playing the organ for shows again.[3]
The final event, other than "Play Dirty" to be held in the theater was to be this concert by Roger Garrett on the Morton. Roger was the second Resident Organist of the Ohio, holding the position from 1933-1942.

Here is an excerpt from the book "The Ohio Theatre Golden Jubilee" which describes in words better than I can come up with a bit about the event:

"... on Sunday, February 16, the final significant event in the theatre's long life as a Loew's movie palace took place: a farewell concert on the theatre's famed Morton organ. Roger Garrett, for years the regular organist for the Ohio and the last organist to appear regularly at a Downtown Columbus movie theatre, returned for what was to be a nostalgic farewell.

The event was indeed nostalgic, ending as Garrett and the Morton sank into the orchestra pit with the swelling sounds of "Auld Lang Syne" filling the vast spaces of the Ohio..."

Loew's closed the theater in 1969 and it was threatened with destruction before being saved and renovated by the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA). The original building was completely restored during the 1970's.

The Ohio Theater was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977.

There is also an Ohio Theater in Cleveland and Mansfield, Ohio.

Jerry performed here on
10/31/71 New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Grateful Dead
3/14/76 Jerry Garcia Band

2.)^Bishop, Mary; et. al. (1978). The Ohio Theatre: 1928- 1978. Columbus Association of Performing Arts.

    Friday, November 23, 2012

    Target Center, 600 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN

    Capacity 19,000

    Originally built in 1990. The City of Minneapolis purchased the arena in 1995.
    In 2004 Target Center underwent a major renovation that saw the replacement of all 19,006 of its original seats plus the addition of nearly 1,500 new seats as well as the reconfiguration of the lower bowl to make the arena more fan-friendly.

    Jerry performed here on
    11/24/91 Jerry Garcia Band

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

    Big Al's Gashouse, 4335 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA

    Big Al's Gashouse was a pizza-and-beer joint, affiliated with similarly named places in North Beach and around the Bay Area (there really was a "Big Al"). Big Al's was another pizza place, like The Tangent or Magoo's, but at least it was connected to the City, if not really part of it.

    The exact date of the Warlocks gig (or gigs) is unknown, but McNally and Jackson (in The Illustrated Trip) place it in August 1965.

    Big Al's Gashouse burned down in January 1966. It was eventually replaced by a suburban hipster bar called The Trip, which opened in November 1966, but by that time the Warlocks were very far past that road.(1)


    Jerry performed here in
    8/65 Warlocks

    1.)^Arnold, Corry, Lost Live Dead, 2009-09-06, North To San Francisco,

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    Ken Kesey's, 9 Perry Lane, Palo Alto, CA

    There is an area on the west side of Alameda and Foothill Expressway on Alpine Road. It borders the Stanford Golf Course. There used to be a bunch of small cottages there. It is near what is now called Stowe Lane. We were aware of the scene, and cruised back there on a few occasions, because we had heard that Kesey and others lived there. That is where there was a Perry Lane. They were not streets, they were just dirt drives with small signs on wooden posts.(1)

    Some of the most memorable gigs took place on Perry Lane, a little street located between Vine and Leland. This was Menlo Park's "little Bohemia." Author Thorstein Veblen lived there, and so did Ken Kesey, while he was writing "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
    Kesey and his cohorts, known as the Merry Pranksters, would often close down the street for the festivities. Garcia and Lesh would come there to party and jam.
    "They were big block parties, starting around noon and going into the night. Musicians would often show up," remembers Vic Lovell, 58, a Menlo Park psychologist who was at several of them. "We used to have Afro-Cuban jazz jam sessions."
    The parties would often have a theme, like a Hawaiian Luau or the "Perry Lane Olympics" on the Fourth of July. "I remember Phil Lesh (the Dead's bassist) showing up to play the jazz trumpet. That's where I got the idea he wanted to be a serious musician," Lovell says. "He was tall and lean, playing modern jazz."
    Palo Alto resident Bob Cullenbine was also there for the Perry Lane Olympics. "We had treasure hunts, games, partying, smoking and drinking," he says.(2)

    Jerry partied and performed here in

    1.)^Gunderson, Robert, 2010-05-21, comments,

    2.)^Palo Alto Weekly, 1993-05-12, "Dawn of the Dead- A Tour of the Grateful Dead's Midpeninsula roots"

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    The Orphanage, 807 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA

    Under the name Varni's Roaring Twenties, the club was known for "The Girl On The Swing", where comely young ladies would swing over the stairwell in the center of the room.
    Their calling card was a naked girl on a swing who, indeed, swung over the entire building. The club had briefly gone away from Topless in 1966, but had rapidly returned.
    Varni's Roaring Twenties, August 16, 1964

    San Francisco Chronicle May 6, 1967

    From looking at the ad (in the May 6, 1967 San Francisco Chronicle) its clear that they have borrowed the iconography of the Fillmore posters, with the wobbly letters and the promise of a light show.
    Their house band at the time was a group called The New Salvation Army Banned, a Haight Street group who had been playing there almost every night since at least March.(1)
    Michael Wilhelm of The Charlatans confirmed me that his band played there at Roaring 20s as house band for six weeks during circa March-April 1967, before The New Salvation Army Banned.(2)

    On Sunday, May 14, The Roaring 20s had a special event, promoted in that day's Chronicle (above), The Artists And Models Bal Masque. The blurb helpfully points out that tickets will be available to the public. Another listing says that the Jerry Hahn Trio (a jazz group) and Notes From The Underground (a Berkeley Folk-Rock group) would also be playing.

    As The Orphanage, however, the club became North Beach's premier rock spot for a hot minute during the early seventies.

    Mick Jagger and Keith Richards showed up during the wee hours to catch reggae greats Toots and the Maytalls one night in 1975, the same year that friends of deejay Tom Donahue gathered at the club to hold a wake. The Tubes played without costumes or makeup for the first time that night and Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary), of all people, opened the event, which lasted until the early morning hours of the next day.(excerpt from Joel Selvin's book)

    Now known as the Arnold Laub Building, it houses The Armstrong Law Firm.
    The building is in the heart of the historical Jackson Square district. It has 18' ceilings and lots of light with brick & timber construction.The property includes operable windows.

    Jerry performed here on
    2/6/73 Merl Saunders
    2/7/73 Merl Saunders
    4/23/73 Old And In Way[6]
    The Rowan Brothers opened.
    Jerry plays a RB-250 Gibson Mastertone banjo.[5]

    4/30/73 Old And In Way
    Jerry plays a RB-250 Gibson Mastertone banjo.[5]

    8/30/75 Keith and Donna Band
    Knock On Wood, Farewell Jack, I've Got Jesus, It Takes A Lot To Laugh It Takes A Train To Cry, I Can't Turn You Loose, Sweet Baby, Strange Man, Tough Mama, My Love For You, Showboat, Come See About Me
    Jerry's first public use of the TB1000A #51 guitar.
    "Garcia started using the Travis Bean in 1975 but not until after the summer. 9/28/75 is the first Dead show with the Bean (TB1000A). He started using it a couple of weeks before that with the Keith and Donna Band on 8/30/75. The Boogie at the time was a cut and dry Mark I 1x12" combo. They came wired with preamp out 1/4 inch jack underneath the chassis. Garcia could take the preamp signal and step it up to the volume he needed with an external power amp such as the McIntosh. Then he ran the speaker outs on the Mac to any number of extension cabinets loaded with his speaker du jour at the time. Between 1975 and 1976 he went through 3 different guitars before settling on the Travis Bean TB500 for the later half of 76."[4]

    Orphanage, San Francisco, CA
    1.)^Arnold, Corry, 2010-01-18,
    2.)^Ceriotti, Bruno, 2011-05-02,
    3.)^T., Stella, History Of Montgomery Street, 2010-11-28,
    5.)^Schoepf, Frank, 2014-04-16, email to author.
    6.)^Scenedrome, Berkeley Barb, 1973-04-20-26, pg. 18, Joseph Jupille Archives.

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

    Big Beat Club, 998 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto, CA

    Owner Yvonne Modica, quite an interesting figure in her own right, had been a successful restaurant and night club entrepreneur in the Bay Area since the 1950's.
    According to Yvonne Modica's obituary, one of the innovations of The Big Beat was a "breakfast show" from 2 to 6 am on Saturday and Sunday mornings, where no liquor was served. Apparently musicians would finish their other gigs, and come to jam and hang out until the early hours. Breakfast shows were a regular feature of Jazz clubs in San Francisco and later there were a number of rock or soul breakfast shows around the Bay Area, including at Winchester Cathedral in Redwood City, Frenchy's in Hayward or Modica's other club, The Trip in San Mateo, which opened later in 1966.

    While the well-kept building is now vacant, it still looks very much like the 1960s pizza parlor and dance club where the Dead played an acid test. The location of the club, in a then deserted industrial district near Highway 101.(1)
    Although The Big Beat continued to exist, it dropped completely off the psychedelic radar. The club was open at least until Spring 1968. Charlie Musselwhite performed here on March 24, 1968.

    Jerry performed here on
    12/18/65 Grateful Dead
    Seven days after they first performed as the Grateful Dead.
    Ironically enough, The Big Beat's lasting fame came the weekend before it opened, when Ken Kesey's crew rented the place for a party, and the Grateful Dead played at The Acid Test.(1)
    Held in a metal warehouse west of the railroad tracks, the event at the "Big Beat Club" was one of Kesey's Acid Tests.
    "There were lots of people with their faces painted and a real carnivalesque feeling," remembers Nelson, now a San Francisco songwriter. "It was like a burgeoning rave scene, a million raves thrown into one."
    "The Big Beat came out of nowhere. This is where everybody played, the next step from the coffeehouses," Williams says.
    But before the Pranksters got on their now-famous bus, they treated the Peninsula to public acid tests. Spencer, a Perry Lane resident, was at the first one, in a warehouse down by the mudflats off Bayshore Road. He said it was the Grateful Dead's first big public performance.
    "So was Neal Cassidy, among other soon to be infamous folks (the Dead, but they might have been the Warlocks at that point, and all the Pranksters). He and his girl-friend were having an argument at one point...very entertaining for the rest of us!"(2)
    Interestingly, someone who attended recalls two stages on opposite sides of the building (a common arrangement, making it easy to switch over to a new band) and an all-girl band who alternated with the Dead.

    1.)^Rock Prosopography 101, 2009-08-14,
    2.)^ Bell, Margaret, 2009-09-01,

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

    The Offstage, 970 S. First Street, San Jose, CA

    "OK so down we went to the San Jose area where we stayed with Paul and David together in a sort of communal house with Paul Foster in Redwood Estates, a suburb of San Jose. I played one show at the Off Stage, opening for Dino Valenti, and made $10.00, which covered us for a few days. "(Steve Mann)

    Paul Kantner attended Santa Clara University from 1959-61, where he first meet Jorma Kaukonen, who would one day become lead guitarist of Jefferson Airplane. "I left Santa Clara after three semesters and moved on to the ever-so-pagan San Jose State," Kantner chuckles. Already a budding singer/guitarist, he gravitated to a downtown San Jose folk club called The Offstage, a place where he and Kaukonen would give guitar lessons.

    "A computer guy named Paul Foster-a really good artist and one of the progenitors of the Bay Area's graphics scene-actually put up the money for The Offstage," says Kantner. Everybody played there, he adds, including David Crosby and future Quicksilver Messenger Service (and Jefferson Starship) member David Freiberg, performing with his girlfriend in a duo called David & Michaela. "It was all quite incestuous back then," recalls Kantner of the local music scene and seeing a young Jerry Garcia play a Palo Alto folk club called The Tangent. (1)
    The Stanford Daily February 28, 1963

    The Stanford Daily March 1, 1963
    After the Folk Music Theatre in San Jose was transformed into the Offstage, Kantner and some of the other folkies set up the Folklore Center in a corner of the club, "selling guitar picks, strings and marijuana." Kantner also started booking acts for the club, including Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions (with future members of the Grateful Dead) and David Crosby. 
     JFK's assassination in 1963 "proved the linchpin point of our generation," said Kantner, and "almost switched the universe--What R. Crumb calls the Space-Time Motherfucking Continuum -- over 180 degrees. Everything that was before was not after that." Soon Kantner was introduced to LSD by someone who brought it to the Offstage along with a Fender guitar and amplifier, with reverb and vibrato. "Went off into the cosmos," Kantner recalls.(2)

    "I came up through the early Folk Music scene, first in the duo "Orpheus' Children" with Eilleen Gammill, playing gigs with Pig Pen McKernen (Grateful Dead) at the Off Stage in San Jose and solo gigs at coffeehouses like Coffee and Confusion and The Coffee Gallery in North Beach; and later playing with "The South Gate Singers". I helped organize the 1964 College of San Mateo Folk Festival where we shared the stage with Jerry Garcia & "The Black Mountain String Band", and "The Liberty Hill Aristocrates," with Peter Albin (pre Big Brother and the Holding Co.); and Jessie "Lone Cat" Fuller, who wrote San Francisco Bay Blues."(3)

    Paul Grushkin's "The Art Of Rock" on p 57 has a nice reproduction of "The Folio, a broadsheet for the Offstage Folk Music Theater at 970 S 1st Street, right in the pancreas of San Jose" for September 1964.

    Among the performers that month were Paul Kantner, Jerry Kaukonen "best blues, wondrous guitar" and The Liberty Hill Aristocrats. Show times were 9pm, 9:25, 10:20, 11:40 and midnight. There's a tuition list with phone numbers down the left hand side.

    Guitar Lessons
    Jerry Kaukonen
    John Massey
    Geoff Lovin
    Jerry Garcia
    Paul Suso(illegible)

    Banjo Lessons
    Paul Kantner
    Pete Grant
    Jerry Garcia

    The Jug Band definitely played a few other places, such as The Off Stage in San Jose, but one of their last gigs was at a  "Hootenanny" at the Peninsula YMCA in Redwood City, on January 16, 1965 (there is a chance they played one final gig a few weeks later at College Of San Mateo).

    Kantner and Freiberg eventually moved back up north and started a series of folk clubs, where they performed, gave music lessons, and hung out. Crosby occasionally traveled up the coast to play at clubs like The Tangent in Palo Alto, the Offstage in San Jose, and the Cabal in Berkeley.(4)

    From Ray Allen's book, Gone To The Country

    For a time it was the Thien-Kym Restaurant. In 2012 the address is now the Vinh Hing Bakery‎.

    Jerry performed and taught here in
    9/64 banjo and guitar lessons (7)
    12/64 Sandy Rothman Scott Hambly
    "...a Dec '64 show at the Offstage with Rothman & Hambly again, but then gave it up for years."(1)

    "Paul Foster, who for a time ran the Offstage Club in San Jose, says, "I had a problem with him. I didn't book him very often because he was kind of snotty to the audience; he treated them terrible." According to Garcia, "We always had a sort of abuse-the-audience attitude. Once they were in there, they were yours and you could do whatever you wanted to them! That was part of the fun of playing those little clubs."(6)

    1.)^Light Into Ashes, comments, 2011-12-18,
    2.)^Jackson, Blair, Garcia:An American Life, pg. 59,
    1.)^Cost, Jed, Inductee - Paul Kanter, founder of Jefferson Starship,
    2.)^Tamarkin, Jeff, Got a Revolution! The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane, 2003
    3.)^Ehret, Stephen,
    4.)^Zimmer, Dave, Dilz, Henry, Crosby Stills Nash:The Biography, pg 23
    5.)^ Allen, Ray, Gone To The Country, pg 153 
    6.)^Jackson, Blair, Garcia, An American Life, pg 59 
    7.)^Grushkin, Paul, The Art Of Rock, pg. 57.

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    Open Air Theatre, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA

    Capacity 4600

    Built in 1934, formerly The Greek Bowl, San Diego State University's Open Air Theatre is one of the city's oldest outdoor venues with state-of-the-art staging and sound.Originally it was used for commencement, daytime speakers, and summertime plays, and in the 1960s housed the San Diego Symphony summer concerts. Today it is still used for graduation events and rallies.

    Open Air Theatre contained 4,280 seats and was financed by the Works Progress Administration and the state for $200,000. It was dedicated in 1941.[24]

    Despite being a 5000-person-capacity performance venue located smack in the heart of the SDSU campus, it's very easy to miss, mainly because it's located below ground.  However, once you show your ticket and pass through the entrance gate, you can enjoy the view of the expansive amphitheater before you.

    Starving students and others ticketless used to be able to hang out on the grassy islands outside the facility and hear the show for free. But school officials and re-development around the theatre have all but put an end to that, though it's still worth a try for a sold-out show.

    Main gripe is the hard concrete seats but an amazing view, no matter where you are sitting.

    George Lincoln Rockwell, self-proclaimed leader of the American Nazi party, spoke to San Diego State College students on March 8, 1962, at the Open Air Theater.
    Sponsored by the Committee for Student Action, Rockwell’s appearance was part of his Southern California tour to spread the word about the National Socialist Party of America. In a March 6 “emergency session,” the Lectures and Concerts Board cautioned the CSA to “take the proper steps to protect against any outbreak of violence.”
    Nevertheless, violence did break out when a San Diego State student climbed on stage and “slugged” Rockwell as he was speaking. After the melee, Rockwell was quickly escorted to the offices of The Daily Aztec where he gave a press conference before leaving in his car for another speech at Pomona College.(3)


    Legend has it that the performers’ dressing room is called the Madonna Room after it was built specifically at Madonna’s request before she performed here.(2)

    Jerry performed here on
    11/18/73 Merl Saunders (San Diego Bowl)
    5/20/89 JGB

    3.)^Ray, Robert, Decades Ago at San Diego State, 2011-04-06,

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    Mars Hotel, 192 4th at Howard Street, San Francisco, CA

    This photo is dated November 14, 1963, at the corner of 4th and Howard - S. F. News-Call Bulletin photo by Eddie Murphy.

    The San Francisco public library historical photo collection has one single photo of the Mars Hotel at 192 4th Street at the corner of 4th and Howard, where the Moscone Center is today. 3rd and 4th streets near Mission and Howard was a low income area in the 60's and 70's similar to 6th street today and was demolished to make way for the Moscone Center in the 80's.

    Add caption

    Kerouac wrote about the ‘Mars Hotel on 4th and Howard’ while in Big Sur.
    "Coming 3000 miles from my home in Long Island in a pleasant roomette on the California Zephyr train watching America roll by..." To San Francisco where Jack stays "at my"secret" skid row hotel (the Mars on 4th and Howard).(1)

    This photo was found inside a Mars Hotel album cover in 1980!

    This is how the property looks today, 2012.
    David Bowie also uses a clip of himself in front of the Mars Hotel in the "Jean Genie" video...check it on Youtube...its only for a few seconds.(2)

    The Grateful Dead Movie includes film of the hotel being demolished.

    New Year's Eve Parade Float!

    Jerry and his guitar hung out here in 1974, one block away from Columbia Records, a division of CBS Studios, while making the album, Mars Hotel (released 6/27/74).

    1.)^Kerouac, Jack,"Big Sur", First published 1962 by Farrar Straus and Giroux
    2.)^Iorio, John, Rock  and Roll Roadmaps,