The Phoenix Theater


The Phoenix Theater

Infobox_nrhp | name =Old Petaluma Opera House
nrhp_type =


caption =
location= Petaluma, California
lat_degrees = 38
lat_minutes = 14
lat_seconds = 5.87
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 122
long_minutes = 38
long_seconds = 27.16
long_direction = W
locmapin = California
area =
built =1870
architect= Jones,Brainerd
architecture= Beaux-Arts, Stick/Eastlake
added = December 22, 1978
governing_body = Private
refnum=78000801cite web|url=http://www.nr.nps.gov/|title=National Register Information System|date=2007-01-23|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]

The Phoenix Theater is an all-ages club located in Petaluma, California.

The Phoenix Theater was first built in 1896 as the "Hill Opera House". Although the theater had good business, it was nearly destroyed by a fire in the early 1900s. Consequently, the theater had to be shut down. By 1925, it had been restored and opened as a movie theater. The building was purchased by California Movie Theater around 1935 and was continued to be used as such. On August 5, 1957, another fire took the roof of the building. The building was restored and renamed by the Tocchini family and soon after, the first live concert was put on at the theater by Petaluma native, Jeff Dorenfeld. The Tocchinis employed a boy named Tom Gaffey, who managed to get rehired by Ken Frankel after Ken bought the theater in 1982. Gaffey was then the theater manager. He renamed the theater the Phoenix because the building seemed to ‘rise from the ashes.’

In the early 1980s, movies continued to be shown at the theater and live music was played late at night. There were performances by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Ramones, along with then-local bands Metallica, Mr. Bungle, Green Day, Primus, and AFI. Other bands like The Conspiracy and Disciples of Ed, the Circle Jerks and The Distillers drew audiences. Sublime played their last show at the Phoenix, and a memorial to lead singer, Bradley Nowell, can be found backstage, tagged on a wall by the Long Beach Dub Allstars. Sir Mix-a-Lot played at the Phoenix, as did The Specials. To this day, the Phoenix continues to bring in established artists as well as local favorites such as Resilience, The Velvet Teen, and Toast Machine.

The interior walls of the Phoenix are covered in graffiti. A review on networkoftheapes.net (see External Links) describes them: "The walls are tagged up and painted with everything from the simplest one color tag to entire paintings of mushrooms and other Alice in Wonderland-themed drug references that gave the place a raw feel."

There are skateboard ramps on the sides of the two walls that run perpendicular to the stage.fact|date=September 2008

The number of steps from the dressing room to the stage is 3. This is usually satisfactory to national bands whose tour rider designates a certain number of stairs.fact|date=September 2008

During the day, the Phoenix serves as a safe place for local kids to hang out after school. After-school tutoring as well as a free health clinic are offered a few days a week.fact|date=September 2008

The Phoenix is also rumored to be haunted. Ghosts have been seen in the bathrooms, on the balcony, and in the backstage area. These sightings are rumored to be a reason why the balcony is closed and locked for most performances. fact|date=September 2008

AFI wrote a song about it called "The Days of the Phoenix," referring back to when they got their start at this theater. fact|date=September 2008

References

External links

* [http://www.thephoenixtheater.com The Phoenix Theater’s Official Website]
* [http://www.networkoftheapes.net/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=38 NetworkofTheApes.net]


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