By Emma Silvers
By Gary Moskowitz
By Alee Karim
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Derek Opperman
By Emma Silvers
By Alee Karim
Just walking distance from the 19th Street BART station, the Fox intends to pull in fringe devotees from the region, Perloff says: "You look at the ticket manifests, and the sales don't just come from San Francisco. The entire Bay Area from Concord down to San Jose participates."
The Fox is a huge, opulent movie palace that stopped hosting first-run features in the 1960s and ended up as a derelict, city-owned property with a leaky roof, substandard seismic fitness, and a homeless encampment by the '90s. Its renaissance began in January 2007 with 16 funding sources. When the full restoration to its palatial glory is complete, it will out-Fillmore the Fillmore with a stage, a music school, a restaurant, and two bars. This week, scaffolding fills the main room, dripping with paint and swaying underneath 15 artisans doing a 12-color retouch to the ceiling.
The Fox will compete directly with theaters of similar size like the Warfield and the Fillmore, both owned by Live Nation. This means not only more visiting acts for Bay Area fans, but also possibly more money for those acts as the need for talent increases.
The biggest loser could be the nearby Paramount Theatre, where the costs of performing will be double that of the Fox. The Paramount is also owned by the city, but is run by a nonprofit board. Former Paramount board member, real-estate specialist, and former promoter Rene Boisvert says Another Planet has an incredible advantage over its sibling — cost. According to Boisvert, APE pays no rent on its first 100,000 customers, and can charge bands half of the Paramount's $17,000 price tag to stage shows. "The Fox is for-profit and nonunion," he says. "The Paramount is nonprofit and union. It's public info on the Fox lease — they don't pay rent for quite a while. How wonderful is that? As a landlord, that sucks, but as a tenant, that's great!"
Perloff says he and music fans don't care about such inside baseball. "I don't worry about competition; I worry about quality rooms," he says. "I think [the Fox] is absolutely a fantastic addition to the culture of the Bay Area. I think the more clubs you have, the more important that you make the arts, the more convenient you make it, the more people decide to go to these things." — David Downs
World-class jazz returns to the Fillmore:
San Francisco's Yoshi's
There was a time when San Francisco was the undisputed capital of the jazz world in more than just the platitudes of airline travel magazines and Chamber of Commerce brochures. From the late 1940s, clubs like the Black Hawk, Keystone Korner, and Jimbo's Bop City stretched from North Beach to the Fillmore District and hosted jazz luminaries from Billie Holiday to Mongo Santamaria.
But that era has been dead and buried for years, with the last of the city's famed jazz clubs shutting its doors by the late '70s. In the decades since, local musicians have hustled gigs in an ever-shifting nightclub landscape that has seen little continuity, while, apart from the SF Jazz Festival shows, fans have largely had to travel to Yoshi's in downtown Oakland to catch top-name jazz talent.
The opening of a new Yoshi's in the Fillmore, the heart of San Francisco's jazz district of yore, will at the very least keep bridge tolls in fans' pockets where they belong. The venue is larger, but just as elegantly apportioned and sumptuous-sounding as its Oakland sibling. It opened in November as part of the city-funded mixed-use Fillmore Heritage Center that aims to revitalize the neighborhood with a nod to the area's history. Yoshi's hopes to replicate its success in Oakland while upgrading the city's jazz entertainment options.
"We're definitely filling a void for having national touring artists come to town," says the club's artistic director Peter Williams. "We'll be adding a new dimension to people's opportunities to see music in the Bay Area, and we'll be branching into doing other sorts of music, some world and Latin music and other things as well."
Whether the club will have much of an effect on the local jazz music scene is less certain — even Williams calls that a tough question. So far, the new Yoshi's calendar has been lighter on local talent than the one in Oakland, meaning the city's handful of established jazz spots — a wonderfully revitalized Jazz at Pearl's chief among them — needn't worry about having their thunder stolen just yet.
Still, Williams claims that Bay Area musicians are very much on Yoshi's radar. "It's really important to all of us" at Yoshi's, he says, "that we're giving local people a place to play." — Ezra Gale
Get on the Bus: DIY shows park it in various Bay Area locales
Oakland's John Benson is not a licensed bus driver. His bus, at 40 feet in length, is just within the legal limit for use with a standard driver's license. The vehicle also happens to be equipped with solar panels, an engine converted to run on vegetable oil, and a stage on which more than 600 bands have performed, including Circle, Thrones, and Mount Eerie. Bus shows occur around the Bay Area, anywhere from under a highway overpass in Potrero Hill to the Albany landfill, and a hat is generally passed around to pay the bands.