Days of Lore

Attention: Before reading the following column, please repeat the phrase “Office space and condos with underground parking” five times, or until a fun, distinct rhythm is heard. Thank you.

Long live the king!
When I received a press release in my inbox this week saying the El Rey Theatre was re-opening as a music venue, I was shocked … and a bit disappointed. I mean, what happened to that grand vision of turning the old building into (cue) office space and condos with underground parking? When I want office space and condos with underground parking, I want office space and condos with underground parking, dammit!

Well, it looks like I’m just going to have to wait for a world that includes more office space and condos with underground parking … further evidence that God does, in fact, hate me.

The El Rey will indeed start hosting events and live music beginning Oct. 5, when Steve Schuman and North Valley Productions bring in Jorma Kaukonen, former guitarist of Jefferson Airplane, who was not, I repeat NOT, part of the debacles that were Jefferson Starship and, later, Starship.

Justin Maximov and his JMax Productions will also use the space for what sounds like the more mellow shows, speakers, dances and movies. JMax has confirmed Henry Rollins for Nov. 3 in what seems to be his annual visit to Chico.

Obviously, there’s some work to be done to get the old building ready, including removing some seats and getting a usable stage constructed. OK, the guitarist from a legendary San Francisco psychedelic band and the frontman for seminal SoCal punk band Black Flag is cool and all … but it’s no office space and condos with underground parking, that’s for damn sure.

Long live everybody’s business
So, what happened to the plan for office space and condos with underground parking? Eric Hart, who bought the El Rey in 2005, told me this week that in order to cover the estimated $4.5 million to $5 million it would cost to renovate the building, he’d have to charge more per square foot than what a potential business owner would be willing to pay for rent downtown.

Come on, he’s a businessman … leave him alone.

That’s why, instead of letting it sit vacant, we’ve got some live performances coming up—that is, unless Hart sells the property or it makes financial sense (sense = cents) for him to build the “office space and condos with underground parking.” Say it five more times and it will come.

Oh, so what about the mural with the fairies? They’re still in the theater, and still in need of some renovation themselves after suffering from water damage in the leaky El Rey’s final years.

Cheapskate special
I was able to get out and see some live music this weekend—two great shows to be exact, and it cost me only five bucks. I’m like the coupon clipper of rock shows. I saw Jackie Greene play Friday night for free at Feather Falls. Free!

While I’m not super keen on his latest record, in the live setting Greene is a lot of fun (mixed with choice vodka drinks, of course). He definitely knows his way around an instrument or two, and hammered out some nice rootsy rock numbers. Free. It cost $25 to see old-man Davey Jones … I know, it was a benefit, but come on.

Bear Hunter made sure the audience members at its CD-release show got their five bucks’ worth by playing the new record You Will Be Heard! in its entirety. Bear, Hunter and Spencer sounded great … and the latter’s red-and-white suit matched his guitar. Rock. I missed opening band The Shimmies, but the songs on their MySpace sound quite nice. And I’ve developed quite a soft spot for The Secret Stolen, which sounded great and, as always, went balls out like good bands do.

Nerd alert
The title of the new Indiana Jones film was announced Sunday (Sept. 9). The upcoming sequel to the trilogy, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, will be released May 22, 2008, and little updates are being posted on the official Web site: It’s a little goofy, and quite a mouthful … unlike “office space and condos with underground parking.”

Don’t disappoint me, Spielberg!

Turd alert
Just saw the clip of Britney Spears’ “comeback” on the MTV Video Music Awards. I can dance better than that … even on pain killers. I get such an icky feeling whenever I watch those awards shows … it’s like they let a bunch of junior high schoolers loose with all the booze and drugs they want. Creepy.