I admit, I've been lagging on my "Hella Love" posts of late. I won't lie: Oakland's had a tough time these last few months, and it hasn't always been easy to work up a lot of enthusiasm about calling it home. But even in down times, it's worth reminding ourselves that the things we love about this city are still here in abundance: An amazingly vibrant art scene, tons of creative energy, great people, friendly (and yes, safe) neighborhoods, beautiful green spaces, gorgeous architecture ...
And despite the sad shuttering of our beloved Parkway Speakeasy Theater last month, one thing that Oakland is certainly not lacking in is incredible Deco-era theaters. The Grand Lake and the exquisite Paramount are longtime faves, of course, but right now Oaklanders are especially proud of the gloriously reborn Fox Theater in Uptown.
The Fox -- an over-the-top amalgam of Indian, Moorish, Medieval, and Baghdadian architectural flourishes that's been called "one part Arab and three parts Hollywood hokum" -- was completed in 1928 and operated for decades as one of the Bay Area's premiere movie palaces.
It had fallen into decrepitude by the early 1960s, and finally went dark in 1970. But after more than 35 years of neglect and decay, supporters began a two-year, $70 million restoration in 2007, and the Fox triumphantly opened its doors again in February.
Next year, our daughter will be attending an arts charter school in the building that houses the Fox. (How cool is that? She's very excited.) So although I've been onsite a few times now, I hadn't yet seen the inside of the restored theater.
I finally got my chance last night, when Nick and I took our firstborn to see a fledgling hometown band that you've probably never heard of. It was So. Much. Freakin'. Fun. But more than that, the space itself was absolutely breathtaking. Seriously -- words fail when it comes to fabulousity of this magnitude. It's a fantastic venue in which to hear some music and to soak in the glamour of another time.
The Fox has lots of great shows booked in the coming weeks, including Franz Ferdinand tonight, Band of Horses on Friday, Fleet Foxes next Tuesday, and the Shins, Ben Folds, and the Decemberists in May.
The brand-new Den bar and lounge adjoining the theater has been getting positive notices as well, and Flora across the street is incredible. If you're in the area, you could do a lot worse for an evening out. Trust me.
* All photos borrowed from flickr and the Fox's Facebook page and web gallery.