Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Things I Hella Love About Oakland: The Restored Fox Theater

Photo by eeetthaannn

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.

* Photos by Nathanael Bennett and Jason Polkinghorn

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.

* Photos by Nathanael Bennett and Pete Simmons

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.

* Photo by Josh Miller

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.

* Photo by Geoffrey Martin

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.

* Photo by Geoffrey Martin

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.

* Photos by Josh Miller and Geoffrey Martin

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.


Jen Zahigian said...

Ooh, I heard about that show. Must have been amazing. I already had tickets for Mos Def at Yoshis which was also amazing. Oakland rocked it last night! I'm having the same kind of morning and am slowly trying to wake up with coffee and MWTWT. Great post as usual...

christina said...

first of all, i've only stumbled upon your blog about a month ago, glad i did, it's a great read.

being from o-town, i hella love these posts. it's *so* nice to see the fox restored. it looks gorgeous. looking forward to a trip home to check out a show there...

hella missing oak-town in los angeles

Chelsea Strong said...

OMG, I love the Fox Theater. My boyfriend plays hockey right behind it, and we always see bands outside...since the reopening, their entire season is packed with AMAZING bands. Love your "Hella love" posts...

Katie said...

Awesome post! I'm glad to hear that show was good. I'm super-excited to be see the Decemberists there next month. The photos look beautiful!


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