What's Up Chuck?
Mired in History, Short-Term Housing, No Gras is Good Gras
Thursday, January 31, 2002
Photo: Gilding the Lily rocks Viva Monterey as part of an Amazon Mollies-hosted series of Saturday-night concerts.
MIRED IN HISTORY... The renovations and repairs at California''s First Theater are taking a bit longer to complete-or even get started-than originally planned.
Meanwhile the former concessionaires at the state-owned historical building, the Troupers of the Gold Coast, are keeping busy doing traveling shows for private parties, civic organizations and retirement homes.
The Troupers were ousted from the First Theater last February 14. At the time, they thought the building would be unavailable for use for about a year, at which time they could re-apply for the concession. That year is nearly over and the state still hasn''t begun actual work on the building.
State Park Superintendent Phil Jenkins says the delay is due to due diligence.
"It''s one of those historic buildings," says Jenkins. "You think you know what you''re getting into and then you open it up..."
Right now, Jenkins says the state is still in the research process to find out exactly what needs to be done and the best way to go about it.
"The phase we''re in right now is the Historic Structure Report (HSR)," says Jenkins. "It''s the phase where we have the historians and archaeologists do a thorough, head-to-foot examination. We''re trying to get the best information we can."
Jenkins also notes that while it was great to have the Troupers in the building for so many years, the very fact that they were using the building masked some of the problems. Just moving the troupe''s stuff out of the building made some things apparent-like where the building was flooding during heavy rains.
Jenkins hesitates to hazard a guess about when work might be completed.
"Once we''re done with the HSR, then there will be recommendations" about prioritizing the theater''s repair. Which means pushing the project through the bureaucratic process. Which means it''s anybody''s guess as to how long the theater will be dark.
In the meantime, Troupers of the Gold Coast''s Marabee Boone says the company is continuing to produce melodramas.
"We''re doing shows here and there, mostly private parties and retirement homes," says Boone. "It''s easier when we have a home but we''re keeping the tradition going."
SHORT-TERM HOUSING...The Amazon Mollies have a new home, at least for the next few weeks. They''re hosting a series of concerts at Viva Monterey, where they''re bringing SF Bay-area bands down to Monterey every Saturday. With the renovation of Viva scheduled to start after the city gives its OK sometime in the next month or two, the Mollies'' gig is fated to be short term. In the meantime, audiences have a chance to catch a few eclectic acts.
This Saturday, after the Mollies open the show, Gilding the Lily takes the stage with their strange blend of rock ''n'' world music (sort of). The group is set to release their debut CD in March, and a listen to their demo EP reveals a music that has a hint of danger. First song on the album starts out with some almost pretty harmonizing between guitarist Dustin Broom and bass player Roberto Zimmerman. Then just about the time you relax, the bass, guitar and drums (under the sticks of Rev. A.R. Coleman) crash down with a punk-angry wave that obliterates the harmony and dispels all notions that this is a band for sissies. The rest of the songs on the EP follow suit, mixing styles in such a way that it''s impossible to settle back and stick the band into a predictable pigeonhole.
Next week, the Mollies host the Bay Area power-pop band, The Chantigs. For more info: 646-1415.
NO GRAS IS GOOD GRAS...With Mardi Gras less than two weeks away, we''ve had a couple inquiries here at The Paper asking if the Cannery Row celebration would take place again this year. You may remember last year''s celebration turned into something of a nightmare when the crowds started to get rowdy and the police tried to shut the party down-which inflamed the crowd and led to eight arrests, four injured cops, one damaged Highway Patrol vehicle and various reports of vandalism. It also led to so much finger pointing in the aftermath of the bash that it''s a wonder someone didn''t get their eye poked out. The upshot of the matter is that, officially, there will be no Mardi Gras on Cannery Row this year. Which means that if you''re planning to drink Hurricanes with me on Feb. 12, you''re just going to have to fly me to New Orleans.