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Oakland’s Fox Theater

Historic Movie House Re-Emerges as Mid-Size Music Venue

The landscape for Bay Area performance venues changes February 6th, when Oakland’s Fox Theater, after decades of dormancy and deterioration, hosts Social Distortion.

The theater, managed by Another Planet Entertainment, will continue with regular concerts, including appearances by Modest Mouse, Band of Horses and several other artists in coming weeks.

The venue will boost APE’s presence in the market with a venue that is comparable in size to The Warfield. The production company also handles booking at The Independent (500 capacity) in San Francisco and the Greek Theater (8,500 capacity) in Berkeley.

“This gives us a building in that 2,000 to 3,000 seat range where a lot of artists seem to be right now,” says Gregg Perloff, CEO of APE.

The theater first opened its doors in 1928 and became a popular movie house before several years of declining attendance led to its closure in 1966. It remained unused and deteriorating until renovation plans were initiated shortly after the City of Oakland bought the building in the mid-90s.

“I started looking at it about 25 years ago,” Perloff says. “Living in the East Bay, I just thought it was an amazing building. At the time it was not owned by the city, but it was in really bad shape.”

After Oakland bought the facility, it worked out a development deal for renovations that would rid the building of fire and water damage and restore its ornate interior and exterior. The project is complemented by new residential housing projects and plans for new restaurants in the city’s Uptown neighborhood that is also anchored by The Paramount Theater.

“We wanted to differentiate ourselves from The Paramount,” Perloff says. “The Paramount is a reserve seat formal hall with higher ticket prices, and it generally appeals to a higher clientele. We didn’t want to have a grand opening with an act that wasn’t typical of what we plan to book. We wanted to set the tone right from day one.”

Initial Lineup:
2/6: Social Distortion
2/7: Michael Franti & Spearhead
2/13: Will Downing
2/20: Ragga Muffins Festival
2/21: Cake
2/22: Modest Mouse
2/28: Video Games Live
4/3: The Moody Blues
4/16: B.B. King
4/17: Band of Horses
4/18: Black Keys
4/20: Bloc Party