These places always remind me of my grandma. She would take me to old Hollywood theaters as a kid. The El Rey. The Fine Arts. The Egyptian. Grauman’s Chinese. When I go to a place like this, I’m a little girl again.
This is the Beacon Theater in New York. It was built in 1929 and was a grand movie palace. It’s history follows a trajectory you will be familiar with: loved in the golden age of cinema then shabby and neglected by the 1970’s.
But unlike other theaters whose fate led them to an existence as churches, flea markets, boarded up relics, or vacant lots, the Beacon started presenting live shows. It was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1982 and underwent a $16 million restoration in 2009. Now it’s brass shines. Now it’s marble sparkles. Now it’s drapes have all their tassels.
The Allman Brothers have played 200 shows at the Beacon. Martin Scorsese filmed the Rolling Stones at the Beacon. Aziz Ansari sold out two nights at the Beacon. And, yes, New Edition have rocked the Beacon. I saw David Bowie there in 2002. I danced like a crazy and hugged a stranger. Yet another time I turned into a little girl.