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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Inside (and Outside) the Star Theater

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 12:02 PM

The Stars marquee in 1954. The hope is to rebuild it to its former glory.
  • photo from William Joseph Gallery
  • The Star's marquee in 1954. The hope is to rebuild it to its former glory.

I stopped into the Star Theater last night for a quick glimpse of the new venue. It is indeed across the street from Roseland, in a building that you've probably overlooked but are no doubt familiar with. The Star is an appealing venue with some quirks, with a good stage and fine sight-lines from everywhere in the building. The sound was plenty loud, and clarity-wise it was probably not better than okay; the room is long and thin, and it's always a challenge to send a warm, full sound to an entire room of that shape. There's a large balcony, which is where you'll be going to schmooze and ignore the show. If that doesn't suffice, there's a large patio through an unmarked door—you probably won't notice it at first. But on the other side is a generous patio with a bar, lots of seating, and a glimpse of NW 6th's streetlife through the fence.

Back inside, there's lots of room up front to get close to the band, but in order to get there you have to navigate some narrow stairs and ramps and railings—kind of like that ramp that runs down one side of the Doug Fir. I bet the back of the room gets clogged during big shows. There's also a terrifying row of tiny closets in the basement that house the venue's toilets, which seem leftover from the venue's previous incarnation as a porn theater. The room has charm to spare and loads of potential. Right now the Star's schedule is pretty minimal; there's nothing scheduled there until June 17. If they're able to continually book solid shows, there's no reason for the venue to be anything other than a raging success.

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