Oh Bob, Bobwhite! wherefore art thou Bobwhite?

IMG_0910I suppose a blank marquee is better than no marquee at all (or better than one with XXX on it).

It’s like a big tease, though, jutting out over the sidewalk, proclaiming: “We’re here, we just don’t play movies or do shows anymore.”

Surely someone knows someone who knows someone who runs theaters.  Is Nick done? And if so, how can we put that said someone in touch with him?

* P.S.  Maybe they’ve just taken a long (very long) hiatus.  Cross your fingers that Phoenix emerges from the ashes again.

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23 Responses to Oh Bob, Bobwhite! wherefore art thou Bobwhite?

  1. Tony Lynott says:

    Start a Fo Po amateur theatre group maybe?

  2. Nick Falbo says:

    Can the FPNA and MSA form a non profit neighborhood group to purchase the building and finally turn it into a movie theater?

  3. Ruben says:

    I like the non-profit idea. I was board president of The MiracleTheater Group and its hard work but dunno to run a small theater.

  4. Ruben says:

    I meant doable to run a small theater

  5. I like the idea of a community-run / non-profit theater. And there’s definitely precedent or it in Portland. Getting the NA’s on board would be helpful.

    It would be nice to know where Nick Storie is on all of this…

  6. Anti-m says:

    Moooooovies. This is a moooooooovie theater. Community theater is a nice idea, but c’mon, guys…how often are you REALLY going to make it out to see amateur / community theater? (Or armature theater for that matter? Sorry, I just couldn’t resist!)

    I’d love to see more adventurous, low-overhead theater happening in Portland — it’s one of the things I miss about Chicago — but honestly, I don’t think the reason it’s missing here in Portland is for a of a lack of venue. In Chicago theater happens in theaters, of course, but it also happens in all manner of non-traditional venues. (Coffeeshops, parks, industrial spaces, you name it.)

    I love you, theater peeps, (I am you) but I stand by my original hypothesis — which is that the smart money is on making Bob White a Laurelhurst/Hollywood/Academy type of theater. Moooooovies!

  7. Jess says:

    I agree with Anti-m! Movies would be great! If it became a sort of Academy/Roseway hybrid I’d go see movies I wouldn’t even bother with otherwise, for the sheer joy of being able to walk to a good old fashioned theater (and presumably there’d be popcorn 🙂

  8. So who has an in with movie folk? Surely someone’s got the right connection to facilitate this.

  9. Anti-m says:

    I think the space needs to be usable before the soliciting of entrepreneurs commences. (That is, if Nick wants to rent the space to someone interested in running a theater there.) If, rather, Nick is looking to sell the theater, then what a prospective buyer would likely need is an estimate of the cost to get the shows running.

    I suppose some variation on the above options could happen too — some sort of tenant improvement arrangement — but currently the ball is in Nick’s court to either improve the space, or ascertain what it would cost to improve the space.

    The guys who run the Laurelhurst and Hollywood would, I’m sure, be a valuable resource in understanding the business ops of such a venture. Plus, the Holly’s balance is publicly available because it’s a non-profit.


  10. Anti-m says:

    …And, I should mention that the renovation looks like a biiiiiig project. It’s likely going to take Nick a while, so we should probably have patience! It would be nice to get a ballpark timeline from Nick if he’s made it to the point of having one.

  11. Miles says:

    Hi all, my roommates and I just moved to the area. We are all music production professionals and are hoping to step up to help out with the Bobwhite. We have all the production capability to put on live music and the drive to make it happen! Nick Storie has been putting a lot of money into the place to restore it to good condition. Rest assured, things are happening. You just can’t tell from the outside…

    We have just started working with Nick to figure out if we can take over the venue. This is (very) preliminary at the moment, we only found out about the opportunity a few weeks ago. Keep your fingers crossed! We’d like to eventually turn the venue into a community center with rooftop sauna/bathhouse and garden chill area, bar/restaurant, movies, live music, theater, saturday market, etc…

    As far as the movie theater, from what I understand the seats are too narrow for the current movie theater standards. I am not sure it’s legal to charge for movies there, but I don’t really know. Maybe the theater is grandfathered in… our current thought is to make it a free movie theater on days without shows and depend on the bar/restaurant revenue. Oh, and it would need a movie theater quality projector… I think the screen is also too small at the moment, we would need a bigger one for sure.

    Anyway, I’m beyond excited about this opportunity! We will be working on a business plan for the next month or so, I’ll be sure to let you all know how it works out. I am really excited to be in the neighborhood, I’ve met nothing but nice folks so far! I’d love to hear your ideas on what you’d like to see happen.

  12. Miles says:

    Also, I will be running sound in the theater for Cascadia Psychedelic Revival at the Bobwhite on friday (8/9/13). It’s a free private party (21+ only). Come say hi, I’d like to meet you!

  13. Miles says:

    One more comment about the non profit idea:

    Non profits require a (volunteer) board of directors to make all decisions, which makes the process very slow and in the hands of whoever happens to be on the board instead of those who are actually running the venue. While this is all possible (and I’m all about non profits), I think it would make everything much slower and more difficult. My dad has lots of experience with non profits (and he runs one currently), so I will keep looking into it with his help.

    Don’t get me wrong, I was originally planning on creating a non profit for running the venue. I started my sound career at the WOW Hall in Eugene which is run by the Community Center for the Performing Arts (CCPA), a non profit, that has done very well to keep the venue open (in fact they formed the non profit to save the venue) and promote community events. The WOW Hall is also a historic venue and it is part of the CCPA’s mission to maintain it. Very similar situation to the Bobwhite.

  14. Pingback: Happy Weekend, FoPo! |

  15. Anti-m says:

    Oh, just to be clear, I was not actually suggesting a non-profit venture — I was just directing potential entrepreneurs to the Hollywood financials, as there is a lot of good information there on the business of running a theater.

    Miles, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but a bathhouse / Live music venue makes me nervous. (Bathhouse? Really?) I know there was an event at the Bob White some months ago (or was it a year?) that ruffled some feathers because of noise issues and unchecked debauchery. You’d want to make sure you were not alienating your neighbors with noise issues and whathaveyou.

    Since you are new to the area, you are likely unfamiliar with EJs — but it was a fantastic local music venue that eventually failed due to repeated noise and neighborhood complaints. Don’t let your venture be another EJs!

    Of course the theater needs upgrades — I wouldn’t write off the possibility of running the theater as a movie theater just because the existing infrastructure needs to be changed. Seats and screens can be replaced (as the Hollywood, Laurelhurst, and Clinton Street have done.)

    I remain convinced that while the initial investment in launching a cinema enterprise might be higher, you will have much greater long-term viability with a brew and view than you would with anything else.


  16. Miles says:

    Well, rest assured that I am not looking to create or cultivate debauchery (I’ve never been to a strip club for instance, not my sort of thing). There seems to be quite enough of that in the area, no need to add to it. There will always be a certain amount of it at large events, but it is certainly not part of my plan. As far as the bath house, think common grounds wellness center… a place for people to go and take a sauna and a shower or get a massage, then attend the yoga class in the rooftop garden area.

    I am all about respect for the neighbors, and am more than happy to listen to any concerns and ideas you all have. Part of my vision is stewardship of the area, cleaning up/painting/restoring/building/etc… I would really like this to be as much a community center as a live music venue. For instance practice rooms for guitar lessons, rooms for massage and healing, farmers market… space for whatever the community wants to use it for.

    And, yes, movies for sure :).

  17. Miles says:

    Found out that the Bobwhite movie theater is legal to open as is. Now all we need is a projector and maybe a bigger screen… Movies may not be too far off. I am going to consult my friend who owns the Bijou (alternative movie theater) in Eugene and see what we can come up with.

  18. Anti-m says:

    That is stellar news!

  19. Anti-m says:

    And yes, for branding purposes, I’d use the phrase “wellness center” in lieu of “bathhouse” which has entirely different connotations. 😉

    • Miles says:

      Lol, noted: wellness center it is (and this idea is a *long* way off, it would be the icing on top after we successfully make the cake). Our business plan is in progress, we’re going to sit down with Mr Storie this week. He is also talking to another group about renting the place, I believe for a music venue. So hopefully whatever happens, we will have a great local venue in operation in the next year.

      In the meantime we are hoping to throw a few events a month to open the doors to the public. We’re currently limited by zoning / event permits to how many events we can throw. I’ll keep you all posted.

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