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RIP Hollywood Alley: 1988 - 2013

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Millions Of Memories Are All That Will Be Left Of The Legendary Mesa Hangout And Music Venue After It Closes Its Doors This Week

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By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine

Aug. 2, 2013 — Do you remember your first thoughts when you found out Mesa’s Hollywood Alley was closing down on August 1. That the once proud music venue to the East was going to be shutting it’s doors just a month shy of 25 years?

I remember what I thought, “that place was cool, I wish I would have went there a few more times.” I feel like that had to be the overwhelming feeling going through the mind of most Valley rock fans. Because if we had, the venue would still be open, and as popular as it was in it’s heyday.

What’s probably most tragic about the closing of this iconic venue is that it seemed to have been going through a resurgence in the last few months. Attracting international acts like The Barbed Wire Dolls, and nationally touring acts like Luicidal, as well as reaching out to a new audience with their Jazz Poetry and open mic nights.

I actually attended the first Jazz Poetry night, which was dubbed “The Speakeasy.” The night was organized by local poet Catalyst, who is also one of the founders of “The Blunt Club” hip-hop show. Catalyst was able to entice former nationally competitive slam poet Aaron Johnson to perform, as well as members of the Phoenix national slam team. He also got the jazz band “Extension Cord,” which is the jazz side project of some of the members of Captain Squeegee.

The point is to my eyes with the crowd that attended the Tuesday night show, as well as the acts made it seem like Hollywood Alley was taking a step back towards premier music venue, and away from dive bar that gets a decent band every once in awhile.

But I suppose I should have known my suspicion was wrong when I didn’t return to Hollywood Alley following that event until July 26, the first of the Farewell weekend shows. I must admit it was a great show: Button Struggler, Scorpion Vs. Tarantula, and Pinky Tuscadero’s White Knuckle Ass Fuck really made it an entertaining night.

Hollywood Alley kept the big time party going all weekend. There was a wedding in the venue during the weekend. Tons of great local music including a band whose guitarists parents got married at Hollywood. My favorite choice of act was The Ravvones. A Ramones cover band just makes so much sense because in so many ways Hollywood Alley was The Valley of the Sun’s CBGB. A dark dingy, divey bar that attracted some great rock and roll music, and like the legendary New York Venue Hollywood Alley is no more.

“Arizona's only ultra-chic pissant hip dive bar,” that survived in Mesa for 25 years, and well after the focus of The Valley music scene shifted from the East Valley to Tempe and Downtown Phoenix is gone.

Condolences must be paid to the ownership and staff donations can be made in the form of buying a limited edition Hollywood Alley T-shirt. Word is you can still get a drink or some grub until tonight.

Farewell old friend, until we meet again at the punk show in the sky.

Jeff Moses is Music/Arts editor at Modern Times Magazine. He can be reached at jmoses@moderntimesmagazine.com.
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