My memories of the Roxy are getting foggier every day (so many great shows!), and my memories of the original Buckhead Theatre, the Spanish Baroque movie house from the late 1920's, are even foggier (wasn't alive, yet!), but what I do remember of the Roxy was it being closer in aesthetics to the Variety Playhouse, a wonderful and beloved music venue in little 5 points, than the Ritz Carlton ballroom, a wonderful space for my grandparents to sit and watch the wedding party drunk dance to "Brown-Eyed Girl," before my uncle has to drive them home because it's waaaaaay past their bedtime, somewhere around 7:45 p.m. The latter is the look the owners of the new Buckhead Theater are going for, and from the promotional displays at last night's viewing party, that is the clientele they have in mind as well. While the resulting interior is more 80s country club meets corporate insert-other-corporatey-sounding-word-here, at least we can applaud the fact that the original building wasn't razed for another sorely-needed, high rise condo building?
Of course, and I'm just spitballing, but maybe razing the existing single level parking lot to build a tasteful, multi-level parking deck (do those exist?) might not have been a bad idea. See, by my estimation and I'm no professional estimator the new Buckhead Theatre can hold at least twice the people the Roxy could once hold, yet, to the untrained eye, there are zero new parking spaces. I could be wrong, maybe they were hidden somewhere. No matter, I'll just have to have the limo circle the block for a few hours.
The new space is lighter, brighter, and shinier than ever before but was most defintely not built with Rock n' Roll in mind. Which is odd, considering the fact that the giant, twin, billboard screens bolted to the front of the building advertised upcoming shows for Deer Tick, Dead Confederate and Built to Spill. "Hmmm, that is odd," Thought you.
Access Atlanta did a nice piece yesterday on Charles Loudermilk (82) and Peter Alex Cooley (70), the two super successful and well respected businessmen and masterminds behind the massive renovation, reconstruction and rebirth of the Buckhead Theatre, and they had some pretty interesting things to say about the new theatre and its future potenitial uses.
The gold carpeting and ornamental plasterwork indicate a departure from the theaters previous incarnation as the Roxy. Loudermilk wasnt interested in those headbanging shows; people with nose rings. We didnt want any of that; we want a showcase.
A SHOWCASE! Of course! (looks up the word showcase) Hear that, head-banging shows and people with nose rings, YOU ARE NOT WELCOME! You need not inquire about availability. You will be turned away at the door. Showcase? Right this way, sir! HA. They should put that quote on a plaque above the front door "Welcome to the Buckhead Theatre. Unless you have a nose ring. We don't want any of that; we want a showcase. ~ Charles Loudermilk (82)" Gross.
But back to the sign.
That sign cost half a million, said Loudermilk. The sound system cost half a million; those two [dressing] rooms cost half a million; you keep doing that and it adds up to real money.
Right, because half a million dollars for a "sign" is not real money. You'll have to spend way more money before you get to real money. Anyway, I give them one Dead Confederate show before the new creamy paint is scuffed and the floral-patterned carpet is soaked with beer.
Cooley seems happy with the prospect of running a venue in which ones shoes dont stick to the carpet.
Whoops. Sorry, Alex Cooley. Better luck next venue.
So, despite having quite a few upcoming indie rock shows on the marquee, this is clearly an "event space" and will be much better suited for Mr. & Mrs. Nose-Ringless Showcase who are looking for something a little different (but not that much different) from the Country Club.
Mr. & Mrs. Nose-Ringless Showcase, hahaha, I'm just joshing you guys. After all, Charles Loudermilk and Alex Cooley did sink a lot of time and hard-earned money into a project that they obviously care a lot about and is very dear to their hearts. They obviously had the people of Buckhead in mind in every decision they made, right?
No matter what you do, no matter where you do it, no matter how much money you spend on it, people are going to complain, said Cooley.
Classic Cooley. Forget complainers! Don't they understand how much money you've thrown into this rental and performance space showcase? If only they did! Oh, wait. They do. Loudermilk just told them! Honestly, though, he's right. People do complain about everything. And always. What can you do besides keep focus and not pay the complainers any attention?
Anyway, let's talk about the free food. The free food was delicious! Duck meat balls, mashed potatoes and gravy, crispy wonton, snap peas, sliders, pulled pork sandwiches, jelly beans, brownies on a stick, homemade Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, beers, wines, you name it, they had it. And it was all free! Thank you, Buckhead Theatre, for the free dinner, last night. Of course, all the food was catered by Atlanta's best catering companies, so I really can't consider the food in this review, because the food was all catered. None of it comes with the showcase when you rent the showcase, or when you see a showcase, such as Deer Tick. Sorry, delicious free food. Maybe next time.
Let's talk about the space(s), now. Every room was decorated for its intended, or a suggested, possible use. There was a room decorated to look like a wedding reception, a powerpoint presentation, a corporate dinner, a child's birthday party, a huh? Oh, right. "Mommy, mommy, can we rent the top left room of the new Buckhead Theatre for my 8th birthday party? Please, I know you and daddy don't have the space here on the estate for such an event, so, obviously, we need to rent an empty room, and I think I know the perfect space. I believe the room through the foyer, past the two main downstairs bars, down the hallway, up the stairs, past the other bar, past that other corporate room, to the one overlooking Charlie Loudermilk Park at the Buckhead Theatre would make the ideal birthday party location! Pleeeeease, mommy?!"
I'm joking, of course, but you see my point, right? I don't have a point. That was just a nonsense thing that meant nothing. forget it happened. I'll be serious now.
But seriously, one thing I kept thinking about as I wandered from bright, shiny room to bright, shiny room to bright, shiny room, drinking my delicious ice cold free beer and eating my delicious free gourmet food and looking at so many beautiful people dressed up and talking excitedly to one and other about, presumably, this bright and shiny cream, red, and gold colored Buckhead Theatre was how rap is a young man's game. And/or, how most creative endeavors, really, when you think about it, are young men's games. Sure there are plenty of creative people turning out great work in their later years: authors, artists, musicians, architects, but for the most part, youth and creativity seem to be inextricably linked. I thought about all the great new creative projects going on all around Atlanta right now: The West Side with the White Provisions Building and all its great shops and restaurants, Castleberry Hill and the art galleries, Midtown, Cabbage Town, Little 5 points, Virginia Highlands, the music, the movies, the night life, there are SO MANY new things and people and opportunities popping up everywhere. There is SO MUCH great stuff to do and see and be a part of in Atlanta right now. It's a great time to be young and open to new ideas in Atlanta. Anyway, not sure where I was going with that. Just some pro-ATL thoughts. Back to the subject at hand.
Clearly, The Buckhead Theatre is advertising itself as a venue that can do it all. And by all, I mean, you still have to define the all, it's really just the space to do the all in. But still, The Buckhead Theatre is advertising itself as a venue that is not just one thing; it's a whole bunch of things. It's not just any empty rental space, it's like the Swiss Army Knife of rental spaces. And you know how successful the Swiss Army Knife is. Maybe that's not the best comparison.
It may sound like I have a lot of silly little issues with The Buckhead Theatre, but really, I don't! I promise. It's lovely! Whatever! I couldn't care less about the Buckhead Theatre. Live and let live. In fact, now that I finally know exactly what it is: a vast empty rental space that I will most likely never rent, and an awkward, ornate music venue where I may occasionally see a show, I will lose even less sleep at night thinking about it. People are going to love this thing. Trust me. It's going to be a massive success. And yay for conservation! So much better than just haphazardly knocking things down. Right, Streets of Buckhead? So congratulations to Alex Cooley, Charles Loudermilk, and everyone else involved in the renovation and rebirth of a true Buckhead landmark, The Buckhead Theatre. May your many, beautiful, empty rooms be filled with the right (read: nose-ringless) kind of people every night of the week!
(photos by Spencer Sloan)
Ed. note: An earlier version of this story misidentified Alex Cooley.
ooooohhhh, I'm so excited!! I can't wait to see them together!
come on man you know you got a bromance. you probably still rock that OutKast…
Yes, 14 is the correct answer. I'll pass your info along to the group's manager,…
That was January of 2007, and they are 21 now, so I'm guessing 14?