Thursday, June 16, 2011

Help save the Warehouse on Tchoupitoulas documentary

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Friday, Jan. 30, 1970: The Warehouses opening night featured the Grateful Dead, The Flock and Fleetwood Mac.
  • Friday, Jan. 30, 1970: The Warehouse's opening night featured the Grateful Dead, The Flock and Fleetwood Mac.

The producers of a rock doc on a seminal building and music scene have less than 30 days to gather cash support for the film's release. The filmmakers behind A Warehouse on Tchoupitoulas are trying to raise an additional $5,000 via Kickstarter for the film, which chronicles the '70s music venue The Warehouse, the landmark destination on Tchoupitoulas Street that closed in 1982. (Read the Gambit cover story "Remembering The Warehouse" here.)

The Grateful Dead, The Flock and Fleetwood Mac performed on the venue's opening night on Jan. 30, 1970. The Dead's infamous marijuana bust on Bourbon Street earlier that day — which almost cost the venue its headliner, breadmaker and possible future — made it into a line from American Beauty's "Truckin'": "Busted, down on Bourbon Street, set up, like a bowling pin. Knocked down, it gets to wearin' thin, they just won't let you be."

The venue also hosted Bob Dylan during his Rolling Thunder Revue tour, and The Doors' final live performance with Jim Morrison before his death. The Allman Brothers Band made The Warehouse its second home, making dozens of tour stops (and some several times a year) at the venue throughout the '70s.

Other Warehouse headliners: Bob Marley, The Clash, Pink Floyd, The Who, David Bowie, Dr. John (at his Night Tripper-era best) and Deacon John Moore's pysch-blues band Electric Soul Train. Moore remembers the venue as a "catalyst for the love generation. It brought together black and white. It was a haven for people who believed in peace and love, and people came from all over to experience that. (Founder Bill Johnston) and them had the vision and courage to get away with it."

The venue's popularity diminished by the late '70s while other venues opened: the Lakefront Arena, the State Palace Theater and the Municipal Auditorium. It closed its doors in 1982 (following the venue's last concert, The Talking Heads) and was demolished several years later. Many of the bricks were salvaged and you'll find them across town, including the back floor of Le Bon Temps Roule on Magazine Street. A group of fans are looking to open "The Old Warehouse" in July just a few blocks from the original location, now a paved-over intersection.

The documentary crew, led by filmmakers Jessy Williamson, Aeron McKeough and Autumn Boh, interviewed dozens of performers and Warehouse crew members, roadies, 'zine publishers, disc jockeys and other scene regulars. The roadblock: getting rights to the music to use in the film.

"It's a nostalgia piece on the one hand — there's so many great stories, and we want to tell this awesome story that happened right here," Williamson said. "If the place would still be here, every musician that comes through here, that's the place they'd want to play, to be able to step on that stage."

Find a six-minute sneak preview of the film below the jump.

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