September 27, 2020 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

The Fox Theater Venice: Throwback Thursday with John Lee Hooker & Canned Heat

Before it was the indoor flea market that it is today, The Fox Theater in Venice was a happening place for west side arts. Opened in 1951 by the architecturally conscious and 200 location strong Fox Theater chain, the theater lived in the glory days of cinema until the advent of television changed the business and left the theater in disrepair in the late 60’s.

Fox Theater Venice

Cumberland Mountain Theaters acquired the Fox and ran it as repertory cinema and concert venue in the 70’s, a period that many regard with great fondness and as the “best” years of cinema and music to be created in the United States and elsewhere.

Fox Venice concerts included Jerry Garcia /Legion of Mary (6-14-75), Little Feat, Tom Waits,  Cheech and Chong,  John Lee Hooker & Canned Heat, Jackson Browne, Oingo Boingo, Richie Havens and Bonnie Raitt.



John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat: “Nobody Else But You” Live At The Fox Venice Theater in 1981. Buy the LP here!

It has also been argued that the tradition of audience participation during the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” movie began at the Fox in 1975, as it played in Venice the night before the official opening in Westwood.

The Fox was sold off to the Landmark Theaters chain in 1979 which continued to run movies and host concerts, but it was shuttered by The City of LA in June of 1988 after it was discovered the acoustical treatment in the theater contained asbestos. The landlord gutted the theater and left it to stand as it is today, refusing to replace the theater interior.

Hopefully with all the money that is being thrown at Venice these days, someone will buy and return the building to the movie/ concert venue greatness that it was before. It could get plenty of use as a screening room and professional rehearsal space for national touring acts during the day. At night, it could be open and feature the glorious films of the 70’s-now and concerts from big acts.

Venice could and would use a beautiful cinema and concert house again! Check out how they renovated the Fox in Pomona!

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