Greenpoint, October, 2015

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Filmore East East

Where the magic began
In 1973, a club opened in New York City that would become synonymous with the emerging proto-punk and glam-rock movement--a reaction to the takeover and sedation of rock and roll by A&R guys from the big labels and AOR radio. CBGB's on the Bowery. Yes, that too. But I'm talking here about the Coventry Club (formerly the Popcorn Club) on Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside. For a few halcyon years, the Coventry would be ground zero for bands like Forest Hill's own Ramones, the New York Dolls, and the Dictators.

The coub is best known as site for the first-ever Kiss gig. (The owners passed on a young Boston band, Aerosmith--too expensive at $300 per gig). The Coventry Club, as a music venue, only lasted until 1975. So, what that means is that Queens has been without a first-rate rock and roll venue for 37 years. That's one less club than Pawtucket, Rhode Island (the Met).

For those about to rock (
What if I told you that a vintage Art Deco moviehouse was sitting idle at the intersection of the BQE, Roosevelt Avenue, Broadway and about 10 subway lines (including express trains from Manhattan)? With great naan and kababs next door. Yes, the Earle Theater (more recently the Eagle) has been shuttered and slated for destruction--another Indian shopping mall is rumored for the site. The Earle was opened around 1939, and was long regarded the premier "art cinema" house in Queens before its blue period-- showing pornos in the 1970s. More recently it has screened Bollywood hits and occasional cricket matches via satellite. It's been closed since 2009. You can see some heartbreaking pictures from inside the Earl on the Jeffrey Tastes blog.

Call it the Eagle, the Earle, the Coventry Club III (there was briefly a second in Manhattan), the Bollywood Beat, or CBGB-BQE... let's not let this opportunity go the way of Cardvark!

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