The Village Theater

In 1967, New York City's WOR-FM is the vanguard of alternative music. Their two most prominent deejays, Rosko (Mercer) and Murray the K (Kaufman) break with all the conventional formats of the time, helping to pioneer the intriguing freeform FM format, playing such heretofore unknown artists as Jimi Hendrix and The Doors.

The station throws a first anniversary bash at The Village Theater. Popular journalist and deejay Rosko entertains the audience with his humor during set changes. (Two years later, he will be one of the panelists discussing the Doors' music on the PBS Critique show, hosted by Richard Goldstein of The Village Voice.)

Scheduled between other popular groups of the period, the Doors become the highlight of both shows when they explode into two dynamic and forceful performances which literally shake the theater with their intimidating volume. Particularly captivating is their commanding execution of the Alabama Song, which captures the essence of Brecht & Weill's The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.

* This is the first of two Doors' appearances at The Village Theater, the other being on September 9.

*Early & late shows: Also performing: Janis Ian, the Blues Project, The Chambers Brothers, Richie Havens, Jeremy & the Satyrs. Emcees include Rosko, Scott Muni, (formerly of WABC-AM, soon to be premiere deejay at WNEW-FM) Johnny MIchaels, Jim Lounsbury, Murray the K.

Not long after the Doors played The Village Theater, the lower east side venue was purchased by Bill Graham Presents, and re-opened as the Fillmore East on March 3, 1968, featuring Big Brother and The Holding Company. (The Doors played the Fillmore East for the first time later that month.)

When Bill Graham closed down his small venues in 1970 and 71, It was closed for a time and then re-opened as the Academy of Music, still featuring rock concerts.

Later it closed again for several years, then was gutted and completely remodeled to become the lower east side's answer to Studio 54, The Palladium. Rumor has it that the building is now used to house an indoor flea market.

Copyright 2002 by Greg Shaw et al/

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