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El Rey theater re-opens this weekend

"What we try to do is try to bring big acts to a smaller town, say they're going form LA to San Francsico? Lets bring them to a smaller town," said Galgano.

Posted: Feb 9, 2018 6:36 PM
Updated: Feb 10, 2018 4:18 PM

"My family has been connected to the El Rey since my grandfather danced in a vaudeville show back in the 30s, 40s, ... I saw my first film there when I was three, it was Fantasia, it stayed with me for life, I still think fairies are probably real" said Lisa West, of the El Rey Alliance.

News that the El Rey theater was for sale in 2005 was heart-breaking to community members like Lisa West. Determined to keep the theater a place of art, an alliance formed to raise the million plus dollars to do just that.

But in the past year, it looked like a new buyer was set to transform it into a restaurant. That's when Tyron Galgano stepped in.

"What we try to do is try to bring big acts to a smaller town, say they're going from LA to San Francisco? Let's bring them to a smaller town," said Galgano.

"Initially it was a shock, then a huge relief to learn that Tyron and his partners had the same vision that we had for the theater. A lot of sweat, tears, hop, and to have him say we're going to have it done the way we all wanted was just incredible," said Scott Brown of the El Rey Alliance group.

"I sat down with them and got involved. I'd also heard the community feedback about wanting to save the murals and keep it a performing arts venue so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to set my passion with music into the building and allow the community to support that same process," said Galgano.

It's been a big undertaking to re-open the theater without making any big changes.

"I knew that original brick was back there, but it was actually covered with this cork-board ... So we sand-blasted the whole thing to unveil the original brick from 1906 and now that it the perfect backdrop for everything we do," said Galgano.

And those famed murals? They're still intact.

"We did remove a lot of dirt off the mural, but there's wear and tear, and the water damage has really done a number on the walls," said Galgano.

There's a lot of work to be done, but they just can't wait any longer for the magic happen.

"That's always the moment that I say I love what I'm doing when I get to see people's faces, just pure joy when they're watching their favorite band play, or watching a performance," said Galgano.

"I feel this amazing mixture of relief and gratitude and happiness and renewed vigor," said West.

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Get out and enjoy this beautiful weather tonight! If you do head out and plan to stay out late, probably bring an extra later to throw on for when the sun sets as temperatures will be cooling off into the low to mid 60s for the valley by midnight and low to mid 40s by tomorrow morning.
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