Old Town looks like it's gonna get a lot less dirty, and a lot more Dirty.
After almost a decade as an adult movie theater, sex club and safe space for public masturbators, the 126-year-old Paris Theatre will again be a venue for live music, says incoming general manager Jason McKelley.
The space—located next to Voodoo Doughnut and across the street from Dante's bar and Lonesome' Pizza— was bought last week by the owners of AMF-happy Old Town girls-on-swings nightclub Dirty and Real World Portland hangout Splash Bar.
McKelley stresses that he and part-owner Brad McCray will be the managers on the project—with the Dirty and Splash Bar owners as investors—and that it won't be anything like Dirty or Splash Bar. "I don't expect to share crowds wioth those two bars," he says.
Instead, he says his model is more the old venue the Paris Theatre was before it went porny. Fridays and Saturdays will often be dance parties, he says, but more in the vein of the old Panorama nightclub—'80s nights and Prince nights.
The venue, which opened as a burlesque house in 1890, has also been a more conventional movie theater—albeit one that showed Deep Throat for years on end—and an all-ages music venue, before its current decade long run as a shining beacon to furtive men hiding their faces from the Voodoo Doughnut line.
"Our plan is first and foremost to bring the marquee and sign back to life," says McKelley, "clean up the front of the building, and bring it back to its old appearance."
The stage will stay where it is, but McKelley and the bar's owners have already ripped out the gay porn theater and sex dungeons to open out the space, and they're soon beginning construction on a bar. The projection room will be the new sound booth, and all the old seats used by the naked patrons are stowed away…. although he says they may use them again for some events, presumably after a hefty steaming.
The new Paris owner—Chris Lenahan, Michael Sun, and Brad McCray—filed a liquor license application May 27. But McKelley says it'll be a little while before they're up and running.
"[Porn theater owner] Ray [Billings] was in operation 12 hours before we finalized the papers," says McKelley. There are no specific plans for booking yet, except one.
"We're going to put on Rocky Horror," McKelley says.