Hollywood Alley's Favorite Bands to Stage a Three-Day Tribute to the Bygone Bar This Weekend in North Scottsdale
Jamie Monistat VII is still in mourning over the recent loss of Hollywood Alley--so much so that the restaurateur and Blanche Davidian vocalist claims that he gets "bummed out at least 15 times an hour" about the closure of the Mesa bar earlier this month, as it was a favorite longtime haunt. And if you've read this week's New Times cover story on its 25-year history, it's clear he's not the only one.
Melissa Fossum Jamie Monistat VII performs with Blanche Davidian during the Ross Rocks Benefit at Hollywood Alley in April 2012.
"It's been upsetting to a lot of people because the Alley meant so much," Monistat says. "It was a headquarters for our band and a lot of other bands too."
That said, Monistat doesn't consider the three-day Tribute to Hollywood Alley this weekend at his Scottsdale restaurant and bar Chop and Wok will some morose funeral for the now-defunct venue. More like a rock-fueled blowout in the blithe spirit of a typical Alley gig and featuring a slew of musicians and bands who frequented its stage.
"It really sucks that the Alley's gone, but at least we can get together and celebrate it one last time," Monistat says.
In a fateful twist, the event was originally conceived as the bar's 25th anniversary party. Bands were booked, including some with out-of-state members who'd made non-refundable travel arrangements. Fate, however, intervened in July after Alley co-owners Ross Wincek and Rachel Hrutkay announced the venue would close due to overwhelming debt.
After the shock subsided, Monistat says that organizers (including former Alley employees Will Tynor and Robert "Fun Bobby" Birmingham, and Father Figures' bassist Tom Reardon) scrambled for a new home for the show to prevent anyone from having to eat the cost of their flights.
"Everyone just decided, 'Fuck it, let's just do it at Chop and Wok,'" Monistat says. After all, the Scottsdale joint, which boats a rock theme, already occasionally hosts musicians.
And according to Mike Hawk, guitarist for Blanche Davidian, there will be plenty of space for all the erstwhile Hollywood Alley regulars expected to attend. That includes the aforementioned members of the Alley diaspora, like Brian Talenti of popular pop-rockers Haggis, who lives in Austin, Texas.
Melissa Fossum Mike Hawk of Blanche Davidian
"There are guys coming from all over," Hawk says. "It's gonna be a reunion of sorts."
Longtime Hollywood Alley patrons will get to see many old favorites. And true to the defunct venue's famously diverse musical offerings, the lineup each night will be eclectic and oftentimes loud.