As if it were even possible, Portland just got a little bit cooler. Our friends over at the Aladdin Theater and Mississippi Studios have launched a new venue—Revolution Hall—in Southeast Portland’s Buckman neighborhood. It’s housed in the former auditorium of historic Washington High School, the second high school built in Portland, originally constructed during the Industrial Revolution. The long-vacant building’s fate hung in the balance, until a local developer, Venerable Properties, purchased the building last year and reached out to Mississippi Studios founder Jim Brunberg with an opportunity to save it.
“Venerable Properties wanted to develop the space in a way that would serve the community, foster the arts, and retain the building’s historic significance,” says Jim. “Me and my partner, Kevin, had actually already been eyeing the space as a cool, beautiful place to put on concerts, so we were on board. Then they invited Mark Adler from the Aladdin to bring his goodwill and show/promoter acumen to the project, and the team was complete.”
Staying true to the high standards fans have come to expect from the Aladdin and Mississippi, Revolution Hall will offer incredible production quality and an amazing customer experience. The interior, explains Jim, “will have a timeless vibe, uncluttered but historically interesting and aesthetically warm and beautiful.” The venue will also feature reserved seating for its 850 seats, full-service bars with a view, and, Jim promises, “plenty of bathrooms with no lines!”
Revolution Hall will fill a much-needed gap for mid-sized venues in Portland and play host to all types of quality entertainment. While live music will remain its bread and butter, you can also expect literary events, film screenings and more up on stage. Just take a look at the first week’s lineup: The debut performance on February 12th will feature local band Alialujiah Choir and Wild Ones; the 13th hosts an evening with activist, author, and journalist Dan Savage; and the 14th caps off the weekend with a live broadcast of the popular radio variety show, LiveWire.
Local musician Ural Thomas visits Revolution Hall under construction and sings a song for his mom; part of a series of visits by local artists to the space before it opens to the public
The addition of Revolution Hall to the Portland nightlife scene illustrates the insatiable appetite for high-quality live entertainment in the city. Says Jim: “This is a smart town. People are quick to identify music and arts events that offer new perspectives along with craftsmanship, skill, and talent. And they know that independent curators offer something that beats cable, beats big box theater, and enriches their artistic side as well as their community.”