Legends are supposed to last forever -- but Hollywood Legends has called it quits after thirty years. Dennis Muck opened the club originally called After the Gold Rush at 5255 West Sixth Avenue in Lakewood in January 1974, and he closed the doors for good on June 21. Among the folks saddened by the club's passing was Dennis's son, Rob Muck. "I've been in there since I was four years old," he says. By the time Legends shut down, Rob was president of the night spot.
At one point, After the Gold Rush was so popular that the Mucks had to rent an additional parking lot and run a shuttle so that local music lovers could see not just the town's top acts, but national ones like Foghat, Blue Öyster Cult and heyday-era Warrant. An eventual decline in attendance combined with a couple of violent episodes that concerned the neighborhood resulted in a brief darkening of the venue, which re-emerged on January 24, 1996, as the star-spangled Hollywood Legends. The reincarnated club offered fewer live bands, and most of its hard rock was served on platters from the DJ booth, but regulars still flocked to Lakewood's late-night monument.
Rob Muck attributes Legends' end to a couple of factors: a February shooting in the bar's parking lot, which caused a minor thinning of customers; and a major thinning of customers after the local Fox affiliate ran several pieces on violence at the club, which Rob says unfairly represented actual events. "Fox 31 killed our business," adds longtime Legends DJ and recent booking manager Earl Blackheart, who says that within two hours of the club surrendering its liquor license to Lakewood officials, a Fox employee called, sniffing for blood.
That license played its own role in Legends' demise. The existing permit was set to expire this July, and Lakewood's liquor board requires that licensees have a lease for at least one year forward from the date of application. But in early June, owners of the Legends building told the Mucks that it had been sold, with demolition slated for February 2005. Although the lease allowed the club to remain open until then, Rob points out that "without liquor sales, there was little reason to stay open."
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A moment of silence, please, for the passing of a local legend.
Denver promoter Kevin Larson says he has no intention of ever opening his own venue. Not that he has to: Wherever there's a Kevin Larson Presents event, the space suddenly becomes his venue. Larson initially came to Denver's attention as the owner of Pandora's Box, a now-defunct upscale lingerie boutique, and he recently left Rise, having completed the task he was hired to do. And that was to "get them up and running, develop concepts of music and entertainment and put the people in the club," Larson explains. "Now it's time for them to carry out their own stuff." That time coincided with the LoDo club's first anniversary last month, marked by two days of festivities.
Larson's not cutting all ties to Rise, and he still has a minor investment in the club ("Suffice it to say I own a palm tree," he laughs). But now he has more time to devote to his highly anticipated annual Denver fetes, including the fourth Fashion Forward, the fifth Victorian and Fetish Ball, and the third New Year's Eve White Rose Gala. He plans to introduce some new events, too, including this fall's Red Rocks Run & Roll, a collaborative benefit with a 5K race followed by live bands. He's also working on invite-only seasonal networking parties (the first one is slated for late this month, with Larson responsible for both decor and entertainment) and Groove With Me, an interactive nightlife marketing program to be imbedded on other businesses' websites.
And that's not all. Rise's former promoter is mentoring a few of the area's up-and-coming promoters, "taking their energy, excitement and passion, and helping them get to the next level," Larson says. Now if he'd just tell me where he hid Pandora's leftover goodies.