Jim Schiavo confirms that Club Majestic, 115 King St., is
for sale. The nightclub's weekend hip-hop nights have been accused of
contributing to recent bar-time violence on King Street, but Schiavo says conflicts with the police department and other King Street business owners over security concerns have nothing to do with the club being put on the market.
The long-embattled and controversial Majestic Theatre dance club and concert venue on King Street in downtown Madison is shutting down most of its operations, continuing only with a skeleton operation as a bar for one day per week. The Majestic's marquee is already bare, and most concerts scheduled there have been rebooked for other venues.
The theater's new identity is already emerging as renovations enter their final stage. The new Majestic is a vast improvement esthetically over its previous incarnation, with a new look that simultaneously harks back to its celluloid past yet distinctly feels like a rock club. Most of the old accoutrements of the nightclub are long gone, as is the old garish purple paintjob and the spongy block flooring.
Two guys in their 20s trying to make it in the music industry. A historic landmark trying to find a future for itself. A city trying to resolve crime problems surrounding an old nightclub. Competing venue owners and promoters trying to figure out how they'll fare with a new club on the block.
While living in Madison, I have never gotten into a drunken brawl in front of a nightclub -- at least not on King Street. Which is to say, the recently re-opened Majestic Theatre was new to me when I went there for the Porchlight fundraiser on Wednesday night.
Hipsters, geeks, freaks, dorks -- if you want to get your dance on, Soundlab is your ultimate destination on Friday nights starting this week at the Majestic Theatre with beats care of the one and only, Nick Nice. New Majestic Theatre co-owner Matt Gerding explained that he and business partner Scott Leslie wanted to form an alternative to the regular "club" scene where the draw was the music and the outcome was dancing, rather than binge drinking and grinding up on anonymous partners.
Matt Gerding admits he and Scott Leslie have had a few surprises since reopening the Majestic Theatre seven weeks ago. For one thing, the Madison market for live music isn't always predictable. When they began booking concerts at the 600-person-capacity theater, Gerding and Leslie thought local audiences would spring for pop acts that have done well on commercial radio. But that hasn't always been the case.
"I think people were a little skeptical of us because we were a couple of young guys from out of town," says Matt Gerding, "but in our first few months in business we brought some impressive acts to town, and we're pretty proud of it." The co-owner of the Majestic Theatre announced Tuesday that the downtown landmark is marking its 101st birthday on Saturday with a movie and some egg nog. There will be more flicks there in the New Year, moreover, with Gerding and Scott Leslie working to prepare the theater as a possible venue for the 2008 Wisconsin Film Festival.
The city of Madison will continue its prosecution of the Majestic Theatre for failing to sign an agreement and pay fees for encroaching on the city's right-of-way, despite a request that it hold off until the Madison Landmarks Commission can consider the matter.
Scan Madison's concert listings on any given weekend and you'll quickly see that the Majestic Theatre is an integral part of the live-music scene. Nearly six years ago, booking and promotions professional Matt Gerding and musician Scott Leslie purchased and refurbished the former vaudeville theater at 115 King St., and it has since grown into a formidable concert venue with an equally formidable booking and promotions component, Majestic Live.