Inside The Fox Cabaret (On Track To Open Next Weekend)


by Andrew Morrison | Danny Fazio and Thomas Anselmi of Arrival Agency invited me to take a look at how things were going at The Fox Cabaret yesterday. The space has come a long way since the mess left behind by the building’s previous long-term tenant, The Fox Cinema. The Fox, of course, was an old school porn theatre, and well documented as a grossed-out, fap-fest house of carnal horrors. Though it was an institution of sorts and very much part of the Main streetscape, screening 35mm adult films throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, and well beyond 2003 when it switched over to DVD format. You can click here to learn more about the theatre and its 2010 end while empathetically lamenting the loss for commuting masturbators from across the Lower Mainland, but I don’t think it has been missed by that many people in the neighbourhood.

So what is The Fox Cabaret? I think we’re supposed to think of it as another “cultural compound”, the second coming of The Waldorf, which was sacrificed to false real estate idols last year. It’ll be operated by the same crew as before – led by Arrival founders Thomas Anselmi and Ernesto Gomez with partners Rachel Zottenberg and David Duprey (see also The Emerald, Rickshaw, The Narrow) – so I trust that we can expect similar programming as before. If you require a refresher, these guys arranged for The Cheaper Show, the East Side Culture Crawl, the New Forms Festival, the Polaris Music Prize, the Presentation House Gallery, the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Vancouver International Film Festival to hold events at The Waldorf, and for Black Mountain, Japandroids, Douglas Coupland, Rodney Graham, Grimes, Michael Turner, and Paul Wong to headline evenings as well. In addition to the great gigs and events that I feel confident in anticipating, I know that Music On Main will be doing some of the programming, and that comedy group The Sunday Service is set to become an entertaining fixture. Diversity for the win.

Clearly, Mount Pleasant’s cultural landscape is about to get a big shot in the arm. When The Fox opens, it will offer a cavernous space (with all the theatre seats gone) for 190 people. An upper balcony will have room for another 25 or so, and then an upstairs bar will seat another 50 when it opens later – possibly as soon as April – in what used to be the theatre’s old projector room (check out the disco ball, plucked from the destruction of Richards On Richards). The bar operations are going to be the province of Kevin Brownlee, who also works the wood at South Granville’s storied West Restaurant. The hours will be in the evenings until midnight on weekdays and 1am on weekends, with those being extended to 1am and 2am respectively after six months. There will be a food component, but it will basic – snacks only.

The Fox Cabaret is on track to open for its first events next weekend. Get your sneak peek below…


    There are 7 comments

    1. Nice read. Sure hope that RIchards on Richards disco ball wasn’t the one that beaned someone on the head back in the day.

    2. So excited for this – somewhere for those of us in the neighbourhood to do more than just eat and drink. Mt Pleasant can always use for of that.

    3. Of course in between its stints as a porno house, it was a great rep cinema with fantastic programming that was on par with the Ridge and East Van Cinema. I remember that they had a special polarized 3D screen installed (back in 1990!) and they had a rare 3D showing of Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder. Don’t know the back story but as the programming and audience got worse, it eventually gave up and went back to a porn house but it had a glorious interlude. Interested in hearing it as a music venue, like to hear what Corey Hamm sounds like in there! Good luck! … N

    4. Ummm no. The Fox was not an arthouse in the early 90’s. 1980- 83 it was the savoy and that was an arthouse cinema, Porno ever more after that. Nou, where did you get this info?

    5. You’re right, the early 80s would have been the arthouse cinema timing (it all melts together after a while) sorry about that … N

    6. it was a rep theatre in 2000’s for one year, only on weekends. i know this becouse i was a voulnteer, it was called criminal cinema… it stunk like so many body fluids

    7. it’s hard to say if the new Fox will be able to overcome its seedy history and location. maybe it’s fine for neighborhood kids who don’t mind slumming it, but will any self-respecting booking agent actually place world calibre acts there? only time will tell…

    Check Out This Art Show of ‘Leftovers’ off Main Street

    Curated by Patrik Andersson of TRAPP Projects, the show brings together photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, and more.

    Local Artist Perrin Grauer’s Work-In-Progress at Upcoming ‘Magnet’

    His installation sees hundreds of triangles angled in line to climb up the western wall of the beer-focused restaurant's entrance.

    Artfully Pouring Concrete on a Cold Winter’s Night

    We poked our heads into an industrial building to watch concrete pour as part of an upcoming art exhibition by Omer Arbel.

    ‘Drink Beer, Hail Satan’ — Guy Fieri on East Hastings

    Food celeb Guy Fieri was in town shooting in Hastings-Sunrise today, parking his '68 Camaro out front of two neighbourhood joints.