Wednesday, April 13, 2016


SPRINGFIELD -- When the Mardi Gras marks its anniversary this weekend, it actually will be celebrating much more than its own history. It will be also be honoring the people who lived, worked, and went out on the town in the city over the past several decades.

To that end, the Mardi Gras has assembled a roster of guest DJs that worked in various downtown establishments during the entertainment heyday of downtown Springfield, from the early 1990s through 2006. These DJs spun music at venues such as Cocktails, The Hot Club, The Hippodrome, Rain, TJ Hourihan's, and many others.
Jason Hyde (Mardi Gras)
Rob Falso (Mardi Gras)
Big Bill(Mardi Gras, Hot Club, Sha-Booms)
Bill Bell (DJ Adapt)
Michael Grant (Rain, Ect.)
Anthony Zalowski (DJ Whats His Name)
Ryan Wil-key (Fat Cat, ETC)
Steven Sonoda (Hot Club, Sha-Booms)
Tim Bonito (DJ Fooz)
Randy Boyer (Hippodrome, Rain, ETC.)
Eddie Tourangeau (Mardi Gras)

These guest DJs will be at the Mardi Gras as the storied Springfield landmark celebrates its 45th year as one of city's best and most popular venues with two nights of parties on April 15-16.

On Friday, April 15, the landmark club will take a trip down memory lane, with regular customers and former employees on hand as the club holds a reunion party for both old friends and new ones.

Saturday will see the actual anniversary bash, which will kick off with a champagne reception at 7 p.m., followed by decade-by-decade timeline of the club, with each hour seeing DJs commemorating a corresponding decade: The 7-8 p.m. hour commemorates the 1970s; 8-9 p.m., the 1980s; 9-10 p.m., the 1990s, with the 10-11 p.m. slot looking back at the Y2K years.

But the anniversary isn't marking an end of an era, but rather is kicking off the beginning of a new one: The Mardi Gras is gearing up to launch a whole menu of new programming the following weekend as it incorporates itself into the 350 Complex, a five-venue multiplex. The 350 Complex will offer a wide range of entertainment, from comedy to burlesque to food.

The April 15 party will offer a sneak preview at the new multiplex, with a comedy show featuring headliner Orlando Baxter in the Bourbon Street Cabaret Showroom, which is adjacent to the Mardi Gras.

Along with the Mardi Gras and the Bourbon Street Cabaret Showroom, the 350 Complex will also feature The XRoom, Oz, and The 350 Grill, all accessible through the same secure parking area.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Staind Outside Video

This post was first published in 2009

The Video posted below, By the band "Staind" was filmed at The Hippodrome on September 7th 2001.
The video features over 75 Hippodrome employees as extras. The remaining 300 or so extras were supplied through a local radio station promotion.
The shoot lasted all day and into the evening. The song "Outside" was played over and over through the Hippodrome's sound system.
Over the years, Staind performed at The Hippodrome four times. All of the shows sold out. The first two sold out within hours of going on sale.
The photo is from one of the live performances at The Hippodrome, not the video shoot.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I took this picture of the Hippodrome's lighting truss from the Masslive website. I am sure I have hundreds of pictures of it on a CD somewhere, but it is much easier to copy and paste.

This week we started removing it from the Theater.  The truss system featured nine 1-ton motors, 260 feet of box truss, 400 amps of three phase power, and articulating hinges which gave the system the ability to bend in half and contort into an endless amount of configurations.

The system, with it's original lighting, special affects, and video was the ultimate dance floor light show.  The system was raised and lowered throughout the evening to accommodate the evening's programing. For example; The truss was raised while video was played on the movie screens, then lowered for a dance set, raised for the snow and wind machines to be used, then lowered to lift an aerialist  for a trapeze performance, etc. It was an expensive piece of equipment that gave the space versatility.

The first thing we had to do was lower the truss to the floor to remove all of the electrical wiring.
"Me" posing as an electrician

The truss is disassembled and moved. Chains were dropped from the ceiling. Now it's final, Although it hasn't been used as a nightclub since 2005, the Hippodrome (Paramount) is no longer usable as one.

Steve and I took advantage of the fact that Anthony was there with his camera and started posing for pictures by pointing at things that don't exist.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


We Purchased the Paramount Theater in August of 1999. We renovated through 2000 and opened the Hippodrome in December of 2000
                                                 Here are some Before and after Pictures



The old sign was removed in the fall of 2000

The new sign went up in December of 2000





Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

White Elephant To Golden Goose

This article was originally posted in 2009 while the Hippodrome
was closed. I am reposting it now to serve as a reminder as to
how much of an impact this facility and Rain/Skyplex has had on the region.

The Paramount Theater was purchased in the summer of 1999. The Theater hadn't been opened for years, employed no one, and paid no taxes. We Made a huge investment, Saved a local landmark, employed over 150 people, and paid approximately $220,000 in back taxes to the city of Springfield. The Hippodrome opened in December of 2000 after a year of renovations.

We decided to look back over the last 9 years and see what the actual economic impact of our businesses has been for the City and the Region.

The first subject we researched was Police Details. We added up the amounts paid to the Springfield Police Department for Extra Duty Police at The Hippodrome and Rain/Skyplex. I think this makes us the largest private employer of extra duty police in the city. (Not including the gas and electric co.) Police Details $1,093,000 (Yes that is over 1 million dollars)

Next was the total amounts paid to the City of Springfield for Real Estate taxes, licensing, permits, and fees.
Total to City of Springfield for taxes,etc. $1,119,000
(over 1 million dollars again.)

Payroll wages are one of our largest expenses and all of our employees are local residents. This means that the wages we have paid go directly into the local economy.
Wages Paid (excluding owners) $5,600,000
(over 5.5 million)

We have employed plenty of local construction and repair people over the years. This includes, Painters, Plumbers, Carpenters, electricians, HVAC, etc.
Amount spent locally on construction, repairs, etc. $4,375,000

This is the total amount that Rain/Skyplex has directly spent into the local economy

This is the total that The Hippodrome has directly pumped into the local economy

Total for both spent directly into the local economy

We tried to calculate the amount of money that our patrons (over 2 million people) have spent locally and what benefit it has had to the economy. This is a hard number to calculate, but we figure between, Hotel rooms (we know the number was over 500 room nights per year), Parking ( we know our patrons pay to park in local lots),Meal from local restaurants, Gas,Etc.
Benefit to local economy from customers visiting downtown
$20 to 40 Million dollars

Number of Patrons:
well over 2 million

Number of license violations in over 9 years:
0 (zero)

We were also responsible for booking all of the shows for the City Block Summer Concert Series at Stearns Sq. The Skyplex provides the Beer Concessions and bathrooms for the concert series along with the liability insurance for the shows. We didn't take the time to figure any of the economic benefit of our role in these shows, but from a public relations standpoint, this is the area's most anticipated yearly series of events and draws between 30 and 50 thousand people to Downtown Springfield every summer. I will be writing a post about this soon.