Owners of Mesa Theater in Grand Junction reflect on their first year
6/21 - Anti-Country Jam
6/28 - Summer of Strange: Krizz Kraliko
7/10 - Jason Charles Miller
7/12 - Little Mania
7/13 - The Expendables
7/15 - Bret Michaels
7/19 - Wall of the Fallen
7/22 - John Hiatt
8/3 - Green Jelly
8/6 - Souls of Mischief
8/10 - Comedian Paula Poundstone
8/14 - Texas Hippie Coalition
8/30 - Hemlock
11/13 - Clutch
Ping-pong, popcorn and a larger number of beers on tap are among the changes at Mesa Theater & Lounge since Andy and Amanda Pittman bought the place a year ago.
“They’re all local western Colorado beers, with the exception of Bud Light and PBR,” Andy Pittman said.
At 538 Main St., the Mesa remains a downtown venue for music and other acts.
“We’re trying to focus on bigger, national touring acts,” Pittman said.
Legendary rock guitarist, pianist and singer-songwriter John Hiatt will perform at the Mesa Theater July 22. Comedian Paula Poundstone is coming in August.
“We’re trying to support the local musicians, too,” Andy Pittman said.
For example, the Glass Delirium and Switchpin bands performed after a locally made movie titled “Ravenous” was shown June 7. While Mesa shows generally draw a younger crowd, the audience varies depending on the show, Pittman said. Folk-rock Americana singer-songwriter James McMurtry played at the Mesa in February and folk artist, singer-songwriter Greg Brown performed in March.
Pittman said he’s begun limiting ticket sales to singer-songwriter shows to encourage a sit-down, quiet listening venue for those types of shows.
There’s a blues jam session on stage every Tuesday starting at 8 p.m. with a local band hosting the event each week. Musicians bring their own instruments, and a drum kit on the premises is also available.
“It can be pretty interesting,” Pittman said. “Michael Bolton’s band (the day before a performance at the Avalon) showed up to jam. You never know who’s going to pop up.”
The ping-pong table has attracted a following on Wednesday nights, starting at around 9 p.m.; actor Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen’s brother, stopped in to play one night.
In the next couple of weeks, the owners hope to add outdoor seating on Main Street’s sidewalk.
Happy hour drink specials are offered from 5-7 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The lounge opens at 5; the box office opens at noon.
Popcorn is always available and pizza from Pablo’s down the street is sold during the bigger shows. Pittman said he may expand the food choices once they add outdoor seating.
“One of the things that drew me to the business was having it on Main Street,” Amanda Pittman said. “I love being part of the downtown business community. It’s a fun place to go every day; it’s nice community to be a part of.
“When I was little I went to movies here. I know lots of people who have memories of the place.”
The Pittmans owned a small neighborhood bar in Boise before moving to Grand Junction to be closer to family. They have two sons, Max, 6, and Henry, 3.
The nearby Avalon Theatre closure (while Grand Junction City Council ponders whether to fund needed renovation of the city-owned property) may draw performers to the Mesa seeking a stage downtown, however, Pittman said he hopes the historic theater will reopen.
“I’ve never viewed it as competition,” he said. “It’s bigger, with fixed seating.
“I’m all for downtown being vibrant. When we lived in Boise there were all these choices. Anything that makes downtown more vibrant, I’m happy with that.”
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