Local History Advent Calendar 2022 – Day 2 – Fox Cabaret

It’s back! I has been 3 years since I published my last Local History Advent Calendar! So much has happened since that last time—including the publication of my first book, Mount Pleasant Stories—that I figured it was about time to dust off the Local History Advent Calendar once again. Similar to a regular advent calendar but instead of chocolate treats, each day you “open” a new historical treat. Think of them as holiday cocktail party fodder– 24 facts or stories about local history that can be used as conversation starters at your next social event.

Fox Cabaret in 2019. Photo: C. Hagemoen

Now the site of a popular music performance venue in the heart of Mount Pleasant, 2321 Main Street was originally the site of the Mount Pleasant Market, a retail outlet for P. Burns & Co. meat merchants. This retail space later served as a poultry shop, furniture store, clothing store, and grocery store.

Around 1976/77 the building was converted into a movie theatre. It was first called the Empire Cinema, a predominantly English language theatre that would occasionally screen Hindi movies. In 1980, Sean Daly took over operations and changed the name to the Savoy Cinema, an art house cinema screening an eclectic mix of films from 3-D classics like House of Wax to cult classics like The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Source: The Vancouver Sun, June 21, 1978; Vancouver Sun, September 26, 1978; The Province, August 30, 1981.

In 1983 the theatre became the Fox Cinema, screening X-rated, 35mm adult porn films. The Fox had the distinction of being the last remaining adult film theatre operating in Vancouver (and possibly Canada) until it closed in the summer of 2013. David Duprey, Rachel Zottenberg, and Waldorf Productions took over the lease and transformed the space (which included a really good scrub) into a live music venue, opening in 2014 as The Fox Cabaret.

Timely Fun Fact: On December 3, 2022 at 7:30 PM, the Fox Cabaret plays host to Kyōdai, an interplay of historical home videos and live music from the Japanese Canadian community presented by the Powell Street Festival and Nikkei National Museum and Archives. Click here for more info and tickets.

You can find more about 2321 Main Street, the block that it sits on, and other Mount Pleasant histories in my walking tour book, Mount Pleasant Stories. Copies are available for purchase in Mount Pleasant at Pulpfiction Books – 2422 Main Street and in Chinatown at Massy Books – 229 E Georgia St. It makes a great gift or stocking stuffer for your favourite local history buff!

3 thoughts on “Local History Advent Calendar 2022 – Day 2 – Fox Cabaret

  1. I remember seeing a midnight showing of Rocky Horror there very early on and later on a showing of Polyester in “Odorama” (You got a scratch and sniff card card on admission and the first demo scratch was the smell of a rose. Things quickly went downhill from there).

    1. Odorama sounds “interesting” – Yikes! During my research I discovered all sorts of weird and interesting things about the cinema. Too many to fit into one advent post.

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