Good Bye Coffee Gallery Backstage

4 May 2023

Jim and Anne at the Coffee Gallery Backstage – Photo by Valerie Nestrick

We are all sad to witness another “end of an era” after hearing the announcement that the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena, California will be permanently closed.   Backstage owner, Bob Stane, made this very difficult decision while recovering from a recent hospitalization.

The 49 seat Coffee Gallery Backstage was truly a unique and very special place for us as performers as well as the audience; more of a listening room than a Coffee shop and owner Bob Stane was more of a friend than a proprietor.

Here is the official creative description of CGB from their website:

The room “location” is a coffee bean warehouse somewhere in Central America. You are comfortably stranded while your cruise ship rides out a storm at the mouth of the river.  You, fortunately, are ashore and have stumbled upon this warehouse where a group of musical and witty, mostly American, expatriates are earning their cups of exotic coffee by entertaining with voice, guitar and humor. 
 
There seems to be a never-ending supply of them; it is almost always a different group every week night. The entertainers seem to be overjoyed with this bean storage facility as the audience is starved for “good” music and comedy and no machinery of any kind makes a sound while they are performing. Grinders are not allowed. Each individual bean is crushed, quietly, by hand by underpaid field workers.

Jim and I were regular performers at the Coffee Gallery Backstage, and we appreciated the “no grinder” rule more than anything.  We could sing the softest, sweetest John Denver Ballad and never heard a pin drop from the actual coffee shop outside the backstage room.

We called Bob Stane “The Voice of God” as he liked to make announcements through a microphone he kept close at hand from his seat in a darkened corner of the room.  Bob ran the lights and sound and occasionally the air conditioner (if we begged him to) and he would gleefully announce to the audience the availability of indoor plumbing and lead everyone in the “seductive dimming of the lights” ceremony at the beginning of each show.

We love you and will miss you Bob!  There is not or will ever be anything like the Coffee Gallery Backstage.  We continue to wish you a full recovery (nothing else will do….) and lots of joy in your garden for many seasons to come.

More about Bob Stane In the Pasadena News: https://www.pasadenanow.com/main/local-music-promoter-bob-stane-hospitalized-coffee-gallery-backstage-permanently-closed?fbclid=IwAR2xJ04apYlOp_Ei_VEUgzHhcZAt5_bkebHoPXMwGou1fOsz0PSbS2_YObk

Comments

  1. Posted by: GEORGE COLVIN

    This is where we first saw you two. End of a great venue.Now we will have to find you on the road.
    Take care,
    George and Shirley Colvin

  2. Posted by: Anne

    Hi George and Shirley! Yes, we will have other opportunities, but none like the Coffee Gallery. Take care and hope to see you soon!

  3. Posted by: Jermey

    My mom Holly loved going to the coffee gallery because that is where you could request some of her favorite John Denver songs. The last concert we went to was Saturday, Mar 4 , 2023 – 3:00 pm. We had a great time there because there is nothing like having a small crowd singing along to their favorite John Denver song.

    This is for you Bob Stane. I changed a few of the lyrics to Jim and Anne Curry’s song Long Lost Friends to fit it for Bob Stane who is a long friend to all who meet him

    “There’s a feeling that’s inside us, a space that’s filled by Bob Stane and when we know you’re leaving. That space gets lonely too. So when you leave take us with you Bob in your heart, in your heart. We will meet you again just like long lost friends like we never were apart. We can’t tell you how much how much we’ll miss you. When the love runs so deep. It’s so hard letting go now, not knowing when we next will meet Bob. So when you leave take us with you Bob in your heart, in your heart. We will meet again just like long lost friends like we never were apart. So when you leave take us with you Bob in your heart, in your heart. We will meet again just like long lost friends like we never were apart. We will meet again just like long lost friends.”

    Prayers are with him and his family. Until we meet again just like long lost friends Bob. Take care.

  4. Posted by: Anne

    Wonderful letter Jermey and a great tribute to Bob and the Coffee Gallery Backstage.

  5. Posted by: Norman Ashby ( storming Norman to my musical friends )

    Hi Anne Jim & The band,
    I posted a comment a short wile back about a young lady of 8 years who lives in a small village in France 6 minutes away from where I live who wanted someone to teach her to play her guitar, also she had never heard of John Denver! So she now knows a lot about Johns music and she is a pleasure to teach and we have had a lot of fun learning chords and strumming patterns and she doesn’t complain about her finger tips hurting any more, and runs out to greet me when I arrive helps me into her house with my music stuff and can’t Waite to play what she learned from her last weeks lesson.
    Far out.
    Storming Norman from France

  6. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Normon! Keep on teaching wonderful music to wonderful people! I remember that moment when my fingers stopped hurting! It took awhile because I was learning on a sears and robuck guitar (silvertone) with high action and steel strings….I thought my fingers would bleed! Good to hear from you!

  7. Posted by: Beach Snyder

    Given the epidemic of gun violence/ school shootings, I believe that John Denver would want to feature “ I Want To Live “ as an anthem for youth and a call to action . I , for one , miss his voice of social consciousness and empathy for all. Thank you for keeping his memory alive .
    Beach Snyder- Austin , TX and Creede , CO

  8. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Beach! We were just asked to perform “I Want to Live” as a special request, but Jim couldn’t perform it because he was having some allergy issues and that is a tricky song to him to sing! The request came for a totally different reason though, and might be the subject of my blog next month….stay tuned!

  9. Posted by: Marilyn Jones

    Oh my! So sorry to hear that. One of the few quaint little venues for great talent as yourselves. I will miss that. Charles loves these places.I turned him on to great music and performers.

  10. Posted by: Anne

    I know Marilyn! Truly one-of-a-kind and an excellent way to listen to one’s favorite music!

  11. Posted by: Mickey and Marie

    Hi Anne and Jim
    We love your concerts and saw you guys many times at Bob’s place. We will miss the Coffee Gallery and seeing you guys there.
    We wish you guys the best and Bob the best and good health too
    Safe travels and hope you guys will be playing a concert in the Central Coast of California sometime
    Mickey and Marie

  12. Posted by: Anne

    We will try! Keep an eye on our calendar, concerts are added all the time in random places, lol!

  13. Posted by: Steve Seufert

    Hello, Anne!

    So sad to hear of the closing of The Coffee Gallery. It was here that I brought some friends to see you for the first time, not long after our daughter passed away. It was at that show that you and Jim honored a request that I had emailed you a few weeks before the show, to play “My Sweet Lady”, a song that was played at our daughter’s memorial service.
    I will cherish this bitter-sweet memory of the Coffee Gallery.
    Hope to see you reschedule your canceled show in Arroyo Grande at the Clark Center.

  14. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Steve, yes I remember your request in memory of your daughter….I think you also requested “Zachary and Jennifer” as well (but don’t remember if we pulled it off). I also remember a very funny story (it was very funny to me, maybe because you told it so well) about you meeting John Denver.
    I don’t think Arroyo Grande is going to be rescheduled. The promoter is bringing us into Santa Barbara instead as his last concert promotion before he retires. Maybe we will see you there?

  15. Posted by: Lynne Glazer

    Thanks to Bob, it was something special to slip back there to see you guys. Worth my considerable drive.

  16. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Lynne, thank you for coming to our show at the Coffee Gallery Backstage. We will have to find something closer for you!

  17. Posted by: Suzanne Ward (Mrs. Ed Ward)

    I will see you in Solana Beach, so glad to see it on the list.
    Best to you and Jim for a great time crisscrossing the country!

  18. Posted by: Anne

    We will be glad to see you there Suzanne!! Thanks for the good wishes!

  19. Posted by: Larry Trujillo

    Bob Stane was a friend and a mentor to me, as I was working in the then NEW Student Union at Cal State Los Angeles. Doing much of the programming in the building including starting up a ‘coffeehouse’ type noontime show. Hired acts I vetted at the Ice House in Pasadena. Bob showed me what to look for in an act, how to book them, and even helped me as I expanded the program to different days of the week to other local SoCal colleges that were already/or starting up at lunchtime music coffeehouse program. Great acts, really good for the students and also for the performers (picking up gigs in the middle of the afternoon – win, win for all!!)
    Our friendship and collaboration continued thru the years as I was still occasionally hiring music acts (with Special Event work I was doing) and he was always looking for new ones (willing to trust my advice!).
    Will GREATLY miss the Coffee Gallery Backstage and Bob!!!

  20. Posted by: Anne

    We will too, Larry! I know Bob will certainly miss all the activity too. Let’s hope he gets the book of his memoirs published soon!

  21. Posted by: AJ DEYOUNG

    Dear Jim and Anne,

    Can’t tell you how excited I am to see you’ve added Solana Beach, Ca back in. I had been to everyone of your Pala concerts, last one was Dec. 2019, right before Covid hit. I had booked to see you in Temecula May2020, but it kept being postponed, then canceled.

    Since then been receiving your newsletters each month and being envious of those lucky folks getting to meet and hear your across America. So pleased for you you keep making folks happy and being booked everywhere. ohhh to hear you with a symphony.

    Will look forward to seeing you Sept.19 matinee at North Coast Rep, bringing my neighbor, as have told her for so long about you guys.

    Fondly, AJ DEYOUNG

  22. Posted by: Anne

    Hi AJ! How sweet! We are looking forward to returning to Solana Beach – Make sure you tell them your appreciation too….they are the ones who decide what shows they want. We are happy they chose us (again)!

  23. Posted by: LaVerne Cohen

    I am broken hearted other about Altadena closing. I have seen you there so many times, I have also seen you in Simi Valley and at EL Portal. Now I wili travel further.
    Missing you already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Posted by: Anne

    Yes LaVerne, we got so close to having a birthday party didn’t we?? Hopefully we will see you soon!

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