Thursday, November 21, 2013



Temecula, CA – “A change is gonna come” – Sam Cooke

By now anyone who reads the Press-Enterprise knows that the all-ages venue known as The Vault
is closing at the end of this month. Vanessa Franco posted a fine story and great pictures from some of the performances hosted there.

The picture at the right shows there was a little more to the place than just music acts, as you can see. After my next update about the Christian group known as Calvary Baptist, the Valley’s franchise church, there will be more pictures that you won’t see floating around.

When I am in LA some people ask me where I live when they find that I don’t live in the country’s second largest city. I always tell them “I love LA but I live in a magical valley. The character you see is just one of many that live there.”

My first experience with the Calvary Baptist group was when they bought the long running Hot Springs to make it into a collage campus. The area had offices, a small bar scene that was all there was beside Aloha Joe’s. A small but thriving health foods/health spa with real Masseuses was also housed there in the small town Hot Springs community. One of them, a girl named Liz who worked there, was my first landlord’s girlfriend. She loved working there. Then Calvary bought the property. After promising the public part would not be affected to get approval, she and everyone else there was thrown out and the public was banned.

My second experience was with a different group of Calvary. When the vacant lot across the small road from Calvary Chapel on Nicolas Road was purchased by the relocated ICTV mosque of off Diaz, the Calvary Christians there went out of their way to be disingenuous to their new neighbors. Granted, much of this was due to total faith in the government’s version of 911. The power company that was driven out of French Valley had planned their construction on the lot across Calle Medusa from the church.          
Being a Christian also and knowing someone in both congregations, I called both to alert them of the coming plant. Someone in Calvary told my contact that ‘it’ was being looked into and not to worry. I hand carried a note giving details of the coming power plant to the wife of the imam of the mosque. This was before any building was constructed.
Today riding down Nicolas Road you can see the tall metal power poles striding across the east edge of the developed valley and ending next door, so to speak, to Calvary, Grace Presbyterian, and the in-development stage 1 of the ICTV.
Now there is a dispute growing between the Vintners in wine country and the Calvary branch that secured land in a donut hole amongst the wineries years ago. The county ordered the church to cover nearly half its land in “Christmas trees,” and pines were planted in 2002, according to a court document. A decade later, Johnson, representing a group called Temecula Agriculture Conservation Council, asserted Calvary Chapel failed to live up to the condition. And he sued late last year over the matter to compel compliance. That suit is pending.

Through another group called Protect Wine Country, Johnson has threatened to sue the county if it adopts the plan because it carves out a “doughnut hole” for the church to allow it to expand.

On May 28, landscape architect Laurie Levine of Murrieta concluded in a letter to the county the church was in compliance, relying in part on a survey by civil and geotechnical engineer Osbjorn Bratene of Temecula.
“Both of these documents are materially false and if they are not retracted by their authors a formal complaint will be filed with each of their respective license boards,” Johnson wrote. Johnson said the “most obvious falsehood” was describing a parking lot as a planter.
Johnson’s note triggered a Friday, Nov. 15 filing in Riverside Superior Court by attorneys for the church and county, requesting the Christmas-tree case be dismissed. At the least, they argued, Johnson should be removed from the case.
Johnson had a characterization for the motion to disqualify him.

“It’s a desperation move on their part because the facts are against them in the case,” he said.

After nearly five years of concerts, the rare all-ages venue, The Vault, originally opened in 2007 under different owner, Riccardo, closed later that year because of the lack of ‘proper’ permits. James Messina took over and worked with Ivan McClain to reopen the venue in July 2009 with Lower Definition headlining. The Vault filled a need in Riverside County for teenagers who performed and consumed music rather than sports or extreme games.

The Vault can hold around 300 people, but its permit only allowed for performances three days each week. McClain said it reached capacity about two years ago.

“We have more shows that want to come into this area than we have days,” Ivan said.    

“The Vault was our teenage angst venue; now we’re maturing into our next step.”

Now with the last show death knell on November 29, The Vault joins the valley memories of Vic’s Warehouse, Madlins, Cuppy’s, Java Joz, and the French Valley Theater, among others.
In the years since, live music has opened all over the valley, from wineries to the casino, from Front Street [not including the Stampede] to clubs on Temecula Parkway. My last Vault article, which featured Andrew W.K. and highlighted Ivan being held by a gaggle of girls, was meant to be my way of saying ‘thanks, for the memories’. And what memories they are. The crowd, the performers, the drama, ahhh. Those were the days, my friend. The last show I will see, barring a magic carpet ride, will be Zebrahead, tomorrow night.

I started this story with a controversial picture and that’s the only way to end this story.

(All photos - PT Rothschild)

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