Petaluma concert shooting prompts new policy

December 9, 2008 9:29:56 PM PST
Performers who promote drugs and violence are no longer welcome at Petaluma's Phoenix Theater in the wake of a Saturday night shooting, theater management said today.

The shooting, which sent two young men to the hospital, is the second gun-related incident the theater has seen this year. Both incidents occurred while the theater was hosting shows by so-called "hyphy" artists.

Hyphy, or "thizz" music is a subgenre of hip-hop developed in the Bay Area and characterized by frenzied, upbeat tempos.

From now on, the theater will evaluate potential performers "on a case-by-case basis," said the Phoenix's executive director Amber Faur.

"We're not banning any genre of music, she said. "We just need to make sure that as a venue we are promoting the same values that are important to us as a youth center."

The Phoenix Theater, located at 201 Washington St., also provides a safe environment for area youth and raises funds by hosting all-ages music shows that are drug and alcohol-free.

"Hyphy and thizz shows are pretty much based around drug culture," Faur said. "They promote a certain type of action and behavior we can't be associated with."

She said the theater has no concerns about any upcoming shows.

Police are still investigating Saturday night's shooting, which occurred just before midnight in the nearby Keller Street Garage. Two young men were shot after a fight that broke out during the concert, police said.

The suspect's identity is still unknown.

In January, a young man attending a show was removed by security for rowdy behavior and tried to return later with a loaded gun.

Guests at music shows go through extensive security, including pat-downs and metal-detecting wands, Faur said. There were 25 security guards present Saturday night for a crowd she estimated was about 300 people.

Across the street at Volpi's Italian Market Deli & Bar, Deanna Volpi said her father and aunt sheltered a group of frightened concertgoers waiting for their parents after the shooting Saturday night.

"All we know is we got a whole bunch of kids in here who were totally freaked out," she said. "I hope they don't ever have those rappers ever again."

Volpi said teens attending Phoenix concerts are generally "really well-mannered and respectful" and don't usually case problems.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call (707) 778-4372.


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