Nirvana Tour: Community World Theater Inside n’ Out

Posted: September 9, 2013 in Nirvana Maps and Locales

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Its become customary to begin these posts by telling you guys my latest boob…Well, last night, I was a little tired and so successfully wrote down 541 South M Street rather than 5441 South M Street. The difference? Many many miles and an awful lot of city blocks. Today I paid a taxi driver from Kenya £30 to drive me out from downtown Tacoma and back again…Last night, on the other hand, I walked out by twilight and walked out by fear n’ moonlight after 2 1/2 – 3 hours lost as hell. I mean, technically, OK, it was all along one road but in reality single roads look a lot further when you’ve no idea where you are and you’ve never been someplace before.

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Well, I did better this AM. I walked out…And surrendered. Taxi. Taxi is the way to do it. And I was in luck too, they were conducting a service at the present day location of the Community World Theater and permitted me to come in and take a couple of quick photos of the place. Doesn’t it look so recognisable?

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It’s hard to explain this to people but I’ll try. I’ve seen photos of the Community World Theater since I was 13 years old, over two decades ago. Yet this is a real location, a barely notable building on a street that I can’t even fathom how far it is from the centre. And inside, the place has barely changed, look at it, see the short stage, the minimal space? I could have paced it out from front to back from side-to-side as 30 paces front, 20 paces side-to-side and it tapers too, wider at the back. Its that weird mystique of looking somewhere and realising I’m not sure it isn’t the exact same speaker set up, mic set up, stage set-up it was 25 years ago when, for a full year, this was the single most important location in the existence of Nirvana.

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Nirvana only lived for seven years, count it out – March 1987 to March 1994 – and for a remarkable extent this single room saw the evolution of Nirvana from another hopeful set of enthusiastic amateurs to, at least, an outfit with a label willing to get them out on vinyl. That still isn’t a huge distance, recall this was a time when a lot of go-nowhere bands managed a 7″ or an EP someplace or other. Yet this still makes the Tacoma Community World Theater a place of genuine significance in the history of Nirvana; the place they started to learn stagecraft, the place they started to learn to be a band. If you listen to side B of Incesticide, if you add on the couple songs on With the Lights Out plus the holdovers to Bleach, then what you’re hearing is a 1987 Nirvana album that died upon contact with Sub Pop, you’re hearing what came before.

Anyways, ladies and gentlemen, this is the Community World Theater and this is the present-day interior of the building (with huge thank yous to the present day proprietors who were trying to run a service as I bowled in). Enjoy. And remember magic comes from the everyday.

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