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Winters’ beloved music hall comes back to life !!!
After its longtime manager retired and moved out of state, the Palms Playhouse in Winters sat shuttered for most of last
year. Loyal patrons and performers feared the worst about their beloved music hall. But in January, the 42-year-old venue
was reopened by two friends, natives of Winters, intent on carrying on its traditions while broadening its appeal.

New operators Nora Cary, 30, and Andrew Fridae, 26, may not have run a business before, but they are no strangers to the
music and theater scene. Both have attended shows at the Palms for years. Fridae is a puppeteer and former children’s
theater actor, as well as a songwriter who performed in an acoustic band, while Cary is a former ballet dancer whose father
and husband are musicians. “We wanted to bring the Palms back because it makes people happy,’’ says Fridae, who
reopened the venue Jan. 6 with a sold-out audience for the country music band I See Hawks in L.A. “It matters to them.’’

It has for a long time, ever since it was established in a rickety barn in Davis before moving in 2002 to the upstairs portion
of the Winters Opera House, where it has been a showcase for folk and Americana music. “It has created countless quality
opportunities for musicians and listeners to connect, exchange, ignite sparks and be moved,’’ says Rita Hosking,  a
country-folk singer who has performed there more than 15 times. “My husband and I have played around the country and
overseas, and we still find ourselves comparing places to the Palms. It’s one of our gold standards.’’ Cary and Fridae plan
to keep to that genre, but expand upon it as well, while making sure tickets top out at an affordable $20. “We’re trying to
book a soul-funk ensemble,’’ Cary says. “We also want to try to bring in more acts to appeal to the Hispanic community
here. We want to respect the tradition of it being an unpretentious, affordable place.’’

They hope to offer one or two concerts each week, plus other programming that may include dance or music classes,
theater productions and open-mike nights. The space also might be used for weddings or high school dances.  To make
the Palms, which has a beer and wine license, legally open to all ages, Cary and Fridae have to provide food. A food-truck-
size kitchen is being built behind the bar that will turn out appetizers, salads, sandwiches and desserts, with local wineries
such as Turkovich being spotlighted.

Cary and Fridae, who are financing the renovations themselves with the help of a few loans from local supporters, will spiff
up the interior in phases. They’ve already installed a new sound system, as well as a wood laminate floor in the main
theater space, which holds 220. The interior has been repainted and the worn carpet replaced. Eventually, new artworks
will be on display, including a unique one — pieces of old drywall from the original Davis green room signed by visiting
musical performers of the ’70s and ’80s, which a bartender had safely stored away.

“While the Palms was closed, I think there was a real sense of loss in the community,’’ Cary says. “I’m just happy to be a
part of it and help it continue.’’


Upcoming shows

March 30: James Harman’s Bamboo Porch Revue. 8 p.m. $20.

April 1: Sure Fire Soul Ensemble. 8 p.m. $15.

April 6: Bill Evans, John Reischman, Kenny Smith & Friends. 8 p.m. $20.

April 7: Front Country CD Release Show. 8 p.m. $17.

April 8: Rick Estrin & the Nightcats. 8 p.m. $20.

Palms Playhouse, 13 Main St., Winters, (503) 795-1825, www.palmsplayhouse.com