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The Kaleidoscope 6230 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, CA

The Kaleidoscope was a psychedelic rock venue run by the management of the band Canned Heat. It was only open for about 6 months in 1968. It had some memorable posters and some memorable bands, but it was one of many unsuccessful efforts to create a viable Fillmore type venue in Los Angeles.

The well-known 1968 iteration of the Kaleidoscope was housed in a built in 1938 by one Earl Carroll, and named the Earl Carroll Theater. The theater, at 6230 Sunset Boulevard (at Argyle near Vine) in Hollywood, featured two concentrically rotating stages at the center of the venue. Right on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, its purpose was to display naked women: at the time, it was illegal to have naked women in motion, but not stationary women on a moving stage. By the 1950s, the venue was a TV studio (Queen For A Day was filmed here), and by the early 1960s it had become The Moulin Rouge. By about 1965 it became The Hullabaloo (the TV show of the same name was broadcast from there). The Hullabaloo (also known as Dave Hull's Hullabaloo) was an industry showcase, so bands played every night. Many of these bands played for free, and even headliners just got scale. There was also an after hours set from 1-4:00 am, played by many aspiring bands.

Skip Taylor, the manager of Canned Heat, had been interested in running his own venue for some time. In early 1967, he attempted to book shows at a building on 1228 Vine Street, but they were stopped by an injunction and the project was put on hold. The circular poster became more famous than the abortive venue.

By Spring 1968, Canned Heat was a popular band with a successful single ("On The Road Again"), so Taylor was in a better position. Taylor, William Morris agent John Hartmann and Gary Essert took over the lease on former Hullabaloo (Taylor and Morris had been agents together at William Morris). It was presumably easier to take a venue that presented music and dancing already than to create a new one. Since Taylor and Hartmann were Canned Heat's manager and booking agent, respectively, the band played the venue often.

The unique design of the Earl Carroll Theater meant that The Kaleidoscope, as a rock venue, had a unique stage set up that allowed acts to set up prior to performing, and then rotated into place. A new sound system brought the Kaleidoscope up to Fillmore standards. However, the venue only held about 1,000 people, and it was not able to become a profitable venture. Kaleidoscope shows were advertised by posters, some of them quite interesting, but not every show appears to have featured a poster. Like many LA venues (and contrary to contemporary San Francisco ones), the Kaleidoscope was probably open many nights with only local bands, or other entertainment like films.


The Concerts

April 14-16, 1967 The Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Canned Heat) This original weekend was supposed to be at a building on 1228 Vine Street (at La Mirada near Fountain), but a last second injunction stopped the show. For this weekend the show was moved to the Embassy Ballroom in the Ambassador Hotel, at 3400 Wilshire, which also housed the legendary Coconut Grove Ballroom.

April 21-23, 1967 Kaleidoscope at Ciro’s, West Hollywood, CA (The Doors, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, UFO. This show was moved to Ciro’s at 8433 W. Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood)

May 12-13, 1967 Kaleidoscope at Ciro’s, West Hollywood, CA (The New Age, Canned Heat, West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band)

The Kaleidoscope re-opened in Spring 1968 at the former Earl Carroll Theater, at 6230 Sunset Boulevard, in Hollywood

1968

March 22-23, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, Fever Tree, who replaced Buffalo Springfield. Once again, the Jefferson Airplane headlined the opening of The Kaleidoscope. A live elephant was positioned near the stage during the Airplane's set)

March 24, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Benefit for Radio Strike fund for KMPX and KPPC djs (afternoon show), with Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, Tiny Tim, H.P. Lovecraft, Steppenwolf, Sweetwater, Firesign Theatre, Clear Light, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Genesis. Disc jockeys on KMPX-fm radio in San Francisco, the first underground rock station in America, had gone on strike. The staff on their sister station KPPC (Pasadena) had joined them. There were a couple of events in San Francisco as well)

March 24, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Evening show. Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat)

March 27, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Kaleidoflicks: "Dr. Strangelove")

March 28, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Fever Tree)

March 29-31, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (The Doors (29th only), Bo Diddley, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Clear Light)

April 3, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Kaleidoflicks: "She Done Him Wrong" & Great moments with WC Fields)

April 5-7, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Youngbloods, Spirit, Genesis)

April 8-11, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Canned Heat, Evergreen Blue Shoes, Travel Agency)

April 11, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (“Super Ball” Benefit for KPPC Strike Fund, with The Doors, Traffic, Canned Heat, Bo Diddley, Kaleidoscope, Holy Modal Rounders & others. A similar event in San Francisco, for KMPX, also entitled "Super Ball" was held at Winterland on April 3. Traffic was on tour at this time. KMPX and KPPC had made Traffic very popular in California, so the band was very supportive)

April 12-14, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA ("First Anniversary", HP Lovecraft, James Cotton Blues Band, Mint Tattoo)

April 16, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (A Memorial For Bobby Hutton, A Black Panther Defense Fund rally, featuring Bobby Seale & Dick Gregory)

April 17, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Kaleidoflicks: Prize winning short films)

April 19-21, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Quicksilver Messenger Service, Kaleidoscope, Flamin' Groovies)

April 24, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (The Doors)

April 26-28, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (The Fugs)

April 30, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat)

May 3-5, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Don Ellis Orchestra. Part of a Friday-to Sunday 72-hour “Film Orgy”, with 11 pm shows on Friday and Saturday night by Don Ellis)

May 10-11, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Troggs, Hook, Pacific Gas and Electric)

May 17-18, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Moby Grape, Hour Glass (who featured Duane & Gregg Allman), Mt. Rushmore)

May 22, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Kaleidoflicks: "War Of The Worlds")

May 24-25, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Them, Incredible String Band, Sons of Champlin)

May 26, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Kaleidoflicks: "Magical Mystery Tour")

May 29, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Kaleidoflicks: "Endless Summer")

May 31-June 1, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Iron Butterfly, Life, Things To Come)

June 7-8, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Kaleidoscope, Don Ellis Orchestra, H.P. Lovecraft)

June 14-15, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Love, Rhinoceros, Taj Mahal)

June 16, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Kaleidoflicks: "Tokyo Olympiad")

June 18, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Unconfirmed. Rhinoceros)

June 19, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Unconfirmed. Don Ellis Orchestra)

June 20, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Unconfirmed. Illinois Speed Press)

June 21-22, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (The Byrds, Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Frumious Bandersnatch. The Byrds consisted of Roger McGuinn, Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, Kevin Kelley and non-member Doug Dillard on banjo)

June 23, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Kaleidoflicks: "The Love Goddesses")

June 25, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Rhinoceros)

June 28-29, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Electric Flag, Smokestack Lightning, Illinois Speed Press) (possibly Muddy Waters, Sons of Champlin)

June 30, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Kaleidoflicks: "Two Women")

July 2-3, Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Peanut Butter Conspiracy)

July 4-5, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Canned Heat, Sly and The Family Stone, Spontaneous Sound)

July 6, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (The Doors, Spirit. The Doors had played the night before at the Hollywood Bowl. Their presence wasn't advertised at the relatively small Kaleidoscope)

July 7, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Kaleidoflicks: "Black Orpheus")

July 9-11, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Canned Heat, Sly and The Family Stone, Sons of Champlin. Canned Heat only played one song (“Refried Boogie”) for all six sets throughout the entire second weekend. They were recording a live album, which was ultimately released as Living The Blues)

July 12-13, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (2 shows 8.00 & 11.00, Big Brother and The Holding Company, Rhinoceros, (Film) Tami Show, Jerry Abrams' Head Lights)

July 14, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Kaleidoflicks: "Cool World")

July 17, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Don Ellis Orchestra)

July 19-20, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Love, Rhinoceros)

July 21, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Kaleidoflicks: "Zulu")

July 26-27, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (The Hook, Sweetwater, Fraternity Of Man)

August 8, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Canned Heat. Preceeded by the film "Cincinnati Kid" & followed by the film "Ipcress File". This was the start of a four-day film festival)

August 16-17, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Muddy Waters, Sons of Champlin, Genesis. The Sons of Champlin did not play this show)

Around this time, Canned Heat showed up for a gig at The Kaleidoscope to find the theater taken over by well-dressed gentlemen who appeared to be members of the organized crime community, and different entertainment was being provided. It seems that managers Taylor and Hartmann had borrowed money to start the Kaleidoscope from these men and their failure to make payments lead them to take over the theater.

August 23-25, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Moby Grape, Group Therapy, Genesis, McCoys)

August 30-31, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Staple Singers, Genesis)

September 1, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA (Kaleidoflicks: "Manchurian Candidate")

September ?, 1968 Kaleidoscope, Los Angeles, CA ("Hair" the musical started sometime in September)

The former Kaleidoscope was re-invented yet again, this time as The Aquarius Theater. A touring production of Hair, the first rock musical, ran for several nights a week for an extended period, starting sometime in September of 1968. Sometime in late 1969 or 1970, a stage version of The Who's Tommy also ran for extended periods. The Aquarius was still used for occasional rock shows, when Hair wasn't playing, or between musicals.

Aquarius Theater

March 28-29, 1969 Aquarius Theater, Los Angeles, CA (Jethro Tull, Zephyr, Goose Creek Symphony)

March 31, 1969 Aquarius Theater, Los Angeles, CA (LA Free Clinic Benefit. Mothers of Invention, Chicago Transit Authority, Illinois Speed Press, Red Beans & Rice, Captain Beefheart, Linda Ronstadt, Jethro Tull, Buddy Miles Express, Southwind, Dillard & Clark)

May 26, 1969 Aquarius Theater, Los Angeles, CA (Incredible String Band)

July 7, 1969 Aquarius Theater, Los Angeles, CA (Love, Lonnie Mack)

July 14, 1969 Aquarius Theater, Los Angeles, CA (Dillard & Clark, Flying Burrito Brothers, Bread)

July 21-22, 1969 Aquarius Theater, Los Angeles, CA (The Doors. 2 shows on Monday 21st. Tuesday 22nd was a "rehearsal" show. Some of the performances from both nights were issued on various live releases, and both Monday shows plus the rehearsal were ultimately issued in 2001)

September 8, 1969 Aquarius Theater, Los Angeles, CA (Incredible String Band)

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