Home » Rock and Radio Redux – New Space and Extra Dates to Visit Your Rock-n-Local Past
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Rock and Radio Redux – New Space and Extra Dates to Visit Your Rock-n-Local Past

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As you enter, to the left is the cornerstone collection of Crabshaw Corners and Oasis Ballroom artwork from Roger Shepherd, Jim Carrico, and Jim Ford. Rock enthusiasts may marvel over the nearly complete collection of psychedelia from the Sound Factory. And any native Sacramentan over a certain age will wax nostalgic at the wall of Tower calendar posters on display.

Dennis Newhall, founder and curator of the Sacramento Rock and Radio Museum, has assembled and showcased a myriad of rock and radio memorabilia dating back to 1957.

Newhall started listening to rock and roll when he was six years old and Hounddog was at the top of the charts.

Every inch of his West Sacramento bedroom was covered with posters, but when he took them all down to study radio at CSUS, he stored them carefully away in a watertight box (a fact that would be surprising to no one who knows Dennis and his fastidious ways), and set them aside for a reason then unclear.

Dennis is still covering the walls with rock memorabilia, but thanks to support from Tucker Media, he has a lot more space to pursue his passion.

What is now the museum began as more of a memorial to local rock and roll.

Newhall, who had spent his radio career at, among other places, legendary rock station KZAP and KROY, was working at Nakamoto Productions. The studios happened to be located in the building that had once housed Crabshaw Corners, and later The Oasis Ballroom, site of countless concerts throughout the ‘60s, ‘70s and early ‘80s.

On a whim, Newhall and his friend Jeff Hughson began picking up promotional memorabilia from the old venues and hanging it in the studios. The idea caught on.

“Ray [Nakamoto] said, ‘If you keep finding them, I’ll keep framing them’,” Newhall recalls.

It wasn’t long until Dennis had covered a new set of walls. A few years later, in 2003, the collection had grown substantially, and they began opening for Second Saturday.

“We were right in the epicenter, here on 20th Street,” says Newhall of the former location between the 20th Street Gallery and Lush salon, “And people seemed to appreciate looking at the artwork and remembering the concerts they’d been to.”

Primarily through word of mouth, and Second Saturdays, word of the museum’s offerings and Dennis’s dedication to preserving local rock culture have spread.

After Mayor Kevin Johnson took a turn down Memory Lane, he commissioned Newhall to put together a small private collection for him.

This Saturday, Newhall has been asked to present the Jazz/Funk award at the Sammies, also a nod to his ongoing work as a jazz announcer at KXJZ. The museum will also be open from 5-9pm to take advantage of crossover fans from the Sammies Block Party.

Due to some changes in management, and with support from Tucker Marketing Group, the museum recently moved to a new home—next door to the old one, at 911 20th Street.

Newhall calls it a vast improvement.

“Being in the old Oasis Ballroom was a terrific inspiration for getting the museum started,” he concedes, “But this is a much better viewing space.”

Bill Tucker loved the idea of giving space to the newly formed non-profit.

“It’s a great environment to work in,” he smiles, gesturing around what is surely one of the coolest “lobbies” in town. “And it really puts the clients at ease.”

Having recently achieved non-profit status as a 501(c)3, the Rock and Radio Museum can now actively fundraise, which is an exciting prospect. Not only does the artwork cost money—although some of it, including those well-preserved childhood posters, has been donated—but the days of thumb-tacking things to the wall are over.

“Framing alone is a considerable expense,” says Newhall.

Currently, the museum is open only for Second Saturdays, April through October, or for occasional special events, like this weekend’s block party. They are considering making the space available for select fundraising events, and viewing is available by appointment.

You can also see some of the collection or make a donation at sacrockmuseum.org

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