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Club Congress wants your memories

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the rock venue's debut, the folks at Club Congress will set up a "Tucson's Rock n' Roll Museum" exhibit in September. They're asking for copies of old show posters and flyers, photos, fanzines, videos and other artifacts from three decades of strum and twang.

The stage may have moved about the east end of the Hotel Congress' first floor five or so times since the 1985 opening, but for many the club has been one of the centers of the local music scene. Outlasting other important venues — such as the long-gone Downtown Performance Center and faded Muddbugg's/The Rock — as the place where the many varieties of the Tucson sound rubbed elbows and compared notes, Club Congress has been hailed as the spot that sparked a hundred bands, and derided as an in-crowd "church" that left some as outsiders.

Love it, or love to hate it, the litany of bands that have spilled beer and their souls on its stage is nearly endless. From the early "Desert Rock" days through to today, the HoCo logo has appeared on flyers from just about every band in town. From the western sketches of Pete Martinez, dating back to the '30s and '40s and still gracing the walls of the Tap Room, to the intricate proscenium crafted for the stage a decade ago by artist Daniel Martin Diaz, to the barely discernible traces of the painted checkerboard dance floor from the late '80s, the club has become a place that echoes with memories.

As part of the annual HOCO Fest, slated for the first weekend in September, the club will set up an an interactive community-driven exhibit showcasing their place in Tucson's music history.

"All kinds of memorabilia are welcome such as old posters, photographs, newspaper clippings and videos," Hotel Congress marketing manager Michelle Armstrong said in a news release.

"Photographs don't have to be limited to show images, they can also feature the behind-the-scenes of being backstage, a party, a place, whatever says Tucson Rock n' Roll," she said.

Items do not have to be originals; the club will accept copies or make digital copies, Armstrong said. Photos and scans of posters should be 300 dpi to ensure quality reproduction, she said.

The deadline for feedback is July 31, to give club staffers time to organize the exhibit.

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Questions and submissions can be directed to David Slutes. Materials can be delivered to the front desk of the hotel.

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Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com

Just how blurry are your memories of Club Congress? A 30th anniversary exhibit, coming in September, might paint a clearer picture.