Local History: Elvis Room Panel

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Presentation, History

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Program Description


Portsmouth has always had its music scene, but the 90s stand out as a special time. And that period cannot be remembered without the Elvis Room Coffeebar. What started as a quirky coffeehouse, catering to those looking for something different, quickly became a mecca for music as well – local, national, and international. What CBGB was to NYC, The Elvis Room was to Portsmouth.

This panel discussion will include Barbara Steinbach née Becht, Curt Schulz, Bob Halperin, and Gabe Steinbach.

No registration required. Click this link to connect via Zoom. Password: 054444

Barbara Steinbach née Becht is one of three women who opened the E Room in 1993. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, she was working in architecture in L.A. when the opportunity to open a coffeehouse materialized, so she moved to Portsmouth. In 1998-99 Barbara moved back to St. Louis with her future husband Gabe Steinbach. She lives in St. Louis now with Gabe and two sons and has resumed her work in architecture.​

Curt Schulz is a designer from Beverly, MA who helped create and organize the Elvis Room 20-year retrospective and music series that honored the famous venue, as well as the memory of co-owner Dawn Marie who passed away a few months before the event.

Bob Halperin has been a presence in the Seacoast music scene for over 30 years. Initially known for his virtuosic solo blues finger-picking and slide guitar performances, he has also established himself as a sought-after sideman and as a member of the roots/Americana band Wooden Eye and of the band for the gospel choir, Rock My Soul. He teaches guitar at Gary’s Guitars in Portsmouth and at The Music Emporium in Lexington, MA.

Gabriel Steinbach began at the Elvis Room as a customer and art exhibitor but soon became the club’s booking agent. In 1998 he was awarded the Carnegie Medal of Honor for saving Barbara’s life at the Elvis Room from a knife-wielding attacker. Gabriel and Barbara moved to St. Louis where they currently live with their two sons. Gabriel has his own IT company, MGSTL, LLC, that he has successfully run for 15 years.

More Info

This event will be held online on the Zoom platform. Questions or trouble connecting? Visit cityofportsmouth.com/library/news/onlineprograms.