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November 22, 2014

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The Killers throw support behind Huntridge Theater: ‘Our beginnings happened on that stage’

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John Shearer/Invision for Reynolds Management/AP

Brandon Flowers of The Killers performs on the “Battle Born” tour at Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena on Thursday, May 2, 2013, in Los Angeles.

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The Huntridge Theater marquee advertises a website seeking support in its preservation Thursday, June 27, 2013.

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Joey Vanas, left, and Michael Cornthwaite of Huntridge Revival, LLC hold a community meeting at The Center in Las Vegas on Thursday, July 18, 2013 after exceeding their first fundraising goal to discuss the next steps toward reopening the historic Huntridge Theater.

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The Killers will headline one night of Life Is Beautiful's October music run.

This is not the first time The Killers have raised a hot fuss. But unlike their debut album of that name, their latest flourish is not a piece of music but a nod to nostalgia.

This week the Las Vegas-born rock band kicked in the donation that pushed the initial Indiegogo Huntridge Theater revival fundraising campaign past its $150,000 goal (the total sum of money raised surpassed $207,000). The amount of that donation has not been verified by the band, but is said to be less than the $25,000 specified in some early reports. Regardless, it's still “a good chunk of change,” as someone who knows the figure described the donation. This infusion of cash is only the beginning of the band's public support of the Huntridge. Expect more contributions from the band as the campaign unfolds

What is also certain is the amount pledged by the band nudged the fundraising effort past its stated goal about two days before Wednesday’s deadline.

Clearly, the gesture also carries enormous symbolic value as The Killers are famous around the world -- rock fans who have never heard of the Huntridge have likely heard of The Killers -- and are deeply interested in preserving the historic roots of their hometown. They said just that in a statement issued by The Killers as they wrapped the European leg of their world tour (tonight in Sesimba, Portugal; Sunday in Valencia, Spain). The band said the support of the project was a step toward preserving and restoring the cultural history in Las Vegas:

"Las Vegas has never been that precious with preserving our past, and we think it's time that's changed. If we could have any say in defending our history, it would be for keeping The Huntridge Theater legacy alive with an aim toward fostering the future heartbeat of Downtown Vegas. That's why we want to be a part of this. Our beginnings happened on that stage. It's nice to be in the position to give life back to such an unusually historic building in Las Vegas.

"Let's see if we can make our history history again.”

The band is well familiar with the original Huntridge Theater, having played the venue just as it became famous with the release of “Hot Fuss” a decade ago. Built in 1944, the theater closed as a live-music hall in 2004. The co-founders of Huntridge Revival (principally downtown Las Vegas visionaries and business officials Michael Cornthwaite and Joey Vanas) still need to raise $4 million to purchase the Huntridge building from the current owners, the Mizrachi family, by the end of the year.

The total cost of renovations, including that purchase price, has hovered at $12 million to $20 million.

This week, at a town-hall meeting and news conference at The Center in Las Vegas, Cornthwaite said preliminary design plans for the new Huntridge include a theater and music hall that would seat 1,600.

At least one famous Vegas band could fill that room, no problem.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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