I can't believe the red tape. They should be supporting the arts and clubs/venues. Vote for change, get rid of the old school.
By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Angelenos love a good time. We adore live music and open bars and art galleries, and there are countless proprietors anxious to provide us venues for these activities. But the city makes it tough; officials here go out of their way to shut down our parties.
Take the case of Sancho Salon, an Echo Park gallery that, until its untimely closing last year, featured art and a spacious backyard where folks could dance to bands.
In March 2011, LAPD's vice squad broke up one of Sancho's mellower events; an art class, actually, where 10 would-be Botticellis were drawing a scantily clad female model. The charge? They lacked a permit for "figure studios." "I remember being a little puzzled that they would have the gall to disturb something like that," says Colin Manning, a legit instructor who was running the workshop that day.
The charges were dropped in court, but that wasn't the end of Sancho's legal troubles. The next year, the gallery started to get letters from the Department of Public Works, demanding $300 for "illegally posted" fliers around town. Sancho founder Dani Collins swears that she never posted any fliers. "I called them to clear it several times, and they would never call me back, just sent more invoices," Collins says.
The fines ballooned, and Collins finally decided to give up her lease because of the harassment. The space is now a thrift store.
Sancho's story mirrors that of numerous clubs and venues around town. Their owners are victims of a citywide system that is slow to dispense entertainment permits but very quick to bust people for not having those same permits.
"I would never open a business in L.A. again. I'm done," says Prem Joshi, whose Hollywood bar and restaurant, the Libertine, hosted mellow jazz bands for years. In 2011, facing permit obstacles, he agreed to scale back to acoustic, three-piece bands, which he thought would be OK under his new change-of-use permit. But later that year he was arrested, along with his head of security, and kept in jail for 11 hours on "suspicion of violating" his new permit. Joshi says he settled the charges with the city for about $15,000.
One downtown bar owner who requested anonymity says he paid for an annual café/entertainment permit last year, but it arrived late. While he waited for it, he continued to host shows but says the vice squad busted him repeatedly.
Another downtown spot, Mexican restaurant Coronado's, tried to host a mariachi band during Art Walk last year. Manger Robert Coronado knew he couldn't host massive concerts in his restaurant but thought his permit allowed for a few mellow mariachi performers. But police officers quickly came in and shut the mariachis down.
Eastside venue owners feel particularly persecuted. In Echo Park and Silver Lake, residents snitch on illegal venues, file lawsuits and quietly report obscure permitting violations to mayor-elect Eric Garcetti, currently the city councilman representing Echo Park, Silver Lake and Hollywood.
Popular Silver Lake bar Hyperion Tavern lost its live-music privileges in 2010 after neighbors complained of noise and public intoxication. At the end of that year, meanwhile, Echo Curio — a beloved art gallery and all-ages experimental music venue — was forced to close for hosting shows without a cabaret license. LAPD cited complaints from the neighbors, Curio co-founder Grant Capes says, although he was never given specifics.
"Echo Curio, they're nice people — they just continually refused to follow the rules that were set in place for their business," says Garcetti's communications director, Diego de la Garza.
Not far away, Los Globos nightclub has been battling officials (and local residents) almost continuously since its major renovation in 2011. Owner Steve Edelson says he tried and failed repeatedly to obtain the necessary permits to allow dancing and expand occupancy on the bottom floor of this two-story nightclub. He also complains of regular surprise visits by L.A. Building & Safety inspectors, fire marshals and the vice squad. Edelson, a club mogul, now is suing the city for $10 million.
Los Globos undoubtedly has its problems; residents have publicly complained about excessive noise, public sex and public urination there. In September 2011 a patron leaving the venue was shot on the street, and in June 2012 someone was stabbed outside after a dance-floor fight.
Still, documents obtained by Edelson's attorneys through the California Public Records Act and shown to L.A. Weekly offer some evidence supporting Edelson's complaints of a witch hunt. In one email dated Dec. 1, 2011, Garcetti's field deputy, Ryan Carpio, messaged LAPD, Building & Safety and the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), writing: "I just wanted all departments on this list to flag and perhaps take some action on the Los Globos nightclub."
It's not clear what sparked the note. But according to emails obtained by the Weekly from Garcetti's office, two weeks earlier, Mitchell Frank — a clubs mogul himself, whose venues include the Echo and the Echoplex — complained about Los Globos: "The downstairs at Globos is unpermitted and has a capacity of 47," Frank wrote to city officials. He also attached a picture of people watching a show there and added: "Cocktails in hand — ABC violation. How did this go unnoticed? Thanks."
I can't believe the red tape. They should be supporting the arts and clubs/venues. Vote for change, get rid of the old school.
It's pretty hard to host *any* event when you're a sloppy business person who doesn't understand permits. The CITY didn't close these venues-- ignorance and carelessness did.
As a former Angeleno and Hollywood musician from 1997-2010. I must say this news doesn't surprise me at all. Once some of my favorite places to play off of the strip started closing down, The 14 Below, The Gig etc I decided I had enough and moved back to Boston. The bars that didn't close were so annoying to work which in reality really wasn't their fault, it was the city's. Hollywood is severely broken when it comes to the music industry and I honestly do not miss it at all. Well maybe the weather a little but I'd rather play anywhere else but there.
Yes. So incredible that the "Entertainment Capital" would allow the Gibson to be torn down for Harry Potter aka Cash Cow. Pathetic.
We can't have people gathering to exchange, and engage in (non) sanctioned potentially honest expressions of creativity. Just keep watching our manufactured, dumbed down, fear based propaganda, wile you enjoy your genetically modified corporate death sandwich. YUM !
For one thing, this reeks of corruption and extortion. For another, if this pattern continues, L.A.'s trendiest spots will turn as conservative and sterile as Orange County. The same thing happened in part of O.C. where rich people moved in, complained and chased the lively spirit out. They complained about noise and now the place is like a giant preschool.
When are you guys going to realize; being "liberal" is to repress! The tax man cometh- and when the government, can pick and choose targets in the effort of raising taxes...- well my friends, I hate to break the truth to you all. But you live in a police state. Let them take your guns too, so when they're fully done controlling you, you won't be able to fight back. But it might not matter, 'cause by time Mansanto poisons you (thank you POTUS) you wouldn't be able to lift a weapon anyway.
this article shows that Los Angeles (and in fact California itself) is/are the most liberal and at the same time most repressive place(s) in the u.s.a. - California has the most extensive prison/industrial complex in the u.s.a. (and a lot of military bases) and we all know how brutal the L.A.P.D. is - yet L.A. AND California have this weird reputation of being liberal and open-minded and even radical - PECULIAR ain't it? - like the PECULIARITY of the u.s.a. itself: "freedom and justice for all" based on 400+ years of CONTINUING unpunished and unreparated white supremacy/black inferiority (in a word SLAVERY!) and NOW TODAY homeless slavery amen?
"... Hollywood bar and restaurant, the Libertine, hosted mellow jazz bands for years.." The owner deserves to be locked up for that alone!
The bottom line is, some promoters/proprietors want to create a fun creative environment, and some want to make $$$. We all know which one is which. LA can keep shutting down harmless venues like Echo Curio and Sancho, and they'll keep popping up always. It's called culture. Yeah, even in LA we have it, and it's irrepressible. Garcetti et al, please make LA a viable place for the former to thrive, even as the latter crosses their t's and dots their i's and makes a night out on the town a profitable industry.
Interesting that The Echo's (not to be confused w/ the Echo Curio) owner is involved in shutting down other venues, even non-profits.
I never heard of police officers chasing down businesses for code violations even arresting someone. That seems a little bit crazy maybe that is why the crime rate is so bad. I would also guess it is all about money and they want more of it.
It saddens me that there are so few small live rock clubs in LA. I hope the new Mayor streamlines this process. Also, club owners need to locate to buildings without residential neighbors. Very simple way to avoid problems. I miss Al's Bar and Raji's.
Also: I'm not sure whether to be amused or appalled by the revelation that the Echo Park Chamber of Commerce and the City were discussing among themselves an appropriate new location for Echo Curio. Put aside the fact that this group of elected and unelected VIPs seems to think it's entitled to decide the specific spot in their fiefdom where a businesses can locate. No, what really strikes me is that some six months after they had killed off Echo Curio, they wanted that non-profit donation-funded labor of love to spring back into being so they could rent it a vacant space? And they expected a gallery run on a shoestring to come up with the money to buy a liquor license, when it never sold alcohol and operated as an all-ages space? And they wanted it to move away from the community it served, away from its easily accessible home in the heart of Echo Park on Sunset, off to some other spot on the edge of nowhere by the 2 freeway? Even if this was a genuine well-meaning effort, and not just some after-the-fact exercise in spin, it just goes to demonstrate the utter cluelessness of officialdom. These sorts of local arts venues are emphatically NOT the type of "clubs" that exist to turn a profit and sell booze -- they exist to provide a place for developing artists to exhibit and perform, for people to gather for workshops and classes, for local residents and youths to participate in creative culture, all *outside* the expensive, exclusionary, adults-only, substance-abuse encouraging atmosphere of bar "clubs."
Diego de la Garza is being disingenuous when he says that the Echo Curio "continually refused to follow the rules that were set in place for their business." The only way to comply with the City's seemingly ad-hoc "rules" was to close, and that's exactly what Echo Curio did when it was cited. The reality is that the gallery was closed by the City for not having the live music permit required by cafes, bars and restaurants, then -- shades of Catch 22 -- was denied a permit becuase it did not serve food and drink. City bureaucrats scheduled, then refused to attend an appointment requested by the Curio's owners to discuss ways to comply with the City's permitting laws. The apparent reason was a complaint from a nearby for-profit competitor with inside connections. The idea that the Curio's owners were troublemakers who "continually refused" to comply with directives is nonsense designed to cover up the Citiy's shameful role in destroying a one-of-a-kind, public-spirited arts venue that was run for the community's benefit.
Having witnessed this object lesson, other small art gallery/peformance spaces have closed or dramatically scaled back operations, while those who planned to open similar spaces have abandoned the effort or sought locations outside LA's boundaries in more welcoming and less corrupt jurisdictions. This whole fiasco has been a major blow to our experimental musicians, poets and artists, and one from which the creative community has not yet recovered.
@ronit5 Most Liberals in L.A. have so little understanding of the founding principals of this country and how individual freedom was paramount along with a limited federal government. It's hard to have a conversation with them because their political association with the Democratic party is by weak emotional ties to mostly social issues and they don't have much depth of understanding in political philosophy. Unfortunately L.A. liberals are some of the most politically intolerant and hypocritical bunch I've encountered.
hope the new Mayor streamlines this process." - if you read the
article, you'd have noticed that the person who's responsible for much
of this "DIY Venue Harassment" - is none other than Eric Garcetti... :-/
@Tapper138 @ronit5 Really guys? Both sides are intolerant of freedom of expression. It doesn't matter what you identify with, if you are a free thinker of any form, both sides will squash you for doing so. You have to conform or die. Don't fall into the trap fellas, you are better than that. Public sex and things like that aren't cool, but what's the harm in supporting art and music? None. And you know it. Quit acting like you're above it, you're part of the problem otherwise.