Save the Echo Curio (and Other Adventurous Small Music Venues)! Here's How You Can Help
There's been some interesting back-and-forth (including some Anonymous Internet Tough Person who thinks I'm an "ignorant jerkoff"! exciting!) on yesterday's post about the (hopefully) temporary suspension of music performances at the Echo Curio.
We've done a little digging around, and it seems our initial suspicions are correct: this boils down to a licensing issue (the City's infamously arcane "Cafe Entertainment/Shows P519
Los Angeles Police Commission Police Permit Requirements"), and the decision to enforce this right now, for several Silver Lake/Echo Park small music venues (the Echo Curio, the Hyperion Tavern).
We called the LAPD, and Officer Roussett from the LAPD CID repeatedly told us "he doesn't know" why these licensing issues were enforced right now, after months of continued, mostly uneventful operation.
We also think councilman Eric Garcetti might be able to help the Echo Curio and other venues with the intricate, stacked-in-favor-of-people-with-paid-intercessors licensing process.
So--if you care about the Echo Curio and other places for experimental music in LA, please call councilman Garcetti at 323-957-4500, or drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, telling him how important it is for the City to support music and the arts that are not bankrolled by vodka brands or the entertainment-industrial complex. Tell him how much weird music helps you stay sane in this often maddening metropolis.
And here are some sensible words from commenter Mike Scholtz:
The Echo Curio is NOT another bar or hotel trying to make a profit. It is NOT run by "promoters" trying to sell tickets. It is run as a grass-roots community service, to provide a much-needed place for non-commercial musicians to play, for local artists to exhibit in open shows, and for lectures and theater. The Curio doesn't sell alcohol or food, offers free entry to its art shows, and only asks a $5 donation for performances. Hundreds of local artists and musicians from Echo Park and Silverlake have participated; many received their first public showings or gigs from the Curio.
Apparently the City and the LAPD would rather devote their scarce resources to closing a community-based arts organization -- one that provides local residents, including at-risk youth, an outlet for creative growth -- rather than doing anything about the City's real problems. Why pick on a small public-interest gallery, an asset to the neighborhood, when, for example, they could be dealing with the hundreds of illegal clubs dealing in alcohol, drugs and prostitution (see "Chaos in the Casitas," LA Weekly, Nov. 4, 2009), or for that matter, with the crime problems in Echo Park?
Here's hoping the City will realize its mistake, and allow the Curio to reopen, so that Los Angeles doesn't lose this unique and valuable artspace.
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