By Jeremy Azevedo
|In a move that is sure to please no one, the city of Los Angles is cracking down on music venues that they deem in violation of their "Conditional Use Permit". First to come under fire: popular club "The Knitting Factory" in Hollywood.|
The Knitting Factory in it’s short history has not only single handedly brought positive change to its part of the neighborhood (the former slum at Hollywood and Sycamore, now a lucrative business mall), but has become a standard bearer for great live entertainment. Not only is it possibly the best suited venue for all-ages shows, but it’s also perhaps the only good reason for Los Angeles residents to ever venture west of La Brea into a generally touristy area with little else to offer non-tourists.
What purpose or benefit could there possibly be for the city to turn on The Knitting Factory? To make room for more overpriced condos that won’t sell, or maybe a restaurant that will change ownership three times a year at the expense of thousands of musicians, fans and local residents? I’m not sure I can follow the logic, but what I can do is let Knitting Factory VP of National Operations Morgan Margolis tell you in his own words what’s going on and what you can do to help:
"Dear Friends of The Knitting Factory,
I’m writing this letter to garner support for an upcoming public hearing by the LADBS (Los Angeles Bldg. and Safety) against our venue on Thursday July 17th 2008.
The Los Angeles Building Department is aggressively trying to revoke our CUP (Conditional Use Permit), for those of you who don’t know, a CUP is the conditions that all Restaurants, bars, clubs etc must run under in order to keep their doors open, if you lose your CUP, you are essential closed for business. After eight years in a crime riddled Hollywood corridor, the LADBS and vice, states that our venue is a “nuisance” and we do not comply under “upscale restaurant guidelines” (nonsense, food is always served and continues service and will someone please define “upscale” for me). They are also trying to say we do a steady stream of Erotica here, which is absurd, as we’ve only had 3 Adult Entertainment parties over 8 years and 10,000 shows.
Bar owners beware; the city is on a major crack down for what they deem CUP violations.
Knitting Factory was lured to this location and has served as the anchor tenant to re vamp this neighborhood. Suddenly, as the neighborhood has pushed the drug dealers out, the rents up, built condos and turned our complex from an Entertainment Center to a retail center, we are no longer wanted. When we moved into this location the crime statistics where 3 times higher than the city average, the corner of Hollywood and Sycamore sat only 1 block North of the 18th street Gang. In 2004, this corner was used as the first corner to install cameras as a test to stop crime.
We’ve endured tremendous hardship from 2004 to 2007 in this complex, whilst LA Fitness, DSW, Longs and Fresh and Easy were built around us (joy and thrill to be in a mall) and Galaxy Movie Theatre, Hollywood Ent. Museum, Tower Records all went out of business. We still have “no” visible signage from Hollywood Boulevard except for a banner hanging at the back of the plaza. CIM, the landlord, claims that our cueing is a problem to some of the retail outlets; of course there wasn’t a complaint while the jack hammers blasted for 3 years and our parking structure shut down for 26 weeks. Still, we are jammed to the back of the plaza, with no access to the Sycamore door (by law) and no where to line up our patrons.
Our Public Hearing is scheduled for Thursday July 17th at 10am @ 200 N. Spring St, room 1020. Zoning Administration. I would greatly appreciate anyone willing to get up on our behalf, just show up and be a part of this fiasco, or at least send in a letter to me, supporting the need for Knitting Factory as a live Music venue in the Hollywood corridor.
If you enjoy seeing live music in Los Angeles, help stand up for the Knitting Factory before all we are left with is a monopolistic entertainment industry run entirely by Live Nation and the Hollywood Entertainment Partners! (Unless you actually enjoy buying all your tickets for twice as much through Ticketmaster, paying twenty dollars for parking and only being able to see bands that play on KROQ, that is.)