law enforcement vs. the avant garde part 34564586

November 3, 2010

Echo Park shop latest victim of LAPD raid

Since 2006, the Echo Curio Curiosity Shop and Art Gallery has hosted experimental all-ages shows in its living room-sized storefront on a popular Echo Park strip of Sunset Boulevard.

But earlier this month, the privately owned community space known for its support of the freaky, demented and avant-garde side of Eastside culture was unceremoniously shut down by the Los Angeles Police Department, which cited the gallery-turned-venue for not having the proper entertainment permits.

The raid — which followed in the footsteps of a vice squad crack down on Echo Curio’s bring-your-own-booze policy last August — puts the important underground space in the same position as other prolific Los Angeles venues that ended up on the LAPD’s bad side, raising issues of enforcement that are ever-present for those creating and consuming music on the fringes of traditional media.

Though hardly low-key — shows filled with brown-bagging artistic types consistently flood the area’s main drag — the venue is one of many that have operated under the radar to provide a space for those contributing to the anti-mainstream musical identity in this city.

Similar to infamous Hollywood punk club The Masque, which was closed down for building violations in 1978, and the Sun Valley bowling-alley-cum-hardcore venue Godzilla — closed in 1982 after spending money on redecorating instead of permits — Echo Curio is the epicenter of an up-and-coming music movement, one ignored by established venues with expensive permits.

By allowing these community centers to thrive for years before suddenly enforcing live music permits or building codes, the LAPD effectively puts an end to built-up eras of expressive freedom, which one could infer is its intention judging by the arbitrary nature of these raids.

read the rest here…

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